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AG, Utah Businesses Talk Federal Immigration Reform

On the second anniversary of the state’s creation of the Utah Compact an agreement between local businesses and organizations that envisions a compassionate and economically positive solution to immigration reform, retiring Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff joined Utah business leaders this morning at the Salt Lake Chamber for a roundtable discussion on how Utah’s congressional delegation can push real immigration reform  on the federal level using the same principles espoused in the Utah’s compact.

Joining Shurtleff was Jonathan Johnson of Utah-based Overstock-dot-com, Stan Lockhart with Utah-based Micron Technology and Jeremy Robbins, Director at Partnership for a New American Economy, an advocacy group for immigration reforms like the DREAM Act. Micron’s Stan Lockhart says his company relies on the best and brightest engineers to compete in the global economy.

"It just is so nonsensical to bring people to this county to educate them," Robbins says."To give them these incredible skills, skills that really our universities are known for and so we give them all that education and then we ship them home and say create your own business there, compete with American business.”

Mark Shurtleff, a Republican, has been praised for staking out alternatives to hard-lined immigration reforms. He’s urging other’s in his party to take the same approach.

“We have an example now that those who were the anti-immigration shrillest voices all lost," Shurtleff says. "And those Republicans who stepped up for comprehensive reform in Utah all won. That’s a message that can go to every legislature in this country, every state legislature and it needs to go to congress.”

Utah’s guest worker program is set to begin this summer. Shurtleff says he is still in conversations with the federal government about how Utah can legally move forward with the program.

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