Sen. Luz Robles and the conservative think tank, The Sutherland Institute, are working together drafting a new immigration bill that may offer an option for Utah's undocumented immigrants who want to work in the state legally.
Robles claims there are currently 110,000 undocumented immigrants in Utah whose majority numbers want to work and be productive members of society.
Robles introduced Tuesday a 21-page piece of legislation still in the drafting stages called the Utah Pilot Accountability Permit Program. The program would provide undocumented immigrants with permit cards allowing them to work legally given that they be subject to a criminal background check and that they both pay taxes and enroll in English and civics classes.
Robles says the program is not amnesty or a path to citizenship.
"Immigration is a federal issue and we all recognize that, but the federal government has failed to take care of this issue and it has been an issue for at least decades," said Robles. "The state have been working on reactionary and proactive solution and we believe this is a Utah solution."
There to support Robles' bill, The Sutherland Institute's president, Paul Mero says it is the most conservative legislation in Utah that will ultimately hold undocumented immigrants living in the state accountable.
"The only other option that is out there right now has been suggested by representative Sandstrom. And that's a catch and release bill and there is zero accountability," Mero said.
Rep. Stephen Sandstrom's (R-Orem) bill is the other piece of proposed immigration legislation that would involve law enforcement checking the immigration status of people who are stopped by police. Police would be obligated to turn the suspects into federal immigration officials if believed to be here illegally.
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