The Utah Compact: A Third Way on Immigration?

Posted November 12, 2010 in Immigration by Arthur Buono

Yesterday a group of civic, business and religious leaders announced the Utah Compact. It’s a set of principles for the immigration debate in the state and the nation. Backers look to the road not taken by immigration hardliners in other conservative or border states.

  • Utah Compact among civic, business, religious leaders
  • Acknowledges federal supremacy in policy and enforcement
  • Recognizes immigrants’ worth, counsels humane treatment
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Leaders Seek to Leverage Immigrants’ Contributions

Utah has Arizona-style legislation pending in the state house. So do a few other states, notably Florida. The Compact aims to head off the proposal and frame the debate differently. It calls for more effective federal enforcement of immigration policies. It bluntly admits immigration policy is a federal matter.

Within Utah, the Compact goes beyond simply ignoring illegal immigrants or having a sort of don’t ask, don’t tell policy. It specifically recognizes the contributions of all immigrants and rejects rounding them up or starving them out.

You’ve got to think Compact backers have in mind something in addition to the pending legislation. Last summer a group calling itself Concerned Citizens of the United States outed 1300 undocumented aliens living in Utah and called for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to arrest and deport them. So far the only federal action’s been to try and figure out who Concerned Citizens is and how they got federally-protected personal information used to compile the list.

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