Park City mayor calls for ‘humane and decent’ immigration policy |

Park City mayor calls for ‘humane and decent’ immigration policy

Mayor Andy Beerman on Monday sent a letter to Park City’s congressional delegation expressing worries about the Trump administration’s immigration policies and urging the senators and congressman to provide tools allowing federal agencies to “conduct their immigration policies in a humane and decent way.”

The mayor sent the one-page letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Rob Bishop, each a Republican. It seemed likely the mayor would draft a letter about immigration over the past week as the issue continued to worry people in Park City. The elected officials a week ago touched on the topic with the idea they would return to the issue shortly.

The letter followed quickly after the Summit County Council passed a resolution about the topic. The Park City Council on Thursday is poised to consider a resolution as well.

The mayor’s letter outlines “serious concern over our federal government’s treatment of refugees who are seeking asylum in our country.”

“Of grave concern to our residents are the recent reports that federal officials have separated minor children from their families at the border as they seek asylum,” the letter says. “We fear that many families may never be reunited, notwithstanding federal judicial orders directing unifications.”

It says Park City “believes the existing zero tolerance policy is flawed and needs to be urgently reworked, along with our national immigration policy.” The letter also wants a “workable citizenship pathway for the Dreamer population, of which there are many in the Park City area.”

The resolution the elected officials will consider expresses similar sentiments.

The mayor in the letter offers to meet the senators and congressman or talk to them by phone to discuss the matter.

A City Hall report prepared in anticipation of the meeting on Thursday indicates the mayor, City Councilors and community stakeholders have held six months of meetings with representatives from the offices of the congressional delegation about concerns with the immigration system.

Park City has a long history of attracting immigrants, starting in the community’s early days as a silver-mining camp. Large numbers of people from Mexico and other Latin American countries began arriving in the community during the 1990s boom, drawn by plentiful employment opportunities in the tourism and construction industries. The letter from the mayor estimates Latinos account for at least 25 percent of the population of Park City.

The letter does not mention President Trump by name, but there has been heightened concern in Park City about a hardline immigration stance since his White House victory in 2016. Just weeks after Trump’s inauguration in early 2017, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement apprehended four people in Park City wanted on felony counts. The operation resulted in widespread worries in the Latino population and at City Hall, and it had the effect of setting a tone locally about the politically charged issue of immigration in the early days of the presidential administration.

The meeting on Thursday is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the City Council’s chambers at the Marsac Building. A hearing is planned prior to the City Council vote on the resolution.

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