LatinaLista -- Utah's Republican legislators have bucked the national trend of states passing punitive legislation aimed at driving undocumented immigrants out of their communities.
Utah legislators understand the value of immigrant labor and have a realistic assessment of how much work immigrants do in their state. It may have been a factor in passing legislation that gives undocumented immigrants a permit to work and live in the state without the fear of being detained and deported.
Historically known as a guest-worker program, the legislation just makes sense since the level of work most immigrants do are minimum wage jobs unattractive to anyone accustomed to making more money.
The legislation also makes sense because it solves the main problem of illegal immigration -- people coming here or overstaying their visas illegally just to work and make money to send back to their families.
It's a piece of legislation that needs to be replicated in other states. And if one Texas legislator has his way, the Lone Star State may start getting "real" about illegal immigration too.
Texas Rep. Aaron Peña introduced House Bill 2757. It establishes the Texas Commission on Immigration and Migration. One of its functions would be to develop a plan to use migrant workers in the state.
The commission would work together with a Mexican state to determine the requirements by which guest workers could legally migrate to Texas.
"Bottom line is: Mexico has workers, and we need workers," Peña said.
Hopefully, Peña's new Republican colleagues will listen to him. After all, after winning his election last year, Peña switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican side. He justified his switch at the time by expressing his belief that he could do more by being on a winning team.
This will be the first test of his theory and a test for the GOP to see how much they want to persecute undocumented immigrants or really do want to work with Latino peers and constituents.