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 Utah and Illegals

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PostSubject: Utah and Illegals   3/22/2011, 10:32 am

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Utah bucks conservative trend on illegal immigration

A state effort to offer legal residency to many illegal immigrants is driven in part by the influence of the Mormon Church.

President Obama's aides were flabbergasted. Here was Mark Shurtleff, the conservative Republican attorney general of deeply red Utah, explaining how he and other GOP officials had approved a statewide version of the immigration measures that the president and his progressive allies have long sought.

"You sued us on healthcare," Shurtleff recalls the aides saying during his meeting in Washington this month. "How is it you did something differently on immigration?"

The answer lies in how Utah expresses its conservative values — particularly the importance placed on family and business — and the influence of the Mormon Church.

Gov. Gary Herbert last week signed a bill that would give illegal immigrants who do not commit serious crimes and are working in Utah documents that, in the state's eyes at least, make them legal residents. For the law to work, however, the Obama administration would have to permit Utah to make it legal to employ people who entered the United States illegally — a federal crime.

Meaty.
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