SALT LAKE CITY -- The bill looking to push back the start date for Utah's guest worker program for illegal immigrants in the state to 2017 has cleared a Senate committee.
On Monday, the Senate Business and Labor Committee unanimously approved S.B. 203, which is sponsored by Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo. Bramble said the legislation comes at the request of the state tax commission, which is asking Utah to move back the implementation date of both the guest worker program and the sponsor an immigrant program that were both approved by the legislature in 2011.
Bramble told the committee that the main purpose of the 2011 bills was to send a message to Congress that there is a way to deal with the undocumented immigrants that already live within the country and indicated that it wasn't necessarily the legislature's intent to ever have the programs implemented.
For Utah to move forward with the programs, the state would need a waiver from the federal government as the U.S. Constitution clearly gives the power to deal with immigration to the federal government and not the states. Bramble said if a waiver was not given to the state for these programs by 2017, the programs should be eliminated.
"If we don't get a waiver by that date, I would suggest those bills be repealed," Bramble said.
Jean Hill, government liaison for the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, testified in support of the legislation but said she is hoping to see the programs eventually eliminated.
Hill explained that scams are surfacing among the immigration population that are related to these programs and that having them repealed would hopefully put an end to the scamming taking place.
The bill now moves forward to be considered on the Senate floor. It was placed on the Senate's consent calendar to speed up its journey through the upper chamber.