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Cox: Federal government failing states on immigration ‘at every turn’

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Cox: Federal government failing states on immigration ‘at every turn’


Utah Gov. Spencer Cox criticized the Biden administration for failing Americans “at every turn” on the issue of immigration law enforcement during a PBS press conference on Thursday.

Confirming previous Deseret News reporting, Cox said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement chooses not to transfer all migrants who break state law after entering the country illegally to detention centers in Nevada and instead releases some of them back into the community.

The state could hold these “lawbreakers” beyond the time prescribed by the criminal justice system, giving ICE time to initiate deportation proceedings, “but the Biden administration has put these rules in place that make it impossible for our jails to do that,” Cox said. “It’s deeply frustrating and it’s frustrating to our sheriffs.”

Does Utah hold migrants who break the law?

Migrants in the country illegally who are arrested for criminal charges are held in Utah jails and processed through the Utah justice system like any other offender, the Deseret News has reported.

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“We are detaining migrants who enter illegally and commit crimes,” Cox said.

Prior to the release of criminal offenders who are in the country illegally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is notified. Following their release, the migrants are turned over to ICE officers who are supposed to take them to official detention centers.

But there are no ICE detention centers in Utah largely because of onerous Biden administration requirements regarding the holding of detainees, as the Deseret News previously reported. There are Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers in southern Nevada that serve ICE offices in Utah, Idaho and Montana, Cox said.

“The federal government is supposed to transport these illegal immigrants, these law breakers, back to those holding facilities where they can then be processed,” Cox said.

But that has not been happening in every case, leading the Salt Lake City Field Office to issue a quickly retracted memo that labeled Utah a sanctuary state last year — a claim that has been repeated by multiple political candidates, including Cox’ primary challenger, state Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding.

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Why isn’t there an ICE detention facility in Utah?

Utah officials have offered up multiple facilities for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to rent for the purpose of properly processing migrants here illegally who break state law, Cox said.

“We would love to have a holding facility here. And we have made several offers to to make that easier so there isn’t this backlog when it comes to transportation,” Cox said. “And they’ve turned down our offers. Unfortunately, I think they like the problem and like exacerbating the problem. And that’s deeply frustrating.”

After meeting with the Department of Public Safety, the sheriff’s association, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, and even reaching out directly to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Cox said, “We’re getting to a better place.”

Cox said that while the agency does need more resources to enforce U.S. immigration law, “they could do more with the resources they have.”

“The federal government, when it comes to border security, when it comes to processing illegal immigrants, when it comes to deporting those who have broken the law, they are failing this country at every turn,” Cox said. “And it’s not a Utah thing. It’s happening in every state.”

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Utah

Former North American leaders descend on SLC for international trade conference

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Former North American leaders descend on SLC for international trade conference


Utah’s rising prominence as a player in the global business landscape was the focus of a Thursday conference in Salt Lake City that included an impressive roster of domestic and international leaders including former President George W. Bush, former Mexican President Vicente Fox and past Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Natalie Gochnour, associate dean for the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business and director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, told attendees of the Crossroads of the World Summit at downtown’s Grand America hotel that Utah had already established itself as the crossroads of the West and was building an argument for a more ascendant position.

“What I do know is we’re the undisputed crossroads of the West and that’s the seed corn for being the crossroads of the world,” Gochnour said.

Gochnour shared data that reflects Utah’s outsize performance when it comes to global trade, including a comparison of the state’s rankings of 30th in the country in terms of population, 29th largest economy but 16th on a basis of per capita export values.

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Gochnour also pointed out that, among western states, Utah has the third highest per capita export ranking, even beating out economic powerhouse California.

“It’s a pretty big punch,” Gochnour said.

While Bush was among the marquee speakers at Thursday’s event, the former president’s presentation was closed to media.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox quipped about his role as the state’s CBO — Chief Bragging Officer — and shared an anecdote from a recent trip to Vancouver, B.C., where he attended a TED conference.

Cox said he shared a dinner table with a well-known hedge fund billionaire, who he declined to identify, who said Utah’s most powerful built-in asset was the shared characteristics of its residents as smart, hard-working people who prioritize their families.

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“Those are Utah values and they used to be American values,” Cox said. “Utah is what America used to be and, I hope, what it can be again.

“I can say those things (about Utah) but to hear it from someone else … I thought a lot about that conversation.”

This story will be updated.

