Monday, October 29, 2007

Kids of illegal immigrants live in fear but pursue American dream

This story shows why these high school students who excel in school should be allowed to attend college for a reasonable tuition and then become citizens. Our taxes paid for them to be educated, why would we want them to stop their education and take menial jobs now? Educated residents start businesses, pay taxes, buy houses, etc. This is the American way. DP

By KEVIN GRAMAN, THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW SPOKANE, Wash. -- A teenage girl studying entrepreneurship at Washington State University would be on her way to realizing the American Dream, except she is not American.

Mercedes grew up poor in a small central Washington farm town, studied hard and despite having to work part-time, the Running Start student graduated from high school with a 3.8 grade-point average and an associate's degree from Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake.

Like other 18-year-olds starting college this fall, Mercedes is motivated by personal ambition. She wants to own a business so that she can provide jobs to other Latinos.

But because she was brought to the United States from Mexico by her parents when she was 2 and is here illegally, she has lived in fear since she was very young of being detected and deported to a native country she has never known.

"I always worried that immigration (officers) would come if I didn't excel," she said.

Last week, the U.S. Senate voted whether to end debate on a bill that would grant her and as many as 65,000 students a year like her, the U.S.-raised offspring of illegal immigrants, legal residency while she pursues her degree. Its bipartisan sponsors fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to bring the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act to a vote.

It is the DREAM Act to those supporters in Congress who say children should not be punished for the actions of their parents. It is the Bad Dream Act to opponents who say it rewards illegal behavior with amnesty.
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Study: Most Immigrants See Future in US

A recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center:

Most Hispanic immigrants believe their future is in the United States, despite maintaining ties to their native countries, according to a new study by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The nationwide survey of Latinos found that a majority took part in one or two "transitional activities" — sending money, calling or traveling to their homelands. But only 9 percent do all three, which researchers say indicates being "highly attached" to their birth countries.

The report, released Thursday, shows that the lives of Latinos in the United States straddle two countries, a phenomenon known as transnationalism, said its author, UCLA sociology professor Roger Waldinger.

"What's striking is that although the long-term trend is toward disengagement ... most immigrants are involved in some form of contact with the place which they're from," Waldinger said. "What we have is a population that, as we tried to describe, is between here and there."

Researchers disagree on whether transnationalism is a new trend. Some say recent Latino immigrants are the first to establish such dual connections by using modern communications and transportation.

However, Waldinger and others say today's immigrants behave much like their predecessors from Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. They often sent letters and money home and later returned to live in their homelands. But Waldinger said direct comparisons are impossible because no data was collected then.

The study also found that transnational activities do not hinder Latino immigrants' bonds to the United States. More than 60 percent plan to stay and are more concerned about politics and government in the U.S. than in their native countries.

The report found that recent arrivals are more likely to send money home, but less likely to travel home than established Hispanic immigrants.

The survey was conducted by telephone among a random sample of 2,000 Hispanic adults from June 5 to July 3, 2006. Respondents include 1,429 foreign-born Latinos. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points for the full sample and plus or minus 4.4 percentage points for the foreign-born sample.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Columbia Heights Poles strengthen ties to the old country

These students are reconnecting to their culture. Their grandparents came from Poland and, as with most immigrants then, did not teach the language or history to their children. DP

Polish pronunciation difficulties don't stop Columbia Heights residents from connecting with their old-world heritage.
By Lora Pabst, Star Tribune Over the crackle of an old cassette tape, 10 students read along to a Polish skit in the basement of the Columbia Heights library last week.

They gather twice a month, not to perfect their Polish grammar but to share stories about their Polish grandparents or their own visits to their relatives' homeland.

In an area of the metro where many Polish and Eastern European immigrants congregated in the early 1900s, residents are still trying to maintain the basics of their culture and language.

Karen Karkula of Columbia Heights has been coming to the Polish classes for three years, ever since she went to Poland in 2003. Her grandpa immigrated from Poland, moved to Columbia Heights and built houses in northeast Minneapolis. But he never taught her Polish, beyond singing Polish Christmas carols and funeral songs.
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High Schoolers Prepare For Future, In Chinese

These high school students are studying Chinese, knowing this will aid them in their future careers. DP

By Eileen McNamara Old Lyme — Scott Lunde is a goal-oriented high school student, one who already knows he wants a career in business engineering.

