Friday, April 18, 2014

Immigrants’ survival story all American

This is an amazing story about this family, barely surviving under the Khmer Rouge, their journey to San Diego and their lives now.    - - Donna Poisl

By Fred Dickey

The father extended his cupped hands in supplication. In them, he held a small amount of discarded rice from the field. He asked the overseer, pleadingly, respectfully, “Uncle, it’s only a little, and my family is hungry.”

The older man made an indefinite gesture of impatience that Youleng Heng chose to interpret as permission. Happily, he took his pittance of a treasure home to his mother, wife and son. It was a small win in the fight to stay alive. But Heng didn’t know he might die for the rice.
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Who are the immigrants currently in the United States?

Check this out, read ALL the cards for the complete story and all the graphs. Very interesting!   - - Donna Poisl

from Vox

As of 2011, roughly 40 million immigrants lived in the United States, according to the American Community Survey. The survey defines immigrant as any US resident who was born in another country.

Of that group, 36 percent were naturalized citizens, 32 percent were legal permanent residents, 4.2 percent were on nonimmigrant visas (including work and student visas), and 27 percent were unauthorized immigrants. That's according to research from the Migration Policy Institute and the Pew Hispanic Trends Project.
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Immigrant-Friendly NYC Mayor Pushes Official IDs for All

Getting a city ID will help these residents live like a normal New Yorker, with bank accounts and driver licenses and more.   - - Donna Poisl

by Adam Phillips

NEW YORK — Immigration advocates in the United States continue to press for sweeping reforms that will clear a path to citizenship for all immigrants, including those without valid visas, and grant them access to many of the benefits and protections that U.S. citizens enjoy. In immigrant-rich New York, the new mayor is hoping to implement a new universal identity card program that will help undocumented immigrants move into the city’s mainstream.

Mere blocks from City Hall, immigration advocates rallied for what organizers billed as “A National Day of Action.”

Nisha Agarwal, New York City’s Immigration Commissioner, represented Mayor Bill de Blasio. He has made sweeping immigration reform a centerpiece of his policy agenda.
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Living History: Greek immigrant found her calling as a midwife

Read this story about a Greek woman who became a midwife and also helped many others in the Utah area she settled in.    - - Donna Poisl

By Eileen Hallet Stone | The Salt Lake Tribune

In the early 20th century, streams of Greek men as young as 14 poured into Utah to work the mines, smelters, mills, rail yards and road beds. Hoping to earn steady wages and return to their homeland, these immigrants lived in tents, powder-box shacks, railroad cars and crowded boarding houses. By 1910 they numbered more than 4,000. Greek women immigrants numbered fewer than 10. Among them was a midwife known as Magerou.

Georgia Lathouris lived in a small Peloponnesian village in southern Greece. One afternoon while walking into a mountain pasture where her family was tending goats, the 14-year-old heard a woman shouting. The woman, pregnant, was harvesting wheat, experienced contractions and was unable to get down the mountain. Taking the mother-to-be into a nearby cave, Georgia delivered a healthy baby and discovered a profession.
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Undocumented immigrants no longer deferring college dreams

More kids are getting their DACA status and going to college. We need these kids to stay here and use their educations to work or start businesses.  - - Donna Poisl

By Encarnacion Pyle, The Columbus Dispatch

Growing up, Paola Benefo thought of herself as a proud adopted American, benefiting because the U.S. is a melting pot of people from different countries, races and religions.

She was born in Italy, the daughter of Ghanaian parents. When she was 5, her family moved to the United States for a life with more education and work opportunities, and they embraced their new home.

Then the Sept. 11 attack changed everything, and Benefo and her family were unable to renew their legal residency. They stayed in the U.S., living in the shadows, fearful of being found out.
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Oral histories tell stories of Mexican immigrants

Many of these stories have never been told; children are learning about the struggles of their parents coming to the US.   - - Donna Poisl


For many children of Mexican immigrants living in Napa, accounts of their family’s often harrowing first border crossings into the U.S. have remained unspoken.

