Immigration reform: City Hall enters the discussion |

Immigration reform: City Hall enters the discussion

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

City Hall will participate in a nationwide group of mayors and business leaders pressing for reforms in immigration laws in hopes of advancing the economy in the U.S.

The Park City Council recently aligned the municipal government with the Partnership for a New American Economy. There was little discussion by Mayor Dana Williams and the City Council before the decision.

City Councilwoman Liza Simpson said, though, she is "very impressed" with the group’s ideals. The mayor, meanwhile, noted that the Partnership for a New American Economy involves people from differing political backgrounds.

"It’s an interesting organization, very bipartisan," Williams said.

The mayor also apologized for signing the organization’s statement of principles prior to the City Council voting for municipal involvement in the group. A document outlining the principles, already signed by Williams, was presented to the City Council before the vote.

Nobody from the public addressed the elected officials about the topic.

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The resolution endorsed by the City Council reads, in part: "to compete in the 21st century global economy, America must fix our broken immigration system so that it secures our borders while welcoming immigrants who are essential for America’s economic growth."

The Partnership for a New American Economy’s principles address issues like securing the U.S. borders, developing a system allowing businesses to verify someone’s eligibility to work in the country and streamlining the system that regulates seasonal and permanent employees. The principles also call for the U.S. to create a "path to legal status" for people living in the country without the proper documents.

In a report submitted to the elected officials beforehand, Michael Kovacs, the assistant Park City manager, indicated there is a possibility the Partnership for a New American Economy could host meetings in Park City about immigration.

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, is one of the leaders of the Partnership for a New American Economy, and the report by Kovacs said Bloomberg’s office expressed an interest in holding meetings in Park City.

Park City attracted a significant community of immigrants, many from Mexico, starting in the 1990s, as the area’s economy started to hum during an era of fast growth. They were drawn by the plentiful construction, resort and hospitality jobs available in the Park City area in the years before the onset of the recession.