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Democrat Laura Kelly called baloney on Republican Kris Kobach when he said Kansas can save $377 million a year by denying services and benefits to immigrants in the country illegally. Kobach said there’s no reason an 18-year-old should be forced to get a permit for a concealed weapon. Independent Greg Orman said the state actually needs to impose tighter control on guns. And Libertarian Jeff Caldwell and independent Rick Kloos were happy to be on stage with the frontrunners.

The five candidates for Kansas governor faced off at a forum Tuesday night in Wichita.

It was a rare opportunity for independent Rick Kloos and Libertarian Jeff Caldwell to share a stage with the three major candidates — Republican Kris Kobach, Democrat Laura Kelly and independent Greg Orman.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Fresh off a victory that cemented his latest, controversial, pick for the nation’s high court, President Donald Trump came to Kansas Saturday night hoping to transfer his popularity in the state to two fellow Republicans.

Trump arrived just hours after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court — the most controversial appointment to the court in generations. He was in regular rally form, playing to an adoring crowd of some 10,000 thrilled supporters at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KBIA

Segment 1: Going "Beyond the Ballot" to find what drives Missouri voters to the ballots.

StoryCorps

Mariana Hildreth felt like she had done everything right when she decided to come to the United States from Mexico: She had a degree, years of professional experience and worked through legal channels to get a work permit.

She felt privileged.

"'I'm just going to conquer the world, I'm going to move there and I'm going to make it work,'" Hildreth thought before she moved. "But when I came here, nothing that I thought I was mattered."

StoryCorps

StoryCorps' MobileBooth is in Kansas City until September to collect the stories and memories of residents. This is one in a series of stories KCUR has chosen to highlight.

Alex Martinez and Miguel Morales may be more than 20 years apart in age, but their experiences in the United States as Latinx children speak to the unique challenges they have faced here.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: "My goal is to fight for the people of my community and solve problems," says Rep. Kevin Yoder.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

When Josh Collins first got the letter from Bank of America more than two months ago, he thought it was a scam.

The letter wasn’t on the glossy paper typical of what he’d seen during his two decades with the bank. And it asked him some unusual questions, like if he had international accounts.

Courtesy of the Syed Jamal family

Syed Jamal, a Lawrence, Kansas, scientist arrested in January for overstaying his visa, will be able to present his case to an immigration judge, preventing his imminent deportation.

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media

Esperanza Yanez can spot a sick cow just by looking at it.

“The head hangs down and they don’t eat,” said Yanez, who immigrated from Mexico two decades ago and has been caring for cattle ever since.

While learning to communicate with animals takes years of patience, Yanez said the true language barrier exists between the dairy workers and the veterinarians who rarely speak Spanish. Medical terminology can be confusing, and to avoid embarrassment, Yanez said she and other workers may feign comprehension.

UMKC student Ravi Anand Naidu wearing headphones and seated in front of a microphone at KCUR studios.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Does Kansas City have a bad reputation within the Indian community? 

Indian nationals coming to America often have to worry about immigration hurdles and racism. Two violent incidents since 2017 in the Kansas City metro have added violence to their list of concerns. Most recently, Sharath Koppu, a UMKC student from India was shot and killed during a robbery at the restaurant where he worked. Today, representatives of the Indian community revealed their views of living here.

For many immigrants, art is a comfort — a home no one can take away. On this episode, we hear the immigration stories, filled with triumph and heartbreak, from the local arts community. 

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

In a rare reprieve for an undocumented immigrant, Kansas City resident Maria Garcia-Mata no longer faces deportation to Mexico after a federal appeals court reversed a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Garcia-Mata, a married mother of three who has lived in the area since she was eight years old, has been in a Kingston, Missouri, jail since she was detained by immigration authorities in 2015.

The ruling is unusual, said Garci-Mata’s attorney, Matthew Hoppock.

Segment 1: A team of linguists discover a new accent in southwest Kansas. 

Liberal, Kansas, and other nearby communities are developing a distinct accent. We find out how the language change is a sign of a vibrant and growing Latino pouplation. 

Segment 2, beginning at 18:35: The lesser known history of the Ozark region.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Of the 38,000 people in Missouri who wound up in immigration court since 2002, 55 percent did not have lawyers. Kansas saw less than half that number of people in immigration court, but similarly, just over half of those immigrants went without lawyers.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 2:40 p.m. June 28 with a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Maria remembers the fear she felt last month at the moment she found out her son, daughter and 6-year-old grandson were planning on coming to the United States.