To prepare, the senior at Lyme-Old Lyme High School has signed up for a new class that at first might seem a bit off track for his career choice.

Four days a week, he and 16 other students gather in John Wang's second-floor classroom to study Chinese.

Scott, along with his classmates, is proving an unusually apt and confident pupil in the language, and repeats short Chinese phrases that Wang calls out, careful to add the correct intonations.

“In Chinese,” Lunde explained, “the meanings of words can change depending on how you pronounce them.”

At a time when many school districts in southeastern Connecticut are struggling with how to teach English to an influx of Chinese immigrant students, the Lyme-Old Lyme school district wants to teach its kids how to better communicate with those new immigrants.

The new language class is also part of a broader district initiative to respond to China's growing role in world markets and the need for emerging businessmen and women to understand how to communicate with their Chinese counterparts, said Jeanne Manfredi, who chairs the district's language department.

“Chinese is one of the fastest-growing languages in the world,” Manfredi said. Some states, such as Connecticut, have responded by offering grants to local districts to promote Chinese language and culture, she added.
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Immigrants find key to job market door

This is a wonderful program, run by recent immigrants, for immigrants, helping them do everything needed to get into the workforce. DP

Asian-American agency training programs serve diverse group
By Paul Restuccia These are exciting times for the Asian-American Civic Association as it moves this week into a brand-new facility in Chinatown that will nearly double the cramped 9,400-square-foot space it now occupies in the Theater District.

The AACA offers English language training, adult education and social services for recent immigrants. It also runs some of Boston’s most successful workforce training programs, having placed thousand of graduates since 1984 in jobs ranging from accounting clerks to medical technicians to auto mechanics.

And the group’s job training programs don’t just serve the Asian-American population. Its current 23-week ASCENT program, which combines accounting and computer skills with English and job-readiness training, has 16 students who hail from 10 different countries - including Nepal, Morocco, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Afghanistan, Haiti and even Russia - as well as from Asian countries such as China, Cambodia and Vietnam.

“We used to primarily train an Asian population, but that has changed and it’s been a good thing,” says AACA Executive Director Chau-Ming Lee, who has been at the organization since 1982. “We’re all immigrants and the door should be open to everyone who wants to use it.”
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Indian Immigrants' Son New La. Governor

This is the ultimate story of the American Dream. DP

Son of Indian Immigrants, Bobby Jindal Becomes Louisiana's First Non-White Governor
By MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press Writer U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal easily defeated 11 opponents and became the state's first nonwhite governor since Reconstruction, decades after his parents moved to the state from India to pursue the American dream.

Jindal, a 36-year-old Republican, will be the nation's youngest governor. He had 53 percent with 625,036 votes with about 92 percent of the vote tallied. It was more than enough to win Saturday's election outright and avoid a Nov. 17 runoff.

"My mom and dad came to this country in pursuit of the American dream. And guess what happened. They found the American dream to be alive and well right here in Louisiana," he said to cheers and applause at his victory party.
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Monday, October 22, 2007

Demonizing immigrants is wrong approach

This piece says that the U.S. is a nation of laws and also a nation of common sense. So very true, and people who say the illegal immigrants must be deported are not using any common sense. DP

By BARBARA SHELLY Jaywalkers of America: Be afraid, be very afraid.

This is a nation of laws. Never mind that your destination is directly across the street and there isn’t a vehicle in sight and you’ve been crossing without benefit of a traffic signal for years. Jaywalking is illegal, and what about that do you not understand?

The same goes for those of you who roll through intersections without fully stopping and who occasionally exceed the speed limit. Your day of reckoning is at hand.

Funny, I don’t see anybody quaking yet. And I’m still noticing rampant jaywalking in downtown Kansas City.

The United States is a nation of laws. It’s also a nation of common sense. People understand that violating a leash law isn’t the same as sticking somebody up with a handgun. That’s why one will get you a fine, at worst, and the other will land you in prison.

But this well of pragmatism runs dry when conversation turns to the question of what to do about the 12 million or so immigrants who arrived in this country illegally but have made a life here for themselves and their families.

Mention a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and the outcry will rise up faster than Brush Creek after a downpour.
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Poll: Americans want fewer illegal immigrants in U.S.

Most Americans would like there to be fewer illegal immigrants in the country, but only 30% say all of them should be deported, says a CNN Opinion Research poll. DP

By CNN WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Most Americans would like there to be fewer illegal immigrants in the country, but only three in 10 say all of them should be deported, a CNN Opinion Research poll said Wednesday.

