The legislation includes both a watered-down enforcement provision that police say won't make much difference and a guest-worker program that would make all the difference in the world - if it survives constitutional challenge - by granting legal status to undocumented workers and allowing them to live normal lives. In a nutshell, it's a one-state version of the overarching immigration reform package that Congress has repeatedly tried, and failed, to enact.The 'Utah Way' toward immigration reform ... "
The advocates' genius was to reframe the cause of immigration reform, including the guest-worker program, as fundamentally a conservative project. In the face of sound bites from reform opponents such as "What part of 'illegal' don't you understand?" Utah conservatives shot back with: What part of destroying the economy don't you understand? And by the way, what part of breaking up families don't you understand?
The question is whether Utah will inspire similar movements in other states or whether it will remain the exception. On that, the evidence is mixed. ...
Encouragingly, though, several conservative states have rejected Arizona-style bills this year. Reform advocates are at work on versions of the Utah Compact in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Washington, Idaho and Oregon.
The lesson from the "Utah Way" is that pragmatists in search of solutions can initiate a reform movement outside the legislature and build a case and a coalition that appeal to conservatives. By offering ideas that may provide a fix in the absence of federal action, they may trump the tired slogans of opponents of reform." Washington Post