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Obama's Immigration Speech Leads To High Hopes, Questions From Local Immigrant Group


Thursday night, President Barack Obama will lay out his plan to overhaul America’s immigration system. 

Here’s how the president announced the speech.

The steps the president takes will have a direct affect here in North Carolina.

Despite being far from the border states most associated with illegal immigration, North Carolina has the 9th largest population of undocumented workers in the nation. "The undocumented population of North Carolina hovers around 350,000," says Armando Bellmas of the Latin American Coalition in Charlotte.

Bellmas is not sure what to expect from the speech. "There’s been a lot of back and forth about what the president might say, what the president might act on, what he has the authority to act on."

But that doesn’t mean Bellmas and the Latin-American community don’t have expectations. For years, President Obama has been promising to reform an immigration system just about everyone sees as dysfunctional. In 2012, the president stopped the deportation of some young immigration who were brought to the United States as children. Now, Bellmas says, they’re hoping the president will build on that. "We want him to do the same thing for adults so we can defer any kind of deportation," until such a time as Congress decides to act on immigration reform. This, says Bellmas, would allow those who's deportation was differed to "qualify for some kind of status and a work permit of some sort."

To allow them to legally do the work many are already doing.