Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Opinion: Arts Advocacy Day testimony from Linda Ronstadt

This well-known singer delivered testimony to Congress telling them how important it is to have all the arts taught in school. We agree. - - Donna Poisl

Linda Ronstadt, Special to the Mercury News

Editor's note: The following is the full testimony Linda Ronstadt is delivering today to a Congressional subcommittee as part of Arts Advocacy Day. Ronstadt, a Grammy-award winning singer, is artistic director of the San José Mariachi and Mexican Heritage Festival.

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to be here. My name is Linda Ronstadt, I am a singer, and I am pleased to be a part of the Americans for the Arts delegation and to come to our nation's capitol for Arts Advocacy Day. I am also here to testify in favor of a Fiscal Year 2010 appropriation of $200 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Before I discuss the topic of my remarks, I would like to share a bit about my personal background, which informs my conversation with you today.

I grew up in the desert in Tucson, Arizona on what was then a rural route. My grandfather's cattle ranch had been whittled down considerably in size as a result of the financial storms of the last depression, but we were pretty happily established there amid the cactus and the cottonwoods. My family had built a little compound with my grandparents in one house, my father and mother and the four of us kids in the other.
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This is Why I’m H.O.T.

UC Irvine students are teaching high school students in English literature or history. These classes are often neglected and this is good for students and teachers. - - Donna Poisl

By Marissa Osato

Travel a few miles up the 55 North and the prim, polished, perfectly planned community of Irvine transforms into the graffiti-ridden, overpopulated metropolis of Santa Ana. According to School Data Direct, a service of the Council of Chief State School Officers next door to one of the most affluent, first-rate research universities in California, the Santa Ana Unified School District stands as one of the lowest-ranked school districts in Orange County. We remain aware of these curious socio-economic contrasts, yet the question remains – what can we do?

H.O.T., or Humanities Out There, seeks to answer that question. It is an educational outreach program in which UC Irvine undergraduates visit Santa Ana high schools once a week to teach English literature or history lessons devised by graduate students. Each undergrad tutor leads a small discussion group and is given the freedom to alter lesson plans to address individual students’ needs.

UCI English professor Julia Lupton founded H.O.T. 10 years ago to allow undergrads to share their knowledge and build relationships with local community students, a unique enterprise that would bring university education to public school classrooms. UCI’s School of Humanities and the Santa Ana Unified School District established a strong partnership in hopes of improving these students’ academic aptitude and inspiring them to go to college. The idea was that students would feel more motivated to finish high school and pursue a college degree if they interacted with university students.
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Census officials launch bid to win trust of immigrants

Almost 20% of the population is reluctant to give information to census takers. This information is needed to figure out how the government does many things to run this country. We have to know how many people are here and where they are. - - Donna Poisl

By Carrie Dann, Congress Daily

With a year to go until Census Day, earning the trust of historically undercounted communities remains a key challenge for decennial headcounters, census officials and lawmakers said on Monday.

In a kickoff event for "census partnership" organizations ranging from the NAACP to the Target Corp. retail chain, leaders of the 2010 effort stressed the need to demystify the census among hard-to-reach populations that may be reluctant to offer personal information to government workers.

Recent immigrants, low-income urban workers and others may confuse a census worker with a police officer or tax collector, they warned.

"We have one year to convince populations that may approach 18 to 20 percent who are cynical about the census that this is a good thing to do," said Arnold Jackson, associate director of the 2010 census.
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Students advocate at Tempe MU for education immigration reform

It is good to see university students getting involved in the process. If everyone works for it, maybe we can get immigration reform and the DREAM act is a good first step. - - Donna Poisl

By: Griselda Nevarez

ASU students will gather outside the Tempe campus Memorial Union this week encouraging passersby to support the DREAM Act by calling their congressional representatives.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, introduced to Congress on Thursday by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would put undocumented students on the path to legalization. It was first introduced in 2001 in the House of Representatives and the Senate but fell eight votes short of the 60 necessary to proceed to a debate on the Senate floor in 2007.

Durbin said in a press release that undocumented students should be given a chance to contribute to the nation’s future.

“These children are tomorrow’s doctors, nurses, teachers, policemen, firefighters, soldiers and senators, and we should give them the opportunity to reach their full potential,” Durbin said.

If passed, the DREAM Act would give undocumented students six years to complete two years of either satisfactory military service or postsecondary education. Upon completion, they could apply for legal residency.
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Report Urges President to Use Existing Law to Cut Off Flow of Military-Style Guns to Mexico


Study of Gun-Trafficking Problem Concludes President Obama and Attorney General Holder Could Use 1968 Law to Immediately Stop Import Into U.S. of AK- 47s and Other Assault Weapons Smuggled to Mexico

WASHINGTON, March 31 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released Iron River: Gun Violence and Illegal Firearms Trafficking on the U.S.-Mexico Border, a comprehensive study of how the U.S. civilian firearms market contributes to the ongoing drug-related violence in Mexico. The report (see http://www.vpc.org/studies/ironriver.pdf) urges the Obama administration to take immediate action under the federal 1968 Gun Control Act to cut off imports into the U.S. of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons and "cop-killer" handguns capable of piercing police body armor. Such weapons are imported into the U.S. and then llegally trafficked into Mexico.

"With the stroke of a pen President Obama could immediately stop tens of thousands of foreign-made assault rifles from being dumped onto the U.S. market. These cheap military-style guns, mostly AK-47 variants, are not only being smuggled from the U.S. to Mexico, but are also killing police officers in the United States from Oakland to Miami," stated VPC Senior Policy Analyst and study author Tom Diaz.

Part One of Iron River provides an overview of the conflict in Mexico and its links with the United States, including the "war on drugs," the U.S. civilian firearms market, and transnational street gangs. Part Two describes in detail the role of the U.S. civilian gun market in helping fuel the war in Mexico, focusing on the deliberate introduction of semiautomatic military-style firearms that today defines the U.S. civilian marketplace and the weak regulation of guns in America that facilitates illegal trafficking. Part Three offers concrete steps to control the illegal firearms traffic, including non-legislative measures such as enforcing the import ban.

The report emphasizes "upstream" measures to inhibit the movement of firearms from legal commerce into the illegal trade, as opposed to relying solely on law enforcement efforts, which are aimed "downstream" and focus on apprehending and prosecuting illegal traffickers and criminals after the damage is done.

The Violence Policy Center (www.vpc.org) is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury.

SOURCE Violence Policy Center
/CONTACT: Mandy Wimmer, Communications Associate of Violence Policy Center, +1-202-822-8200, ext. 110, mwimmer@vpc.org /

Latino Entrepreneurs and Economic Experts Converge at First Latino Economic Summit


WASHINGTON, March 31 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- More than 150 key Latino entrepreneurs and business leaders from across the country will converge today in Washington, D.C., for the first U.S. Latino Economic Summit hosted by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and LATINO Magazine. Gene Sperling, adviser to U.S. Department of the Secretary Timothy Geithner and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress will keynote the summit at noon and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, Chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will lead a town hall forum later in the day. This day-long summit, held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, will address many of the financial challenges these entrepreneurs are currently facing across the country.

Summit attendees will have one-on-one opportunities to meet with top economic and business experts to discuss, develop and provide input on business strategies to best navigate these difficult economic times and understand the regulatory environment. Wal-Mart is sponsoring this first Latino Economic Summit as part of its ongoing commitment to Hispanic-owned businesses, particularly the company's Hispanic suppliers.

Please visit http://impact-o.com/Wal-Mart.Summit for more information.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Our English language, weird and difficult

Lovers of the English language might enjoy this. It is yet another example of why people learning English have trouble with the language. Learning the nuances of English makes it a difficult language.

There is a two-letter word in English that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is 'UP.' It is listed in the dictionary as being used as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends and we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver. We warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car... At other times the little word has a real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses..

To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
And this up is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP !

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets UP the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on & on, but I'll wrap it UP for now as my time is UP, so time to shut UP!

Oh...one more thing: What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night?


Don't mess UP. Send this on to someone you look UP in your address book.

Now I'll shut UP.

Minding your business: Immigrants embracing entrepreneurship

Immigrants start more businesses in this country than people born here, and this is one of the many reasons we need more immigrants. - - Donna Poisl

By Ann Meyer | Special to the Tribune

To hear Greg Wozniak tell it, immigrants hold an advantage in building a business.

"Being an immigrant gives you an edge. You have better instincts when talking to consumers from all over the world," said Wozniak, president of Doors for Builders Inc., which has built an international market for its wooden entry doors via its Web site, DoorsForBuilders.com.

Wozniak's Bensenville business had sales of $1.5 million last year, up 16 percent from 2007, despite a tough economy.

