immigrants

Striking Migrant Farm Workers Win Settlement

Nov 8, 2017
Elizabeth Sanders

After about three weeks on strike, a group of migrant workers employed at a tobacco farm in Gerrard County, Kentucky have reached a settlement with the farm’s owner.

The workers came from Mexico under the H2A visa program, which allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. for temporary or seasonal farm work. The Department of Labor program also sets a minimum wage for the workers and requires the employer to provide for costs associated with the work, such as work supplies and travel to and from the farm.

Jeanna Glisson

The Kentucky Farm Bureau is hoping to raise awareness of the important role migrant labor plays in making the state’s agriculture system work.

Joe Cain is director of the bureau’s commodity division, and is the featured speaker at an event Tuesday night in Muhlenberg County.

He says he hopes any changes to the nation’s immigration laws will include updates to the H2A program, which allows agriculture employers to bring workers to the U.S. for seasonal work.

Elizabeth Sanders

Workers on a tobacco farm in Garrard County, Kentucky, are entering the third week of a strike over claims that they have not received the pay guaranteed by a federal work visa program. The strike is part of a movement across the South and Midwest to organize migrant laborers who enter the country legally to do seasonal work.

The farmers chanted in Spanish as they marched to deliver a letter to the farm owner.

“Que queremos? Justicia!”


Here's What Life is Like for a WKU Student in the U.S. on DACA

Oct 18, 2017
Ambriehl Crutchfield

Western Kentucky University student Angel Enriquez is one of an estimated 700,000 people who are uncertain of their future after the rollback of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

DACA temporarily defers deportation and allows work permits for those brought to the U.S illegally as children.

It was created as an executive order by President Obama in 2012. President Trump has cancelled DACA, putting pressure on Congress for a permanent resolution.


Becca Schimmel

Refugee resettlement agencies in Kentucky are waiting for the official word on how many refugees will be allowed to resettle in the U.S. during the current fiscal year which began this week. President Trump is expected to set the cap at 45,000 refugees. That would be the lowest limit set since the Refugee Act was signed in 1980.

 

Maria Koerner with the Kentucky Office for Refugees said while the limit of 45,000 was expected, it’s still disheartening. She said a decline in the number of refugees allowed into the country has--and will continue to--negatively affect funding at refugee resettlement agencies around Kentucky. Koerner said nearly half the cases she works involve reuniting refugees with family members already in the U.S.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

President Trump affirmed Thursday morning that a deal was in the works with Democrats that would protect some 800,000 DREAMers who could face deportation when DACA expires next year in exchange for "massive border controls."

It wasn't clear, however, whether a border wall would be part of an emerging pact, as Trump had seemed to suggest at one point.

Early Thursday, he told reporters: "The wall will come later, we're right now renovating large sections of wall, massive sections, making it brand new."

Updated at 11:58 a.m. ET

With President Trump's announcement on Tuesday that his administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the White House made clear it wants a legislative solution from Congress to protect the roughly 800,000 "DREAMers," who came to the U.S. illegally as children and now could face the possibility of deportation.

Rhonda J Miller

About 60 people marched in Bowling Green on Sept. 5 in support of DACA, or “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” It was one of many marches held across the country after President Trump’s announcement that he plans to end DACA, a program that has helped more than 800,000 young immigrants remain in the U.S. legally.

One of the marchers in Bowling Green was Briant Vargas, a former student at Western Kentucky University, who says he was born in the U.S. but his 21-year-old brother wasn't. Vargas says he thinks it’s inhumane to end DACA and interrupt a good life, like the one his brother is working so hard to achieve.

Francisco Serrano Facebook

President Trump has ordered an end to the program for young immigrants called DACA, or “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.”  The cancellation of that program is likely to impact several thousand young people who are students or are working in Kentucky.

In the Sept. 5 announcement to end DACA, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said there would be an orderly process of “winding down” former President Obama’s executive order that created the program protecting young immigrants from deportation. That “winding down” could affect thousands of people in Kentucky.

Community Action of Southern Kentucky

President Trump’s proposal to cut legal immigration by half and consider English language and job skills has set off a controversy about whether the nation is changing the welcoming message of the Statue of Liberty. The proposed immigration rules could affect businesses in Kentucky that face a shortage of entry- and mid-level workers.

When you talk to business owners in Kentucky, many say they have positions that are not filled because they can’t find enough people with the right skills, or willing to do the job. Some don’t arrive at work on time and some can’t pass the drug test.

Becca Schimmel | Ohio Valley ReSource

The Islamic Center in Bowling Green is sponsoring a first-of-its-kind Unity Festival Friday.

The Islamic Center hopes the event will bring local officials and the Muslim and refugee population closer together.

Backpacks and school supplies will be handed out to the 210 children expected to attend. The event is not open to the public, because the Islamic center is only providing supplies to the children expected to attend.

The Supreme Court says it will decide the fate of President Trump's revised travel ban, agreeing to hear arguments over immigration cases that were filed in federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland and allowing parts of the ban that has been on hold since March to take effect.

The justices removed the two lower courts' injunctions against the ban "with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," narrowing the scope of those injunctions that had put the ban in limbo.

Becca Schimmel

Tuesday marked the end of the first year at Kentucky’s first stand-alone international high school, located in Bowling Green, a refugee resettlement area.

Shoes squeaked and laughter filled the small international high school, where the student body speaks about 30 different languages.

 

What used to be the annex of Warren Central High School is now home to Gateway to Educational Opportunities, or Geo International. The school serves 180 Warren County high school students from 24 different countries.

 


Jacob Ryan

A Bowling Green immigration attorney says many undocumented immigrants in the region are asking if they’ll be impacted by President Trump’s recent executive orders.

Brett Reynolds says it’s a hard question to answer amid court challenges and a lack of consistency in messages coming from Washington.

He’s advising people in the country illegally to lay low for the time being.

"My advice would be to just stay the course, and stay under the radar. Don't call attention to yourself. Don't get a speeding ticket, don't get a DUI. Anything like that is going to put you at risk for being removed fairly expeditiously."

Roxanne Scott

The social justice group Mijente is continuing its efforts to make Louisville a so-called sanctuary city.

The group delivered a petition with about 2,600 signatures to that effect to a mayor’s aide at Metro Hall on Monday morning.

Jesús Ibañez of the local chapter of Mijente — a Latinx-focused social justice group whose name translates to “my people” — says it’s time Mayor Greg Fischer and the Metro Council join other cities across the country and give Louisville an official sanctuary city designation.

“Be compassionate as we know he is, as we know he has said before and help the undocumented community that’s scared,” he says. “They’re scared of Trump’s executive orders, they’re scared of the raids happening across the country.”

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