From left, former Mexican President Vicente Fox and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speak with Mark Garfield at the Crossroads of the World International Trade Summit at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Thursday, May 23, 2024. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News



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Kicking off Utah’s summer festival season with some great food

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Kicking off Utah’s summer festival season with some great food


This article is excerpted from the Utah Eats newsletter, compiled by Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune’s food and drink reporter. To get the full newsletter in your inbox every Wednesday, become a subscriber by going to sltrib.com/newsletters.

Hello, Eaters!

Last weekend was the Living Traditions Festival in downtown Salt Lake City — which is not only the kickoff to the city’s summer festival season but also an opportunity to try foods from a lot of different countries.

Walking into the festival’s food market on 200 East, I started in the Basque region of northern Spain and ordered some croquetas (pictured at top) from the Basque Club of Utah. (Side note: Fried foods are the perfect walking-around food. Don’t ask me why.)

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These croquetas came fresh out of the fryer, the panko crumbs on the outside perfectly crispy and leaving a sheen of oil on my fingers. On the inside, the croquetas were soft, something like grits or funeral potatoes, with chopped bits of ham scattered throughout.

(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) People walk around at the Living Tradition Festival on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

(You can get Basque-style croquetas at Finca, at 1513 S. 1500 East, or at Finca – Pinxtos Bar, at 126 S. Regent St., both in Salt Lake City.)

I didn’t realize I was craving noodles until I saw the sign from the Thai Association of Utah, advertising pad thai. I know pad thai is available at many Thai restaurants in Salt Lake City — such as Laan Na Thai, at 336 W. 300 South, and Sawadee, at 754 E. South Temple — but I was just following my taste buds at that point.

(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The pad thai from the Thai Association of Utah, shown at the Living Tradition Festival on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

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In the dining tent on Washington Square, my dining companion and I traded bites of pad thai (pictured above) and adobo pork and rice from Kubo Express, a Filipino food vendor. In talking with the man at the booth, we learned that Kubo Express is going to be vending at the 47th annual Utah Asian Festival on June 8 at the Utah State Fairpark — and may even be roasting a whole pig.

After some walking around, we ordered a second lunch from the Italian-American Civic League, which I’ll talk more about below.

To end the day, we got some beignets (pictured above) from Mama Africa, which sells food from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The beignets, also called mikaté, were sprinkled with powdered sugar and tasted like fried clouds. (To have beignets brought to your house, look up “Mama Beignet” on your favorite food-delivery app.)

(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Beignets from Mama Africa, shown at the Living Tradition Festival on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

Half of the fun of eating at Living Traditions is doing so in the dining tent, where dozens of people are eating together. You get to people-watch and catch snippets of conversation, and hear what people think about the food.

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If you missed the Living Traditions Festival this year, make it a point to attend next year. A lot of these businesses and vendors don’t have their own restaurants or food trucks, so events like this are often people’s only chance to sample their food. And if you like the food from a particular ethnic association or nonprofit, support them on social media.

Live deliciously,

Kolbie

Food News

(Jinya Ramen Bar) The nasu miso, a new menu item from Jinya Ramen Bar.

• Jinya Ramen Bar, which has locations in Salt Lake City (675 E. 2100 South), Lehi (3725 Thanksgiving Way) and Murray (5905 S. State St.), has some new items on its menu, according to a news release.

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These include corn tempura, which is ribs of corn fried in a crisp tempura batter; a vegan kids menu, which includes a vegan rice bowl, Impossible Tacos and vegan ramen; and nasu miso (pictured above), an eye-catching dish made with fried eggplant, Brussels sprouts and red bell pepper dressed in spicy miso, served in an eggplant cup and garnished with bok choy and bonito flakes. The nasu miso is available starting Saturday, June 1.

• Mar | Muntanya, at 170 S. West Temple St. on the sixth floor of the Hyatt Regency, has some new menu items for spring. Inspired by the Basque region of northern Spain, like all of Mar | Muntanya’s menu, these new dishes include scallop escabeche with Iberico bacon; octopus asador; albondigas Basquaise, which are Basque-style meatballs made with elk, bison and Wagyu beef; and Iberico pork ribs with sweet and sour sauce. Reservations are available via Tock.