A group of Napa High students is taking the first step in capturing these stories of sacrifice and perseverance through their “Las Voces de los Mexicanos: Napa Valley Oral History Project.”

“Our understanding of this project did not kick in until Melissa (Bravo) and I conducted the first interview,” said student Jesus Sanchez. “During that interview, the woman broke down in tears while sharing how she was forced to leave her parents behind in Mexico.
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Undocumented Immigrants Contribute Billions in Taxes

Many people say undocumented immigrants don't pay taxes, but many pay taxes through their ITIN and all of them pay taxes when they purchase things.   - - Donna Poisl

from Hispanically Speaking News

Death and taxes, according to Benjamin Franklin, are the only things in life that are certain. And despite the prevailing myth perpetrated by nativist groups, there are plenty of undocumented immigrants facing the certainty of taxes on April 15. They pay billions in state and local taxes every year that help to fund benefits they are often unable to receive. Tax Day is a good reminder that if the House passed legislation to create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, then it would increase the amount being paid in taxes each year while also creating a more fair system for immigrants.

One way that undocumented immigrants already pay taxes is through the day-to-day taxes of living in this country. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), undocumented immigrants paid an estimated $9.4 billion in the state property and sales taxes that fund schools, police and fire stations, roads, and public services within each state. Everyone who lives in or visits our country pays these taxes when they fill up their gas tank and buy items like a car,  house, or clothes.
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Resident non-immigrants in US: 1 in 4 is from India

A quarter of the foreign students, temporary workers and their families and others in the U.S. are from India.    - - Donna Poisl

Chidanand Rajghatta,TNN

WASHINGTON: Christopher Columbus set out to discover India in the 15th century and ended up in America. Indians, of Asian stock, are heading out in droves - more than from any other country - to study and work in America of the 21st century.

A snapshot of resident non-immigrant population in the US released by the Department of Homeland Security in February this year shows that Indians, more than Mexicans or Chinese or any other nationality, constituted the largest resident non-immigrants in the US - a category that excludes tourists, business travelers, and permanent residents, but includes temporary guest workers (such as those on H1B visas) and students. 
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‘Home: Beyond Geography’ explores immigrants’ stories about coming to Miami

This project to collect immigrants' stories is for an art project and then they will be published as a book.    - - Donna Poisl


Two young immigrants are crisscrossing Miami-Dade County in search of stories from other immigrants for an O, Miami Poetry Festival art project.

Leila Leder Kremer of Argentina and Juana Meneses of Colombia, both visual artists, are asking people from Little Havana to Little Haiti to Homestead to write down their stories and draw their immigration routes on cards that eventually will be published in a book that then will be on public display.

“At the very end of the project we are going to collect all this information and create a larger book,” said Leder Kremer. “After we compile this and after we do all this research, we are planning to put it in an installation, perhaps a museum slash center, archive.”
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Two years after Obama program launched, NYC advocates "reach deeper" for young immigrants who qualify for social security cards, work permits

This group is trying to get more New York young immigrants to apply for DACA, they may not know how much it can help them.    - - Donna Poisl


“Don't have immigration papers? Scared of deportation? Want to get a work permit?” a new flyer plastered around immigrant neighborhoods provocatively asks.

The poster — in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Haitian-Creole and Hindi — is part of a city-wide push to get more people to sign up for a special program called deferred action for childhood arrivals, which grants social security cards and work permits to young immigrants here illegally.

Emma Murphy, a coordinator at Cabrini Immigrant Services in the Lower East Side, canvassed her neighborhood this month, hanging them everywhere — from pharmacies and restaurants to bodegas and flower shops.
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DHS giving illegal immigrant ‘petty’ criminals second chance in waiver application process

Some immigrants who were denied before because of criminal offenses are now allowed to apply for citizenship.   - - Donna Poisl

by Caroline May, Political Reporter

Are you an illegal immigrant whose waiver to stay in the country was denied because of your criminal past? Well, you’re in luck, because the Obama Administration may let you stay in the country anyway.

