HB 497 Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act

The state of Utah has agreed to scrap key provisions of its controversial immigration enforcement law passed in 2011. The state Attorney General and the American Civil Liberties Union announced the settlement yesterday. Both sides agreed to accept the stipulations of a judge’s split ruling on the law made in June. Under the ruling, police will not be allowed to stop or detain an individual just to verify immigration status. It also eliminates a provision of the law that would have made it a state crime to harbor a person in the country illegally.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

A federal judge issued a split ruling Wednesday on HB 497, Utah's controversial immigration law. It upholds several measures but strikes down others in the legislation that was passed in 2011.

Andrea Smardon

Arguments over Utah’s immigration enforcement law were heard in US District Court Friday.  It was the first hearing on the law in about a year.  Judge Clark Waddoups was waiting to rule on the constitutionality of HB 497 until after the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on Arizona’s enforcement-only law. 

Cecillia Wang is Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants Rights Project, and a lawyer in the case against HB 497.  Standing outside the US District Court in Salt Lake City after the hearing, Wang said the tide is turning in their favor. 

The long drawn out legal challenge over Utah’s immigration enforcement law House Bill 497 is nearing its end.  US District Court Judge Clark Waddoups could rule on the so-called “show me your papers law” any day now.  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff gave an update at a meeting of the state’s Commission on Immigration and Migration Wednesday.

Dan Bammes

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on Arizona’s immigration law, but the implementation of Utah’s similar “show me your papers” legislation - HB 497 -  is still awaiting a federal court decision.  The law gives police officers authority to check suspects’ immigration status, but immigrant advocates say the US District Court in Utah needs to consider racial profiling arguments that were not heard by the Supreme Court.