Saturday, May 30, 2009

Little Havana's All-Aboard Family Literacy Center serves community

This Literacy Center is helping parents learn English and also learn to help their children do better in school. The teacher in this Center received the 2009 Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year award. There is a very long waiting list of families trying to join the classes. - - Donna Poisl


She likes to think of it as the ``Little Havana Country Club.''

But with a waiting list of more than 135 families, supervisor Maria Piñón only wishes the All-Aboard Family Literacy Center in Miami was big enough to accommodate all those who want to be a part.

For five years, the center at 145 SW 11th Ave., has served as a gathering place to celebrate birthdays, mourn deaths -- and most importantly, learn. The center teaches parenting skills and literacy for families with children up to age 7 in the Riverside Elementary area in Little Havana. The program provides parents with the academic foundation that will lead to self-sufficiency while ensuring their children acquire the skills needed at their grade level.

''Many are new immigrants, so they find here a family,'' Piñón said.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Most U.S. Hispanic Kids Have Immigrant Parents

Census numbers are showing that 52% of Latino children in this country are children born to immigrant parents. - - Donna Poisl

By N.C. Aizenman, Washington Post Staff Writer

A majority of Hispanic children are now U.S.-born children of immigrants, primarily Mexicans who came to this country in an immigration wave that began about 1980, according to a report released yesterday.

The analysis of census data by the nonpartisan, Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center charts a substantial demographic shift among the nation's 16 million Hispanic children, who constitute one of the fastest growing child populations in the United States and account for more than one of five U.S. children. As recently as 1980, nearly six of 10 Latino children were in the third generation or higher, meaning that their parents, and often their grandparents and great-grandparents, were native-born U.S. citizens. Only three of 10 were in the second generation -- born in the United States to parents who immigrated.

Now those U.S.-born children of Latino immigrants account for 52 percent of all Latino children, according to the study.
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Center reaches out to women

This city received a grant and is using it to help immigrant women learn English and a skill they can use to get a better job or even open their own business. - - Donna Poisl

'Mother's Club' » Immigrant women gain skills to increase their income levels.

By Jennifer W. Sanchez, The Salt Lake Tribune

Midvale » Patricia Blazquez worked at a pizzeria and later cleaned houses when she moved from Mexico to Utah almost 10 years ago. Now she is excited about the possibility of opening her own business. Blazquez is one of some 20 Spanish-speaking women enrolled in the city's Mother's Club, a new program teaching them English and how to sew.

Blazquez, a wife and mother of two, said she hopes to use her sewing skills to get a job she enjoys, maybe open a shop. But, she's especially working hard to learn English.

"It's the only way someone can progress in this country," she said, speaking in Spanish.
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A lifeline for elderly Irish immigrants

Many immigrant communities should have outreach programs helping their elderly residents. It is not only the Irish people who have this problem - - Donna Poisl

By James F. Smith, Globe Staff

A few years back, after two elderly Irish immigrants died alone in their homes on the South Shore and the bodies weren't discovered for days, the Irish Pastoral Centre in Quincy resolved to prevent it from happening again. The center launched an outreach program to confront the isolation that can afflict the aged when spouses die and neighbors move away.

The elderly program now draws more than 400 Irish-born seniors into weekly and monthly activities in Quincy, Canton, and Brighton, keeping people involved and connected.

President Mary McAleese of Ireland, speaking yesterday at a brunch in Dorchester honoring the outreach program, said the work is especially valuable for the Irish diaspora.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Program lets parents learn English alongside their children

The Toyota Family Literacy Program teaches English to parents and also requires them to spend two hours a week in their children's classroom. This helps the parents and also helps the children do better in school. Before this, the parents couldn't even read their child's homework, now they can help them. - - Donna Poisl

by Sean Maher, Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND — It's not unusual in some Oakland communities for children to come home from school with homework their parents can't read.

Seeking to empower and educate such parents, and to demystify their children's schooling, the Toyota Family Literacy Program puts parents directly into their children's classrooms in tandem with their adult English workshops.

