immigration

Rodney Nelson / Courtesy of the Exhibit Team

As we are experiencing the largest refugee crisis in human history, millions of people are being forced to flee their homes. It can be hard to remember that each refugee is a human being with an individual story to tell. 

vigil
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Members of Iowa’s Latino community gathered at the state capitol Thursday to honor the memory of Mollie Tibbetts and to unite against hateful rhetoric.

Vanessa Marcano-Kelly translated Lincon Guerra’s words.

“We are meeting here today in an act of solidarity and moral support to her family and loved ones, asking them to receive our deepest condolences and prayers.”

They released balloons, had a moment of silence, and prayed for Tibbetts, her family and others affected by violence.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds today defended her call for immigration reform following the killing of University of Iowa student Molly Tibbetts, allegedly by a man federal officials say is an undocumented Mexican immigrant.  

Following the discovery of the victim’s body, President Trump, Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Gov. Reynolds all issued statements highlighting the immigration status of Cristhian Rivera who is jailed on a first degree murder charge.    

John Pemble

This week, the murder of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts by a man who is believed to be an undocumented immigrant left the political landscape sharply divided.

On this News Buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to Chris Larimer, professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa, about the response to the Tibbetts case by politicians from Iowa and across the nation, including Senator Ernst’s call to reconsider “Sarah’s law."

Kate Payne / IPR

A group helping pay bills for Iowa families affected by an immigration raid is running out of money. Volunteers in the southeast Iowa city of Mount Pleasant have raised $120,000 since Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained 32 workers from a concrete plant in May. But organizers with the group IowaWINs, which stands for Iowa Welcomes its Immigrant Neighbors, say the money they've raised in the past four months will run out by the end of August.

Tana Tesdall

As Alejandro Larios Mora struggled through elementary school in Anaheim, California, he didn't know he would one day travel to Iowa to become a veterinarian.

He also didn’t know that he had not been born in the United States.

“I thought I was like anybody else,” he says. “I didn’t think I would have any problems with my future.”

After he was born in Mexico, Larios Mora’s parents moved him to Hawaii, making him a DREAMer.

Jacob Riis

What does it mean to be “an American?” How has that identity changed over the decades?

 

This hour, host Ben Kieffer talks with presidential historian Tim Walch and Rene Rocha, director of the Latino Studies department at the University of Iowa, about the history of immigration policy in the U.S.

 

“[Throughout history,] there are periods of tension against every group that have arrived that are different from the model or the norm, which is White Anglo-Saxon males from Great Britain,” says Walch.

 

Charles Edward Miller / Wikimeda/Flickr - Creative Commons

In this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Chris Larimer, associate professor of political science at University of Northern Iowa and Donna Hoffman, associate professor and chair of political science at UNI about the public outcry over children being separated from their migrant parents at the U.S. border and the state party conventions for Democrats and Republicans over the weekend.

kim reynolds
John Pemble/IPR

Iowa’s governor and senior U.S. Senator are joining the chorus of conservatives criticizing President Trump’s policy of separating migrant families at the border. 

Employers can force workers to settle disputes outside of court, the U.S. Supreme Court said this week, which could negatively affect agricultural workers and employees who earn low wages.

Braceros in the U.S.

May 23, 2018
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode (cropping and contrast changes made)
Oregon State University Archives

Between 1942 and 1966, the Bracero Program brought 4.6 million Mexican migrant workers to the United States including to jobs in Iowa. They were working largely in agricultural jobs.

Brian Behnken is an associate professor of history and the U.S. Latino studies program at Iowa State University. He explains the history of the program, how it was implemented, and what was required of workers and employers.

The program began during World War Two.

Douglas Palmer via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/diacritical/4628043944/

An Iowa non-profit organization is trying to pay for the release of all 32 individuals detained in an immigration raid in Mount Pleasant. By getting them out of detention centers, organizers behind the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project say those arrested will have a much better chance of presenting their case in court.

Wikimedia Commons

Immigration officials arrested 32 people in Mt. Pleasant Iowa last week as part of a raid on a concrete factory. 

During this segment of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Reverend Trey Hegar, who is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant. The church has been trying to help families in Mt. Pleasant who are now worried about being able to pay their rent next month with the breadwinner for the home in ICE custody. Juana Barrios, whose father was arrested as part of the raid, also joins the conversation.

Kate Payne/IPR

Family members of those detained in an immigration raid in Mt. Pleasant this week are still reeling, after federal law enforcement officials arrested 32 workers at a concrete factory Wednesday morning.

Now their families are trying to navigate the legal system, hire lawyers and figure out how to pay the bills. Fifteen year old Oscar Lopez’s stepfather was among those detained.

“I think of him as the hardest working man there is,” Lopez said. “He just really… he just tried to get a roof over our head, food to us, everything. Give us the best life there could be.”

Joyce Russell/IPR

After hours of debate, and on a mostly party-line vote, Republicans in the Iowa House Tuesday approved legislation they say will ensure that local governments in Iowa cooperate with federal immigration authorities.  

