WBEZ | Minnesota http://www.wbez.org/tags/minnesota Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Driver licenses for undocumented youths? http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/immigrant%20map.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 369px; width: 600px; " title="WBEZ asked eight states whether they are planning to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants who receive Social Security and employment-authorization cards as a result of President Barack Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy. (WBEZ map by Elliott Ramos)" /></p><p>Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are planning to provide driver&rsquo;s licenses to undocumented immigrants who get work papers under a new federal policy.</p><p>The Obama administration policy, called &ldquo;Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,&rdquo; will allow as many as 1.7 million illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to get Social Security and employment-authorization cards, along with a deportation reprieve. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications Aug. 15.</p><p>&ldquo;As long as the Social Security Administration issues an individual with a Social Security number, and they have the other documents that are required under Illinois law, then they can apply for a driver&rsquo;s license,&rdquo; said Henry Haupt, spokesman for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who oversees that state&rsquo;s driver licensing.</p><p>WBEZ surveyed eight Midwestern states about their response to the policy change. Along with the four states planning to provide licenses, Wisconsin and Iowa officials said they had not decided yet, while Minnesota and Missouri officials did not respond to numerous WBEZ inquiries.</p><p>The states planning to issue the driver&rsquo;s licenses differ from Arizona, Nebraska and Texas, where governors have vowed to block illegal immigrants from getting licenses.</p><p>The immigrants must meet several requirements to get the Social Security and work-authorization cards, including having been younger than 31 on June 15; having arrived in the U.S. before turning 16; having lived in the country continuously since June 2007; being a student or graduate, or having served in the military; and having no serious criminal record nor posing any public safety threat. The work authorization will last up to two years and, if the federal policy stays in place, be renewable. The policy does not provide a path to citizenship.</p><p>Assuming some of the immigrants have been driving illegally, states that enable them to get a license could make roads safer. &ldquo;They have to pass the road exam, they have to pass the written exam, and they pass the vision test,&rdquo; Haupt said about Illinois. &ldquo;We require so many different things of our young drivers and &mdash; by doing so &mdash; they, of course, become better drivers.&rdquo;</p><p>Illinois also requires proof of liability insurance on the car the driver uses for the road test. So it&rsquo;s possible that allowing undocumented immigrants to drive legally could reduce the number of uninsured vehicles.</p><p>The immigrants themselves have more at stake. Karen Siciliano Lucas, an advocacy attorney of the Washington-based Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., points out that driver&rsquo;s licenses are vital for working and attending school in most regions of the country. &ldquo;Not only that, it is a state-issued identification that shows who you are,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The issue is complicated because most states require driver&rsquo;s&nbsp;license applicants to prove &ldquo;lawful status&rdquo; or &ldquo;legal presence&rdquo; in the United States. Officials in some states say the work authorization under the Obama policy will be sufficient proof. But a USCIS statement says the policy &ldquo;does not confer lawful status upon an individual.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s unclear whether courts will enable states to define lawful status differently than the federal government does.</p><p>States expecting Obama administration guidance about the driver&rsquo;s licenses could be waiting awhile. In response to WBEZ questions, the Department of Homeland Security sent a statement saying the department does not comment on state-specific matters.</p><p>Until federal courts weigh in, states are likely to face lawsuits no matter their course. &ldquo;We will see battles on this,&rdquo; Lucas predicted.</p><p>Making matters more complicated is the federal Real ID Act, a 2005 law aimed at fighting identity theft and keeping terrorists out of federal buildings and airplanes. Among other things, the act requires states to verify that driver&rsquo;s license applicants have lawful status in the United States.</p><p>The law is set to take effect in January, but it&rsquo;s not clear how the Obama administration will enforce it. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has fought for the measure&rsquo;s repeal, calling it unworkable.