"The parents commit to eight hours of English as a Second Language classes each week, but they also commit to spending two hours each week in the classroom where their children are being taught, and two hours in workshops about literacy and development for children," program coordinator Cintya Molina said.
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Public More Supportive of Immigration Reform

This new study shows that the public is much more in favor or immigration reform than two years ago. And 63% think illegal immigrants should have a path to citizenship. This is encouraging. Lots of interesting graphs and explanations on this page, click on this headline and take a look. - - Donna Poisl

By Ruy Teixeira

A few weeks ago, this column featured a result from an ABC/Washington Post poll suggesting increased support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

This was a noteworthy finding on an issue with strong culture wars overtones. Indeed, we might have expected tough economic times to inflame cultural prejudices, thereby promoting intolerance of immigrants. Instead, the reverse seems to be taking place, as confirmed by new polling from the Pew Research Center.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mexican farm workers getting lesson in English

This immigrant who came here in 1993, knowing no English, is teaching other immigrants our language. He understands how hard it is and how important it is if these workers want to get ahead. - - Donna Poisl

By Matt Dunn

BRIDGETON: A list of beverages spelled in both English and Spanish was written on a blackboard.

A small group of Mexican immigrants paid attention as Harold Groff, a recently laid-off lab technician from Salem County, added more words to the list.

Wednesday night in Bridgeton, this class for Spanish-speaking men and women met at the office of Ramon Hernandez.
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A Better Life Beckons in Africa

Immigrant professionals from many countries have decided to go back home. The economy here has made them realize that their quality of life in their home countries is often better than the stresses of life here. - - Donna Poisl

U.S. Downturn Drives Immigrant Professionals Back Home

By Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post Foreign Service

KISUMU, Kenya -- With the U.S. economy in turmoil, his job as a truck driver no longer secure and his upwardly mobile life in the Dallas suburbs in jeopardy, James Odhiambo decided it was time for a change.

He wanted a healthier lifestyle for his family, less anxiety, fewer 14-hour days. So he recently traded his deluxe apartment, the pickup truck, the dishwasher and $4.99 McDonald's combos for life in a place he considers relatively better: sub-Saharan Africa.

"Right now I'm no stress, no anxiety," said Odhiambo, 34, relaxing in his family home in this western Kenyan city along the shores of Lake Victoria.
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STATEMENT, press secretary

Historic Nomination Would Place the First Hispanic on the Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) released the following statement today after President Barack Obama announced his choice of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

“President Obama has promised to bring change to Washington and he continues to do that with his choice for Supreme Court Justice. Judge Sotomayor is a highly qualified and historic nominee. She would bring extensive legal experience and a unique perspective to the Supreme Court. I look forward to the Senate’s consideration of her nomination over the next few weeks.”

Bryan DeAngelis
Press Secretary
U.S. Senator Chris Dodd
Direct: 202-224-5372
Cell: 202-657-9913

Monday, May 25, 2009

Anti-poverty movement takes hold in Utah schools

In order for this school superintendent to tell all the parents that all their children should graduate from high school, he had to speak in English and also Spanish. He needs the parents to understand how important it is and told them that he cannot do it alone. - - Donna Poisl

S.L. district » Schools take 'whole child' approach to bridge the achievement gap.

By Kirsten Stewart, The Salt Lake Tribune

Midvale » Canyons School District Superintendent David Doty had a message recently for parents of children at Midvale Middle School. It was important enough to deliver in person and in two languages.

"All children in this district should graduate from high school prepared for college, not just thinking about attending college, but college bound," Doty told parents Wednesday, first in English and later in Spanish.

It wasn't the most expedient way to get a point across, even for Doty, a former Spanish teacher who struggled Wednesday to explain his job title; the direct translation for "superintendent" is "building supervisor" or "custodian."
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Are we raising global citizens?

A very thoughtful opinion piece by a school teacher. She says that immigrants should learn English, but Americans should all know another language too, so we can live and work and compete in the world. Or we will all be left behind. - - Donna Poisl

BY Kathy Palomino, teacher

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a World Affairs Council event and was fascinated by Fareed Zakaria's predictions for the future. A little nervous, also – he looked in my general direction and said that blue-eyed blondes (guilty) will no longer dominate business in the new, more global economy.

I squirmed as I wondered if this expert in global affairs was right, but I quickly threw off my white-girl angst because I know that not too many decades have passed since my German grandparents had to face fierce prejudice. Still, I have to admit that I have occasionally opened doors with just a smile.

Zakaria warns that being American will soon no longer be enough of an entry pass to compete in the new economy. His words stating that other governments are rising and changing the distribution of power gave me serious food for thought. I feel that he is correct in his predictions.
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American Girl’s Journey to the Lower East Side

These dolls are historical characters, all telling the story of their culture group and the role they play in the United States. A wonderful way to have fun, read books and learn about our history. The newest doll is Rebecca, a Russian-Jewish girl in New York in 1914. - - Donna Poisl


WHEN Abraham Foxman met Rebecca Rubin, he was impressed.

