Once again, our politicians have made the wrong move and sent the wrong message. Last Wednesday, Senate Bill 81 went into effect, creating what some have described as fear and confusion.
There are three main downfalls to this bill. 1) Sheriffs can (and likely will) begin to act like immigration agents. 2) Any public employer will be required to verify the immigration status of every employee through a federal data bank called “E-Verify,” and 3) Class A misdemeanors will be given to anyone who knowingly transports an “illegal alien.” Suddenly, driving your “illegal” grandmother to Church on Sunday is a crime.
Talks about this bill began to surge after a Mormon missionary was arrested for being an undocumented immigrant in April. Of course the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is maintaining its neutrality on this issue. If it was so easy for the church to put money and effort into opposing gay marriage, then how is it that they cannot completely reject legislation that adversely affects some of their own members?
You need not look farther than Oklahoma, the state which we copied this bill from, to realize that a bill such as SB 81, in terms of business, is a buzz kill. Many immigrants both legal and illegal have begun to leave the state according to many sources. UVU students who happen to be undocumented will now have to worry about a police officer questioning their legal status.
Fortunately, not all police officers agree. In fact most local authorities have already spoken out against SB 81 claiming that their job descriptions are only to serve and protect, regardless of status. Yes, there are groups trying to undertake the vast quandary that has become what we call immigration reform. Yet, many are still waiting to see how the struggle unravels in Okla. first, where the bill has been challenged. Since both states are in the tenth circuit court of appeals, Utah and Oklahoma share the same fate when it comes to this issue.
Where are the marches you ask? I’m curious myself. Do you recall the immigration movements a couple years ago? UVU must its her voice just as any important local University should. President Sederburg was always quick to show support for UVU students. With our new president in place, I’m worried along with many others that immigration issues will either be ignored or addressed incorrectly. Let’s hope this will not be the case. For those who are being affected, don’t lose hope.
The Dream Act will be proposed once again and this time we cannot fail. In the meantime, inform yourselves and let new UVU President Holland know your concerns. Even if you are undocumented, learn your rights, stay attentive for rallies and support groups most likely in the Salt Lake City area.