immigration

ASUW

The University of Wyoming student government has helped set up an emergency fund for DACA students.

 

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would be rescinded, the Department of Homeland Security stopped accepting new applications. But those who already have DACA status still have an opportunity to re-apply, and the application has a fee.

 

Maggie Mullen

Following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA would be phased out, colleges and universities are trying to reassure impacted students, including those in Wyoming. But there are a few complications. For one, it’s unknown how many students are protected under the program.

University of Wyoming School of Law

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, would be phased out.

Suzie Pritchett is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Family and Immigrant Justice Clinic at the University of Wyoming College of Law. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen about how DACA came to be, its relevance to Wyoming, and what is now at stake for its recipients.

Tennessee Watson

Farmworker families often have to move from state to state to find work, and that makes school challenging for their kids. For over 40 years the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) ran a program to support this vulnerable student population, but that has come to an end.

Wyoming’s sugar beet harvest once was a big draw for migrant workers. On a tour of the farmland surrounding Torrington, Simon Lozano remembered a time when the fields were bustling.

“It was like 90 percent beets,” he said pointing out of the window of his truck.  

Old Main by thecoldmidwest is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The University of Wyoming is closely monitoring federal decisions that could affect its immigrant students.

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this week that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, would be phased out, University President Laurie Nichols said in a statement the school is keeping a close eye on the situation.

Nichols also said the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, will remain in place at the University of Wyoming.

Mexican Consulate

Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests and deportations have increased in Wyoming and Colorado this year, which has kept Berenice Rendón busy.

Consul General Rendón started her position in April, leading the Mexican Consulate’s offices in Denver. They work to support Mexican citizens living in Colorado, eastern

Wyoming and eastern Montana. Rendón recently made her first trip to Wyoming to visit with Mexican community leaders, local law enforcement and political leaders in Cheyenne.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

In President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, arrests and deportations more than doubled in Wyoming and Colorado. That’s compared to the same time in 2016. 

That figure includes both undocumented immigrants with and without criminal records. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, does not provide data by state, but by “area of responsibility,” so it is unknown how many of those individuals were in Wyoming at the time.

Wikimedia Commons

The Teton County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Jackson Police Department have released an open letter on immigration. The letter addresses concerns by residents about the threat of potential immigration raids and changes to deportation policies.

The Modern West 21: Wyoming's Immigrants And Refugees

Mar 23, 2017
Caroline Ballard

Wyoming is home to many immigrants, migrants, and former refugees. It is the only state, however, without a refugee resettlement program. But the current political climate has immigrants questioning their place in Wyoming and the U.S.

University of Wyoming

  

President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to enact stricter immigration policies, and the topic of reform has remained a common thread under the new administration.

University of Wyoming College of Law Professor Noah Novogrodsky is leading a team of law students conducting an economic impact study of the contributions immigrant workers make to Teton County.

Maggie Mullen

44 of the University of Wyoming’s students come from the seven different countries included in President Donald Trump’s travel suspension. The executive order is now in the midst of what will likely be a long, legal battle. Until the situation gets resolved, University President Laurie Nichols has discouraged the impacted students from traveling outside the U.S. Many of the students are now left with limited options and hard choices.

University of Wyoming

In a statement, University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols affirmed the university’s support of its international students and employees. Her comments came after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to temporarily bar citizens and refugees from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

Wikimedia Commons

One of President-elect Donald Trump’s biggest campaign promises was to enact stricter immigration policies. That has caused concern for the Jackson community, a town with a large immigrant population. Immigration laws are outside of the jurisdiction of local law enforcement, but Mayor-elect Pete Muldoon said the town could pass a resolution or ordinance to limit its cooperation with federal authorities.

Aaron Schrank

 

Emotions are running high following the 2016 presidential election. Educators in Jackson are helping their large number of Mexican students cope with emotions they may be encountering at home.

“We have to determine what's important. Was my wig, really important?” asks teacher Thomas Ralston.

“No!” respond his third-grade class.

“So do I think if I used my earth and space book, every single thing in my earth and space book should go in my report?” he asks.

“No!” respond the students.

National Park Service

Five Wyomingites became U.S. citizens in a naturalization ceremony at the federal courthouse in Kemmerer on Monday. 

Naturalization ceremonies aren’t as common in Wyoming as other states but have been more frequent this year because of the National Park Centennial. Several states co-hosted ceremonies this year at Yellowstone National Park where new citizens took the oath of allegiance.

Brett Neilson

Jackson resident says a state system that flags voters as potential non-citizens may be intimidating some U.S. citizens, who have the legal right to vote.

Jackson's Gina Valencia became a U.S. citizen in 2010. That November she registered to vote in her first U.S. election and then voted in five elections. The Wyoming Department of Transportation has a copy of her U.S. passport on file as proof of her citizenship.

