Congressional, Business and Community Leaders Bring Immigration Reform to the Forefront of Legislative Priorities
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – FWD.us today launched a new statewide coalition in Utah to highlight the value of immigrants and immigration to the state, as well as to address the urgent need for comprehensive national immigration reform. Comprising more than 8 percent of the state population, immigrants contribute enormously to the local economy, spending around $4 billion and paying over $1.2 billion in state and local taxes each year. Immigration reform would further unlock their economic potential. The Utah coalition launch comes on the heels of seven other new FWD.us state coalitions recently launched across the country, including those in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Washington State.
“There’s one area of substantial agreement between the two parties, and that’s on high-skilled immigration,” said Utah Senator Orrin Hatch during the coalition launch event. “I’ve worked on this aspect of immigration reform for a long time. I have deep ties to the tech & business communities…I know how important having a highly educated highly skilled workforce is to the success of our economy.”
“Our technology community is built on the collective efforts of U.S. citizens and immigrants alike,” said Jonathan Jackson, president and COO of the Utah Technology Council, a member of the new FWD.us Utah Coalition. “The launch of the FWD.us Utah Coalition contributes to our state’s nationwide fight for immigration reform. We stand with technology leaders around the country, urging our lawmakers to keep the U.S. competitive in a global economy.”
The Utah Restaurant Association, another key member of the FWD.us Utah Coalition, voiced their strong support for immigration reform.
“We rely on an immigrant-based labor force, and that is not going to change,” said Melva Sine, president of the Utah Restaurant Association. “Immigrants are good people who come here to work hard, but many lack the experience or resources to renew their documentation. We need real immigration reform that works for Utah’s growing economy.”
The Utah coalition, which is made up of local business and community leaders, will highlight the need for immigration reform that grows the economy, creates American jobs, strengthens our communities. The coalition’s main priorities include the following:
- Promoting Smart Border Security. Providing law enforcement the tools necessary to stop future illegal immigration, and allow law enforcement to focus on truly threats to our national security.
- Unlocking Immigrants’ Economic Potential. Modernizing our legal immigration system so that it works for today’s economy while creating millions of American jobs, reducing the deficit, and ensuring the U.S. can remain competitive in a global economy.
- Creating a Process to Earn Legal Status. Creating a pathway to legalization for those currently living in the United States without documentation but with long-standing community ties, who pass a criminal background check, pay fines, and go through a probationary period. After an extended period of time, such as 10 years, those who meet specific requirements, such as learning English and paying back taxes, will have the option to apply for citizenship.
Implementing real immigration reform will bring those living here without documentation out of the shadows, and allow law enforcement to better focus their resources on true security threats.
About FWD.us: FWD.us is a bipartisan organization started by key leaders in the tech and business community to promote policies to keep the United States competitive in a global economy, starting with commonsense immigration reform and criminal justice reform.