Immigrants

On a feedlot in far southwest Kansas, two cowboys on horseback move cattle on the high dusty plains, spread out like dozens of football fields stitched together with miles of fences. Their “Buenos dias! Buenos dias!” greetings mix with moos on a hot summer morning.

CCO Public Domain

Bernie Thiel, like many agricultural producers across the High Plains, has had to lower the acreage he plants to squash because of a lack of labor.

New Ag Guestworker Program Legislation Headed To US House

Oct 25, 2017

A bill to overhaul the federal agricultural guestworker program cleared its first hurdle Wednesday and is headed to the full U.S. House.

The Republican-majority House Judiciary Committee passed the bill 17-16 after two days of debate and over the objections of many Democrats. It’s likely to clear the House, though its future in the Senate is unclear.

Michael Stravato / The New York Times

The New York Times recently spoke with immigrants in Texas who had fled repressive regimes, and many of them noted unsettling similarities between the countries they left and the current administration in Washington.

More than one of the immigrants mentioned the recent cabinet meeting where President Donald Trump had members of his cabinet go around the room, praising him.

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

As Highway 30 enters Denison, Iowa, a city of 8,000, the national fast food chains stand next to Mexican groceries and restaurants. In this small city near the Nebraska border, waves of immigrants have been arriving since at least the 1980s.

KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE

A southwest Kansas hospital is working with a local meatpacking plant to help immigrants in western Kansas get their driver’s licenses.

As The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, Kansas is launching a project that will help immigrants get driver’s licenses by offering them free translators while they are taking their exams.

The number of business start-ups has increased for the third consecutive year, according to the annual Kauffman Index of Startup Activity, and immigrant-owned businesses show strong growth.

The annual Kauffman Index, released Thursday, says first-generation immigrants make up 30 percent of all new U.S. entrepreneurs, reaching its highest level for just the second time in 20 years.

City of Garden City, KS

Two independent film makers are in production on a new documentary film focusing on Garden City.

According to a press release, film makers Bob Hurst and Tess Banion – in collaboration with lifelong Garden City resident and former mayor Nancy Harness - are exploring the history of Garden City, Finney County and the many immigrant groups that have come to call the area home over the last 100 years and beyond. 

Immigrants vital to Colorado, national economy

Mar 14, 2017
NY - http://nyphotographic.com/

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.

City of Garden City, KS

A British national daily newspaper published an in-depth article this week about the foiled mosque and apartment complex bombing plot in Garden City lastt fall, sharing fears that Somali residents still feel even months after three southwest Kansas men were apprehended by FBI agents and charged with domestic terrorism.

NY - http://nyphotographic.com/

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.

This is a two-part story on immigrants and small town viability. Part one aired on this Weekend Edition Saturday. For the full story, listen to both audio segments.

Like thousands of rural towns across the country, Cawker City, Kan., was built for bygone time.

Resident Linda Clover has spent most of her life in Cawker City, and she loves the place, but it's a shell of the town it used to be.

City of Garden City, KS

In Kansas, some rural towns are booming while others are dwindling. Garden City, Kan., for instance, attracts people from across the globe. The population is young, growing, and extremely diverse.  And the large immigrant community provides the workforce that fuels the local economy.  None of this happened by accident, as the story notes.  Frank Morris reports.

Holly Bailey / Yahoo News

Amarillo saw something of the national spotlight in the wake of President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban.

A Yahoo News story noted that Amarillo has long been a safe haven for refugees. For the last several years, Texas has led the United States in refugee resettlement and Amarillo accepts more refugees per capita than any other city in the state. Amarillo has, for the most part, provided a welcome home to these settlers fleeing terror in their homelands.

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.

Ilana Panich-Linsman / Rolling Stone

In Texas, undocumented workers have begun to prepare for the arrival of President Trump.

As Rolling Stone reports, the United States is currently home to 11 million undocumented immigrants. Most are now worried that their families will be torn apart by the severe anti-immigration efforts expected to be instituted by the Trump administration.