Seven percent of those polled said they would like to see the number of illegal immigrants increase, 22 percent said they would like the number to remain the same, 16 percent want it decreased "a little" and 22 percent want it decreased "a lot," according to the poll of 1,212 adult Americans.

Blacks and whites differed over whether the number of illegal immigrants should be increased, with 14 percent of African-Americans saying it should, versus 3 percent of whites.

Nineteen percent of blacks said they thought all illegal immigrants should be removed from the country; 35 percent of whites said that.

Blacks and whites overwhelmingly oppose state governments issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, with 76 percent of blacks and 83 percent of whites taking that stance, the poll said.

The races differed more on whether state and local police should turn over illegal immigrants they encounter, even if the immigrants have broken no state or local laws. In such cases, 45 percent of blacks and 61 percent of whites said they believe police should turn over illegal immigrants.

Asked whether people who cannot read or write English should be allowed to vote, 54 percent of blacks said they should, versus 43 percent of whites.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 eliminated voting barriers such as a literacy test.

On a related topic, the public appeared split on foreign trade -- 46 percent said they see trade more as an opportunity for economic growth, whereas 45 percent said they see it as a threat to the U.S. economy. Five percent said they see it as both an opportunity and a threat.

The telephone poll was carried out Friday through Sunday and had a sampling error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points.
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In Shift, 40% of Immigrants Move Directly to Suburbs

This shows that 40% of immigrants are moving to the suburbs, unlike in past years when they all moved to the cities. DP

By SAM ROBERTS About 4 in 10 immigrants are moving directly from abroad to the nation’s suburbs, which are growing increasingly diverse, according to census figures released yesterday.

The Census Bureau’s annual survey of residential mobility also found that after steadily declining for more than a half-century, the proportion of Americans who move in any given year appears to have leveled off at about one in seven.

“For blacks, especially, it mimics the 50s-style suburban movement, most pronounced for married couples with children, owners and the upwardly mobile,” said William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer.

Dr. Frey’s analysis of mobility patterns found that while Hispanic and Asian immigrants were more likely to settle first in the nation’s cities, “after they get settled, they follow the train to the suburbs.”

The migration of blacks to the South continued, with net gains of blacks also seen in the West. The South was the dominant region in recording gains among Hispanics living in the United States who moved.

“The fast growth of construction and low-skilled jobs, plus the general affordability of parts of the South for upwardly mobile Hispanics, has made the South a key destination,” Dr. Frey said.
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Summit forum eyes impacts of immigratio

This forum discussed all the issues and problems of an area with a large population of immigrants. It sounds like they are all working to make everything run smoothly. DP

Influx of immigrants affects education, business and health care

By Nicole Formosa, Summit County correspondent, Aspen, CO Colorado FRISCO, Colo. — About 50 people turned out to hear a panel of local employers, students and health care workers discuss the hot-button issue of immigration Thursday evening in Frisco.

Even with so many different views and opinions surrounding the topic, particularly concerning illegal immigration, the forum managed to steer clear of any contention.

“I thought it would’ve been more controversial,” said local Eric Hanzel, who sat in on the two-hour discussion. “It seemed like everyone was on the same page.”

The forum, sponsored by Our Future Summit, aimed to look at the impact of immigration to Summit County in the areas of education, business, health care and overall community well-being.
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Monument dedicated to Chinese immigrants who built Delta levees

This honors the Chinese workers who helped build the area and made it possible for the area to prosper. DP

The Associated Press LOCKE, Calif.—A new monument in this Northern California town honors the Chinese workers who helped build the vast levee system in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Residents gathered Saturday for the unveiling of the 9-foot-tall granite and bronze tribute, which commemorates the contribution of the workers to the system that now protects acres of rich farmland and supplies two-thirds of the state's water.

The monument, designed by Stanford University sophomore Elyse Marr, is part of a larger effort to restore this small dilapidated town, founded about a century ago.

"Locke is a wooden town," said Marr, 19, who's father was born in Locke. "If it ever goes, we'll still have this monument."

After nearly being condemned two decades ago, Locke has been declared a national historic place, and the Locke Foundation was formed to offer tours and collect oral histories. Sacramento County and the Housing Authority invested money for sewers and sprinklers, and the state parks department renovated the boardinghouse on the north side of town.

