'Outing' illegal immigrants: Utah grapples with 'listgate'
The release of a list of 1,300 alleged illegal immigrants in Utah comes as the state debates a strict immigration law like its neighbor Arizona's.
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Governor Herbert’s two-hour meeting is intended to bring together both sides of a brewing battle on how Utah should address undocumented immigration.Skip to next paragraph
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On one side is Rep. Stephen Sandstrom who is pushing a bill similar to Arizona’s tough new law that allows law enforcement to verify the citizenship status of those they stop under suspicion of other crimes. On the other is Shurtleff, who wants to implement a state-sanctioned guest worker program with potential paths to citizenship.
Whether the summit can achieve anything is up for debate, as both sides seem to be approaching it cautiously.
“I hope this meeting can achieve a mutual understanding that neighbors reporting on neighbors illegally is not the kind of country we are – and that we can avoid the stumbles that Utah and Arizona have made and adopt a better immigration policy,” says Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel for The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
The meeting's length troubles Jonette Christian, founder of Mainers for Sensible Immigration Policy. "Immigration is complex, she says, "with enormous longterm ramifications to the country. A two hour discussion with 30 people? Four minutes each? That sounds like a blueprint for shallow slogans and soundbites – we've had enough of that already," says Ms. Christian.
But others remain optimistic that progress can emerge.
"Meetings of all interested parties is the only thing that will work,” says Barbara O’Connor, emeritus director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at California State University, Sacramento. “Clearer heads will prevail and they will police their own and stop the injustices from escalating.”
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