WXXI AM News

immigration

An old army base about 70 miles from Rochester was the only site in the United States to welcome refugees from Europe during the Holocaust. Fort Ontario in Oswego, an internment camp, became home to 982 refugees in 1944, but many people don't know its story or the history and politics behind the refugees' arrival. Now, Fort Ontario is back in the news: there's proposed legislation to make the site a national park. 

In 1987, WXXI produced a documentary about the camp. It's called Safe Haven. We honor the film's 30th anniversary and the lives of Holocaust victims and survivors by sharing their stories. Our guests:

  • Paul Lewis, writer, director, and producer of Safe Haven
  • Irving Schild, Holocaust survivor who lived at Fort Ontario
  • Warren Heilbronner, Holocaust survivor

The White House's latest travel ban was thrown out by a federal judge on Wednesday. But countries on President Trump's list have already floated the idea of "reciprocal bans." What would that mean?

Our guests touch on the recent news, but they also discuss Nowruz -- the Persian New Year. We talk about the cultural meaning of what it is, along with misconceptions. Our guests:

  • Shahin Monshipour, Iranian American anthropologist who teaches sociology and cultural anthropology at RIT
  • Zari Kamarei, director of the Carlson Science & Engineering Library at the University of Rochester
  • Robert Dunbar, visiting instructor in the Department of Religious Studies at St. John Fisher College

What is a Sanctuary City? Next week, Rochester City Council will take up legislation related to Rochester's status as a "Sanctuary City." But what, exactly, does that mean?

We explore the impact for refugees, and the possible impact related to federal funding and support. Our guests:

While some support President Trump’s most recent executive orders, there are others who say they are confused and fearful. In particular those impacted by the President’s actions pertaining to immigrants and refugees. The four month suspension of the US Refugee Program and the 90-day travel ban into the US from seven muslim-majority nations hit home in more ways than one for a former refugee now US citizen living in Rochester. For Akil Al-Jaysh, it was reading about the dream described by Martin Luther King Junior that gave him hope when he came to the US in 2001. But he fears that American Dream could be vanishing. 

We discuss the Trump administration's order on immigration by focusing on who is impacted, both locally and abroad. We try to answer our listeners' questions, and we discuss the possible results. Our guests:

  • Iman Abid, organizer for NYCLU
  • Mustafa Almansuri, translator for the U.S. Army who is originally from Iraq
  • Alma Omerhodzic, treasurer and board member for the Islamic Center of Rochester, and former Bosnian refugee
  • Mike Boucher, co-director of counseling and community work at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center

Wayne County Rep. John Katko (R-NY) delivered the weekly Republican Address on Saturday.

This information is provided by the Speaker of the House website:

Katko discusses the Obama administration’s failure to enforce a new visa waiver law—intended to keep Americans safe—in order to accommodate Iran.

“I am a former federal prosecutor, and I can tell you a law is only as good as how you enforce it,” said Rep. Katko. “This is not a time to start lowering our guard. And we should not put Iran’s feelings before America’s security interests.”

It's been a difficult year for immigrants. A leading presidential candidate said that some Mexicans are good people, but many are rapists and murderers and drug dealers. The candidates have discussed deporting millions, building walls, and more.

Author Cristina Henriquez has a father who immigrated from Panama, and her newest novel is called The Book of Unknown Americans. She's coming to Rochester on Wednesday, November 18 as part of the University of Rochester River Campus Libraries' Neilly Series. to talk about the book, and about the hardships that immigrant families face. First, she's on Connections. Our guests:

  • Cristina Henriquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans
  • Katy Festa, library advancement program manager, University of Rochester River Campus Libraries

Donald Trump has been widely mocked – and, in some cases, cheered – for his comments about Mexicans and immigration. Apart from the content of Trump’s remarks, we’ll ask our expert panel: what do Americans misunderstand about immigration? About who is coming to this country, and why? We posed these questions to our panel:

  • Pablo Sierra, professor of history at the University of Rochester
  • Tricia Cruz, director of development and communications for the Ibero-American Action League
  • Hilda Chacon, professor of foreign language and literature at Nazareth College

What image comes to your mind when you hear the term "border patrol". In his new book, Border Patrol Nation, author Todd Miller shows that border patrol has spread to cities and states that you wouldn't expect, cities away from our international borders like Erie, Pennsylvania, and here in Rochester, NY. Why are they in these cities? Miller is on with us to discuss this and other topics from his book.

The immigration crisis in our nation has reached new heights. In the midst of the back-and-forth debate, we address some of the confusing elements of this issue and learn whether there could be a local impact.

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