Summit County Council joins others in issuing support for DACA
Councilors approve resolution urging lawmakers to pass legislation restoring program
Last week, Summit County councilors joined others in supporting reestablishment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program following President Donald Trump’s announcement last month that he intends to rescind the program, which provided protections for children of illegal immigrants from deportation and a path to citizenship.
The County Council unanimously agreed to pass a resolution urging lawmakers to immediately restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and approve legislation that provides permanent benefits and protections. The Park City Council and Park City Board of Education recently passed similar resolutions.
“We in Summit County are extremely concerned that the Trump Administration has chosen to rescind DACA protection. DACA has given nearly 800,000 young people the opportunity to pursue their dreams and contribute to our society and economy without fear of deportation. Today, we stand up for these individuals and urge our congressional representatives to pass permanent legislation protecting them,” Christopher Robinson, chair of the County Council, stated in a release.
Passed in 2012 under President Barack Obama, DACA allowed children who were brought into the country illegally to defer removal action for at least two years and apply for work authorization, among other benefits. President Trump’s announcement last month to end the program in six months, leaves the fate of DACA recipients, who range in age from 15 to 36, in limbo, including those who live in Park City and Summit County.
Approximately 11.5 percent of Summit County residents are Latino, according to the 2010 census, with nearly 25 percent of the Latino population residing in Park City. According to Summit County’s resolution, Utah currently has an estimated 9,562 DACA recipients and 8,319 DACA workers. It is unclear how many recipients and workers benefit from the program in the county.
“Rescinding DACA is fundamentally unfair and repugnant to Summit County’s values and interest in protecting its children. These young people for all practical purposes are Americans and love this country, and as elected officials it is our duty to protect our children and young adults and foster their health, safety and well-being,” Roger Armstrong, a County Council member, said.
The resolution states that the county’s DACA recipients “positively contribute to our local economy, schools and community by paying taxes, funding Social Security and Medicare, and supporting Summit County programs and services. And our DACA recipients give back to our community by investing in Summit County with their money and as volunteers with Summit County’s non-profits.”
The resolution requests immediate action from members of Congress and the President that will “afford DREAMERS a path to permanent United States citizenship to reflect that these young people are by all measures young Americans, but are unable to obtain documentation of that status through no improper action on their part, and we ask Utah’s Congressional delegation to lead on those issues.”
The resolution further calls on Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who sponsored the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act in 2001, which served as a precursor to DACA, to continue his support.
The resolution authorizes Summit County Manager Tom Fisher and others to take “all action consistent with the intent of this resolution to proactively support and encourage the adoption of federal legislation.” Action could include the use of local, federal and state lobbyists, the Utah Association of Counties, National Association of Counties and other similar organizations to urge lawmakers to provide permanent protections.
To view the resolution in its entirety, click here.
Becca Gerber, a first-term member of the Park City Council who is seen as bringing a younger person’s perspective to the Marsac Building, will seek reelection this year.