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Immigration Reform

Jeffrey Tapia, outgoing executive director of the Latin American Association, talks with Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer on A Closer Look on Tuesday, June 23, 2015.
Brenna Beech / WABE

The executive director of the Atlanta based Latin American Association, Jeffrey Tapia, is retiring.

For years, Tapia has held executive positions with LAA and has been on the forefront of immigration rights. During her time at the nonprofit she has helped new immigrants and their families gain access to a wide range of services. That access ultimately translates into much needed assistance and ultimately opportunity for new immigrants.

White House officials said President Barack Obama is offering federal funding to state and local agencies and certain nonprofit groups in Georgia that responded to the mid-February storm.
Jim Bourg / Associated Press

Georgia along with other 25 states will face the Obama administration in a federal appeals court in New Orleans on Friday over the president's executive action on immigration. 

In November, the president announced programs that would grant deportation relief and temporary work permits for some immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as a child or immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizen children. 

Oliva Saldivar is a mother of two U.S. citizen children. The Sandy Springs resident said she hoped to apply for the president’s plan so she could get a work permit.

President Barack Obama meets with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House in Washington.
Evan Vucci / Associated Press

On Nov. 20, 2014, President Barack Obama will announce the executive actions he will take on the nation's troubled immigration system.  

The President is expected to expand the policy that grants temporary deportation relief to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

But, whatever one thinks of the policy change, does the Constitution give the President the power to do that on his own?  

WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Emory Law professor Polly J. Price.

State Senator Josh McKoon talks with supporters at the Wild Hog Dinner in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

President Obama will unveil his executive action plan for immigration today. The president is expected to expand deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), a program that has allowed many who arrived illegally in this country as children to temporarily stay in the U.S. and apply for work visas.

One Georgia Republican lawmaker is already trying to combat the efforts.

A bill pre-filed by Republican state Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) would make getting a driver’s license illegal for those who qualify for deferred action status.

Dan Raby/WABE

A group of advocates for immigrants to Georgia says there has been a dramatic rise in the number of arrests and detainments of immigrants in the last few years.

Alicia Cruz says she was pulled over in Conyers about four months ago.

(Cruz speaks in Spanish followed by voice of translator): “My kids were with me, and the police officers kneeled my children down and pointed them, gun-pointed them.”

Mundo Hispanico

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal met with leaders of the Latino Community on Wednesday.

Deal’s office called it a discussion session to talk about the unaccompanied minors coming to Georgia from Central America.

WABE’s Rose Scott has more.

 The Governor’s office invited only Spanish speaking media to cover the meeting.

Jeffrey Tapia, executive director of the Latin American Association
Latin American Association

  On July 24, 2014, Governor Nathan Deal (R-Georgia) sent an angry letter to President Barack Obama, criticizing the administration's response to the surge in unaccompanied Central American children who have crossed the U.S. border with Mexico.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed this week established the Welcoming Atlanta Working Group. The 21-person committee is tasked with developing ways to help immigrants integrate into the Atlanta community.

Monica Fuentes, who is heading the mayor’s initiative, says several factors led to the Reed’s decision.

“Metro Atlanta is actually the second-fastest growing foreign-born population in the United States right now,” she says. “So, the demographics are changing. People are here, people want to go to work, people want to go to school.”

Pastor David Park explains why he and other faith leaders will urge Georgia congressmen to support comprehensive immigration reform this year.
Martha Dalton / WABE

A group of local faith leaders Thursday announced their support for comprehensive immigration reform. The group takes its case to congressional lawmakers next week.

The Georgia Delegation of Pastors for Reform made the announcement at the First Baptist Church of Tucker.

David Park is the pastor at Open Table Community and Evangelical Free Church in the Chamblee/Doraville area. He’s also the son of immigrants. He said the group supports immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. Park said that belief is rooted in scripture.

Martha Dalton / WABE

Immigrants’ rights groups gathered at the State Capitol Monday to applaud what appears to be the end of two pieces of legislation. One bill would have denied drivers’ licenses to immigrants who’ve received temporary protective status. A proposed resolution would have made English Georgia’s official language.

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson
isaksonsenate.gov / isaksonsenate.gov

  Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson Monday praised an immigration reform outline drafted by House Republican leadership.

Under the outline, House Republicans would push for tighter border security first, followed by reforms to the immigration system second.

Senator Isakson said that’s a good idea.

Martha Dalton/WABE News

Immigration reform advocates rallied Tuesday outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Downtown Atlanta. They called on President Obama to end deportations of undocumented immigrants. Federal officials arrested 15 of them.

Some protestors locked themselves to a gate on ICE property. Federal officials unlocked and arrested them.