illegal immigration

In a major ruling with implications for employers of undocumented immigrants, a federal judge in Kansas said a law making it a crime to "encourage" or "induce" such immigrants to live in the United States is unconstitutional.

Florencio Millan, the undocumented Mexican immigrant whom immigration agents dragged out of his car after breaking its window, was deported to Mexico on Wednesday just two days after he was arrested.

Cheyenne Hoyt, his girlfriend and the mother of his two children, told KCUR that Millan called her Wednesday evening and said he had been flown to Brownsville, Texas, and then transported just over the border to Matamoros, Mexico.

Ben Kuebrich / High Plains Public Radio

This last weekend, Dodge City was one of the hundreds of cities across the U.S. to hold “Families Belong Together and Free” rallies to protest against children having been separated from their parents at the border.

The event was organized by the Dodge City Catholic Diocese and featured speeches by religious leaders and songs and prayers in both English and Spanish.

Dennis McKinney, former Kansas State Treasurer, also spoke at the event. He said the border needs to be secured, but that there’s no need to split families.

A team of lawyers has volunteered to make sure immigrant children in Topeka separated from their parents have the legal help they need to reunite with their families.

Former U.S. attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom said Monday he’s assembled team of at least 10 lawyers, paralegals and legal secretaries volunteering help to immigrant children staying at The Villages, a shelter in Topeka that’s been taking in children separated from their parents when they crossed into the United States.

Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to end his controversial policy that has resulted in thousands of family separations and brought criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

"We're going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for and that we don't want," Trump said Wednesday morning, when he announced that he would sign the order.

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Relatives of undocumented immigrants are at risk for being charged criminally if they sponsor or take them into their homes.

As ProPublica reports, over 400 people were arrested this summer as part of what Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, calls a crackdown on guardians who pay human smugglers, also known as "coyotes."

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Earlier this week, the Trump Administration announced it would be rescinding DACA – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that currently protects children of parents who came to the U.S. illegally from deportation

The majority of DACA recipients, more commonly referred to as “DREAMers,” are from Mexico, but according to Quartz, the remaining one-fourth come from all over the world, primarily El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

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With President Donald Trump’s hard line on immigration, as the New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/us/prosecutors-dilemma-will-conviction-lead-to-life-sentence-of-deportation.html reports, it may pose difficulties for prosecutors looking to strike plea deals, as a potential repercussion for at least some immigrants could be deportation.

Colorado.gov

There’s an estimated backlog of 11,000 applications for Colorado’s driver’s license program for people living in the U.S. illegally and efforts to fix and better fund the program have been caught in partisan gridlock.

As The Denver Post reports, the program was started about three years ago as a means of making Colorado’s roads safer by ensuring that drivers living in the U.S. illegally have insurance and know the rules of the road.  

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The issue of immigration is of great economic significance to the High Plains region, as much of the population in the area consists of immigrants, many of whom work in agriculture-related fields.

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‘I need more Mexicans.’

Several southwest Kansans are featured in a June 20 Bloomberg Businessweek article with that headline – a message the article reports Kansas farmers are sending to President Donald Trump.

According to Blooomberg, arrests of suspected undocumented workers have jumped 38 percent since Trump signed a pair of executive orders targeting immigration in January. This has some in the state worried about the impact on the rural economy.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Department of Homeland Security)

The Texas Senate passed a bill last week that would license immigrant family detention centers as childcare facilities.

As The Texas Observer reports, Senate Bill 1018, which would allow prison firms to skip all the burdensome regulations that other child care facilities must follow, advanced Tuesday on a 20-11 vote.

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott took to Facebook Live in an unannounced ceremony Sunday and signed a ban on sanctuary cities. 

As The Guardian reports, the measure allows police, during routine stops, to ask whether someone is in the U.S. legally and threatens jail time for police chiefs and sheriffs who don’t cooperate with federal immigration agents.

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

Immigrants vital to Colorado, national economy

Mar 14, 2017
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In Colorado, one in 10 residents, or just under 533,000 people, were born in another country, making them a vital part of the state’s economy.

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Citizens of Garden City, Kansas and Amarillo, Texas participated in yesterday’s “Day without immigrants” protest, intended to showcase the role immigrants play in the national economy.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, the absentee rate at Garden City public schools Thursday was higher than usual, with 18.5 percent of the district’s 7.713 students absent. And nearby Tyson Fresh Meats, the area's largest employer of immigrants, also reported higher absenteeism, did not provide specific numbers.

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Several people were arrested in southwest Kansas last week as part of the national immigration crackdown that netted more than 600 arrests by immigration authorities.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, 31 of the more than 600 people arrested by immigration authorities last week were picked up in Kansas, about three-quarters of which were picked up in southwestern Kansas, near Dodge City, Garden City and Liberal. Nearly all were citizens of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador or Mexico.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

The bell signals the start of second period. A trio of young women take seats in English class, their attention quickly drifting outside the walls of the high school in Fort Morgan, Colorado, eager to talk about what they’re working toward.

“I want to become an FBI [agent],” says freshman Mariam Mohammed. “It’s my dream.”

Finney County removed from sanctuary county list

Feb 14, 2017
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Finney County Kansas has been removed from a list categorizing it as a sanctuary county

As the Garden City Telegram reports, the Center for Immigration Studies has officially removed Finney County from its list of sanctuary territories after a concerted effort by Sheriff Kevin Bascue and County Administrator Randy Partington.

Valarie Smith

A high school student in Garden City, Kansas has organized a rally for to show support for the southwest Kansas community’s diverse population in light of President Donald Trump’s executive orders last week to build a border wall on the Mexico border and the U.S travel ban for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

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Several Kansas counties could be impacted if President Donald Trump pulls federal funding away from what the Center for Immigration Studies refers to as sanctuary counties.

According to KWCH , six counties in Kansas are considered sanctuary counties by the Center for Immigration Studies - Finney, Butler, Harvey, Johnson, Sedgwick and Shawnee counties.

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Immigrant advocates are formulating a plan to deal with if and when Donald Trump’s administration executes his deportation strategy.

According to The Guardian, one such resistance movement in Austin, Texas, centers on a reverend ready to create a physical barrier between undocumented immigrants and immigration enforcement agencies.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / The Texas Tribune

With Donald Trump’s election, fear is running rampant through communities of undocumented immigrants across the High Plains.

“I think terrified would be the right word,” one Colorado Springs immigration attorney told The Gazette.

During his campaign, Trump vowed to forcibly remove the millions of people in the country illegally.

Kiichiro Sato / AP photo

The State of Texas has given up the fight—for now—on trying to prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining birth certificates for their children born legally in the States.

Eric Gay / AP photo

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to reduce its aerial surveillance on the Texas-Mexico border. On Monday Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, asked to know why.

Texas Tribune

There’s a new law in Texas that makes it a felony to harbor undocumented immigrants, reports The Texas Tribune. In response to the legislation, a national civil rights group is suing the state.

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Texas is suing the Obama Administration to block its plan to offer amnesty to millions of immigrants. But a recent report by the Center for American Progress has concluded that Texas actually stands to profit immensely if the president’s ambitious plan is upheld. The Huffington Post notes that the president’s plan would benefit Texas’s GDP to the tune of $38.3 billion over ten years.

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

 An effort to repeal a 10-year-old law that gives the children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition is alive in the Legislature. But as Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, the measure remains bottled up in a committee.