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ACLU of Utah Critical of Utah’s Acting As Plaintiff in Lawsuit Seeking to Overturn Relief for Immigrants

22 February 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist

This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2015 Winter Newsletter >>

The ACLU of Utah is extremely disappointed that the name of the State of Utah has been lent as a plaintiff to a lawsuit that seeks the deportation of “Dreamers” and the parents of United States citizens and legal permanent residents.  Specifically, the suit seeks to force an end to programs known as DACA, which grants relief to certain immigrants who arrived to the United States as children, and DAPA, which grants relief to immigrant parents of United States citizens and legal permanent residents.  

The decision for Utah to join this lawsuit directly contradicts the spirit of the Utah Compact and fails to live up to our shared Utah values that treasure children and family togetherness.  In the Utah Compact, signed in 2010, hundreds of community, business and religious leaders committed to several guiding principles in approaching immigration issues, including: 

Families: Stating opposition to policies that unnecessarily separate families.

Economy: Recognition of the economic role of immigrants. Advocates support of free market policies to maximize individual freedom and opportunity.

A Free Society: Recognition that immigrants are part of society. States the need for a “humane approach to this reality, reflecting our unique culture, history and spirit of inclusion.”

Since embracing these laudable principles, Utahns have made significant progress in choosing to embrace our immigrant neighbors as members of our communities. We have worked to support families, opposing policies that unnecessarily separate parents from their children, and aunts and uncles and cousins from one another. We have also recognized the important economic role that immigrants play in keeping Utah’s economy vibrant and strong. Proudly, we have strived for a humane approach to the reality that immigrants are a vital part of our state and society.  We celebrate that our unique culture, history and spirit of inclusion continues to undergird our lives as Utahns in 2014.

Utah’s elected officials should embrace the President’s grants of relief to certain immigrants as an opportunity to better integrate immigrants into our communities and accomplish some of what Utah’s legislature has been unable to accomplish by acting on its own.  For example, Utah’s guest-worker legislation, which similarly intended to get immigrants already living and working in Utah working legally on the books, has never been implemented because only the federal government has the power to grant work authorization.

For more on the ACLU of Utah’s work to protect Immigrants’ Rights visit www.acluutah.org/immigrants-rights