Public Domain

Few baby boomers can flip through old photo albums without finding black and white pictures featuring themselves, siblings, and cousins as youngsters. They often show off cowboy hats with stampede strings tied tight under their chins, fuzzy chaps, and belts holding plastic six shooters that fired red ribbons of firecracker-scented caps. Not many escaped that ache to ride the range on a stick horse or to rope sad-faced pups and kittens. Watching Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and the Lone Ranger on those two-channel TVs fueled dreams and guided neighborhood shootouts.

ALAN GOMEZ/USA TODAY

Two University of Kansas professors recently completed a study on Garden City’s ever-changing demographics and the way educators in the southwest Kansas community teach a diverse population of students.   

FALLOU NDIAYE

Hi, my name is Fallou Ndiaye.  I am originally from Senegal, West Africa.  I currently live in Garden City, Kansas. My story of coming to the United States began when I worked at the Embassy in Senegal because Senegal is the long ally of the United States. The last three Presidents visited Senegal, so when I work there, they welcome you and greet you in a respectful way and give me visa to get my chance to come here in the United States.

When I came here, I learned that the opportunities are open to everyone – to everyone who wants to move up, they give you a chance to do it. So, every place since then, I work more than a decade. I was looking for a job and they give me that job, the same job they provide to everyone.  So, even if I don’t speak the language at that time very clearly to them, they help me.  They help me and guide me and train me as they train American people to do the job like everybody.

One Neighbor's Story - Generations' Stories

Oct 7, 2016
www.cbc.ca

So, both my parents are immigrants from Vietnam.  Back in the 1970s, my grandfather was a police officer in Vietnam.  When the Vietnam War came around, the North had him put in jail because he was one of the government officials.  He spent five years and four months in jail.  They took him into the jungle for hard labor and stuff.  They spent a lot of time being poor because after the North took over the country since they were a Communist society they had all the resources and everything sold to pay off their war debts, so it was really hard for them to makes ends meet.  But, luckily my grandmother was smart about the whole thing.  She sold rice and stuff so, like before the North had a chance to sell off all her stuff, she sold it and bought gold and diamonds for it which was easier because the North also changed all the currency, so everyone who was wealthy suddenly wasn’t wealthy anymore.

Our Neighbors - One Woman's Story

Sep 21, 2016
SUSAN HARGAGE PAGE, North Carolina

Maria:  I came here because I love this country.  I came here to see my sister.  I was in Mexico and I came crossing the river.  The Rio Bravo.  It was dangerous.  It was hard.  But I came here because the life is better than my country.  This is a blessed country.  I love this country.

I find good job.  I have a good life here because now I can help the people. When the people have problems, they ask me what they need to do to solve their problems.  Can I help them. 

Metrocosm / Washington Post

Immigration has been a hot-button issue throughout the 2016 presidential race. But, according to surveys, Americans actually know very little about the issue.

The Washington Post recently noted that it was “remarkable just how much Americans overestimate immigration in their country.” On average, Americans guessed that one-third of people in the U.S. are immigrants. That’s more than double the actual figure.

Guatemala to the High Plains - Unaccompanied

Sep 2, 2016
ESTHER HONIG / KCUR 89.3

In the small, rural city of Liberal, Kansas, a neighborhood of old trailer homes sits just off the main street. The small trailer at the end of the block, with faded yellow paint and creaky front steps, is the place 17-year-old Diego now calls home.

We Are All Immigrants

Aug 10, 2016
Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

When I learned that our Radio Readers Fall Read would be themed “Stories: Borders and Becoming,” I began to think about what that might mean, exactly. We all have family stories of our beginnings and becoming in this country.  Whether we’re descendants of German  immigrants, Irish immigrants, Mexican immigrants, Asian immigrants, we all “just came here” at one time or another.  We have that story of becoming in common.