Experts agree. Immigrants tend to have a drive to succeed, a tolerance for risk and a strong work ethic, all characteristics that contribute to their disproportionate rate of entrepreneurship in this country.
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Immigration courts face huge backlog

This gives a good indication of the backlog in the immigration courts and we can see why we so desperately need immigration reform NOW. - - Donna Poisl

By Brad Heath, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The nation's immigration courts are now so clogged that nearly 90,000 people accused of being in the United States illegally waited at least two years for a judge to decide whether they must leave, one of the last bottlenecks in a push to more strictly enforce immigration laws.

Their cases — identified by a USA TODAY review of the courts' dockets since 2003 — are emblematic of delays in the little-known court system that lawyers, lawmakers and others say is on the verge of being overwhelmed. Among them were 14,000 immigrants whose cases took more than five years to decide and a few that took more than a decade.

"It's an indication that they just don't have enough resources," says Kerri Sherlock Talbot of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reversing course for survival

Many immigrants have gone back to their home countries after being laid off their jobs in the U.S. The economy is no better there, and they are trying to find work to support their families. - - Donna Poisl

As jobs in the U.S. dry up, immigrants return home to work for a fraction of the pay — and many never leave Mexico at all


SAN MIGUEL de ALLENDE, MEXICO — A few miles outside this Mexican resort city, Jose Nicolas Pichardo laid the stone foundation of a new store. The 56-year-old is glad to have the job, but he makes a fraction of the $11 an hour he earned in Texas.

“I was working in Houston doing stonework like here, but at apartments,” said Pichardo, whose 22-year-old son still lives in Houston. “What they pay me here — 200 pesos a day — I earned in two hours in Houston.”

Pichardo said he is not likely to make the dangerous journey to cross the Texas-Mexico border since he has restarted his life in his home state of Guanajuato. He returned home in September 2007 after an arrest on immigration charges, and now can’t afford the expensive smuggling fees to cross the border. He’s also heard work is increasingly scarce.
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Pass DREAM Act: Immigrant kids should repay 'loan'

Read this whole opinion piece, there is some amusing sarcasm here and quotes from various people who commented on his blog posting. Passing the DREAM Act is good economics. We educated these kids, now we should help them become tax paying citizens. - - Donna Poisl

by E. J. Montini -

We should stop visualizing the children of illegal immigrants as human beings. It only confuses us.

Particularly when we are talking about children who were not born in this country but who were carried across the border as infants or toddlers and who have grown up as what some have called "non-citizen Americans."

If we look at such children as human beings we tend to get all emotional and divide the kids into one of two groups: victims or criminals. I found this out last week after writing a blog for azcentral.com about the DREAM Act, which was introduced last week in Congress.

Under this proposal, undocumented immigrant children could obtain citizenship if they came to the U.S. before they turned 16, are younger than 30, have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, have graduated from high school or passed an equivalency exam, have "good moral character" and either attend college or enlist in the military for two years.
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Why Immigrant Workers Will Fill the Streets This May Day

May Day is the day to recognize working people. This May Day will probably see marches of immigrant workers, asking for immigration reform. - - Donna Poisl

By David Bacon

In a little over a month, hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of people will fill the streets in city after city, town after town, across the US. This year these May Day marches of immigrant workers will make an important demand on the Obama administration: End the draconian enforcement policies of the Bush administration. Establish a new immigration policy based on human rights and recognition of the crucial economic and social contributions of immigrants to US society.

This year's marches will continue the recovery in the US of the celebration of May Day, recognized in the rest of the world as the day recognizing the contributions and achievements of working people. That recovery started on Monday, May 1, 2006, when over a million people filled the streets of Los Angeles, with hundreds of thousands more in Chicago, New York and cities and towns throughout the United States. Again on May Day in 2007 and 2008, immigrants and their supporters demonstrated and marched, from coast to coast.
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Immigration reform advocates to march in Santa Rosa

These marchers expect the President to keep his promise to enact immigration reform. - - Donna Poisl


Last Modified: Saturday, March 28, 2009
Hundreds, and possibly thousands, of immigrants, farm workers and their supporters are expected to march through downtown Santa Rosa this afternoon as part of a statewide United Farm Workers campaign aimed at encouraging President Barack Obama to make good on his promise to change the nation’s immigration laws.

The march, part of the UFW’s annual celebration honoring Cesar Chavez, the union’s legendary founder, starts at noon in the parking lot of the Old Albertsons supermarket on Sebastopol Road.

From there, it winds through Historic Railroad Square and into Old Courthouse Square, where a rally will be held. Casimiro Alvarez, UFW regional director, said he expects several thousand participants.

“Before the election, President Obama sought our support and we gave it,” said Alvarez. “We sent hundreds of farm workers to knock on doors for him in Colorado, a hard-fought state he ultimately won.”
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N.Y.'s newest power players: Immigrant voters emerge as a key swing bloc

When some people think of immigrants, they think of illegal residents. But there are many legal immigrants who are citizens and vote responsibly and wisely. Some vote as a bloc, especially when they are new voters. Political candidates must work with them and listen to them. - - Donna Poisl

By Errol Louis

One of the most important races in America - Tuesday's neck-and-neck special election to fill the upstate congressional seat left vacant by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand - could be decided by an increasingly powerful, often-overlooked constituency: immigrant voters.

That would be sweet irony in a country where, all too often, immigrants are treated as an afterthought at best, a menace at worst.

It may come as a shock to those who are obsessed with illegal immigrants that there are lots of legal immigrants who have dreams, brains, citizenship - and, increasingly, the political power that comes with the right to vote.

In the 20th District, which stretches from Hyde Park north to Saranac Lake, "there's almost 10,000 Latino voters and 3,000 or 4,000 Asian voters," many of them immigrants, says Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, a statewide coalition of more than 200 groups.
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Don’t judge them by their English

English is a difficult language to learn, most immigrants are not refusing to learn it, they are just struggling. When people complain about them, maybe they should be helping instead. - - Donna Poisl


I’ve been wondering how much hostility my immigrant great-grandparents from Denmark had to put up with years ago because they were slow to learn a tough language like English.

They didn’t come here ready to roll with a head full of English. So maybe I’m smarter than they were because I’ve been speaking English since my first birthday, if Daddy, Mommy and Kitty constitute an English vocabulary.

On the other hand, it took me several years to develop a full ration of usable English. I didn’t really get my little brain and big mouth into speaking gear until I was about 4 or 5. And immigrants, legal or illegal, who come to this country also take considerable time to learn our language.

But I have been receiving e-mails lately from easily agitated friends who send me their disapproval of people who arrive from Mexico “and don’t have the decency to learn English.”
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A Heated Campaign for a Ceremonial Post

Korean-Americans in New York have more than 1,000 associations and churches. These groups help new immigrants and others in their community. - - Donna Poisl


The three candidates have spent upward of $200,000 each, much of it from their own pockets. They have hired campaign staffs, opened campaign offices, speechified and debated, conducted polling, recorded campaign songs and distributed carloads of posters, banners, T-shirts, pamphlets and balloons.

All for this: the presidency of the Korean-American Association of Greater New York, a volunteer position in an organization that many Korean-Americans, including its staff members, say is largely ceremonial.

The campaign, which comes to a close with the election on Sunday, is a biennial rite that stirs up the Korean-American community here — riveting some, dismaying others — even as it unfolds out of view of most other New Yorkers.
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Russian immigrants Mark and Vera Mednikov taught me about life in my own country—the U.S.

This lovely story tells how much this woman learned about her own country through the eyes of an immigrant. - - Donna Poisl

By Bonnie Miller Rubin

Thirty years ago, back when we were a young married couple living in Minneapolis, my husband and I volunteered to help a family of Russian immigrants.

I'm not sure why we raised our hands. Now, I think it was some combination of longing for family, altruism and a nod to our roots (our own grandparents had made the same trip almost a century earlier).

Our job was simple: Guide these greenhorns as they became acclimated to American life, from opening a checking account to registering their then-5-year-old daughter for kindergarten.

Easy enough. We'd fulfill our six-month commitment, chalk up some mitzvah (good deed) points and call it a day.

How could we possibly know that when our designated family—Mark and Vera Mednikov and their daughter Maria—walked off the plane, we'd be the ones embarking on a lifelong adventure?
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Chinatown’s hospitality during times of change

When new immigrants move to this country, they look for "their own people" and Chinatown helps Chinese immigrants get settled. But the housing for almost all new immigrants is usually very expensive compared to their limited income. - - Donna Poisl

By Samuel Tsoi

Housing profoundly shapes many aspects of our lives. The home is the main setting for personal, domestic and social development. Not only does it determine our access to community and commercial resources, but it also contributes to a significant portion of household budgets.

In expensive and cold climate areas such as Boston, the costs of shelter greatly affect a household’s social mobility. Unfortunately, the challenge of meeting high costs is even more overwhelming for immigrant and minority neighborhoods as the economic downturn perpetuates existing gentrification and urban renewal.