“I’m surprised,” said Mr. Foxman, the director of the Anti-Defamation League, as he gazed at Rebecca, a brown-haired doll who was sitting on his desk last week, her hazel eyes locked unwaveringly onto his.

Ms. Rubin, all of 18 inches tall, is the newest historical character doll to be released by American Girl, the company in Middleton, Wis., whose products have a rabidly devoted following among the female 7- to 12-year-old set. She is a 9-year-old girl living on the Lower East Side in 1914 with her Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, siblings and a grandmother known only as Bubbie. Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Immigrants have proud history of military service

Foreign-born soldiers have served in our military since the Revolutionary War and many have died there. The number of immigrants serving now would surprise many people, especially the people who say we don't need immigrants and they should all go home. - - Donna Poisl

by SAMANTHA HENRY, The Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. - The first foreign country that Christian Bueno-Galdos ever traveled to was the United States, where he moved when he was 7. The second was Iraq, where he was killed this month serving under the U.S. flag.

Bueno-Galdos, a U.S. Army sergeant originally from Peru, was one of about 31,000 foreign-born soldiers now in U.S. armed forces , about 1.5 percent of the military , according to the Defense Department. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the department says about 150 immigrants have been killed while serving. Several among them, including Bueno-Galdos, lived in New Jersey.

His father, Carlos Bueno, said the family struggled to decide where to bury their son: in the Peruvian homeland he cherished or in the country he felt a patriotism for that lead him to the Army right out of high school.
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The Dream Endangered

The real estate boom helped many immigrants attain the American Dream, but now they are being hurt by the recession as hard as all the rest of us. - - Donna Poisl

Many Immigrants Who Prospered in the Boom Now Face Crisis

By Alejandro Lazo, Washington Post Staff Writer

Oscar Arias saw in the real estate boom an opportunity to retire home to Nicaragua a wealthy man after fleeing the Sandinistas with nothing to his name in the 1980s.

He spent years in the United States toiling as a dishwasher, a chef and a construction worker. In 2001, he founded a residential and commercial renovation company, Potomac Restoration, out of his Woodbridge home. He bought two additional houses during the boom and planned to sell them and return to Nicaragua with a nice cushion, he said.

But the housing bust has left the 54-year-old on the brink of ruin. He has worked only a month this year.
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Friday, May 22, 2009

Cleveland encouraged to welcome immigrants

Since Philadelphia has increased its tax revenue, businesses and population, other cities are following the example. - - Donna Poisl

Posted By: Dick Russ

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland leaders were encouraged Thursday to follow the example of Philadelphia which increased its population, tax revenue, and business climate by welcoming immigrants.

Ann O'Callaghan came to the City Club to tell the story of her city's Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, which equips new immigrants with the information and tools they need to seek success in the United States.

In just six years, very much through the efforts of the Welcoming Center, Philadelphia's foreign born population increased by 113,000 and now accounts for 11% of the city's entire population.
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Schumer seeks consensus on immigration reform

Now that illegal border crossings are down and the border is more secure, Sen. Schumer says it is time for immigration reform. - - Donna Poisl


WASHINGTON - Citing new figures showing arrests for illegal border crossings down 27 percent since October, Sen. Charles Schumer on Wednesday argued that the federal government is fulfilling its promise to secure the nation's borders, so now it's time for "immigration reform."

Declines in the arrests indicate fewer people are trying to enter illegally, border patrol officials said Wednesday, whether because of tougher enforcement or the bad economy.

With such testimony in the second Senate hearing this year on an ambitious overhaul of immigration laws, Schumer, a New York Democrat and chairman of the Senate's immigration subcommittee, sought to address the issue he says sank previous legislation.
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Hispanic voters say immigration's No. 1

There are 12 to 13 million Hispanic voters and they are most concerned about immigration reform. 86% of these people voted in the last election and their voice must be listened to. - - Donna Poisl

by Albor Ruiz

They have enough problems already, but a poll released Monday is sure to give anti-immigration extremists and Republican leaders plenty more to fret about.

Conducted by Bendixen & Associates, a Miami-based consulting firm, and sponsored by America's Voice, a pro-immigration reform group, the poll confirmed for the umpteenth time that immigration is a defining issue for the 12 to 13 million Hispanics who are eligible to vote in the U.S.

