Garden City, Kansas: A Melting Pot On The Prairie

Out on the dusty plains in the middle of the heartland is a small town that has made neighbors of people from all over the world. Garden City, Kansas, once a very white town, is today home to Mexicans, Central Americans, Asians and Africans. They came to work in the town’s massive meatpacking plants that turn cattle into beef.

We often hear about anti-immigrant sentiment in Middle America, but Garden City is exactly the opposite story. When the immigrants first started arriving, residents made the decision to open their doors and welcome the newcomers with open arms. As a result, an area once known as a cowboy capital has become a cultural crossroads.

Reporter Peggy Lowe tells us how it all happened, and Maria speaks with former Garden City mayor Tim Cruz about the value of neighborliness.

Photo courtesy of the Kansas State Public Library

 

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peglowbPeggy Lowe is a multimedia reporter for Harvest Public Media and for KCUR, the NPR station in Kansas City, Mo. She was previously a reporter for the Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain News, and the Orange County Register. 

 

 

The Drop In Deportations

The Latino vote helped re-elect President Obama in 2012. Yet despite Latino support, the Obama administration has been responsible for a record number of deportations, on track to reach the 2 million mark sometime this year.

However, deportations fell slightly in 2013.

So…should advocates renew their faith in Mr. Obama’s campaign promise of immigration reform?

 

 

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Disappointment across the aisle

 

Graca Martinez, an organizer with United We Dream, says she’s upset with President Obama’s deportation policy.

 

“He promised the first year of his presidency to give us immigration reform and here we are in his second term and he’s given us nothing,” says Martinez.”

 

In fact, the president’s immigration policies displease people across the political spectrum.

 

Raul Grijalva was one of 29 democratic congressmen who signed a letter asking for the deportations of non-criminals to be halted. He says the administration has fallen into a Catch-22.

 

“Now they find themselves with no political response on the other side and owning a policy that’s deported more people than in the history of the country,” says Grijalva.

 

Republican congressman Mario Diaz Balart is critical of the president’s deportation policy.

 

“He said that he was not going to deport folks that didn’t have serious criminal records, he is deporting record numbers of people, many of which have families in the United States and have not committed serious crimes,” says Balart.

 

Looking ahead

 

There could be movement on immigration reform this year.

 

House Speaker John Boehner continues to support tackling immigration reform in a piece meal fashion.

 

In the meantime, democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez argues the president should stop breaking immigrant families apart through deportations.

 

“This isn’t amnesty, this isn’t a permanent solution,” says Gutierrez, “this is a temporary solution that allows you to say, ‘I’m going to protect you in the place you’re at right now, you don’t get to travel, you don’t get to vote, you just get to stay with your family in a safe place.”

 

The immigration reform effort is further complicated by this year’s midterm elections.

 

Some reform advocates hope Hope Republicans will be more open to compromise after primary season.

 

Now it’s a waiting game to see whether President Obama is remembered as the president who tackled immigration reform or the one who carried out a record number of deportations.

 

Congressional House Divided

Just after the last presidential election, prominent Republicans sent a clear message to support an immigration overhaul. But after months of debate, divisions among Republicans in Congress over a path to citizenship in the bill threaten the new pro-Latino rhetoric the party has worked so hard to promote. Matt Laslo reports from Washington.

Image courtesy of Flickr/Joe Goldberg.


head_shot_lasloMatt Laslo is a freelance reporter who has been covering Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court for more than five years. He has filed stories for more than 40 local NPR stations. His work has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Chattanooga Times Free Press, National Public Radio, The Omaha World-Herald, Pacifica Radio, Politics Magazine, and Washington Magazine.

Repainting Farm Labor… With Blue

For the nearly one-and-a-half million migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the U.S, the solution to legalization no longer lies on a green card, but a “blue card.” A new provision in the Senate immigration reform bill could expedite the path to legalization for immigrant farmworkers seeking permanent residency. Sean Powers reports from Illinois.

Photo courtesy of Sean Powers.


SeanPowersRadioStudioSean Powers is a reporter and digital editor at Illinois Public Media. Powers is a native of the south suburbs of Chicago, and he graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. In 2012, he completed a fellowship at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He’s currently working on a master’s degree in the library science program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Voluntary Departure?”

The ACLU filed a lawsuit last week against the U.S. government alleging that immigration officers are pressuring undocumented immigrants into signing their own deportation orders and waiving their rights to appear before an immigration judge. John Carlos Frey reports.

Photo: Family victim of coerced deportation. Courtesy of Rebecca Rauber.


john-carlos-frey-cropped_150-122x150John Carlos Frey is a freelance investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His investigative work has been featured on the 60 Minutes episode, “The All American Canal;” a three-part series for PBS entitled “Crossing the Line;” and several episodes of Dan Rather Reports, “Angel of the Desert,” and “Operation Streamline.” In 2011 Frey documented the journey of Mexican migrants across the US-Mexico border and walked for days in the Arizona desert risking his own life for the documentary Life and Death on the Border”. John Carlos Frey has also written articles for the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, Salon, Need to Know online, the Washington Monthly, and El Diario (in Spanish). Frey’s documentary films include The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon (2007), The Invisible Chapel (2008), and The 800 Mile Wall (2009). He is the 2012 recipient of the Scripps Howard Award and the Sigma Delta Chi award for his Investigative Fund/PBS reporting on the excessive use of force by the US Border Patrol.