According to the latest census data, Asian households on average pay the highest rent among non-white groups in Massachusetts. Expensive rent not only takes up a significant part of a household’s budget but also slows upward mobility
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sign the Petition to pass the DREAM act


The DREAM act has been introduced in Congress again and we all hope it gets passed this time.
This will enable undocumented students to go to college after completing high school here. They will also be put on the path to citizenship. Then they will be able to plan for their future and not worry about being deported to a country they barely remember. This is good for everyone, these kids will become educated workers, business owners, home owners and tax payers. We need highly educated residents.

Immigrants practice English at Urbana Regional Library

This group, with a volunteer teacher, meet in a library to learn English. They are very informal, talking together, practicing and learning. - - Donna Poisl

Informal group allows people to learn the language without judgment, pressure

by Christian Brown | Staff Writer

It's Thursday night at Urbana Regional Library, and eight people are sitting around a table describing pictures in magazines, using their best English.

One man is fascinated by a picture of a car from the 1950s, and reaches for words to describe that era. "It's classic," he said.

He said he reads English well, but speaking it is another matter. As he speaks with other members of the English as a Second Language Conversation Group that meets weekly at the library, he occasionally uses "pero," the Spanish word for "but."

Heather Richie of Frederick, who leads the informal group, corrects him.
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Immigrants to US Struggle to Support Families Back Home

Migrant workers have to support their families back home, but there is so little work here for them, that they are having difficulty supporting themselves. - - Donna Poisl

By Gabe Joselow, Washington

A shopping mall parking lot is a gathering place for migrants looking for work. On a cold morning in March, about 50 men stand in near silence, hoping to attract an employer in need of cheap day labor.

Andres Lopez, from Guatemala, says there has been hardly any work for the past year. He blames the recession."Its affected all of the workers in this area," he says, "I think we all know that we came here to find work but right now its very hard.

"Without work, Lopez says he has hardly enough money to support himself, let alone to send to his family in Guatemala.His story points to a growing trend -- migrants finding it increasingly difficult to continue sending money to their home countries.

Analysts say the development is surprising because during previous times of economic uncertainty, the flow of remittances has remained stable or even grown.
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A risky new push for immigration legislation

Advocates for immigration reform are working to get organized labor on their side. This would risk alienating others, but they are using their clout, as voters for the current administration, to help convince everyone. - - Donna Poisl

By Peter Wallsten

Reporting from Washington -- With their prospects in Congress sinking along with the economy, liberal advocates of giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship are launching a risky strategy to push lawmakers and the White House to take up their cause.

They are devising a proposal in which millions of undocumented workers would be legalized now, while the number of foreign workers allowed to enter the country would be examined by a new independent commission, and probably reduced.

It is a calculation designed to win a new and powerful ally, organized labor, which favors a limit on foreign worker visas. But it risks alienating businesses that rely on temporary workers and could turn off key Republicans such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who in the past has crafted his own compromise plan for legalization.
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This teacher tells how our education system has failed our students. We must improve or we will drop farther behind the rest of the world. This is the reason our country requires so many highly trained workers from other countries. - - Donna Poisl

By Frosty Wooldridge, NewsWithViews.com

Since I started teaching school in 1973, educational excellence and academic standards dropped like a brick falling from an airplane!

I taught two years in the inner city where I discovered that children learn self-loathing, violence, drug use, tattoos and incest as well as verbal and emotional abuse beyond most Middle-Americans’ comprehension. Within two years, my idealism turned to acid. In order to save myself from a form of emotional insanity, I fled the inner city. I taught at a reasonable, middle class school with great success.

However, the principal urged teachers to advance all students whether they passed their tests or not. At the time, I called it ‘affirmative action grading’. Soon, those kids discovered they could get something for nothing. Later, they enjoyed ‘affirmative action’ high school diplomas. That led to ‘affirmative action jobs’ whereby they spent eight hours ‘working’ doing pretty much nothing. The government hired millions of marginally educated graduates. Those jobs included security guards, answering the phone jobs, cab drivers and fast food cashiers.
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This teacher knows, firsthand, what it is like to learn a new language. She is using her own experience to teach her students. - - Donna Poisl

GH Academy teacher brings culture, enthusiasm to Spanish class

Paige Richmond of the Gateway

Xinia Agee knows what it’s like to learn a new language. The 42-year-old was born in Costa Rica and moved to the United States when she was 27, with very little knowledge of English.

At the time, she was working as a counselor at a camp for at-risk youth in Missouri, where many of the students were immigrants from Puerto Rico who spoke Spanish as their first language.

Agee learned English from her husband, who was the camp’s director at the time. They’ve been married for 15 years.

Two years ago, the couple moved to Gig Harbor with their three children, and Agee began to teach Spanish at Voyager Elementary School. She went on to teach at Artondale Elementary before she joined Gig Harbor Academy last year.
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Recession, Anti-Immigrant Laws Hurt Day Laborers Arizona

While these day laborers are waiting for work, they are studying English with volunteer teachers. The economy has hurt them, but knowing English gives them a better chance of getting work. - - Donna Poisl

By Maria Leon

TUCSON, ARIZONA – The economic crisis and anti-immigrant laws that have been approved in Arizona have become a lethal combination for manual laborers, who day by day are finding that they have fewer work options.

“Each day we see more laborers and less available work for them,” Josefina Ahumada, a social worker and head of the day laborer program at Tucson’s Southside Presbyterian Church, the only such program in the city, told Efe on Wednesday.

Each day, between 40 and 50 laborers come to the church starting at 5 a.m. in the hopes of landing work that will earn them a few dollars.

While the workers wait for an employer to arrive to request their services, they receive English classes from volunteer teachers.

“They teach them the most common words used in jobs like construction and gardening,” said Ahumada.
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Boise school offers English to immigrant parents

When immigrant adults learn English, they are able to help their children in school and also get better jobs, hopefully in the ones they were trained for in their own country. We have too many former doctors and teachers working in housekeeping and landscaping here. - - Donna Poisl

By KATHERINE JONES - The Idaho Statesman

BOISE, Idaho — Nearly 60 immigrant children attend William Howard Taft Elementary School. Among them, they speak 15 languages other than English.

But on Saturdays, the students who come to school are parents like Prudent Nkonogoro, of Burundi, and Hawa Diriye, of Somalia, who face the same challenges to learning English as their children.

"If we can teach (parents) how to read and write English, they can get jobs that are commensurate with their abilities," Principal Susan Williamson said. "Many of them had jobs in their countries, like teachers or engineers. But in our country, because they don't read or write English they're just not (able to use) their abilities."
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Immigration raids hurt families: Cardinal to Obama

People and organizations all across the country are requesting the ICE raids be stopped. Immigration reform is needed, not raids. - - Donna Poisl

By Kristin Peterson, Catholic News Service

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, joined by nearly a thousand people at a Chicago Catholic church, urged President Barack Obama and his administration to stop immigration raids and deportations that are separating families and to work toward more comprehensive immigration reform.

"This will be a clear sign that this administration is truly about change," the cardinal said.

The March 21 interfaith prayer service at Our Lady of Mercy Church was organized by the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform, Priests for Justice for Immigrants, Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants and a number of interfaith groups.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., also was present; he will be promoting similar events at churches in other cities in Illinois and around the United States.
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Counselor to the Treasury Secretary, Gene Sperling, Announced as Keynote Speaker at First Latino Economic Summit

Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, and former National Economic Advisor to President Clinton to address Latino business leaders from throughout U.S.


WASHINGTON, March 27 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The Latino Economic Summit today announced that Gene Sperling, Counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and former Director of the National Economic Council (NEC), will be the luncheon Keynote Speaker. As the Treasury Secretary's advisor on fiscal policy and issues related to the annual budget, taxes, and domestic entitlement programs, Mr. Sperling offers a unique insight into the economic and political challenges confronting the Obama Administration.

"The presence and participation of this top member of President Obama's Economic Team and the US Treasury, demonstrates the importance President Obama places on the Latino Community. This ensures that all sectors of the U.S. Hispanic community and all organizations which will have access to the findings, is in line with the new administration's objectives." Stated Alfredo Estrada, Publisher of LATINO Magazine. "Mr. Sperling is a key player in our nation's economic recovery and we look forward to his counsel and leadership impacting the Latino business community."

The first ever Latino Economic Summit, will take place on Tuesday, March 31, 2009, in Washington, D.C., at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. The Summit attendees will include Hispanic business owners and the leadership from the top Hispanic community organizations in the United States, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the National Council of La Raza, among others; as well as members of government. All will hear from, and participate in roundtable discussions with financial experts, economists, and other key "thought

For more information on the Latino Economic Summit and its sponsors, please log on to http://impact-o.com/Wal-Mart.Summit/ .

For registration information contact Vanessa Flores or Oscar Gomez at Impacto by calling 915-867-4857.

