Salt Lake Chamber

The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is arguably (and self-proclained) the largest and most influential chamber in the State if Utah.

The Salt Lake Chamber is known officially as Utah’s Business Leader.  We achieve a positive economic climate through our services to members and business advocacy for the broader good. While we are the optimal platform for networking, advocacy, and the interchange of ideas within the commercial world, we also work for the common good through the integration of businesses into the larger framework of life in our state.

Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah, so it follows that the Salt Lake Chamber serves as a capital city chamber. Just like the capital city functions as the center of commerce, seat of government and transportation hub for the entire state, the Salt Lake Chamber reaches statewide to support a thriving business environment. We represent fully one third of all the jobs in Utah and have roughly 6,100 members spread over all 29 Utah counties, 10 states and Washington, D.C. “

In 2008, the Chamber promoted a resolution for a federal solution (amnesty), and late in the year presented a plan to protect the illegal worker in Utah:

"This plan will allow for Utahns to deal with this population in a fair manner by giving each undocumented immigrant an opportunity to be classified as a guest worker and receive a two-year immigration benefit that has the possibility of being renewed."

Some other excerpts:

"Utah Employer Sponsored Work Program: This program will provide a two-year, renewable guest worker authorization for foreign workers and undocumented immigrants currently residing in the State of Utah."

"First, a federal waiver is needed to implement an Employer Sponsored Work Program and the authority to grant temporary work permits to undocumented persons."

"This plan will allow for Utahns to deal with this population in a fair manner by giving each undocumented immigrant an opportunity to be classified as a guest worker and receive a two-year immigration benefit that has the possibility of being renewed."

The proposal failed to gain any acceptance, but the intent was clear - AMNESTY!

********        ***********         ***********

 The SL Chamber follows a similar AMNESTY policy of the US Chamber of Commerce:

Policy Priorities for 2010

 "Comprehensive Immigration Reform

  • Continue pursuing comprehensive immigration reform to better secure our borders; improve electronic employment verification systems for determining whether an employee is authorized to work in the United States; create a new future flow program so that employers can hire immigrant workers when U.S. workers are not available; and provide, under certain strict qualification criteria, a reasonable pathway to legal status for undocumented workers currently in the United States."


On the opposite side of the issue, CIS reports a Zogby poll indicating businesses disagree with the Chamber:

"When asked to choose between enforcement that would cause illegal immigrants in the country to go home or offering them a pathway to citizenship with conditions, most members of the business community and unions choose enforcement.

  • Executives (e.g. CEOs, CFOs, VPs etc.): 59 percent support enforcement to encourage illegals to go home; 30 percent support conditional legalization.
  • Small Business Owners: 67 percent support enforcement; 22 percent support conditional legalization.
  • Union Households: 58 percent support enforcement; 28 percent support conditional legalization." 

The CIS Report continues: "It is important to note that the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which is by far the largest organization representing small businesses, has not endorsed this position and, in fact, endorsed legislation that would have increased immigration enforcement efforts. Part of the reason for this is that NFIB, unlike other business associations, surveys its members and asks them what positions they should take on controversial subjects. NFIB’s surveys show strong support for immigration enforcement and strong opposition to legalization, which explains its position on immigration. The Zogby poll confirms this finding, with small business owners wanting enforcement, not legalization." 

The Current Chamber Proposal
In 2009/10, a modified immigration statement was added to the website (*comments added*): 

"Our federal government has failed to secure our national borders and support our economy through comprehensive immigration reform(*which generally refers to amnesty for all current illegal aliens*). In the absence of federal action, leading states are forced to enact policies that serve the public interest. (*including Arizona's recent enforcement style law*) Until we have a federal solution (*Amnesty*), we recommend a three-pronged strategy that will advantage Utah: 


1) Demand federal action – Insist upon urgent federal action to increase the number of employment-based visas and secure our national borders.  **Continue to flood the unskilled labor market with cheap legal/illegal foreign labor in order to suppress wages even more.  Cheap foreign labor is the next best thing to indentured servitude, which is unconstitutional, and we wish we could go back to that.*  


2) Crack down on serious crime and other abuses – Deport individuals who commit serious crimes, pose a threat to public health or fail to contribute to a better community. **Even Chief Burbank and Attorney General Shurtluff agrees with this. **

3) Protect economic interests – Enact an employer-sponsored work program with protective requirements. **Protect this "economic interest" to create wealth for cheap labor employers at the expense of legal unskilled workers and the taxpayers.** 


Our Vision

Utah has a long-standing reputation as a welcoming, family-oriented and international state. We hosted the world in 2002 and showed the greatness of our people and our ability to excel. Today we face an economic (**what about current UNemployment?**) and civic imperative to pass immigration legislation that builds upon this legacy of internationalism, good will, strong families and human progress. We support innovative state immigration reform legislation that responds to public concerns about our public safety and welcomes well-intentioned, hard-working, community-enhancing immigrants who contribute to our economy. **How many good "family-oriented" immigrants should we take, one million, ten million, 30 million.....?**

Our Strategy

We support a three-pronged (Amnesty) strategy: 

#1 Demand federal action

The U.S. Congress has let us down (but has provided cheap labor so far). We must redouble our advocacy efforts to achieve an increase in the number of employment-based (to at least 10 million a year or more) visas and secure our national borders. We support efforts to substantially increase the number of border patrol personnel, to enhance border surveillance, and to enact security safeguards vital to our homeland security.(but we may still need illegal aliens to work "under the table" and below minimum wage) We will actively lobby and speak out on the need for comprehensive federal immigration reform (Commonly referred to as Amnesty).

