Immigrant, restaurant owner encourages DACA supporters to write Utah lawmakers

Feb 6, 2018, 10:40 PM | Updated: 11:31 pm

As the deadline approaches before yet another government shutdown, immigration is again the issue holding things up. Much of the fight is over protection for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

A family of immigrants in Utah is now getting involved in the discussion. Wichai Charoen, an immigrant from Thailand, owns Laan Na Thai Restaurant and on Tuesday night, opened his doors to Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) supporters.

“I love America, I love United States,” Charoen said.

He said he wanted DACA supporters to use his space to write letters to Utah lawmakers, showing their support of continuing DACA. He said his life is better after moving to the states, something he wants others to be able to experience.

“In other countries there are no jobs, it’s hard to get a job and money,” Charoen said.

Dozens of DACA supporters filled the downtown Salt Lake City restaurant, including supporter Rachel Appel.

“These postcards are basically telling them we support DACA, we support the ‘Dreamers’, we want to increase refugee admissions, we feel that refugees and immigrants are important and valuable in this country,” Appel said.

Appel said it is a timely message considering the DACA debate continues in Washington ahead of yet another likely shutdown.

“There’s a lot of power that Utah representatives and senators have and they should use it for good,” Appel said.

The group hopes these words will be enough to convince lawmakers to support the program and, in turn, help immigrants and refugees continue to thrive in our communities.

“Having people from all corners of the world here, especially those wanting to make a great life for themselves here in the U.S., is an important part of our American culture,” said Anna Hirt, a DACA supporter.

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Immigrant, restaurant owner encourages DACA supporters to write Utah lawmakers