Les Amis du Vin Utah, a nonprofit social club that focuses on the appreciation of food and wine, is welcoming new members, said Jim Van Kovics, chair of the club’s board. Active since 1976, Les Amis du Vin Utah meets every couple of months at different clubs and restaurants in the Salt Lake City area to socialize, dine and sample wine. All levels of wine tasting experience are welcome.

The club’s next event will be held at Kimi’s Chop and Oyster House (4699 S. Highland Drive, Holladay) on Sunday, June 9. The deadline to make a reservation is Saturday, June 1; admission is $95 per person for members, and $102 per person for guests. If you’re interested in learning more about wine and meeting like-minded people, annual club membership dues are $35, which includes a one-year subscription to Wine Enthusiast magazine. For more information, visit ladv-utah.org.

• If you want to learn even more about wine, join Club Veneto, the wine club of Veneto Ristorante Italiano, at 370 E. 900 South in Salt Lake City. For $300 a year, you’ll get access to members-only dinners; Veneto’s “online wine cellar” with interviews, educational content and more; merchandise; vineyard tours; exclusive tasting notes; and live calls with wine experts, plus other perks. Also, Veneto will place special wine orders on your behalf through the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services. For more information, visit VenetoSLC.com.

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(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The sausage sandwich from the Italian-American Civic League, shown at the Living Tradition Festival on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

After our first round of lunch at the Living Traditions Festival, we visited the Italian-American Civic League for the second round.

I ordered the sausage sandwich (pictured above) and cannoli (pictured below), and we took them into the dining tent to enjoy at the communal tables.

Made up of a slightly spicy sausage slathered in chunky tomato sauce on a bun and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, this sandwich was meaty and satisfying. I loved it.

(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Cannoli from the Italian-American Civic League, shown at the Living Traditions Festival on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

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The mini cannoli, with the ricotta filling and chocolate chips, ended the meal on a deliciously sweet note.

(There are several good Italian sandwich places around town, but we are fond of Caputo’s Market and Deli — which has locations in downtown Salt Lake City, 15th and 15th, and Holladay. And Carlucci’s Bakery, which is next door to the downtown Caputo’s, has cannoli among its many treats.)



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Utah family praying for recovery after son's near-drowning in creek

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Utah family praying for recovery after son's near-drowning in creek


SALT LAKE CITY — A central Utah family is hoping for a miracle for their little boy who disappeared into a creek and was rescued a mile downstream in Beaver County.

Three-year-old Levi Wright is hospitalized at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City after being found in the water unresponsive.

Little Levi is a precious little cowboy to his family.

Levi Wright, 3, vanished into a creek and was rescued a mile downstream. (Courtesy Wright family)

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“He is everything a 3-year-old boy should be,” family friend Mindy Clark said. “He’s obsessed with the T-Rexes. He loves root beer … He loves tractors,” she said during a Zoom interview with KSL TV Wednesday.

Clark said her best friend and Levi’s mom, Kallie Wright, was watching her son play on his tractor Tuesday outside the family’s home when she ran inside for a minute to check on her 9-month-old baby.

That split-second, Mindy explained, was all it took for Levi to end up in the creek on the edge of the property that he normally stays away from.
“By the time she had turned around and come back, he was gone. And, you know, little kids, they’re fast,” Clark said.

a woman holds a child in a hospital bed

Kallie and Spencer Wright with their son Levi in a hospital. (Courtesy Wright family)

She said because of spring runoff, the creek is running higher and with a heavier flow than normal.

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“She had seen his tractor overturned and immediately dialed 911, and hopped in the water and started looking for him,” Clark explained.

The frantic search that included first responders led to finding Levi. Clark said he was about a mile downstream when he was pulled out of the water.

She said they started performing life-saving measures before Levi was flown by medical helicopter to Primary Children’s.

At first, Clark said the family was planning end-of-care, thinking Levi wouldn’t make it.

“Oh, every emotion,” Clark said, pausing as tears welled up in her eyes. “There’s nothing in life that prepares a parent for this.”

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But on Wednesday morning, she said Levi was more responsive than doctors anticipated and they wanted to give him more time. Clark drove up from Arizona Wednesday to be with the family.

Levi’s dad, Spencer Wright, is well-known in the rodeo world as a professional saddle bronc rider. Many people across the country in that community are organizing fundraisers and events for the family.

As mom and dad hope their cowboy can make it through, Clark said everyone’s prayers are helping them stay strong and positive.

“Just waiting for that that glimmer of hope,” she said, “that the miracle is going to happen.”

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