immigration

On the heels of a federal judge’s ruling to fully restore DACA, advocates in the Mountain West are hearing from an outpouring of young people hoping to apply for the first time.

Adriel Orozco, an immigration attorney and executive director of the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, says the majority of calls his law office is receiving are from potential first-time applicants.

He says the ruling brings some measure of relief after the uncertainty of the past few years, which have caused “heartache for our community.”

Juntos

Experts say that immigrants can help bolster a community's declining population, but many small towns, which are common in the West, struggle to attract them. Gateways For Growth (G4G) is a national program that tries to help these towns become welcoming to immigrant populations.

Rock Springs Historical Museum

The wind roars at an archaeological dig outside the 200 person town of Fort Bridger in the southwestern corner of the state. The historic site is remembered as a supply shop and a military outpost. It was also the first place where Chinese immigrants were recorded in Wyoming back in 1857.

digibarter from Pixabay

Tina Babis is originally from Romania, but has lived in Jackson Hole for ten years.

"I came here as a J1 student years ago, and then went back home," said Babis. "And then came back here with a different visa. And here I am today, living here."

Naina Rao

For people of color and immigrants living in Wyoming, getting a haircut, shopping for groceries, or celebrating holidays can be difficult. Wyoming Public Radio's Naina Rao has been making trips between Laramie, Wyoming, and Denver, Colorado to get the basic cultural amenities she needs for her lifestyle. She takes us on her journey in this audio postcard.

A new study adds to the growing evidence that cities with more undocumented immigrants don’t see more crime because of them.


A U.S. Postal Service employee faces jail time after allegedly throwing out critical immigration documents.


When it comes to immigration, Americans have a lot of misconceptions about immigrants.  That’s one of the findings from a new national survey released Thursday from Public Agenda, USA Today and Ipsos Hidden Common Ground.

Juntos

Ana Castro was born in Mexico City and crossed the border with her mother as a child using a coyote- a person who smuggles immigrants across the U.S. border for a fee.

Tennessee Watson

Today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, came as a relief to the more than 600 Wyomingites who have benefitted from the program since it was created in 2012. DACA protects some immigrants, who were brought to the United States as children, from deportation and allows them to obtain driver licenses and work legally.

Wyoming Public Radio's Savannah Maher spoke with two Wyoming DACA recipients, Jose Rivas of Jackson and Ana Castro of Laramie, about how the program has impacted their lives and what today's ruling means for them.


Updated at 6:47 p.m. ET

President Trump said he plans to "temporarily suspend immigration into the United States," in an attempt to protect American workers from the coronavirus' economic toll.

Trump first announced his proposal in a late-night tweet Monday, then added details at the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday.

Flickr Creative Commons/Jordan Barab

It's unknown exactly how many immigrant workers have been laid off in Wyoming in recent weeks, but it's likely quite high, according to Jackson immigration attorney Reilly Ward with Trefonas Law, especially since Teton County's service industry saw large numbers of layoffs.

New White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to see how to reduce wage rates for foreign guest workers on American farms, in order to help U.S. farmers struggling during the coronavirus, according to U.S. officials and sources familiar with the plans.

Opponents of the plan argue it will hurt vulnerable workers and depress domestic wages.

Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

For people untouched by federal immigration policy, the issue can feel distant. But a planned immigration jail in Uinta County has made the issue intensely local for the residents of Evanston.

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide the fate of the DACA program. Meanwhile, several dozen child-advocacy groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recently filed an amicus brief in the case.

What if you could put all your hard feelings—grief, depression, sadness—into the body of another person? That’s the premise of the new speculative young adult novel The Grief Keeper. And the people charged with carrying the grief of others? United States immigrants.

Immigrants make up more than ten percent of the population in our region. And according to a report, that can provide big economic benefits.

Last month, the Trump administration said it would start deporting gravely ill immigrants here temporarily for medical care. This week, it backtracked a little. But 20 Attorneys General sent a letter to the administration saying they’re not satisfied. 

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

Last week, Uinta County Commissioners made a trip to California to visit a privately-owned Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility to evaluate whether the company should be allowed to build a similar one in Evanston. The original company, Management and Training Corporation or MTC, backed out, and a new company, CoreCivic, has stepped in.

Commissioner Mark Anderson said, during his visit, he saw a facility that was clean and comfortable.

Civil rights groups have filed a class action lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement for failing to treat the medical and mental health needs of detainees. Two of the plaintiffs are being held in the Mountain West. 

Federal prosecutors have decided to bring border activist Scott Warren to trial for a second time. His case puts a spotlight on the murky legal boundaries of humanitarian aid at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

As U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, increases its activity in Wyoming and the nation, some activists are taking steps to provide legal information to immigrants.

Public Domain

Wyoming is one of the least racially diverse states in the country-but it wasn't always that way. A museum in Evanston chronicles a time when the state bustled with international immigrants.

The Modern West 48: Zarif Khan

May 22, 2019
sheridanmedia.com

Here's the story of an early 20th century Pakistani immigrant who created a life in Wyoming and set the path for others to follow. 

StoryCorps

Maria came to the U.S. illegally with her mother when she was a little girl…so they could meet up with her father, who was working in the country legally. When StoryCorps came to Jackson last summer, Maria told her son Jorden about how she ended up in Idaho.

Juntos

This Wednesday, an activist organization will host a march to raise awareness about immigrant rights. It's called "ICE on Trial," and it's the fourth year the group Juntos has hosted such an event. Director Antonio Serrano said the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has increased the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants in Wyoming.

The backlog in U.S. immigration courts is now over 850,000 cases long. People can wait years for their hearings. And that can be a long time to pay for a lawyer and to make appearances in court. Both of these things can be much harder for immigrants living in rural and mountainous parts of the West.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday over whether the Census may include a question about citizenship.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced recently that all asylum-seekers must be detained or deported. Immigrant advocates say this will put more pressure on detention centers that are already failing to meet the needs of detainees.

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