Written by: Kristine Pratt
One of the most hotly contested issue for the upcoming 2011 Legislative session that is already drawing major attention across the state and the country is immigration. Rep. Stephen Sandstrom has already proposed an Arizona-type bill with two months to go. But more recently a group of some of Utah's influential current and former political leaders, religious leaders, and members of the community signed the Utah Compact that deals with immigration. Marty Carpenter of the Salt Lake Chamber, and Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey go On the Record to talk about their position regarding the Compact.
The Utah Compact is a list of five principles that deals with illegal immigration. It's "almost a checklist of various areas of legislation that might come forward," Carpenter says.
Godfrey agrees that it has necessary and a very good idea. "I think we leaders need to step out and establish a framework. We've been reliant on the labor of undocumented workers for many many years. To believe that we can dismiss that element is unfounded."
Part of the fear and anger that many hold towards illegal aliens is the belief that they don't pay taxes. But Carpenter says that is a common misconception. In fact, they do pay taxes just as actual American citizens do.
So if Utah was to adopt an Arizona-style law, what we need to look at the impact it has had on that state. Though it's hard to measure exactly how much the law has effected their economy, "but it hasn't contributed positively," Godfrey says.
However, in Utah, there is such a large Hispanic population that contributes to everyday life. Since Godfrey took office 14 years ago, the population has nearly doubled from 13% to 26%.