Salt Lake Dream Team

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.  

Andrea Smardon

As the U.S. Senate begins debate on immigration reform, young immigrants with the Salt Lake DREAM Team are stepping up pressure on Senator Orrin Hatch. The DREAMers delivered letters from across the Wasatch Front calling on the Senator to keep families together and reunite those who’ve been divided by deportation.

21-year-old Itza Hernandez stands outside of Senator Orrin Hatch’s office at the federal building in Salt Lake City, and reads from a stack of about 600 letters.

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.

Andrea Smardon

A federal rule change went into effect this month allowing immigrants who arrived in the US as children to stay in the country and work legally for two years.   Immigrant advocacy groups are holding workshops all over the state to help people through the application process.