Ping Lee, 90, attended Saturday's event to remember his father and town founder, "Charlie" Lee Bing, and honor the immigrants who panned the sludgy soil and built the muddy barriers when no white workers would do the job.

Lee said he's not sad that many Chinese left the area.

"They're doctors, senators and councilmen now," he said. "They've earned their place."

When Immigration Goes Up, Prices Go Down

An interesting story about prices being lower in areas that have high immigrant populations. DP

By Shankar Vedantam Last week, a gallon of gas at an Exxon station in the tony suburb of Bethesda cost $2.99.

At an Exxon station in the less affluent suburb of Wheaton, a gallon cost $2.63 -- 36 cents less.

Both Exxon stations are located near a subway line that goes to downtown Washington. Both are in the same county: Montgomery.

Why would the same company charge you 14 percent more for an identical product in one location?

Because it can.

That's the simple answer. The free market relies on the willingness of consumers to punish businesses that overcharge. If you are willing to pay extra for the convenience of filling up your car at an expensive gas station on your way to work, rather than the cheaper one that is a little out of your way, why blame Exxon for taking your money?

But there is also a more interesting answer, which brings us to the subject on tap: The difference in gas prices may have to do with the fact that Wheaton has many more immigrants who are not yet fully assimilated into the economy than does Bethesda. Immigration, economist Saul Lach recently found, plays a powerful role in holding down prices. For every 1 percent increase in the ratio of immigrants to natives, prices go down by about 0.5 percent, according to Lach's new study about the effects of 200,000 Jews immigrating to Israel from the former Soviet Union in 1990.
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hudson library reaches out to city's Bengali population

Here's an immigrant group most of us don't even realize is here. This library is helping them learn English and details about their community. DP

By Ariel Zangla, Freeman staff HUDSON - America prides itself as a melting pot of different cultures and beliefs, but an understanding of the English language can help bring people together in a community.

Many immigrants who come to the United States take advantage of programs that teach English as a second language. While many of these programs are aimed at the growing Hispanic population, one catering to Bengali speakers will soon be offered at the Hudson Area Association Library.

Working with Literacy Connections of Dutchess County, the library will offer a program to help a growing population of Bangladeshi learn to speak, read and write English.

Margaret Pfaff, the executive director of Literacy Connections, said the new program, funded by the Dyson Foundation, will help both children and adults learn the English language. While adults are learning English in one area, children will be in a separate area working on literacy-based activities, she said.

"It's a purposeful curriculum to help enrich children," Pfaff said.

Bengali is an eastern Indo-Aryan language spoken in Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal. Two Bengali dialects are significant - Sadhu-Bhasa, the literary language, and Calit-Bhasa, which is colloquial speech.

Pfaff said the Hudson program will be directed toward Bengali-speaking individuals, but will welcome other ethnic groups and nationalities. She said the primary goal of the program is to teach people to reach, write and speak English, but secondary goals include teaching them more about their community.
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A working vocabulary

This is exactly where these workers should be learning English. It is to the employers' advantage that they learn. DP

Employers host English classes

By Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff At the end of his shift in the frigid fish house, the 18-year-old worker from Guatemala slapped the last labels on crates of codfish and cherrystones and hurried out of his orange rubber pants.

In jeans and a T-shirt, Heriberto Mazariegos raced upstairs to a small conference room at John Nagle Co., on the edge of Boston Harbor, to spend two extra hours at work - learning English.

The seafood company, which has been hosting classes since March, is one of a growing number of Massachusetts companies tackling the language barrier among immigrant workers.

About 20 Boston area businesses offer free English classes at work, and demand is high: Nearly 15,000 workers across Massachusetts are on waiting lists for classes, including 3,500 in Boston alone, according to state and city officials.
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Boost legal immigration, U.S. Chamber CEO says

This is about the shortage of immigrant workers and says that companies here will have to close down and move off-shore. That means the other workers in those companies will be out of work too. DP

Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic The United States needs to "normalize" the nation's millions of illegal immigrants and increase legal immigration to keep the economy growing, the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday in Phoenix.

Some farmers already have moved operations to Mexico to more easily access workers, and high-tech companies are expanding to places such as Canada, where they more easily can hire foreign engineers, Thomas Donohue said.

"We can either force companies to move offshore . . . we can either make the U.S. dependent on other countries for our food supply, just like we are for oil . . . or we can have a system of bringing the workers into our country," he said.

