immigration

Samuel Orozco, Rebecca Plevin, Madi Bolanos and Benjamin Boone

Microsoft is piloting a new project to increase and support local news in four cities across the country including Fresno. KVPR was among the newsrooms chosen for the collaboration along with the Fresno Bee, Vida en el Valle and Radio Bilingue. To learn more, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Valley Public Radio reporter Madi Bolanos and News Director Alice Daniel. Also joining the conversation were Project Director Rebecca Plevin and Radio Bilingue Director of National News and Information Samuel Orozco.

Jackie Botts, Kate Cimini and Georgia Gee

In an effort to assist farmworkers who test positive for COVID-19, California launched the Housing for the Harvest program. It provides free hotel rooms so farmworkers can self-isolate and not infect family members. But a recent investigation found that of the 800,000 farmworkers in California, only around 80 have utilized the program since it was announced in July.

In the last two weeks, 48 people at the Coalinga State Hospital have contracted Covid-19, according to the Department of State Hospitals. Some patients without legal documentation are asking the state to allow ICE to deport them because they don’t want to get the virus.

Andrew Warren, 52, a Vietnamese citizen and resident at the civil confinement facility, says he’s afraid he’ll die at the state hospital due to unsafe practices among the staff that put him at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

Ivy Cargile, Jesse Rojas, Dora Westerlund and Adriana Saldivar

With just days to go in this election season, one key group has been drawing a lot of attention - Latinx voters. And their impact on elections is particularly important here in California, given that they make up the state’s largest ethnic group.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Immigrant rights groups are concerned about a recent uptick in arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They said they want transparency in terms of COVID-19 safety procedures. 

 

At least four people, one in Fresno and three in Taft, have been arrested and detained by ICE in the last week, said Lisa Knox, legal director for the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice.

 

Ezra David Romero / KVPR

 

Kern County is known for Big Agriculture and traditionally leans to the right.  Many of the farmers there support Donald Trump. But when it comes to immigration—one of the President's signature themes—not all the farmers there line up behind him.  

Tom Frantz is a fourth-generation almond farmer in Shafter, California.  It’s a small town of 16,000 people— just up the road from Bakersfield. Fields in the area grow almonds, pistachios, cotton, grapes and alfalfa.  

 

Frantz relies on a local contractor to provide the workers he needs to tend his farm. 

On this week’s Valley Edition: Kern County farmers talk about how President Trump’s immigration policies affect the industry.

Plus, we hear from young community organizers in Fresno and Bakersfield who say they’re fed up with the current political system and are working to bring about change. 

Later, we speak to the president of California State University, Bakersfield as the school celebrates 50 years of education.

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

Almost half the people tested for COVID-19 last Wednesday at Mesa Verde had positive results. 

Thirty two out of 70 people tested positive. Asif Qazi, who’s been detained at Mesa Verde since February, says he’s not surprised.

“It’s not possible to social distance in a place where you have to use the same sinks, toilets and showers as other people,” Qazi said. “When you line up it’s not like your lining up six feet apart. It’s shoulder to shoulder.”  

Cecilia Castro

On June 18, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a long-awaited decision that prevents President Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA protects people brought to the U.S. as children from deportation, and allows them to work. Hours after the decision was announced, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with local DACA recipients, some of whom asked to be identified by their first name only.

Lilian Marquez

Karla Lopez, 32, currently lives in Stockton with her friend Lilian Marquez. The two met at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility in Bakersfield nine months ago and have been friends since then. But Lopez’ journey to get here started way back in November of 2018. 

That’s when a caravan of thousands of migrants made national news walking from Central America to the United States. Lopez decided to join the second wave of people heading to this country.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement released 18 women this week detained at the Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield. But neither the women nor their attorneys were given advance notice to make accommodations. 

Lilian Marquez, 45, was detained at Mesa Verde for 11 months. But on Wednesday, she and another woman were released without explanation. 

On this week’s Valley Edition: COVID-19 is disproportionately hurting vulnerable communities like seniors, agricultural workers and the homeless population. We talk to those working to protect the most defenseless among us. 

Plus, we hear from a woman who was born just after another deadly pandemic, the 1918 Spanish Flu. She remembers her parents talking about it, and the Great Depression that followed. 

We’ll also hear the story of a couple applying for asylum during the coronavirus outbreak. Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

As state and local officials continue to stress the importance of social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak, lawyers across California are joining forces to get their at-risk clients out of ICE detention centers, including the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility in Bakersfield.

 

 

The McFarland City Council appointed a new mayor Thursday to replace former Mayor Manuel Cantu. Cantu quit in February after the city declined a proposal that would allow The GEO Group, Inc. to turn two state prisons into immigration detention centers. GEO has since appealed that decision.

Council member Sally Gonzalez was appointed mayor, but most of the residents who attended the meeting were more concerned about the appeals case. 

StoryCorps

Valley Public Radio has partnered with the personal history project StoryCorps and its 2020 mobile tour. Since February 12, StoryCorps has been in Fresno and Bakersfield documenting the stories of residents in the San Joaquin Valley. As part of our collaboration, we’ll be airing segments over the next year based on some of these recorded conversations.   

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: A new exhibit celebrates a 1970s-era magazine that highlighted the achievements of African Americans in Fresno. We speak with one of its founders about why he started it.

Plus, we delve into the history of Yemeni farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley, and how the death of Nagi Daifallah and Arab nationalism complicated a multicultural movement in the UFW.

We also take a look at what’s new this year at Fresno’s Rogue Festival. 

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

Miriam Jordan & Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado

Immigration is one of the most complex and entrenched issues facing the Valley. To find out more about what it takes to keep the public informed on the topic, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with New York Times National Immigration Reporter Miriam Jordan and Fresno Bee Reporter Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado.

Soria for Congress and Costa for Congress

As the race to represent the 16th congressional district heats up between incumbent Jim Costa and fellow democrat Esmeralda Soria, both candidates stopped by the KVPR studio to talk with FM89's Kathleen Schock about the key issues facing the district, and the attention grabbing television ads from the Costa campaign.  

We know the San Joaquin Valley is home to diverse communities and cultures, and this year we’re bringing you audio postcards from some of the families who settled here a little more recently. Today we’re going to hear from Amanprit Singh Dhatt at his home in Kerman. The city is home to a large population of Punjabi speakers, including Amanprit. He came to California in 2005, after marrying his wife, Rupinder Kaur in India. Rupinder sponsored Amanprit to come to the U.S., and they've raised their daughter to embrace both Indian and American culture.

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

Immigration lawyers in the San Joaquin Valley say they’re overwhelmed with their caseloads and it’s particularly pointed in Tulare County where the demand for services is growing. Although it’s hard to calculate the exact number of people looking for immigration attorneys, many people in the field say it’s significantly high.

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