Immigration

Farms and ranches throughout the country won’t see their labor shortages solved by a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In a call with reporters while visiting Mexico ahead of the trade talks, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said labor issues likely wouldn’t be addressed during formal negotiations among the United States, Mexico and Canada, set to begin August 16th.

Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

Citizenship applications were on the rise across the country in 2016. And while there’s no definitive data for the first part of 2017, there are small indications that same trend could be continuing this year.

Many immigrants in the U.S. are worried that changes to immigration policy pushed by the Trump administration could impact their families -- and that’s true in rural America, too. In some rural communities, immigrants and refugees are taking steps to go from green card holders to fully-fledged citizens.

Ann Marie Awad / KUNC

El-Mekki Idris brought a tray to our table with two fragrant dishes on it. “This is koushouri, and the other one is fool sandwich,” he explains.

Koushouri is a popular rice, pasta and lentil dish from North Africa. It’s topped with tomato sauce and fried onions. Fool, another popular regional dish, consists of mashed fava beans and spices. At Sudan Cafe, Idris serves it as a sandwich on a soft, home-baked roll.

Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

The bell signals the start of second period. A trio of young women take seats in English class, their attention quickly drifting outside the walls of the high school in Fort Morgan, Colorado, eager to talk about what they’re working toward.

“I want to become an FBI [agent],” says freshman Mariam Mohammed. “It’s my dream.”

On her left, her sister, Mutaas Mohammed, with a clay-colored hijab wrapped around her face and dark purple lipstick, says she wants to study fashion design. The girls’ friend, Isra Mohamud, a senior this year, chimes in: She’s looking at a nursing program at the local community college.

Courtesy of Denver Public Library

Protest signs and pink, cat-eared “pussyhats” are flooding the Denver Public Library after archivists put out a request for the Women’s March memorabilia.

“We put just a simple Facebook post out -- and it kind of exploded on us,” said Jamie Seemiller, acquisitions librarian for the library’s Western History and Genealogy Department. “It reached about 23,000 people and was shared over 200 times within the first couple days.”

Francisco Preciado came to California from Mexico as a young child. By the early 1980s, he was raising a young family of his own in the U.S. and working as a groundskeeper at Stanford.

On a recent visit to StoryCorps, his son, Frankie, recalls, "Since I was around 9 or 10, I would come sometimes with you to help you on campus."

"I told you that one day, you were going to go here to Stanford," answers Francisco.

Stephen Butler / Flickr - Creative Commons

A bill to expand a state program to offer driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants in Colorado will be introduced at the state capitol later in February. The original law [.pdf], which Democrats passed when they controlled both chambers in 2013, allows undocumented immigrants who have lived in Colorado for at least two years and have paid taxes to get a license, if they pay an extra fee.

"I want to know when I'm driving that the people driving next to me know the same rules as I do. Especially when you come from a different country, road signs might look different," said Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont), sponsor of a new bill that would expand the program to 32 driver's license offices across the state.

"They deserve the opportunity to show that they are willing to be a part of our community, willing to play by the rules."

When Henry Jimenez got to the airport, shortly before flying from his home in Mexico to the U.S., he says, the goodbyes got difficult.

"My little brother was crying and I tried to act tough on him, but I gave him a hug," Jimenez recalls. "I've never gave him a hug like that before, and I started crying, too."

Tom Pratt / Flickr - Creative Commons

When politicians open their campaigns, they often consider how to cluster the U.S. population into smaller groups. That way, they can target the votes they need to win.

For example, politicians might support women’s access to contraception to rally the young, unmarried women’s vote. Or they might speak against same-sex marriage legislation to gain support from social conservatives.

Yet there’s a moment when these groups become problematic and ineffective. Not every conservative wishes to ban gay marriage. Not every woman is pro-choice. Not every Latino ranks immigration reform as a top priority.

Small town doesn't quite describe Bethune, Colo. It spans just 0.2 square miles and has a population of 237. There's a post office, but it's open only part time. There's not a single restaurant, and the closest big store is in Kansas.

That didn't stop Ailyn Marfil from moving to Bethune a couple of months ago. In fact, she thinks it's a pretty exciting place to live. "I was looking for speed and action, and so Bethune gave me speed and action. More than I expected," she says.

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