Congressman Urges Lawsuit on Utah Immigration Law

Josh Loftin, Seattle Pi, Aptil 20, 2011

The Texas congressman who heads the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has accused the Justice Department of being “hypocritical” for not pursuing legal action against a Utah law approving a guest worker program for illegal immigrants.

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said in a letter Monday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that the Utah law approving the program is unconstitutional, and called the department’s inaction a “stark contrast” to the federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona for a law “that merely complements and assists in the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

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The Utah law doesn’t take effect for two years, which state officials said was done specifically to avert a lawsuit. The state is seeking a federal waiver.

In his letter, Smith said the government’s inaction would reinforce the perception that it only opposes strict enforcement measures such as Arizona’s law.

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Smith said that if Obama’s administration “is serious about having a uniform immigration policy rather than a ‘patchwork’ of state immigration laws you profess to oppose, then the Administration needs to take action against the Utah law.”

A showdown with federal officials is the last thing Utah wants, the state’s Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said. He and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert have met with federal officials, including members of the Justice Department.

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“The people of the U.S. would be better served if the federal government used the time between now and 2013 to actually address immigration, rather than sue Utah for trying to manage the practical realities we face as states due to the absence of federal action,” Herbert said.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said the letter was being reviewed.

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Utah’s guest worker program was part of an immigration reform package signed into law March 15 by Utah’s governor. The package included an enforcement measure that was modeled on Arizona’s law that

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  • Anonymous

    For those too blind to see the bottom line between the lines, it’s patently obvious to this reader that Justice goes against AZ because they (feds) are pro-illegal immigrant, since everybody knows Obama and his gang want to give amnesty to untold millions of illegals, whereas with Utah, their new law apparantly will help out at least some of the illegals, so the administration is not going to bother with that, although the double standard here sticks out like a sore thumb!

  • Seneca the Younger

    Asking blacks or liberals to not be hypocritical? Mr. Smith you are joking right?

    This Texas rep has a great immigration history and I applaud him for this letter sent to Comrade Holder.

    I have a feeling nothing will be done, though.

  • Anonymous

    Why is Obama not in jail for treason?

  • SKIP

    Mormons seem to support ILLEGAL ALIENS, muslims and other anti American citizen activities. Really sad about that.