Park City, energized, needs to push for compassionate immigration reform
The Park Record editorial, February 25-27, 2017
February 24, 2017
This is no time for wide-eyed idealism. Many of our community's ideals are being challenged and we need to defend them with verifiable facts and unwavering commitment.
Those efforts must include everything from ensuring local immigrants have a clear path toward legal employment to protecting the hard won gains made by the LGBT community.
It requires paying close attention to state and federal lawmakers who are attempting to dismantle decades of progress in environmental regulation and financial reform and who would spend money on lawsuits to undo federal land protections while stripping funding from the arts.
So it is imperative to base our convictions on fact, not fiction.
Park City's support for local immigrants in the face of the recent Immigration Customs and Enforcement arrests is an example of the need for clear communication and unbiased analysis in these troubling times of upheaval in Washington, D.C. It is the same high wire we ask our local law enforcement officials to walk every day.
Several residents at Thursday's meeting about immigration enforcement concerns asked what they could do to protect their Latino friends and employees from potential deportation. Their questions were sincere and well founded, based on longtime relationships with loyal, if not quite legal, employees. But their well meaning efforts would be better spent pressuring legislators to enact meaningful immigration reform — with rules that lower the barriers to legal residency.
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Thursday's crowded meeting was an admirable display of compassion from a community that values diversity and equal rights. But in addition to making a strong statement opposing enforcement of harsh federal immigration rules, motivated residents should focus on specific initiatives within the system that would give immigrants the peace of mind and equal status they crave.
While we can – and should — ask our police officers and sheriff's deputies to differentiate between local and federal enforcement responsibilities, we cannot ask either to turn a blind eye to criminal activities. We can, however, demand that our state and U.S. elected representatives dial back their misguided anti-immigrant crusade and get to work on reinforcing the compassionate principles that turned America's melting pot into a strong and prosperous nation.
Here are some things you can do:
-Become informed about immigrants' rights and actively ensure they are honored. This site will help: https://www.ilrc.org/conozca-sus-derechos
– Do not imperil immigrants by hiring them to work illegally. Instead, help them obtain the proper permits.
-Call on your senators and representatives in Congress to oppose draconian immigration enforcement and instead support constructive reform: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials