Deseret News
Letter to the editor

In the best tradition of Utah, our senators and congressional representatives in Washington are uniquely positioned to be a loud voice in standing up for refugees and asylum seekers.

Central Americans are fleeing some of the most dangerous countries in the world and are making life-and-death decisions to flee their homes to seek protection and safety by coming to the U.S.-Mexico border. The people arriving at the border are refugees and asylum seekers. Utah has historically been a leader in refugee protection. The Utah state government and Utah residents continue to welcome and support refugees in an orderly and safe manner, and so can the country at large.

There must of course be a long-term and sustained approach to the immigration issue — through a foreign policy which pays additional attention to supporting efforts by our neighbors to the South in promoting the rule of law and economic development, and through comprehensive immigration reform. Such reform, however, need not include making immigrants criminals. Refugees are people like us — moms, dads and kids. Asylum seekers are refugees too.

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Refugees contribute to the economy, pay taxes and create jobs. Refugees make American communities more prosperous and strong. They quickly find work, pay taxes and enrich their new communities. Welcoming refugees is who we are.

I pray that Congress will take seriously its obligation to protect the refugee resettlement program and enact policies that reflect the important role that resettlement and asylum play in our foreign policy objectives and in holding true to our long-held American values. Until Americans understand the very human dimension of our immigration, refugee and asylum crisis, we will not find the political will to fix it with true policy changes.

Eric Goldman

Salt Lake City