Controversial immigration bill passes Utah House; Senate next

Reported by: Chris Vanocur

Published: 12:59 pm Updated: 2:12 pm

How Utah representatives voted on HB 70 ... L_VOTE.pdf

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Utah House Bill 70, a controversial proposal that allows local police officers to check individual immigrant status passed by a 58-15 vote on Friday.

The bill will now go to the Utah Senate for a vote.

HB70 was sponsored by Utah County Representative Steven Sandstrom, and was hotly debated during Friday's House proceedings.

Several legislators made arguments for and against the bill. An amendment that would allow for immigrant sponsorship was also defeated during the debate.

Sandstrom's bill has been the topic of intense debate since a similar bill became law in Arizona last year.

Sandstrom has contended that his bill is not a carbon copy of Arizona's law, parts of which have since been put on hold by federal injunction. Sandstrom has made changes to his original proposal, saying police "may" check immigrant status, rather than "shall" check.

Some legislators brought up the Utah Compact during the HB70 debate. The compact calls for a compassionate approach to illegal immigration in Utah.

HB70's future in the Utah Senate is not a sure thing. Some lawmakers say there are quite a few obstacles that need to be hurdled in order to get the bill to Governor Herbert for signing.

Whatever the outcome, the debate over what to do about illegal immigration in Utah will certainly continue to create controversy and flare passions. Sandstrom reported earlier in the legislative session that he has received threats of violence and that his home has been vandalized because of his tough stance on immigration. Those threats and alleged vandalism are being investigated by police.

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