Wanda Reyes

SOURCE Latino Economic Summit 03/27/2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New program encourages low-income L.A. residents to open bank accounts

Immigrants are often afraid banks will keep their money, so they keep it at home or in their pocket. They have to pay very high fees when paying their bills and cashing paychecks. This program is helping them learn about banking. - - Donna Poisl

The initiative aims to help 10,000 people end their dependence on check-cashing outlets before the end of the year by reducing the cost and simplifying the process of banking.

By Alexandra Zavis

Juan Murillo used to spend hundreds of dollars a year at check-cashing outlets because he was too intimidated by the U.S. banking system to open an account and did not speak enough English to write a check himself.

When he finally summoned the courage to open a checking account at Bank of America, he found that he could withdraw cash, write checks and transfer money to his family in Mexico at no additional cost. And the best part, he said, is that "my tax refund is deposited directly into my account."
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Local charity helps immigrants adjust culturally, financially

Until people live as a foreigner or immigrant, they often cannot understand what it is like. This man has used his experiences and is helping immigrants here. - - Donna Poisl


Robert Selle says he’s knows what it’s like to be a foreigner.

Selle spent 14 years as a Christian missionary in Venezuela. When he first got there, he felt vulnerable. He wasn’t proficient in Spanish. And he was unfamiliar with the customs, traditions and laws of the country.

He found that he had to rely on the kindness and generosity of others to get by.

“I really learned the value of being helpful to other people,” says Selle.

Back in the United States, Selle has turned that experience into empathy as he tries to aid immigrants in Southwest Florida by founding the Amigos Center a faith-based organization dedicated to helping improve the quality of life for immigrants.
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Navarrette: Obama adds immigration to full agenda

Immigration reform might really be worked on this year. It seemed like it would never happen and now it looks possible. - - Donna Poisl

By RUBEN NAVARRETTE JR., The San Diego Union Tribune

President Obama is either daring or foolhardy - or maybe a little of both.

Case in point: Although he has been criticized, even by supporters, for overloading his agenda, Obama recently signaled that, before the end of his first year in office, he'll take up no less challenging a cause than immigration reform.

That's what the president recently told the 24 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in an hourlong private meeting.

It is significant that, according to statements issued by caucus members, immigration was the only item on the agenda.
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New report blasts U.S. on immigrant detainees

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report on world wide cases of abuse, it is shocking that their recent bad reports are about the U.S. immigrant detention program. Sometimes the people detained are U.S. citizens and are not given a chance to tell their stories. This is horrible. - - Donna Poisl

By Tyche Hendricks, Chronicle Staff Writer

More than 400,000 people a year are detained by immigration officials in the United States - including undocumented immigrants, legal immigrants who run afoul of the law and asylum seekers who come fleeing persecution - but according to a report released today by Amnesty International, conditions are often deplorable and detainees are routinely denied due process.

It's the second major human rights report in a week to indict the nation's immigration detention system. The system is attracting increased attention in part because the number of people in detention has grown exponentially in recent years and in part because of dozens of in-custody deaths and a lawsuit over the treatment of children.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last month ordered her department to examine all aspects of Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations and hired a special assistant, Dora Schriro, to oversee detention and removal conditions.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

DREAM Day of Action: Urge your Legislators to Cosponsor the DREAM Act!

From The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

DREAM Day of Action: Urge your Legislators to Cosponsor the DREAM Act!

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act offers an opportunity for a select group of undocumented students to apply for conditional legal status and eventual citizenship based on strong character, hard work and the pursuit of military service or higher education. The DREAM Act will be introduced in both the House and Senate this month. For more information, visit HIAS' advocacy page on the DREAM Act. http://www.hias.org/advocacy/issues/dream-act

In anticipation of the bill's introduction in the next few weeks, we are asking everyone to do TWO things today for DREAM day of action:

· Call your Representatives and ask them to cosponsor the DREAM Act. Please call the switchboard operator at 202-224-3121 to contact your Representatives in the House and Senate.
· Sign a letter to your Members of Congress urging them to sponsor the DREAM Act. http://immigration.change.org/actions/view/ask_your_congressperson_to_support_the_dream_act

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

Growers Establish Foundation To Help Farmworkers With Child Care, Health Care and Education


MAITLAND, Fla., March 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida farmers have launched a
new foundation to benefit farmworkers, announcing today an initial round of
$160,000 in funding for three programs related to child care, health care and
education for the farmworker community in South Florida.
For its inaugural projects, the Farmworker Community Support Foundation
has chosen to work with Collier Health Services and the Redlands Christian
Migrant Association, both in Immokalee, and with Homestead-based Women United
in Justice, Education & Reform (MUJER).
"The grower community has a long history of supporting farmworkers in a
variety of ways. Through the Farmworker Community Support Foundation, we can
direct our outreach in additional targeted ways. We're very enthusiastic about
the projects that we've selected and are excited to be working with some very
strong community groups," said Orlando attorney Brad Hester, chairman of the
FCSF board. "We look forward to helping many more farmworker organizations and
projects in the years to come." FCSF has raised more than $300,000 from
Florida tomato growers so far.
The foundation is awarding $30,000 to CHS Healthcare to fund dental care
for more than 500 pregnant women. Research shows a direct link between poor
dental hygiene and premature births. With the much-needed funds, CHS will be
able to provide a basic dental exam, teeth cleaning and problem resolution as
part of its program directed at farmworker mothers and their children.
"CHS Healthcare is pleased to be working with the Farmworker Community
Support Foundation to enhance the health of the migrant and seasonal farm
workers in Eastern Collier County," said Mike Ellis, director of community
development for the agency.
The FCSF also will grant the Redlands Christian Migrant Association a
total of $100,000, with a $50,000 challenge grant dedicated to the Wimauma
Academy, an RCMA charter school for farmworker children. RCMA will use the
funding to add middle-school grades, which will help an additional 60
children. The new space will include seven classrooms, a music/art room,
teacher area, kitchen and cafeteria.
The other $50,000 grant will be used for an early-childhood education
program for more than 20 children of farmworkers and other low-income children
in Immokalee. RCMA, along with other non-profit organizations including Child
Care of Southwest Florida, Guadalupe and Immokalee Child Care, will manage the
early-learning program.
"This generous funding will provide child care for children who are
falling through the cracks in terms of qualifying for government-subsidized
programs," said Barbara Mainster, executive director of RCMA. "The children
desperately need the experience of an early-learning program, and we're
pleased the Farmworker Community Support Foundation is helping to close this
gap. The fact that RCMA is working collaboratively with all the child care
centers in Immokalee makes it even more special."
The FCSF also is granting MUJER $30,000 to support its "Project Vida" - a
program that provides HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention services to male
farmworkers living in Miami-Dade, Collier and Hillsborough counties. MUJER
also plans to provide prevention kits and encourage testing for HIV and other
sexually transmitted diseases to recipients receiving assistance.
"As a third-generation migrant worker, I understand that most farmworkers
live in isolated communities, away from mainstream society," said Susan Reyna,
MUJER's executive director. "Access to services and information about
important health concerns are not readily available, so that is why we are
really excited about our partnership with Florida growers. We will use the
grant to take important health information to the farm fields of Homestead,
Immokalee and Ruskin. Farmworkers have been totally receptive to learning
about HIV/AIDS, and many have already received testing."
In addition to Hester, an Orlando attorney, other members of the
foundation's board of directors are Bob Spencer, vice president of sales and
marketing for Palmetto, Fla.-based West Coast Tomato; Wes Wheeler, a Winter
Haven attorney; and Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida
Tomato Growers Exchange.

SOURCE Farmworker Community Support Foundation
-0- 03/24/2009
/CONTACT: Brad Hester of Farmworker Community Support Foundation, +1-407-
448-3993, bhester@millersouth.com; or Mike Ellis, Director of Corporate
Development, Collier Health Services, +1-239-658-3138, mellis@collier.org,
www.collier.org; or Barbara Mainster, Executive Director, Redlands Christian
Migrant Association, +1-800-282-6540, Barbara@rcma.org, www.rcma.org; or Susan
Rubio Rivera, Executive Director, MUJER Inc., +1-305-247-1388,
susan@mujerfla.org, www.mujerfla.org /
/Web site: http://www.rcma.org
http://www.mujerfla.org /

Columbia's Cuban refugees share stories, reflect on resettlement

These stories about Cuban refugees, living in Missouri, are very interesting. One was a high school teacher in Cuba, now works in a factory but is still happy to be here with his family. Another family tells of forced labor and other hardships in Cuba. - - Donna Poisl


COLUMBIA — Eddy Del Sol, a 27-year-old Cuban refugee, came to the United States with his parents and younger sister in November 2007.

Del Sol works at the American Air Filter International parts factory in Columbia, making air conditioning filter components.

In Cuba, he was a high school chemistry teacher.

