For Cuban exile Carlos Eire, coming to the U.S. as a boy was a gift but it took him a few years to realize the freedoms it afforded him. Then, a new book from journalist Gary Younge brings statistics to bear by chronicling the stories of 10 young people who were killed by gunfire on November 23, 2013.

Laura Ziegler KCUR 89-3

Taher Barazi left his parents and siblings in Damascus, Syria last month to study at Park University in Parkville, Missouri.

He's on a student visa. He's not one of 10,000 Syrian refugees who’ve come to the United States under the United States resettlement program, which just reached its quota at the end of August.

Esther Honig / KCUR 89.3

 In the small, rural city of Liberal, Kansas, a neighborhood of old trailer homes sits just off the main street. The small trailer at the end of the block, with faded yellow paint and creaky front steps, is the place 17-year-old Diego now calls home.

Kansas City is home to lots of refugee children and their families, who face trying transitions to new countries, a new language, new customs and new schools. On this edition of Up to Date, we examine their experiences and find out who helps them.


Legalization of same-sex marriage, streams of migrants flowing into Europe from war-torn Syria and the expansion of ISIS all top the list of important religion news stories this year. We look at which stories will continue to impact us in 2016 on this edition of Up to Date.


Adolfo Gustavo Martinez

When Kansas City artist Adolfo Gustavo Martinez lived in Edinburg, Texas, in the 1980s, he spent most Sundays at bars in the border towns listening to live Tex-Mex music.

He recalls with fondness being able to see people grilling and partying just across the Rio Grande River in Mexico.

“The Rio Grande Valley isn’t very wide, probably like a street,” Martinez says. “You could see them right there, right across the river.”

If you are an immigrant to this country, finding employment can be a challenge. According to a University of Kansas study, if you're an immigrant with particularly dark skin, then your chances of getting a job are that much tougher.


  • Andrea Gomez Cervantes is one of the authors of the study and a doctoral student in the Sociology Department at the University of Kansas.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

In a dimly-lit lab on the Des Moines, Iowa, public schools’ agricultural science campus, students in aprons, safety goggles and plastic gloves poke and probe chicken wings. About 15 girls and just one boy in this vet careers class are looking for ligaments, tendons, cartilage and other features of this animal part that teenagers more often experience cooked and covered in barbecue sauce.

In many school districts, immigrant students with low English comprehension aren't always immediately identified as needing ESL (English as a Second Language) courses when they enroll. A new proposal in Kansas City, Missouri would help identify these students earlier so they have access to the assistance they need. We look at this program as well as the latest trends in ESL education. 


John F. Kennedy was no King Arthur, but his life has often been compared to Camelot.

On Monday's Up to Date, we revisit Steve’s Bookshelf, a collection of books on Steve Kraske's radar right now. We talk with Thurston Clarke and Robert Dallek the authors of two different books that examine the former president’s policies. Also, author Domingo Martinez takes us into the life of a family trying to become “real” Americans on the Texas border.


Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Sister Janice Thome’s office is a 2003 brown Ford Focus with a backseat piled high with paperwork and a prayer book.

Thome puts 125,000 miles a year on this car, picking up boxes from the food pantry, finding a mattress for a newcomer, delivering a sick soul to a doctor’s appointment. All the while, she fields emergency calls on her flip phone, responding to her mission to serve the poor of Garden City, out on the plains of southwest Kansas.

This day, Thome is teaching her teen parenting class at the alternative high school.

Ayad Akhtar: American Dervish

Oct 2, 2012

A young Pakistani-American struggles to identify both as Muslim and American.

KC History: Americans by Choice

Jan 5, 2012

Coming up Friday on the Walt Bodine Show, we'll take a look at "Americans by Choice," an exhibit that tells the history of immigration and naturalization in the state of Kansas.

Kansas City, MO – Some major changes are coming to the U.S. health care system. For one, the health care overhaul passed by congress this year is supposed to expand coverage. But for immigrants trying to access health care in Kansas City and around the country, big obstacles remain.

Kansas City, Mo. – The movement for immigrants' rights has been held back by the fact that many illegal immigrants are reluctant to advocate openly for their cause. But this week, a small group of young immigrants, some of whom are undocumented, began a high-stakes campaign of civil disobedience.