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Call for immigration reform in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 News) – Immigration reform hits close to home for Jean-Louis Montecot.
SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 News) – Immigration reform hits close to home for Jean-Louis Montecot.

Montecot said he has many friends in Utah who are undocumented.

“They want to work,” he said. “They want a living, a better living.”

Montecot said he came to the U.S. from France in 1986 and soon got a work visa. He is now a chef in Sugarhouse.

He said things would change if all undocumented people were deported in Salt Lake and even Park City.

“The city would shut down in two minutes,” he said, referring to Park City. “There would be no more hotel, no more taxi, no more anything.”

Heads of several Chamber of Commerces in Utah said Tuesday foreign engineers and scientists are being turned away because of the nation’s immigration policies that limit the number of visas issued each year.

Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce President Lane Beattie said he is disappointed in Senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch who have delayed the process for comprehensive immigration reform.

Matt Hakaral, Press Secretary for Senator Hatch released a statement to ABC 4 News.

In part it reads:

“Lane Beattie’s comments are disappointing and frustrating, especially considering he hasn’t discussed this with Sen. Hatch. The fact is that Sen. Hatch has and continues to push for immigration reform – with several of his legislative efforts having become law.”

According the Hakaral, Hatch recently introduced the Immigration Innovation Act which reforms reforms the high-skilled immigration system, including the quantity of employment-based nonimmigrant visas (H-1B visas).

Yet, attorney Mark Alvarez said this legislation ignores the undocumented laborers.

“If Hatch is not willing to speak about what should be done with the 11 million people who are living in the United States without documents he has no business talking about being in favor of truly addressing the immigration challenges of this country,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez applauded Beattie for his harsh comments to the senators. He said Utah is moving in the right direction and must find a way to keep families together.

Montecot said that is all his friends want.

“I hope people remember that we all come from somewhere,” Montecot added. “This country was built on immigrants.”

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