</p><p>That irks advocates for tougher immigration enforcement: &ldquo;If you want to protect against identify theft, you&rsquo;ve got to eliminate the fraud,&rdquo; said Janice Kephart, who focuses on national security policies for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. &ldquo;That means you have to eliminate the illegal-alien community out of that scheme. It doesn&rsquo;t mean that states cannot give driver&rsquo;s licenses to illegal aliens. It just means that they have to do it outside the Real ID Act.&rdquo;</p><p>Kephart praised Utah, which has created a &ldquo;driving privilege card&rdquo; specifically for undocumented immigrants.</p><p>At the moment the only other states that let undocumented immigrants drive legally are New Mexico and Washington, which provide them the same licenses that U.S. citizens can get.</p></p> Mon, 27 Aug 2012 13:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 Smoke hangs over northern Illinois from Minnesota fire http://www.wbez.org/story/smoke-hangs-over-northern-illinois-minnesota-fire-91943 <p><p>Smoke from a large wildfire in northeast Minnesota is moving through Illinois this afternoon. The fire started when lightning struck about 15 miles east of Ely, Minn. in mid-August.</p><p>Meteorologist Kevin Kraujalis of the National Weather Service in Duluth, Minn., said the a cold front that moved through Illinois early this morning, coupled with the size of the fire are to blame for the hazy conditions.<br> <br> "Well, it's a pretty big fire, it's an excess of 60,000 acres so until the steering winds in the atmosphere come more westerly, you can expect to see some smoke and haze and conditions like that," Kraujalis said.<br> <br> Kraujalis said the smoke is thickest in the northern part of Illinois, especially in the western suburbs of Chicago. He said the smoke could stay through the overnight hours, but expects the winds to die down tomorrow.</p><p>The National Weather Service in Chicago is reporting that smoke is prevalent enough that people could have difficulty breathing or suffer from irritated eyes. They encouraged people who suffer from respiratory problems to take caution.</p><p>The fire at the Pagami Creek started on August 18th and has been burning since then. Kraujalis said the fire was controlled at first, but due to dry weather and some unseasonably high temperatures, the fire grew over the last week. Several lakes to the east and south of the fire have been closed, and campers and hikers are being moved from the surrounding areas. According to an incident report, some hikers have been transported by Forest Service float planes.</p><p dir="ltr">Today, airplanes and helicopters are hovering over the fire, dropping water in attempts to slow the spread of the blaze.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 13 Sep 2011 21:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/smoke-hangs-over-northern-illinois-minnesota-fire-91943 Bank closes Arab-American leader’s accounts, won’t say why http://www.wbez.org/story/bank-closes-arab-american-leader%E2%80%99s-accounts-won%E2%80%99t-say-why-86355 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-10/Hatem2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An Arab-American leader whose Chicago home the FBI raided last fall now has a problem with his bank — make that his former bank.<br> <br> Hatem Abudayyeh, 40, executive director of a city-funded group called the Arab American Action Network, is among <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/andersonville/activists-defy-orders-testify">almost two dozen Midwest activists</a> who have refused orders since September to testify before a federal grand jury in Chicago.<br> <br> Abudayyeh’s subpoena came during a raid that month on the Jefferson Park condo he shares with his wife and their 5-year-old daughter. The search warrant named the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a secular group the U.S. government calls a terrorist organization.<br> <br> Abudayyeh, a lifelong Chicagoan, got another jolt last Friday. TCF Bank, part of Minnesota-based TCF Financial Corp., had frozen his family’s checking and savings accounts.<br> <br> TCF spokesman Jason Korstange won’t say why. “There’s privacy issues,” he said Tuesday. “They will be getting their money back, and that’s about all I can tell you.”<br> <br> A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald declined to comment about the accounts. A spokesman of the FBI’s Chicago office said he didn’t know anything about them.<br> <br> But Abudayyeh attorney Michael Deutsch said the feds must have subpoenaed TCF for records on the accounts. “The bank is probably saying, ‘Oh, God, we don’t want this person as a customer,’ ” Deutsch said.<br> <br> Officials haven’t charged Abudayyeh or any of the other activists.</p></p> Wed, 11 May 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/bank-closes-arab-american-leader%E2%80%99s-accounts-won%E2%80%99t-say-why-86355 Money For Sandbaggers? No Go, Says Fargo http://www.wbez.org/story/accidents-and-disasters/2011-02-22/money-sandbaggers-no-go-says-fargo-82714 <p><p>It's sandbag season in North Dakota and Minnesota, where communities are banding together to keep the coming spring thaw from overrunning riverbanks and swamping towns. But one town's plan to pay sand-baggers has sparked anger across the river.