immigration

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Nearly 1,000 people in the Central Valley are now officially new U.S. citizens. And for many, they say the recent Presidential election played a big role.

975 people from 57 countries took the oath of citizenship at the Fresno Convention Center Tuesday, the final step in their process of moving from immigrant to citizen.

Among them was 35-year old Norma Minjares, who was brought to the country by his parents as an infant.  

She, like many in the crowd, say last fall’s election pushed her to finally seek citizenship.

Fresno State Facebook page

There’s a new set of public opinion polls out on the views of San Joaquin Valley residents on a variety of issues, from the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act to water and immigration.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Since the beginning of April, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has announced more than 350 arrests in raids from New York to Virginia to Texas. Presumably, they could happen anywhere at anytime.

But a new quid pro quo with the government has Madera County hoping it can both do away with raids and keep its residents safe.

In most of California, county jails are run by county sheriffs. Not so in Madera, where District Attorney David Linn explains the jail belongs to its own Department of Corrections.

Violet Ruth Bergen

While immigrant rights and sanctuary cities may be flash points right now in today’s political climate, it may be easy to forget that the San Joaquin Valley has a long history of opening its doors to immigrants as well as refugees fleeing struggles in their home countries. On Tuesday, April 4, Fresno State is hosting a symposium to educate students and the community about some of their newest neighbors: Syrian refugees.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims were among the law enforcement officials who met with President Trump today as part of the Major County Sheriff’s Association conference. 

Mims: “He pledged his support for law enforcement saying that we’re going to work together to keep our communities and nation safe.”

Mims says Trump also repeated his calls to step up deportations of individuals suspected or convicted of crimes who are in the country illegally.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

The early days of President Donald Trump’s administration have left all manner of people scrambling to keep up and understand the local impacts of a series of executive orders. One major change is the threat to withhold federal funds from so-called “sanctuary cities”, that is cities that claim to not work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to find undocumented immigrants. But what even is a sanctuary city and is Fresno in the crosshairs?

When he explained his executive order targeting ‘sanctuary cities’ last week, President Trump described the order this way.

Lee Brand / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand took office a little less than 30 days ago, and it’s been an eventful first month. Last week he unveiled his plan to tackle one of the city’s biggest issues – substandard rental housing - conditions that in many cases are unsafe and unhealthy. The plan, which includes a baseline inspection of the city’s existing rental apartments and homes, is one of the biggest changes in years in the way city hall works. It’s also the first big test of Brand’s new administration and his relationship with the city council as it goes up for a vote on Thursday.

It has been one year since the Fresno Sheriff’s Office began allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents into the county jail to check for undocumented immigrants. Now, immigration advocates are calling for an end to the practice.

Rallying outside the county courthouse, a small group of advocates held signs reading “ICE out of Fresno”.

Luis Ojeda, who himself is living in the country without documentation, says the practice sows fear in the Hispanic community that leads to fewer people reporting crimes.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Right now, Clovis Community College is hosting an exhibit from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. It’s all about the Bracero program, a controversial government campaign in the mid-20th century that brought Mexican men into the U.S. seasonally to work the fields. Alongside the Smithsonian exhibit are paintings by Eliana Soto, a local artist whose grandfather was a Bracero. She tells Kerry Klein about exploring her family’s history through art as part of our first-person series My Valley, My Story.

The Central Valley is home to diverse communities, some who’ve migrated from all over the world for decades. But for one group, it’s the beginning of the first generation of people born in the Valley. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, with this comes the struggle of preserving a cultural identity while embracing growing up in the states.

At Danielle Uwaoma’s house in Clovis her living room is covered with traditional African drums and exotic masks.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Immigrant advocates in Fresno say they’re fed up with a recent decision by the sheriff’s department to collaborate in new ways with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). As Valley Public Radio’s Diana Aguilera reports, activists are demanding a change. 

Just last week Sheriff Margaret Mims announced a new program that allows two ICE agents to be stationed inside the Fresno County Jail. Federal agents can now check if inmates are in the country legally and can look at their criminal history to determine whether they should be deported.

Sanctuary Cities Draw Scrutiny In California

Jul 14, 2015
Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

The alleged murder of a San Francisco woman by an undocumented immigrant with a criminal history has revived a debate in the state Capitol over "sanctuary cities." Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.    

San Francisco is one of several California sanctuary cities which generally have a policy of not informing federal authorities about undocumented immigrants in their areas. The suspect had been in San Francisco custody in April, but was released.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

With immigration reform efforts seemingly stalled in Washington D.C., the California legislature is taking its own steps to address the undocumented immigrants who call the state home. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports on one new bill that would give state work permits to agricultural workers.

The bill introduced by assembly member Luis Alejo hopes to give undocumented workers the chance to work legally in California’s agricultural industry. According to Alejo, as much as 75 percent of the industry’s workforce is undocumented.

New Data: Nearly One In Ten California Workers Is Undocumented

Jun 29, 2015
PPIC

It's difficult to tally a population that lives in the shadows, but new data estimates that 2.7 million immigrants are living illegally in California. That's more than any other state in the nation.

The majority of California's undocumented immigrants arrive from Latin America, and specifically Mexico. Laura Hill is a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. She expects that trend to continue. 

Immigrant Health Care Bill Passes Senate

Jun 2, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Many – but not all – of the people living in California illegally would be able to obtain health insurance under a scaled-back proposal that’s cleared the state Senate. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara’s bill is less comprehensive – and less expensive – than previous versions. But, he told senators, this would be a vote they would remember.

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