No solution to immigration will please everyone, but Congress needs to readdress the issue after failing to pass an immigration initiative earlier this year, he said.

"We would like to get the debate going again," he told about 50 executives at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort.

He said state laws targeting businesses that hire illegal immigrants, such as a new one in Arizona, are a reaction to vocal, uninformed immigration critics. He mentioned politicians responding to talk radio at least twice. At least one national expert said Donohue's hopes for more immigration are unlikely.
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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Licenses for Immigrants Find Support

This policy is drawing support from some terrorism and security experts who see it as a way of bringing a hidden population into the open and making the system more secure. DP

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and DANNY HAKIM ALBANY, Oct. 8 — Opponents have decried Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s move to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants as a “passport to terror” and a “frightening” policy shift that is “dangerous and inconceivable.”

They suggest that the policy will shield illegal immigrants from scrutiny by law enforcement and airport security personnel and make them appear to be in the United States legally.

But the governor’s policy is drawing support from some terrorism and security experts, who, like Mr. Spitzer, regard it as a way of bringing a hidden population into the open and ultimately making the system more secure, not to mention getting more drivers on the road licensed and insured.

The success of the policy, they say, will rest on the reliability of new technology that Mr. Spitzer wants installed in Department of Motor Vehicles offices to verify the authenticity of passports and other documents that the illegal immigrants will be required to submit when applying for licenses.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

U.S. lets in more immigrants for farms

The government seems to be trying to help with the shortage of farm workers. DP

The administration is quietly relaxing visa regulations because farmworkers are in critically short supply.

By Nicole Gaouette, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer WASHINGTON -- With a nationwide farmworker shortage threatening to leave unharvested fruits and vegetables rotting in fields, the Bush administration has begun quietly rewriting federal regulations to eliminate barriers that restrict how foreign laborers can legally be brought into the country.

The effort, urgently underway at the departments of Homeland Security, State and Labor, is meant to rescue farm owners caught in a vise between a complex process to hire legal guest workers and stepped-up enforcement that has reduced the number of illegal planters, pickers and middle managers crossing the border.

"It is important for the farm sector to have access to labor to stay competitive," said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel. "As the southern border has tightened, some producers have a more difficult time finding a workforce, and that is a factor of what is going on today."

The push to speedily rewrite the regulations is also the Bush administration's attempt to step into a breach left when Congress did not pass an immigration overhaul in June that might have helped American farms. Almost three-quarters of farmworkers are thought to be illegal immigrants.

On all sides of the farm industry, the administration's behind-the-scenes initiative to revamp H-2A farmworker visas is fraught with anxiety. Advocates for immigrants fear the changes will come at the expense of worker protections because the administration has received and is reportedly acting on extensive input from farm lobbyists. And farmers in areas such as the San Joaquin Valley, which is experiencing a 20% labor shortfall, worry the administration's changes will not happen soon enough for the 2008 growing season.
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Falling Mexican fertility rate may cut immigration

This shows that Mexico's fertility rate is at the replacement rate. This means our country will need immigrants from other countries too. Our workforce is too small and we need immigrants. DP

By David Gaddis Smith, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER SAN DIEGO – The United States is going to need an infusion of immigrants in the coming decades to keep its economy humming and Mexico will probably be providing fewer of those workers because of its falling fertility rate, a demographer told UCSD's Center for Comparative Immigration Studies last week.

In 1970, Mexican mothers had an average of 6.8 children. Today, the fertility rate has fallen to 2.4, said Dowell Myers, professor of urban planning and demography at the University of Southern California.

“What's that mean for future migration? Is Mexico going to share so many of its workers with us?” Myers asked.

He told scholars at the University of California San Diego that Mexico was likely to retain a great percentage of its workers for its own economy.

Myers said that could put the United States in competition with other nations in need of immigrant workers.

A fertility rate of 2.0 keeps a population at a more or less constant level.

Myers said countries that are not producing enough babies to support their older residents in the long term include Japan, with a fertility rate of 1.2; Korea, 1.2; Italy, 1.3; and Germany, 1.3.
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Sunday, October 07, 2007

The language of learning

This is an interesting article explaining how children with so many different languages (105) learn English in the classroom and playground. DP

By Margo Horner, The Mirror How does a person teach social studies to a student who speaks only Taiwanese?

Or a student who speaks Sinhalese? Or Haitian Creole?

