When it became law in 2011, the Utah Compact was hailed as a national model for immigration reform, but three years later not much has changed for the lives of illegals in Utah, reports National Journal.
The 2011 state law still has not been enacted; to do so would require a waiver from the federal government. Undocumented immigrants in Utah, like everywhere in the U.S., still fear the idea of being exposed and possibly deported. “Utah was meant to be at the forefront of this, but until the feds change anything, these laws just give people false promises,” says Heidi A. Chamorro, a local law student who works closely with the undocumented community, particularly its youth. Or, as Jean Hill, the government liaison for the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City and an immigration-law expert, says more bleakly: “I don’t think we accomplished anything. It was just a big message bill.”
One by-product of the legislation has been an uptick in scams directed at the undocumented community in Utah, say immigration lawyers. “Even at the time, community leaders were concerned that the law would confuse people and lead to lots of misinformation,” Hill says. In hindsight, such scams seem inevitable, the ease of convincing already vulnerable people to pay money to obtain a useless worker’s permit (at least until the law is enacted) too tempting.