Immigration

Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY

Roughly 1,000 people, many carrying signs and pushing kids in strollers, descended on Rittenhouse Square Tuesday night, to protest a federal immigration policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Coordinated on Facebook by the Youth Caucus of America and seven other groups, the gathering drew from a wide swath of the Philadelphia region.

David Zalubowski / AP

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke in Scranton on Friday, but much of his half-hour speech to about 150 local, state and federal law enforcement officials was directed at another city, about 120 miles south.

Laura Benshoff / WHYY

More than two years after Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas announced the department would not renew its license, the Berks Family Residential Center is still housing dozens of families awaiting decisions about their immigration cases.

Pennsylvania’s state police force is reviewing its interactions with the federal immigration and customs enforcement, in the wake of a series of investigative reports questioning the legality of troopers using traffic stops to detain people in the country illegally.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Lawmakers passed the Fair Housing Act just one week after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as riots flared in Pittsburgh and other cities. It was intended to protect buyers and renters from discrimination based on race, color, disability, religion, sex, familial status or national origin, but advocates argue the nation is still failing renters and homebuyers with disabilities and children, as well as those of color.

Scott Goldsmith

Humans have always migrated, whether by choice or because of involuntary forces such as political or environmental displacement. Photographer Brian Cohen said in the age of travel bans and border walls, exploring the idea is as topical now as ever. 

Trump: Don't Fall For Democrat Lamb's Moderate Talk

Mar 10, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

President Donald Trump told western Pennsylvania voters Saturday night that his new tariffs were saving the steel industry and urged them to send a Republican to the House so he can keep delivering those kinds of results.

The president lent his weight to Republican Rick Saccone in the final days of a surprisingly competitive special election outside Pittsburgh that could reverberate nationally ahead of the November midterm elections.

State Disputes Claim 100K Noncitizens Registered To Vote

Mar 1, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania election officials said Wednesday that there is no evidence to back up a claim that more than 100,000 noncitizen immigrants had been registered to vote in the state, responding to a conservative group's lawsuit in federal court.

The Department of State, in a statement to The Associated Press, said it is reviewing data and that the figure "is not confirmed by any substantive analysis by the Department. It is not a credible figure and there is no reason to believe it to be accurate."

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

On Tuesday, a New York federal judge issued the second ruling to temporarily block the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program on March 5.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

"Carnegie’s Maid" tells the fictional story of an immigrant housekeeper who moves to Pittsburgh and accidentally ends up serving one of the city’s most famous families: the Carnegies.

Laura Benshoff / WHYY

After Sunday’s Super Bowl win, the Philadelphia Eagles have fully assumed the mantle of righteous underdogs.

Can that status resolve a so far intractable political fight over U.S. immigration law?

It’s unlikely, but that has not stopped several Dreamers and the city-based immigration rights group Juntos from asking the Birds to protest a legislative impasse over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by boycotting a customary visit to the White House for Super Bowl winners.

90.5 WESA

A pilot program to provide skill-building career services to immigrants is launching at seven Pittsburgh organizations. These include resettlement agencies, the Allegheny County Library Association and the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

Eleven governors, including Pennsylvania's Democratic Governor Tom Wolf,  are urging Congress to save an imperiled program that protects young immigrants from deportation.

Emma Lee / WHYY

About 4,000 DACA recipients who tried to renew their participation in the program before October 5, 2017 missed that deadline.

Some of those applications — no joke — got lost in the mail.

Twenty-six-year-old Osman Enriquez, a stone mason and construction worker in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is one of them. Last week, that postal carrier snafu landed him in immigration detention.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Donald Trump plans to visit Harrisburg Wednesday to pitch his tax reform plan. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Ana Alberto-Ramirez spends most evenings after work with her boyfriend at their home in Bethel Park, hanging out and watching TV.

“And he plays soccer, so I go to his games, and I like taking pictures. Sometimes I’m there just taking pictures,” she said.

The 24 year-old works as a hair stylist on Pittsburgh’s South Side.

“I like to make hours, so I like to stay longer than I have to, especially when it’s busy.”

