‘Sane’ Immigration in Utah Applauded by Resort Industry

‘Sane’ Immigration in Utah Applauded by Resort Industry


The tourism industry in Utah was buoyed by the passage of a package of moderate immigration-related bills by the Utah State Legislature. These bills were passed March 4 or just before the session ended.

Bill Malone, the executive director of the Park City Chamber of Commerce, told OnTheSnow, “It’s encouraging to see the legislators take a holistic approach.”

Promoters of winter and summer tourist destinations had feared that passage of “Arizona-style” bills which take a hard line position on persons living in the United States that have no proper documentation.

In Utah, like in many other tourist states, such immigrants come searching for work and fill menial, though vital, positions at a lot of resorts, such as cleaning rooms. Enacting hard-line laws would also discourage out-of-state visitors, particularly those of Hispanic descent, from taking their vacations in the Beehive State.

Some legal observers dubbed the package that was enacted by the 2011 Utah session as sane. While the bills require police to examine the immigration status of anyone arrested on a serious misdemeanour or felony charge, it is less severe than the Arizona law.

It also proposes for undocumented foreigners to have a two-year guest worker permit, a migrant worker partnership with Mexico for needed labourers to be brought into the state, and sanctions on employers that hire illegal immigrants outside of these programs.

Nathan Rafferty, the head of the Ski Utah industry organization, also told OnTheSnow, “The biggest concern was tough legislation would be a turnoff for tourists.” He also added, “I think the legislators understood that, because it affects not only tourism but new business and business relocations.”