Tuesday, November 22, 2011

U.S. Department Of Justice Sues Utah To Block Implementation Of HB 497 Immigration Enforcement Law; May Be Intended To Boost The Hispanic Vote For Obama

On November 22nd, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City to block implementation of HB497, the tough immigration enforcement law modeled somewhat after Arizona's SB1070. Arizona, Alabama, and South Carolina have also been targeted by the DOJ in similar suits, and they're contemplating suits against Indiana and Georgia as well.

Specifically, the lawsuit challenges three sections of HB497 that require law enforcement to verify the legal status of those arrested for class A misdemeanors or felonies, allow the warrantless arrest of those suspected of being in the country illegally, and make it a crime to harbor or transport undocumented immigrants. KSL news video embedded below:

Read the 31-page DOJ complaint HERE.


-- Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said that Utah had made enough changes in HB497 to satisfy DOJ's concern about replicating the awkward portion of Arizona's law. He believes he can successfully defend it and have it held constitutional. Through his spokeswoman, Gov. Gary Herbert also expressed confidence that it will withstand scrutiny.

-- Utah State Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R-Orem), who sponsored HB497, is disappointed that the DOJ proceeded with the lawsuit after their attorneys indicated during face-to-face meetings that they believed Utah’s law was more prudent than measures passed by other states. But Sandstrom indicated he's also open to the possibility of more changes to satisfy the Feds.

-- Ron Mortensen, co-founder of the Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration, said "It doesn't look like the Utah Compact and HB116 bought off the Obama administration", while on the other side, Tony Yapias, director of Proyecto Latino de Utah, lauded the DOJ's decision to intervene, noting that the DOJ is sending a message to all the states that immigration is a federal issue and therefore unconstitutional.

Ironically, the DOJ is not suing Utah over HB116, although some maintain it constitutes a de facto foreign alliance between Utah and the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. Furthermore, there's no evidence that the DOJ is preparing to sue Vermont for having declared itself a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants, meaning Vermont would actually obstruct the immigration enforcement capability of the Feds in that state.

Occidental Dissent speculates that the real reason for this suit is to boost the Hispanic turnout for Barack Obama in 2012, since Obama has more or less kissed off the White vote:

The Obama administration needs to boost Hispanic turnout in 2012 to win Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico. Thus, in order for Obama to win reelection by impressing Hispanic voters who are disappointed by his failure to secure “comprehensive immigration reform” with his Democratic majority in Congress, it was necessary for Eric “My People” Holder to sue Red States like Arizona, Utah, Alabama, and South Carolina.

By the way, Alabama's tough immigration law's already had one tangible beneficial effect: The unemployment rate in Marshall County, which was a known hotbed for illegal immigrant labor, was 8.1 percent for October, down from 8.8 percent in September and 10 percent in June, when the immigration law was signed. Poultry plants in the county have rapidly replaced illegal workers with legal ones to do the jobs that we are endlessly told Americans just won’t do.

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