Nature Without “Fronteras”

At the U.S.-Mexico border, a fence is no boundary for a garden with native flora and fauna, maintained by several volunteers, is found nowhere else in the world. Reporter Valerie Hamilton sent us this audio postcard about nature without fronteras.

This story is part of the RadioNature series which explores the ways Latinos connect with nature. RadioNature is supported by the REI Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Valerie Hamilton.


Valerie. photoValerie Hamilton is an independent producer. She reports on issues on and around the U.S-Mexico border for U.S. and European public media. She’s based in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

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POSTVILLE FIVE YEARS LATER

Five years ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents closed in on a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa and carried out the largest immigration raid in U.S history. Latino USA host María Hinojosa speaks with filmmaker Luis Argueta, director of “Abused: the Postville Raid,” a documentary about the raid’s impact on immigrant families and on the town.

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Click here to download this week’s show. Image: Abused Documentary Facebook.

Luis Argueta (photo by Bea Gallardo)Luis Argueta is a film director and producer whose work spans features, documentaries, shorts and episodic TV. He has also worked as commercial director, lecturer and teacher in the United States, Europe and throughout the Americas.  Born and raised in Guatemala, Argueta is a US Citizen and has been a resident of New York since 1977. His film The Silence of Neto is the only Guatemalan film ever to have been submitted to the Academy Awards competition and he is the only Guatemalan director to have received a CLIO. In April 2009, the British newspaper The Guardian, listed Mr. Argueta as one of Guatemala’s National Living Icons, alongside Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and Singer/Songwriter Ricardo Arjona.

 

FOR BULLETS, IT’S OPEN BORDERS

Why are U.S Border Patrol agents shooting into Mexico and killing innocent civilians? Latino USA host María Hinojosa speaks with John Carlos Frey, author of investigative report, “Over the Line,” that looks into the increase in fatal shootings of Mexican nationals, by border patrol agents.

[audio:http://latinousa.org/audio/1319seg02.mp3]
Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of John Carlos Frey.

john-carlos-frey-cropped_150John Carlos Frey is a freelance investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His investigative work has been featured on the 60 Minutes episode, “The All American Canal;” a three-part series for PBS entitled “Crossing the Line;” and several episodes of Dan Rather Reports, “Angel of the Desert,” and “Operation Streamline.” In 2011 Frey documented the journey of Mexican migrants across the US-Mexico border and walked for days in the Arizona desert risking his own life for the documentary Life and Death on the Border”. John Carlos Frey has also written articles for the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, Salon, Need to Know online, the Washington Monthly, and El Diario (in Spanish). Frey’s documentary films include The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon (2007), The Invisible Chapel (2008), and The 800 Mile Wall (2009). He is the 2012 recipient of the Scripps Howard Award and the Sigma Delta Chi award for his Investigative Fund/PBS reporting on the excessive use of force by the US Border Patrol.

The Enforcement Taboo

From rallies in the Capitol, to acts of protest near the Texas/Mexico border, to a federal court room in New York, immigration activists give a final push to ensure that Congress delivers the long awaited bill reforming immigration policy and enforcement. María Hinojosa speaks to Juan Cartagena, president and general counsel of Latino Justice PRLDEF based in New York City.

[audio:http://latinousa.org/audio/1315seg01.mp3]
Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of the Wilson Center’s Mexican Institute.

juanJuan Cartagena is the president and general counsel for LatinoJustice PRLDEF. He is a constitutional and civil rights attorney with experience in employment rights, language rights, voting rights, public education financing, environmental law, housing and access to public hospitals.

The Congressional Potluck

So far, we’ve gotten a taste of what the Senate is preparing around immigration: but what’s cooking at the House? María Hinojosa talks to two leading voices shaping immigration legislation in the House of Representatives.

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Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of the Wilson Center’s Mexican Institute.

Gutierrez headshotCongressman Luis V. Gutierrez is a senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, serving as the of the Committee on Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology in the 110th Congress, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee in the 111th Congress, and as the Ranking Member of the Housing, Insurance, and Community Opportunity Subcommittee in the 112th Congress. He played a significant role in shaping the (“Dodd-Frank”) Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the 111th Congress, focusing particularly on consumer credit issues, remittances, and preventing future tax-payer funded bailouts of financial firms deemed “too big to fail.”

Becerra headshotCongressman Xavier Becerra was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, and serves as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. He is a member of the Committee on Ways And Means and is Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security. He was the first Latino to serve on the Ways and Means Committee, and is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) where he served as Chair during the 105th Congress (1997-98).