immigration

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Both Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in Kansas have seen their Latino population grow in the past 25 years. And though the highest concentration of Latinos in Kansas City live in Wyandotte County, the number of Latinos living in both counties is about the same, nearly 40,000 people.

The population is growing at a rate that's fairly new to Johnson County, whose Latino population has nearly doubled in the past 15 years. I talked to Latinos living in both counties about the opportunities and differences between life in both counties.

Johnson County native Sonia Nazario won a Pulitzer Prize for her series in the LA Times chronicling one Honduran teen's journey to the United States to find his mother.  On this edition of Up To Date, Steve Kraske speaks with Nazario about the risks she took to get the story, and the ongoing struggle of immigrants and families in Central America. 

On Thursday, The Village Square’s Kansas City group hosted a panel discussion on immigration titled, “Beyond the Melting Pot: Tossed Salad or Fortress America?” The public forum featured Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who’s made headlines around the country with his focus on illegal immigration. 

Also on the panel were:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

In November, President Obama announced sweeping changes to immigration policy via executive action.

The action, which protects about 4.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States from deportation, has been met with controversy nationwide.

But Hispanic communities in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., say the measure is a step in the right direction.

Esther Honig / for Harvest Public Media

On a warm October afternoon Veronica Jaramillo walks through rows of skinny apple trees on the orchard where she works as the sun sinks behind rolling Missouri hills.

The 30 year-old migrant farmworker reaches into a tree on the Waverly, Mo., orchard, and in one fluid motion, picks a Golden Delicious apple.

“I don’t like picking the Golden,” laughs Jaramillo. “They’re real delicate and you can bruise them with just your fingertips.”

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Bear Creek Dairy in Brooklyn, Iowa, is home to more than 1,100 cows, who provide about 100,000 pounds of milk each day. The 15-year-old farmer who works closely with the farm’s calves comes from a long line of dairymen – in Europe.

Five years ago, Teun Boelen’s parents sold their farm in the Netherlands and bought a dairy in southeast Iowa because, as his mother explains it, there was no room for their old farm to grow.  

In the last year, there was a nearly 100% increase in the number of unaccompanied child migrants crossing the United States-Mexico border. The result has been a humanitarian crisis on the border, a crisis that has an impact throughout the country, including in Kansas City.

 

Guests: 

  • Jennifer Harbury, immigration attorney, author and human rights advocate
  • Angela Williams, Kansas City immigration attorney, Angela L. Williams, LLC
unbound.org

As the U.S. struggles with the thousands of "border kids" crossing its southern boundaries, one organization in Kansas City, Kansas is working with families in Latin America to help children remain in their own communities.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Update, 3:32 p.m.
Edher Palafox was released from ICE custody Thursday afternoon, his lawyer said in an email.

The original story appears below:

It’s been a year and a half since President Barack Obama announced an executive order that could potentially transform the lives of many undocumented immigrants.

Tood Dwyer / Flickr -- Creative Commons

On June 15, 2012 President Barack Obama signed a memorandum called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Under this mandate, young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children can apply to attend public universities, get driver licenses and work legally.

However, DACA offers no path to citizenship and its future is uncertain.  

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The National Socialist Movement, an organization that grew out of the American Nazi Party, held a rally in downtown Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday. By about 10 to one, opponents of the anti-immigrant rally outnumbered the neo-Nazis at  counter-protests close by- one across the street and a second at The Liberty Memorial.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Not yet 9 a.m. on a warm fall day, freshmen Binh Hua and My Nguyen are in protective goggles, long hair pulled back, ready for their chemistry class in a Garden City Community College lab.

The teacher calls the class to order, calling the students “Busters,” short for “Broncbusters,” the college’s mascot and a reminder of this old West town’s history of raising cattle.

Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

It’s almost 9 a.m., and Noel Primary School teacher Erin McPherson is helping a group of Spanish-speaking students complete English language exercises. But it’s tough going.