How about teaching social studies to a classroom including all three, as well as English- and Spanish-speaking students?

It's a question Federal Way teachers ask themselves more and more.

The minority population in Federal Way classrooms is growing. And with that comes the added challenges of teaching immigrant children, many of whom don't speak English.

There are currently 105 different languages spoken by families in the Federal Way School District. The most popular languages after English are Spanish, Korean, Russian and Ukrainian. Many students speak rare languages spoken only in small villages or islands. Two students, for example, speak Yapese, a language spoken by 6,600 people on the island of Yap in the western Pacific Ocean.

Thirty percent of Federal Way students come from non-English-speaking families, said school district spokeswoman Diane Turner.

At Woodmont Elementary, where more than 60 percent of students are minorities or immigrants, many students arrive for their first year of school not speaking any English at all. Nearly one quarter of Woodmont students are enrolled in the English Language Learners (ELL) program, meaning they need extra help to be able to complete their regular school work.
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Centralizing immigrant resources

This magnet school is a different approach to teaching English to Denver's immigrant children. They can all go to this school, learn English in the newcomer program and eventually work their way into their neighborhood schools. DP

By Jeremy P. Meyer, The Denver Post One refugee student at Fallis Elementary had been living in a tent in the African desert, another had almost been kidnapped in war-torn Liberia and many never had seen a light switch - let alone a traditional school.

Teachers at the southeast Denver school say the challenge to educate non-English-speaking children who recently immigrated to the United States has been daunting.

"It's not an easy job," said Zoya Master, who has used pantomime and any other technique she can think of to teach the struggling English learners. "But when you see these kids start talking, you forget how hard it is."

Denver Public Schools has proposed to close Fallis and Whiteman elementaries after this year and create a magnet program for immigrants who cannot speak English or Spanish, drawing students from throughout the district to one school in southeast Denver.

That program would be in what is now Place Middle School and would be for preschoolers through eighth-graders.

The district now offers programs for newcomers in a dozen schools. The plan would centralize the resources for immigrants to allow the state and other agencies to better assist them, said Brad Jupp, DPS senior adviser.

"Historically these populations are hard to serve because they are so dispersed," he said.

The school would offer a three-tiered approach to teaching English depending on a student's fluency, said Brenda Kazin, the principal at Fallis who would lead the new school.
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Immigrants' concerns to be focus of forums

This group is helping immigrants learn their rights and what to do in an emergency. The whole community benefits if everyone knows they can get help from the police department. DP


By Kim Vo, Mercury News Hoping to strengthen ties with the immigrant community, local political, law enforcement and religious leaders will begin visiting churches to teach immigrants about their rights and assure them that local cities and counties are not helping the federal government conduct deportation raids.

A community forum will be held next month at St. Patrick Proto-Cathedral in San Jose, a Catholic church attended by speakers of English, Spanish and Vietnamese, said Ruby Ramirez, an organizer with the religious consortium known as PACT, or People Acting in Community Together.

St. Maria Goretti and Most Holy Trinity - both Catholic churches in San Jose - will also hold forums.

The details, announced at a Thursday news conference, still are in flux as a countywide task force reviews strategies used by other communities.

Some communities, for instance, have pro bono attorneys advise people individually, while others have invited speakers to discuss civil rights, such as the right to bar federal agents from entering their home without a search warrant.

Residents and leaders stressed that the community would be safer if everyone - including illegal immigrants - believed they could call the police.

"If my Latino neighbors are afraid to go to the police," said San Jose resident and PACT member Susan Price-Jang, "it makes my family less safe."
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Hispanic Heritage Week: Ecuadorian Immigrant Makes American Dream A Reality

Even though this man came in illegally in 1979, he is now a citizen, owns his business, employs others and is living the American Dream. DP

By Shazia Khan Segundo Uzhca usually spends some family time with his wife and son before he leaves for work.

Uzhca is the executive chef at Canedo's, an Italian restaurant he now owns in Bay Ridge. A lot has changed for him since 1979, the year he left his native Ecuador at the age of 18 and made his way to the Mexican-U.S. border.

“There was a small boat when we had to cross the river and there was a lot of people in that small boat and I really got scared for a moment,” recalls Uzhca.

He survived and went on to join his brother in New York who had arrived a few months earlier. Uzhca wanted to make a better life for himself, but never forgot his family back home.

“When I got here and I remember how it was there, so I said, ‘I have to support them; I have to help them,’” says Uzhca.

