SALT LAKE CITY — Fourth Congressional District candidate Doug Owens vowed Wednesday to make immigration reform a top campaign priority.

Owens' announcement comes a day after Utah business, civic and religious leaders again urged Congress to deal with immigration issues.

"It’s time for Congress to set aside party politics and work together to pass real reform to our nation’s antiquated, ineffective immigration laws,” the first-time Democratic candidate said in a prepared statement. “I call upon Utah’s congressional delegation to begin working on immigration reform now, and I look forward to joining them in those efforts next year.”

Owen said he supports reform that strengthens border security, upholds the law, respects the rights of those who contribute to the economy, and includes a pathway to American citizenship.

Owens faces Republican Mia Love for the seat held by seven-term Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, who isn't seeking re-election.

Love, who narrowly lost to Matheson in 2012, favors immigration reform that secures the nation's borders and makes naturalization rules more clear. She would also offer incentives for those who enter and leave the country by charging a fee of a few thousand dollars to people who come on visas and then refund the money when they leave.

— Dennis Romboy