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Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders

Launched by The Chicago Community Trust in 1990 to spark discussion and understanding on matters of vital interest to Chicago-area communities, Chicago Matters is the nation's longest-running multimedia public affairs series. Learn More


The New Irish Community
Aired Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In the ongoing debate over immigration policy, it's Latinos that are usually the focus of most discussions. But immigrants— both undocumented and documented —continue to come to America from all over the world. On this episode of Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders, we’ll take a look at the new Irish community in Chicago and what’s bringing residents of the Emerald Isle to America in the 21st century.

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McHenry County Detention Center
Aired Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Detentions of illegal immigrants are on the rise. Chicago Tonight explores the factors driving the increase in detentions and what’s happening to people inside the process.

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Iraqi Refugees
Aired Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Of the more than 2 million Iraqis who have fled the country since the 2003 U.S. invasion, fewer than 3,000 have been allowed to resettle in the United States. The Bush administration has acknowledged a "moral obligation" to protect Iraqis displaced by the war but fell far short of the 7,000 admissions that officials pledged by the end of September - sparking criticism from refugee advocates. According to the Department of State, fewer than 1700 Iraqi refugees were accepted in to the U.S. in the last year. Michigan, California, Arizona and Illinois are the top states where Iraqi refugees are being resettled. On this episode of Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders, we’ll look at two organizations—one public, one private—that are helping Iraqis start over in the Chicago area and we'll meet a couple of the families that have settled here.

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Two Mexican Consulates
Aired Tuesday, October 30, 2007

For the first time in 2006, Mexicans living abroad were permitted to vote in their country’s presidential elections. An estimated 3 million Mexicans in the U.S. were eligible to vote but less than 40,000 actually did. In Chicago, supporters of the three presidential candidates led strong campaigns but after the controversial outcome in which National Action Party (PAN) candidate Felipe Calderón was declared the winner, the campaigns did not end. In protest, supporters of Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who many believe was the legitimate winner, opened an “alternate consulate” in Chicago. On this episode of Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders, we’ll take a look at what the “alternate consulate” can and cannot do and what the official consulate has to say about its “alternate” version.

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Chicago's Muslim Community
Aired Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More than six years after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Muslims in the United States continue to face societal difficulties and discrimination. Many of those problems, say members of the community, are caused by federal policies and regulations. On the next installment of Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders, we’ll look at how immigrant and native born Muslims in the Chicago area are faring as they struggle to become a part of the American fabric.

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Aired Tuesday, October 2, 2007

With more than 100,000 residents, Elgin is Illinois’ 8th largest municipality. The city has grown by nearly 40,000 people in the last 25 years and, like many suburbs, the growth is largely due to immigrants which now account for more than 40% of Elgin’s population. Latinos alone make up 37% of the population. The increase in the immigrant community has posed a number of challenges for Elgin especially in health care and education. Low income and uninsured immigrants in Elgin face a scarcity of health care providers. Meanwhile, the Elgin public schools now have a Family Welcome Center to help new arrivals whose primary language is not English. At the same time, the U-46 school district faces a lawsuit for racial discrimination. On this episode of Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders, we examine how Elgin is coping with its rapidly growing immigrant community.

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Aired Tuesday, September 18, 2007

For nearly 20 years, the driving force in northwest suburban Palatine has been its mayor, Rita Mullins. One of the many changes the village has experienced under her watch is a substantial increase in the immigrant population. Thousands of Russians, Latinos, Indians and Pakistanis now call Palatine home. But unlike other municipalities in the Chicago area, Palatine has not felt the need to target its immigrant population with English only laws or by taking on federal immigration roles. On the next Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders, we talk with Mayor Rita Mullins and members of Palatine’s ethnic communities about what sets the village apart from some of its neighboring communities in terms of its policies towards immigrants.