In a guidance distributed to congressional offices and obtained by The Daily Caller, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it is reopening cases in which applications for provisional unlawful presence waivers were denied to criminals.

According to the notice, USCIS had determined that applicants should not be denied an I-601A waiver due to a past criminal offense so long as it “falls under the petty offense or youthful offender exceptions or is not considered a crime involving moral turpitude.
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Young Immigrants After DACA: Clear Benefits Despite Obstacles

This article tells how young immigrants who are allowed to stay here because of DACA are doing now.    - - Donna Poisl


Young immigrant adults who are able to remain in the U.S. through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have been able to rapidly integrate into the economy and their communities, according to preliminary findings from a national survey. Yet access to higher education remains elusive due to many states' laws, and most live in constant fear that their loved ones will be deported.

"As a policy that offers the ability for undocumented young adults some widened access, it is has been very successful," said Roberto G. Gonzalez, of Harvard University, who is directing a 5-year study of 2,684 DACA-eligible young adults. "These young people are getting new jobs, getting paid internships, getting driver's licenses, opening bank accounts and applying for credit cards. These are tangible aspects of the American dream," added Gonzalez.
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Programs help immigrants understand kitchens in US

Refugees face many strange things when they relocate to this country, our kitchen appliances are some of them. This class is helping them understand how to use them.     - - Donna Poisl


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The problems refugees face after relocating in Sioux Falls are relatively mundane compared to what they faced at home.

But an unfamiliarity with household appliances and cleaners, for example, is a real hurdle. A new housing orientation program by one of the city's largest property management companies is explaining these everyday necessities.

More refugees are coming to Sioux Falls every year, and with them come different cultures.

"We've got to embrace it," said Tannen Loge, vice president of property management for Lloyd Cos., which has more than 3,000 apartments in Sioux Falls. "It's very important that we provide housing for individuals that feels like their home."
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Immigration Reform 2014: Keeping High-Skilled Immigrants in US Could Boost National Defense

Here is another good reason to pass immigration reform: our country will be safer.   - - Donna Poisl

by Jessica Michele Herring

Passing immigration reform will do more than keep families together and put undocumented immigrants on a pathway to citizenship: passing reform will also help boost national security.

The Washington Post reports that military spending cuts were recently announced, which will reduce the size of the U.S. army to pre-World War II levels. But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel added that the government will be investing in new technologies. However, investing in new technologies will not be a successful endeavor without keeping immigrants in the U.S. who have come here to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

America's defense tactics depend on science and technology, but losing STEM students to outdated immigration laws could drain the U.S. of many of its best innovators.
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Students learning English benefit more in two-language instructional programs than English immersion, Stanford research finds

This study compared English proficiency results from dual language programs to results from English immersion programs.    - - Donna Poisl


Like a growing number of school systems across the country, San Francisco Unified School District is tasked with educating increasing rolls of students for whom English is not their first language. In the United States, the school-aged population has grown a modest 10 percent in the last three decades, while the number of children speaking a language other than English at home has soared by 140 percent.

Against this backdrop, researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) are examining student performance in various types of English-language learning programs.
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US schools add Vietnamese to dual immersion

Several states are adding Vietnamese in dual language immersion school programs to help refugees' children keep their parents' language.     - - Donna Poisl


GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) — When Thuy Vo Dang came to the U.S. as a young girl, her English took off. Her parents sent her to Vietnamese school on the weekends to learn her native language, but she eventually had to study it in graduate school to become fully literate.

Now, the 35-year-old mother of two and archivist for University of California, Irvine's Southeast Asian Archive has been lobbying for her Southern California school district to start the state's first dual immersion elementary school program in Vietnamese. She said she wants to help keep the language alive for the next generation.
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Click the HEADLINE to read stories from this week from the Immigration Policy Center.

