Politicians and party leaders seek common ground on immigration reform

Both the Democratic and Republican parties are facing critical moments in the hotly debated issue of immigration reform. People with close ties to the government are looking toward party leaders for guidance, while those seeking political office are trying to uphold or oppose incumbents’ stance on the issue. Although the majority of Congress is in favor of immigration reform, the methods of transforming immigration law policies are difficult to agree upon.

In Utah, the potential successors of Rep. James Matheson will debate a variety of hot topics, chief among them immigration reform. The popular nominee for the Democratic Party is Doug Owens, who announced his candidacy to represent Utah’s 4th congressional district on May 14. Republican Mia Love, the former mayor of Saratoga Springs, will oppose Owens’s run.

Owens has promised Utah voters he will take decisive action to push immigration reform forward. He believes, like the majority of Democrats, the focus of Congress’s efforts should be paving ways for immigrants to earn citizenship .

“It’s time for Congress to set aside party politics and work together to pass real reform to our nation’s antiquated, ineffective immigration laws,” Owens said in a statement. “I call upon Utah’s congressional delegation to begin working on immigration reform now, and I look forward to joining them in those efforts next year.”

While Owens is working the Democratic side of the issue, Love represents the values of the majority of Republicans. She wants to increase border security while making it easier for immigrants to earn citizenship. Her stance on what to do with undocumented immigrants who are already living in the U.S. – deportation and no amnesty – is not shared by every Republican Party supporter.

Sal Russo, co-founder of the group Tea Party Express, published an op-ed piece in Roll Call on May 14 that expressed the need for conservatives in the Republican Party to agree on some kind of immigration reform immediately. Russo also supports the concept of allowing the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S. to become citizens, provided they meet several requirements including passing background checks and being able to speak English.