GOP lawmakers told stories of serious crimes committed in other states where they say immigrants in the country illegally are “caught and released.”      

Under the bill, no city or county in Iowa may adopt a policy that discourages enforcement of federal  immigration laws or keeps police from inquiring about the immigration status of someone in detention.   

Nick Glenn / Flickr

bill making its way through the Iowa legislature directs local governments and police departments to comply with federal immigration authorities or risk losing state funding.

On this edition of River to River, legislative day co-hosts Ben Kieffer and Joyce Russell talk with lawmakers, law enforcement, an immigration advocate, and the mayor of Iowa City about their views on the proposal and how it may impact Iowa communities.

Joyce Russell/IPR

As Iowa lawmakers consider legislation to outlaw so-called sanctuary cities, Governor Kim Reynolds is using the issue in a fundraising appeal.   

In a fundraising letter to supporters,  the Reynolds re-election campaign warns that Des Moines and Iowa City are moving in the direction of becoming sanctuaries to protect undocumented immigrants. 

She asks supporters to join the effort to ban sanctuaries, and stand with her for the rule of law.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Opponents of a bill backers say would outlaw so-called sanctuary cities in Iowa filled a committee room to overflowing at the statehouse today.

The bill would deny state funds to any community that approves policies to prevent local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. Under the bill, communities would be required to detain a jailed person for possible deportation at the request of federal officials. 

John Pemble / IPR file photo

Congress faces a deadline Friday to pass a budget or a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown. Iowa’s senior senator says multiple issues are caught up in the current impasse.

One of those is the status of young adults living under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Republican Chuck Grassley says he supports “legalizing” immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents, if that’s paired with other restrictions on immigration. 

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

Mazahir Salih, an immigrant from Sudan and resident of Iowa City is thought to be the first Sudanese-American elected to government in the United States. Earlier this month, she was elected to the Iowa City city council. She's a full-time community organizer and founder of the Center for Worker Justice in Iowa City, and during this River to River interview, she talks with host Ben Kieffer. 

The first seven years of Dekow Sagar’s life in Somalia were happy. Rural Somalia was beautiful, he had plenty of brothers, sisters and friends to play with, and the family farm provided what they needed. However, Sagar’s pleasant rural life was shattered by terrible violence and civil war.

On a feedlot in far southwest Kansas, two cowboys on horseback move cattle on the high dusty plains, spread out like dozens of football fields stitched together with miles of fences. Their “Buenos dias! Buenos dias!” greetings mix with moos on a hot summer morning.

They’re two of the 400 employees who work on the feedlot, which is one of the largest in the U.S. in a state that ranks third in meat production. 

New Ag Guestworker Program Legislation Headed To US House

Oct 26, 2017

A bill to overhaul the federal agricultural guestworker program cleared its first hurdle Wednesday and is headed to the full U.S. House.

The Republican-majority House Judiciary Committee passed the bill 17-16 after two days of debate and over the objections of many Democrats. It’s likely to clear the House, though its future in the Senate is unclear.

DACA's Effect in Iowa

Oct 10, 2017
Image courtesy of Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy created with an executive order of President Barack Obama in 2012.  It allows children of illegal immigrants to receive a two-year deferred action from deportation, and it grants them work permits.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Roughly 2800 immigrants living in Iowa who were brought to the U.S. as children are now participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program.  

Under the program, they are freed from the threat of deportation, and granted work permits and other privileges.     

Now DACA is threatened by an order from President Trump. 

Two Iowa sisters wonder how their lives might be changed.

Five years ago, Monica Reyes, 22, and her sister Nilvea, 21,  were living with their mother in New Hampton.

Sarah Boden/IPR File

The deadline to submit renewal applications for the program known as DACA is Thursday, but some people may be struggling to find enough money for the application fee.

Last month President Trump decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, though he’s allowing one final renewal for people whose waivers are set to expire by next March. This Obama-era policy allows people who were brought to the country illegally as children to live and work in the U.S. for a two-year renewable period.

WIKICOMMONS / Kepper66

A central Iowa police chief says he’s “very fearful” that ending an Obama-era immigration policy will diminish public safety in his community, so he's urging Congress to pass legislation that allows people who were eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to continuing living and working in the US. 

Jon Pemble/IPR file

Iowa’s attorney general is joining 15 other states that are suing President Trump, in an attempt to preserve an Obama-era policy that protects nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from being deported.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was created under an executive order. It allows undocumented immigrants without criminal records to live and work in the US for a two-year renewable period. 

Sarah Boden/IPR

Iowa’s senior senator says President Trump’s expected announcement concerning an Obama-era immigration policy throws a contentious issue into "the lap of Congress" because the president "is found between a rock and a hard place."

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program allows undocumented immigrants who came to the country as kids to live and work legally in the US. Ten Republican attorneys general are threatening to sue the Trump Administration if the president doesn't end DACA.

Sarah Boden/IPR File

In Iowa an estimated 6,000 people are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows undocumented immigrants who came to the country as kids to live and work in the U.S.. 

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