#2 Crack down on serious crime and other abuses

We support enforcement efforts to deport (Its less expensive than keeping them in our own prisons) undocumented individuals (illegal Aliens) who commit serious crimes, pose a threat to public health or fail to contribute to a better community. We favor provisions that impose strict criminal penalties on illegal immigrants(they are Illegal and not "undocumented when they are bad) who participate in gang activities and felony crimes. Provisions should include increased penalties, increased bond amounts(what bonds?), and expedited deportation.   

#3 Protect our(Cheap labor employer) economic interests

We support enactment of an employer-sponsored work program. This program will provide a two-year, renewable (unless anchor babies are born to them and then no time limit?) guest worker authorization for undocumented workers currently residing in Utah who agree to abide by the requirements of the program.  Residency requirements and vigorous enforcement (who pays for that?) will prevent undocumented individuals from outside the state from being attracted to Utah. We can't even do this now! The program includes these protective requirements:

Qualified positions

Whenever feasible, Utah’s law will utilize the existing federal framework to avoid unnecessary duplication and additional costs.  We propose that current federal notice requirements and regulations be applied to the Utah Employer-Sponsored Work Program.(Why not just follow current federal law?)  Enrolled workers can only fill jobs that cannot be filled by citizens(that require a minimal wage). Immigrant students attending institutions of higher education in Utah who find gainful employment in Utah in qualified positions would also be eligible as guest workers under this program. **Since they plan on never leaving the country legal aliens students could get jobs in competition with our own teenagers and college students.**

Qualified individuals

The Utah Employer-Sponsored Work Program would require that potential workers meet the following criteria as administered by the State of Utah, under the oversight of the governor’s office. So now the taxpayers are expected to pay for to pay for this.

  • Registration as a worker:  Applicants must register by providing relevant contact data to the State of Utah.  This data must be updated if any changes are made.  Failure to properly update this information will be grounds for revocation of worker status. (Then they become just another illegal alien that no one is responsible for)
  • Background check:  Applicants must submit to a criminal background check. If individuals have a criminal history that includes any felony or other serious criminal behavior, that individual will not be eligible for this program. 
  • Medical exam/health check:  Applicants must undergo a health examination to screen for communicable diseases. This is the same examination currently required for federal permanent residence status.  
  • 10% withholding:  Applicant must agree to have 10% of their earnings withheld as a guarantee to uphold their contract with the state. This withholding will be taken out by the Utah State Tax Commission and invested in an interest bearing trust fund. This withholding will be available to guest workers after they complete their permit. (what about taxes?) 
  • Health insurance:  All guest workers (Doesn't say anything about their families, so do we assume that the taxpayers will pay Medicaid for them?) must be enrolled in a health insurance program that provides essential and basic health care.  Employers may facilitate an applicant’s meeting this requirement by providing insurance for the employee. 
  • Other Costs: All other costs such as: K-12 education for their children, incarceration, damage caused to others, welfare, etc. will be borne by the citizens and taxpayers, because the employers are not to be held responsible.
  • Children:  All children born to these workers will become citizens.  Once there is one child or more these workers they will never have to leave even if they fail to meet the requirements of the permit.
  • Limits: There is no limit to the numbers as long as there is $7.25 per hour job available.

Auto insurance:  Applicants must show proof of valid, no-fault auto insurance.  Expired insurance will be grounds for revocation of guest worker status.

Chamber on Everify
(50% compliance, at best)
The SL Chamber leadership has consistently worked against legislation designed to stem the numbers of illegal aliens in the state of Utah.

With legislation requiring the use of Everify,  they DID offer training to members at various location in the State:

E-Verify System Training

"The Salt Lake Chamber invites you to attend a free training for the E-Verify system. E-Verify is used by the Department of Homeland Security to verify the legal working status of new hires. In 2008 the Utah legislature passed a law that requires all employers who contract with the state to use this system after July 1, 2009. The E-Verify system is a free verification system available to all employers. 

Attendees will be instructed by a representative from the Department of Homeland Security as to the proper use of the E-Verify program. A live demonstration of the E-Verify system and a question and answer segment will provide participants an opportunity to fully understand the system.

A representative from the US Department of Justice will provide an overview of verification procedures and discuss employer discrimination based on the basis of citizenship and nationality. 

The law firm of Durham Jones & Pinegar is the sponsor of this event and has generously agreed to remain at the Chamber after the conclusion of the training to answer questions about the training and other immigration- and employment-related issues. 

Join Us: Tuesday, November 11, 2008  1-4 pm"

The effectivity of the training and the  call for compliance with the law seems to have been less than overwhelmingly successful. The Chamber website currently lists 272 Companies in their upper echelon membership levels. From the Oct 2010 list of Everify registrants in Utah, 107 are found with a registration (MOU) date, 137 were NOT found,  about 40 may be covered by the national company.  This is about a 35% confirmed compliance rate.

Of the 107 who were identified on the list, 50 did not sign up until 2010, and 25 enrolled after the 7/1/2010 requirement date. They may be missing because:

  • They have under 5 employees.

  • National HQ may be verifying

  • They may be using another entity to check

  • They could be under a different name

  • They signed up after 10/1/2010

  • OR, they haven't signed up yet. 

*******************          ***********************
Scroll to the bottom of the page for
top echelon SL Chamber member
Everify Users

*******************          ***********************