Immigration continues to be a hotly debated topic across the nation. The national debate is influenced by a variety of factors, including partisan messaging. To find out where Utahns stand on this complex and emotional issue, we look to happenings on the ground in our state and polling data.
In March, a group of religious, civic and business leaders reacted to the national conversation by coming together to reaffirm the decade-old Utah Compact, a document originally intended to cool bitter immigration debates by emphasizing humane treatment of immigrants, keeping families together and focusing deportation on serious criminals. The Salt Lake Tribune published an editorial saying the reaffirmation and document itself could not have been more timely given the heated debates on immigration today. In the weeks prior, state representatives also encouraged humane treatment during border crises and an end to family separations by unanimously passing HR 3 Supporting Humane Response to Refugee Crises.
While Utahns may disagree on some immigration solutions, there is also a good amount of agreement:
- 56% believe legal immigration should be easier (Utah Policy)
- 69% of registered voters want to see Dreamers stay in the United States (Tribune-Hinckley)
- 58% oppose building border wall if American taxpayers have to pay for it (Utah Policy), though a Tribune-Hickley poll shows Utahns are split about spending $5.7 billion to build a border wall.
- 61% oppose abolishing ICE (Utah Policy)
The Utah Compact
The Utah Compact is a set of five principles that promote common-sense immigration reforms to strengthen our economy and attract talent and business to our state. Find the full text of the Utah Compact and the signatories here. At the time it was created, a Dan Jones poll showed that 64% of Utahns agreed with the premise of the Utah Compact.
The 5 Principles of the Utah Compact are:
- Federal Solutions
- Law Enforcement
- A Free Society
WHAT YOU CAN DO
There are many things that Utahns can do to uphold the Utah Compact and support our immigrant neighbors, friends and family members. Here are a few suggestions:
- Ask our Congressional delegation to take immediate action on immigration. Ask them to support H.R. 6 The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 or develop other solutions. H.R. 6 allows Dreamers and individuals with Temporary Protected Status to contribute fully in the country they love and know to be their home by providing a pathway to citizenship.
- Ask your local law enforcement agency to create and enforce a policy to serve and protect everyone in their communities, regardless of immigration status.
- Ask state lawmakers to support solutions to expand access to affordable, high quality and culturally competent early childhood education and care.
- Donate time and resources to organizations in Utah dedicated to helping immigrants and refugees to access workforce development services, healthcare, jobs, and home and business ownership, etc and helping communities build unity and integration between immigrants and longer-term residents.
For other suggestions, please see this oped in the Salt Lake Tribune by Luis Garza, Executive Director of Comunidades Unidas.