Immigration | St. Louis Public Radio

Immigration

This interview will be on "St. Louis on the Air" at noon on Friday; this story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh will take a look at the local ramifications of a news story that continues to rock the nation: the treatment of migrant parents and children along the U.S.'s southern border.

Joining him for a conversation focused on President Donald Trump’s evolving immigration policies will be three St. Louis-area residents whose areas of expertise shed light on the real-life impacts of those policies:

Suk (right) and Chandra Sapkota prepare gardens beds for planting at Global Farms' south St. Louis location on a Saturday in May 11, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The first time Jean de Dieu Sebunyenzi saw American food, he didn’t want to eat it. It was airplane food — hardly America’s finest culinary introduction.

Sebunyenzi had never been on a flight before, much less a 20-plus-hour travel marathon from Rwanda to Amsterdam to New York to his new home in St. Louis. The whole time, he ate nothing. It all looked so foreign to him.

Ngone Seck hugs a friend after receiving her diploma at Riverview Gardens High School's graduation ceremony. May 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Just a few years ago, Ngone Seck arrived in Florissant from Italy and began the seventh grade.

From the start, she was behind her peers. She struggled to adapt to her new country, had trouble learning English, and, at first, did poorly in school.

Today, the Italian immigrant of West African heritage began her first day of college, on a full scholarship. Her journey is paved with the sacrifices of her working-class family, the comfort of her music and the support of good teachers.

SLU soccer stand-out Saadiq Mohammed (at left) and local attorney Javad Khazaeli talked about how they’ve been impacted by recent shifts in U.S. policy.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has been home to Saadiq Mohammed for about three years now – ever since he fled Somalia to seek safety and education in the United States. But along with college coursework and soccer at Saint Louis University these days, Mohammed has something else weighing on his mind on a daily basis: whether his request for asylum will be approved.

“It’s really tough,” he told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh during Monday’s show. “Every day I think about it a lot … When you wake up, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

For most families in the United States, planning for a future without your parents is not something often talked about — at least, not until adulthood.

But for thousands of families with mixed immigration status in the metro, the sudden disappearance of a mother or father — or both — feels like a real possibility. An estimated 20,000 children of unauthorized immigrants live in the Kansas City area, according to 2014 census data analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute.

DACA recipients lead a march through the Delmar Loop on Friday evening. March 2, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Young immigrants in Missouri who are protected by an Obama administration program that granted them temporary permission to stay in the United States are taking their case to members of Congress.

In Missouri, 3,500 young people have registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. They want Congress to pass a long-term solution that would allow them to stay in the country.

Alex Garcia poses for a portrait at Christ Church United Church of Christ, where he’s taking sanctuary.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When the letter from immigration officials came in the mail in September, Carly Garcia knew her life was about to change.

Panicked, she opened the envelope then called her husband, Alex, and told him to rush home.

In the past, immigration agents had given Alex Garcia temporary permission to live in the United States with Carly and their five children. But now, the letter said, he had two weeks to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office for deportation.

Eddie Albarran, who is studying photography, took photos of a DACA rally held outside the St. Louis office of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., on Sept. 6, 2017. He spoke at the rally.
Provided | Eddie Albarran

A St. Louis woman from Haiti is among immigrants who are concerned about the future of family members and others without documentation, despite the recent restoration of certain protections.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it is accepting renewal applications from young people seeking protection under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The Obama-era program protects undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before age 16 and were under the age of 31 when the grant took effect in 2012. President Donald Trump sought to end DACA. A federal judge temporarily blocked that decision this month.

Jose Garcia holds his daughter, Amanda, at a Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Ferguson. (Nov. 19, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Jose Garcia and his partner, Ana Ortiz, shuffled quietly into the warmth of a packed Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Ferguson.

Their older daughters, Julissa, 11, and Dana, 7, disappeared into the pews looking for friends. Garcia picked up 5-year-old Amanda and rocked her in his arms.

For more than a decade, Garcia attended Sunday Mass with his family. But this November morning was different.

Faizan Syed (left) and Jim Hacking (right) discuss Trump's latest travel ban.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed enforcement of the latest version of President Trump's restriction on travel to the U.S. from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, with fewer restrictions on visitors from Sudan. New limits and restrictions were added on visitors and immigrants from Chad, North Korea and Venezuela.