But this year, she received a letter from the Teton County Clerk saying she had been flagged by the state as a "potential non-citizen."

Michael Polito Source: Wikimedia Commons

  

The community of Gillette has seen tension recently with plans for a Quran burning and protests over Gillette’s first mosque. Writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Kathryn Schulz heard this and wondered how a Muslim community came to be in coal mining Wyoming.

A Partnership For A New American Economy

Keeping international students at the University of Wyoming in-state after graduation could create 136 jobs, according to a new report from the Partnership for a New American Economy, a national coalition of mayors and business leaders. The group commissioned the report as part of a national campaign about immigration reform this election season.

Caroline Ballard

This week, the New American Economy issued a report on the economic impact of immigrants in every state, highlighting the role immigrants play as entrepreneurs. One place where immigrants are starting new companies in Wyoming is the Wyoming Technology Business Center – a business incubator for start-ups.

Credit Zach Montes

A visit by immigration officials to Jackson this month put many in the town’s immigrant community on edge.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement came to Jackson to find and arrest five undocumented men that met the federal government’s enforcement priorities.

Miles Bryan

  

  

Bret Colvin says founded the “Stop Islam in Gillette” Facebook group for one reason.

 

“I don’t want Jihadis in my neighborhood.”

 

Colvin is a Catholic, and an ex-Marine. His wife passed away last year, and last month he lost his job as an oil field mechanic. Now he runs a home electronics repair business out of the small Gillette house he shares with a roommate, and a few pet turtles.

 

Ted Dawson via Facebook.

Jackson Hole High School is getting some national attention for excluding something called “America day” from its homecoming festivities this year.

School administrators are defending and clarifying their decision—which drew protest from students and even garnered a reprimand from cable TV’s Fox & Friends.

“America day was never canceled,” says the school's activities director Mike Hansen. “It was never something that had been planned.”

Aaron Schrank

Bright neon uniforms speckle a usually empty hay field in the sleepy town of Savery. Two soccer games are in full swing—and almost all of the players are guest workers—like Dante Bruno.

“We’re here to play sports today,” says Bruno, in Spanish. “We are Peruvians. The majority of us here are Peruvians.” 

Bruno, 38, and his teammates wear pink pullovers that read, “Sheehan Ranch.” He’s been working at the ranch--in Baggs, Wyoming—for the past 15 years. Bruno says the work is hard, but not complicated.

“It’s cows,” says Bruno. “Pretty much cows.”

Caroline Ballard

President Obama has announced the U.S. will accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees. Right now it’s unclear where those refugees will go when they arrive in the in the states, but we do know one place they won’t be heading: Wyoming. It’s the only state without a resettlement program. 

Wyoming does have residents who are former refugees. People like

Bertine Bahige, who came from the Congo. Today he lives in Gillette, a coal mining town in the Northeast part of the state, and he’s a high school Math teacher.

Campbell County High School

  

Wyoming is the only state in the country without a refugee resettlement program – the office that chooses refugees to bring to the U.S., helps them find jobs, and teaches them English. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t former refugees living in Wyoming.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard brings us the story of one former refugee who is trying to change things in Wyoming. Bertine Bahige is a Math teacher who lives in Gillette, but was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  

A new film follows the journey of a snowboarder Brolin Mawejje on his quest to become the first African Olympic snowboarder. Born in Uganda, he saw snow for the first time when he came to the U.S. at age 12. Snowboarding helped Mawejje escape a difficult home life and bond with a family who brought him to Jackson Hole.

Zach Montes

Last November, President Obama announced a major executive action on immigration—a plan that would offer temporary legal status and deportation relief to millions of immigrants who live in the country without documents. That’s big news for residents of Jackson. In the past few decades, the town’s Latino immigrant population has skyrocketed from basically zero—to about 30 percent of the community. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank reports, these changes to immigration law could bring new opportunities to Jackson’s working class immigrants—and the employers who hire them.

Aaron Schrank

    

Income and wealth disparities in the U.S. are the most pronounced they’ve been in decades. Perhaps nowhere is the gap between luxury and poverty more apparent than in Jackson. The small ski town sits in the county with the highest average income in the country. But it’s also home to a growing number of Mexican immigrants who come to work in Jackson’s tourism economy. Teton County residents boast a median household income of $72,000, but for immigrant households, it’s just $26,000. That inequity has repercussions for Jackson's youth.

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas spoke at a symposium on immigration at the University of Wyoming on September 14, 2014. Jose Vargas outed himself as an illegal immigrant in a New York Times article three years ago. He came to the U-S from the Philippines when he was 12 but never obtained citizenship. Last July, Vargas was arrested at a Texas airport when he admitted he was not a legal citizen of the U.S.

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