Utah Attorney General Unable to Effectively Defend Utah's Enforcement Law

By Ronald W. Mortensen on December 15, 2011

In early 2011, by an overwhelming vote of both houses, the Utah state legislature enacted an illegal immigration enforcement law (HB497) which has been described by its opponents as a "watered down version" of Arizona's SB1070. In spite of this, advocates for illegal aliens still filed suit to prevent it from taking effect.

Unfortunately for the legislature that passed the law, the governor who signed it, and the citizens who support it, HB497 is being defended by Utah's Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, who is an unwavering advocate for illegal aliens, an unabashed supporter of amnesty, and a key ally of the government of Mexico.

Shurtleff has established a long and extreme record of support for illegal aliens.

He has publicly promised them that he will not arrest them.

He has gone from condemning illegal alien-driven, employment-related child identity theft to arguing that it is not a serious matter, even though the victims suffer very real and serious harm.

And most recently he sat quietly by while Salt Lake City Chief of Police Chris Burbank excused illegal alien document fraud and joined prominent Utah radio talk show host Doug Wright in an outburst of laughter when people in the audience shouted out locations where fraudulent identities can be purchased.

In addition, Shurtleff is the leading advocate for the phony Utah Compact and for its legislative incarnation, HB116 (originally SB288). Like the Utah Compact, HB116 is designed solely to promote amnesty, to provide employers with a captive workforce, to relegate illegal aliens to virtual involuntary servitude, and to prevent the passage of strong enforcement legislation.

Shurtleff even pressured the Mormon Church to oppose the enactment of strong enforcement legislation.

Finally, Utah's Attorney General has a long history of supporting the government of Mexico's position on illegal immigration and other issues. In recognition of his "Working with federal, state and local leaders to come up with a sensible solution to the immigration problem," Shurtleff was given the Aztec Eagle, the highest decoration the Mexican government can award to a non-Mexican.

According to a press release issued by the Attorney General's office, the award ceremony was to be held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico City and followed by a private meeting at the president's home.

With Shutleff in charge of defending HB497, citizens of Utah who support the bill along with the 79 percent of Utah state Representatives and the 76 percent of Utah state Senators who voted for it, have good reason to be concerned that he will not be able to put their interests ahead of the interests of illegal aliens and the interests of the government of Mexico.

Given his disdain for immigration enforcement and his close links to Mexico, which has filed an amicus brief supporting the challenge to HB497, Shurtleff should stop pretending to defend HB497 and turn its defense over to someone who does not have a conflict of interest. Failing that, state legislators should get their own legal counsel in order to defend both their and their constituent's interests.