Still, he is grateful to be part of Columbia’s small but steadily growing Cuban community. "I have things that I never thought about having in Cuba," Del Sol said. "And I’ve only been here one year.”
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Immigrants fearful English classes could get cut

Most cities have long waiting lists for English classes and the current recession makes many afraid there will be many cuts and much longer waiting times. - - Donna Poisl

By DEEPTI HAJELA | Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - Farzana Morshed arrived here from Bangladesh three years ago without any real grasp of English. Her husband had to help her open a bank account, an interpreter was necessary when she needed medical care, and she couldn't go anywhere by herself for fear of getting lost.

Morshed soon got the language lessons she needed through her local library and a community-based nonprofit organization, and her English is good enough that she can work as an interpreter at a hospital.
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Stories of deportation find an ear

More examples of why immigration reform is needed now. A woman whose undocumented husband was deported and a family here legally who were only allowed to bring 2 of their 4 children with them. - - Donna Poisl

Congressman says current immigration rules hurt families

By Georgia Pabst of the Journal Sentinel

Rosa Bautista broke into tears as she told a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 1,000 who filled St. Adalbert's Catholic Church on Sunday afternoon about how the father of her four children had been deported to Mexico City.

She's a U.S. citizen, and her children are, too, but the day before Good Friday last year, the man in their lives was deported, she said. He had been here nine years and worked as a roofer, Bautista said.

"I ask you, if you were in my shoes, would you like to see your family separated as we are?" she asked the crowd.

Edward Ike of Nigeria told of how he and his wife could bring only two of their four children with them because their U.S. sponsor couldn't afford the other two. That was in 2003. The 6-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter they left behind are now 11 and 13, he said.
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English as a second life

This story is about John Miskus who received an award for his volunteer work. He is spending his retirement years teaching English to immigrants and on other causes he is interested in. We need more people like him, don't we? - - Donna Poisl

By Lily Robertson

When Diana Caro came to New Hampshire two years ago with her husband, she didn't speak English. It was fairly easy on the road up from Colombia, since almost everywhere on the way she could find someone who spoke Spanish. New Hampshire was a different matter. A simple trip to the market was an ordeal.

Today, with the help of her volunteer English as a Second Language tutor (ESL), John Miskus, she's studying to pass her Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam so she can enter college.

And frankly, she speaks better English than many Americans.
"I am indebt to you ...; no, that is not right," Caro corrects herself.

"Well," replies Miskus, "let's look it up." The two of them put their heads together over a language program on the laptop to find the proper word.

"Aaah!" Caro beams. "I am indebted to you!"
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Recession’s Toll on Hispanic Immigrants

This article has some very interesting charts and numbers explaining all the changes in employment and how the recession has hit Hispanics harder than others. - - Donna Poisl

By Haeyoun Park

The recession has hit Hispanic immigrants especially hard. They have suffered more job losses than most other workers, and their earnings remain lower than those of other groups. Among foreign-born Hispanics, an estimated 47 percent are illegal immigrants. Although some of those immigrants have been pushed by the economic slump to leave the United States, most have stayed and are struggling to hold on to jobs.

Hispanic immigrants had a bigger drop in jobs from 2007 to 2008, although black workers continued to have the highest unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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A Slippery Place in the U.S. Work Force

Even though the current economic downturn has hit illegal immigrants especially hard, they are reluctant to leave the U.S. because they have homes and families here. And have been here so long, they don't really have a place to go back to. - - Donna Poisl


MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — The faithful stand and hold their hands high, raising a crescendo of prayer for abundance and grace. In the evangelical church where they are gathered, the folding chairs are filled with immigrants from Latin America.

Balbino López Hernández, who came here illegally from Mexico, closes his eyes to join the hallelujahs. But after the service Mr. López, 28, a factory worker who has been unemployed since June, shares his worries about jobs and immigration raids with other worshipers.

Like many places across the United States, this factory town in eastern Tennessee has been transformed in the last decade by the arrival of Hispanic immigrants, many of whom are in this country illegally. Thousands of workers like Mr. López settled in Morristown, taking the lowest-paying elbow-grease jobs, some hazardous, in chicken plants and furniture factories.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Pico-Union tour traces historical immigration patterns

This walking tour shows people the architecture of the area and the history of immigrants from Europe and Central America who settled there. - - Donna Poisl

A new L.A. Conservancy walking tour highlights Pico-Union's classic architecture and colorful murals, weaving together the stories of successive waves of European and Central American immigrants.

By Teresa Watanabe

Within the walls of Angelica Lutheran Church, a rich medley of stories traces the layers of history and ever-shifting demographics of the Pico-Union district of Los Angeles.

Sepia-hued photos show the church's founding congregation of Swedish immigrants, blond and bedecked in flapper fashion of long coats and cloche hats, as they lay the cornerstone for the imposing Gothic Revival building in 1925. Six decades later, Swedish American congregant Evelyn Price offered the first citizenship and English classes to scores of refugees escaping war in El Salvador and Guatemala, and the church housed many of them as part of the city's sanctuary movement, according to the Rev. Carlos Paiva.
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Learning to be tolerant trumps need to learn English

It would be so nice if more people were tolerant. Read this to see all the comments, from both sides, that were sent in when a story was written about something a political candidate said. - - Donna Poisl

By Burt Constable | Daily Herald Columnist

During a week when some Americans celebrated by waving the flag of Ireland on St. Patrick's Day, dozens of comment-posters at www.dailyherald.com got their Irish up.

It started when reporter Russell Lissau wrote a story in which Wauconda trustee candidate Mark Kwasigroch said Spanish-speaking residents of the village "need to learn how to read English if they're going to live in Wauconda."

That comment immediately ignited an ugly debate fueled by insults, lies and hate, where anyone who suggests residents learn English was branded a racist, while anyone willing to tolerate anything less than all-English-all-the-time was a bed-wetting, liberal wimp or an "illegal alien."
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cardinal George expected to ask Obama to halt immigration raids

Everyone is hopeful that the president can make this happen soon. He is being very cautious in his statements. - - Donna Poisl

Obama's support key, Gutierrez says

By Antonio Olivo | Tribune reporter

Inside an Albany Park church on Saturday, Cardinal Francis George is expected to publicly urge the Obama administration to end Immigration raids across the country, part of a renewed push for federal Immigration reforms that has been gaining steam.

This week, President Barack Obama told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he hopes to sign legislation before the end of the year and plans to introduce a new strategy for "comprehensive Immigration reform" during the next few weeks, those in attendance said.

But in a nod to the issue's persistent volatility, the president stopped short of saying he would order a moratorium on enforcement measures that have separated thousands of families in recent years, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said during a news conference Friday.
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Obama Offers Relief for Liberian Immigrants

Many thousands of Liberian immigrants on temporary immigration status are allowed to stay here another year. Advocacy groups and lawmakers are trying to make their stay permanent. - - Donna Poisl

by Julia N. Opoti, Editor-In-Chief

President Barack Obama has given a 12-month extension extension to thousands of Liberian immigrants who are on a temporary immigration status in the US.

Confirming the extension the Communications Director of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Rick Jauert, said, "We welcome this extension, but we will continue to work for a vehicle for a road to citizenship."

Thousands of Liberians fled to the US following a decades-long civil war that left their country in shambles. While many of them sought refugee and asylum status, thousands others were offered a temporary stay in the US.
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Two GACHA grants go to Sussex programs

Grants are helping several programs that help Spanish immigrants learn English, life skills and become assimilated into the mainstream. - - Donna Poisl

By Submission -- GACHA

SUSSEX COUNTY - The Governor's Consortium on Hispanic Affairs has awarded $150,000 in grants to support five community-based programs that help Spanish-dominant immigrants improve their abilities to read, speak and write in English. According to Dr. Christine Cannon, consultant to the Arsht-Cannon Fund of the Delaware Community Foundation that funded the grants, "When linguistic isolation in families is reduced, opportunities and the quality of life for all members improve." The five programs selected from 23 nonprofit organizational applicants throughout the state include churches and community centers and literacy programs.
Be sure to read the rest of this story to see the whole list! This is only a small part of it.

Latinos' financial success, political clout increasing

In only four years this young woman has learned English, gotten a good job and applied for citizenship. It shows what hard work and determination can accomplish. - - Donna Poisl

By PATRICIO G. BALONA, Staff writer

DELAND -- The nights Geraldine Herrera went to bed hungry in Nicaragua are now just part of the story she tells about growing up in Central America.

Her life has changed for the better since she arrived in Deltona with a green card her father helped her get from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

She could not speak English when she arrived in June 2005 but learned the language in seven months through classes for English for Speakers of Other Languages at Seminole Community College.

English is now such a solid language for Herrera it's hard during a conversation to tell she's only been in the United States three years. And recently, after graduation in December, Bank of America hired her as a sales and service specialist.
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‘Enfranchising’ immigrants

This charity group helps immigrants learn English and how to live here successfully. - - Donna Poisl

by Tiziana C. Dearing

Most people know Catholic Charities for our basic needs and emergency response services. The work we do to help people achieve long-term economic self-sufficiency is just as important. That’s one of the things I love about being at Charities -- we give a fish and teach how to fish.

