Gov. Gary Herbert last week signed a bill that would give illegal immigrants who do not commit serious crimes and are working in Utah documents that, in the state’s eyes at least, make them legal residents. For the law to work, however, the Obama administration would have to permit Utah to make it legal to employ people who entered the United States illegally — a federal crime. Even the law’s proponents acknowledge that’s an uphill battle.
Herbert and the rest of those who supported this measure should be voted out of office at the earliest possible opportunity.
An extra twist to the story comes from what the LA Times sees as Mormon influence:
Utah has long had softer laws on illegal immigration than even states such as California. It allows illegal-immigrant students to pay in-state tuition at public universities and gives “driving privilege cards” to undocumented migrants to allow them to obtain insurance.The dynamic is partly explained by the number of people in Utah who have performed missions in other countries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are sympathetic to the plight of outsiders.
The Church’s declaration of support for the “Utah Compact” (the declaration that lies at the root of the new laws) can be found here. For the most part it is made up of the usual pulpit pap, but it concludes with some doubletalk on the rule of law:
We acknowledge that every nation has the right to enforce its laws and secure its borders. All persons subject to a nation’s laws are accountable for their acts in relation to them.
Public officials should create and administer laws that reflect the best of our aspirations as a just and caring society. Such laws will properly balance love for neighbors, family cohesion, and the observance of just and enforceable laws.
Real translation: the state of Utah should feel free to ignore federal immigration laws.