immigration

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President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration could impact foreign-born entrepreneurs looking to invest in St. Louis.

At a panel discussion Wednesday, legal experts addressed the potential benefits of the executive order and current visa options for foreign investors. The event was part of the Advance St. Louis Seminar Series, a collaboration between the Center for Emerging Technologies and the Polsinelli law firm.

Akif Cogo
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis region’s Bosnian community long has been touted as the largest in the world outside of Bosnia itself.

But, as some local activists add ruefully, their numbers have yet to translate into political clout.

“We definitely have that sense of being ignored,’’ said Akif Cogo, founder of St. Louis Bosnians Inc., a nonprofit organization advocating for the tens of thousands of Bosnian-Americans who now call St. Louis home.

A pro immigration rally in Kirkwood in 2013 asked that families not be divided.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | file photo

As Rosa watched President Barack Obama spell out an executive order on immigration Thursday night, her feelings were mixed. Rosa, who is an undocumented immigrant in St. Louis, asked that we only use her first name.

She could qualify for temporary deportation relief under Obama’s executive action orders — she has a son who is a U.S. citizen. But even though she qualifies, she’s saddened that many fellow immigrants don’t.

DON"T USE TOO SMALL Claire McCaskill
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

With a notable exception, congressional reaction to President Barack Obama's decision to issue an executive order on immigration divided predictably along partisan lines.

Republicans universally panned Obama’s action as “lawless” and unconstitutional while Democrats, for the most part, praised and defended his decision to act where Congress has failed.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., issued a statement that managed to criticize both congressional inaction and the reliance on executive orders to address such an important and contentious issue.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

The president and his administration are maintaining regular contact with Missouri officials ahead of an announcement by the grand jury investigating the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told reporters this week that she spoke with President Barack Obama on Tuesday for what she described as a “full and complete discussion about a lot of issues surrounding Ferguson.”  She added that “I’m in contact with the Department of Justice every few days, encouraging them to continue their independent and complete investigation.”

NathanReed / Flickr

On the national level, the issue of immigration seems to be as divisive as ever. President Barack Obama is reportedly preparing to sign an executive order to protect millions of people from deportation. In response, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has warned that if the president acts unilaterally, it will “poison the well” when it comes to relations with GOP members of Congress.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Miguel tries to protect his mom when his father hits her, but he knows that when his parents think he is asleep, the shouting and hitting will start up again. He wonders if it is his fault. He considers running away from home, but that would mean leaving his little sister. He is also afraid of seeking help because, although he was born here, his mom came to this country without a visa. Miguel thinks his mom might get in trouble if anyone finds out.

Dara Taylor of Community Catalyst.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

At a YMCA in North St. Louis, Nancy Kelley of the Missouri Foundation for Health coached about 50 navigators on how to encourage people to purchase health insurance this year.

“In some ways, we got the easy people last year. Maybe they were motivated, maybe they had some knowledge about the marketplace. So we need to get creative,” Kelley told the crowd.

152,335 people bought health insurance on the federal exchange last year, according to the Cover Missouri Coalition. The organization’s goal is to bring the amount of uninsured Missourians below 5 percent in five years.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Friday morning a new initiative to help international students find jobs at local companies is being unveiled. Called the International Student Global Talent Hiring Program, the effort is being spearheaded by the St. Louis Mosaic Project, an initiative to make the St. Louis region the fastest growing major metro area of foreign-born residents by 2020.

Community members signed this banner to welcome undocumented youth from Central America. If St. Louis is granted funds to house migrant children, the banner would hang in one of the facilities where the children would stay.
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Whether or not St. Louis will play host to migrant children who are part of the Central American border surge is still unclear. In the meantime, community members are praying.

Nearly 70 people gathered at Tower Grove Park for a prayer vigil for migrant children.

The vigil was hosted by a coalition of organizations that, along with St. Louis and St. Louis County, applied for federal grants to help house undocumented youth from Central America.

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