Facing Change identity Core Pub feature + Facebook

Perhaps nowhere else in the country is the impact of recent immigration trends so pronounced as in New England, where the predominantly white population is quickly aging, and where the influx of young immigrants is changing the identity of the region.

The New England News Collaborative explores the inherent challenges and the valuable opportunities facing one of America’s oldest places in a series of reports called Facing Change.

Lea estas historias en español. / Read these stories in Spanish.


For more than a year now, the Trump administration has been quietly renegotiating an agreement between the United States and Vietnam. The agreement has allowed some Vietnamese immigrants to live here for more than 20 years.

The role of fortune and luck is big in some Asian cultures. Cards and dice games get woven into memories of baby showers, birthdays, weddings and funerals.

It is true that almost 95 percent of people in Maine identify as white, according to the most recent census data. This makes it one of the two whitest state in the country along with Vermont. But why is Maine so white?

A recent case shows that when undocumented immigrants encounter local law enforcement, they may still run the risk of being turned over to federal immigration authorities.

The Haskell Free Library and Opera House, in Derby Line, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec, is serving as a space where Iranian families separated by the travel ban can reunite.

A little bit of Mexico came to Middlebury in December. Officials from the Mexican government were in town to help its citizens renew passports or obtain other documents.

Election Day 2018 produced historic results, including the victories of Ayanna Pressley and Jahana Hayes, who are now the first black women to represent our region in Congress.

It was a lunchtime argument among East Boston High School students that quickly fizzled. But what transpired that day set a series of actions in motion and, three years later, the repercussions are still unfolding for one young man named Orlando.

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the Central American nation of Nicaragua. Here in Vermont, there are a handful of Nicaraguans in the state legally. One wants to return home but is afraid to.

In Boston, court dates are being set further and further out thanks to the nearly 27,000 cases already pending — an increase of 76 percent since President Trump took office. It's the second-largest spike in the country.

Miguel Torres said his wife’s deportation didn’t come as a complete surprise. Glenda Cardenas Caballero was undocumented and had a order of deportation from 2005. He said the family had tried for years to find a way for her to stay.

Sitting in his tidy apartment in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Jose Zabala, 38, described crossing the U.S. border in 2001 when a major earthquake hit El Salvador. The disaster allowed him to receive legal protection known as Temporary Protected Status or TPS.

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family and friends and share a meal together. For many U.S. families, that means roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry, and pumpkin pie. But for some refugee families, the holiday can be a time to share native dishes and new holiday traditions.

Will Krug and Nick Sanderson had to deal with the fact that they live in a town and area that’s 94 percent white. They’re both black, both adopted by white parents.

After an incident in Claremont, New Hampshire involving the near-hanging of a young, biracial boy made national news, NHPR looks at how that event impacted local residents, including the then-superintedent of schools, Middleton McGoodwin. As he tells it, the incident forced him to reflect uncomfortably on his own history with race.

Wayne Miller is known around Claremont, New Hampshire for his work on addiction. He runs a local recovery center, and he has been instrumental in keeping support services in the community for those struggling with opioid use.

The Trump administration estimates there are more than 500 children between the ages of 5 and 17 who were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, and who remain in the custody of the U.S. government.

President Trump has referred to members of the MS-13 gang as "animals." Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the gang is infiltrating the U.S., calling unaccompanied minors from Central America "wolves in sheep's clothing." There's been a strong focus by the administration on legal crack downs but less talk of how to prevent young people from joining gangs in the first place.

A group of New Hampshire leaders from the private and public sectors met recently to discuss what they see as a challenge for the state: How to attract a diverse workforce.

Victoria is 23 and working her way through college. Over Memorial Day weekend, she and her parents piled into the car and drove from New York for a vacation in the North of New Hampshire.

Irida Kakhtiranova, now 36 years old, is friendly and talkative – often hanging out and laughing with church staff and volunteers in the kitchen. So it’s easy to forget she’s a fugitive from the government.

A longtime Vermont resident is scheduled to be deported back to his native Kenya. His family says they are the victims of President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration issues.

Isabel Quintanilla is FaceTiming with her daughter, Irma Flores. This is the easiest way for the two to keep in touch. Quintanilla lives in El Salvador and hasn't met her new great-grandson. She asks her daughter, Flores, how the baby is sleeping these days.

Nine months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, there are an estimated 300 families still living in hotels in Massachusetts with FEMA and the state footing the bill. But that changes at the end of June when this assistance expires.

