immigration

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.

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.

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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.. 

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Along Interstate 80 in Iowa, near the Illinois border, is The World’s Largest Truck Stop – at least that’s what it claims. It has parking for 900 big rigs, there are restaurants, showers, even a dentist. Driver Roosevelt Phillips is here from Pittsburgh. He says truck stops like this one are a community.

“We talk about everything. I mean, y’know, I’m an adult so I’m talking to another truck driver, so we talk about whatever comes up,” Phillips says.

They talk about everything from politics to the news of the day – and the strange activity they see on the road.

Meghan Gerke / Iowa Cubs

Thousands of people are being sworn in as U.S. citizens across the country during this holiday weekend.  One of the ceremonies happens Monday in Des Moines during the Iowa Cubs baseball game.  It’s coordinated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Spokesperson Tim Counts says combining immigration and Independence Day is a perfect union to honor new Americans.

Sarvinder Naberhaus and Kadir Nelson / Kirkus Reviews

Children's author Sarvinder Naberhaus' family emigrated from India to Ames in 1965. In her new book, Blue Sky White Stars, Naberhaus juxtaposes the design of the American flag with what the country represents to her and many others chasing the American Dream.

Flickr / David Wilson

A Muscatine mother of four who was born in Mexico will not be deported for breaking a state law. Prosecuting Martha Martinez for identity theft would have jeopardized her legal residency through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Martinez came to Iowa from Mexico when she was 11 years old.  As a young adult she used a false identity to gain employment.

Flickr Creative Commons

One morning on her way to school in Des Moines last month, 15-year-old Estela got a call from her mother. Her father had been arrested while going to work at a construction company.

“My dad was walking towards the office when the cars came in and told him to stop and pointed his guns at him.”

Estela’s father has a criminal conviction for re-entering the United States. Estela was born here. Her parents came to the U.S. fleeing violence in Mexico. We’re not using Estela's full name because her mother is also undocumented and fears she could also be arrested.

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

At the public library in the rural Morgan County town of Brush, Colorado, Marissa Velazquez welcomes her students to class. It’s a sunny Saturday morning, and today marks the halfway point in Velazquez’s class, a ten-week crash course on American history, civics and English.

Everyone in it has the same goal: become an American citizen. In two hours, Velazquez runs through voting rights, the legislative process and some grammar tips.

Pushed by worker advocates and growing consumer awareness, Tyson Foods on Wednesday promised better conditions for workers at its meat processing plants.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Governor Branstad today condemned anti-immigrant comments that appeared in a weekend tweet from Republican 4th District Representative Steve King.   

King wrote in support of anti-immigration Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders who wants to ban the Quran in the Netherlands and shut down mosques.   

“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny,” King tweeted.   “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else's babies.”

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