SALT LAKE CITY -- An immigration reform package that includes an Arizona-style enforcement law and a guest worker program for illegal immigrants passed the Utah Legislature late Friday night.
Supporters say the package balances the rule of law, economic needs and compassion.
Opponents, including many conservative Republicans, say it rewards illegal immigrants and will likely encourage more illegal immigration.
The reform package will go to Gov. Gary Herbert, who is also a Republican, next week.
The compromise nearly fell apart Friday night, only a week before the end of the general session, because of a revolt by conservative Republicans in the House. Their ire focused on the guest worker program in House Bill 116.
The House eventually voted 41-32 to pass the bill, but not until after more than two hours of speeches by opponents.
Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, who led the revolt, said a guest worker program was amnesty, "pure and simple."
The program, which needs a federal waiver, would allow illegal immigrants to stay in the state as guest workers with their families.
"People think we'll be seen as compassionate," Herrod said. "People will actually see us as weak. They will see we don't care about the rule of law."
Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden, the sponsor of House Bill 116, said the program had to pass if legislators wanted immigration reform to happen this year.
He said the program was a risk, but also said it could become a model.
"With innovation comes a lot of uncertainties," Wright said. "Let's not be afraid of those uncertainties."
House Minority Leader David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City, said the guest worker program made it clear Utah cares about everyone, even if they are illegal.
"They are human beings that want nothing more than what we want," Litvack said. "They want the opportunity to be successful, to care for their children."
The other bills in the compromise easily passed the House and Senate on Friday.
The enforcement-only bill, House Bill 497, is modeled on Arizona's law but is different enough to appease legislators worried about the negative stigma attached to Arizona's law.
The law would require police to check the immigrant status of anyone stopped for a class A misdemeanor or felony. The status check would be optional for anyone stopped for a lower misdemeanor or infraction.
House Bill 466 creates a program allowing Utah businesses to hire workers through Nuevo Leon in Mexico.
Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, the sponsor of House bills 466 and 497, said the legal migrant program will help alleviate the state's illegal immigration woes by allowing immigrants to enter the state on a two-year work contract.