Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Utah Commission on Immigration

Happy Independence Day!  A day for reflection on Freedom - and Security - and the Rule of Law - an Illegal immigration  (and noticing my personal failure to post anything of the recent events of  Supreme Court decision on AZ immigration law and executive Obamnesty)

This, however caught my attention at the local level (Utah) of the continuing effort loosely based on the "Utah Compact" toward "legalizing the illegals."

The Utah Commission on Immigration, in their recent meeting presented (but did not vote) this proposal, apparently in preparation for presenting a report:

"Proposed Policy Language:

1)     Any research or findings the Commission reviews shall be factually based and verifiable.  The Commission will focus on data that comes from academic sources and quantifiable research.

2)     As the Commission “develop[s] a comprehensive plan to address immigration, use of migrant workers and integration of immigrants in Utah,” the Commission’s recommendations and findings shall be based on the impact of any comprehensive plan to Utah’s economy, legal system, law enforcement efforts, and educational system.

Note:  This language is for formal vote to establish guiding principles to help delineate boundaries for future Commission discussions, findings and recommendations to the Legislature.  This language should help prevent the Commission from being pulled in too many directions which will detract from the Commission’s ability to make positive recommendations and fulfill the intent of the legislature.  A set of broad-based and consensus driven principles will help us focus our attention and increase our value to legislators."

Obviously, basing findings on verifiable facts is an admirable goal.    However, not all "facts" come from academic sources or are quantifiable:  Chis Herrod's book "the Forgotton Immigrant" has a great deal of quantifiable research and could be used as a source.     Limiting "facts" to academia, would presumably preclude NumbersUSA, CIS, FAIR - as well as the Sutherland Institute.

"Social Issues" in and of themselves tend not to quantifiable. 
The more important issue is the idea that the Commission is making "recommendations and findings shall be based on the impact of any comprehensive plan to Utah’s economy, legal system, law enforcement efforts, and educational system."

That, I believe, is far beyond the scope of their charter as any "comprehensive plan" should concern only the Migrant Worker Visa Pilot Program and NOT the full consideration to the problem and plight of illegal aliens, which is generally where comprehensive plans tend to lead.  IMO, the biggest job, at this point, may be to try to keep the Commission focused on its primary functions. 

Why is this commission creating a comprehensive plan to Utah's . . . education system?   Does the proposed Migrant Worker plan include families?  Should it? - That might be a valid subject for discussion, then a plan might be needed - such as the employer would be responsible for the payment thereof.   

Is the Migrant Worker going to be a permanent resident, on the path to citizenship?  My understanding is that it would be a temporary visa for a limited time for a specific job.   Is this being discussed?    

How about the eligibility of current illegal residents in Utah, is THAT being discussed?

In short is the Commission focusing on the Pilot worker visa plan or comprehensive immigration reform and "amnesty."   Have they lost the focus on the set goal or refocused efforts on legalization of the illegal?

It might be very helpful to review the committee and floor discussions to better determine the sense of the legislature.

As you may recall, the Commission was created by HB 466 in 2011 which was created for:
 "19 . providing for the creation of the Migrant Worker Visa Pilot Program;
20 . requiring monitoring of the pilot program and reporting on information gained;
21 and
22 . providing for implementation of similar migrant worker visa pilot programs."

The function basically are: 

(1) A study of current state and federal immigration law. 

(2)  The ONLY function as far as illegal immigration is to study its IMPACT on Utah:

"(1) The commission shall:
149 (a) conduct a thorough review of the economic, legal, cultural, and educational impact
150 of illegal immigration on the state and its political subdivisions;

(3) The function pertaining to MIGRANT workers is limited to the Nuevo Leon Pilot project and developing a possible plan from it.

"(c) develop a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustainable state plan to address:

154 (i) immigration and the use of migrant workers in the state;

171 (f) comply with Part 3, Migrant Worker Visa Pilot Project."

The function is NOT to create a guest worker program, (aka HB116), nor is it to legalize the current illegal aliens in Utah.

Further, I think it was NOT within these defined function to suggest to the 2012 legislature that no 'immigration' bills should be considered.

I would also point out that:             
180          (3) (a) In performing its powers and duties, the commission may invite testimony from
             181      the governor, legislators, state agencies, and members of the public.
AND   (c) The commission may hold one or more public hearings that it considers advisable
             186      and in locations within the state that it chooses to afford interested persons an opportunity to
             187      appear and present views with respect to any subject relating to the commission's powers and
             188      duties under this section.

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