Obama

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Next week applications will start rolling in from the first wave of immigrants seeking temporary deportation relief under President Barack Obama’s executive order. Despite strong opposition from Republicans in Congress, Obama’s immigration plan aims to shield up to five million unauthorized immigrants from deportation out of the estimated 11 million living in the United States.  

As soon as Feb. 18, newly eligible immigrants will begin applying for relief under the extended version of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Last week President Obama announced a new proposal that would essentially make community college free for most students. The president spoke of the issue as extending the concept of a free public education from the K-12 grades to two-year colleges, as higher education has become increasingly important to the country’s job market.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Undocumented residents in the Central Valley are speaking out today after President Obama revealed his executive action on immigration Thursday. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, reactions to the president’s announcement are mixed.

For nearly 24 years, Lucia Aldarete says she has been living with the fear that one day she will be deported back to Mexico. The Fresno resident says she couldn’t imagine what life would be like without her three children, who were born in the United States.

The dramatic rise in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border illegally has prompted the Obama administration to announce a new effort to halt what it calls a humanitarian crisis.

Earlier this week, the White House announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will head a new federal task force charged with developing a response to the trend.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

President Obama visited the valley today in a whirlwind tour, delivering a speech this afternoon at the Los Banos farm of Joe Del Bosque to announce his proposal for emergency drought relief. He says that while the lack of rain and snow is a concern to the Central Valley, it’s also a national issue:

Obama: “California is our biggest economy, California is our biggest agricultural producer, so what happens here matters to every working American, right down to the cost of food that you put on your table.”

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

During his visit Friday to the Central Valley, President Obama discussed the   drought with community leaders in Firebaugh. FM 89’s Rebecca Plevin asked residents there what they would tell the President about the region, if they had the opportunity.

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If President Obama had time to stop by the Farmer’s Daughter restaurant in Firebaugh today, he would hear a strong message from owner LaVonne Allen.

“We need more water storage, there’s no ands, ifs, or buts about it,” she says.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

President Obama will visit the Central Valley this afternoon to announce an aid package to help farmers, ranchers and communities hit hard by California's record drought. After landing in Fresno, the President is expected to attend a roundtable discussion about the drought in Firebaugh and tour a farm in Los Banos.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the President's message will be clear:

EPA.gov

A federal effort to cut red tape and better use existing  resources to help economically struggling cities like Fresno is beginning to pay off, according to Obama administration officials. 

In a statement issued Thursday, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz praised the "Strong Cities, Strong Communities" (SC2) program for supporting communities like Fresno.

White House Pool Video

President Obama made his first visit to Central California today, as he dedicated the Cesar Chavez National Monument in the Tehachapi mountain community of Keene. The site served as headquarters for Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union for decades. 

The President told a crowd of over 6,000 people that Chavez was a hero for all Americans in his fight for justice, and the site, called Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace) or La Paz, is a tribute to his legacy.

National Parks Service

President Obama announced today that he will visit Kern County next Monday to declare the headquarters of the late United Farm Workers union co-founder César Chávez a national monument. The Chávez compound in the small community of Keene, located in the Tehachapi hills east of Bakersfield served as the home for both the UFW and Chávez for several decades. 

Charmion N. Kinder / HUD

The nation's top housing official visited Fresno today to generate support for the Obama administration's efforts to stem the foreclosure crisis. 

Shaun Donovan, Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development met with homeowners and members of the media today, saying that preventing foreclosures is key to stabilizing property values and boosting the economy.

The United Farm Workers of America celebrated its 50th anniversary in Bakersfield this weekend. The two-day convention attracted hundreds of workers from the around the valley, and even the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. Solis made the trip from Washington D.C. to speak with the supporters and honor one of the co-founders of the union, Dolores Huerta, with a special coin commemorating her activism for the community.

The conference ended with a video speech from President Obama, who praised the union for their hard work for fair pay for farm workers.