"The anti-immigrant movement's divisive tone and demagogic rhetoric keeps politicizing Hispanics and bringing them together in support of a new immigration policy," Sergio Bendixen, president of Bendixen and Associates, concluded about the survey results.
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Reuniting Families Act

Reuniting Families Act
Bill Summary

Senator Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Kennedy (D-MA) plan to introduce the Reuniting Families Act, a bill to help family members reunite in America in a timely manner. This bill would reform America’s family-based immigration system to end lengthy separations of loved ones, promote family stability and foster the economic growth that immigrant families have provided throughout our history.

As a result of current long waits, many family members who apply for visas in the prime of their lives are not granted admission until they reach retirement age, undermining their economic contribution to our country and encouraging some frustrated relatives to resort to illegal migration.
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Helping immigrants assimilate brings acclaim to nonprofit

This is another of the groups that has received the grants from the Migration Policy Institute. It is helping immigrants, using innovative ideas. - - Donna Poisl


As her classmates chatted in Spanish, Edith Guerra carefully fashioned her daughter’s graduation cap using sheets of thin cardboard and a hot-glue gun. Then she added the final touch: a handmade tassel of shiny, red string.

Down the hall, Guerra’s 2-year-old, Melanie, sat in a classroom with a dozen other children, learning to recite her ABCs in English.

It was Wednesday morning, just weeks from a commencement ceremony for the group of young, Hispanic mothers and children in an acclaimed early education program called Avance, which aims to help “at risk” families — including new immigrants — break cycles of poverty and illiteracy.

The Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank based in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday honored the Avance program in El Paso for being one of four “exceptional immigrant integration initiatives” in the U.S. — netting the organization $50,000.
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Language class too popular?

Here is a new dual-immersion program and there are more than twice as many kids trying to get in as the school can accommodate. - - Donna Poisl

As school prepares to launch dual-immersion program, high demand leads to some grumblings.

By Amanda H. Miller, Jackson Hole, Wyo.

More than twice as many English-speaking students as there are spots for them have signed up to participate in the new dual-immersion program at Davey Jackson Elementary School.

With a lottery scheduled for early June to determine who gets to participate, some parents are anxious their kids won’t get in.

The program will start with two kindergarten classes and two first-grade classes, each with 10 native English speakers and 10 native Spanish speakers. Students will have math and Spanish language arts in Spanish and will learn social studies, science and English language arts in English, spending about half of every day in their native language and the other half in a new one.
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Pro-immigration group's study contends immigrants don't impact unemployment

The Center for Immigration Policy has released a study comparing unemployment with immigration rates and does not find that they have anything to do with each other. - - Donna Poisl

State economist questions study's methods, but agrees with some conclusions

By Sheena Mcfarland, The Salt Lake Tribune

Contrary to conventional wisdom -- and anti-illegal immigration rhetoric -- immigration rates have no direct effect on unemployment rates, according to a study released Tuesday.

The study was conducted by the Center for Immigration Policy, the research arm of the pro-immigration American Immigration Law Foundation. It compared rates of unemployment with immigration rates in states across the nation, and found no direct correlation.

"The level of unemployment in the U.S. is painful, sometimes scary and very difficult for those directly impacted," said Dan Siciliano, executive director of the Program in Law, Economics and Business at Stanford Law School and a research fellow for the Washington, D.C.-based center. "But the notion that immigration is causally related to unemployment belittles and questions the challenges of unemployment."
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Oakland high school for immigrants wins grant

The Migration Policy Institute has given grants to four programs, including this high school, that are helping immigrants. The winners are all using innovative ideas and having great success. - - Donna Poisl

Oakland high school for immigrants wins grant

by Tyche Hendricks, Chronicle Staff Writer

An Oakland high school focused on newly arrived immigrant students - they hail from 25 countries and speak 29 languages - is part of a school network receiving a national award today for success in integrating immigrants into the fabric of American society.

"We're very excited about it," said Carmelita Reyes, principal at Oakland International High School. "We're being seen as a model for other urban areas facing immigration challenges."

The E Pluribus Unum Prize, inaugurated this year by a nonpartisan Washington think tank, bestowed $50,000 apiece on four groups working to help foreign-born residents assimilate. They were chosen from among 500 applicants.
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PSJA graduates first students from bilingual program

This dual language program began 13 years ago and the first students are graduating. They will have many more jobs and careers available to them in this tough economy we have now. Let's hope other schools do this too. - - Donna Poisl

by Jennifer L. Berghom, The Monitor

SAN JUAN — Learning the three R's in English and Spanish simultaneously did not come easy to Oscar Martinez at first.

Martinez started participating in the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district's dual-language program when he was in kindergarten at Pharr Elementary School.

