My friend John Lamb in Nashville has had this idea for a while. It sounds a little nuts at first, but as John notes -
Giving American citizens the power of granting legal status to their foreign-born friends is an idea I've had for a while but not trumpeted very much. The idea is, if deputization of immigration enforcement responsibilities is such a great idea, why not deputize the admission and naturalization piece, as well?.
Well now a Utah Republican Senator is proposing a bill that would do just this. According to the Salt Lake Tribune:
Rep. John Dougall, R-Highland, gave the first glimpse of his proposed bill, titled the “Alien Friends Amendments,” that would allow any U.S. citizen who is a resident of Utah to sponsor an undocumented immigrant not already in the state to live and work here.
Dougall said the premise is centered on his belief that “immigration is not a power delegated to Congress as delineated within the U.S. Constitution and, as such, is left to the states and the people.”
His measure would allow each citizen who is a resident of Utah to sponsor an immigrant, provided they pass a health and background screening to be eligible for the program. The sponsor would also assume financial liability for the immigrant.
It also has some restrictions on immigrants’ ability to travel. Under the proposal, the so-called resident immigrant would be eligible to reside, work and study only in Utah and couldn’t travel to another state without permission from that state.