Utah Immigration Laws Spark Feud

Thursday, 28 Apr 2011 04:26 PM

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A Utah entrepreneur who helped lay the behind-the-scene groundwork for the passage of recent set of immigration laws that included a guest worker provision is defending the law, which some conservatives have criticized roundly, the Deseret News reported Thursday.

Paul Ahlstrom, co-founder of eSpring Capital, said the law has been largely misunderstood. He gets angry when others distort the bill by saying it will bring more foreign-born workers to the state to displace local workers.

Ahlstrom told the newspaper that a key piece of the law is the creation of a commission to study the economic, legal, cultural and educational impact of illegal immigration on Utah. The panel also will draft a plan to address the use of migrant workers and integration of immigrants.

"Rather than say here's a solution, here's a way to get to the right answers,” said Ahlstrom, who has worked in Mexico for two years running a venture capital firm.

"I've been watching the immigration debate, but I've been watching it from the other side of the border," he said. "We're missing it on many levels."

He added: "I believe the best immigration policy for Utah and the United States is building the Mexican economy," Ahlstrom said. "It's the most humanitarian way to do it."

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