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The architect of a controversial state-level guest worker law took a first step on Friday to delay its scheduled July 1 effective date, hoping to give Congress more time to address illegal immigration instead.

Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, sought and received permission from the Senate Friday to create a bill file to delay the effective date of HB116 passed in 2010. He had to request that permission — which was given unanimously —┬ábecause the normal bill submission deadline was Feb. 7.

"I suspect it will delay the effect date by two years," Bramble said later.

"The rationale for that is this Congress has convened for a two-year period. They are the ones who are saying they are finally ready to do something" about illegal immigration, Bramble said. "We'll give them a chance to do something, reserving the right to push it to the state level if we need to."

HB116 would require illegal immigrants in Utah to submit to background checks, pay a fine and develop some proficiency in English to obtain a permit to live and work here.

The law was so controversial that it was targeted by a Utah Republican Party resolution that sought its repeal, arguing it offered amnesty to people here illegally. That resolution passed at the state GOP convention in 2011.

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