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Utah City Leaders Call on Senators Romney and Lee to Support Immigration Reform Bills

Mikhail Shneyder, President and CEO of Nightingale College, joins a group calling on Utah senators to support bipartisan immigration reform at a press conference at the World Trade Center Utah offices in Salt Lake City on Wednesday July 14, 2021 (Scott G Winterton, Déseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah civic and business leaders, DACA recipients, and former undocumented immigrants have called on the Senses. Utah’s Mike Lee and Mitt Romney on Wednesday backing bipartisan immigration reform bills on Wednesday, citing economic and moral imperatives.

Executives at the event, held at the Utah World Trade Center, highlighted the important role immigrants play in Utah’s economy. As Utah emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, like most countries, it faces a severe labor shortage. The labor shortage is expected to persist as Utah’s unemployment rate trims to pre-pandemic levels and nearly 95% of Utah’s DACA-eligible population is employed.


Utah continues to be a place where immigrants contribute to the rich fabric of our community. Immigrants to Utah are entrepreneurs, they are teachers, they are leaders, they are part of our family.

–Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce


Bob Worsley, founder of SkyMall and co-chair of the Intermountain chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition, said immigration reform is critical to the growth of the United States as it faces declining birth rates and a generation which withdraws in waves. Worsley stressed that in order to continue competing with countries like China or India, the United States must view immigration as an immediate solution.

“With the passage of the House of dream act and the Agricultural Workforce Modernization Act we are on the verge of enacting much-needed bipartisan immigration reform to help move our economy forward. Immigration is the main engine of economic growth in the United States and that means welcoming new immigrants, ”said Worsley, a former Republican state senator.

He continued, “We need to change the rhetoric in America about immigration. We need to stop slandering them and help Americans understand that large numbers of future Americans must enter legally through modern ports of entry with visas. legal issues issued by modern immigration systems. Nativism will not lead to growth in the United States (gross domestic product). Translation: Significant legal immigration leads to prosperity for all. “

The group also advocated for the adoption of the Law on the Safe Environment of Countries Subject to Repression and State of Emergency or SECURE act.

Data from New American Economy, which describes itself as a bipartisan research and advocacy organization and which was a co-sponsor of Wednesday’s event, showed that in 2019, Utah had 272,134 immigrant residents who paid about $ 1.8 billion in taxes and $ 5.8 billion in expenses. Power.

Mikhail Shneyder, President and CEO of Nightingale College, left, shakes hands with Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, after a press conference at the offices of the World Trade Center Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, where they called on Utah senators to support bipartisan immigration reform.  They were joined by representatives from the Intermountain section of the American Business Immigration Coalition, the New American Economy, the Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association and the Mormon Women for Ethical Government.
Mikhail Shneyder, President and CEO of Nightingale College, left, shakes hands with Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, after a press conference at the offices of the World Trade Center Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, where they called on Utah senators to support bipartisan immigration reform. They were joined by representatives from the Intermountain section of the American Business Immigration Coalition, the New American Economy, the Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association and the Mormon Women for Ethical Government. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

“Utah continues to be a place where immigrants contribute to the rich fabric of our community. Immigrants to Utah are entrepreneurs, they are teachers, they are leaders, they are part of our family. billions of dollars in economic activity and they brighten up the landscape of our state. Utah is a place of compromise and goodwill and we call upon these virtues to be a guide for our national leaders, “he said. said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Data provided by New American Economy indicates that immigrant entrepreneurs in 2019 generated total business income of $ 349 million. Among these entrepreneurs is the CEO of Nightingale College, Mikhail Schneyder.

“The issue of immigration reform is deeply personal to me. I came to the United States at the age of 19 to escape persecution in my homeland, ethnic persecution and in the hope of finding the American dream, ”Schneyder said.

Schneyder learned English, became a registered nurse, obtained American citizenship, earned an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley, and then built and ran Nightingale College. Schneyder said Nightingale relies on a diverse workforce, looking for immigrants to fill positions ranging from service to leadership.

The variety of labor needs is reflected in immigrants who are more likely to have a graduate degree than those born in the United States, but are also less likely to have less than a degree. ‘secondary studies. The spectrum allows immigrants to fill shortages at both ends of employment needs, from high-tech fields to agriculture, hospitality and service industries.

Several leaders expressed the labor shortage in the service industry and stressed the importance of immigrants who are ready to fill these roles.

Mayra Cedano, executive director of Comunidades Unidas, calls on Utah senators to support bipartisan immigration reform during a press conference at the offices of the World Trade Center Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.
Mayra Cedano, executive director of Comunidades Unidas, calls on Utah senators to support bipartisan immigration reform during a press conference at the offices of the World Trade Center Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

But Mayra Cedano, a former undocumented immigrant and current executive director of Comunidades Unidas, said this crucial moment for immigration reform goes beyond the economy.

“When this country called on our workers to step up and support our communities as frontline workers, the undocumented workers were there. They quickly became the essential workers who chose the food we eat, built the neighborhoods we live in, cleaned homes and businesses, stocked our shelves, taught our own children, ”Cedano said. “Essential immigrant workers have continually put their health and that of their families on the line to protect us all, but many immigrant workers fear that they will not be able to see their families at the end of the day due to the risk of deportation.”

Sixty-nine percent of all immigrant U.S. workers and 74 percent of undocumented workers are essential workers, according to data from the Center for Migration Studies.

“We cannot be both deportable and essential. The time has come for a grateful nation to step up. Essential workers without permanent legal status should be recognized as the Americans they already are,” Cedano added.

The event was sponsored by the American Business Immigration Coalition Intermountain Chapter, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, New American Economy, Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association, Utah World Trade Center, and Mormon Women for Ethical Government.

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion