Sunday, December 30, 2007

Reading Up

This story should help some see that many immigrants do want to learn English and with help, they will succeed. DP

Tucson employers are looking to a local nonprofit to help promote literacy

By MARI HERRERAS A $2-an-hour raise has Cesar Castellanos beaming.

A few weeks ago, the installer of commercial-heating and air-conditioning systems went to the office at Sun Mechanical Contracting to show off a certificate of completion for an English class. Castellanos says he didn't expect a raise; he just wanted to show off to human-resources assistant director Corey Comeau.

A large percentage of the company's employees primarily speak Spanish. Castellanos says about 70 percent of his 300 or so co-workers are Spanish-speaking.

"You know, I'm always trying to practice my English at work. When I see my boss, I say, 'Good morning,' but he always answers, 'Buenos dias,'" he says, smiling broadly. "I needed more help, especially with my pronunciation. That's been the hardest part."

Comeau says it wasn't just Castellanos' improved English skills that warranted the raise, but his initiative, leadership, good attitude and job skills. Comeau says he recently offered to reimburse employees for English classes, and Castellanos was the first employee to sign up.
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Whitestone teacher rocks to Bon Jovi in classroom

Here is an interesting way to teach language to fourth graders, through popular music lyrics. DP

By Stephen Stirling Jon Bon Jovi is no Shakespeare, but for students of Roxanne Basandella, it hardly matters.

On. Dec. 18, Basandella was awarded the 2007 New York State English Council's Elementary School Teacher of the Year Award. And for what? Using the New Jersey-born rocker's lyrical prowess to teach her students about literary devices and grammar

"Really it all came to fruition through Bon Jovi," Basandella said. "I'm not into the classic poets. When we read through Bon Jovi and I'm playing the songs and dancing around, they get so excited. I use as much Bon Jovi as they will allow me to."

Basandella has taught fourth grade at the Drexel Avenue School in Westbury, L.I., for the last 12 years. She said her students have a diverse background and many of them are immigrants who are learning English as a second language, which presents unique challenges when teaching literature and grammar.

She said while more traditionally taught literature can often be too complex, Bon Jovi is just right.
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In Chinatown, a Church Speaks in Several Languages, but With One Strong Voice

This 200 year old Catholic church has changed from being mostly Irish and Italian and now is the home of the largest congregation of Chinese in the country. It celebrates mass in three languages. DP

By JENNIFER 8. LEE At the church, pots of red and white poinsettias were carefully arranged for midnight Mass. With the funeral service for an 82-year-old Irish-American parishioner completed in the morning, the Italian-American priest spent part of his afternoon on Monday reviewing his homily, to be delivered in Cantonese and English. A sign announcing a Christmas Eve vigil for Fujianese immigrants was taped to the window.

The preparations to celebrate Christmas at the two-century-old Church of the Transfiguration in Chinatown, like the history of the church itself, were multilayered, reflecting the nimble adaptation of a church once dominated by Irish and Italian immigrants that now claims the largest Chinese Roman Catholic congregation in the United States.

The English-language Mass, scheduled in part for the Italian-Americans, was said early, at 6 p.m., because those parishioners are now old enough that their children have long since grown up and moved away to Long Island or Staten Island. They do not like to stay out too late.

The Mass in Cantonese, which still prevails on the stretch of Mott Street where the church stands, was said at 8 p.m. And at 9:30 p.m., immigrants from the southern Chinese province of Fujian, holding Catholic prayer books printed secretly in China away from the watchful eyes of the government, gathered for their vigil to await the midnight Mass, to be said in Mandarin and English.
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Friday, December 28, 2007

A TV show that teaches immigrants English will help them assimilate faster

This editorial tells about a TV show teaching basic English. A good idea! DP

EDITORIAL, OrlandoSentinel "How much is the rent?" It's a simple phrase to most people, but a confusing maze of letters for an immigrant trying to learn English.

So here's a little help:

Azteca America, a Spanish-language network with 61 affiliate stations in the United States, plans to launch a TV show called Survival English. The program will attempt to teach basic language skills to viewers, obviously serving a basic need in emerging Hispanic communities.

It's refreshing to see strong public-service programming, quite the contrast to the banal drone of reality TV. Assimilation is a core goal for any immigrant group, and this program should help them get there quicker.

