Thursday seven university leaders sent a joint letter to the Utah U.S. House delegation calling for immigration reform to be passed this year.
The letter was signed by: David W. Pershing, Ph.D. President, University of Utah; Charles A. Wight, President, Weber State University; Stan L. Albrecht, President, Utah State University; Scott L. Wyatt, President, Snow College; Stephen D. Nadauld, Ph.D., President, Dixie State University; Brian Levin-Stankevich, Ph.D., President, Westminster College and Rich Kendell, President, Southern Utah University.
Westminster College President Brian Levin-Stankevich told ABC 4 Utah, "We've got a whole multiple of generations now of young people who have grown up in this country and have done everything we've asked of them in terms of being good Americans and they want to do even more, but can't because they don't have the opportunity."
Becoming their best selves and paving the way for a successful future is the goal of many undocumented citizens.
Genesis Chacin is the Vice President of Latinos in Action at the University of Utah. She explained, "These are kids who want an education, who want to succeed, who want to make an impact on society and in our community.”
She says undocumented youth are an untapped resource in U.S.
"We could have engineers, doctors, you know, because that's what we want and it's hard if we can't get an education,” said Chacin.
The sweeping immigration overhaul cleared by the Senate with strong bipartisan support would offer a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, expand visas for low-skilled workers and impose the toughest enforcement measures in U.S. history.
Levin-Stankevich said, "We need to put the politics aside and get something done that's going to benefit not only the country and people, but it's going to benefit the economy of Utah."
Representative Jason Chaffetz is among the group of Utah representatives the university presidents are pleading with. During a town hall meeting last month, Chaffetz explained that he wants to see an immigration bill passed, but not the current one approve by the Senate back in June.
Chaffetz said, "There should be a pathway to citizenship, not a special pathway and not no pathway, but there has to be a legal lawful way to go through this process that works and right now it doesn't."
But Utah’s higher education leaders feel that special pathway has already been paved.
Levin-Stankevich said, "It's a question of being fair to the people who have helped to get us to where we are, who are carrying their share of the burden of our workforce and we need to give them the opportunity to change the history of their families so they can prosper in the future as well."