Having learned only English at home, Martinez, now 18, found it difficult to understand some of his teachers who would give lessons in Spanish. By sixth grade, however, he could read, write and carry on conversations in his second language.

But the most encouraging result for him was that he was finally able to have a conversation in Spanish with his grandfather, something he hadn't been able to do without help from family members.
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Immigrants and the crisis

This opinion piece talks about the fact that homeowners in the immigrant community have not been as hard hit as other groups. People who blame the number of foreclosures on immigrants are simply wrong. - - Donna Poisl

| 2009-05-16 | La Opinión

There has been much speculation on the causes of the mortgage crisis, going so far as to blame immigrants for having taken on loans they could not repay. While it is true that some homeowners committed this error, the position of immigrants in this regard is much more complex and not nearly as negative as some have attempted to portray it.

A recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center (Through Boom and Bust: Minorities, Immigrants and HomeOwnership) indicates that Latino immigrants have weathered this crisis better than US-born Latinos and African-Americans.

In short, the immigrant community ended up better off than the others after the booms and busts of the real estate market between 1995 and 2008. Over this period, the gap between the percentage of Latino immigrant homeowners and white homeowners was reduced.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

National Hispanic Cardiology Leadership Network Announces Largest Effort Ever In Hispanic Heart Health


National Partnership of American College of Cardiology and National Alliance for Hispanic Health Delivers Heart Health Guides in Cardiologists Offices and to Consumers By Calling 1-866-SU-FAMILIA

WASHINGTON, DC "Today marks a milestone in heart health for Hispanic communities," said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the nations leading Hispanic health advocacy group. "Over 28,000 cardiologists now have new Spanish language resources in their offices through the American College of Cardiologys CardioSmart portal, the leading source of heart health information, and over 10,000 Hispanic health consumers have received Caring for Your Heart, a comprehensive bilingual heart health guide co-published by the Alliance with the American Heart Association."

The announcement of what is the largest effort ever to deliver heart health information for Hispanic communities comes as cardiologists from around the country gather today in Washington, DC at the American College of Cardiologys headquarters, Heart House. "We are proud of our partnership with the Alliance to deliver best in the field information to Hispanic patients. As our country moves forward with health reform, delivering quality care to Hispanic communities must be central to our efforts and todays gathering of Hispanic cardiologists and announcement of new bilingual resources marks a first step in that effort," said Dr. Jack Lewin, Chief Executive Officer of the American College of Cardiology.

"Getting the most accurate, up to date, and language-appropriate information about heart health into the hands of doctors, nurses, and their Hispanic patients at the point of clinical contact is going to get a lot easier thanks to this new cooperative effort," said Dr. Miguel Quiñones, Co-Chair of the National Hispanic Cardiology Leadership Network, a leadership group of heart health professionals that spearheaded todays announcement of new materials with ACC and the Alliance with support from AstraZeneca.

New Spanish fact sheets explaining key heart health topics such as atherosclerosis, cholesterol, and blood pressure have been developed by the health professional members of the Leadership Network and are being delivered online to cardiologists offices through the ACCs CardioSmart website ( and by the Alliance through the heart health page of its website ( In addition, callers to the Alliances toll-free bilingual Su Familia National Hispanic Familiy Health Helpline can also get the fact sheets, a new bilingual book "Caring for Your Heart" ("Cuidando su Corazón") co-published with the American Heart Association, and referrals to a health care provider in their community.

For Immediate Release
May 20, 2009
Contact: Adam J. Segal • 202.422.4673

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dream of College Thrives in Hispanic Community, Survey Shows

A college education for their children is part of the American Dream for 95% of Hispanic parents. - - Donna Poisl

by Patricia

Hispanic Americans are strongly committed to achieving the American dream of a college education, a new nationwide survey by OppenheimerFunds shows. But in a troubled economy, that goal is "under siege," as only a small percentage are able to save up to make the dream a reality.

"College Within Reach," a survey sponsored by OppenheimerFunds Inc., was conducted by phone in February. A polling firm interviewed 958 non-Hispanic U.S. parents of pre-college-age children, in addition to a separate sample of 325 Hispanic families.

