Utah business leaders gathered March 21 in Salt Lake City to reaffirm their commitment to the Utah Compact, a set of key principles initially released in 2010 outlining the need for immigration policies to drive the state’s economy forward.
“The Utah Compact seeks to recognize and support the positive impact that immigrants bring to Utah’s economy as workers, business owners, taxpayers, and consumers. More than 120 prominent Utahns, including business, civic, faith and city leaders from across the state, have signed on to reaffirm their support of The Utah Compact,” said a press release from the organization. “Their collective voice calls for a federal immigration system that provides sensible policies for addressing immigrants in Utah who make significant contributions to our state’s economy; reaffirms Utah’s global reputation as a welcoming and business-friendly state; and secures America’s borders while enforcing the country’s immigration laws,” said the press release.
“Immigration reform is a federal issue, but the lack of smart policy that works for business is felt at the local level,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber where the gathering occurred. “As Utah’s business leader, the Salt Lake Chamber is proud of the role we have played in elevating the level of debate on this important issue and we stand with our partners across Utah to encourage elected officials to champion policies that recognize the role immigrants play in our society. Immigration policy based on the principles of the Utah Compact will strengthen families, communities and greatly benefit our economy.”
The March 21 event reaffirming the principles laid out in the Utah Compact comes as new data from New American Economy’s “Map the Impact” study shows just how much immigrant contributions add to Utah’s economy. According to NAE’s analysis, in 2017, immigrants in Utah paid $534.6 million in state and local taxes and held $5.3 billion in spending power.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown spoke at the event, saying, “Respect for the rule of law is fundamental for a society, but as law enforcement officers, our limited resources should be focused on criminal activities, not civil violations of federal code. We serve the public, regardless of status. We need immigration reform that recognizes that many immigrants in Utah are law-abiding, valuable contributors to our community.”
Miles Hansen, president and CEO of the World Trade Center Utah added, “Our state’s economy faces global challenges we must meet with effective immigration policy that balances security with the flow of people and goods across borders. Smart immigration policy not only recognizes that Utah is best served by a free-market philosophy that maximizes individual opportunity, it also helps us compete in the global marketplace by attracting the best talent and most industrious workers to our state.”
Signers of The Utah Compact say they are committed to promoting common-sense immigration reforms that strengthen Utah’s economy and attract talent and business that Utah needs to be competitive.