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The City Journals

Mayor and city council sign resolution welcoming immigrants and refugees

Apr 03, 2017 09:10AM ● By Kelly Cannon

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

The South Salt Lake Mayor and City Council signed a resolution welcoming immigrants and refugees into the city after a slight modification in wording was made during the Feb. 22 meeting. The resolution was first introduced in the Feb. 8 meeting.

The resolution began with a letter from Mayor Cherie Wood, dated Jan. 31. In the letter, Wood said South Salt Lake is fortunate enough to have a diverse population and it is her priority to ensure the city is both an equitable and just community.

“I know many of you have family and friends in the countries affected by President (Donald) Trump’s executive order regarding immigrants and refugees,” Wood said in her letter. “I want you to know that you are welcome here and that I care deeply about your safety and well-being.”

Wood said residents have built a way of life in the city that honors and recognizes everyone who lives, works and worships in the city and there are programs and services available to everyone to ensure everyone has access to equitable education, resources to help people succeed and are free from oppression.

“My staff, our partners and I are here to serve you and keep you safe. We are pushing forward toward equity and justice for you and for all,” Wood said. “More than ever before, we have the opportunity to reach out to one another in friendship and understanding, and together to build an even stronger community on the foundation of all our collective will, talents, gifts, skills and strengths.”

The resolution itself outlines that the United States is strengthened by including immigrants and refugees and defines refugees as being people who do not choose to leave their home but are forced to flee from persecution and terror in their native countries.

“It is the goal of South Salt Lake and its many partners to provide critical services to newly arrived refugees and help them become self-sufficient,” the resolution read. “As a city, we must continue to uphold the tradition of offering assistance and creating pathways to those who are most vulnerable and persecuted in the world.”

A slight change was made in the resolution that removed the word “all” from a sentence that referred to immigrants and refugees. The sentence now reads, “South Salt Lake is a city made up of and proud of our great diversity and welcomes immigrants and refugees from all over the world.” The change was requested by Councilman Shane Siwik.

“The reason why I asked Cherie to take that out was because today I got a call from a reporter who read that and asked if that meant illegal immigrants being all. I gave him my personal take on it and said I’m not going to represent the whole group,” Siwik said. “We figured it was an easy fix to take out the word ‘all’ because it’s still welcoming to immigrants and refugees.”

South Salt Lake City Attorney Lyn Creswell addressed the issue by saying in the future, these types of things could be accomplished by a proclamation since proclamations do not need this kind of legislative activity.

“You could all agree to support the mayor or the mayor could support you and you could have a proclamation and you wouldn’t have to go through this process,” Creswell said. “Just for some future messaging you might want to do, it’s another way of doing it.”