Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sandstrom v. Robles

This week Stephen Sandstrom (R-Orem) unveiled his proposed AZ-styled illegal immigration bill. In the days leading up to the unveiling, the Senator claimed to be collaborating with Democratic Senator Luz Robles on a "carrot and stick in front of the horse type proposal" to provide an incentive for would-be illegal immigrants to opt for coming to Utah through legal channels instead of illegal border crossing. However, the Robles contribution is noticeably absent from the "Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act", and her news conference on Monday explained why.

On Monday she blasted the Sandstrom proposed legislation which not only requires police to become unofficial ICE agents, but also deputizes all state governmental agencies and employees to identify and turn in names of suspected illegal immigrants (i.e. the Stowell proposal). She pointed out that the Arizona law has already been challenged and stricken in Federal court and that a Utah law would undoubtedly face a similar fate at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars. Sen. Robles confirmed that she is working on a alternative to Sen. Sandstrom's proposal but that she would not have it ready to be unveiled until next month. She also confirmed that Sandstrom is willing to work for a compromise immigration bill that may be more acceptable to both sides of this issue.

The Sandstrom law is worse than the Arizona law. The Arizona law merely required the police to act in a duel capacity as unofficial ICE agents, but Sandstrom is in effect deputizing the entire Utah state payroll as unofficial immigration enforcement personnel. Theoretically, schools may be bound to send names of suspected illegal immigrant families to law enforcement. This type of "iron fist" enforcement creates so many potential problems, not only constitutionally, but financially, logistically, and bureaucratically that it can make some of the most seasoned policy wonk's heads spin.

Although Robles proposed legislation has yet to be unveiled, I prefer it to the unmitigated crap that Stephen Sandstrom laid at the feet of xenophobic voters who he hopes represent a majority of voters in this state. Is there any doubt that he is posturing as a potential tea party Congressional candidate in 2012?

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