(KCPW News) Responding to concerns about the cost and resources it would take to enforce his anti-illegal immigration bill, Republican Representative Stephen Sandstrom unveiled major changes to it yesterday at the State Capitol. It still requires officers to verify the immigration status of anyone suspected of a Class A misdemeanor or felony, when there is “reasonable suspicion” the person is in the country illegally. But it makes that optional for lesser crimes. Sandstrom said the goal is to catch the criminal element of the illegal immigrant community.
“And quite frankly right now, if we take all the people’s names that have been here and they haven’t committed a felony, they are not a criminal re-entrant into the United States, or have not overstayed a visa, most likely ICE would not take custody of that person,” he said.
Sandstrom also noted the new bill more clearly defines what circumstances could make an officer suspicious:
“Not having a valid Utah driver’s license, not having a valid state ID, tribal card, and it lists the various types of identification that will be – if you don’t have those – the basis for reasonable suspicion,” said the lawmaker. “We’re not leaving the door wide open.”
Sandstrom denied that these changes amount to “watering down” his bill. He was joined by the Utah Minuteman Project at yesterday’s announcement.