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Waukegan and 287(g)
Aired Tuesday, September 5, 2007

Far north suburban Waukegan entered the immigration fray this summer when its city council voted to apply for the Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). 287(g) gives state and local law enforcement officers the legal authority to carry out federal immigration laws. City officials say it will only be used to target dangerous or violent criminals in the community and expedite their deportation. But many Latinos fear it will be used as a tool to roundup anyone suspected of being undocumented. In our next installment of Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders, Eddie Arruza talks with some of the key players in the Waukegan 287(g) controversy to find out why town officials felt the need to take federal immigration matters into their own hands and why there is strong opposition from the immigrant community.

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Assimilation in Chicago's Indian Community
Aired Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Like all foreign nationals who make the U.S. their new home, immigrants from India face the challenges of integrating and assimilating into American society. From learning a new language to adapting to cultural and legal differences, immigrants can often be overwhelmed by life in the U.S. Chicago’s Indian community is well established and has programs to help new arrivals but that doesn’t mean that assimilation is easy. Adding to that is a strong sense of tradition that keeps many Indians, even the younger generation, steeped in the ways of their homeland. In our next installment of Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders, we’ll take a look at how the Indian community adjusts to life in the Chicago area and what integration and assimilation means to this diverse community.

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The New Sanctuary Movement
guest correspondent: Elizabeth Brackett
Aired Tuesday, June 26, 2007

In the early 1970’s some Chicago churches became a source of refuge for illegal immigrants threatened with deportation. Some 35 years later a number of those same churches are once again opening their doors as the debate over how to handle undocumented immigrants intensifies. Although churches don’t offer legal sanctuary, federal officials are unlikely to go after immigrants there. Elvira Arellano became the country’s most famous sanctuary seeker when she entered a west side Chicago church last August as officials sought to have her deported. Elizabeth Brackett will look into the new sanctuary movement and why churches are siding with a population that many say are lawbreakers who should pay for their crimes.

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Carpentersville, IL
Aired Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The village of far northwest suburban Carpentersville has become the focal point of immigration reform at the local level. The suburban community of 37,000 is more than 40% Latino and just last year some village officials proposed laws making it illegal to give housing or employment to undocumented immigrants. Those proposals failed but Carpentersville is now considering making their village “English only,” a move critics say would be expensive, discriminatory and even dangerous. We’ll look at what’s driving some Carpentersville officials to crack down on illegal immigrants and how Latinos in the community are reacting.

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The Skills Gap and H1B Visas
Aired Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The United States may be the world's business leader but, increasingly, American companies have to turn to the rest of the world to find the talent that's in short supply at home. We'll take a look at which Chicago area companies are looking abroad to find the employees they want and need and how an immigrant community of highly skilled professionals fits into the fabric of American life.

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African Americans and Immigrants
Aired Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One of the arguments surrounding illegal immigration in the United States is that undocumented workers take the jobs that Americans don't want. But are they also taking jobs away from Americans? Chicago Tonight explores this issue among Illinois' temporary manual laborers.

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Panel Discussion: Immigration Reform
Aired Tuesday, May 1, 2007

As immigrant workers in the Chicago area take to the streets for this year's May Day rally, WTTW's Eddie Arruza explores the status of proposals for immigration reform at the local and national level.

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The Refugee Community
Aired Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Some of Chicago's largest immigrant groups, including Irish, Germans, and Poles, came to Chicago to seek refuge from major economic and political dislocations at home" – so reads a portion of the "refugee" entry in the Encyclopedia of Chicago. The city still welcomes refugees but these days they're coming from different war-torn or politically unstable regions of the world including Africa and Latin America. However, after 9/11, U.S. law prohibits some countries from sending refugees. We'll take a look at some of the refugees who are coming to Chicago in 2007 and what life, and U.S. refugee policy, is like for them.

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Top of the Class – End of the Line Part II
Aired Tuesday, April 3, 2007

With few funding options and generally unable to get a job, how do undocumented students afford to go to college? We'll take a look at one university that is offering full scholarships to graduates of a predominantly Latino high school regardless of their legal status. On the opposing side, we'll talk to a prominent state politician who was the lone vote against extending in-state tuition benefits to undocumented students in Illinois.

