immigration | KCUR

immigration

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

As federal and state courts cancel in-person proceedings amid concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, one court remains open for business, albeit not entirely as usual.

The immigration court in Kansas City, the only such court in Missouri, is continuing to hold hearings for detained immigrants, although it’s no longer conducting hearings for people not in custody.

But the confined space of its three courtrooms, located in an office building in Crown Center, don’t realistically allow for the “social distancing” recommended by public health officials.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Opposition is growing to the proposed redevelopment of an old hospital in south Kansas City that could be made into a detention center to house immigrant children.

As of Thursday, opponents had gathered more than 4,800 signatures in an online petition opposing the development plan. It will be presented to members of the City Plan Commission at the March 17 meeting.

Segment 1: How Title IX applies to transgender students.

With the background of a couple of court cases currently in progress, a KU law professor has created a guide for using Title IX to protect transgender students from discrimination in schools. 

The oldest continuously-operating Latino services center in the United States is right here in Kansas City. 101 years ago, the Guadalupe Center was established to "Americanize" Mexicans who had moved here to work on the railroads. But over the course of a century, Latinos transformed the organization, and Kansas City.

Maria Franco

Public universities in Missouri haven’t been able to offer in-state tuition to students living illegally in the U.S. since 2015. Some state lawmakers are now trying to make sure that doesn’t change anytime soon.

A bill currently making its way through the state Senate would ban publicly funded colleges and universities from offering in-state tuition to undocumented students, making permanent budget langauge that currently must be approved each year.

Andrea Tudhope / America Amplified

Refugee admission into the U.S. has dropped dramatically in recent years.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of State Department data, refugee resettlement in the U.S. has dropped to historic lows during Donald Trump’s presidency. This fiscal year, the administration has set a cap for 18,000 — a far cry from the 110,000 cap set in 2017 (data from the Refugee Processing Center show that about 53,000 refugees resettled that year).

As for where those refugees go and who gets to decide, that’s now up in the air.

Many early, unique dialects of German are preserved in communities in small towns in Missouri and Kansas. But they're endangered. Meet a handful of linguistic diehards in Cole Camp, Missouri, and hear about their valiant efforts to save their immigrant history. 

Segment 1: Who gets to tell what stories? 

Controversy over a novel called “American Dirt” led to a canceled book tour—a week before author Jeanine Cummins was set to come to Kansas City. Critics have a problem with the fact that Cummins is white, yet wrote a book about a Mexican family trying to make it across the US-Mexico border.

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — Rohingya refugees have made southwest Kansas home, but now a pipeline for family reunification could get cut off.

Myanmar is one of the latest countries where refugees face a new ban on immigrant visas. The country’s Rohingya Muslim minorities have been fleeing genocide since 2015

Last week, President Donald Trump announced a new list of six countries subject to travel restrictions.  

Andrea Tudhope / America Amplified: Election 2020

On a Monday night, a week before the Iowa caucuses, about 20 residents gathered at the Norelius library in Denison, Iowa, for a mock caucus. Latina activist Alma Puga, the organizer, called the caucuses the "Disneyland of politics." 

Rather than caucusing for candidates, it's food: egg rolls, pepperoni pizza, homemade ceviche and carne asada tacos — a multicultural spread reflecting a diverse town here in rural Iowa.

Of around 9,000 residents in Denison, at least 3,000 — or about 30% — are immigrants, according to the latest Census Bureau data. By comparison, the U.S. average is 13% and it's 5% in the state of Iowa.

Segment 1: The Media Critics discuss Pompeo, the Washington Post, impeachment and more.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's behavior towards NPR's Mary Louise Kelly was a hot topic in this discussion with the Media Critics. Plus, a journalist's suspension from the Washington Post raised a deeper question from one of our guests: Are journalists allowed to exist in spaces outside of the newsroom, including social media?

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

The debate over immigration has been dominated by the Trump administration’s hardline policies. Meanwhile, there are immigrant communities in the Kansas City area whose stories often go unheard amid the surrounding noise.

Segment 1: Why do some people say Missou-ree and some say Missou-rah? And what are the political ramifications of saying one or the other?

It turns out we've been having this debate for basically forever, and which way you say it has a lot to do with parts of your identity. Some people feel really strongly there's a right way to say it, while others have never thought much about it. The people that pay the most attention to it are politicians.

Segment 1: Health insurance can be hard to get in Kansas City, especially if you're Latino or an immigrant.

A recent study found that immigrants and U.S. born Latinos account for more than a third of uninsured people in Kansas City, based on the three largest counties in the metro.

Kansas educators want lawmakers to act on health care, bullying and college credits when the Legislature convenes later this month.

