Vigil held to advocate for immigration reform focuses on children

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Business leaders and activists from across the country, including in Utah, participated in a National Action Day Wednesday, all stemming from a massive influx of undocumented children coming across the border.

Just since October, some 52,000 children, mostly from Central America, have come into the United States unaccompanied by their parents.

A group of roughly 40 activists gathered at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City Wednesday evening to show solidarity for children who've died while escaping violence, drug culture and extreme poverty in countries such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The group lit candles and held signs welcoming the children and prayed at the corner of 700 East and 900 South.

"Those kids are refugees, it's different to be an immigrant, I'm an immigrant," said activist Elvira Diaz.

"A lot of people angry about it, and I think they're not understanding what this issue is," said Karla Chavez, another supporter.

The group considers the roughly 60,000 to 80,000 children expected to cross the border in 2014 as refugees, not simply undocumented immigrants.

The Obama Administration calls it a "humanitarian crisis." Critics say President Obama invited the surge by halting deportations of minors who were here illegally a couple of years ago.

"The direct, predictable foreseeable consequence of granting that amnesty is the number of children, unaccompanied children began to skyrocket," said Republican Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas

Last week, the town of Murrieta in Southern California became the center for the immigration debate with protestors blocking government busses bringing in undocumented immigrants for processing. The crisis has also become tense in Arizona and in Texas, where the President visited Wednesday. President Obama wants Congress to approve nearly $4 billion in emergency funds to confront the issue, but even some Democrats say they want a clear plan and accountability for the money before signing off. With the plan unapproved, business leaders in Utah are calling on Congress to act now on immigration reform, saying the issue impacts Utah's economy.

"(It's) a huge economic issue for our businesses and we really need to get some movement because we have literally thousands of jobs that are unfilled because we can't find qualified workers," said Val Hale, who is the President and CEO, of Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce says survey results show most Americans and 75 percent of Utahns want Congress to overhaul the U.S. Immigration Policy this year.

6 comments

  • kartmann

    Simple solution: Put them in the homes of anyone on welfare. That’ll provide shelter for the kids, and provide welfare recipients with the dignity of honest work.

    Who is with me?

  • Trace

    Now you are moderating like KSL. Stopping freedom of speech(not foul), how sad is it that News organizations are becoming what the Founding Fathers worried the Government would become.

  • EN

    How ’bout we drop them off at the homes of the Chamber of Commerce leadership and pro-amnesty politicians and advocates (including churches). They can care for them (on their own dime!) since they bear much of the responsibility for these kids being here and torn away from their families. It’s time they pay for some of the corporate welfare they’ve so long lapped up instead of sticking honest taxpayers and legal workers and immigrants with their costs.

  • MyOwnOpinion

    All the immigrant kids in my neighborhood are little annoying brats who disrespect passing cars and pick on our dogs I say send them(the ones from my neighborhood) all back to where they came from, just my opinion you don’t have to like it

    • phill

      I agree send them back to where they came from there breaking the law our country made that law for a reason it’s getting to out of hand

    • jewlzzz

      As bad as it may sound I honestly think it’s time to slam the gates closed. My son was laid off and took a job recently with a new company, most off the staff is hispanic and so are the spervisors they are nasty to him and refuse to even train him. Can you say reverse discrimination? I wont even go to their markets anymore, they are rude, refuse to offer any service and act like they own this state. This disgusts and breaks my heart as I am 1/2 and it makes me ashamed to be that half.
      It’s time, I can’t afford to support anymore of them……

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