This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
You may have heard there were four immigration bills that Gov. Gary Herbert signed together. You have likely heard much about HB 116 involving guest worker permits.
It is also very possible that you have not heard much about HB 469, "Immigration Related Amendment" by Rep. John Dougall. This is sad because, if it is allowed to work, it may just solve most or all the immigration challenges we face. I believe it makes HB 116 obsolete.
So what does HB 469 do and why is it important?
It throws out more than 100 years of U.S. case law about immigration, creates a way for Utahns to sponsor people from around the world, providing the immigrants are not in the U.S. illegally.
From the Constitutional Note for HB 116 and HB 469:
"The Constitution of the United States grants authority to the federal government to regulate foreign commerce and to adopt a uniform rule of naturalization. The United States Supreme Court has also found inherent federal authority to regulate immigration on the basis of federal sovereignty and the power to engage in foreign affairs: this is sometimes referred to as the "plenary power," which in more recent years has been made subject to certain constitutional limits."
HB 469 claims that there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that grants the federal government power over immigration and, prior to the case law noted above, the states had that power.
It tells the federal government to protect our borders, create rules for granting citizenship but, as the state of Utah, we can take care of immigration, thank you very much.
The sponsoring principle of HB 469 provides a limiting factor of how fast immigrants can come, makes sure they do not place a larger burden than we can handle, and is more like co-signing a friend's car loan. It is the truly unique piece of the puzzle. With it, you don't need HB 116. Someone here illegally could find a sponsor, go home and come back with permission.
Do you remember when you had to wait in line to buy tickets to a movie, and then wait in line before going in? If you came to the theater and the show was full, you could buy a ticket to a later show. That was before you could order them at home, and know then where your seat was and what time to come to the theater.
You can't let everyone show up for the same movie or there would be no place to sit, and you do need some reasonable security and rules.
Why do we make immigration more complicated?
If we are going to have a line for people to come to this country, you can't reward those who bypass the line. They need to be sent to the back of the line. That doesn't mean you should stop treating them like people.
Is HB 469 done? No, we will need to work with the federal government to make it work. They don't have to do anything, other than follow the U.S. Constitution and allow Utah to make it work.
For those who are worried about getting a waiver for HB 116, my suggestion is: don't.
Let HB 116 be replaced with HB 469 as it rolls out and is expanded. HB 469 requires the governor to act prior to July 1, 2013, and initially only runs until June 30, 2018. With some work, it could start in a matter of months.
Fred C. Cox is a member of the Utah House of Representatives, District 32, West Valley City.