The Utah legislature recently passed 3 immigration related bills that await Governor Herbert’s signature or veto. The first bill is an enforcement bill scheduled to go into effect in early May. The second bill authorizes the Governor to enter into a pilot program with Nuevo Leon (a Mexican state) that would facilitate applications for migrant workers (who would still also need to got through the normal federal process).
The third bill creates Utah’s own guest worker program starting in July of 2013 (or 6 months after Utah receives a “waiver”). Wait a second, Utah’s own guest worker program? Isn’t the guest worker program (and all immigration policy) a federal issue? Yes, this bill assumes that the federal government will grant Utah an unprecedented waiver to allow it create its own guest worker program.
The fact that Utah passed a bill, assuming it will get a a waiver to create its own guest worker program is basically saying to the federal government “Hey, you have completely ignored immigration, are totally inept, and cannot deal with this yourself. I know that even in the next 2 years, you won’t be able to provide businesses the workers they need. Why don’t you just acknowledge that you can’t deal with immigration and let us start our own immigration policies and programs.”
This is a really bad sign of just how dire the immigration situation is in this country. One by one states are realizing that they must create their own ways to get workers. What’s next California passing a bill to grant visas to nurses, IT workers, and crop pickers?
Hopefully, the federal government will wake up and realize we are all still part of one country and need one immigration system that works. However, I’m not holding my breath for it to happen anytime soon after the Senate even failed to pass the DREAM Act. How can there be debate on providing a path to legalization for someone who lived in the U.S. since they were 3 years old, went to school here, and now wants to enroll in a University or serve our country in the armed forces.
No wonder Utah is drafting their own immigration laws.