This afternoon a group of about 90 Republican State Delegates and concerned citizens met with Governor Herbert in an attempt to sway him to veto HB116, a bill rushed through the legislature in just 3 days late last week that would offer state-sponsored work permits to illegal immigrants, in violation of federal law.
The meeting was organized by Brandon Beckham, a State Delegate who is opposed to the bill. Beckham said he posted on Facebook the idea that delegates should meet with the governor to ask him to veto HB116, and immediately his Facebook page, email and phone were inundated with delegates sending their support and requesting to join in. The entire meeting materialized with a little more than 24 hours notice.
Apparently the governor was surprised (and perhaps apprehensive) about the size of the crowd that waited for him in the capitol conference room. The governor’s staff asked Beckham to request that the media leave the room before the governor arrived.
When the governor arrived, Beckham and fellow organizers Arturo Morales-Llan and Kris Kimball handed the governor a petition signed by 80 State Delegates (see petition below). “We’re here because we don’t like this bill, HB116,” Beckham said. “We’re here to ask you to veto it.”
Beckham said he had spoken to about 200 delegates from around the state, and every one said they are opposed to the bill and the precincts they represent are opposed to the bill. He informed the governor that a poll had been initiated asking delegates about their support for HB116. Twenty percent of the state delegates had been polled, with 100% saying they did not support HB116, and 95% saying they would not reelect anyone who voted for HB116.
Beckham reminded the governor that the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel has stated “there is a high probability that a court would find that portions of this bill as unconstitutional because they are preempted by federal law as applied through the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution of the United States.” The costs of a court battle would place undue burden on Utah taxpayers. The bill also is in opposition to the Utah Republican Party Platform, he said.
Organizer Arturo Morales-Llan told the governor, “We are living in a time that is a tipping point.” The country will look to Utah for leadership, he said, and Utah should not lead the country in the wrong direction. People want enforcement.
The governor listened respectfully for the most part, but visibly bristled when it was suggested that special interests and a disrespect for the rule of law played a role in crafting HB116. However, he did express concerns about flaws in the process through which HB116 was passed, and wondered if there had been enough robust debate on the bill. Ultimately, the governor stated that the bill is not perfect, but it is better to do something than to do nothing when it comes to the issue of illegal immigration. “[People] don’t want us to do nothing,” he said.
Unfortunately, doing “something” can be considerably worse than doing “nothing”, and this is one of those cases.
Wrapping up the meeting, the governor said the bill should hit his desk this evening, and whether or not to sign it was going to be “a tough decision I’m going to have to make.”
Frankly, I don’t think it will be that tough of a decision; I think Governor Herbert’s mind is already made up. I am sorry to say I think he will sign the bill. I hope he will surprise me.
If Governor Herbert signs the bill, he will surely face political backlash from the delegates. Beckham told the Deseret News that going against the will of delegates would spell “political suicide” for Herbert.
“We won’t support the governor if he signs the bill. We won’t support him in an election. We won’t support him in a convention,” Beckham said.
March 8, 2011
Governor Gary Herbert
Utah State Capitol
350 North State Street, Ste. 200
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2220
Dear Governor Herbert:
Representing the majority of Utah GOP delegates, we strongly ask that you veto HB116.
As a historic number of states finally rush to implement existing Federal laws regarding immigration enforcement and push back on the United Nations liberal progressive call for unfettered borders, Utah’s legislature has angered all sides of the debate through its lack of clear communication and direction. Don’t let HB116 be the amnesty bill that destroys America’s borders.
For the following implicit reasons, which dovetail with GOP core principles, we ask that you swiftly veto 3S HB 116 Utah Immigration Accountability and Enforcement Amendments:
- According to the Legislative Review Note: “there is a high probability that a court would find that portions of HB116 unconstitutional because they are preempted by Federal law as applied through the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution of the United States”;
- Legalization of illegal immigrants currently in Utah as Guest Workers is in direct opposition to any sense of fairness to legal immigrants, Utah residents / U.S. citizens, or respect for the rule of law;
- The bill rewards illegal immigrants to the detriment of Utahns at an estimated cost of almost $500M annually, and at $50M to $85M annually for K-12 education (Sources: FAIR.org / Utah legislature);
- HB116 enables illegal aliens to come to Utah through May 10, 2011 to partake in pending work permit benefits;
- HB116 does not restrict previous illegal alien residents from returning to Utah to become guest workers;
- The bill delays effective immigration enforcement until 2013 (we need enforcement now);
- The bill’s fiscal note is internally inconsistent;
- The bill eliminates the current Public Employer Verification Requirements (SB 81);
- It enables more illegal immigrant students to qualify for in-state tuition in 2013 further violating the provision “If allowed under Federal law” predicated on the passage of the failed DREAM Act;
- The bill provides no accountability for employers who currently, or for the next two years, continue to employ illegal immigrants;
- HB116, by allowing status quo for two years, does nothing to reduce the Utah unemployment rate or put legal residents back into the workforce;
- While creating a seemingly consolatory Victims Recovery Fund, HB116 does virtually nothing to stem the increasing tide of identity theft in Utah;
- Lastly, HB116 violates 8 USC 1324 at the same time it adds those same provisions to Utah law; it is so inherently flawed that it cannot be fixed: “(2) It is unlawful for a person to: . . . (c) encourage or induce an alien to come to, enter, or reside in this state, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the aliens coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.”
Thank you for taking the time this week to meet with key GOP delegates to review this unconstitutional bill that fosters illegal immigration and incents illegal activity through provisions which blatantly disregard rule of law.
Governor Herbert, it is with strong regard for your trustful leadership that we are hopeful you will make the right decision for Utah. Please right the wrong due to decades of illegal immigration attrition at the hands of the federal government, state legislators, greedy employers and the unfortunate pawns—illegal immigrants, and make Utah a shining example of commonsense government through equitable enforcement and rule of law.
With sincere respect and faith on behalf of the GOP delegation you will see fit to veto HB116,
Brandon Beckham Arturo Morales-Llan Kris Kimball
(additional State Delegates signatures attached)