</p><p>That's the story in Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., towns separated by the Red River. <a href="http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/statewide/archive/2011/02/a-different-approach-to-sandbags.shtml">As reported by Minnesota Public Radio</a>, the announcement that Moorhead would spend around $160,000 to pay workers to fill sandbags caused a Fargo newspaper to bemoan its neighboring city's "apparent disdain for the community-building" that sandbags bring.</p><p>As MPR's Dan Gunderson writes, "Fargo offers what are known as Denny's Bucks for bags, named for the Fargo mayor. Non profit groups earn $75 for every 100 hours volunteers put in filling sandbags."</p><p></p><p>For anyone without a calculator, that's 75 cents an hour – pay that's roughly equivalent to that earned by a low-skilled Chinese worker in 2006, according to a <a href="http://hbr.org/2006/06/the-high-cost-of-cheap-chinese-labor/ar/1">Harvard Business Review</a> article.</p><p>The Moorhead plan calls for paying workers around $9 or $10 an hour – and that seems to have the folks in Fargo worried that their riverbank might not be as well-protected as that of Moorhead, to the east.</p><p>That's a cause for concern this year — in January, the National Weather Service said that the <a href="http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=fgf&storyid=64210&source=0">chance for major flooding</a> in the Red River Basin this spring is above 90 percent.</p><p>In an editorial in the Grand Forks Herald Ryan Bakken says that paying sandbaggers is "wrong. So very, very wrong," with the explanation that the work not only protects houses but also <a href="http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/194146/group/homepage/">builds a sense of common purpose</a>. Bakken writes, "Whether their boots are made by Oshkosh or Ugg, all sandbaggers are equal."</p><p>Still, things might work out just fine for Fargo: The town held a Sandbag Central rally on President's Day, and <a href="http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/309601/group/News/">hundreds of volunteers</a> showed up – even some kids from across the river in Moorhead. The town hopes to fill 3 million sandbags before the floodwaters reach Fargo, in about a month.</p><p>Over in Moorhead, Mayor Mark Voxland says the town decided to pay workers to guarantee they would be on hand to man the town's updated sandbag machines.</p><p>But Moorhead might run into some fresh problems in a few weeks. That's when the town will need to put up walls of sandbags to shore up the banks of the Red River. And it'll need volunteers to stack the bags, says MPR. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1298401647?&gn=Money+For+Sandbaggers%3F+No+Go%2C+Says+Fargo&ev=event2&ch=103943429&h1=spring+floods,North+Dakota,National+News,Accidents+and+Disasters,Minnesota,The+Two-Way,Around+the+Nation,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=133965066&c7=1091&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1091&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110222&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=133966142,131025834,127602855,127602334,126931058,103943429&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 12:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/accidents-and-disasters/2011-02-22/money-sandbaggers-no-go-says-fargo-82714 Activists defy orders to testify http://www.wbez.org/story/andersonville/activists-defy-orders-testify <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Maureen_Murphy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some Palestine solidarity activists are defying orders to appear before a grand jury in Chicago.<br /><br />The FBI delivered subpoenas last month to at least nine Chicago-area residents. But their spokespersons say none showed up to testify Tuesday.<br /><br />The nine include Maureen Murphy, 28, an Andersonville resident who volunteers with the <a href="http://psgchicago.org/">Palestine Solidarity Group&ndash;Chicago</a> and edits <a href="http://electronicintifada.net/">Electronic Intifada</a>, an online journal about the Israeli occupation.<br /><br />&ldquo;There&rsquo;s been no crime committed here,&rdquo; Murphy said Tuesday. &ldquo;This investigation is all about obtaining associational information that infringes on our First Amendment rights to organize.&rdquo;<br /><br />In September the FBI raided homes and an office of several organizers in Chicago and Minneapolis. They were among 14 activists in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan who refused to appear before a grand jury in Chicago in October. <br /><br />Some of the September subpoenas suggest the government is investigating foreign groups it calls terrorist.<br /><br />Officials haven&rsquo;t charged any of the activists or confirmed that the September and December subpoenas are part of the same investigation. Randall Samborn, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, said officials could not comment on the proceedings. <br /><br />Attorneys for the Chicago-area activists say they&rsquo;ve written Fitzgerald&rsquo;s office, asserting Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.<br /><br />Prosecutors could offer immunity from charges and issue new subpoenas. The activists could eventually face jail time if found in contempt of court.</p></p> Tue, 25 Jan 2011 22:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/andersonville/activists-defy-orders-testify