Of those Hispanics polled, nearly all -- 95 percent -- said they view sending their children to college as an "essential part of the American dream," on par with homeownership and a comfortable retirement.
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Robert Redford to Aid Hispanic, Native American Filmmakers

This is a terrific program that will help these filmmakers with funding and will help the local economy. - - Donna Poisl

by Suzanne

Actor Robert Redford is partnering the state of New Mexico to produce "Sundance in New Mexico," a hands-on filmmaking program that will work with and train aspiring Hispanic and Native American filmmakers. Officially beginning on Saturday May 16 in Santa Fe, the program aims to bring Redford's knowledge of film to communities that do not frequently see an abundance of funding.
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Center helps immigrants

Since English is so hard to learn, immigrants who study for months or years to become fluent should be commended. Many of the people in this class are also benefiting because their children are in preschool at the same facility. - - Donna Poisl

As parents learn, free preschool for kids

by Laura Moody

TAMPA - Inside the teaching lab at the University Area Community Development Center, teacher Dan Hromalik has a big crowd.

"If I felt, you use the conditional," he said to the thirty or so students.

English is one of the hardest languages in the world to master. So the fact that they're here every day says a lot, but when you consider they've all endured so much just to be in this country, it means even more.

They're all learning English thanks to the Hillsborough County school district's English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program. "There [are] actually three classes a day, morning, midday and night," said Julian Garcia, Executive Director of the University Area Community Development Corporation. "All three are well attended."
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A barrier of silence in East Boston

Many immigrants do not trust the police in their home countries, so they fear them here too. Which means many of them do not report crimes and criminals take advantage of that fact. City police forces are trying to break down that barrier. - - Donna Poisl

Police strive to gain Latino immigrants' trust

By Maria Cramer, Globe Staff

A thief breaks into a car on Eagle Hill. A day laborer is beaten up near Chelsea Street for not handing over his wages. Near Maverick Square, a woman's house is ransacked and her belongings stolen.

Such crimes have been commonplace in East Boston in recent months, but police said they often do not hear about them until hours or days after they have happened, and sometimes not at all, because few witnesses or victims are bothering to call 911.

As the city works to keep the peace in this largely immigrant neighborhood, which has seen a sharp rise in crime over the first four months of the year, police say they are confronting a formidable obstacle: silence.
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chinese culture arrives in Schaumburg with mementos

This Chinese couple moved to Illinois two years ago and wants to share their heritage and language with their new neighbors. - - Donna Poisl

by Deborah Donovan | Daily Herald Staff

Runhua Wang doesn't let little things like a lack of English skills interfere with her desire to make American friends and teach people about her rich Chinese culture.

Wang and her husband, Kai Yang, left Beijing two years ago and moved to Schaumburg to be near their daughter, Yijun Yang, who works for United Airlines and lives in Palatine.

And now Wang, a fierce entrepreneur and owner of a private college in Beijing that taught English and computer skills, turns to teaching to make friends, and eventually she could offer lessons and tutoring on how to navigate Chinese language such as her own Mandarin and culture.
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Changing Tastes, From Lingonberry to Baba Ghanouj

The best way to learn about other cultures, without traveling to their countries, is to visit ethnic neighborhoods and eat the food there. Delicious! - - Donna Poisl


Myra Alperson is a matchmaker of sorts.

She brings together people curious about exploring the city and introduces them to out-of-the-way neighborhoods they may never have visited. And like Napoleon’s army, her crew travels on its stomach.

An effervescent and ambulatory Zagat, Ms. Alperson has for 10 years run culinary tours that she calls NoshWalks through neighborhoods like Brighton Beach, the Grand Concourse and Richmond Hill. The other day she drew a group of 14 people to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to sample its United Nations of delights: Palestinian, Greek, Norwegian, Danish, Lebanese, Moroccan and Turkish dishes.

As they took a bite here and a bite there at the smorgasbord of groceries, bakeries and restaurants along Third and Fifth Avenues, she doled out juicy tidbits about Bay Ridge. Along the way, she demonstrated an essential secret about the magic of a city revitalized by new immigrants: that the whole world can be found in New York for the cost of a MetroCard.
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English Conversation Free San Francisco Event


English Conversation Free San Francisco Event

The Effortless English Club is hosting a free English conversation event in San Francisco on May 30th, 2009. A.J. Hoge, Director of Effortless English, will teach sample lessons and explain the Effortless English System for speaking fluent English.

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) May 16, 2009 -- The Effortless English Club is hosting a free English conversation event in San Francisco on May 30th, 2009. A.J. Hoge, Director of Effortless English, will teach the Effortless English System to immigrants and international students.

The event will be held at the Women's Building at 3543 18th St # 8, San Francisco. It is open to everyone who wishes to speak English more fluently.

Doors open at 10:30am. This is a free event.

