undocumented 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.”

As Congress considers pressing issues like Syria, the debt limit, and the Affordable Care Act, there is some question whether the House will pass immigration legislation before the end of the year.  After the Senate passed a landmark comprehensive bill in June, the House is under pressure to respond. Utah’s congressional delegation came home and talked with many of their constituents about the issue over the summer, but it’s still an open question how the state’s representatives will address undocumented immigrants.

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.