Arguments Against repeal116.com – Group Against Utah’s Guest Worker Program

The group represented by repeal116.com has been making a lot of noise regarding Utah’s recent passage of HB 116 that institutes a guest worker program. Below are quotes from the website (unless it says otherwise) highlighted in grey, and my counter arguments follow.

If a person who is unlawfully in the United States is allowed to live and work in Utah while individuals who obey the law are not, that is amnesty even if they pay a fine

Amnesty by definition removes any penalty for a violation of law. A fine is a penalty. It also fails to meet the definition in that it does not suspend current U.S. law, if INS wants to enforce federal immigration law, HB116 does nothing to hinder it from doing so. This simply allows Utah to deal with illegal aliens who reside within the state by allowing them to work, tracking their movement, and taxing their wages so that it is not a drain on state resources.

“We support the “Rule of Law” and believe in upholding the law of the land”

The federal government has made it clear that States cannot enforce federal law, that is, states are not to be in the business of deportation. HB 116 does nothing contrary to U.S. law and changes state law so that our communities can deal with the issue in a constructive way.

The ready availability of high quality, fraudulent documents will allow virtually all of the estimated twelve to twenty million illegal aliens currently residing in the U.S. to show proof or residence or employment in Utah prior to the May 10, 2011

Can you overstate this a little more? Twelve to twenty million illegal aliens are not going to end up in Utah. In fact, there has been no evidence to suggest there has been any kind of surge in illegal population since the bill was signed into law.

All illegal aliens who have committed crimes yet have not been convicted of those crimes will be allowed to obtain work permits. (lines 753-755) Thus, gang members involved in drug trafficking, extortion, assault and battery, etc. who live in Utah and who have not been convicted will get work permits as long as they have a job, which most do. Illegal aliens using Utah children’s stolen identities to get jobs will get work permits as long as they haven’t been convicted of identity theft. An illegal alien who is a convict in his home country will be granted a Utah work permit as long as he has a job because there will be no record of his crime in the U.S. A potential terrorist, who is not on the U.S. list of terrorists, who entered the U.S. on a visa and overstayed will be issued a Utah job permit, because he has no criminal record.

This line of argument is completely irrelevant to the bill in question. The same is true for citizens who commit crimes and have not been convicted … there is no way to implement a punishment for a perpetrator no one knows the identity of. That said, the bill should alleviate the number of stolen identities (usually overstated in anti immigrant circles) since stolen social security numbers will not be needed for employment.

HB116 allows individuals convicted of class A, B, C misdemeanors and nonserious felonies to get permits. Since many felonies are pled down, the work permit will be granted to individuals committing serious crimes.

Most illegal immigrants arrested for a crime are deported or imprisoned, this is nonsensical.

HB116 does not require individuals receiving immediate family permits to pass a medical exam or to have a clean criminal history, thereby allowing criminals and family members with outstanding medical debt to obtain immediate family permits.

I’m not sure what is meant by “clean criminal history.” They make it sound like people who have not paid for their crimes can easily become guest workers. If someone is convicted of a major felony they would have difficulty finding work just like any other felon, but if they got a parking violation, paid their fine, then I guess people with a “criminal history” will be allowed to get work permits …

Pass a medical exam? Is there any place on earth a person must submit to a medical exam before entering. Also, we are talking about people who have likely lived in the state for years … a little late for a medical exam.

HB116 only includes minimal penalties for the use of false documents to obtain a permit or misuse of permits – Up to $750 fine (line 926) and a class B misdemeanor for providing false or forged information or documentation in support of the application.

This does not include penalties for credit fraud, that is still illegal. This only applies to undocumented workers who have used stolen IDs to gain employment.

HB116 allows applicants for guest worker permits to provide evidence that they have no outstanding medical debt that is past due but does not deny eligibility to an individual and families who have used taxpayer funded programs such as emergency Medicaid or benefited from charity care and thereby shifted the burden to the taxpayers and to Americans with health insurance.

I’m not sure what that would accomplish. Are you saying they shouldn’t be allowed to work and pay taxes to help the system they benefited from?

The bill allows illegal aliens who are issued work permits to collect legally available welfare benefits. There is no prohibition in the bill to prevent illegal aliens holding a Utah work from claiming welfare benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps and WIC for their American born children and for themselves when permitted by law. Thus, employers will continue to shift these costs to the taxpayers.

Nothing prevents this now. Shouldn’t we allow them to work so maybe this won’t be the case?

This bill discriminates against legal immigrants who played by the rules to pay the price in order to come to the United States legally. It also shortchanges all who obey and respect our laws by waiting their turn to legally immigrate to the United States. In addition, the work permit is only available to illegal aliens. Foreign nationals currently in the United States legally on temporary visas are not eligible for the work permit!

How does this “shortchange” those who come legally. Legal immigration does not depend on how many illegal immigrants we have or don’t have. If everyone who came here illegally waited for legal entry there would not be a higher number of visas available. This argument does nothing to address the crisis illegal immigrants face or the desperation that caused them to come here to begin with.

Summarizing the remaining arguments: They violate U.S. Law.

Some of this is true, thought I think it’s constitutionality is up for debate. That said, our state has passed a number of “statement” laws that challenge federal authority and I have been against each one because they were silly. Here, finally, is a good bill that makes a great statement; and it also paves the way for a federal law that could mirror Utah’s example. If the law is changed, then everyone will be abiding by “the Rule of Law,” a popular statement flung around in our state.



About Joseph

I live in Heber City, Utah with my wife and family. View all posts by Joseph

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