Rocio Hernandez | KUER 90.1

Rocio Hernandez

Reporter

Rocio joined KUER after spending most of her life under the blistering Las Vegas sun and later Phoenix. She earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Spanish at the University of Nevada, Reno. She did brief stints at The Associated Press, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Reno Public Radio. She enjoys wandering through life with her husband and their toy poodle.

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SCOTUS
KUER File Photo

A month before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments about President Trump ending an Obama-era executive order to protect young immigrants, three Utah higher education higher education institutions have signed on to an amicus brief in support of the program. 

Photo of Commission meeting.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Tuesday, the Governor’s Education Excellence Commission unanimously agreed on its Legislative priorities including an effort to boost teacher compensation as a way to improve recruitment and retention among educators. 

Stock photo of an emergency call kiosk.
iStock

Utah colleges and universities have released their required annual crime statistics reports. These paint a picture of campus safety at the various campuses across the state. 

Photo of press conference.
Erik Neumann / KUER

Civil rights lawsuits like the one the family of a slain University of Utah track star Lauren McCluskey filed this summer against the school are rarely won, legal experts say. 

Photo of a large "U" sign on the University of Utah campus.
Brian Albers / KUER

The University of Utah is pushing back against criticism that its campus police isn’t committed to protecting students from off-campus perpetrators as it continues a legal battle against the family of slain student-athlete Lauren McCluskey. 

Photo of a Scantron sheet illustrating a student's answers on an Advanced Placement test.
iStock

More Utah students are gaining experience that could set them up for college. 

Five percent or 1,400 more Utah students took Advanced Placement (AP) tests this year, according to data by the College Board, the nonprofit that distributes the tests. 

Photo of Albert Betoudji tying together mustard greens.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Farmers’ markets provide customers an abundance of fresh produce, but two Salt Lake County markets that primarily serve refugees also create cultural connections through food. 

Photo of Cecilia Figueroa-Figueroa and her attorney Aaron Tarin.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Cecilia Figueroa-Figueroa never expected to make headlines.

But since early September, when the Salt Lake City advocate for immigrant health care faced the daunting choice of either leaving the country on her own or deportation, her story has been all over local and national news. 

Photo of the Utah State Board of Education seal on a wall inside the board building.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

People interested in serving on the Utah State Board of Education may have to run under a political party starting in 2020 after the Utah Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that partisan elections for the school board are constitutional. 

Photo of the Utah State Board of Education building
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Although still four months away, the Utah State Board of Education has begun discussion of its possible legislative policy requests for the 2020 Utah Legislative Session. 

Photo of school board meeting.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The Salt Lake City Board of Education voted Tuesday night in favor of two resolutions that reaffirmed its commitment to protecting its immigrant students and families as the Trump administration ramps up immigration enforcement.

Photo of protesters and CECY sign.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Updated 6:33 p.m. MDT 9/3/19

A Salt Lake City activist has avoided deportation — for now — following protests against her removal last week, an immigrant rights group said Tuesday.

Photo of red cross truck.
iStock.com / icholakov

As Hurricane Dorian bore down on the Bahamas headed toward the Eastern Seaboard, 10 American Red Cross volunteers from Utah and Nevada arrived in the East Coast to offer assistance.

Photo of flag on Utah Capitol.
Cory Dinter for KUER

There are 31 U.S. states that give some sort of preference to veteran-owned businesses when awarding state contracts, according to a report presented at a Tuesday meeting of Utah’s Veterans and Military Affairs Commission. 

Close-up photo of woman in wheelchair.
iStock.com / vadimguzhva

The U.S. Department of Education announced last week that it would automatically forgive student loan debt for any veterans who became totally and permanently disabled because of their military service. 

Salt Lake City teachers hold signs
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Salt Lake City teachers today voted to ratify a 4.1% salary increase offered by school district officials. 

iStock.com / tadamichi

Utah saw a jump in demand for mental health services over the last three years, according to a state Legislative Auditor General report discussed at an interim legislative session Tuesday.

Photo of Marx Huancas and his daughter Connie rehearsing a mariachi song.
Kelsie Moore / KUER

For Marx Huancas, a Davis County father of two girls, mariachi music is more than a pastime. It’s a way to keep his family, who moved from Peru to Utah about 10 years ago, connected to their Latino heritage. In Utah, Latinos make up 14% of the state’s population of roughly 3 million residents. Huancas was inspired to open a mariachi school in Utah as a way to help Latino parents like him who want to keep their families connected to their culture even while living in the United States.

Photo of advisor and student.
Utah System of High Education

The Utah System of Higher Education has kicked off an effort to put college advisors in the state’s approximately 150 public high schools by the 2021-22 school year. 

Photo of students sitting on campus with laptops.
iStock.com / CrispyPork

The cost of higher education is a campaign issue for at least two of the 2020 presidential candidates, who are floating, proposals to wipe out some of the country’s ever-growing student loan debt. 

Immigration enforcement badge.
Public Domain / Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The Department of Homeland Security may now fast-track deportations of certain immigrants in the country illegally, regardless of where immigration officers encounter them. 

Woman with head scarf kneading dough in kitchen.
From film "A Kitchen Can Take You Back." Kelsie Moore / KUER.

Refugee resettlement numbers have been declining in the U.S. and Utah for the past three years. According to a recent report by Politico, the Trump administration is considering even deeper cuts to resettlement programs.

Salt Lake City vigil attendees hold up signs, lights
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

OGDEN — Sandra Nieto was 13 years old when she fled her home country of El Salvador and crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in 1983. She and her 15-year-old sister came to the country to escape the violence from their country’s civil war and to reunite with their mother. 

More than 100 people gathered at the University of Utah Monday evening to memorialize MacKenzie “Kenzie” Lueck, the student who went missing in June and was later confirmed dead by Salt Lake City police. 

Photo of The Grand American Hotel.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Four citizens of the Philippines who came to work at Salt Lake City’s Grand America Hotel on an internship-like visa program in 2016 claim the hotel treated them poorly and didn’t provide them the learning and cultural experiences they were promised. That’s according to a putative class action lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court, District of Utah. 

Photo of teacher aide and student.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The level of excitement and fun was unmistakable on a recent Tuesday in Jeremy Reynoso’s kindergarten class at Meadowlark Elementary School in Salt Lake City. 

Photo of dancers.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

This weekend, immigration officials are looking to deport as many as 2,000 migrant families in major U.S. cities including Denver, Miami and Chicago.

Salt Lake City teacher group photo
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

About a hundred Salt Lake City teachers, parents and community supporters rallied on Tuesday to demand better pay. Salary negotiations between the teachers’ union and the district reached an impasse two weeks ago.

Photo of county council meeting.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

After a heated debate on immigration issues at its Tuesday meeting, the Salt Lake County Council passed an amended resolution by Council Member Steve DeBry that outlined the county’s support of its immigrant residents and urged Utah congressional leaders to pass immigration laws that keep families together.

Photo of county council meeting.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

After a heated debate on immigration issues at its Tuesday meeting, the Salt Lake County Council passed an amended resolution by Council Member Steve DeBry that outlined the county’s support of its immigrant residents and urged Utah congressional leaders to pass immigration laws that keep families together.

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