# # #

Farms and Immigrants

One group that needs immigration reform to hurry up are farms in this country. Americans don't want to work in the fields and the farms have a serious labor shortage. - - Donna Poisl

Editorial Staff Opinion

The immigration system, broken in a thousand places, needs a multitude of fixes, from the borders to the workplace to the status of would-be Americans waiting in limbo overseas and toiling in shadows here. A new bill called AgJobs, introduced in the House and Senate, addresses some of those problems. It seeks to relieve chronic farm labor shortages while protecting rights and opportunities for immigrant workers.

The legislation, which has bipartisan support, is the result of years of negotiations between growers and workers’ advocates. Growers and workers are tied together, but their interests are highly prone to collision, as anyone who remembers the California farmworker strikes of the 1970s knows.
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Getting engaged

Asian Americans are becoming more politically active in their communities. They used to try to keep out of the spotlight but are discovering their voices should be heard. - - Donna Poisl

Once marginalized, Asian Americans participate in civic life in Palo Alto in increasing numbers

by Sue Dremann, Palo Alto Weekly Staff

Grace Mah thought long and hard about her decision to apply for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Education in 2007. She had fought a lengthy battle to start a Mandarin Immersion language program in the Palo Alto school district, even raising $60,000 for district staff to conduct a study.

At times, the animosity of a few of her opponents took on decidedly racial overtones. One anonymous phone call stands out in her mind.

"They told me, 'Why don't you just go back to China?'" said Mah, who is of Chinese heritage but American born.

But she said she had developed expertise and a passion for education and felt undaunted by the controversy.
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Lack of language resources is holding immigrants back

A shortage of funds, classes and ESL teachers are hurting immigrants in their quest for success in this country. Fluency in English is essential to succeed. - - Donna Poisl


It’s no secret that being able to speak English is critical to success in the workplace, but Chicago’s community college system makes it difficult for adults to gain the necessary language skills to find better job opportunities.

While the number of limited-English speakers in Chicago has varied little since 2000, funding for adult education has declined steadily. In the last five years, the system’s adult education funding, which mostly comes from the federal and state governments, was cut by more than 20 percent to $10.8 million.

“If our state is to recover and transition into the global economy, it will need a trained labor force, and English literacy is a key component of that training,” said Fred Tsao, policy director for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).
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Insured immigrants spend less on health: study

This new study shows that immigrants are not a drain on the health system. This study shows that more than half of immigrants are fully insured. - - Donna Poisl

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Insured immigrants have lower medical expenses than U.S.-born citizens, even after accounting for lower levels of insurance coverage, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

They said the findings contradict the popular belief that immigrants are a drain on the U.S. health system.

"Many people claim that immigrants are using large health care expenditures in the United States and they are causing emergency room bills to soar," said Leighton Ku, a health policy researcher at George Washington University, whose study appears in the American Journal of Public Health.

"When you control for their health status and all sorts of characteristics like age, they actually have medical expenditures that are far below those of U.S. citizens," Ku said in a telephone interview.
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New bishop: Church must proclaim hope in dire economic times

This new bishop knows about learning English in school as an immigrant child, from his own story. He wants the church to be more active teaching English to immigrants, since he knows how important that is. - - Donna Poisl

Catholic leader pays first visit to Upstate


The church must remind people of the presence of God in their lives in dark economic times and proclaim hope for the future, the new bishop of South Carolina's statewide Catholic diocese said Monday.

"No matter how difficult things may get, we are still a people of hope," the Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, said in an interview with The Greenville News.

"We have to continually look forward and say this is something that may be tough for a while, but it will pass. We will overcome this and we've got to keep our spirits high."
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NAM Poll: Women Immigrants Keeping Families Together

Until the mid 1900s, most immigrants were men, but this new poll is proving how important (and numerous) the women are now. They are immigrating as wives and mothers and are helping the most by keeping families together. - - Donna Poisl

New America Media, Commentary, Sandy Close and Richard Rodriguez

Editor’s Note: The story of migration is no longer a man’s story. It is increasingly becoming a woman’s tale, according to “Women Immigrants: Stewards of the 21st Century,” a new poll by New America Media. The survey of 1,002 female immigrants from Latin American, Asian, African, and Arab countries, found that immigrant women are taking charge in keeping their families together. At a time when more than one-third of families in the United States are single-parent households, 90 percent of women immigrants interviewed report that their families are intact, writes NAM Executive Director Sandy Close.

