House leader urges lawsuit on Utah immigration law

SALT LAKE CITY — The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee wants the Justice Department to sue Utah over its immigrant guest worker program.

Republican Lamar Smith, of Texas, says in a letter Monday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that Utah is usurping federal authority to regulate immigration.

The guest worker provisions in Utah’s immigration reform package would allow illegal immigrants to live and work in the state. Gov. Gary Herbert signed it in March, but it won’t take effect for two years.

Smith says Utah is violating the same constitutional principles that Holder used to justify a lawsuit against an Arizona immigration law last year.

In Utah, spokesman Paul Murphy says state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has been meeting with federal officials to avert a lawsuit while a federal waiver is pursued.


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