SANDY -- Delegates at the GOP's state convention narrowly approved a resolution calling for the repeal of a bill authorizing a guest worker program for illegal immigrants in Utah.
The Deseret News reported the 833-739 vote Saturday followed just 10 minutes of debate over House Bill 116, which was passed by the Republican-controlled 2011 Legislature and signed by GOP Gov. Gary Herbert.
Utah County delegate Arturo Morales told the convention failure to repeal the bill would be "the end of the rule of law" in the state.
But a number of state lawmakers showed up to personally defend their votes for the measure.
Attorney General Mark Shurtleff also spoke in support of the guest worker program, calling it "the strongest crime-fighting tool" he has.
The guest worker program, passed as part of a package of immigration bills earlier this year, allows illegal immigrants to live and work in Utah if they register with the state and pay a fee.
Fighting the resolution was a well-organized group that included the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, conservative think tank The Sutherland Institute, legislative leaders and other party leaders.