Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Utah State Rep. Stephen Sandstrom To Move Ahead With Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act Despite Utah Compact And LDS Statement Of Support

Although Utah State Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R-Orem) now says he agrees more than disagrees with the recently-released Utah Compact statement on immigration, he plans to move ahead with his legislation that would require police to ask about immigration status of anyone they stop if they have reasonable suspicion the person is in the country illegally. "I think my bill is a measured approach and I don't see any reason why it couldn't fit within the context of what the compact is trying to get at," Sandstrom said.

The Utah Compact statement has been criticized by the Utah Minuteman Project because of suspected duplicity by its architects and for failure to explicitly distinguish between legal and illegal immigration. The support statement issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was initially interpreted by Sandstrom, who is LDS, as part of a pre-emptive strike against his bill, and some have characterized it as being inconsistent with the Church's Twelfth Article of Faith, which states "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law". Some people view illegal immigration as merely "civil trespass" rather than a criminal violation.

The 12-page bill has been tentatively entitled the "Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act". If passed during the upcoming legislative session, it would take effect on July 1st, 2011. Here are the highlighted provisions from the bill:

-- Requires that an officer verify the immigration status of a detained or arrested person upon reasonable suspicion the person is an illegal alien, and provides enforcement exceptions.
-- Clarifies when passengers in a vehicle where the operator has been detained may also be questioned and their immigration status verified.
-- Requires that a law enforcement officer may not consider race, color, or national origin except as permitted by Utah and United States constitutions.
-- States grounds for a presumption of a person's lawful presence in the United States.
-- Provides for transportation of an illegal alien to federal custody by a state or local law enforcement officer.
-- Provides that a state or local agency may not limit, by any means, the authority of any law enforcement or other governmental agency to assist the federal government in the enforcement of any federal immigration law, including the federal requirement to register as an alien or possess an alien registration document.
-- Provides that any state or local governmental agency is not restricted in sending, receiving, or maintaining immigration status information of any person in carrying out the agency's lawful purposes.
-- Requires verification of immigration status regarding application for public services, benefits, or licenses provided by a state or local governmental agency.
-- Provides that this bill does not implement or authorize the federal REAL ID Act to any extent not currently provided by state law.
-- Provides that a legal resident may bring action against an agency that limits enforcement of federal immigration laws and imposes financial penalties for violation.
-- Provides that penalties imposed on the agencies be directed to the multi-agency strike force that deals with crime associated with illegal immigration and human trafficking.
-- Provides criminal penalties for willful failure to complete required alien registration documents or failure to carry an alien registration document as required by federal law.
-- Amends the current state law prohibiting transporting or harboring illegal aliens by removing the limitation to transportation of the alien for a distance greater than 100 miles.
-- Amends peace officer arrest authority to include making an arrest when the officer has reasonable cause to believe the person is an alien:
---- Subject to an immigration removal order
---- Regarding whom a detainer warrant has been issued who has committed or been charged with a felony in another state.

Rep. Sandstrom will be hooking up with Sen. Dennis Stowell (R-Parowan) and Reps. Carl Wimmer (R-Herriman) and Chris Herrod (R-Provo) at an immigration forum scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday November 20th at the Gardner Center on the campus of Dixie State College, 225 S. 700 East in St. George. The forum will be hosted by the local Citizens’ Council on Illegal Immigration, and will include discussion on possible immigration legislation that the legislature could consider in its upcoming session. All of these lawmakers are stalwart advocates of immigration enforcement.

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