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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah House Democrats urged President Donald Trump in a letter referencing Mormon pioneers Tuesday to continue to resettle refugees in the United States and honor the 2019 admissions ceiling.
"It is only moral and right that we commit to help newcomers from around the world who have escaped life-threatening circumstances to begin building new lives for themselves and their families," said the letter signed by the 13 Democrats in the House.
The White House is considering another reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled in the country. Trump set the number for 2019 at 45,000, a historical low. Some in the Trump administration are pushing for a cap of 25,000 refugees, a more than 40 percent cut from this year’s limit.
Utahns, the letter says, have an exceptional understanding of the importance of welcoming persecuted peoples and offering them safe haven.
"Generations ago, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who also experienced oppression and hardship, sought refuge in what is now Utah," the House Democrats wrote.
Utah has benefited economically and socially by welcoming more than 65,000 refugees over the years. They have proven to be an asset to their new communities but could not have achieved it alone. In the past two years, 5,000 volunteers have stepped up to help new Americans in receiving sanctuary, opportunities to rebuild their lives and thrive, according to the letter.
The letter also mentions the Utah Compact, a document the state's political, business, civic and religious leaders signed in 2010 outlining principles to guide immigration reform, including urging federal solutions, keeping families together and the economic role immigrants play.
"Maintaining our commitments to welcoming a reasonable number of refugees is consistent with these values," House Democrats wrote.
The letter says that the majority of resettled refugees in Utah communities are hardworking, entrepreneurial and family-focused people who share the state's values.
"Like most Utahns, they want safe communities, they are patriotic, they cherish the freedoms and opportunities America provides, and they want the best futures possible for their children," according to House Democrats.
In addition to Trump, the letter is addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielson.