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In Lieu of Filling out Applications, Utah Immigrants Write Letters to Attorney General

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While a federal judge has halted President Obama’s immigration actions, Utah immigrant advocates are preparing the community for the day when those actions may move forward again. They’re also writing letters to the Utah Attorney General.

As of February 18th, the Obama administration was going to begin accepting applications for an expanded version of a program called DACA. It allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to stay in the country and work legally. Now, newly eligible immigrants will be unable to apply. Also put on hold is the action allowing undocumented parents of US citizens to apply for deferred action status. Luiz Garza is Executive Director of Comunidades Unidas.

“This is a temporary setback,” Garza says. “Ultimately we feel like it will be fully implemented in the next few months, and so we’re preparing our community for it, but definitely there is that sense of disappointment based on the judge’s decision.”

Utah is one of 26 states challenging President Obama’s executive action on immigration policy. In a statement, Attorney General Sean Reyes said he supports the order by Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Texas. Reyes made clear that he was not challenging Obama’s policy, but rather what he sees as an overreach of legal authority. Garza says it still sends the wrong signals to the immigrant community in Utah.

“We see this decision from the court as merely political, and we feel like it’s really playing with people’s lives, people’s future, especially the youth here in our state,” Garza says. “I think it definitely sends the wrong message.”

Garza says they already had immigrants registered for workshops to complete applications at their West Valley City office. They’re now using those meetings to provide information, and to write letters to the Utah Attorney General about their support for Obama’s actions.

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