During a National Day of Action last week, business, manufacturing, agriculture, and community leaders urged Congress and the Obama administration to work together to enact immigration reform.
More than 60 events were held across the country, as well a a national press conference in Washington, DC. Two round-table events were hosted in Utah, with representatives from the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Utah Restaurant Association, banking, technology, elected officials, and chamber of commerce groups from across the state in attendance.
Participants in the round-table events pointed to the important contribution that immigrants make to the economy. Val Hale, President and CEO of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, contends that immigration reform is essential to keeping Utah economically competitive. “Granting visas to scientists, technology graduates, engineers, mathematicians, and other innovators, especially those who train at top U.S. universities, is the right thing to do in order to remain economically competitive in a global economy. Today’s immigration laws are not written for today’s Utah businesses. A modern economy needs modern immigration laws, and Congress and the White House need to act today.”
In conjunction with the National Day of Action, new opinion survey findings were released showing strong local and national support for immigration reform. By a 15 to 1 ratio, Utah voters believe the immigration system needs to be fixed versus those who believe in the status quo. The survey also found that support for immigration reform crosses party lines. 93% of Republicans and 88% of independents believe that Congress should take action.
3/4 of those interviewed also believe in establishing legal status for undocumented immigrants. 70% of Republicans support legal status. Something else is also quite clear: Republicans want their next presidential candidate to support immigration reform. According to the survey, 74% of Republicans would rather vote for a presidential candidate that is from a party that supports reform. The survey was conducted by Pennsylvania-based Harper Polling, a polling firm with GOP ties.
Despite all the protests and days of action, immigration reform continues to be at a standstill in Washington. Legislation proposed in the Senate that would make a path to citizenship possible for many undocumented immigrants has been in limbo for more than a year. An immigration reform bill proposed in the House by U.S. Rep. Marco Diaz-Balart (Republican – Florida) also appears to be hopelessly stalled. Last Thursday, House leadership announced that the bill would not be considered this year.