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Supreme Court Tie Disappoints Immigrants, Pleases Utah GOP Leaders

Andrea Smardon
Undocumented immigrant "Blanca" with her former English teacher Idaliz Romero at Comunidades Unidas

Utah Republican leaders are applauding a Supreme Court split decision which stops President Obama’s executive actions on immigration from going into effect. Meanwhile, thousands of Utah immigrants continue to live in fear of deportation.

The Supreme Court’s 4-4 tie means that President Obama’s plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and give them the right to work legally remains blocked.

“It’s sad. It’s a sad day,” says Idaliz Romero, immigration program specialist at Comunidades Unidas in West Valley City. Romero says many of her friends and neighbors were hopeful that the President’s executive actions would help them come out of the shadows… like Blanca who asked to be identified only by her first name. She came to Utah from Mexico eight years ago and wants to be able to work legally. She has an 8-year-old child who was born here, but she also has a 13-year-old who was not.

“Her biggest fear right now is deportation,” Romero translates for Blanca. “She’s worried because it affects most of her family. There will be a separation of family, and so that’s what she’s most worried about right now.” Romero says there are about 45,000 immigrants in Utah like Blanca who would benefit from Obama’s executive actions.

Meanwhile, Utah Republican officials are applauding the divided decision. Utah was one of 26 Republican-dominated states that challenged the Obama initiatives in court. State Attorney General Sean Reyes says Utah joined the lawsuit because the President overstepped his authority.

"The governor believes that if the president would like to change a law, he should work with Congress to do so," said Jon Cox, spokesman for Governor Gary Herbert.

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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