Opposition to HB 116 (Utah Immigration Accountability and Enforcement Amendments) continued at the Capitol yesterday as approximately 100 Republican State Delegates and concerned citizens gathered for the second time this week to ask Governor Herbert to veto this bill.
“The public does not know what’s in this bill,” said Brandon Beckham, event organizer. HB116 contains a state-sponsored guest worker program for illegal immigrants that would distribute an unlimited number of guest worker cards to illegal immigrants and immediate and extended family members, in unlimited job sectors. The bill violates federal law and state law; it also violates the Republican Party Platform. It would make Utah the biggest sanctuary state in the nation. HB116 was rushed through the Legislature in only 3 days.
Delegates came to the Capitol yesterday to deliver veto request letters to the governor, to praise or scold their legislators for their votes on this bill, and to hold a press conference. Beckham said that he placed on the governor’s desk a six-inch stack of letters from delegates unable to attend in person.
At the press conference, Beckham called on Governor Herbert to veto HB116, noting that the delegates who came to the Capitol Tuesday to call for a veto represent approximately 30,000 voters. Beckham told the crowd, “We reject this bill as anything close to responsible legislation,” calling it an “embarrassment” to Utah and calling attempts to label the bill as beneficial nothing more than “a fairy tale”.
“We are a state that embraces the rule of law,” Beckham said, adding that Republican delegates respect and have supported Governor Herbert in the past, but that “today we cannot support the governor if he signs this bill.” Beckham also took Governor Herbert to task regarding Herbert’s Six Guiding Principles on immigration, noting that HB116 contains violations to all six of Herbert’s principles.
Co-organizer Arturo Morales-Llan told the crowd, “The people of Utah do not want this bill.” He emphasized that this bill will harm more than 106,000 Utahns who are looking for work, as well as the self-employed and small businesses who cannot compete with businesses that hire illegal immigrants. Morales-Llan also stated that Utah needs an Attorney General who will enforce the laws of our state, not someone who goes “parading” around the country selling the Utah Compact, in reference to Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s recent trip to Washington, D.C. This remark garnered thunderous applause. Referring to the delegates, Morales-Llan said that none are against immigration or against any color or race; they just want immigrants to come to our country legally.
A state-wide “Veto HB 116” online petition was posted Wednesday, which includes a list of 13 specific objections to this bill. The petition was initiated to give all Utahns the opportunity ask the governor to veto HB116. Within 24 hours of its posting, the petition had logged approximately 1,100 signatures. Morales-Llan printed a 1-inch thick booklet containing these signatures for presentation to Governor Herbert at yesterday’s event. At the time this article was posted, there were 3,076 signatures (and counting). The goal is to receive far more signatures than the Utah Compact has ever received (estimated at 4,000 signatures).
Please sign the petition and pass the link along to friends, family and neighbors. Let Governor Herbert, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and the Utah Legislature hear your voice loud and clear – tell them to VETO HB116!