Immigration

Reporting On 'American Coyotes' Along The U.S.-Mexican Border

Jul 22, 2015
Justin Merriman / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

  People who enter the country illegally have a great impact on the American labor force. But that same American labor is helping to smuggle migrants cross the U.S.–Mexico border. These smugglers, known as “coyotes,” are the focus of a week-long series in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman joined Essential Pittsburgh to discuss their work. 

Erika Beras

Following a naturalization ceremony in Pittsburgh City Council Chambers on Monday morning, Mayor Bill Peduto and his staff introduced Welcoming Pittsburgh, an initiative to make life easier for the city’s immigrants.

“This is not only a question of doing what is right," he said. "It's also a critical part of the growth of a new Pittsburgh, the next economy and a part of seeing the full potential of every neighborhood to see revitalization.”

Foreign-born students studying in the U.S. spend billions in local economies and their talents should be more deliberately harnessed, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution.

David Brossard / Flickr

In an increasingly global job market how do you attract and maintain the best talent? What if that talent isn't local but global? 

Those were some of the questions posed at the Governor's Jobs 1st Summit held here in Pittsburgh.

Immigration attorney and former U.S. diplomat Kamana Mathur joins us to discuss the challenges employers face in attaining and keeping talent from around the world.

In an effort to make Pittsburgh more welcoming, a 40-member-council has been formed to listen to ideas, implement changes and make new residents feel at home. 

“It’s part of what’s called ‘Welcoming America,’ which is a national movement to bring on cities and counties across the country to get them to commit to become more welcoming in their practices to their foreign born residents and really to encourage immigrant integration,” said Betty Cruz, nonprofit and faith-based manager for the mayor’s office.

Maria Antonio came to the United States 11 years ago with her husband and her son, who is now 13 years old.

She has since had two more children, but they all face the threat of losing their father because he has been involved in a deportation case with immigration for two years.

“My children say to me regularly: ‘Mommy, are we going to be separated, are they going to send daddy away?’” Antonio said. “This is what we most fear – not just my family, but all families.”

She, her husband and her oldest child are part of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

As the national debate on immigration reform continues, local officials are examining the role immigrants play in helping communities grow.

Pittsburgh and other Rust Belt cities have struggled for years to grow the economy while the population continues to decline.

Global Great Lakes Conference Attracts Immigrants to Pittsburgh

Jun 10, 2014
Andy / Wikipedia Commons

A recent report by the Institute for Policy Innovation concludes that wages rise fastest in U.S. cities with the greatest influx of highly skilled immigrants. This could be one reason why a number of cities are looking to attract more immigrants to their municipalities.

Attracting and retaining immigrant populations will be the focus of the Global Great Lakes Conference taking place this week in Pittsburgh. Betty Cruz, Non-Profit and Faith Based manager for Mayor Peduto’s Office and Tom Buell, Director of marketing and Study Pittsburgh Initiative at Global Pittsburgh, provide an overview of this week’s conference.

Last year the Global Great Lakes conference took place in Detroit, one of the most active cities in the United States trying to attract immigrants. This year’s conference will be co-organized by Global Detroit, Vibrant Pittsburgh and GlobalPittsburgh. Buell has high hopes for how this conference may be a game changer for immigration reform and how immigration is received in Pittsburgh as a whole.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced Wednesday the creation of Welcoming Pittsburgh, an initiative aimed at attracting and retaining immigrants in order to advance the city.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, people flocked to the city from all over the world to work in the steel mills and factories. The Pittsburgh of today was built by the immigrants of the past. One century later, Pittsburgh has lost much of its population and the city is feeling the effects.

The answer to rebuilding Pittsburgh, according to Peduto, is to kickstart immigration—again.

senatorsmucker.com

At best estimate, tens of thousands of children of undocumented immigrants live in our state today. The Pennsylvania Dream Act  would give children of undocumented immigrants who have attended high school in the state, an opportunity to apply for admission to state owned colleges and universities, or related universities, at in-state rates.

The Dream Act bill is led by Pennsylvania State Senator Lloyd Smucker, a Republican who says, “This is not a partisan issue this is about, what is the right thing to do for this group of kids.”

Making Pittsburgh Appealing for Immigration & Innovation

Aug 16, 2013
Autophotomoto / Flickr

Hundreds of immigrants come to Pittsburgh to refine their skills in engineering and the sciences at schools like CMU and University of Pittsburgh. But current immigration laws often cannot keep this potential workforce in the United States.

Brian Kennedy, Vice President of Strategic Services and Government Relations for the Pittsburgh Technology Council says these potential entrepreneurs are leaving Pittsburgh for places that have more comprehensive immigration legislation.

Wikipedia

A strong showing of bipartisan support Thursday resulted in the U.S. Senate's vote in favor of immigration reform. This marks the most significant overhaul of the nation's immigration laws in a generation.

wikipedia

These topics air Friday in the noon hour on 90.5 WESA

Immigration Reform
Thursday afternoon the Senate passed an extensive immigration reform bill. However, critics believe the bill could run into trouble in the Republican controlled House.  This is the first major immigration reform since 1986 when Congress passed a bill giving potential amnesty to more than three million undocumented immigrants. What’s different this time and how will immigration reform change the country? We’ll talk with immigration attorney and former U.S. diplomat Kamana Mathur.  Also taking part in the conversation will be immigration attorney Rohit Dharwadkar.

UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

The White House released a video on  immigration reform  featuring staffers in an attempt to push their support for the issue.  It's hoped Congress will vote on the issue before before the July 4th holiday? Six years ago President Bush urged lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass his proposed immigration reform. Instead the bill passed away.

Pittsburgh City Council voted Wednesday to issue a resolution that urges Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package.

Authored by Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, the Will of Council document demands an easier process for foreigners to become U.S. citizens.

"There is no reasonable system for people to become citizens of this country," Rudiak said. "That's why we have 11 million people living in the shadows. If we actually had a reasonable pathway to citizenship, people would be doing that."

La Roche College

Graphic design students at La Roche College have taken the immigrant experience and turned it into a hands-on exhibition.

“Their intent was that their colleagues, students, peers would experience this simulation and have an experience similar to what someone would have who was coming from the southern border country,” said Sister Michele Bisbey, professor of religious studies at La Roche.