immigration

Following on a pledge to use his office's discretionary powers to adjust the U.S. approach to immigration, President Obama reportedly plans to remove the threat of deportation for up to 5 million people who entered the U.S. illegally.

The administration's shift in approach was reported by The New York Times, which cited "administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan."

Offices of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes

An outside group supporting Senator Mitch McConnell is spending nearly $1 million over the next week to run ads attacking his opponent on the immigration issue.

While immigration hasn’t been a major topic of focus in the Senate race between McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, the ads accuse Grimes of backing legislation that would lead to “citizenship for millions who broke the law.”

Abbey Oldham

Senator Mitch McConnell wants new restrictions placed on the federal government’s ability to transport the growing number of young migrants coming to the U.S. from Central America.

The Kentucky Republican’s amendment to Senate border legislation would prohibit the movement of what he calls “unaccompanied alien minors” across state lines unless certain criteria are met. Under the plan, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would have to certify the minors wouldn’t have a burdensome economic or public health impact on the affected state and communities.

McConnell’s amendment would also prohibit the movement of the young migrants unless the Health and Human Services and Homeland Security Departments certify that transporting them will not delay their immediate repatriation.

In a news release, McConnell said the unaccompanied minors should be treated humanely and returned to their home country as soon as possible, and not “shipped across the nation and housed at taxpayer expense.”

Sen. Paul: Some Child Immigrants May Go To Fort Knox

Jul 21, 2014
Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says Fort Knox is being considered as a possible place to temporarily house some of the immigrant children pouring across the country's southern border.

Paul spokesman Dan Bayens says the senator's office was notified that the Army post in central Kentucky has been under review as a place to take in an undetermined number of unaccompanied Central America minors.

Paul commented on the situation during a speech Monday to a Kentucky Chamber business summit in Louisville.

The Kentucky Republican spoke out against transporting the children to Fort Knox. He says they should be treated humanely until being returned to their home countries.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Tom Crosson says Fort Knox was on a short list of potential military sites to house the children.

Crosson says it was determined that Fort Knox won't be available until at least September due to ROTC training at the post.

The Border Patrol says more than 57,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended since October. Three-fourths of them are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Republican efforts to win control of the Kentucky House got a boost from a national figure Saturday.

The incoming U.S. House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, was in Bowling Green to raise money for the Republican Party of Kentucky House Trust. McCarthy visited the commonwealth at the request of the state’s 2nd District Congressman, Brett Guthrie of Warren County.

Speaking to reporters before the fundraiser, Rep. McCarthy said what happens in state legislatures can often trickle up to the nation's capital.

“I feel states are able to show and be a generator of ideas greater than Washington--that you can do the pilot programs,” the California Republican said. “The whole concept of welfare reform came from states. States don’t get to print more money. States have to balance a budget. States have to move forward. They carry out agencies they didn’t create.”

Democrats have controlled the Kentucky House for over 90 years, and the party’s state leaders say they will continue to hold the chamber despite the amount of GOP money being raised ahead of the November election. Republicans would have to win a net gain of five seats this fall to take control of the House.

Multiple super PACs have been created by Republicans this year to boost their party’s efforts to win the chamber, including a group founded by GOP gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner, and a PAC run by a Kentuckian who served as a top aide to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Broadening the Republican Party’s Appeal?

During his visit to The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, McCarthy said he agreed with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s recent statements about Republicans needing to expand the party’s appeal to groups that haven’t recently voted for the GOP in large numbers, such as African-Americans, Hispanics, and young people.

A Kentucky Congressman who leads the House Appropriations Committee says President Obama needs to lower the amount of funding he’s seeking to address the crisis along the country’s southern border.

Politico reports that Somerset Republican Hal Rogers told reporters Friday that the nearly $4 billion the President wants is “too much money.” The President made the request in response to the growing number of unaccompanied children who are trying to enter the country from central America.

Congressman Rogers said while members of the appropriations committee continue to look through the President’s plan, the $3.7 billion dollar price tag will have to come down in order to gain House support.

While he didn’t suggest a different number, Rogers said he hopes to make a counter-proposal  next week.

Abbey Oldham

A coalition of business, political, and refugee-rights groups in south-central Kentucky is calling on Congress to pass immigration reform.  

As part of a so-called national “Day of Action”, representatives from various backgrounds spoke Wednesday in Bowling Green about the need for Congressional  leaders and the Obama Administration to get reform passed this year.

Barren County dairy farmer H.H. Barlow, a presidential appointee to the U.S. Board for International Food and Agriculture Development, said many Americans don’t understand the impact immigrant labor has on sectors such as the agriculture industry.

“I hate the word ‘criminals’, or ‘illegal aliens’—I don’t like that term. They’re workers. They’re performing an essential service to our country,” Barlow said.

