Last week, Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert signed a set of immigration bills. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of the LDS Church, was present at the signing, and expressed his approval: “Our presence here testifies to the fact that we’re appreciative of what has happened in the Legislature.”
The Most Rev. John Wester, Catholic Bishop of Salt Lake City, responded to the signing with praise for the legislators’ goodwill, but also concern for the new laws themselves:
I appreciate the sincere efforts of Governor Gary Herbert and some Legislators to adopt humane solutions in the face of the federal government’s failure to act on immigration reform. Each Legislator’s desire to do what he or she felt was right under the circumstances was clear throughout the debate. I particularly respect Governor Herbert’s decision to sign several immigration bills in the face of extreme opposition.
However, reasonable people of goodwill may differ on strategies for achieving common goals. The Diocese of Salt Lake City finds H.B. 497 Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act, H.B. 116 Utah Immigration Accountability and Enforcement Amendments, and H.B. 469 Immigration Related Amendments ill-advised. We have concerns about the practical effects of H.B. 466 Migrant Workers and Related Commission Amendments.
Was Bishop Burton praising the legislative process, like Rev. Wester did, or these particular fruits of the process? If the latter, what in particular is good about these new laws? If the former, what was good about this bit of politicking?
Below are links to the text of the four house bills, in case that is useful for anyone. I ask any commenters to please focus on this particular legislation, Bishop Burton’s response to it, and lessons Latter-day Saints should derive. Please do not leave more general remarks for or against immigration.
H.B. 497 Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act
(“This bill requires that an officer verify the immigration status of a person arrested for a felony or a class A misdemeanor and a person booked for class B or C misdemeanors and requires that an officer attempt to verify immigration status for a person detained for a class B or C misdemeanor.”)