Everyone knows that assimilating starts with the ABC's of learning the language.

Global positioning: Students, immigrants paired

These college students were paired with recent immigrants, so both sides could learn about their language, their story, their country, their lives. Everyone benefited, especially the young people. The immigrants were between 20 and 88, all with stories that surprised the students. DP

By Carmen Nobel, Globe Correspondent Last September, 13 Simmons College undergraduates signed up for a sociology class called Globalization. They expected to study cultural convergence. Their professor expected them to experience it.

"We live in Boston," said Anna Sandoval Girón, a sociology professor at Simmons. "It's a city full of interesting people. So I came up with the idea of teaching in a different way. Instead of reading about immigration in a book, why not leave the confines of the school and talk to people who have migrated here? I wanted students to see macro-level theory coupled with people who are living the theory."

Sandoval paired the students with recent immigrants who were studying English as a second language in Boston - either at the local YMCA International Learning Center or at the Symphony Plaza housing complex. She explained that the students and their partners would spend an hour together every week throughout the semester, just talking to each other. Both locations are an easy walk from Simmons, but the idea felt virtually worlds away for students raised on electronic communication.

"We were all really nervous," said Melina Muñoz, a junior.
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Immigrants Bring Homeland Spirit to Christmas Season

This story is about Russian and West African immigrants and the Christmas traditions they celebrate in this country. DP

By Adam Phillips, New York

Gift giving, music and prayer. These are ways that Christians almost everywhere commemorate Jesus' birth. Still, every Christian immigrant group in America practices those traditions in ways that evoke their cultures of origin. VOA's Adam Phillips visited West African and Russian congregations in New York City to see how they've brought their own spirits to the season. To most American ears, Russian Orthodox Christmas music may have a certain doleful quality, at least compared to the merrier lilts of the Christmas carols they are used to. But Ana Kouznezoff, who was born in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1922, says the tone of the music is appropriate. The 40 days leading up to the Christmas Feast are fast days in the Orthodox calendar. Unlike in American culture, neither meat nor revelry is allowed at this time.

"In some ways, the Russian is more the Christmas that belong(s) to God," Ana says. "In America, it's most of all the gifts. Buying, buying, buying. It doesn't feel the way we understand it. For me, the best way to celebrate is to come here to the "church."

The Christmas feast and the ten days of religious celebration which follow are joys that Ana and her fellow believers were denied while Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, where religion was suppressed.
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Friday, December 21, 2007

U.S. kids learn parents' language

This school is teaching 2nd and 3rd generations the language of their ancestors. They have lost the language as all immigrants do, and are trying to get it back. DP

By PATRICK McGEE, Star-Telegram Staff Writer ARLINGTON -- The school has a superintendent, a dean, a principal and 40 language teachers. Everyone who works there is a volunteer, and the budget is from donations and dues.

This is Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church's Vietnamese language program. It's a highly organized, energetic effort by the church to keep the native language alive in immigrant families' second and third generations.

"We want them to know their roots," said Anna Nguyen, an Arlington resident who had her daughter, Dianna, go through so many classes she became a teacher's aide. "I don't want them to forget Vietnamese because they are Vietnamese."

The south Arlington church's school, called Ducme La Vang, also teaches religious classes. The school efficiently runs with color-coded attendance sheets, a bell between classes and signs in Vietnamese next to each doorway.

But experts say immigrants' efforts to keep their language alive is an uphill battle.

Rubén Rumbaut, a sociology professor at the University of California at Irvine, said America has proven for centuries to be a "language graveyard" where immigrant families' native language is almost always lost by the third generation.

He said Spanish follows this pattern, too, but it might hold on a little longer than Asian languages because there are many more Spanish speakers to talk to. America's current wave of immigrants from Latin America has not stopped yet so the crop of Spanish speakers keeps being refreshed.
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Immigrants would thrive with more English classes

Another story about the necessity of English for immigrants to move into the middle class. DP

BY TARA COLTON | Tara Colton is associate research director at the Center for an Urban Future, a Manhattan-based think tank. The immigration debate is focused on flash point topics like driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, hiring halls and border fences.

But all the rhetoric and punditry obscures a crisis among immigrants themselves: the growing unmet demand for English-language instruction.

This is a crucial problem, because the more fluent immigrants are in English, the more they can contribute positively to society. This is a point that all sides of the immigration debate agree on. Making this improvement in the lives of millions of people living and working here has got to be as vital as deciding whether to punish them for how they arrived.

For business and government, it's also a matter of economic development. Boosting workers' English skills improves productivity, reduces turnover and helps growth.

In an economy increasingly dominated by service and information jobs, only in a shrinking number of industries can a worker advance to the middle class without at least some command of English. Workers need English to communicate with supervisors, interact with customers and understand everything from computer databases to safety regulations.
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Immigrants From Guyana Find Each Other In U.S.

A nice love story about two people coming to this country in the 1950s from the same small country and meeting and marrying in CT. DP

By M.A.C. LYNCH | Special to The Courant Euna Jervis' became the first female in British Guiana to earn a perfect score in math and a scholarship to Hunter College in New York City. Her father, however, would not hear of his 18-year-old daughter's leaving.

"I was determined," Euna said, and in 1956, at age 21, she boarded a plane to the United States to study medicine. "It was my first trip from my home. I never even slept one night away from home."

Clarence Coleridge, 19, came to the U.S. with similar ambitions in 1950.

"It was very hard to come over," said Clarence, the oldest of 16 children in his family in British Guiana (now independent Guyana). "We made a decision. It was agreed by all of us."

He worked to put himself through Howard University, but "my ability in the sciences was so minuscule." A chaplain suggested Clarence apply his speaking skills to the ministry, and he enrolled at Drew Seminary, switched from the Congregationalist to Episcopalian church, and at age 30 was working as a curate in St. George's Parish in Brooklyn.

"I've got to go home and get a wife," he told a minister from Guiana. But the minister's wife said, "You don't need to go back to find a wife. I know a woman for you."
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Saying ‘Adios’ To Spanglish

An interesting piece by a woman who did not want to be bilingual and then changed her mind, realizing being bilingual is a definite advantage. DP

Teach Them Well: I now live a life that is fully bilingual. Growing up, I wanted nothing to do with my heritage. My kids made me see how wrong that was.
By Leticia Salais | NEWSWEEK Niños, vengan a comer. my 18-month-old son pops out from behind the couch and runs to his high chair. My 7-year-old has no idea what I just said. He yells out from the same hiding spot: "What did you say?" My older son does not suffer from hearing loss. He is simply not bilingual like his brother, and did not understand that I was telling him to come eat.

Growing up in the poorest neighborhoods of El Paso, Texas, I did everything I could to escape the poverty and the color of my skin. I ran around with kids from the west side of town who came from more-affluent families and usually didn't speak a word of Spanish. I spoke Spanish well enough, but I pretended not to understand it and would not speak a word of it. In school, I refused to speak Spanish even with my Hispanic friends. I wanted nothing to do with it. While they joined Chicano clubs, all I wanted to do was be in the English literacy club. Even at home, the only person to whom I spoke Spanish was my mom, and that's only because she wouldn't have understood me otherwise.

After I got married and moved to Tucson, Ariz., I thought I was in heaven. Though I was actually in the minority, I felt right at home with my Anglo neighbors. When I got pregnant with my first son, I decided that English would be his first language and, if I could help it, his only language. I never spoke a word of Spanish around him, and when his grandparents asked why he did not understand what they were saying, I made excuses. He understands but he's very shy. He understands the language but he refuses to speak it. In reality, I didn't want him to speak it at all.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Madison literacy program Scrabbles to survive

This sounds like a smart and fun way to learn a language. DP

By SANDY CULLEN How does a local family literacy program continue without the federal dollars that helped create and sustain it for more than a decade?

In a word: S-c-r-a-b-b-l-e.

Madison Family Literacy — which helps poor families develop literacy skills and prepare their children for kindergarten — is hoping to raise $50,000 with an all-city/all-campus Scrabble tournament.

The two-day tournament, centered around the popular board game in which dueling wordsmiths arrange random letters into words crossword fashion, will take place Feb. 23-24 at Hilldale Shopping Center. Live bands and other activities also will be featured during what organizers hope will spell "a big, fun event" that will become an annual fundraiser.

"It's promoting literacy, wordplay," said Patricia La Cross, who coordinates the East Madison program based at the Northport/Packer Community Learning Center.
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Wages increasing for Latino workers

Immigrants are making better wages lately, without taking jobs away from American workers. DP

BY TONY CASTRO, MediaNewsGroup American Dream for Latinos and other immigrants is alive and well, even in the face of a troubled economy and historic levels of immigration that experts say mirrors the trend of a century ago, according to a study.

Foreign-born immigrants in recent years have made significant strides in wages over their counterparts of a decade earlier, while not taking away jobs from American workers, according to the study by the Pew Hispanic Center.

"Assimilation is real," said Rakesh Kochar, a researcher with the nonpartisan center based in Washington, D.C. "It works."

The proof, he said, is that the percentage of Latino immigrant workers at the lowest end of the wage scale fell by 6 percent from 1995 to 2005. And the proportion of Latino immigrants earning $8.50 to $16.20 an hour in that same period grew by about 5 percent.

The face of those findings was in workers like Juan Lopez Morales, 29, who lives in the San Fernando Valley community of Sun Valley, who has been working in construction for most of the five years since he emigrated from Mexico.

"I made just under $40,000 last year - the most I've ever made," he said.

While he sometimes goes weeks without work and labors 12 hours a day when he has a job, he's not complaining."

"I have a young family," he said. "My sacrifices are for them."

The Pew report was based primarily on a comparison of U.S. Census data across the country, with no specific geographic breakdowns.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Immigrants are a boon, not a curse

Here is a thoughtful opinion of the good all immigrants (even undocumented) do for the country. DP

Republicans should stop treating millions of people who want to better their lives as a threat.

By Max Boot Watching the GOP presidential debate last week, it was easy to conclude that the greatest threat facing the U.S. is an influx of undocumented immigrants. Most of the candidates were, as arch-nativist Tom Tancredo put it, trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo. And every time they did, they seemed to get raucous applause from the audience. Why is it, I wondered, that so many people think that having millions of people come to the United States seeking a better life for themselves presents such a massive threat to this country?

Obviously it is wrong for anyone to break the law, but the desire of foreigners to come here to work seems like the most benign sort of lawbreaking imaginable. Lots of other laws are broken routinely -- prostitution laws, speeding laws, tax laws -- and yet they are not the subject of heated exchanges at presidential debates.

We constantly hear that immigrants are taking jobs from Americans. Yet over the past quarter-century, even as illegal immigration has remained high, the U.S. economy has outperformed the rest of the industrialized world. Although a recession may be on the horizon, our economy has been booming since the early 1980s, with consistently low unemployment (currently 4.7%). Per-capita income in the U.S., when adjusted for purchasing power, is $41,399, or the third-highest in the world. Per-capita income after taxes has risen by 12.7% since 2001. We have seen 8.3 million jobs created since August 2003 -- 50 straight months of job growth.

It is hard to see how immigration, legal or otherwise, has put a damper on the economy. Quite the reverse: Immigrants contribute significantly to economic growth.

This isn't meant to suggest that we shouldn't do more to police our southern border. But the best way to do that would be to assure millions of Latin Americans and others who want to come here to work that they will be allowed in legally. We also need a mechanism for legalizing the millions of undocumented immigrants who are already here, because there is no prospect of rounding them up and sending them home.
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Niños on the slopes

This is a fun story about the children of the immigrants working in the service industry in this posh ski town. The priest who started the program that teaches skiing to the kids in grades 2-5, says skiing is the great equalizer here. DP

Program introduces Latino kids to the mountain lifestyle, bringing good times while helping to bridge a cultural divide

By Jessica Ravitz, The Salt Lake Tribune PARK CITY -The language spoken or jobs held by his parents were of no significance as Micah Muñoz peered up at the falling snow. Splayed out and giggling after his first-ever wipeout on the slopes, he was like any other kid at the Park City Mountain Resort last Saturday.

Granted, he was on flat ground and wearing only one ski, but the 7-year-old boy was merely minutes into the mountain lifestyle. His season had just begun.

