Utah Immigration Bill

By ConcernedConservative on March 10, 2011

In the last few years Immigration has come up in the political discussion in both, presidential and congressional campaigns. To some this may represent an outdated and even annoying topic, however, the sad reality is that this discussion involves twelve million people that remain in the shadows hoping for a solution.

Several states have been persuaded by the anti-immigrant opinion leading them to take action against undocumented immigrants on their own. Arizona stands out as the state that took the initiative with SB1070. This law empowers police officers to check the legal status of anyone breaking the law if he/she considers necessary. After much criticism, tension arose between the state and the federal government. Regardless of the outcome and the federal courts decision, Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer is pushing to have the law approved in its totality while receiving mixed reviews nationwide.

Last Friday Utah Immigration Bill 427 was approved in the midst of intense protests from groups that both, advocate a comprehensive immigration bill and their counterparts.

With this new Law police officers are permitted to ask for an ID if they suspect a person is here illegally. If the person fails to present the required document, the officer may contact the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This leads to several disadvantageous assumptions which the police officers would have to make:

Racial Profiling: This is the biggest concern in the Hispanic community because they feel this type of action would corner them even more based on their appearance. They already fear to go to public places and, in many cases because of it, many of them live very simple lives that involve going to work and coming home to rest. The only time they decide to go out is whenever they need groceries and whenever they can attend church services on Sundays.

Effect in the economy: A great majority if not all of them work long hours during the day which helps them to provide for their families. A great portion of their saving is sent to relatives outside the U.S. simply because they have no incentive to invest it in long term assets, such as a house or education. The economy gets a big hit by these phenomenon because these resources are not generating more wealth and therefore, jobs in our economy.

Danger in the roads increase: After approving Utah Immigration Bill the number of drivers that operate a vehicle without a driver’s license will increase dramatically. We all know the important role that transportation plays on our daily life. Undocumented immigrants are no different, they make use of a vehicle for their day to day activities and they won’t stop to work if they are not given the proper license. This in turn will create greater risk for other drivers because these undocumented immigrants will be forced to operate a vehicle without passing the examinations that everyone else is required to pass.

The conservative party has been arguing that this type of Law is desperately needed in our state given the number of immigrants that have come to Utah in the past few years. With tougher immigration laws, they argue, we will be able to control the crime and felonies that some of this individuals might commit. They claim that the creation and reinforcement of these laws will send a strong message to undocumented immigrants in Utah that if they break the law, they will be persecuted and punished.

With Utah immigration Bill the question remains unanswered, on whether or not it will deliver the desired results in the long term. Will it create more jobs? Will it decrease the crime rate? Pro-immigrant activists warn that our economy will suffer because the valuable labor this people provide will not meet the demand. Crime is unlikely to decrease since the many of the immigrant population belong to the workforce and positively contribute to the growth of our local and nationwide economy.

Efforts should be focused in alleviating the problem and not attacking the most vulnerable group of the population. Undocumented immigrants have contributed positively to the growth of our economy and lawmakers should consider giving them a chance to live the American dream.

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