Tag: Valeria Fernández’s audio archive

Radio stories, podcasts and audio material from Valeria Fernández
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Reporter’s Notebook: Finding Common Ground on Immigration in Arizona’s Dairy Farms

Phoenix-based FI2W reporter Valeria Fernández produced a radio piece for NPR’s Latino USA on immigrants who work in the dairy industry and the farmers who hire them.

Here, Valeria narrates how she produced the piece, which airs this weekend on Latino USA. To listen to the piece, press “play” below.

[audio:http://latinousa.kut.org/wp-content/lusaaudio/859segAZdairies.mp3]

 

By Valeria Fernández, FI2W contributor

For almost two years now, one of my sources here in Arizona had insisted that I do a story about immigrants working in dairies. I finally started to work on this one about five months ago, before I even knew which direction it was going to take, or even that it was going to become a radio piece. I needed to become familiar with the universe of dairies at a time when Arizona was facing an intense crackdown on illegal immigration.

There was naturally going to be fear and resistance on the part of immigrant workers. For about two years now, the state has had a law in place that sanctions companies who knowingly hire undocumented labor.

Cows in Gerald Lunts farm: he says than other than the economy and the price of milk, finding workers to help in his farm is his biggest problem. (Photo: Valeria Fernández)

Farmer Gerald Lunt says than “other than the economy and the price of milk,” finding workers is his biggest problem. (Photos: V. Fernández – Click to see more)

ALSO: Read a diary by the daughter of a Mexican immigrant dairy worker.

The law has been used mostly to conduct work-site raids in businesses, resulting in the arrest of a couple of hundred workers. The number is not large, but the chilling effect on local immigrant communities is much bigger.

In a couple of ways, this was unexplored territory for me. I was as nervous as the subjects of the story. Not only was I going to leave the comfort of print, but also, I was going to do it in English, my second language. I feared leaving my small notepad and using a microphone instead. Often times I would just tuck it away, and listen to people to help them relax.

There have been stories about workers in agriculture, but I wanted to do a story about what life was like in the dairies. I had all sorts of preconceptions.

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Immigration NewsLatinoRadio

“My Life in an Arizona Dairy”: Journal of a Migrant Worker’s Daughter

This diary was written by the 12-year-old daughter of a Mexican immigrant dairy worker. Her name has been changed to protect her identity. Click here to go to the main story to read more about her family and to listen to a radio piece about immigrants and dairy farmers by FI2W‘s Valeria Fernández for NPR’s Latino USA.

Well, my name is Laura. I was born in Arizona and lived here for about a year or so when I moved to the dairy. So I’ve been living here for most of my life.

I live here with my mom, and dad, my two brothers and my little sister. It can be fun and boring living in a dairy.

For the first part, I don’t like living here ’cause the smell!! Yes, there’s times when it smells really awful. And times you can really smell nothing.

Also most the time there’s nothing to do! Well, like, there’s not much trailers here, only like 5! Also there’s not much kids my age around here.

Then sometimes I am really bored and can’t just walk to a friend’s house or something: it’s too far! So I might feel left out most of the time.

Now, the thing I do kinda like is that you can take a walk and see the cows; now I think that’s pretty fun to walk around. Also there’s a lot of open space here! In most houses there’s not a lot of space.

So here you can have a party and barbecue. Okay, so that’s partly most of my life. I’m mostly used to it, so I don’t mind much.

I hope my dad doesn’t lose his job and (we) live here for a couple more years or so. And I hope for those people that don’t want Mexicans here to think it over, ’cause Mexicans have done a big difference to this country to make it a better place.

Immigration NewsLatinoPhoenixPodcast

Children of Detained Immigrants Call for End to Raids in Arizona: Raid Today One of the Largest

PHOENIX, Arizona — While the Obama administration has established new federal guidelines to focus on employers that break the law by hiring undocumented workers, local authorities in Maricopa County are going in the opposite direction, and increasing the crackdown on employees. Just today sheriff’s deputies conducted one of the largest raids to date at a paper plant in Phoenix.

Heidi Rubi Portugal (holding sign) and other child protesters look up at the office of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in downtown Phoenix - Photo: Nick Oza

Heidi Rubi Portugal, holding sign, and other child protesters look up at the office of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in downtown Phoenix. (Photo: Nick Oza)

Last Friday dozens of children took to the streets to call for an end to immigration raids by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and to bring attention to the social and economic impact the raids have had on their families.

“I want to tell Sheriff Joe Arpaio to let my parents alone and let them free. And leave the people that are working out, and (instead) get the people that are killing others and robbing,” said Katherine Figueroa, a 9-year-old U.S. citizen.

Katherine’s parents Sandra and Carlos Figueroa –both undocumented — were arrested in June in a raid at a Phoenix carwash where they worked , and charged with identity theft. Katherine found out about their arrest when she saw her dad detained on a local TV news program.

It’s been two months since Katherine has shared a meal with her parents. She now stays with one of her aunts.

“He needs to stop the raids is not fair what he’s doing to people,” said Katherine who held a cardboard sign in the shape of a colorful orange and black butterfly.

Listen to Katherine here:

[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/children3.mp3]

The Monarch butterfly was the theme for the young marchers because it endures an epic migration between Mexico and the U.S. for its survival.

Chanting “Obama, Obama we want our parents back,” the children walked in the hot Arizona summer from Madison Jail, were their parents are detaine to Sheriff Arpaio’s offices in downtown Phoenix.

Listen to the children chanting:

[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/children1.mp3]


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Immigration NewsPhoenixPodcast

Immigrant Family Torn Apart in Arizona Raid

Sheriff Arpaio has arrested 248 immigrants in raids allegedly aimed at unlawful hiring, but no employer has been penalized.

PHOENIX, Arizona — Katherine Figueroa was playing outside her home Saturday morning when she overheard the news coming from a nearby TV. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office had just raided the car wash where her father and mother worked.

She rushed to see her dad’s image on television. His expression looked worried, his hands were tied with plastic cuffs.

Her eyes filled with tears, the 9-year-old made a plea to President Barack Obama to return her parents home in a video produced by Arizona activists and reports on the Univision network.

“I want my parents back, is not fair for me to be alone,” said Katherine who was born in the U.S. and is a U. S. citizen.

Katherine Figueroa saw her father's immigration arrest on TV. (Photo: Valeria Fernández)

Katherine Figueroa saw her father's immigration arrest on TV. (Photos: Valeria Fernández)

Listen to Katherine in an interview with Feet in 2 Worlds:

[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/fi2w_valeria_katharin.mp3]

Although the federal government has announced changes to its policies regarding work-site immigration raids, not much has changed in the Phoenix area, where Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is implementing what critics call “his own brand of law.”

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