Moments before, Micah and 50 other kids had lined up for this year's Niños on Skis group photo. Beneath goggles, helmets and puffy parkas, they flashed giddy smiles. The Niños program, sponsored by St. Mary's Catholic Church, exists to bridge the cultural divide between, generally speaking, the affluent whites of Park City and the Latino immigrants who work in the posh community's service industry.

"Here, in this town, skiing is the great equalizer," explained the Rev. Bob Bussen, known as "Father Bob," who tears down the mountain wearing his clerical collar. "If you can ski, you're as good as anyone."
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Immigration diatribe fails test of history

Latinos learn English at the same rate that all groups of immigrants in our history have learned it. DP

By CYNTHIA TUCKER, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Late last month came shocking — shocking! — news about the ability of immigrants to assimilate: Latinos in this country do learn English.

Who knew?

OK, I'm being slightly facetious, responding to just one of the strains of hysterical overreaction to illegal immigration. That complaint cites the alleged dangers of allowing large numbers of Spanish-speakers into the country, people who would tear apart the American cultural fabric and, as GOP presidential candidate Tom Tancredo warns, threaten the very bulwark of Western civilization.

(Tancredo, a Colorado congressman, could use a history lesson. Spanish is very much a Western language; immigrants from south of the border are predominantly Christians and many are Catholics, members of the earliest organized Christian church.)

Those who worry about the fate of the English language can rest easy. A recent study conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center found that 88 percent of second-generation Latino immigrants described themselves as strong English speakers. That figure increased to 94 percent for the grandchildren's generation.

The survey also found that Latino immigrants are more likely to speak English very well if they are "highly educated, arrived in the United States as children or have spent many years here." Only 23 percent of first-generation Latino immigrants in the survey described themselves as highly conversant in English. (The study's authors made no distinctions between legal and illegal immigrants.)
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Cultures collide in Irvine elementary school

There are 36 languages spoken in this school and these children are all learning English. They get a year of intensive English learning before being put into the regular classes. DP

At University Park Elementary in Irvine, diversity is a lesson taught and nurtured.

By ERIKA CHAVEZ, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER The 19 pupils in Kathleen Lui's second- and third-grade class at Irvine's University Park Elementary come from nine different countries but share at least two things in common: they all are learning English for the first time, and they don't know what cottage cheese is.

Other lessons gleaned from a recent classroom session on food groups: all cultures like rice, and all kids like candy.

"Yum!" they cried in unison, some even patting their bellies as Lui held up a photo of a chocolate bar.

The ethnically diverse group of pupils in Lui's class offers a glimpse into Irvine's future, said the veteran teacher.

"This is Irvine," she said, gesturing toward the kids of all hues and nationalities. "All of our classrooms are so international. Our monthly awards ceremony looks like a little U.N."

One in 3 pupils is an English learner, and 36 languages are spoken at the school, from South Africa's Afrikaans to Mandarin Chinese to Pakistan's Urdu.

The pupils have one year of intensive English language instruction in Lui's class before being placed in mainstream classes. The immersion is immediate and effective. While University Park has lower state test scores than other less diverse Irvine campuses, the school has an 860 score on the Academic Performance Index, a statewide scale that ranges from 200 to 1,000 points. The state's goal is for every school to rank above 800.
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Study: Children of Latino immigrants speaking more English, less Spanish

Here is another study proving the same thing: children of Latino immigrants use English and quickly lose Spanish fluency. This happens with every immigrant group that comes here. DP

By Mike Swift, Mercury News The nation's Latinos are showing a "dramatic increase" in their English language ability across generations, moving from a Spanish-dominant population for immigrants, to a predominantly English-fluent population for their children, a new report shows.

The study by the Pew Hispanic Center suggests Latinos are following a similar trajectory as the last great wave of immigrants did in the early 20th Century, with the nation's largest immigrant group at the start of the 21st Century steadily assimilating into an English dominant population.

The Pew study found that while only about one in four Latino immigrants is fluent in English, nine in 10 of their children are. By the third generation in the U.S., three-quarters of Latino adults speak mainly or only English at home.

The Pew study provides a new window into the linguistic evolution of the nation's 44 million Hispanics, both native and foreign-born, and includes some data not collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.

