The United States is a nation of immigrants, and even today, immigration continues to drive our population and economic growth. Politicians and historians often refer to America as a melting pot, uniting and welcoming people of various national and ethnic backgrounds. But America’s present immigration system presents a more convoluted reality.
Legal and economic obstacles face those who want to come to or stay in the United States. More than 11 million immigrants currently live and work in the U.S. without legal authorization and without any reasonable avenue to change their legal status. This reality complicates the jobs of public service providers and law enforcement officers and inhibits the ability of private sector employers to find workers.
Immigrants to our country often face serious obstacles to pursuing their American dream, most particularly finding safe work that pays a livable wage. Families and individuals who come to the U.S. seek a better life, and yet they often lack access to legal protection and important social services necessary for learning and working.
Utah Democrats demand meaningful action to modernize America’s immigration system. We need changes that will uphold human dignity, support our economy, and, most importantly, keep families together.
Utah Dems know we all benefit from a diverse and productive society when industrious people come here to work and raise their families. We support President Obama’s executive actions on immigration and push for further action to ensure DREAMers and their families can fully access and enjoy our society. Beyond these executive actions, we support congressional action to deliver a comprehensive federal solution that creates a path to citizenship for the many immigrants who are already contributing to our society.
Our nation’s limited resources must focus on identifying, arresting, and deporting violent criminals who constitute a small portion of immigrants. Enforcement practices must become more humane and respect rights and needs of families. Our nation’s law enforcement officers deserve training to understand immigration issues and to learn to work with immigrant communities to ensure the community’s trust.
Here in Utah, we continue to support in-state tuition benefits for undocumented Utah students, and deterring local law enforcement agencies from acting as de facto ICE agents.