Immigration

Chris Stalnaker / 90.5 WESA

About 100 local immigrants and supporters gathered in Beechview Thursday morning to protest the policies of President Donald Trump and show solidarity with their neighbors.

Alex Brandon / AP

Pennsylvania wasn’t among the states where large-scale immigration enforcement took place last week, but communities in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have reported raids.  

On Wednesday morning, the City of Philadelphia tweeted on its official account, “City is working to gather info on how many people have been impacted by increased ICE enforcements,” and gave the number for a hotline created by New Sanctuary Movement, an interfaith immigrant justice organization.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

When Alhena Torres turns on her car, a gentle rumble of pop music spills out of the speakers. She used to listen to the news while she drove, but after the first few weeks of the new administration in Washington, she says music has felt like a better option.

“Sometimes I’m just sad and disappointed,” she said, pulling up Google maps on her phone and plugging in an address.

Torres drives all around Pittsburgh for work, a cleaning business she started in 2015.

“I like organizing and fixing things,” she laughed.

Westmoreland County Jail / Westmoreland County

A bill aimed at withholding funds from sanctuary municipalities is making its way through the state legislature, but some western Pennsylvania counties aren’t sure how it will affect their policy.

Bring Martin Home / Facebook

Martin Esquivel-Hernandez, a Pittsburgh man who received local and national attention for his immigration case, has been deported after eight months in prison.

Esquivel-Hernandez, originally of Mexico, had been held by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement since May 2016. His wife and three children, the youngest of whom is an American citizen, will remain in Pittsburgh.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

It was a busy day of protest in Pittsburgh.

In support of the rights of immigrants, more than 100 people linked arms and marched into a South Side intersection on Saturday, blocking traffic for 15 minutes. 

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED: Feb. 3, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. 

Protesters plan to demonstrate outside of Uber’s Pittsburgh offices in the Strip District Saturday. This will mark the third weekend in a row that local residents have gathered for a protest related to the Trump administration.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

A package of bills in Pittsburgh City Council intended to help immigrants and refugees living in the city drew its first opposition during debate Wednesday.

Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said since Councilman Dan Gilman introduced the suite of six bills last week, her office has gotten calls both for and against the measures.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds gathered in the Hill District Friday afternoon and pledged to uphold civil rights in Pittsburgh at the People’s Inauguration.

Representatives from social justice groups, including Fight for Fifteen, Planned Parenthood and the Black Lives Matters movement addressed the crowd about the importance of inclusiveness going into the administration of President Donald Trump.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Martin Esquivel-Hernandez, a local activist who entered the country illegally, reached a plea deal Thursday in his deportation case. 

Esquivel-Hernandez, who is originally from Mexico, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor illegal re-entry charge at a hearing at the federal courthouse. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Lawyers for a Pittsburgh man accused of entering the United States multiple times without permission are asking for prosecutors to lessen the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Martin Esquivel-Hernandez lived with his wife and three children in Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood, where he was an activist for immigration rights. He was arrested in May and has been in a private prison in Youngstown, Ohio.

New App Helps Immigrants Deal With Complicated Tangle Of Forms

Dec 23, 2016
Jennifer Lynn / WHYY

 

For the 2 million people who move to the U.S. every year who wish to live and work here legally on a permanent basis, one big step involves paperwork — and lots of it. Filling out immigration forms can be tedious, confounding, and it comes at an expense.

In an effort to streamline the process, attorneys Jeremy Peskin and James Pittman have created Borderwise, a Philadelphia company with an app that prepares immigration applications based on answers to simple questions.

Google Maps

 

Authorities say a western Pennsylvania businessman has been charged with harboring and transporting people who weren't legally in the country and who worked at his restaurants.

Federal prosecutors said a two-count federal grand jury indictment unsealed Monday names 44-year-old Xing Zheng Lin, also known as Steve Lin.