It shows how Latino families change across the generations. About 52 percent of Hispanic immigrants speak only Spanish at home, but just 11 percent of their adult children speak only Spanish at home.

Latinos also say language is the biggest source of discrimination against them, rather than skin color, immigration status or their level of income and education.
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Bantu immigrants navigating new Cleveland home

This is a wonderful story about a group of African refugee immigrants who are helping each other so they can all be successful in America. They have a great sense of community. DP

By ROBERT L. SMITH. The Plain Dealer A caravan of minivans approached Joseph Gallagher School in the darkness of a rainy fall morning, headlight beams piercing the mist to spotlight a yellow school bus as it rumbled away.

Five late-model vans turned into the school yard and parked side by side. Doors slid open. Forty boys and girls from Africa spilled out.

As the children swarmed toward the glowing windows of the school, the van drivers, mostly fathers just off third shift, stepped out to admonish them to zip up coats and to listen to the teachers.

Speaking in Maay Maay, the language of the Bantu of Somalia, they reminded the children to watch out for one another until they returned to get them. Only then did the men depart, one task finished in a daily, exhausting progression of making it in America.

The vanpool emerged last year, after Bantu parents realized their children were being bullied on the bus to school. Mothers, who in Africa wrapped children on their backs to carry them through risky camps, devised a plan to move them safely through Cleveland.

It's one of several quick, innovative actions taken by a surprising refugee group. Nothing in Somalia, it seemed, prepared the Bantu for northeast Ohio. But a poor and often bewildered immigrant group is finding its way, in part, by tapping cultural traditions that were not supposed to work here.
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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Immigration battle: Time to speak up

A coalition of lobbying groups has challenged the crackdown on small business owners who unknowingly hire illegal immigrants. DP

By Renuka Rayasam

Small businesses are finally getting a say in the "no match" rules. (Washington, D.C.) -- Small business owners will have an opportunity to sound off about "no match" immigration rules that force employers to face heavy fines for not verifying workers' immigration status within 90 days if social security numbers didn't match.

On Friday, Federal Judge Charles Breyer agreed with a complaint that the Department of Homeland Security had not considered how onerous the rules are for businesses, and gave the DHS until March 24, 2008, to survey small business owners and get their take on how the illegal immigration rules affects them.

An odd coalition of lobbying groups from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Chamber of Commerce brought the issue to court by challenging the crackdown, saying that DHS rules placed too high a burden on businesses, and on Oct. 10 Breyer suspended those rules. (Full story.) In his four-page ruling, he found the Social Security Administration database had so many errors that thousands of American citizens and legal immigrants would have been fired. Small businesses are more likely to fire workers because they often lack the resources to go through the complicated verification process.

Since August the SSA has sent companies 141,000 "no match" letters covering 8 million workers. The letters were giving businesses instructions on how to handle the issue. In his October ruling, Breyer also halted those letters saying that the government did not follow proper procedures in implementing the rules.

The groups that filed the suit won't be happy until the department drops the rules all together.
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Report: NY immigrants doctors as well as low-wage workers

Immigrants in NY contributed 22% of the total GDP. This proves they are not all in the lowest paying jobs and are essential to the economy. DP

By MICHAEL HILL | Associated Press Writer ALBANY, N.Y. - One in five college professors and more than a third of the doctors in upstate New York are immigrants, according to a study that tallied the economic contributions of foreign-born workers and challenges the stereotype of low-paid immigrants.

The report released Monday by the Fiscal Policy Institute said that immigrants contributed $229 billion last year to New York state's gross domestic product _ or 22 percent of total output. While almost three-quarters of the state's 4 million immigrants live in New York City, researchers said their contributions are crucial to the economic success of the entire state.

Researchers with the labor-backed think tank said they wanted to add perspective to the immigration issue, which boiled over in New York recently when Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants as a way to coax them "out of the shadows." He dropped the idea this month amid overwhelming public disapproval and constant political attacks.
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Hysteria over illegal immigrants must stop

This is a very interesting piece talking about the shortage of leaders who will work on the immigration problem calmly and with common sense. DP

By Barry Goldwater Jr. Several weeks ago I attended a rally for an Arizona ballot proposal that would permanently and irrevocably rescind a company's business license the very first time it hired an illegal immigrant.

