How do we as Utahns respond to DACA?

To say I was disappointed by the Trump administration’s announcement today ending DACA would be an understatement.

I’m sad that so many of my friends–here in Utah where I live, in Arizona where I grew up, in Texas where I served a spanish-speaking mission, and across the nation–may face the possibility of being ejected from the only home they know.

I’m angry that once again one of our minority populations is having their future called into question, especially considering that the majority, if not all, of those who benefit from DACA did not choose this for their lives when they came here as children.

I feel a tad helpless and hopeless, as this attack comes amid a string of attacks from the Trump Administration against the progress we have made as a nation in trying to create a brighter future for all those living in our country.

Knowing that I couldn’t just lay in a fetal position in the corner of my office all day, I decided to go up to the Capitol Building at noon for a press conference held by Comunidades Unidas in response to today’s news.  Luckily, I am surrounded by wonderful members of our state who band together in the face of oppression and lifted me out of my latest Trump-induced funk.

I’m grateful for Comunidades Unidas and all the hard work they put into helping empower Latinos in Utah. They not only spoke to the importance of preserving DACA for the over 10,000 Utahns — 800,000 Americans — who benefit from this program. But they also brought DACA beneficiaries to talk about their experience, putting faces to these 10,000 Utahns. These faces could easily be swapped by my classmates from high school or those whose homes I entered in Texas to teach about the LDS Church.

I’m grateful for the ACLU of Utah for continuing to stand up against any infringement of our civil liberties and rights. John Mejia, their legal director, had this amazing quote: “While Joe Arpaio — convicted of disobeying court orders to enforce policies that targeted people of color and promoted racial profiling and discrimination — receives a presidential pardon, hardworking young immigrants who contribute immensely to our shared nation are thrown into legal limbo.”

I’m grateful for the Catholic Diocese for expressing their sadness and disappointment with today’s decision, while announcing that Catholic Community Services will be offering consultations and renewals for DACA beneficiaries free of charge. I’m grateful also for the group of Mormon women who came to call on our congressional delegation to come up with a sensible solution.

There are others who spoke, including state, county, and city leaders, and there were others present to show support, including Equality Utah, Salt Lake Indivisible, and many individual citizens. I’m grateful for all of these people for showing me that not all is lost and spurring me once again to keep moving forward in helping to make Utah a better place for all those who live here, whether they have documents or not.

Those around me lifted me up, showing me once again that we need to keep moving forward. We need to keep fighting. We need to keep showing the rest of the country that Utah does things differently. We recognize the importance of immigrants who come to our state. We celebrate the diversity they bring, the work they perform, and the future they represent.

As the Utah Compact of 2011 showed, we know there is a way to move forward towards comprehensive immigration reform. Our country can enforce immigration laws going forward while showing compassion towards those who came here in the past under our broken laws.

My call to everyone who reads this is to make sure that Senator Hatch and the rest of our federal delegation remember the way we do things here in Utah. They need to lead the way towards fixing this mess. I’m grateful that Senator Hatch opposed this action from the Trump Administration and has called for Congress to fix the problem. But words aren’t enough.

Senator Hatch, Senator Lee, Representative Love, Representative Bishop, and Representative Stewart need to step forward and make sure that the 10,0000 DREAMers in our state have a future they can rely on. Call or email each of them. Tell them to become co-sponsors of the Dream Act of 2017. Tell them to speak up in support of our friends and neighbors.

I’ve already emailed — will you join me?

Call Senators Hatch and Lee!

Tell them to support the DREAM Act!

Email Senators Hatch and Lee!

Tell them to support the DREAM Act!

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