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Top of the Class – End of the Line Part I
Aired Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Most Chicago area schools don't ask students whether they are in the United States legally. They just offer them an education. And year after year a number of students that make it to the top of their class turn out to be undocumented immigrants. Some win college scholarships or would be eligible for financial aid only to find their hopes for furthering their education are dashed due to their illegal status. We'll take a look at a couple of these students and see what the future holds for them.

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Beyond Borders Launch
Aired Tuesday, March 6, 2007

We'll begin our 2007 Chicago Matters series on immigration by taking a look at the themes we'll be focusing on throughout the year. In conjunction with Chicago Public Radio, we'll preview some of the stories we'll cover in the year ahead and talk about the reason that immigration became the topic for the year.

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Immigration in the Driver's Seat:
A Photo Essay of Chicago Taxi Cab Drivers

From the Loop to Midway Airport, on both the North and the South Side, taxi cabs are at the hub of Chicago's transportation system. Chicago has the second largest cab fleet in the nation – at any given time there are 6,300 taxis on the street and more than 13,000 licensed drivers. But who are the individuals behind the wheel? Well, at least 60 percent of Chicago cabbies are immigrants, hailing from places as far afield as Iraq and Cameroon. For our Beyond Borders series, photographer Jason Reblando captures their unique immigrant experiences in this exclusive photo essay.

Beyond Borders
Now in its 17th year, Chicago's award-winning, multimedia public affairs series returns in 2007 with Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders  to explore the impact of immigration on Chicago and the region.

Click Here for more information about Chicago Matters: Beyond Borders

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Chicago Matters: Launch - LargeChicago Matters: Top of the Class – End of the Line Part I - LargeChicago Matters: Top of the Class – End of the Line Part II - LargeChicago Matters: The Refugee Community - LargeChicago Matters: Panel Discussion: Immigration Reform - LargeChicago Matters: African Americans and Immigrants - LargeChicago Matters: The Skills Gap and H1B Visas - LargeChicago Matters: Carpentersville, IL - LargeChicago Matters: New Sanctuary - LargeChicago Matters: Assimilation in Chicago's Indian Community - LargeChicago Matters: Waukegan and 287(g) - LargeChicago Matters: Palatine - LargeChicago Matters: Elgin - LargeChicago Matters: Muslim Community - LargeChicago Matters: Mexican Consulates - LargeChicago Matters: Iraqi Refugees - LargeChicago Matters: Detention Center - LargeChicago Matters: New Irish Immigrants - LargeChicago Matters: Launch - SmallChicago Matters: Top of the Class – End of the Line Part I - SmallChicago Matters: Top of the Class – End of the Line Part II - SmallChicago Matters: The Refugee Community - SmallChicago Matters: Panel Discussion: Immigration Reform - SmallChicago Matters: African Americans and Immigrants - SmallChicago Matters: The Skills Gap and H1B Visas - SmallChicago Matters: Carpentersville, IL - SmallChicago Matters: New Sanctuary - SmallChicago Matters: Assimilation in Chicago's Indian Community - SmallChicago Matters: Waukegan and 287(g) - SmallChicago Matters: Palatine - SmallChicago Matters: Elgin - SmallChicago Matters: Muslim Community - SmallChicago Matters: Mexican Consulates - SmallChicago Matters: Iraqi Refugees - SmallChicago Matters: Detention Center - SmallChicago Matters: New Irish Immigrants - SmallChicago Matters: Our Next GenerationChicago Matters: Inside HousingChicago Matters: Money TalksChicago Matters: Valuing EducationChicago Matters: Beyond BordersChicago Matters: Growing ForwardChicago Matters: Beyond BurnhamContact UsSite MapPressroomWTTW Digital ArchivesProduction ServicesCorporate SponsorshipHomeSchedulesProgramsWTTW KidsWTTW ArtsWTTW EventsSupport WTTWAbout UsMembers OnlyGeoffrey Baer Tours - Seven Wonders of ChicagoArchitect Robert A.M. Stern: Presence of the PastArchitect Michael Graves: A Grand TourArchitect Thomas Beeby10 Buildings that Changed AmericaCatholicismProhibitionAmerican Graduate