immigration

Montgomery County Jail

U.S. Reps. Kevin Yoder and Blaine Luetkemeyer want answers after a Mexican man allegedly murdered five people in Kansas and Missouri last week.

Pablo Serrano-Vitorino, 40, is accused of killing four people in Kansas City, Kansas, March 7 before leading law enforcement on a cross-state manhunt that ended after a fifth murder in Montgomery County, Missouri.

“Mistakes were certainly made on a variety of levels,” says Yoder. “You have immigration and customs officials having multiple opportunities to detain this man and not being able to do so.”

Within the past couple of years, there's been an influx of unaccompanied child migrants arriving in the United States (including to Kansas) after fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.

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.

Adam_Procter400 / Flickr - CC

For a small group of high school seniors in the metro, their college options are narrowing because of a law passed last year in Jefferson City. 

Once-affordable options like Metropolitan Community College now seem like iffy bets. UMKC and Northwest Missouri State are a stretch. Mizzou? Forget about it.  

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

On a Saturday afternoon, four female students from Kansas City's Alta Vista Charter High School are making a three-hour trip in a rented minivan to Omaha. As they get closer, they each practice their pitches for why they deserve a full-ride scholarship to college. 

Brittany emphasizes the long hours she puts into extracurricular work making an electric car.

Anahi lays out how she wants to be a lawyer to better "serve my community" as an adult.

Refugee Kids In Kansas City

Jan 13, 2016

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.

Guests:

Examining Religion In The News For 2015

Jan 8, 2016

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.

Guests:

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

The immigrant workers that pick crops like cotton and melons in the U.S. can have a tough time finding a place to live. The rural areas where they can find work often lack the social services and affordable housing. That means many farm worker families end up in dilapidated buildings, which can come with health risks.

Migrant workers planting roots

Angel Castro’s old road is muddy and covered with flooded potholes. He lived here during the 1990s just behind a large John Deere store in Kennett, Mo.

Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons--CC

Updated: Monday, 7:43 p.m.:

The ACLU of Missouri on Tuesday filed separate lawsuits on behalf of three Missouri college students who were billed for tuition at the nonresident rate because of their immigration status.

All three came to the U.S. as youngsters and live here under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the lawsuits state. DACA allows undocumented individuals who came to the United States as children to stay provided they meet certain requirements.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

A hotel ballroom in Independence, Missouri, packed with local South Sudanese erupted into applause, song and ululations Saturday as their vice president entered the room. 

Vice President James Wani Igga was swept up into a spontaneous parade, greeting men and women with outstretched hands and warm embraces.

Some had traveled from as far as Minnesota and Iowa to hear what the vice president had to say about the most recent peace treaty, signed in August, between the four-year-old South Sudanese government and rebel forces.

Fidencio Martinez-Perez

When Fidencio Martinez-Perez was 7 years old, a smuggler brought him, his mother and his three brothers across the Mexican border.

Now he makes art in which the roads, rivers and boundary-markers of the United States resemble the blood vessels of human figures. His main material is simple, but significant.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

In a few weeks, Kansas City Public Schools will have a brand new and unusual educational partner.

The district expects to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Mexican Consulate in Kansas City to provide an array of services to Mexican students and their families in the district. 

About 25 percent of the district’s students are Spanish speakers and most of them have Mexican roots.

"We have children here who have come to this country at no choice of their own. This was a parent choice," says Luis Cordoba who runs the district’s Office of Student Interventions.

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.”

Navigating Legal Immigration

Sep 22, 2015

Undocumented immigrants are a hot topic in the presidential race, but every year, thousands of people complete the process to come to America legally. On this edition of Up to Date, we look at the twists and turns in the process to become a permanent resident of the United States.

Guests:

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.

Guest:

  • Andrea Gomez Cervantes is one of the authors of the study and a doctoral student in the Sociology Department at the University of Kansas.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach  joins Statehouse Blend to discuss voter fraud, immigration, and his treatment in the media.

Guests:

  • Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State
  • Melissa Carlson, Citizen Voice
  • Nick Haines, Executive Producer of Public Affairs, KCPT

Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning rejects the notion his department is providing sanctuary for people in the country illegally.

Some members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, want to crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities” following the murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in San Francisco. The man who killed Steinle had been deported multiple times, and Yoder wants to cut some federal funding for cities and counties that don’t cooperate with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

Shawnee County Emergency Management / Twitter

An amendment to a bill offered by Republican Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder could cost some Kansas counties federal funding. 
 
Yoder’s proposal would strip existing Federal Emergency Management Agency grants away from local governments that are not fully enforcing national immigration laws.
 
Under the amendment, Shawnee, Johnson and Sedgwick counties could all lose a substantial amount of federal money. They would still be eligible for disaster aid.
 

UMKC

Students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who were brought into the county as children are facing a potential tripling of their tuition because of action by Missouri lawmakers, have received good news from the university.

Spokesman John Martellaro says UMKC has identified private donations to cover the difference between in-state tuition and out-of-state tuition.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

From immigration reform to education and health care, several recurring issues were on the minds of people attending The National Council of La Raza's annual conference in Kansas City this week.

Since Saturday, conference attendees have been milling about the Kansas City Convention Center, going from workshop to workshop to learn about some of the greatest challenges facing Latinos in the United States. 

National Council of La Raza President and CEO Janet Murgia is back in her hometown, and she's brought thousands of people with her for the La Raza's annual conference. She talks with Steve Kraske about her family, politics, and the greatest challenges facing Latinos today. 

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. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Six people face federal money laundering charges in an alleged $13 million scheme that allowed Kansas contractors to pay undocumented workers in cash.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced the charges Thursday at the federal courthouse in Kansas City, Kan. Grissom said that instead of raiding factories looking for undocumented workers, his office is trying to target the root cause of illegal immigration.

"We've thought that there has to be a better, more humane and from the taxpayer's standpoint, a more effective way to address this problem," Grissom said.

A Kansas law currently allows some students who are in this country illegally to pay in-state tuition at state community colleges and universities. Around 650 students are now using the program, but a Kansas House committee is considering a bill that would take away that benefit. Lawmakers heard testimony on the proposal Tuesday.

Republican Rep. John Rubin, from Shawnee, is against the idea of giving in-state tuition to the children of immigrants living here illegally. He says the policy has helped turn Kansas into a “veritable sanctuary state.” 

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.

Migrant Farmworkers Remain Crucial To Harvest

Nov 17, 2014
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

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.

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.  

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