A bipartisan group of Utah mayors have sent a letter to Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, urging them to immediately pass immigration reform legislation. From Fruit Heights to Salt Lake City to St. George, 19 mayors signed the letter. It calls for comprehensive immigration reform, and warns that Utah communities will face significant challenges unless that reform is enacted.
“As Mayors, we’re dealing day in and day out with the families that live in our community, with the neighborhoods, with the businesses that have employees that need to come to this country legally,” says West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder. “So a broken immigration policy really hurts business and families here on the ground.”
Winder says reform is needed to bring people out of the shadows, secure the borders, and open up a legal path to work and citizenship. Senator Mike Lee sent a response agreeing that reform is needed, but he says passing the legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee is not the way to achieve it. Winder says he encourages Lee and others to bring forth legislation that can work.
“With immigration reform, we can’t just say no that’s not what we like,” Winder says. “We have to offer up alternative solutions. As a Republican, we can’t just be the party of no. We need to be problem solvers. This country has talked about immigration reform for a number of years. When all is said and done, there’s frankly more that is said than done. We need to do something now.”
Senator Lee’s letter says that he has sponsored or cosponsored several reforms that would improve high-skilled immigration, address agricultural and seasonal workers, and create new incentives for tourism. Neither Lee nor Hatch have committed to voting for the comprehensive immigration bill when it comes to the Senate floor, but Hatch did support the legislation when it was approved by the Judiciary Committee.