Advocates urge more mental health services for unaccompanied immigrant children

Unaccompanied minors face temporary displacement, language barriers and other challenges that can lead to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious mental health problems, according to research. Advocates say more services, such as talk therapy and support groups, are needed to help them deal with the stress and trauma they have experienced.

How President Obama’s immigration policy could affect Illinois

Critics said President Obama overstepped his power when he used his executive authority Thursday to provide deportation relief and temporary permission to work to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. Others said the reforms did not go far enough. The Migration Policy Institute, based in Washington, D.C., estimates that nearly half of all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. could benefit from the executive actions. Nationwide up to 3.8 million undocumented immigrants will be newly eligible for deportation relief, according to the Pew Research Center. How will Obama’s executive order affect Illinois?

Chicago groups take child refugee issue to inter-American human rights commission

Two Chicago-based organizations are asking an international human rights commission to examine the U.S. government’s treatment of thousands of unaccompanied minors who’ve entered this country from Mexico and Central America.Last week, a petition was filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of the National Immigrant Justice Center and the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities. The commission is under the auspices of the Organization of American States, a regional group of which the U.S. and all the countries in the Americas are members. The Chicago groups are asking the commission to urge the U.S. to take precautions in how it treats the children and their families in this country. They also request that the commission order the U.S. to stop deporting the children and their families without due consideration of their rights to protection and asylum, said Susan Gzesh, the executive director of the Pozen Family Center of Human Rights at the University of Chicago and one of the lawyers who helped write the petition. Since October 2013, close to 60,000 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico have been apprehended by U.S. authorities at or near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Pew Research Center.The children are fleeing kidnapping, mutilation, rape and murder in their countries.

TCR Talks: Challenging stereotypes about Asian Americans

Saigon fell to the Viet Cong on April 30, 1975. That was the day Tuyet Le and her family left Vietnam. She was 3 years old when they came to America as refugees. Le, 42, now works to help other immigrants and Asian Americans as the executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago. She also serves on the board of directors of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Asian American Justice Center.

Rosaura Lima

A changing Southern landscape

Teresa Puente drove across the U.S. this summer blogging about diverse people and places and capturing day-to-day life in America. Here are three dispatches from the South, where the Latino population is growing. Read about all the people she met at her Chicanísima blog at Chicago Now. 
Rosaura Lima, 40, played with her children in the parking lot of a budget hotel in Morristown, Tenn., the boyhood home of Davy Crockett. 
She lives in Bowling Green, Ky., with her husband, Roman Martinez, 43, who travelled 250 miles to Morristown for a construction job. She was trying to keep the kids busy, as her husband was sick in a local hospital. He woke up with a giant welt on his arm that doctors told her may have come from a bug bite.

Immigrant wins illegal voting case, granted residency

A Filipino immigrant who faced deportation for illegally registering to vote and casting a ballot can now stay in the U.S.
Elizabeth Keathley of Bloomington, Ill., who came to the U.S. in 2003, registered to vote in 2006 through the “motor voter” law – even though she was not a citizen. Last week, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared her of wrongdoing, and a Department of Justice immigration judge has approved her permanent residence, the Chicago Tribune reported. The court accepted Keathley’s testimony that an employee at the DMV rushed her through the driver’s license application process, during which she was asked if she was interested in registering to vote. After receiving her voter registration card, Keathley voted in the 2006 congressional election. During a citizenship interview that December, she was asked if she had voted.

For generations of immigrants, opportunity comes before equality

The families of what is now known as Hero Street were shunned. They were forced to live in railroad boxcars, without electricity or plumbing, on an unpaved street. Snow blew through the cracks in the walls in winter. The street turned to mud when it rained. The kids who grew up there still remember the other school kids calling them “dirty Mexicans.” They remember being made fun of when their parents pulled them out of school to go top onions in the fields across the Mississippi, in Iowa.