Five years ago, Holyoke High had one of the highest rates of suspension for Latino students in the entire nation. The school is now under control of the state, and while suspensions are down, the school faces ongoing challenges.

Recent news reports about the U.S. government losing track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children in its care has prompted outrage and confusion. These are children who came here as unaccompanied minors and were placed with sponsors. Lili, now 18, was one such unaccompanied minor.

Over the first weekend in April, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 20 people for entering the country illegally in Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.

More than 6,000 Salvadorans living in Massachusetts with temporary immigration status face potential deportation next year, when the humanitarian program allowing them to live in the U.S. expires.

What happens when an immigrant facing deportation seeks sanctuary in a church, but then needs to leave to get surgery? That happened in western Massachusetts this week.

The Trump administration announced Friday that an immigration protection known as Temporary Protected Status will expire for Hondurans in January of 2020.

Near-real-time data on the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, produced by the Baker administration, shows the overdose death rate for Latinos has doubled in three years, growing at twice the rate of any other racial group.

Since Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico seven months ago, the ramifications have spilled onto mainland cities like Hartford that carry deep ties to the Caribbean. At least 1,800 displaced students enrolled in Connecticut’s public schools, including about 40 new schoolchildren at Sanchez Elementary.

One of the biggest political arguments against immigration is that it hurts the chances of American-born workers to succeed and damages the U.S. economy. But in New England, where the population is rapidly aging and the young replacement workers needed to sustain the workforce are leaving, immigration just might be the answer. On this special segment of NEXT, we speak with experts about how immigration is affecting the local and national economy through data, statistics, and the human stories behind them.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments Monday in Pereira v. Sessions, a case that, for thousands of immigrants, could mean the difference between staying in the country and being deported.

Ever since a Springfield, Massachusetts, church opened its doors last month to an undocumented woman from Peru about to be deported, Mayor Domenic Sarno has been trying to shut it down. The First Amendment could ultimately block him.

While the Welcoming Committee steers clear of asking neighbors about their citizenship status, the 2020 Census is planning to ask that question — and that has stirred mixed reactions across the country and in communities like Hartford.

A Central American woman applying for asylum in Boston is suing the federal government, saying an immigration official falsified records of a recent appointment.

Brownsville, Texas, lies along the Rio Grande and the border of Mexico, nearly 2,000 miles from New England. Still, Democratic members of Congress from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire all traveled to the border city this weekend. They said their offices were being flooded with phone calls from constituents, distraught over reports of migrant children separated from families.

It’s lunchtime at Central Connecticut State University and 10 students converge on their usual spot in the dining hall. They start talking about the food — and it becomes clear that they don’t love the rice. They explain that it’s not as seasoned as the homemade arroz in Puerto Rico.

Hartford’s hurricane relief center was where evacuees from Puerto Rico could come to get help: help finding housing, jobs, winter clothing -- whatever supplies or services they needed to restart their lives in Connecticut.

Ageth Okeny fled war in Sudan with her four children. In Egypt, she says she applied for refugee resettlement.

Saying goodbye at Logan Airport is a familiar, if painful, scene for the four Macario brothers. Just two years ago, they said goodbye to their father when he was deported back to his native Guatemala.

This private tour of the Mark Twain House was months in the making. Hartford schools Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez said she was talking to some of the evacuees in December, just a few months after Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico — the damage forcing out thousands of U.S. citizens who began resettling in cities such as Hartford.

An escalation in immigration enforcement over the past year has brought a new level of anxiety for the several thousand migrant farm workers living in Vermont.

Washington D.C. has ended a temporary residency program for almost 60,000 Haitians allowed to legally enter the United States following an earthquake in 2010. The affected Haitians will have to leave the U.S. by 2019.

A Chelsea man remains behind bars three months after being arrested by federal immigration officials during a scheduled office visit.

Guillermo Class just couldn’t wait any more. The reports he was getting from his two teenage sons living in Puerto Rico weren’t good. Food and water were getting to them and their mother. But not enough.

In the late 1990s Lewiston, Maine was in the midst of an economic downturn. But that all began to change in 2001 when thousands of Somali refugees started arriving in the city. Over the course of the next decade, 7,000 immigrants from Africa arrived in the city of 36,000. Amy Bass' new book tells the story of how a soccer team and a quest for the state championship brought the town together.

Some civil rights advocates have raised concerns that U.S. Border Patrol may be infringing on people's civil rights as it carries out stops in its vast jurisdiction.