Each year, 15 women participate in our English for Employment program at El Centro. While the program helps them improve their English skills so that they can improve their job prospects, it does a lot more than that. Their instructor works as a case worker. We help them navigate the requirements to receive state aid through various programs. We help them prepare for citizenship, and learn how to communicate with the teachers at the schools their children attend. Imagine the tremendous pride of a student who has just gone to the doctor alone, without the invasion of privacy of having to bring a child or a friend to help translate.
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Children of Illegal Immigrants May Soon be able to Pay In-State Tuition

Little Rock lawmakers are presenting the DREAM ACT to the state, to allow undocumented students who have gone through their school systems to attend college and apply for legal status. - - Donna Poisl

Channel 7 > Local News

Little Rock, AR - One lawmaker says children of illegal immigrants who attend state high schools should be able to pay the same tuition rate as Arkansas residents. The measure's been unsuccessful before, but sponsor Joyce Elliott hopes this time is different.

(Sen. Joyce Elliott, (D) Little Rock) "This is not just about the future of undocumented students. This is about the future of all students, all people in this state."

State Senator Joyce Elliott formally unveils the “dream act”, at a rally Thursday afternoon. The measure would allow undocumented students who have attended an Arkansas high school for at least 3 years, to be eligible for in-state tuition.
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Study: Colleges profit from illegal immigrants

The results of this study surprised most people. Colleges are better off if they admit illegal immigrants, and it costs too much to verify their status to exclude them. - - Donna Poisl

Most pay out-of-state tuition, which is more costly than in-state tuition

By Kristin Collins - Staff writer

In a time of tight budgets, a consultant delivered a surprising message to the State Board of Community Colleges on Thursday: It's cheaper to admit illegal immigrants than to keep them out.

Based on information from the 2006-07 school year, the consultant said the state makes about $1,650 on every student who pays out-of-state tuition, which would likely include illegal immigrants.

On the other hand, the cost of verifying immigration status in order to exclude undocumented students could cost each college about $9,000 a year, the consultant told the board's policy committee.
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More taking on task of blending cultures

This focus group is working to unify the different ethnic groups in their community. They are talking about education, health, language and more. - - Donna Poisl

By Elizabeth Summers, The Reporter

A focus group formed to find ways to blend Albertville’s Hispanic and Anglo communities is about to get a bit larger.

More than two dozen city councilmen, residents, clergy and businessmen attended the meeting Tuesday night.

Working to address educational-based issues, the group and its leader, City Councilman Randy Amos, decided to add additional members, especially members of different nationalities and ages, to help steer the city toward unification.
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Education - Highline Community College - A World of Learning

This sounds like a wonderful school, with students from more than 30 countries. A great way for these young people to learn about the world and all cultures. - - Donna Poisl

A Multicultural Microcosm at Highline Community College

by Roy Stevenson

In a time marked by political discord, factionalism and genuine concern about where America is headed, it might be hard to imagine any place where residents of many different ethnicities, cultures and color peacefully and freely mingle, or at least co-exist with a respect for their neighbor’s culture. Yet each year at Highline Community College (HCC), 350 students from 30 countries come to study for their associate’s degree to join a student body that is 52 percent people of color.

The ethnic demographics of the community college mirror that of South King County. “Highline Community College has the largest number of refugees and immigrants from different countries,” says Anna Nacanaynay, program assistant with the International Student Program. HCC students come from all over the world. The most popular locations include Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, many countries in Africa, Cambodia; and a long list of about 24 other countries including several from Central America.
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Immigrant groups, Mass. officials to meet in Fitchburg in last of forums on reform

Forums on immigration are coming up with good ideas and enthusiasm from all sides. - - Donna Poisl

Better access to health care, more money for English as a Second Language programs, and work permits were repeated themes during a state-sponsored immigration forum Wednesday.

By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press Writer

FITCHBURG, Mass. — Better access to health care, more money for English as a Second Language programs, and work permits were repeated themes during a state-sponsored immigration forum Wednesday.

But the loudest cheer came when Fitchburg Police Chief Robert DeMoura pleaded with a governor's task force to seek changes to state and federal law to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses. "My officers want to know when we stop someone who that person is," DeMoura told the panel of 15. "Let's start with the simple things."

The comments draw a standing ovation from the 180 or so in attendance.

"It was a surprise," Dolores Thibault-Muñoz said of DeMoura's comment."Here was a law enforcement officer getting a standing ovation from a room full of people of color. It was unique."
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Obama puts immigration reform on docket

Some very promising signs that immigration reform is coming. - - Donna Poisl


On his very full plate, immigration was one issue that President Obama had yet to take on - until yesterday, when he discussed it with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

At a town hall meeting in southern California yesterday, Obama renewed his support for comprehensive reform, including a possible path to citizenship for law-abiding people who entered the country illegally, along the lines of the bill that stalled in Congress in 2007.

According to the White House account of yesterday's one-hour closed session, it was "a robust and strategic meeting" in which Obama announced he will go to Mexico next month to meet President Calderón and discuss, among other issues, effective, comprehensive immigration reform.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Speaker Pelosi is Under Attack for Speaking Out

Thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi for speaking out and asking for immigration reform.
Click on the Participate button and send her a message of thanks.

IIC Delivers Thank You Letter to Congressman Gutierrez for His Support

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition recently delivered a letter to Congressman Gutierrez thanking him for his Family Unity Tour. This has been traveling to 17 cities in support of humane and fair immigration reform.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Filipino teachers exchange homeland for jobs in America

The Philippines has an abundance of good teachers who qualify to teach in the U.S. and we have a shortage of teachers in certain subjects. - - Donna Poisl

More than 100 school districts, including at least 20 in California, are recruiting in the Philippines to fill teacher shortages in math, science and special education.

By Teresa Watanabe

Filipino exchange teacher Ferdinand Nakila landed in Los Angeles expecting "Pretty Woman" scenes of swank Beverly Hills boulevards and glittering celebrities. What he got was Inglewood, where he stayed for two weeks in temporary housing and encountered drunkards, beggars, trash-filled streets and nightly police sirens.

It got worse. In training sessions about American classrooms he received in the Philippines, he was told his students might not be quite as polite and respectful as those in his homeland. Nothing, however, prepared him for the furious brawl that broke out in one of his Los Angeles classrooms, where two girls rolled around on the floor clawing at each other while the other students jumped on the desks and cheered.

But Nakila said his American sojourn has transformed him into a far better educator than when he arrived in August 2007. In the Philippines, he was imperious and demanding, throwing students out of his classroom for inadequate preparation with little thought of their plight.
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Asian-Americans urge Obama to reform immigration

It is not only Latinos who are being hurt by our present immigration laws. Asians and many others are suffering and need immigration reform too. - - Donna Poisl

Posted By AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Asian-American members of the US Congress on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to reform immigration by year end, saying the current system was tearing families in their community apart.

Mike Honda, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, wrote Obama a letter saying that immigration reform "must remain an early priority in your administration."

Honda, a member of Obama's Democratic Party, said some two million Asians hoping to be reunited with families were languishing in the immigration service's backlog, account for half of such cases.
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Immigration law needs overhaul, panelists say

This public forum had people talking about all sides of the issue and all agree that immigration reform is needed. Soon. - - Donna Poisl

By John Stark, The Bellingham Herald, Wash.

Mar. 17--BELLINGHAM -- The recent raid at Yamato Engine Specialists demonstrates the need for an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws, according to panelists who spoke Monday, March 16, at a public forum.

''We've got to have laws that make sense, and laws that we can enforce, and laws that we can follow," said Pramila Jayapal, executive director of Seattle-based OneAmerica, an immigration reform advocacy group.

Bellingham immigration attorney Scott Railton argued that workers who have established themselves in a community should be given some opportunity to legalize their status.

''The laws weren't being enforced for years and years," Railton said. "The government was looking the other way. Now they (immigrants) are in our communities, in our churches, and in our schools, and the laws of the game have changed."
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Immigrant groups, Santa Clara County to hold Citizenship Day on Saturday

About 190,000 Santa Clara County residents are eligible to naturalize, this group is trying to help them. The high fee is a problem for many of them - - Donna Poisl

By Ken McLaughlin, Mercury News

Over the past 13 years, the Santa Clara County Citizenship Collaborative has helped more than 120,000 people through the lengthy and often byzantine naturalization process to become American citizens.

But this year, selling the idea of citizenship might face its biggest hurdle.
The problem: Citizenship applications now cost a lot of money, while many low-income immigrants are hurting because the economy is in the tank.

"We realize that paying the rent must come first and food is second," and that paying a $675 fee to the federal government might be unaffordable, said Teresa Castellanos, interim director of the Santa Clara County Office of Human Relations.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tri Tax Makes it Easy -- and FREE -- for Immigrants to Get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)


SAN PEDRO, Calif., March 12 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- If you don't have a Social Security number but still owe Uncle Sam a tax return, Tri Tax Income Tax Service will prepare a W-7 form for you at no charge. That's right -- free!

