Thanks to Jim for sending me a link to an NPR piece on how Utah has taken a pragmatic and more humane approach to immigration than Arizona, Jon Hubbard, Steve Womack and similar.
If you were to choose a state that would allow illegal immigrants to work and drive without fear of deportation, you probably wouldn't pick Utah.
Last Wednesday, Utah's Gov. Gary R. Herbert signed a package of immigration bills. One is an enforcement law, milder than Arizona's, but still opposed by liberal immigration advocates. Another is a guest-worker bill, which is opposed by some conservatives as amnesty.
State Rep. Bill Wright, who wrote part of the law, says he was just trying to deal with the reality that there are 11 million illegal immigrants in America, and they are never going to be deported.
"I'm of the opinion that we really don't have the ability as a society to remove that large a portion of a segment from our society — either the cost, or just the damage it would do," Wright says.
"A lot of these people are intertwined in our society. They have financial obligations: they have bank notes; they've bought houses; they contribute; they have jobs," he says.
Operating from that premise, Wright's guest worker permit law says that if you pay a fine, have no criminal record and are working, you can stay in Utah.