One student in a bright blue T-shirt – 9-year-old Isac Martinez – has not yet picked up his pencil. He’s clearly sick. When McPherson asks him what’s wrong, Isac’s small voice is barely audible in between coughs. He says he threw up four times last night but did not go to a doctor.

The newest book by Kansas City author Angela Cervantes tackles a tough subject: what happens when immigrant families are torn apart. Cervantes' approach is different: the book is written for a young audience aged 8-12, and tackles a topic difficult and all-too-familar to many of her intended readers.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Republican Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins held a town hall meeting in Topeka Wednesday to hear opinions from voters in eastern Kansas, and many of them had immigration on their minds. Jenkins fielded several questions and comments about immigration and the discussion became quite heated.

Renee Slinkard from Parker said the U.S. should close the borders and increase immigration enforcement.

“Our immigration system is not broke,” said Slinkard. “Our immigration system is fine.  What is broken is the enforcement of that immigration system.”

Terry Robinson/Flickr-CC

Should the government be able to access your telephone records? Are the actions of the NSA any worse than companies like Google that constantly mine our information? 

On Thursday's Up to Date, the Ethics Professors, Wayne Vaught and Clancy Martin, join Steve Kraske to discuss what boundaries the government has crossed and where to draw the line. They also explore the gray area of immigration reform.  

Border Blockage Seen Key To Immigration Law Change

Jun 20, 2013

As the U.S. Senate wrestles with immigration law changes, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says the measures are doomed to fail without real border security.

Danie Alexander / KCUR-FM

Rev. Rick Behrens is pastor of Grandview Park Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Kansas, an inner-city church with a congregation and a community largely made up of immigrants.  In this installment of 90-Mile View, Rick talks immigration policy and reform with Steve Kraske and what it means to the people he serves.

Loretta Prencipe/ Flickr-CC

A new Kansas statute requires proof of citizenship before voting in an election for the first time. The controversial legislation has many people divided. 

 This hour, Kris Kobach, known for his influence on immigration law, and author Alvaro Vargas Llosa join Steve Kraske to discuss policy and reform.  

Juan Montana

The cultures of Kansas and Missouri was shaped by wave after wave of immigrants: from Germany, Ireland, Italy and Eastern Europe. A new exhibit called, The Missouri Immigrant Experience: Faces and Places portrays vivid images of the state’s diverse immigrants from the early nineteenth century to today.  The exhibit was sponsored by the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (MIRA), a coalition of organizations that advocates for immigrants.

The Missouri Senate’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Immigration held its final meeting Thursday.  Among the issues discussed was legislation that would require driver’s license exams be given in English only. 

A change in U.S. immigration policy last summer has translated into 800 new jobs for metro Kansas City.  The work will be both sides of state line and pay no less than $27,000 a year.

The Distance Between Us

Oct 16, 2012

On Tuesday’s Central Standard author Reyna Grande describes her experience living as in illegal immigrant in the U.S.

Her memoir, The Distance Between Us, is an intimate, graphic narrative about her early years left behind by her parents in Mexico, tumultuous time as a youth in America and journey to becoming a U.S. citizen.

Pete Souza / Official White House Photo

President Obama surprised the country on Friday by unveiling a new immigration policy

The historic wave of migration from Mexico to the United States, which over four decades brought 12 million immigrants to the country, has come to a standstill. That's what a new Pew Hispanic Center study released today found.

At a Republican candidates' forum in Wisconsin before the state's primary earlier this month, a speaker who wasn't on the ballot had strong words for the GOP regarding its low standing among Hispanic voters.

"The way the party ... talks about immigration is going to impact the future course of this party and the future course of this nation," said former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the first Hispanic to hold the nation's highest law enforcement post.

Becoming American In Missouri

Feb 22, 2012

In 2003 he left his life working as an attorney in London and Paris and moved to the much smaller community of Columbia, Missouri. Last week, he made it official. Alex George is a U.S. citizen.

NDSU Ag Comm / Flickr.com

The controversy over illegal immigration is pitting Republican against Republican and business against immigration hardliners in Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services recently cut off hundreds – possibly thousands – of immigrant families from receiving food stamps.

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