What I encountered at the Support Legal Arizona Workers' rally was shocking and egregious. Speeches soaked with hateful, angry racist tones and dialogue. Eyes closed, listening to the roar of inflammatory rhetoric and sermonizing, I could have easily mistaken myself to be at one of David Duke's Ku Klux Klan rallies in Baton Rouge, La.

"Deportation, deportation, deportation" was the chant of the incensed crowd.

Illegal immigration has, like so much of our political system, become so polarized - left and right. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have painted themselves into a narrow corridor in the political spectrum, unwilling to breach the middle ground and seek the reasonable and compromising actions the people of this great nation and state so desperately crave and deserve.

The people of Arizona have always been drawn to leaders who speak out about their freedoms from excessive government, excessive taxes and regulation, and for safe neighborhoods, honesty and preserving Arizona's pristine environment. These are the principles of conservatives, including my father, Ronald Reagan, Bill Buckley, Jon Kyl and many, many others.
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Illegal Immigrant Rescues Boy in Desert

This illegal entrant was almost at his destination south of Tucson and saved the life of a little boy. He was immediately taken back across the border. He said he thought of his own children and would want someone to do the same for his child. A true Good Samaritan. DP

By TERRY TANG (AP) PHOENIX (AP) — A 9-year-old boy looking for help after his mother crashed their van in the southern Arizona desert was rescued by a man entering the U.S. illegally, who stayed with him until help arrived the next day, an official said.

The 45-year-old woman, who eventually died while awaiting help, had been driving on a U.S. Forest Service road in a remote area just north of the Mexican border when she lost control of her van on a curve on Thanksgiving, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said.

The van vaulted into a canyon and landed 300 feet from the road, he said. The woman, from Rimrock, north of Phoenix, survived the impact but was pinned inside, Estrada said.

Her son, unhurt but disoriented, crawled out to get help and was found about two hours later by Jesus Manuel Cordova, 26, of Magdalena de Kino in the northern Mexican state of Sonora. Unable to pull the mother out, he comforted the boy while they waited for help.

The woman died a short time later.

"He stayed with him, told him that everything was going to be all right," Estrada said.

As temperatures dropped, he gave him a jacket, built a bonfire and stayed with him until about 8 a.m. Friday, when hunters passed by and called authorities, Estrada said. The boy was flown to University Medical Center in Tucson as a precaution but appeared unhurt.
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Burundi refugees find friends, love in Chattanooga

40 African refugees have started their new lives in Chattanooga. They have never seen a stove or refrigerator or TV and now have to learn to use them, everything is new to them. DP

By Perla Trevizo, Staff Writer, The Chattanooga Times Free Press Chattanooga, TN - Life in an unfamiliar place has brought the blessings of safety and friendship along with the trials of isolation and adjustment for 40 people who began arriving in Chattanooga three months ago from their homes a world away.

"The beginning is always hard," said Isaac Toyi, an African refugee, through interpreter Monira Gicakara. "But I'm grateful to be in America, and I want to study really hard to speak good English."

As many as 10,000 Burundian refugees from a Hutu camp in Tanzania are being resettled in the United States this year. About 40 of them, 14 families with 17 children, have moved to Chattanooga, according to resettlement officials.

"Considering that they didn't know any English when they came to the U.S., or modern technology, I think they are doing great in resettling," said Angel Berry, case manager with Bridge Refugee Services.

The refugees have had to learn how to use things most of them never had seen before such as a television, a stove and a refrigerator. Ms. Berry said finding employment for the refugees has been the biggest challenge so far, "but it seems to be getting better."
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Speak English, Get Ahead

This is true of everyone in the country, he quotes Bill Cosby talking about all teens now, not just immigrants. DP

By By Michael Reagan It’s no secret that in America knowing how to speak the English language is the basic requirement for success – if you can’t speak the language everybody else speaks, you are back at the Tower of Babel wondering what everybody around you is trying to say.

For any youngster starting out in life, knowing and speaking the common language is the first step in moving up the ladder. And in the United States, English is the common language, and has been from the beginning. The Constitutional debates were conducted solely in English. Only English is spoken in Congress and in the world of business, not only here in America, in most of the world.

Bill Cosby recently spoke about the vital necessity of youths learning and speaking English.