Signs held by demonstrators at a Sept. 6 rally in support of the DACA program outside the St. Louis office of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. The photo was taken by Eddie Albarran who spoke at the rally. He is studying photography.
Provided | Eddie Albarran

Eddie Albarran recalls being nervous — but also very determined — as he waited to address about 60 people gathered outside the St. Louis office of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill last month.

Albarran, who grew up in St. Louis, was about to acknowledge publicly a fact of his life that he usually keeps to himself: He is one of nearly 700,000 young immigrants who have temporary protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Obama administration created the DACA policy in 2012 for  children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Many current high school students with temporary immigration status won’t be protected by the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program until they graduate.

That could make it difficult for 16-year-old Karla Vasquez of St. Louis and others to plan for their future, including whether to go to college in the United States. Karla already is thinking of going to another country or returning to Honduras, where she lived until she was 3, because she doesn’t want to live in fear of being deported.

Supporters of immigrants who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program held a rally Friday at the federal courthouse in St. Louis.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Updated at 4:50 p.m. Tuesday — Immigration lawyers in St. Louis are studying a Trump administration decision to end the Obama-era DACA program that permits some unauthorized immigrants to remain in the United States.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the administration will phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials said they are processing renewal requests for DACA recipients whose benefits expire between now and March 5.

Supporters of immigrants who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program held a rally Sept. 1, 2017 at the federal courthouse in St. Louis.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 2:18 p.m. with details from the rally — Young adults and children living in the St. Louis region under temporary immigration status are nervous that President Donald Trump will terminate the program.

Immigrants living in Missouri under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, rallied Friday in downtown St. Louis ahead of an anticipated decision from Trump on the future of the program.

The Illinois state seal
The Illinois state seal / Jeremy Wilburn | Flickr

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has been busy in the last few days, having signed into law bills that restrict cooperation with federal immigration authorities, automatically register eligible voters when they get a license, make it easier for transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificates and re-establish the Illinois Muslim American Advisory Council.

But the Republican also has used his veto powers on college loan protection, limits on what employers can ask job candidates and a workers’ compensation plan. Here's a rundown of the action:

Alaa Alderie, a Syrian refugee, is the owner of Cham Bakery in St. Louis.
File photo | Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Alaa Alderie sought refuge in the United States several years ago, not long after Syrian authorities started looking for him because of his involvement in political demonstrations against President Bashar Al-Assad.

In 2012, he and his parents came to St. Louis, where his brother had arrived earlier, finding success in their new home. Alderie, who is Muslim, considers himself a “lucky refugee.” 

The entryway of Casa de Salud's building at 3200 Choteau Ave. in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio.

How long is the wait for a Spanish-language therapy session in the St. Louis area, if you don’t have health insurance? A year or more, providers say.

Jorge Riopedre, president of St. Louis-based Casa de Salud, which serves uninsured immigrants and refugees at a clinic on Chouteau Avenue, hopes to change that.

Areli Muñoz Reyes, who is enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, attends St. Louis Community College at Forest Park and is studying to be a teacher
File photo | Jenny Simeone-Casas | St. Louis Public Radio

Young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children, and received temporary Social Security numbers and work permits under an Obama-era program can keep their protections — for now.

 

Breaking a promise made on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump announced last week that he would extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but hasn’t said for how long. Missouri is home to almost 4,000 DACA permit holders.

Carla has started taking classes, hoping to make her children proud by becoming fluent in English over the next few years. St. Louis Public Radio has changed Carla’s name because she is an unauthorized immigrant. May 2017.
Jenny Simeone-Cases | St. Louis Public Radio

Insurance coverage, transportation, child care and work schedules can all stand in the way of a person’s access to mental health services.

For some St. Louis residents, language is the biggest obstacle, because only a handful of organizations in the region offer services in languages other than English — and demand is growing.

The International Institute in St. Louis provides integration services for more than 7,500 immigrants and refugees each year.
File photo | Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

The International Institute of St. Louis is seeking ambassadors of sorts.

The organization that provides integration services for more than 7,500 immigrants and refugees each year is recruiting volunteers to help spread the word about how those foreign-born residents benefit the community.

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