Bryan Cox / AP

Federal immigration officials say 107 people were arrested in Philadelphia as part of a nationwide sweep focusing on what they called "sanctuary" jurisdictions, which limit local authorities' cooperation in immigration investigations.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The famous, or perhaps infamous, Pittsburgh accent is as central to the Steel City’s identity as Terrible Towels and yellow bridges.

Emma Lee / WHYY

Last year, some schools in the Philadelphia area became "sanctuary campuses," promising to protect undocumented students and those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The Trump administration's announcement last week that it will end DACA, a program shielding some  young people from deportation, could test that resolve if it, in fact, sunsets as promised in March.

Leaders of some "sanctuary campuses," such as the University of Pennsylvania — President Donald Trump's alma mater, immediately condemned the government's reversal.

Matt York / AP

Politicians and organizations in Philadelphia are raising money to help pay for applications to a soon-to be-ended program that allows young immigrants without legal status to remain in the country.

Officials on Monday announced the launch of The Dreamers Initiative , a fundraising effort to cover the $495 fee needed to renew an application to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Among Pittsburgh DREAMers who benefited from the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program – also called DACA – the Trump administration's decision to end the program elicited reactions ranging from distress to resignation on Wednesday.

Some were at a loss, saying they have no way to ensure they can stay in the U.S. if DACA expires in six months without a replacement from Congress.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Tuesday that the Trump Administration will rescind the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program – also called DACA – and allow legal protections for the roughly 800,000 “DREAMers,” who arrived in the country illegally as children, to expire in six months.

Unless Congress acts, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said on Tuesday, ending DACA will hurt the city’s universities and hospitals as well as tech and other corporate employers.

Philadelphia Is The Latest City To Sue U.S. Government Over 'Sanctuary' Conditions

Aug 30, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Philadelphia on Wednesday became the latest "sanctuary city" to sue Attorney General Jeff Sessions over what officials say are unconstitutional immigration restrictions placed on a major federal grant.

The city is asking the court to stop Sessions from adding these conditions to a its Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant, which it uses to pay police overtime, upgrade equipment and courtroom technology and train officers.

After Marrying U.S. Citizens, Undocumented Immigrants Attract ICE Scrutiny

Aug 22, 2017
Laura Benshoff / WHYY

Marriage tests couples in any number of ways.

Lillie Williams and Jonatan Palacios, both 27, have just spent about an hour being quizzed — literally — on their relationship.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A new website, Storyburgh, aims to highlight the stories and experiences that often go overlooked in traditional media, like those of immigrants, Asian-Americans and stay-at-home dads. Will Halim, Storyburgh’s founding director, happens to be all three. 90.5 WESA’s Virginia Alvino Young spoke with Halim about how he came up with the concept. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

The journey for refugees from their home countries to Pittsburgh often takes years and includes lots of stops along the way. As part of WESA’s five-part series sharing the stories of young refugees, native Iraqi Maryam Nader, 15, talks about her desire to continue her travels and experience other cultures.

Nader is from Iraq, but she’s Kurdish, not Arabic.

“I don’t think anybody knows what are Kurdish,” said Nader. “They just assume they’re the same thing as Turkish, but they’re not. Kurdish have a different language and kind of a different culture.”

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Young refugees have to adapt quickly once they arrive in Pittsburgh. Although they often come from difficult circumstances, many are able to learn English and make friends quickly. As part of a five-part series from WESA, four young people from Iraq, Tanzania and Congo share their stories of transition.

Hussein Zangana, 15, now lives in Brookline. He said it’s very different from Iraq, where fighting forced his family to flee. “Something is wrong,” he said.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Some young refugees in Pittsburgh resettled in the city when they were infants and have lived here most of their lives. Others arrived earlier this year. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

The Democratic Republic of Congo is experiencing one of the highest rates of internal displacement in the world because of conflict. More than a half-million people have fled the violence. Some of those refugees, including children, have resettled in Pittsburgh. 

Katie Meyer / WITF

Protesters around Pennsylvania spent Wednesday urging the commonwealth’s Republican US senators and congressional representatives not to support a budget bill that routes significant dollars toward enforcing immigration laws—including $1.6 billion to build a wall on the Mexican border.

One group braved torrential rain to bring the message to Congressman Lou Barletta’s office in Harrisburg—and they even brought props.

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