During their 2018 legislation session, Utah lawmakers, like national political leaders, are trying to determine how to serve children of immigrants who have been brought to the state illegally.
The opening day of the session members of the Utah House of Representatives and State Senate made a point to recognize the contributions of young immigrants living here.
Opening ceremonies in the Utah Senate Chambers began with performers from the Utah Opera Company singing the national anthem.
Each session House and Senate leaders invite representatives from organization they want to recognize to appear before the political body.
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser said he chose the Opera Company because the organization is celebrating its 40th Anniversary.
Members of a West Valley scout troupe representing the state’s Latino community displayed the national and Utah flags.
“We’re going to be presenting the colors, we’re going to be the color guard,” said Salvador Garcia, a member of troop 1994. “I’m from Mexico, Morelos.”
On the senate floor, Niederhauser recognized the boys and thanked them for being contributing members of society, something Garcia said had an impact on him and his troop.
“Prove to ourselves that we are capable of doing something this important,” Garcia said.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis said asking the boys to serve as color guards that day represents a non-partisan call by Utah lawmakers to encourage national lawmakers to address DACA.
“There’s promises been made that the February eighth meeting or deadline that we will finally take care of DACA,” Davis said. “We have to take care of that, that is one of the top priorities I think in this nation.”
Utah Governor Herbert agrees, saying children brought to the U.S. by their parents should be able to call America home.
“These are young people that for all intents and purposes are Americans,” Herbert said. “This is the only country they know, and we should in fact treat them as such and find a way to in fact keep them legal as it’s necessary that they become citizens and provide an opportunity for them to live their dreams here in America.”
Herbert and members of the Utah Legislature are expected to advance discussion about DACA next week based on what the federal government does, or does not do, in regards to children brought here illegally by their parents.