Immigration

Obama Must Challenge Utah Immigration Law

Last year, the Obama administration sued Arizona over its law that was designed merely to assist the federal government in the enforcement of immigration laws.  To date, however, the administration has been silent on a new Utah law, even though it blatantly undermines federal immigration law. 

The Utah immigration law creates a guest worker program for illegal immigrants who have lived or worked in the state before May 10, 2011.  Illegal immigrants who become guest workers can then obtain “immediate family” permits for their spouses or unmarried children under the age of 21 who are also illegal immigrants.

Unlike the Arizona law, the Utah immigration law is in direct violation of federal law. 

Congress has the constitutional authority to determine immigration law, and has not been silent on the employment of illegal immigrants.  In fact, current federal law says it’s unlawful for any employer to knowingly hire an illegal immigrant.  The law also requires employers to comply with an employment eligibility verification system to help ensure they hire a legal workforce.

The Obama administration’s silence regarding the Utah law stands in stark contrast to its early condemnation of the Arizona law that sought to enforce federal immigration law.  If the Obama administration wants a consistent immigration policy, then it needs to take action against the Utah law. 

It would not be a stretch to conclude that the only immigration policy that the Obama administration favors is one that allows illegal immigrants to remain in the United States.  And it’s not just its silence on the Utah immigration law. 

Though President Obama recognizes that jobs are a magnet for illegal immigration, his administration has ignored enforcement of immigration laws at the workplace.  Arrests of illegal immigrant workers are down 77% from 2008.  The administration’s policy?  If they conduct a paperwork audit of a company and find illegal immigrant workers, the workers are not arrested.  Instead, they are free to remain in the U.S. and take jobs from American workers someplace else.

Also, even though a number of states and localities are in violation of federal immigration law, the Obama administration has not taken action against any of them.

For example, the Obama administration has not sanctioned sanctuary cities, even though they willfully defy federal law by prohibiting their law enforcement officials from cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security.

The administration also has not taken action against states that give in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants, despite the fact that federal law prohibits this. 

The Obama administration’s track record and continued silence on the Utah immigration law reflects its anti-enforcement agenda.  It is just one more piece of evidence that this government has no interest in enforcing our immigration laws. 

Instead of basing its decisions on its own policy preferences, the Obama administration should fully enforce all immigration laws.  When immigration laws are enforced, illegal immigrants leave on their own, and wages go up for Americans and legal workers. 

With millions of Americans looking for work, the administration needs to take legal action against Utah for its unconstitutional law that hurts American workers.

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