Immigrant Family Justice

Utah has a long-standing commitment to immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers.

This brief provides an overview of immigrant families and children in our state, current political and policy issues affecting immigrant families, and how this impacts the mental health of Utah immigrant children. By reviewing both short and long-term consequences of current immigration policies on children’s mental health, we conclude with recommendations that can mitigate obstacles Utah immigrant children and families face to their mental and emotional well-being.

Download the entire brief by clicking here or checking below.

Published in News & Blog

Several weeks ago, threatening statements were made by the Trump Administration to ramp up deportations. Today, news outlets including The New York Times have reported that scheduled neighborhood ICE raids will begin this Sunday, July 14th in selected cities.

Voices for Utah Children is a non-profit advocacy organization that aims to influence policies, raise awareness, and provide data-driven research to support all children in our state, regardless of immigration status. We continue to oppose this threat that targets immigrant families and creates more fear to community members in our state.

We continue to wait for additional details regarding this operation and understand that as of now, no Utah cities are on the list. However, we understand that raids and threats of raids directly impact our state. Operations such as this run counter to the values we uphold in our state. Raids add to the climate of fear for immigrant families pushing children and parents to be more likely to miss school, work, church services, doctors’ appointments, and more. Research shows that children are negatively affected by raids, especially those who witness arrests in a home setting, being more likely to suffer from mental and behavioral health issues.

Voices for Utah Children will continue to oppose measures like this that aim to separate and bring terror to our immigrant neighbors, colleagues, friends, and loved ones.  We are proud to continue being a part of the Enriching Utah Coalition to promote dialogue and policies that reflect human rights and dignity for all, including immigrants and refugees. We continue to call on our local officials to speak out against this plan and support immigrant families impacted by deportations and raids.  


Published in News & Blog

June 10, 2019

Today Councilmember Shireen Ghorbani presented “A Resolution of the Salt Lake County Council Urging Utah’s Federal Delegation to Take Action on Immigration Reform that Reflects Salt Lake County’s Commitment As a Certified Welcoming County.” to the Salt Lake County Council. Moe Hickey, Executive Director of Voices for Utah Children urges the Council to vote in favor of the Resolution. The PDF version of this letter can be found at bottom of this page.

RE: Letter of Support for Proposed Salt Lake Co. Resolution Urging Action on Immigration Reform

To Whom It May Concern:

I am pleased to write this letter of support on behalf of our organization, Voices for Utah Children. We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization that advocates for policies and programs that produce great outcomes for Utah kids. We are based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and have been doing our good work for more than 30 years. Through research and policy analysis, we make a difference in kids’ lives. Kids can’t vote, but they are greatly impacted by changes to policy made by elected leaders. That is why Voices for Utah Children works to raise awareness, influence policy and unite our community on behalf of those kids.

Policies that are welcoming and inclusive of all children, regardless of their citizenship or that of their parents, are critical to ensuring children’s health, safety and success. Through our research and advocacy, we have found that expressing public support for immigrant families (regardless of official documentation) is an important avenue for encouraging community engagement and family investment. That is why we advocate for all children, not just native-born youth. 

In addition, immigrants are among our colleagues, friends, neighbors, peers and loved ones. Immigrants are members of our communities, and they are working alongside us to advocate for the wellbeing of all Utah children, no matter their country of origin. We wish to honor their past, present and future contributions to our work on behalf of children, and we encourage any effort to offer public support for their inclusion in our communities. 

To that end, we strongly support the proposed resolution, as presented by Councilperson Shireen Ghorbani, entitled “A Resolution of the Salt Lake County Council Urging Utah’s Federal Delegation to Take Action on Immigration Reform that Reflects Salt Lake County’s Commitment As a Certified Welcoming County.” 

Please vote in favor of this resolution, without amendments that attempt to separate our immigrant neighbors into categories of “undocumented” or “documented.”

Good policy does not distinguish between children based on where they were born, or how they arrived in our community. We hope that your vote will reflect this understanding. 


Moe Hickey

Executive Director

Voices for Utah Children 



Published in News & Blog
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