Two young Mexican immigrants living in a small northeast Iowa town are defying the odds by  pursuing degrees  from the University of Northern Iowa. Because they are undocumented they are working their way through college without the help of student loans or other benefits of citizenship.      A new Obama administration order granting them temporary work permits is helping to ease the  way.

The Director of the Iowa Department of Transportation was in the hot seat at the statehouse.   Critics turned out to rally against the DOT’s recent policy decision denying  driver’s licenses  for young undocumented immigrants in Iowa.   That’s even though the Obama administration recently approved work permits for immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children years ago.  

United Nations Photo / Flickr

Reports say that the White House plans to start a push towards comprehensive immigration reform this month. Ben Kieffer speaks with immigrants who have come to our state about the challenges they faced moving to Iowa from another country - finding work, a new life, putting down new roots in Iowa's communities, and the Immigrant Voices Project.

Clare Roth / Iowa Public Radio

Citizens throughout Iowa gathered  by video-conference Thursday for a Des Moines-based public hearing to voice their opinion on Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s proposed voter purge rule. The proposal would allow the removal of voters from registration rolls if citizenship can’t be proven. The rule has drawn fire from civil rights and immigrants’-rights groups who say it would intimidate new citizens from voting.

The Iowa Department of Transportation says it will not issue driver's licenses or state identification cards to undocumented immigrants who have been granted deferred action by the Obama administration because they came to the United States as kids.

In Iowa almost 5,000 young immigrants—mostly of Mexican descent—have been granted temporary deferred action by the Obama administration. This means they can stay in the country, but after this ruling from the DOT, they can’t drive or receive a state ID in Iowa.

At the invitation of Iowa’s Poet Laureate Mary Swander, who is of Irish ancestry, the theatre troupe, Hob Nailed Boots of Renvyle, Ireland,  is visiting the state giving dramatic recitals from works about the Aran Islands, the Irish famine, and immigration. We reached the troupe’s Sean Coyne from his home in Renvyle.  Coyne says audiences are in for an emotional experience…

Hob Nailed Boots Theatre Tour of 3 Plays

Performed by Sean Coyne and Tegolin Knowland, written by Eamon Grennan

Oct. 15, 7:00 P.M.  Hearst Center for the Arts, Cedar Falls, IA     Emigration Road

League of Women Voters of California / Flickr

Iowa’s Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz  hopes to match  Iowa voter registration lists  against a federal database to purge non-citizens from the rolls.   Critics  call it  a solution in search of a problem.