"For many hardworking people without a Social Security number, the process of obtaining an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is confusing and expensive," says Tri Tax Founder and CEO Carlos Marquez. "Tri Tax makes this overwhelming process effortless by preparing a W-7 form for as many ITINs as requested. Other tax preparers charge up to $100 per W-7 application, but we offer this service absolutely free. We're committed to the Latino community, and this is just one way we can demonstrate that commitment."

An ITIN is an official tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service for people without a Social Security number, and it's available regardless of an individual's immigration status. A W-7 is an application form to request an ITIN.

Marquez says that many Spanish-speaking people run into a language barrier when trying to work with other tax preparation companies, and, in defeat, fail to file tax forms. "But at Tri Tax, we literally speak their language, and with the free W-7 service, we help people fulfill their obligation to the government in a stress-free environment."

Even if individuals have a Social Security number of their own, Marquez says some people seek ITINs for family members in Mexico. "Many taxpayers have relatives that they support in Mexico, and by obtaining an ITIN and claiming them on their tax return, they could be entitled to a larger tax refund. With the current economy, every little bit counts, so I encourage people to stop in to Tri Tax today and learn about how our free W-7 service could help them."

For more information on obtaining an ITIN, call 1-800-354-7153 to find the nearest Tri Tax office or visit our web site at http://www.tri-tax.com.

About Tri Tax
Carlos Marquez founded Tri Tax in San Pedro, California, while still in junior high. His passion for assisting individuals and families across all economic segments led to a booming business that soon outgrew its initial site. He relocated to Wilmington, California, and began franchising the company, giving others the opportunity to experience the limitless success he had created for himself. For more information, visit the Tri Tax web site at http://www.tritaxfranchise.com.

-0- 03/12/2009
/CONTACT: Claudette Runyan, Vice President of Operations of Tri Tax Franchise Corporation, 1-888-400-1667, ext 220, fax, +1-310-514-0307 /


Immigrants Can Help Fix the Housing Bubble

A very interesting opinion piece, which would help the housing problems and help immigrants become legal at the same time. - - Donna Poisl


The Obama administration should seriously consider granting resident status to foreigners who buy surplus houses in this country. This makes more sense than the president's $275 billion housing bailout plan, which Americans greeted with a Bronx cheer.

The federal bailout forces taxpayers to subsidize overextended homeowners who bet on ever-rising house prices and used their abodes as ATMs, and it doesn't get to the basic problem -- the huge inventory of excess houses. We estimate that 2.4 million houses over and above normal working inventories are left over from the 1996-2005 housing bubble. That's a lot, considering the long-term average annual construction of 1.5 million single- and multi-family units.

Excess inventory is the mortal enemy of house prices, which have already fallen 27% since the peak in early 2006. We predict another 14% drop through the end of 2010 if nothing is done to eliminate the surplus.
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Readers share thoughts on immigration

This is an interesting piece by a Latino about immigration and immigrants and people's thoughts about both. - - Donna Poisl

By Hector Tobar

When I was a boy growing up in Los Angeles circa 1970, I did something that brought dishonor to my people.

I tossed a hamburger wrapper onto the parking lot at a fast-food restaurant. This caused my mother to snap that I should never litter because "when people look at you and see black hair and brown eyes, they think you don't have any manners."

The word Latino had not yet entered the California lexicon. Hispanic or Hispano was used only by bureaucrats and academics. But my mother and I were not Mexican Americans, the only ethnic label most white Angelenos might have attached to us.

My parents were from Guatemala, a country that at that time had contributed few immigrants to the city. We were newcomers, and it was important to make a good first impression.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Family Stories as Secret Text for Immigrants

This professor requires her students to interview a close relative to get details of their family history. They often discover many sacrifices and struggles and bravery. - - Donna Poisl


Angela Wu Cen, 19, knew many details about her parents’ 13-year migration from China to Panama to New York. But she had never known much about a more intimate aspect of her parents’ lives: their courtship.

So when Ms. Wu, who was born in Panama and was 12 when the family came to the United States, sat down to interview her mother for an honors seminar at Hunter College last month, she was surprised to learn that her parents’ marriage had not been the fruit of a long romance, as she had assumed, but had come about in a matter of weeks.

The two had been introduced by a mutual acquaintance of their families’. They lived in separate towns, saw each other a few times and then decided to marry, Ms. Wu said.

“So they really didn’t know each other,” she added, sounding amused. “How can they get married?”
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'Making It!': Program Focusing on Minority Success Stories Earns Producer Accolades

The man who created a TV program celebrating minority success stories is being honored for excellence. Read the rest of this to find out where to see it and more about the show. - - Donna Poisl

By Patricia Marroquin--HispanicBusiness.com

Success, in Nelson Davis' opinion, "has no boundaries based on race, gender or national origins." After two decades of producing a television program focused on telling minority success stories, his thoughts on the matter carry some weight.

The public affairs television program, "Making It! Minority Success Stories," has succeeded for 20 years, and now Davis, its creator and executive producer, will be honored for the show's service and excellence.

On March 18, the Small Business Administration and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will present the Media Advocate Award to Davis. The award will be given during the Minority Enterprise Development Awards at Club Nokia at L.A. Live. Davis will also accept a Media Firm Award from the mayor, presenting on behalf of his Minority Business Opportunity Committee.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Jackson students teach Spanish to firefighters, paramedics

This is an excellent idea. The first responders learn some Spanish that is very specific to their situations and the high school students get good practice too. - - Donna Poisl

By Benjamin Duer, CantonRep.com staff report

JACKSON TWP. — Sirens scream. Horns blare.

An ambulance races down the street responding to an emergency call that has left a man lying in pain.

The man cries: “¡Ay, me duele la cabeza!”


It’s a foreign language — Spanish.

It’s enough to stop a paramedic in his or her tracks trying to decipher what the injured man has said.

And what he said was this: “Ouch! My head hurts!”

Jackson firefighters and paramedics hope they can break the language barrier with free Spanish lessons taught by local high school students.
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4 groups recognized for language efforts

Grants totaling $25,000 have been given to these four groups. We need more organizations doing this work. - - Donna Poisl

Vindy.com staff report

YOUNGSTOWN — The International Institute Foundation of Youngstown Inc. has rewarded four city organizations for work promoting English as a second language and for preserving the culture of local ethnic communities.

Before 1985, the foundation was an agency that also taught English to immigrants and helped them become accustomed to living in the Mahoning Valley, said Paul Dutton, president of the foundation.

“The organizations which we have funded further the core mission of the International Institute Foundation,” he said.
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North Carolina latinos say too much emphasis on illegal immigration

Latinos in NC are meeting to discuss solutions to some problems in their community. Their theme is `Where do we go from here?" - - Donna Poisl

McClatchy Nwes Service

CHARLOTTE -- Saying too much focus is placed on illegal immigration, Latinos from across the state are gathering in Charlotte to talk about their positive contributions and power as a unified community.

The 14th annual Foro Latino kicked off Friday with more than 350 people signed up for workshops on jobs, health care and immigrant rights.

``We're all here for a reason -- change,'' said Monserrat Alvarez, a 16-year-old youth leader from Raleigh.

Voicing the feelings of many Latinos across the state, Alvarez said the community feels victimized by opposition groups who call for greater enforcement of immigration laws. Some N.C. residents express concern about Latino immigrants in the country illegally taking jobs and straining schools and hospitals. Many Latino immigrants live in fear of their families being separated.
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Lawmaker pushes reform at immigration rally

Another stop on the 17-city cross country tour, "United Families". Children and pastors and family members are telling their stories. - - Donna Poisl


An immigration rally drew about 1,000 people to a church in west Oak Cliff, where a congressman from Illinois vowed to continue pushing for a bill that would help their undocumented relatives gain legal residence in the United States.

Across the street from the church where U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., spoke, more than 20 protesters gathered with signs opposing illegal immigration and reminded passers-by that every job held by an unauthorized foreigner was one fewer job for embattled American workers.

Gutierrez is on a 17-city cross-country tour called United Families, in which he says he's trying "to put a face" on immigrants who live in fear of being deported. He complains that stepped-up immigration enforcement has divided families with children who were born in the United States.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Illegal or not, immigrants want pay

Eight complaints have been filed against a cleaning contractor who does not pay undocumented workers and then threatens them if they complain. Advocate groups are helping them now. - - Donna Poisl

By Liz Mineo/Daily News staff

Local immigrant advocates are growing concerned about a trend among cleaning subcontractors of failing to pay wages to their undocumented workers and of threatening them with reporting them to immigration authorities, if they complain.

Workers have brought their grievances against two Massachusetts-based subcontractors and two national cleaning firms to Framingham's MetroWest Immigrant Worker Center, which is helping them file complaints with the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division to get their wages paid.

