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Salt Lake City Joins Legal Brief in Support of President Obama’s Immigration Actions

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Salt Lake City announced Friday that it’s one of 84 communities filing a brief to the US Supreme Court in support of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. This puts Salt Lake in direct opposition to the state of Utah, which joined Texas in the lawsuit to halt the president’s actions.

In its brief, the group of cities and counties is urging the Supreme Court to review an order by a district court judge to halt implementation of the president’s actions on immigration. Yolanda Francisco-Nez is the Coordinator for Salt Lake City’s Office of Diversity and Human Rights. She says the executive actions - if allowed to proceed - would shield certain undocumented immigrants from deportation.

“It’s people who live in our community, who are hard-working people, who are honest, who would pass a background check, and meet other specific criteria,” Francisco-Nez says. “These are individuals who are already productive and live in our society.”

Mayor Ralph Becker said in a statement, “It’s time for our country’s humanity to proceed with a solid immigration plan that allows for families to integrate and help people thrive in their local community.” Tony Yapias, a coordinator with Proyecto Latino de Utah, says the support from Salt Lake City is heartening.

“We are so pleased to hear to hear that the mayor and other and cities and counties are supporting it,” Yapias says. “I was just talking to some families when we heard the news, and they feel like their hopes are being raised by the actions that are being taken right now.”

Yapias says the immigrant community was feeling discouraged at this time last year, when Attorney General Sean Reyes announced that Utah would be joining the lawsuit in support of Texas to halt Obama’s executive action on immigration. Officials in the Attorney General’s office were not able to provide an interview in time for this broadcast. The lawsuit claims that President Obama exceeded his constitutional authority by acting without congressional approval.

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