Roger Williams University to help Providence schools improve math scores for English language learners

While concentrating on learning English, many primary school kids fall behind in math. This program will help.   - - Donna Poisl


BRISTOL, R.I. – The Rhode Island Office of Higher Education has awarded a $145,000 grant to Roger Williams University for starting a new partnership with the Providence public schools to improve math achievement for English Language Learners.

It will involve five local elementary schools.

The program, Providence Rhode Island Mathematics Excellence – English Language Learners, will create math professional learning communities where local K-3 teachers will work with RWU faculty and students to develop specific classroom strategies to better meet math learning goals and improve academic achievement for English Language Learners.
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Astrid Silva Winner of Immigrant Youth Achievement Award

from the American Immigration Council

We are pleased to announce that Astrid Silva, DREAM Act activist is the winner of this year's Immigrant Youth Achievement Award.  She will be honored, along with Chair of the SEIU Civil Participation & Immigration Initiative Eliseo Medina, GALA Theatre founders Rebecca and Hugo Medrano and immigration reform leader Jeanne Butterfield at the Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards on April 10th.

In 2009 Astrid became deeply involved in the politics surrounding the DREAM Act after a chance encounter with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. She formed a pen pal relationship with the Senator, writing him handwritten notes about her life. Sharing her stories allowed him a unique insight into the life of a DREAMer. His friendship with Astrid was a crucial motivator and source of inspiration for Senator Reid’s policies on immigration.

From that moment on, she became the poster child for the DREAM Act in Nevada, where she was one of only a handful of students in the state to reveal her identity and status in the United States.

In 2011, Astrid and a small group of dedicated DREAMers and allies formed DREAM Big Vegas, an organization that aims to educate the community about the DREAM Act. After Deferred Action was announced, DREAM Big Vegas helped organize workshops and help for DREAMers who were unable to obtain information through other sources.

To read more about our honorees and to purchase tickets or sponsorship click here.

We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of our honorees with you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Largest-Ever Latino Online Voter Registration Campaign Launched at SXSW

Voto Latino and Rock the Vote announced TrendUrVoice Midterm Elections Campaign

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recently, Voto Latino and Rock the Vote launched TrendUrVoice, the largest-ever online campaign to register Latino voters, at South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive and Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Voto Latino Co-Founder and Chairwoman Rosario Dawson joined volunteers on the ground to register Latino Millennials to vote.

TrendUrVoice targets Latino Millennials in a way that speaks their language. Like previous voter registration efforts, this initiative will activate volunteers, celebrities, and media partners. But in keeping with the social media habits of Millennials, TrendUrVoice will also target young people where they already are: online. The campaign will leverage over half a million dollars in culturally-relevant online media buys to target Latino Millennials in southwest states in advance of the 2014 midterm elections. TrendUrVoice is the first voter registration campaign to target Latinos primarily via social media, desktop, and mobile advertising to reach and register Millennials.

Every year, 800,000 Latino Millennials -- the equivalent of a new congressional district -- turn 18 and become eligible to vote. In states like California and Texas, Millennials already make up one-third of Latino voters. Yet there is no ongoing effort to register this demographic year-round, leaving Latino Millennials significantly underrepresented at the polls.

"Latino Millennials are often the gatekeepers to their families," said Voto Latino President and CEO, María Teresa Kumar. "If we can encourage them to participate at the polls, chances are that they are influencing their parents to join them."  Latino Millennials are also the fastest-growing share of the American electorate, and it is crucial for them to have a voice in shaping their country's future. The first step for that is registering to vote.

"TrendUrVoice will tap into the cultural and social lives of this generation of young people and empower them to participate," said Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote. "It will garner the attention of this generation by tapping into the issues that matter most to them and their communities and fuel that energy to ensure they are casting ballots in November for those that best represent them."

For more information, visit

SOURCE  Voto Latino

CONTACT: Yándary Zavala, (801) 682-0816,; Chrissy Faessen, (703) 582-2777,