An attorney with Greater Boston Legal Service is representing the workers.
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Where Education and Assimilation Collide

There are many immigrants in the schools, and still no consensus on how best to teach them English. Some think keeping them in ESL classes separates them too much and they learn English too slowly. Some of the students agree too. Read this article, very interesting. - - Donna Poisl


WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Walking the halls of Cecil D. Hylton High School outside Washington, it is hard to detect any trace of the divisions that once seemed fixtures in American society.

Two girls, a Muslim in a headscarf and a strawberry blonde in tight jeans, stroll arm in arm. A Hispanic boy wearing a Barack Obama T-shirt gives a high-five to a black student with glasses and an Afro. The lanky homecoming queen, part Filipino and part Honduran, runs past on her way to band practice. The student body president, a son of Laotian refugees, hangs fliers about a bake sale.

But as old divisions vanish, waves of immigration have fueled new ones between those who speak English and those who are learning how.
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Non-English speakers critical to state

This whole country needs more bilingual residents. Biligualism is important in business and there are many more jobs available to people fluent in a foreign language. - - Donna Poisl

By Kyle Goon

Like many people in the United States, sophomore economics major Juan Zavala grew up speaking a language other than English at home. He is always sure to note his fluent knowledge of Spanish on his resume.

"I definitely always say I can read and write in Spanish," he said. "It's the second most common language in this country, and I think there is a lot of need for people to be able to translate in a lot of different areas."

In the era of the global marketplace, the state government is recognizing that having a diverse population is a competitive advantage in business and a necessity in foreign relations. They are now seeking to utilize immigrants and the children of immigrants who already speak these languages as a resource.
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Panelist debate immigration policy at UNT

Panelists debated whether this country needs a steady influx of immigrants. - - Donna Poisl


DENTON — It wasn’t an evenly weighted debate Thursday night. Three of the four members of the panel discussing U.S. immigration policy believed that immigrants mostly benefit the nation.

But the lone advocate for tighter immigration controls, Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies, held his own.

Krikorian said the America of 2009 is a highly advanced society that does not need immigrants as badly as did the America of 100 years ago.

"Immigration policy has to be based on what’s good for your grandchildren, not what was good for your grandparents," Krikorian said.
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Immigration Explorer Map

A wonderful interactive map that shows each county in the U.S. and the foreign-born people living there. Select a foreign country and then look at each U.S. county to see how many of those people are living there.
This is from the 2000 Census.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In-state tuition for illegal immigrants on hold

Let's hope these students are helped soon, either by the DREAM act or at least with being able to pay in-state tuition. - - Donna Poisl

submitted by Examiner.com

DENVER - A proposal to allow illegal immigrant students to pay in-state tuition is on hold for now.

Democratic Sen. Chris Romer said Wednesday he wants to wait and see if Congress will act on a bill addressing the issue.

He says the DREAM act could be introduced in Washington by the end of the month.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In-state tuition bill for illegal immigrants detoured

Colorado Governor Ritter will sign the bill, but the senate sent it back to committee, instead to him. This will definitely delay, maybe even kill it. - - Donna Poisl

By Tim Hoover, The Denver Post

A bill to allow illegal immigrants in-state tuition took a detour today when the Senate sent it to a committee — where its prospects are shaky — rather than debate it.

Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, who had not been publicly championing the bill, came out in support of the measure.

Senate Bill 170, sponsored by Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, would offer the in-state tuition rate to any student who had attended a Colorado high school for at least three years and graduated, regardless of their immigration status.

The bill says the students could not get the state's College Opportunity Fund stipend and would have to sign an affidavit saying they would seek lawful residence in the United States.
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The Best Ways to Teach Young Newcomers

There are several interesting articles here with strategies to teach immigrant children. - - Donna Poisl

By The Editors

Welcome to a national conversation about immigration. Starting today, readers and specialists are invited to discuss themes that will be explored each Sunday in a series of articles that will appear online and in the newspaper in the coming months.

The first article, to be published this weekend, will report on a Virginia school district that segregates students who are the children of immigrants, and who don’t speak English well, to make it easier to give them intensive support. Is that a good idea?

Here in Room for Debate, experts in the education of children learning English are already discussing strategies that schools around the country are adopting to help these students meet rising academic standards.
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Failing families

More reason for us to hope for immigration reform this year. - - Donna Poisl

Immigration enforcement policies unfairly hurt many children who are citizens

By Lavanya Sithanandam

When I walked into the exam room, I knew something was wrong. My 8-year old patient, usually an extroverted, charming boy, was angry. He sat with his arms crossed and refused to look at me. His exhausted mother recounted how one week ago, her husband, after arriving home from a 12-hour shift at work, had been arrested in front of his children and taken away in handcuffs. He was now sitting in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Frederick. The mother asked me to evaluate her son for a one-week history of poor appetite, difficulty with sleeping, and wheezing.

As a pediatrician working in Montgomery County, home to the largest immigrant community in Maryland, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects that aggressive immigration enforcement policies can have on families. Many of these children are citizens, born in the United States to at least one undocumented parent. Yet these children often experience what no U.S. citizen (or any child, for that matter) should. They live in constant fear of abandonment because they have seen and heard of neighbors and family members being picked up and deported within days.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Space to help refugees, asylees integrate opens in Frederick

A new center opens to help new refugees and immigrants in this area. It helps them with English, jobs, everything they need. - - Donna Poisl

By Nicholas C. Stern, News-Post Staff

When refugees from Myanmar, formerly Burma, arrive in the Frederick area, they need work.

"Without it, there's nothing to eat," said Phun Thang, a church leader at Falam Baptist Church-Maryland in Frederick and a Myanmar refugee himself.

Thang joined dozens of refugees, asylees and area service providers for an open house Monday at the downtown offices of LIFE and Discovery, a local educational corporation.

The event marked the kickoff of a collaboration among LIFE and Discovery, Lutheran Social Services, the International Rescue Committee and Frederick County Public Schools, among others, to provide services for an increasing number of Myanmar refugees in the Frederick area.
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Immigrants Rally Against Slave Labor

These immigrant workers are showing how they are treated and comparing it to the way slaves were treated. Amazing! I hope they succeed in changing minds and laws. - - Donna Poisl

Posted By: Gary Detman

IMMOKALEE, FL -- Immigrant workers turned towards Florida's Legislature to help stop modern day slave labor.

Dozens of immigrant workers and their families traveled from Immokalee to show us how some of the say they're treated in the fields. They used props and acted--in a silent theatrical demonstration--to show us how they are chained inside truck, beaten in the fields, and often times they are not compensated for their work.
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Immigration rights advocates focus on families

Deported parents are leaving their American children behind so they can stay here and stay in school. More proof that we need immigration reform now. - - Donna Poisl

Children left behind by deported parents have become the new face of the campaign. Borrowing a page from the civil rights movement, supporters have taken their cause to churches.

By Dahleen Glanton

Reporting from Norcross, Ga. -- On a recent afternoon, 15-year-old Marlon Parras stood on stage in front of 3,000 people and talked about the hardships he and his 13-year-old sister have faced since their parents were deported to Guatemala.

He wept as he spoke of his parents' decision to leave them, both American citizens, with relatives and church members so they could continue their education in suburban Atlanta.

"This is not a family," Marlon told the crowd. "This is not fair."
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Lao Americans Discover Homeland

It is always a good idea to know where we came from. - - Donna Poisl

By Written by AsianWeek Staff Report

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – “Throughout my school years I was trying to learn about my Lao heritage, which has always been a push and pull of understanding my parents and their values,” says Sandra Siharath. “I have taken courses in Africana Studies, Raza Studies, Native American Studies, Asian American Studies, hoping to piece together my identity as an Asian American, but I was never able to truly capture being Lao in America.”

Now Siharath and other young Lao Americans will have the unique opportunity to learn about their cultural heritage first hand through the Summer Study Abroad in Loas program (SAIL). The first U.S. based study abroad program of its kind will offer participants total cultural immersion through language lessons, country-specific course offerings, travel, social and volunteer opportunities. Sponsored by the Center for Lao Studies the program will be held at the Lao American College in Vientiane, Laos.

Those interested in learning about Southeast Asian culture are also encouraged to apply; the application deadline is March 15.
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Monday, March 09, 2009

Study: Hispanic Families Eat At Home With Children More Than Other Families

I love all the things the Census study tells us. Eating dinner at home, together, also helps with school success and staying away from drugs. - - Donna Poisl

By Rob Kuznia--HispanicBusiness.com

Hispanic families are more likely than all others to eat dinner at home with their children, according to a new U.S. Census study.

In the survey, which was released last week, 85 percent of Hispanic parents with children 6 years old or younger said they ate dinner with their kids every night during a typical week last month. Parents of Asian descent posted the next highest figure, at 84 percent, followed by whites, at 80 percent, and blacks, at 78 percent.

Hispanics also posted the highest numbers for eating dinner with children ages 6 to 11 and 12 to 17.
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