Utah passed a program of immigrant reform laws in 2011. It included an enforcement bill like the one in Arizona. However, it also had a new law that would provide a state permit for guest workers.
Mark Shurtleff is Utah’s attorney general. He is a conservative on most social issues. And he is hard on crime. He supports the guest worker program.
Mr. Shurtleff said the Arizona law was divisive, bad for business and bad for public safety. He thinks there is a lot of “nonsense” about the criminal behavior of unauthorized immigrants. He said, “There hasn’t been a good voice to the contrary telling the truth about it.”
Under the reform law, Utah would issue a two-year work permit to illegal immigrants who could prove that they had been living and working in the state. To qualify, immigrants would have to pass a criminal background check and pay fines of up to $2,500.
Utah is the home of the Mormon Church. Mr. Shurtleff is a Mormon. The Church supports the Utah Compact, which emphasizes the importance of keeping families together and “welcoming people of good will.” Similar compacts passed in Indiana and Iowa.
Mr. Shurtleff is waiting to speak to fellow-Mormon Mitt Romney who has a hard-line view against immigration. He wants to tell him, “You don’t have to pander to that shrill, really negative voice that is harmful to our country.”