Authorities allege that from about 2009 until January 2014, the McKees Rocks resident harbored and transported people who weren't legally in the country and who worked at Saga Restaurant in Monroeville, Robinson and Bethel Park.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh man who was arrested in May for being in the United States illegally declined to take a plea deal negotiated in federal court Thursday as expected. Lawyers for Martin Esquivel-Hernandez said they'd hoped their client’s felony re-entry charges would be reduced to misdemeanors, which would have decreased the possibility of his deportation.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

About 50 advocates for local activist and Mexican immigrant Martín Esquivel-Hernandez held a rally in downtown Pittsburgh Tuesday morning, calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop deportation proceedings against him.

Canada's Immigration and Citizenship website was down for hours Tuesday and Wednesday — apparently due to a spike in searches by Americans reacting to Tuesday's presidential election. Access was cut off on Election Day; the site was brought back online shortly after 10 a.m. ET.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Sage Arnold, 13, is not a big fan of this year’s election.

“When I was little I watched one of the debates between Obama and Mitt Romney,” he said. “I couldn’t really understand a lot of it, but it sounded really civilized and mature.”

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Holding her newly minted citizenship certificate and voter registration application, Sumebha Gupta grinned.

“I just wanted to give my vote to be counted,” she said. 

Gupta is one of 39 people who became a United States citizen this month, many of whom cited the upcoming presidential election as their major motivation. 

“I feel excited," said Omar Coker, originally form Sierra Leone. He said registering to vote was "definitely a must."

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump said Monday it's time to "chart a new course" in the battle against "radical Islamic terrorism," though much of what he proposed is similar to the course already set by President Obama.

Office of Public Art

Four resident artists will pair with local organizations that work with immigrant populations to create public art installations. 

It’s part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Our Town” initiative, which supports programs where artists engage with the community. The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council’s Office of Public Art received a $200,000 grant from the NEA for the resident artists program.

Welcoming Pittsburgh and the Department of City Planning will help place the artists with the host organizations.

Nazareth College / flickr

Employers from around the region will be on the lookout for new hires at the second annual Refugee and Immigrant Job Fair this Friday. The event seeks to assist new citizens transitioning into the American job market who may be unfamiliar with U.S. employment techniques.

'The Aleppo Evil' Is Making A Comeback

Jun 29, 2016

When the first cases were reported in Syria 275 years ago, it was called "the Aleppo boil" or "the Aleppo evil." And for good reason: The parasitic illness spread by sand flies causes nasty skin lesions that leave victims scarred for life physically and can leave emotional scars as well.

President Obama says he agrees with Donald Trump on one thing: There are "parallels" between the U.S. election and the United Kingdom's dramatic vote to leave the European Union.

Ryan Deto / City Paper

Last week the Supreme Court's 4-4 vote left in place a Texas federal judge's order that has prevented President Obama from granting deportation relief to more than 4 million who are parents of U.S. citizens. One of them is Martin-Esqivel-Hernandez who was taken recently from his Pittsburgh home to prison and faces deportation to Mexico. We'll talk with City Paper reporter Ryan Deto, who recently wrote a cover story about this case, and Guillermo Perez head of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and part of the campaign to release Martin Esquivel-Hernandez from detention..

pittsburghpa.gov

For the next month, the city of Pittsburgh will highlight a different resident each day in an effort to show off the region’s diversity.

“We’re very much lacking in that area,” said Betty Cruz, the city's deputy chief of special initiatives. “But there are people from diverse backgrounds here and they need to be welcomed and they need to have their story told.”

Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

When students Bishal Rai, Arpun Khadka and Gabriel Sahij walk into Concord Elementary School in Carrick, a welcome sign greets them in English, Spanish and Nepali. 

Allie_Caulfield / Flickr

Allegheny County can no longer hold individuals based on solely on their suspected illegal immigration status, according to a settlement reached Wednesday with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

About 20 immigrants became U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at Schenley Plaza in Oakland on Monday.

Men and women from Brazil, Bhutan, Taiwan, Egypt and other countries took their Oath of Allegiance and were handed American flags and certificates from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. They also listened to speeches by the presidents of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. 

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.”

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