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A new Department of Homeland Security rule means immigrants legally in the United States may no longer be eligible for green cards if they use food stamps, Medicaid and other public benefits.

Florida Policy Institute analysts say that’s already having a “chilling effect” on immigrants coming into the country, individuals now worried about applying for medical and housing assistance.

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"Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge," Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said Tuesday, twisting Emma Lazarus' famous words on a bronze plaque at the Statue of Liberty.

After a mass shooting in Texas intensified a partisan divide about immigration, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida has decided to postpone a statewide “listening tour” focused on the controversial topic.

“The rhetoric is so charged across the political spectrum that in order to have a truly productive listening tour we’ve decided to delay to a later date,” state Sen. Joe Gruters, who also serves as chairman of the state GOP, told The News Service of Florida in a text message Monday.

Tampa protesters showed up last month about the detention center in Homestead.
Carrie Pinkard / WUSF Public Media

A Homestead detention camp that has housed thousands of undocumented migrant children is emptying out, federal officials said Saturday.

Lights for Liberty poster shows a little boy reaching towards the Statue of Liberty while being pulled away by a hand.
Lights for Liberty

Around the nation on Friday evening, groups are gathering to hold vigils for the migrants being held in immigration detention centers.

The ceremony, called “Lights for Liberty," includes events in St Petersburg, Tampa, Lakeland, and Sarasota.

Protesters lined up in front of U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's office for a "Close the Camps" rally, aimed at shutting down immigration detention centers.
Ti'anna Davis / WUSF Public Media

By Carrie Pinkard and Ti'Anna Davis

“Babies don’t belong in cages.” “Close the camps.” “We are better than this.”

Those were the words written on the picket signs of a few dozen protestors standing in the summer heat outside U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor’s office as part of a national “Close the Camps” protest.

Miami is just days away from hosting the first Democratic national presidential debate. Last week, President Donald Trump officially launched his campaign and called for Immigration Customs and Enforcement agents to detain thousands of undocumented immigrants across the country, including here in Miami.

President Donald Trump on Sunday denied reports that hundreds of migrants would be flown from the Mexican border to Florida and other areas in the U.S. interior to lessen the workload at crowded Border Patrol facilities.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, also on Sunday, acknowledged that federal officials did initially alert local leaders of the possibility that migrants would be flown to two South Florida counties. But Trump appeared to blame the media for "false reporting."

DeSantis Says Migrant Flux Is 'Something We Don't Want'

May 18, 2019

A day after local officials said the federal government plans to send about 1,000 migrants a month to two South Florida counties, Gov. Ron DeSantis bemoaned the move, arguing that under his leadership the state has been “very cooperative” with federal immigration authorities.

President Trump is considering sending a new round of troops to the southern border. The military withdrew some service members from the border in December, after they laid miles of concertina wire – large steel coils with razor-sharp teeth.

Florida Lawmakers Debate Sanctuary Bills

Apr 21, 2019

A pair of bills are inching their way closer to the Florida House and Senate Chambers. Senate Bill 168 and House Bill 527 would prohibit local governments from sanctuary policies.

On Friday’s Florida Roundup, we devoted the full hour to the debate over immigration and sanctuary cities in the Sunshine State.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says immigrants and non-citizens in South Florida should not fear a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

During a visit to Miami Thursday to meet with local business leaders, Ross—who oversees the census—emphasized that Census Bureau workers cannot share people’s responses with other government authorities. The comment came in response to continuing concerns that immigrants will sit out the census for fear their answers could be released to federal immigration authorities.

Thousands of troops who were deployed to the border in the fall have left, but the Trump Administration may call for a second deployment of thousands more.

President Trump used his first prime-time address from the Oval Office to make the case for his controversial border wall. The president's demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding — and Democrats' opposition — has led to a partial shutdown of the federal government.

Here we check some of the arguments made by the president and top Democrats in their response.

Trump's Speech

Claim 1: Humanitarian and security crisis

"There is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our Southern border."

A listener wrote: "What ethical calculus has been used to decide that NPR will broadcast POTUS live?"

He was referring to President Trump's Oval Office address tonight, his first from that venue. It is expected to be on the topic of immigration and his demand, as part of the negotiations to end the partial government shutdown, for funding for some kind of barrier on the southwest border.

When we set out to try to look back on the year that was in politics, we started with a list that grew ... and grew ... and grew. After a couple of days, the list was just shy of 100 news events. That's about one notable story every three days.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

Governor Rick Scott is sweeping through Tampa this week, making a final appeal to voters ahead of next Tuesday's midterm election.

CNN

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum's meeting in Tampa Sunday night turned into more of a brawl than a debate.

In January, Border Patrol agents walked up to a ramshackle old building on the outskirts of a small town in Arizona's Sonoran Desert. They found three men.

Two were Central Americans who had crossed the border illegally. The third was an American — a university lecturer and humanitarian activist named Scott Warren.

Warren was arrested and ultimately charged with two federal criminal counts of harboring illegal migrants and one count of conspiracy to harbor and transport them. Warren has pleaded not guilty.

Two immigration attorneys are fighting to protect the rights of LGBTQ asylum seekers facing persecution in their home countries.

On Saturday, Sept. 15, O Cinema Wynwood is hosting a panel about immigration issues focused on how they impact the LGBTQ community. They will be screening a documentary web-series titled “Finding Home” about LGBTQ asylum seekers in Los Angeles.

Police in Florida say they've arrested six people who bound themselves with bicycle locks outside a federal office in a protest of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The U.S. government is racing to meet Thursday's court-ordered deadline to reunite migrant families who were separated at the border to discourage other illegal crossings. But the government has acknowledged many parents won't be able to rejoin their children. And for those parents who do get to be with their children again, the future is uncertain.

Florida recipients of a program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants from deportation are in Washington, D.C., this week, calling on Congress to pass a law that will let them remain in the U.S. 

Beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras will face deportation in the next two years after the Trump administration's recent decisions to end protections for immigrants from those countries. The program has provided immigrants with temporary lawful status and work authorization. 

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

In their bid to be Florida’s next attorney general, former Hillsborough County judge Ashley Moody and state representative Frank White both accepted campaign donations from a private prison corporation that manages an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) family detention center.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says that the government will meet deadlines imposed by a federal judge to reunite migrant families that have been separated by the U.S. government.

At the same time, he criticized the deadlines as "artificial" and said that they could prevent the government "from completing our standard — or even a truncated — vetting process."

The Trump administration's separation policy has been met with widespread outcry, marches and legal action.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

More than 500 people gathered at the Joe Chillura Square near the Hillsborough County Courthouse on Saturday, protesting the seperation of families at the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

House Republican leaders are reworking their "compromise" immigration bill to include a provision that modifies — but doesn't completely end — the "zero tolerance" policy being enforced now by the Trump administration.

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