Utahn advocating for immigration reform in Washington

- WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC 4 Utah) – A Salt Lake City area resident, pushing for immigration reform, is hoping to sway Congress as the Senate is set to begin their debate over the bi-partisan immigration reform bill.

Jesus Loya considers himself an American after being in the U.S. for 16 years. He works with a group of accredited investors who facilitate investments for large companies in Park City. Loya said his work creates jobs and contributes to Utah’s economy. Plus, he pays taxes and has for several years.

Loya has a work permit, but because of an outdated and backlogged immigration system, his future remains unclear. He is currently waiting for a response from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on his EB2 visa petition. His son and sisters are U.S. citizens, while his parents and other sisters have their green cards.

Loya arrived in Salt Lake City in 1997 as an undocumented teenager. He held two jobs and graduated from Park City High School in 2000 at age 16.

After Utah’s version of the Dream Act passed in 2002, Loya attended the University of Utah. He graduated with honors and holds two STEM degrees in Electrical Engineering. He also has an MBA.

Loya traveled to Washington D.C. to catch the attention of Congress as he advocates for immigration reform. He wants the Dream Act to become a reality across the nation as part of the bi-partisan immigration bill.

“Just imagine what the dreamers could do if they were given the opportunity to earn citizenship,” Loya said.

Loya said immigration reform needs to happen. He is part of a campaign called “The Dream is Now,” a documentary following the stories of children of undocumented immigrants and the obstacles they face in a broken immigration system.

He said immigration reform can help Utah’s economy.

“It’s good for Utah,” he said. “It will create jobs.”

Senator Orrin Hatch’s response to the bi-partisan immigration bill is positive, but he believes amendments need to be made before he gives his full support.

Senator Mike Lee is opposed to the bill and has reportedly likened it to an immigration version of “Obamacare.”

Loya said immigration reform will not be an easy fight, but he believes it can pass.

The Senate is set to debate the immigration bill on Tuesday. If the bill passes in the Senate, it moves on to the House.

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