For over a decade, the school funding battle has dominated any conversation about education in Topeka. But with a school funding plan in place, educators are no longer on the legal offensive. Instead, school lawyers have become watchdogs, making sure the Legislature keeps the education dollars flowing.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

School’s out for winter break, and Kansas City Public Schools fourth grader Miranda Hernandez can’t wait to have arroz con leche with her family on Christmas.

“It’s rice with milk,” she explained. “We have it every time when it’s cold, like in winter.”

Sharing food with friends and family is an important part of Miranda’s culture, which is why she likes the new mural at Carver Dual Language School so much. 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89-3

Though he’d been deported once before, it was worth the risk for Florencio Millan to come back illegally to Kansas City, Missouri. He’d lived here off and on since he was a teenager. He had a son here, and he was not only a top chef in a well-known restaurant, but he’d found love.

Segment 1: He came to Kansas City as the youngest concertmaster in the country in the 1950s; he died this year, leaving a poweful legacy behind.

Chris Neal / For the Kansas News Service

Go here to subscribe to the My Fellow Kansans podcast. This season, we look at the prospects of rural places.

DODGE CITY, Kansas — The history of this small city built on the cattle trade sets it apart from most towns in rural Kansas. The mere name of the place evokes recollections of the Wild West and the subsequent romancing of that age.

Yet Dodge City also stands apart from the region that surrounds it. This place is growing.

Bigstock

Immigrants and U.S.-born Latinos account for more than a third of residents without health insurance in the Kansas City area’s three largest counties.

That’s one of the findings in a study about the fastest growing segment of the local workforce, commissioned by the Reach Healthcare Foundation.

mattierhodes.org

Mattie Rhodes, a nonprofit that provides mental health and other services to Kansas City's immigrant communities, apologized earlier this month for inviting Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to a community meeting in August.

“After receiving feedback from both staff and the public, we know we made a mistake by asking an ICE spokesperson to be a part of the meeting of community organization leaders. At the very least we should have announced ICE would be there,” the organization said in a statement on Oct. 1.

Segment 1: Wyandotte advocates push for municipal IDs to mitigate problems faced by residents without photo identification.

Martinez Immigration Law

A Kansas City immigration lawyer who was injured while trying to assist her 3-year-old client is suing the two immigration agents who allegedly shoved her to the ground and caused her injuries.

Andrea Martinez says she suffered a fractured right foot, bleeding and a concussion after she was forcibly separated from her client, whom she was reuniting with his pregnant mother in June 2018 at a local ICE facility. Both mother and child were being deported to Honduras.

Segment 1: Two men formed an unlikely friendship through a shared tragedy.

Tariq Khamisa was a 20-year-old college student delivering a pizza in 1995 when he was shot and killed by 14-year-old Tony Hicks. Azim Khamisa said he reached out to Ples Felix, the grandfather of his son's murderer, because he saw "victims at both ends of the gun." They became friends and work together in addressing gun violence through The Forgiveness Project.

Barbara Shelly

A growing coalition of groups and citizens wants Wyandotte County to become the first place in Kansas to issue local identification to residents.

Advocates estimate a municipal ID program could potentially benefit about 30,000 persons by making it easier for them to open bank accounts, enroll children in school and access health care.

City of Roeland Park

The Roeland Park City Council is considering an ordinance that would prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement from using city resources for immigration enforcement.

The proposal was presented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas as part of their “Safe and Welcoming” campaign at a city council meeting earlier this month.

“What we are suggesting is that cities can actually write policy that says they will not be coordinating with ICE,” Kansas ACLU Policy Director Letitia Harmon said.

File photo

In a major ruling with implications for employers of undocumented immigrants, a federal judge in Kansas said a law making it a crime to "encourage" or "induce" such immigrants to live in the United States is unconstitutional.

The lunch rush is over at a popular, cozy restaurant in a city somewhere in Missouri. The owner, Lynn, is sipping a glass of pinot grigio as her cooking crew cleans up.

Like thousands of other restaurants across America, Lynn's kitchen is staffed mainly with unauthorized Latino workers. She agreed to openly discuss this employment conundrum if NPR agreed not to give her last name, identify her restaurant, name the city, or even specify the type of cuisine. Like a lot of employers these days, she doesn't want to attract the attention of federal immigration agents.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Florencio Millan, the undocumented Mexican immigrant whom immigration agents dragged out of his car after breaking its window, was deported to Mexico on Wednesday just two days after he was arrested.

Cheyenne Hoyt, his girlfriend and the mother of his two children, told KCUR that Millan called her Wednesday evening and said he had been flown to Brownsville, Texas, and then transported just over the border to Matamoros, Mexico.

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