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Hispanic, Immigrant Communities Concerned About Potential Immigration Raids

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Every organization has them.


And many times, they aren’t very exciting.

However, when Utah’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce invited Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill to speak about the state’s new Hate Crimes law, that got plenty of attention.

“We are that bridge where they’re able to feel comfortable and feel safe and get the right information,” said Sbeidy Mora, who is an executive assistant for Utah’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

You could see as soon as you walked into the building there wasn’t much room for everyone who wanted to hear him.

What you couldn’t see is how many in the Hispanic and immigrant community feel about the current political climate.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty. A lot of fear that we see in the community,” said Luis Garza.

Garza is the Executive Director of Comunidades Unidas, an immigration right group, and says maybe more than ever, he’s hearing those concerns from members of the immigrant community.

“People are not sure whether their family might be separated or whether people might be affected by the detentions,” said Garza.

A lot of that worry comes from the planned immigration raids across the country.

“Based on what we have heard, the cities listed doesn’t include any city here in Utah,” said Garza. “But there’s always concerns in terms of the current operations or expansions of the operations of ICE here in Utah.”

If nothing else, Garza hopes the attention on immigration will encourage lawmakers to fix the issue and make coming to the United States legally easier.

“It is possible for us to build bridges instead of building walls,” said Garza.

It’s also why Gill spoke about hate crimes; to build those bridges in the Hispanic community.

He wants everyone to know that anybody attacked for simply being different is now against the law.

No matter what.

“My job is not to have immigration debates,” said Gill. “My job is to figure out how to deliver a message of justice, and that’s what my focus is.”

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