Immigration

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho may be synonymous with potatoes, but the state is also one of the largest dairy producers in the country. Like much of the agriculture sector, a majority of the labor at dairies comes from foreign-born workers.

In southern Idaho, cows’ hooves clack gently as they stand in the milking parlor of a small dairy. Taking the noise of the automated milkers in stride, the cows are calm as they’re milked in 10 minute sessions. Monitoring the animals, overseeing the machinery and wrangling the cows in and out of the milking parlor is Pedro.

Todd Dvorak / AP Images

President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration enforcement in January has put a spotlight on the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE. But according to acting Idaho U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez, President Trump’s executive order has not changed how his office handles immigration cases.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Many agree the immigration system is broken, and there’s a national debate on how best to fix it. This debate is sometimes based on emotions, not on data. But a new study released Tuesday is taking a closer look at the numbers.

Asmaa Albukaie was Boise’s first refugee from Syria, arriving in late 2014.

"For me as a refugee, I came searching for safety and peace," Albukaie says.

She found that. She also found work.

Idaho Democratic Leader Responds To Immigration Bill

Jan 31, 2017
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Monday Idaho House Rep. Greg Chaney (R-Caldwell) introduced a bill opposing the adoption of sanctuary cities. Although Idaho has no sanctuary cities in place, the lawmaker says his proposal would ensure that no state funding would ever be given to cities and counties that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.
 
House Minority leader Mat Erpelding (D-Boise) blasted the bill.
 

In the 1840s, a million Irish citizens died of starvation during what became known as the “Great Hunger.” Taking up the desperate cause of his countrymen was a spirited and wealthy young orator named Thomas Francis Meagher.

Brent Moore / Flickr Creative Commons

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said he’ll deport all 11 million undocumented people in the U.S. Lacking legal status, they fill many jobs – especially in farming. With Idaho solidly conservative, we wondered how those in agricultural areas reconciled their business interests with their politics.

Steve Millington is sitting in the back corner of the Twin Falls Perkins restaurant when we meet in the late morning. He’s the chairman of the Twin Falls County Republican Party and an avowed fan of breakfast; he has a plate of eggs, bacon and pancakes while we chat.

Neil R. / Flickr

In the last few days the U.S. Supreme Court has issued several major decisions. Perhaps the one that will have a direct impact on the most people in Idaho is last week’s split decision that effectively eliminates President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Those would have granted temporary legal status to people whose children are legal U.S. residents (known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans or DAPA) and to people who came to the country as children (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.)

KrisAlysha / Flickr

A Caldwell-based seed company has agreed to pay $200,000 in penalties to settle allegations that it illegally discriminated against citizens from outside the U.S.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the Justice Department announced the settlement with the Crookham Company on Monday.

A federal investigation from 2014 to earlier this year found that Crookham required non-U.S. citizens to show either a permanent resident card or employment authorization card to prove they were authorized to work. U.S. citizens had been allowed to produce any type of valid documentation.

Boise State University School of Public Service

Only a few of the 1,000 Idahoans who took a new public opinion poll saw immigration as a big priority for the state.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

In 2015, nearly 730,000 foreign-born people took the oath to become U.S. citizens. That included 1,449 in Idaho. Thursday more joined them in Idaho’s first naturalization ceremony of the year.

Sometimes these ceremonies are done with a lot of pomp at public events like 4th of July celebrations. This one is in the waiting room of a federal office, the kind of place where most days people take a number and wait to talk to someone through a window.

An orchard in southeastern Washington state says the U.S. immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. That's the response Thursday from Broetje Orchards in Prescott.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-ID, is optimistic the changing makeup of the U.S. Congress will lead to the passage of an immigration reform bill in 2015. But the lawmaker isn't as optimistic about that legislation actually becoming law.

"I think we're gonna have legislation that passes the House and the Senate that the American people will like," Labrador says. "The question is whether this President will be willing to actually sign that legislation."

Updated at 5:58 p.m.

Seventeen states, led by Texas, are suing the Obama administration over its recent executive actions on immigration.

"The Constitution prescribes immigration policy be fixed by Congress — not by presidential fiat," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the state's governor-elect, said at a news conference in Austin.

Oregon Department of Agriculture

Idaho has the highest share of undocumented immigrants who will benefit from President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.

One voice chiming in against President Obama's expected immigration announcement is Rep. Raul Labrador, a Republican from Idaho.

Labrador is backed by the Tea Party, part of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, and a former immigration lawyer who represented undocumented residents fighting deportation.

Raul Labrador, Shirley Ringo
Courtesy Idaho Public Television

Immigration reform and gay marriage were just two of the issues on the table Thursday night during the Idaho Public Television debate between candidates running for Idaho's First District Congressional seat.

Republican incumbent Raul Labrador and Democratic challenger Shirley Ringo are vying for a chance to represent Idaho in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Raul Labrador, a Tea Party favorite, is calling for Congress to debate and vote on further military action against the extremist group calling itself the Islamic State.

Labrador thinks President Obama needs to sketch out a well-defined mission with a clear exit strategy in order to win Congressional support in his forthcoming speech to the nation.

At the Utah State Capitol, a mural of Brigham Young and the first Mormon pioneers brings some color to the building's spartan rotunda. Beneath it is a more modern sculpture — a woman walking forward with her son, who's holding a globe.

Underneath the statue are the words "Immigration and Settlement." The symbolism isn't lost on state House Speaker Becky Lockhart.

"Utah is a place that understands the value of immigration, the value of peoples coming to find a better life," she says, pointing up at the sculpture.

A breakdown in a U.S. State Department computer system that processes foreign worker visas has sowed major worries at some Northwest orchards.

Butch Otter, Lori Otter, Russ Fulcher
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated at 10:00 a.m. July 25, 2014.

This week, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter sent a letter to federal officials telling them not to send any of the unaccompanied young migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border to Idaho.

However, federal officials say they've already sent children from the border to Idaho.

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