"They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English,” he complained. “I can't even talk the way these people talk: ‘why you ain't, where you is, what he drive, where he stay, where he work, who you be’ ...And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk.

“Everybody knows it's important to speak English - except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. In fact you will never get any kind of job making a decent living. People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education, and now we've got these knuckleheads walking around. The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal.”

Refugees find home in Lehigh Valley Pilgrim's progress

This is about a refugee family that beat 270-1 odds to get to this country. Now they are celebrating Thanksgiving with true thanks. I imagine most people here have forgotten to be thankful for that fact. DP

By Michael Duck | Of The Morning Call After surviving decades in African refugee camps, after escaping ethnic cleansing that killed tens of thousands of their neighbors, Byamungu Jafari and his family are living a new Thanksgiving story in Allentown.

They've crossed an ocean to build a better life in America, where they're learning survival tips from helpful natives. And today, like the Pilgrims at their first harvest feast 386 years ago, Jafari and his family are coming together to celebrate their survival and give thanks.

''I can say thanks to my God,'' said 25-year-old Jafari, who was born in a refugee camp and beat 270-to-1 odds to reach the United States.

Jafari and his wife, his parents and his eight brothers and sisters communicate in a mishmash of French, Kirundi, Swahili and broken English, but the message is clear. Asked why he's most thankful, Jafari answered in French: ''Nous sommes encore vivants'' -- we are still alive.

Out of roughly 13 million refugees worldwide, Jafari's family got onto a list of 48,000 who won U.S. State Department approval to come to America in the past year.
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Richardson appeals for civil debate on immigration

Bill Richardson is the only presidential candidate who tells everyone to stop blaming the immigrants and start blaming the government for the immigration mess. DP

By Ruben Navarrette Jr., The San Diego Union-Tribune What can I say? Bill Richardson rocks.

While John Edwards and Barack Obama were taking shots at Hillary Clinton during the recent CNN Democratic debate in Las Vegas, the New Mexico governor was focusing on his own candidacy and delivering one of the best performances of the night.

Even those who believe that Richardson is really auditioning for a vice presidential nomination would have to concede that the audition is going well.

Just think about the novel way in which Richardson, in answering a question from the audience about the tone of the immigration debate, did something that is practically unheard of in the dizzying pander-monium of the 2008 campaign: He scolded the audience and told them that not only do we have a dysfunctional border that is being breached by illegal immigrants, a dysfunctional system that makes it too hard for people to enter legally, and a dysfunctional Congress that won't tackle the issue in an honest and productive way, but even the way we discuss these issues is dysfunctional.
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Backlog Delays Naturalizations

More than 2.5 million people who applied for citizenship during the summer will not be sworn in in time to vote in next November's election. All thought they had allowed enough time and usually it is. DP

By SUZANNE GAMBOA (AP) WASHINGTON (AP) — Immigrants who applied for citizenship after June 1 will have to wait more than a year to become Americans, immigration officials said Wednesday, a delay that will prevent many from voting in next November's elections.

The delay is due to a deluge of applications that Citizenship and Immigration Services, a Homeland Security Department agency, received this summer as immigrants rushed to beat drastic fee increases for naturalization, legal residency, work permits, international adoptions and a host of other immigration benefits.

That means naturalization applications filed after June 1 will take 15 months to 18 months to process and become final, said Bill Wright, spokesman for the immigration agency.

"We certainly are hoping to beat that, but there certainly is that possibility," Wright said. Generally, becoming a citizen takes on average about seven months after an application has been filed, Wright said.

A total of 2.5 million applications were filed with the agency during July and August, Wright said. He could not provide numbers for June.

For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, a total of 7.7 million applications were filed, compared with 6.3 million the previous fiscal year, Wright said.

The spike in applications came in the months before Citizenship and Immigration Services raised all application fees, effective July 30. Costs for applying for citizenship rose from $330 to $595 and from $325 to $930 for legal residency. In both cases, applicants also must pay fingerprinting fees, which increased from $70 to $80.

The year and a half to nearly two year waits for naturalizations could hurt efforts of a coalition of groups trying to increase citizenship and voter registration among immigrants.

The delays have raised some concerns about possible political motivations, which Wright denied.
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