So he says he worked 13- to 14- hour days, seven days a week as a dishwasher and later as a busboy, earning $300 a week. He would send half of his earnings to his parents and four siblings back home, sometimes more.

“They needed it for food, clothing and education,” says Uzhca.

Knowing this need, he spent very little on himself.

“Paying rent and by saving, not going out for dinner or like nightclubs,” says Uzhca.

That penny pinching paid off, as well as his hard work. He enrolled in English and culinary classes. He married, had a son and became a citizen. In the ‘90s, he opened his own place, using knowledge gained working in Brooklyn Italian restaurants, and brought his parents and some of his siblings to the United States.

“Now they have their own jobs, they have their own homes, and they doing well, too, so it makes me happy about that,” says Uzhca.

Some of Uzhca's employees are in a similar situation he once was in and he says it helps him to be a more understanding boss.

“It opens more my heart to them, you know. I give them more support, I teach them,” says Uzhca.

He hopes they, too, can better their lives, as well as the lives of their families back home.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Nothing lost in translation

There are entrepreneurs everywhere and we need them. Small business owners are the backbone of this country. DP

Spanish-language program teaches the basics of running a business in words immigrants can better understand

By JENALIA MORENO, Houston Chronicle Many in the classroom calculating business expenses and sales projections during a recent Saturday were what you might call dreamers.

Instead of turning a wrench, waiting a table or driving a nail for someone else, they want to join the more than 75,000 Hispanic business owners in the Houston area and be their own bosses.

They have the skill and the desire.

What they need to help them turn the dream into reality is someone to teach them the basics of starting and running a business in Texas.

Perhaps more important, they need someone to teach them in a language they can more easily understand.

That's what the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the University of Houston Small Business Development Center hope their free 12-week, Spanish-language program for budding entrepreneurs will accomplish.

According to a recent nationwide study of immigrant entrepreneurship by New York's Center for an Urban Future, the language barrier was an important obstacle in the way of increased business ownership in Houston.

"A number of services that immigrant business owners might find useful are still only available in English, even though Hispanics now make up nearly 40 percent of Houston's population and Asians were the city's fastest growing group during the '90s," the study found.
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Lecturer: Lack of transportation impedes immigrant assimilation

This makes sense. If the immigrants have trouble traveling out of their community, they will stay in it. This certainly affects all parts of assimilating, even learning English. DP

By Kelly Kazek A lack of personal transportation isolates many Latino immigrants in the South, causing slower assimilation into American society, a lecturer told an audience Thursday at Athens State University.

“Many people complain that new immigrants are not assimilating fast enough, but the reality is that many immigrants are stuck in co-ethnic communities working in jobs with other immigrants,” said Stephanie Bohon, associate professor of sociology at the University of Tennessee, who has researched and written about immigration in the South. “Not being able to move around freely in the larger society means that their ability to get better jobs and better homes, participate in their children’s school activities, and even learn English is limited.”

Bohon said at the noon event that many people might not realize how lack of transportation affects people. She said about 80 percent of white Americans drive to and from work alone in personal vehicles. In a study in six counties in Georgia — a state in which the Latino population grew 299 percent from 1990 to 2000 — Bohon found that about half of immigrants carpool. The definition of carpooling, though, is not coworkers riding together to conserve fuel or be environmentally responsible, as many Americans would think. In many Latino communities — where 22 percent live below the poverty level — an example of carpooling is residents in a mobile home park paying a weekly fee to the only person in the park with a car to drive them to and from work.
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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Chinese Language School Translates Into Fun Learning Opportunities

An interesting article about kids learning Mandarin. It is so good for kids to learn more than one language. DP

By Tammy Adamson-McMullen, For the Kitsap Sun "How to say 'crawl?' " Pei Wang asks in broken English, pointing in the book to a picture of a baby. "Pá," respond her young students, who eagerly watch Wang's face for approval. "Yes. Pá," Wang says with emphasis.

"How to say 'hello?' " "How to say 'sit down?' " Wang continues the review. Sometimes she slices through the air with her hand to suggest that a sound has a sharp accent. Other times she extends her arms wide to stretch out a sound or waves her hands upward to suggest a lilt. The children follow her lead and respond in perfect unison.

During a break, one of the little girls runs up to Wang. "Guess where I came from?" asks Rao Lang, age 6. "Mainland China," replies Wang. "Same as me."

