Utah HB 70 (Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act) passed out of the House 58-15 last week. I'm part of the small minority of Republicans who oppose this bill. I have read the bill in its entirety (including the recent changes) and here's why I'm opposed to HB 70:HB 70 Enforces Unconstitutional Federal Laws
"I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them. And that law of the land which is constitutional
, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me
." (D&C 98: 4-5 emphasis added
I believe in the rule of law. The U.S. Congress is limited in the laws they can make. Their authority is outlined in Article I
of the Constitution. Article I does not give Congress authority over immigration.
Many have misinterpreted this line
, "The Congress shall have power...To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization". Naturalization is defined
as "the process of assuming or being granted citizenship of a country, usually a country other than that of the person’s origin." The Constitution gives Congress authority over citizenship only, not immigration. "The powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." (Tenth Amendment
If this sounds crazy to you, you can look up the history of Federal immigration law
. The first Federal immigration law was passed in 1875, which means for our first 100 years Congress knew that they had no constitutional authority over immigration. (For a more detailed explanation of the history of Federal immigration law click here
)HB 70 Is Expensive
According to the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst this bill will cost the state government $305,600 in fiscal year 2012 and $260,100 in fiscal year 2013. They also estimate it will cost local governments about $100 per stop.HB 70 Is Invasive
HB 70 states that when a law enforcement officer makes a lawful stop and "has a reasonable suspicion that the person is an alien", the officer will then go through the steps to verify immigration status and even turn the person over to Homeland Security. I asked the bills sponsor, Stephen Sandstrom, what would constitute "reasonable suspicion". His reply was "if a person does not have ID, cannot identify themselves or give reasonable answers to who they are, or where they are from, you have reasonable suspicion to investigate."
What this bill effectively does, is make it necessary for everyone in Utah to carry a government issued ID
wherever they go. And since the bill states "A law enforcement officer may not consider race, color, or national origin in implementing this section" it means no one is exempt. For example, let's say an officer stops you for jaywalking, and you don't have an ID and you choose to exercise your right to remain silent. The officer can then bring you in to verify your legal status and then turn you over to Homeland Security.
If you happen to have ID, and the "officer has a reasonable suspicion that the document is false" then he can still bring you in. Vague laws are bad for liberty. They give too much power to police officers.
HB 70 Prevents Local Nullification
HB 70 forces local governments to pay for enforcement of this law and takes away local control of this issue. The bill states that no state or local agency can "limit or restrict...any law enforcement agency to investigate or enforce any" federal immigration law, which prevents nullification of this enforcement bill and federal immigration laws.