Current Event May 20, 2016
The Obama administration promised to welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country this year, but it has made little progress toward this goal. A top refugee official explains how the U.S. will keep working to fulfill this promise. Citizens and politicians alike have strong opinions on refugee issues. Some people think we must invite those in trouble into our country, while others worry that welcoming refugees could threaten our safety. Government officials hope to listen to all concerns as they work to protect people’s safety at home and abroad. Listen to this story and then have your students debate America’s responsibility to Syrian refugees.
Current Event May 19, 2016
Teenagers from low-income, immigrant families must overcome challenges in order to graduate from high school. For many new immigrants, work and family can become difficult to balance. These students often work to help support their families, which can take priority over schoolwork. One high school senior has been able to find success despite some difficult circumstances. She helps her family earn money, plays the viola, and is on track to graduate high school. Listen to her story about defying the odds.
Current Event March 18, 2016
Britain's Prime Minister promised to bring migration numbers down six years ago. But the numbers have risen. Now the government wants to cut migration by having non-Europeans with skilled worker visas leave the country if they don’t make at least $50,000 a year. Lower-paid workers such as artists, health care workers, and people in the trades will be affected by these new rules. Listen to hear about the new plan and debate the pros and cons of setting a salary benchmark for immigrants.
Current Event February 5, 2016
Denmark is poised to pass a new law related to refugees. It requires police to seize cash and valuables from people seeking asylum in Denmark. The idea behind the law is to help defray the costs of caring for refugees. The Danish government hopes that this new law will make Denmark unattractive to other refugees and discourage people from seeking asylum. Many support the new measures because they say Denmark is a small country and can’t support a large number of refugees. Others believe it is a violation of human rights. Listen to hear more about this crisis and debate whether refugees should pay countries that support them.
Current Event January 19, 2016
The recent Syrian refugee crisis highlights the central issue of sovereign borders. Countries spend millions of dollars every year to protect their borders and tightly determine who can enter. An economics professor wants to see a world with open borders. He says open borders with no discrimination against where someone is born, and technology that allows ideas to flow freely, could double the global gross domestic product. Listen to hear this interesting description of a world without borders.
Current Event November 23, 2015
The United States House of Representatives voted to pause the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program, even though the war in Syria has led to millions of refugees looking for safe haven in Turkey, Europe and the U.S. After the attacks in Paris, Republican lawmakers are afraid that terrorists will enter the U.S. disguised as refugees. The current plan is to settle 10,000 Syrians using a rigorous process including screenings and background checks from the FBI and Homeland Security that take between a year and a half to two years to complete. Republicans say it’s not enough and it’s better to be safe than sorry. This story aired before the House passed the bill to pause the program with a veto-proof majority. The President is opposed to pausing the program, and it's unclear when the Senate will consider the bill. Listen to hear more about this backlash against Syrian refugees.
Current Event October 14, 2015
Many immigrants came to the United States years ago when immigration laws made it easier for people from non-European countries to arrive. This story looks back on the journey of one family who left Bolivia when conditions became intolerable and settled in America. The father spent most of his free time in the library, learning English and reading repair manuals. By teaching himself new skills he was able to take on small jobs, move his family out of poverty and get a start on the American dream by buying a house. Listen to hear more about one legal immigrant’s journey.
Current Event October 7, 2015
When Donald Trump announced he was running for President he made derogatory remarks about Mexican immigrants, characterizing them as criminals. The Latino community responded not with riots and protests, but with their economic power. In reaction to Trump’s remarks, companies that see a lot of revenue from Latino customers pulled out of Trump owned products or events. Macy’s will no longer carry Trump’s menswear line, NBC will no longer allow him to host and Univision will no longer air beauty pageants that he partially owns. Latinos’ purchasing power is expected to reach $1.5 trillion this year. Listen to hear more about how Latinos are using their economic influence.
Current Event September 21, 2015
Pope Francis, the worldwide leader of the Catholic Church, is visiting New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC this week. He is expected to speak about immigration reform. Many Catholic churches in the U.S. were originally established by European immigrants and are now relying on newer immigrants to America to keep them open. As the number of American born Catholics has dropped, the number of immigrants have increased. More than a quarter of the Catholics in America today were born outside of the U.S. and Hispanics and Asians are keeping Catholic churches vibrant. Listen to hear how the Catholic parishes are being replenished.
Current Event September 17, 2015
As Europe struggles to keep up with the thousands of migrants seeking asylum, there is one group of migrants that is often overlooked - children. Many travel alone, fleeing violence and poverty in Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and other nations. In Germany, as many as 1,000 migrants a day apply for asylum. One weekend almost 200 unaccompanied minors applied for status in Germany. Many children are traumatized and should receive special housing and treatment, but the numbers are overwhelming authorities. Listen to learn how Europe is addressing the growing problem of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum.
Current Event August 23, 2015
Thousands of migrants fleeing instability in Africa and the Middle East are in a refugee camp in a small town on the coast of France. It’s become a refugee crisis for France as the migrants are living in campsites, building their own homes and waiting for asylum in France or transport to Britain. Many are teenagers without families, and the camp can sometimes be a competitive environment where only the fittest survive. But there are also inspiring stories of people with little helping those who have less. The camp does not provide shelter, which is one of the many ways it does not meet international standards for refugees, says an international aid group. Listen to hear more about this crisis that doesn’t have a ready solution.
Current Event June 25, 2015
Why do Americans celebrate Independence Day on July 4th? John Adams himself thought that July 2nd would be the day Americans celebrated independence but he was wrong. What happened on July 4th to mark such an occasion? This story explores the origins of Independence Day and examines the issues of slavery and immigration in the early days of the United States.
Current Event May 17, 2015
An investigation in New York City has found that hundreds of nail salons are ignoring workers’ rights. Middle and upper class customers have come to expect cheap manicures and until now, no one has questioned how the price can be so low. In a year long investigation for the New York Times journalist Sarah Maslin Nir found widespread wage theft and indentured servitude in an industry that puts its workers' health on the line. The two part series, “Unvarnished”, has prompted action from consumers and the state government. Listen to hear more from the reporter about her investigation and the reaction to the story.
Current Event May 13, 2015
The Great Migration was a period of African American migration from the Jim Crow South to the North from 1915 to the 1970s. People left their rural southern lives behind in the hope that there would be more opportunity and equality in northern cities like New York City, Chicago and Detroit. Artist Jacob Lawrence was raised in New York City but he was the child of two Southern migrants. Lawrence saw the Great Migration first hand and vividly painted the stages of migration, from boarding trains to finding racism in the North. Listen to learn more about this period in history and how it is represented in art and music from the era.
Current Event December 16, 2014
Today marks the first night of Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival of lights. Hanukkah comes with many traditions both ancient and modern. This story explores the historic origins of foil wrapped chocolate coins given during Hanukkah, known as gelt. Listen to hear how migration to urban areas to and to America changed the traditions of Hanukkah.
Current Event November 26, 2014
The number of child migrants coming to the United States from Central America has slowed, but efforts to stop the underlying violence in these countries is growing. The United States Agency for International Development (USAid) is partnering with local government and police forces in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to bring violence prevention efforts that have worked in the United States to these communities. Listen to learn more about this programming and its impact.
Current Event November 23, 2014
On Thursday November 20, 2014, President Obama announced an Executive Action to provide relief from deportation to some undocumented immigrants. Republicans argue that Obama doesn’t have the authority to take this action alone, while immigration activists are disappointed that the plan does not go further. This public radio story outlines the specifics of the Executive Action.