The Bainbridge Mandarin Learning Center began offering weekly Chinese classes on Sept. 9. Just three weeks into lessons, students were showing a higher degree of proficiency than teachers and parents thought possible. Even the youngest students were picking up the language rapidly. Wang's 6- and 7-year-old students could count to 7, sing a song and speak some conversational phrases in Chinese.

The center teaches students of all ages, from 4-year-olds to adults. Children's classes meet on Sunday mornings at Hyla Middle School. Adult classes meet Tuesday evenings at Bainbridge High School. Class sizes so far are small but growing as the word spreads about the students' progress.
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Immigrant tradition at Edison dates back to 1922

The 85th anniversary for this school and how immigrants built the area. DP

By Gail Olson , The Northeaster In the 1933 Wizard yearbook, Edison High School Assistant Principal Ruth Fitch Cole wrote an open letter to students. "One of your ancestors left home, friends, and country to come to a new home and to adopt a new country. I do not know whether he came with those first settlers in the New England wilderness or whether he came with you in his arms. ...May you, his descendant, be brave to undertake; may you work hard to overcome; and may you have that faith and hope which accomplishes."

Through its entire 85 years, Edison High School has been a home to immigrants. In 1933, the yearbook noted that students came from 23 different nations. The countries they came from have changed; in the early years, many last names were Swedish, Polish, or Russian: Carlson, Tschida, Reshetar. Today, a regular feature of the yearbook is titled Where Are You From? In 2007, the students’ home countries included Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guyana, Liberia, Egypt, Ukraine, Nepal, Laos, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Thailand, Kenya, and France. Students have last names such as Yang, Ali, Hernandez.

And times have changed: In this year’s graduating class there were six Johnsons. Four are African American, two are white.

Edison students and alumni will gather next weekend (Sept. 27-30) at the school to celebrate their 85th anniversary. The four-day event includes food: two dinners and a pancake breakfast; entertainment: the Edison Alumni Band and the alumni cheerleaders will perform at halftime at the school’s Homecoming football game, there are two boat rides, Thursday and Sunday, and a Friday night program in the auditorium.

Alumnus John Vandermyde, class of 1958, said he helped plan a vaudeville show (or variety show), which used to be a regular event at Edison, starting in the 1920s.
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New Test Asks: What Does ‘American’ Mean?

The new immigration test is described here, including a mini test for everyone to see how they would do. Thankfully, it also gives the answers. DP

By JULIA PRESTON Patrick Henry and Francis Scott Key are out, but Susan B. Anthony and Nancy Pelosi are in. The White House was cut, but New York and Sept. 11 made the list.

Federal immigration authorities yesterday unveiled 100 new questions immigrants will have to study to pass a civics test to become naturalized American citizens.

The redesign of the test, the first since it was created in 1986 as a standardized examination, follows years of criticism in which conservatives said the test was too easy and immigrant advocates said it was too hard.

The new questions did little to quell that debate among many immigrant groups, who complained that the citizenship test would become even more daunting. Conservatives seemed to be more satisfied.

Bush administration officials said the new test was part of their effort to move forward on the hotly disputed issue of immigration by focusing on the assimilation of legal immigrants who have played by the rules, leaving aside the situation of some 12 million illegal immigrants here.
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'First Steps' in two languages

Some bilingual schools don't do very well, here is one that seems to be succeeding. DP

Bilingual education helps integrate fast-growing Hispanic population

By SUMMER HARLOW, The News Journal Nyko Perez was running out of Cheerios.

Sitting at a low, lima-bean-shaped table, the round-faced 3-year-old was gluing the cereal bits to a big "C" made of orange construction paper.

"Quieres más? Do you need more?" instructor Camen Bisso asked him in both Spanish and English. "OK, what do you say? Como se dice 'por favor?' "

"Please!" Nyko responded, the English word easily rolling off his tongue. Nyko speaks mostly Spanish at home. But in the past two weeks, his English, and his confidence in speaking it, have grown exponentially.

At the new First Steps Primeros Pasos early learning center in Georgetown, lessons are repeated in English and Spanish. Signs and posters around the classroom are bilingual, and two of the three instructors are native Spanish speakers.

"We deal with integration here," said Executive Director Lynne Maloy. "We're teaching our Spanish speakers English and our English speakers get to learn Spanish. We want everyone to have an equal chance to succeed, because education is the name of the game."
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