If you attended a barbeque or cocktail party over the holiday weekend, the chatter probably included references to the disturbing news that thousands of children have been fleeing Central America in hopes of being granted asylum in the United States. And the chances are good that opinions expressed on the matter were as diverse as our country's famed melting pot.
The children have reportedly been crossing the treacherous U.S./Mexico border on their own. Many who have been caught are being held in makeshift detention centers where their fate is in legal limbo. Political pressure is being brought to bear on all sides, from those who want them immediately deported to those wanting a more humanitarian response.
There are no easy answers.
The crisis highlights the deep inconsistencies in federal immigration policies that affect America on so many levels. Current laws are causing intractable problems for local schools, health care providers and employers. And yet the House and Senate have been unable to agree on a package of reforms.
To underscore the need for new legislation, The Partnership for a New American Economy has organized a national day of action with two events in Utah today, one in Salt Lake City and one in Park City. The Park City event will take place at the Park City Chamber/Bureau Visitor Center on State Route 224.
There will be an informal panel led by an immigration lawyer with additional remarks by former Park City Mayor Dana Williams and Chamber/Bureau President Bill Malone, along with a few other local business leaders. The public is invited to attend and participate. The Partnership will also be releasing the results of a recent poll of Utah voters about immigration.
National polls show that a majority of Americans want politicians to craft a sensible way for immigrants who are already living in the United States to achieve citizenship.
Those voters, the polls suggest, want stronger border security, do not necessarily support blanket amnesty but do acknowledge the important contributions many immigrants are making to our economy. For some reason though, their representatives in Washington, D.C., have been unable to agree on legislation that would bring those immigrants out of the shadows and allow then participate fully in our democratic system. Perhaps a nationwide nudge in that direction will help.
Park City's Roundtable Discussion, part of the National Day of Action for Immigration Reform will take place today, Weds., July 9, from 9 to 10a.m. at the Park City Chamber/Bureau Visitor Information Center, 1794 Olympic Parkway.