Students, families and many school staff in Holyoke, Massachusetts, are still desperate for news from relatives in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit last week.

Immigrants living in the country illegally have reason to be on edge. An increase in immigration enforcement under President Trump has led to more arrests of immigrants with no criminal record.

The future for thousands of young people in Massachusetts is unclear after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump administration would end the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

It looks just like an airport customs checkpoint. Role players wait in lines, each playing different travelers that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer is likely to encounter.

The number of asylum-seekers fleeing the U.S. into Canada is surging this summer, with nearly 800 people illegally walking into Quebec in June alone.

Many Muslim-Americans will tell you that this is a tough time for them. From the 9/11 attacks to President Trump’s proposed travel ban, Muslims in America feel besieged by discrimination and misunderstanding.

Nine months ago, Joyce Chance left a refugee camp in Uganda where she had spent the last eleven years. Chance, who was born in Congo, boarded a plane with her two kids, and came to the United States.

Under President Trump, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are casting a broader net when it comes to who they're prioritizing for arrest. According to ICE data, the focus in New England appears to be more on immigrants with no criminal record.

An estimated 8,000 immigrants in Massachusetts are awaiting decisions that will determine their fate in the United States.

Storytelling is built into cultures around the world. It’s a way of socializing, passing down family history, and for people of different cultures stories can reveal common ground.

Many recent immigrants living in the U.S. are scared that their claims for asylum won't have a fair hearing by the Trump administration. Hundreds of those people are fleeing to Canada — and for one man, the journey through the frigid, snowy woods nearly killed him.

Summer resorts around the nation are bracing for a tough season — not because the tourists won’t come, but because the workers might not. The reinstatement of a cap on visas for temporary workers has some in the hospitality industry predicting catastrophe.

Many refugees who arrive on U.S. soil finally feel safe after decades of war or torture or loss of family members. But just because they're removed from physical harm, it doesn't mean the pain is over.

Life often inspires art, and art, in turn, often reflects society. In a time of divisive political discourse, especially around immigration, an art show featured at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art opens up a space for dialogue.

At a sports bar in Randolph, the TV in the corner is tuned to Fox News and there's a White House press briefing on. Sports dominate every other screen and a steady stream of '90s pop music plays in the background.

Like many school districts across the country, Providence, Rhode Island Public Schools have a rapidly growing population of English language learners and programs to help them learn their new language. The problem is the state doesn’t have enough teachers certified to teach these students.

As high volumes of migrants flee the United States to apply for asylum in Canada, one popular route into Quebec is just west of Lake Champlain. To get to the snowy illegal crossing, many are calling a cab.

The number of refugees, asylum seekers and other foreign-born people who settled in Maine last year was the largest in recent years.

For many Vermonters, swimming is learned early and central to summer fun. But for children who are new to the United States and still learning English, swimming can be a completely foreign concept.

Shoeb Mogal, 30, got addicted to computers when he was a kid back in India. “I always liked the idea of developing games, I like developing websites,” he said.

It’s 1975. Saigon has fallen to the North Vietnamese. The end of the war is the beginning of a global humanitarian crisis. Fifteen years later, the poet Ocean Vuong and his refugee family arrive in Hartford.

Muslim immigrants don’t hold very much political power in the region yet, but Portland, Maine's first Muslim city councilor is steadily working his way into the power structure in a very practical way — by getting out the vote.

Muslims in America are the subject of heated political debate. But they account for a very small number of elected politicians in New England. One nonprofit, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is encouraging American-Muslims across the U.S. to run for political office.

Of the 530 refugees who arrived in the New Haven region last year, more than 270 were children. Many are nearing the end of their first year in a U.S. school.  A local arts organization has partnered with the region’s resettlement agency to create a special afterschool violin program for the young refugees.

A 2014 federal memo aimed to put an end to random deportations of people living illegally in the U.S. who aren't criminals. But there are still cases where immigration authorities are ignoring these policies.

In January, Syrian and Iraqi refugees will begin arriving in Rutland, Vermont -- the first of 100 to be resettled there over the next year.

As New England's baby boomers grow older, and live longer, the need for health care workers also grows.

It’s hard to avoid the hand-wringing about aging demographics in New England these days. The region's six states have the six lowest birth rates in the country.

Many small towns in New England are eager to welcome refugees from the war in Syria, but that doesn’t seem likely under President Donald Trump’s shifting immigration policy. St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont has found a way around that -- they’re offering scholarships to refugees already living in the U.S.