immigration

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) says any immigration reform that clears the House will likely be done piece by piece.       

Shimkus echoes Republican leadership who continue to say there’s no way the comprehensive immigration package passed by the Senate will clear the Republican controlled chamber.

“These things can all be handled bit by bit and then you could pull them together later,” Shimkus says.  “But, you won’t see the House passing an overall immigration bill.”

(via Flickr/NathanReed)

Late last month regional leaders launched the St. Louis Mosaic Project, an initiative to make the region the fastest growing metro area for immigrants by 2020.

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Just one day before the Fourth of July, St. Louis welcomed more than 50 new United States citizens.

The group took the oath of citizenship during an annual naturalization ceremony in the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. 

The immigrants came from 26 countries, including Vietnam, Nigeria, Nepal, Albania and Germany.

Congresswoman Ann Wagner of Missouri’s Second District was the guest speaker at the ceremony, which she said was her first.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

 Public officials, activists and religious leaders packed into World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park this afternoon to rally for immigration reform, calling on members of the U.S. House of Representatives to move forward with a plan that cleared the Senate last week.

St. Louis native Vin Ko runs a pick up soccer league in St. Louis that he said brings together everyone from CEO’s to new immigrants.

More than just potential economic benefits, he said the nation needs immigration reform because it’s the right thing to do.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

 Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) cut cake and scooped ice cream during a ceremony to celebrate the volunteers who helped restore and now staff the Amtrak station in downtown Kirkwood.

“We are celebrating the best of this community, which are the kind people who decided this train station is worth saving,” McCaskill said.  “It’s now recognized as one of the best train stations in the country.”

McCaskill also read a letter of thanks from Vice President, and vocal Amtrak supporter, Joe Biden.     

(via Flickr/NathanReed)

The St. Louis region needs more immigrants to help bolster the economy.

That was the message delivered by public officials and representatives from economic development agencies during the launch of St. Louis Mosaic Project on the same day comprehensive immigration reform cleared the U.S. Senate.   

(Official Portrait/via Wikimedia Commons)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is unsure whether there are enough Democratic votes to pass a bipartisan plan to expand background checks before guns sales.  The Senate Majority Whip said he has yet to conduct a count. 

But as a guest on Fox News Sunday, he said moving the plan through the Senate would be a step in the right direction. 

Ben Moore

About 60,000 Bosnians live in St. Louis.  That’s estimated to be more Bosnians per capita than anywhere else in the world outside of Bosnia.

Bosnians settled in St. Louis during the 1990s, after the break-up of the former Yugoslavia and ensuing war and genocide.  Bosnia, or Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country in southeastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of when Bosnians came to St. Louis and questions surrounding Bosnian cultural and national identities remain unresolved.

(via Flickr/NathanReed)

We need more immigrants to help expand the regional population and kick start economic growth.

Those were the findings of a study released last year by Saint Louis University professor Jack Strauss.

(via Wikimedia Commons/United States Senate)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the current federal budget battle could present an opportunity for a “grand bargain” between Republicans and Democrats, asserting that  it's time to reform Medicare and other entitlements.

As a guest on Fox News Sunday, the number two Democrat in the Senate also managed to get in a political jab at Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).   

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Just months after the GOP’s poor performance among Latino voters, a group of eight senators -- four Republicans and four Democrats -- has renewed calls for immigration reform.

The plan would address four issues: border security, expanding opportunities for legal immigrants, an employee identification system and an arduous path to citizenship.

But Republican Senator Roy Blunt told reporters that it's the last one that will be the most problematic.

(via Flickr/jonrawlinson)

Updated 3:06 p.m. with comment from Gov. Quinn. Will be updated further. Reporting from Brian Mackey used in this report

The Illinois House has approved legislation allowing those who are in the U.S. illegally to obtain driver's licenses.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A State Senate panel assigned to study immigration issues in Missouri held its final meeting today in Jefferson City.

Some of the discussion focused on so-called “anti-immigrant” comments made on the House and Senate floors in recent years.  Vanessa Crawford Aragon is Executive Director of Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates.  She told committee chair Senator John Lamping (R, Ladue) that inflammatory speeches by some lawmakers have made life harder for immigrants in Missouri and they need to tone it down.

(via Flickr/jonrawlinson)

Supporters of licensing illegal immigrants to drive say it would make Illinois roads safer with trained motorists required to carry insurance.

The Senate Executive Committee voted 12-2 Thursday to advance the plan for some of the 250,000 people living in Illinois illegally.

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran told the committee unlicensed and uninsured illegal immigrants cause $64 million in damage claims each year - a cost covered by insured motorists' premiums.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated at 3 p.m. to include comments from Cullerton and Edgar comments. Tony Arnold contributed reporting from Chicago, and Brian Mackey from Springfield, Ill.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says he wants to pass a bill out of the Senate next week to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. And Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll sign the legislation, if it lands on his desk.

Quinn and Cullerton attended a bipartisan news conference Tuesday that included former Gov. Jim Edgar and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, both Republicans.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Saint Louis University economist thinks he has found a key to growth for St. Louis.

Professor Jack Strauss presented his findings this afternoon from an economic study that shows a direct correlation between an increasing immigrant population and economic growth. The study was originally released in June.

He says he thinks it is likely that the city’s economic slump is partly due to a dwindling number of immigrants living in the area. Four and a half percent of St. Louis’ population is foreign. In other large cities, that number is closer to 18 percent.  

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Immigrant advocacy groups in Missouri say that while they are pleased the US Supreme Court struck down most of a controversial Arizona immigration policy, they remain concerned about a provision that had the support of the justices.

The five-to-three ruling on Monday allowed Arizona law enforcement officials to check the papers of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. Opponents say that will lead to biased policing.

Update at 10:21 a.m. ET. Strikes Down Key Provisions Of Immigration Law:

The United States Supreme Court invalidated three of four challenged provisions of Arizona's controversial immigration law. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

The high court upheld the part of the law that asked police to check the immigration status of those stopped for another violation.

via Flickr/KellyB.

St. Louis needs more immigrants. That’s the gist of a new report from St. Louis University.

Professor Jack Strauss presented the findings of his study Tuesday to city and county leaders, including St. Louis mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, at a regional economic development conference.

At about 4.5 percent, Strauss says St. Louis has the lowest rate of immigration among the nation’s largest 20 cities.

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