The Barren County farmer said he speaks to his elected representatives about the need for immigration reform each time he sees them. Barlow believes that reform will not only benefit immigrants, but also the U.S. economy.

Digging into the nitty gritty of immigration law, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that some immigrant children who turn 21 while their parents' immigration application is still pending have to go to the back of the line and start over.

The Associated Press explains:

"The justices on Monday sided with the Obama administration in ruling that immigration laws do not let children who age out of the system qualify for visas.

Abbey Oldham

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator is expressing doubts on the prospects of major immigration law overhaul this year.

Republican Mitch McConnell told reporters he doesn’t believe House and Senate leaders will be able to overcome their differences. Senator McConnell describes the differences between the House and Senate as an “irresolvable conflict.” The website Politico reports the Louisville Republican says the problem isn’t specific policy differences between the two chambers, but rather how each side wants to move forward procedurally.

Some Senate Democrats have said they want to tackle immigration overhaul in a comprehensive fashion, by putting all changes in one massive bill.

House Republicans have spoken in support of taking on the issue step-by-step, and passing several smaller bills along the way. While President Obama and some Congressional Democrats have recently indicated they’d be willing to look at piecemeal reform, McConnell says the gulf between the two parties is too great to get reform passed this year.

McConnell is facing a Senate primary challenge this spring by Tea Party activist Matt Bevin, who says he’s opposed to any measure that offers amnesty to illegal immigrants in the U.S.

WKU Public Radio

Nearly 50 immigrants from 23 countries will become U.S. citizens in a ceremony Friday at Mammoth Cave National Park in south central Kentucky.  The ceremony is possible through an agreement between the U.S.  Immigration and Naturalization Service and the National Park Service.

"There have been a number of them at Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty...and of course national parks are so American, and they're public land, so they belong to all American citizens," says Mammoth Cave Public Information Officer Vickie Carson.

The ceremony will take place inside a cave and feature remarks from Mammoth Cave's deputy superintendent Bruce Powell, a naturalized citizen himself. Mammoth Cave last hosted a citizenship ceremony in 2011.

Kentuckians concerned with agriculture, business and education spoke out in favor of the latest federal immigration proposal during a phone conference organized by the Partnership for a New American Economy.

The immigration proposal is being considered in the U.S. Senate, thanks to a compromise by a group of eight senators from both political parties.

The plan would create a 13-year path to citizens, expand work visas and attempts to tighten border security.

H.H. Barlow, a dairy farmer in Barren County, says he supports the compromise because farms like his need more immigrant workers in Kentucky.

Update at 2:12 p.m.:

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says the U.S. needs to “find a place” for undocumented immigrant workers. The Bowling Green Republican addressed the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, in what many analysts are seeing as another sign that Paul is preparing for a 2016 presidential run.

While he never used the word “citizenship” in his speech, Paul promised to be what he called “part of the solution” on immigration reform, saying the nation needs to create some form of legal status for undocumented immigrants. Addressing his audience, the Kentucky Senator said "if you wish to work, if you wish to live in America, then we will find a place for you.” Paul says his position is a middle ground between amnesty and deportation, saying conservative members of his party must acknowledge the country can’t deport 12 million illegal immigrants.

The remarks are a major reversal of Paul’s earlier positions, which included calls for a constitutional amendment ending birthright citizenship and a proposal to build an underground electric fence along the length of the southern U.S. border.

The presidents of Kentucky's public universities have signed a letter urging the state's U.S. senators to help overhaul the immigration system.

The letter, dated Tuesday and addressed to Republicans Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, said American universities educate some of the world's top international students only to see some of them leave under current immigration policies and work for competing companies abroad.

"Kentucky cannot afford to wait to fix our immigration system," the letter stated. "As we send away highly skilled workers trained at Kentucky and other American universities, competing international economies are welcoming these scientists and engineers."

The letter calls for a bipartisan solution to ensure these graduates have a clear path to a green card.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky's Second District Congressman says it makes no sense for U.S. colleges to graduate so many highly-skilled foreign students without a way to let them stay in this country if they choose. Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie says any attempt to overhaul America's immigration laws must make it easier for more US college graduates from other countries who have desirable skills to work here.

Rep. Guthrie says he came to this belief after attending a WKU graduation, and noticing how many of those getting master's degrees in fields of science were foreign-born.

"It just really hit me. A lot of our master's programs--not just this university--but other world class universities are graduating a lot of people who are foreign nationals, and we don't let them stay here and work and contribute to what we're trying to do here in the United States."

The Kentucky Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments over whether a truck driver can benefit from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling over what advice attorneys must give non-citizens about possible deportations.

Pages