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Utah Immigrants Eagerly Anticipating President's Speech

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.  

White House officials have said that President Obama will maximize the use of his authority to extend temporary legal status to more than 5 million undocumented immigrants. That is good news to Ella Mendoza, a 24-year-old undocumented immigrant and member of the Salt Lake Dream Team.

“I just want to be able to wake up in the morning and know that I’m safe,” Mendoza says. “I mean, we’ve been waiting on change for so long. To hear just overnight the idea that all of our hopes and dreams might actually come true, this is quite overwhelming.” 

But members of Utah’s congressional delegation have indicated that they oppose the administration’s plan. Representatives Chris Stewart and Rob Bishop signed a letter this week along with 33 other House Republicans asking the president not to take executive action on immigration reform and urging him to work with Congress instead.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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