HB 7 helps undocumented workers

Editor:

On Feb. 6, Burkhalter, Dalton and Hall gave their version of what happened in the Legislature meeting on HB 7 (“Legislature needs to listen to students on HB 7”). I was there, and would like to explain what I saw and heard.

It is not true that public comment wasn’t heard at the hearing. The chairwoman of the committee passed around a roll and instructed people to sign their name and state if they were for or against HB 7. Also, she asked for a standing vote from the visitors. Since this was the third hearing on the bill, she felt that other public comment should have taken place in the two prior hearings.

Dr. Kris Kobach, former chief adviser on immigration matters to Attorney General John Ashcroft, spoke on behalf of HB 7. He pointed out that these students, regardless of their level of education, will still be illegal when it comes to applying for work in the United States. If they want to work right away, they will have to commit identity theft with false papers, and their employers will commit federal crime by hiring someone without legal status.

Also according to federal law, because they will have spent more than three years in the United States illegally after they turn 18 and most likely weren’t born before 1972, their college education will not give them legal status to work. They will have to spend a minimum of 10 years in their country of origin before applying for legal status.

Texas and California have both run into this problem. The Wall Street Journal reported in May 2005 that students in this situation graduating from California’s universities are unable to find employment.

In Kobach’s words, the current law that HB 7 would repeal “is leading these aliens down a dead-end road.” The current law, HB 144, does more harm for these students than good.

Let’s support HB 7 instead of telling these students to stay here for school, even though they will have to leave the United States for 10 years to become legal workers.

Is Utah really on the side of HB 144? A poll by The Salt Lake Tribune, KUER and KUED said 55.8 percent support HB 7.

This is a heart-wrenching issue. But let’s not do these students a disservice by doing more harm than good. Let’s support HB 7.

J.D. BownsJunior, Business/Communication