There are 4 bills that the Governor signed as the "Utah Solution". One that provides enforcement HB 497, one that provides for migrant workers HB 466, one that provides sponsoring HB 469, and one that provides a guest worker permit HB 116. Both HB 469 and HB 116 have a similar constitutional warning.
The Resolution that passed in Washington County dealt with HB 116 and the GOP Platform. The Resolution being considered on Saturday not only deals with that, but it deals with the constitutional nature of HB 116 as a state power.
HB 469 is a key to the question. Most, if not all, conservative legislative members voted for HB 469. Several of these members did not vote for HB 116. The reasons for the votes against HB 116 vary, as do the reasons for those that voted for HB 116.
HB 469 raises the same question, under the US Constitution is Immigration an enumerated power? Obviously not, if you read the current Deseret News Editorial.
If the Resolution on Saturday fails, it may be that a very few conservative activists care more about censuring the Utah Legislature over trying to find an answer to immigration. The Resolution on Saturday fatally questions the oath of office of its own legislative co-sponsors.
A Deseret News column misses this point.
Is HB 116 flawed? Yes. Is HB 116 unconstitutional? No. Is that understood by many conservatives? Yes.
I voted against HB 116, not because I want to ignore those here and just assume they will leave without another option.
I defended a US Congressional candidate and member for years that supported some form of a guest worker bill when he ran, as long as it didn't provide a pathway to US Citizenship prior to those legally waiting outside the US. I believe the sponsorship HB 469 is a better answer to the guest worker HB 116. Others may and do disagree.
I felt that HB 116 sends the wrong message. If we are going to have a line for people to come to this country, you can’t reward those who bypass the line. They need to be sent to the back of the line. That doesn’t mean you should stop treating them like people.
If the current wording of the HB 116 Repeal Resolution is not amended, I will be voting against the resolution, as I have done twice before.
I voted against HB 116, but I voted for HB 469. It is my opinion that in so doing, I can't then say HB 116 is unconstitutional. I will also not condemn my colleagues for voting for HB 116.
. The answer to the current situation is complex and many differ in how to solve it.
Vote to replace HB 116 with something better or Vote to amend HB 116 with improvements, but don't condemn those in the Legislature that were faced with voting for it or not.
Fred C. Cox is a member of the Utah House of Representatives, serving from West Valley City.