Immigration consultant bill passes easily

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Although immigration bills typically generate lots of heated discussion in the Legislature, the House passed an "immigration consultant" bill Tuesday without any debate at all.

SB144, sponsored by Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, passed the House 58-8, sending the bill to the governor. Already passed by the Senate, the bill requires immigration consultants to register with the Department of Commerce, as well as undergo a criminal background check.

"Immigration is a sensitive and often polarized subject to discuss," House sponsor Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden, said. "In the immigrant community there is a demand for translation and paper-processing services."

He says the bill legitimizes the industry though simple regulation, unclogging problems associated with fraud.

The measure defines an immigration consultant as a "person who provides nonlegal assistance or advice on an immigration matter."

Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, urged colleagues to support the legislation.

"We ask people who come to this country to do it right, to do it correctly, to do it legally," Seelig said. "Let's help people who are trying to do it the right way."