immigration

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.  

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

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. 

Guests:

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.

Neighborhood Centers Inc. / Flickr--CC

The Missouri Department of Higher Education is opening up a community college scholarship program to young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

That means students who qualify for the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, will be able to trade tutoring hours for two years of tuition reimbursement through the A+ Scholarship Program. 

The deferred action program is tied to an Obama administration initiative that started in 2012. 

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.

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.

Guests:

Children Of Meatpackers Dream Big, Cultivate Opportunity

Oct 30, 2013
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.

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.

Schools Become The Safety-Net For Immigrants In Rural Missouri

Oct 28, 2013
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.”

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