Salt Lake Chamber: Stalemate on Immigration Reform Hurts Economy | KUER 90.1

Salt Lake Chamber: Stalemate on Immigration Reform Hurts Economy

Apr 18, 2016

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on whether President Obama's 2014 executive actions on immigration are constitutional. Utah business leaders are disappointed that this issue is still not resolved. 

In December of last year, the City of Salt Lake signed onto an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. That put the city at odds with the state, since Utah has joined the lawsuit to halt the president’s actions. Jason Mathis is Executive Vice President of the Salt Lake Chamber and Director of the Downtown Alliance. He says immigration reform is stalled because of political divisions, and it’s Utahns who suffer from the inaction. 

“It hurts our economy, it hurts our society, and candidly, it’s mostly because Congress has not done their job,” Mathis says.

The Salt Lake Chamber is not taking a position on whether Obama should be able to protect 4.5 million immigrants from deportation, but Mathis says Congress bears the responsibility to resolve the issue.

“It’s our expectation that Congress and in particular Utah’s delegation will come up with workable bipartisan solutions and work to come up with a comprehensive immigration plan that works for Utah businesses, for immigrants, and for the larger community,” he says.  

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch was a key supporter of a comprehensive immigration reform effort back in 2013, but House leadership refused to take up the Senate’s bill. Since then Congress hasn’t come close to a solution they can agree on. Hatch has said that he doesn’t entirely disagree with the President’s plan, but he said in a statement that he joined a legal brief challenging the President’s actions because “the Constitution vests legislative authority in Congress, not the President, who has attempted nonetheless to rewrite the law unilaterally.”