"They called me from the border," she said in Spanish. "I panicked because I know how dangerous that is."

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

(This story has been updated with comments from the children's attorney.)

Immigrant children taken to Kansas after being separated from their families are on their way to being reunited with loved ones.

A federal judge in San Diego on Tuesday night ordered that kids separated from their families under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy must be reunited with those adults within 30 days. That’s already happened for more than half of the separated kids staying at a shelter in Topeka.

Sophia Tulp

An immigration attorney says she broke her foot Tuesday morning after she was pushed down by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer in Kansas City.

GOOGLE

Segment 1: The mindset of asylum-seekers in Trump's America.

Sticking to his campaign promise of strictly enforcing the law at our southern border, President Trump's immigration policies resulted in thousands of migrant children being seperated from their parents. Though he ended that policy with an executive order last week, families crossing illegally are still being detained with children. Today, we heard a first-hand account of what it's like living in a family detention center.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

A team of lawyers has volunteered to make sure immigrant children in Topeka separated from their parents have the legal help they need to reunite with their families.

Former U.S. attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom said Monday he’s assembled team of at least 10 lawyers, paralegals and legal secretaries volunteering help to immigrant children staying at The Villages, a shelter in Topeka that’s been taking in children separated from their parents when they crossed into the United States.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people protested the separation of immigrant families at a rally Sunday afternoon at Kansas City's Mill Creek Park.

"This is my very, very first rally ever," Fabiola Cruz told the crowd.

The Villages, Inc. on Facebook

A Topeka shelter has been receiving children who were separated from their parents at the border for about two weeks, its executive director confirmed Friday.

The Topeka campus of The Villages, Inc. started accepting children who had entered the country without a parent or other relative last year. It’s been scaling up its capacity for migrant children since then, and can now house up to 50 of those kids.

The U.S. House voted down an immigration bill Thursday that would have addressed one of the biggest concerns of American farmers: updating the agriculture guestworker visa program known as H-2A.

Google

A Topeka shelter is housing children separated from their parents at the U.S. southern border.

The Villages, Inc. has a 50-year history of taking in troubled youth grappling with abuse, drug problems, or involvement in criminal activity, at its seven homes in Lawrence and Topeka.

It’s now taking in children in the custody of the U.S. government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, The Villages president Joseph Wittrock confirmed in a statement.

Segment 1: The echoes of Trump's "zero tolerance" policy in Kansas City.

The decision to enforce a "zero tolerance" immigration policy at the U.S. - Mexico border is being felt across the nation. Today, we learn how the repurcussions are affecting families here in Kansas City.

ELLE MOXLEY/KCUR 89.3

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, joined a growing bipartisan group of lawmakers calling on the Trump administration to discontinue its practice of splitting up families who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

On Monday, Yoder sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking for an immediate end to the policy.

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service

Tat Hidano still gets the usual questions when he’s overseas recruiting international students to Wichita State University. The big one: Where is Wichita?

But lately Hidano has been hearing another question: Will I be safe in the United States?

“The questions about safety in the United States have been dominant,” Hidano said. He says his job has begun to feel less like recruiting and more like diplomacy.

File photo by Dan Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

The Trump administration’s policy of separating parents and children who cross the border without legal permission has become a divisive issue across the United States and in Congress.

The policy spurred U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, to demand Monday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions "take immediate action to end the practice" that's divided nearly 2,000 families since April. There's also a Senate bill, known as the Keep Families Together Act, that would ban the separation tactic and has only Democratic backing.

FILE PHOTO/KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, is responding to a letter demanding he take action to end the Trump administration's policy of breaking up immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Nearly 60 elected officials from Johnson and Wyandotte Counties have called on Yoder to prevent immigrant children seeking asylum in the U.S. with their families from being separated from their parents at the border. Yoder is chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

Southwest Kansas has a new accent due to the rapidly growing Latino population in the area.

New research from Kansas State University and its Kansas Speaks Project, which documents language shifts in Kansas, shows younger people in the region have started to take on the characteristics of Spanish speakers, even if they don’t speak Spanish themselves.

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