March 29, 2011

BETTER ANGELS:

Utah on immigration: We aren't Arizona (Daniel C. Vock, 3/25/11, Stateline)

“Last summer, it was a foregone conclusion that Utah was going to do exactly what Arizona had done,” says Marty Carpenter, a spokesman for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. That worried many of the chamber’s members. [...]

In the end, though, Utah avoided the acrimony that Arizona experienced. The state’s leaders changed direction. They followed the lead of business, religious groups and others that drafted a 227-word document, introduced in November, called the Utah Compact. Nearly 100 people from dozens of groups collaborated on the immigrant-friendly statement. Its effect became clear this month, when Governor Gary Herbert signed four bills that follow the contours of the agreement. The new laws give local police more power to enforce immigration laws, but they also create guest-worker programs designed to add to the state’s labor supply.

Although it had plenty of supporters, the Utah Compact benefited greatly from the backing of business leaders and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “The Utah Compact changed the whole tone of the conversation of the Legislature,” says Tony Yapias, a radio host and director of Proyecto Latino de Utah. It was especially significant, he says, because Utah Republicans embraced the compromise while GOP officials in other states were focusing on hard-line enforcement-only approaches.


A people too decent for nativism.


Posted by at March 29, 2011 4:32 PM
  

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