immigrants

Office of Senator Orrin Hatch

Republicans in Utah’s congressional delegation have uniformly condemned President Obama’s executive action extending temporary legal status to some 5 million undocumented immigrants. But Senator Orrin Hatch says he plans to rectify the situation.

Photo courtesy Tony Yapias

Immigrants will be gathering at a community center in Salt Lake City Thursday evening to watch President Obama make his much anticipated announcement about immigration.

Tony Yapias, director of Proyecto Latino de Utah, says he’s expecting a celebration at Centro Civico Mexicano after the President’s announcement.

“I’m sure we’ll be seeing a log of hugs and joyfulness in our community, just for them to finally see something happen for their families,” Yapias says.  

Courtesy photo

The Utah Labor Commission and the Mexican Consulate are using Labor Day to raise awareness about the work rights of immigrants. Elena Bensor is a Public Information Officer for the Utah Labor Commission, and she says many people don’t know that undocumented immigrants have labor rights.

“It is illegal for the employer not to pay the wages that they are owed,” Bensor says. “Also, employees have the right to medical assistance when they do suffer a work-related accident, regardless of their status.”

Salt Lake County

A jailed man accused of sexually abusing teenage immigrant boys and forcing them to deal drugs is dead. The Salt Lake County Sheriff says that authorities found 42-year-old Victor Manuel Rax hanging in his cell Monday night, and they believe he committed suicide.

Andrea Smardon

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have served in the US Armed Forces, but not everyone who wants to serve can. Some undocumented immigrants in Utah wish they had the opportunity to enlist in the military, and they’re hoping Congress can help. 

Angelica Rodriguez came to Utah just before her sixth birthday from the Mexican state of Veracruz. By the time she was a teenager, her dream was to serve in the US armed forces. She says she wanted to help and protect people, especially during natural disasters.

As the debate on immigration reform continues in the US Senate, immigrants in Salt Lake City held a press conference and vigil Wednesday night urging Senator Orrin Hatch to support legislation that creates a path to citizenship and keeps families together.  

The event was organized by the Salt Lake DREAM team, immigrant young people who want a chance to earn their citizenship through college or military service. In their stories, what you hear are dreams deferred.