The story of migration, as it has traditionally been told, has been a masculine epic. But in the latter part of the 20th century, as women began immigrating to America in ever-growing numbers, the migration story became increasing a woman’s tale as well. Women are now on the move, as much as men. But their narrative is different from that of their male predecessors -– they are migrating not as lone individuals but as members, even heads, of families, determined to keep family bonds intact even as they travel great distances and adapt to new cultures.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Budget woes may dim a bilingual beacon

Budget cuts are hurting many schools and the programs that benefit kids all across the country. Here is another example. - - Donna Poisl

Hernández school could lose citywide status

By James Vaznis, Globe Staff

Ticco Robinson, a science teacher at the Rafael Hernández School in Roxbury, held up two water-soaked lima beans that had doubled in size overnight, eliciting a chorus of "whoa" from the entranced third-graders. The students then began guessing the weight of the beans in grams: "Ocho?" "Diez?" "Veinticinco?"

For more than 30 years, this public school has taught science, math, and other subjects in Spanish and English, drawing parents from across the city with its track record of helping students who speak one of those languages become fluent in both while maintaining high test scores.

The Hernández - one of three schools that teach in Spanish and English - is the only one open to students from every Boston neighborhood. Stripping Hernández of citywide status, along with shrinking the student assignment areas for the other two schools, would leave many neighborhoods, including heavily Latino East Boston, without access to any such program.
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Teacher reaches out to immigrants

This teacher has helped many immigrants and has received two grants. This money will enable her to help even more immigrants. - - Donna Poisl

By Tony Di Domizio

Lauraine Lindbloom, a librarian at Hallowell Elementary School in the Hatboro-Horsham School District, believes the efforts of helping immigrants with literacy are past due.

With the aid of two grants, Lindbloom has the goal of improving the quality of life for students through ESL (English as a Second Language) and ELL (English Language Learners) programs at the school, and for adults, teens and youth through literacy programs at First Baptist Church in Lansdale and North Wales Baptist Church.

Lindbloom was selected as the Pennsylvania School Libraries Association Follett Professional Development Award winner and received a $1,000 grant from the PSLA to carry out work at Hallowell.

A second grant, in the amount of $1,500, was awarded to her by the American Baptist Churches USA in Valley Forge, which will go toward improving the literacy program at First Baptist Church and help with the resettlement here of the Karen people, an ethnic group of Burmese refugees.
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Illegal immigration poses problem for census

It is very important for every person to be counted in the Census, but some groups are telling illegal immigrants to boycott it without immigration reform. The census cannot give out personal information, such as legal status, it is only used to count the people. - - Donna Poisl

from McClatchy News Service

The challenge looms large for census takers in North Carolina as they prepare to count illegal immigrants in a time of rising deportations and anti-immigrant sentiment.

The campaign to inform Latinos about the 2010 Census has begun, with officials working against both concerns that census information might be shared with immigration officials and a national movement calling for illegal immigrants to boycott the census unless immigration reform is enacted.

Census data is used to allocate congressional seats and federal funds for roads, social services, parks and other local projects. A failure to count North Carolina's large illegal immigrant population -- estimated at 300,000 -- could result in major losses for the state. The last census gave North Carolina a new congressman and revealed North Carolina as one of the fastest-growing immigrant destinations in the country.
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Got DREAM? Youth seek change in immigration laws

This youth group is trying to get immigration reform soon. They are graduating from high school and need the DREAM Act, at least. They want to continue their education and attend college and stay and work here. - - Donna Poisl


Carefully unfurling a packet of stickers, Hyunji considers adding the colorful butterflies to the pillow on her lap. Sitting across from her, Mike sifts through a bin of multi-colored Styrofoam cut-outs. The two work together on the hardwood floor, surrounded by tubs of markers, fuzzy pompoms and spools of string.

Oh, and don’t forget the pillows. Half a dozen pillows lie in various stages of decoration around them, each emblazoned with a similar message: “DREAM.”

Both Hyunji and Mike, whose last names are not being disclosed to protect their identities, belong to the Fighting Youth Shouting out for Humanity (FYSH) at the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC) in Albany Park. Since February, FYSH has dedicated itself to the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, a bill that would allow undocumented students to apply for temporary residency after they graduate from high school.
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MAOF to Host 33rd Annual National Hispanic Women's Conference


U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will receive special recognition

LOS ANGELES, May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF), one of the largest Latino nonprofit organizations in the United States, will host the thirty-third annual National Hispanic Women's Conference (NHWC), its premier networking and professional development event for young Latinas, at the Pasadena Convention Center on May 22, 2009. The conference will feature an award ceremony for Latinas who have excelled in various professional fields, including an inaugural award for U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
The NHWC, the nation's longest-running conference on Latina empowerment, began thirty-three years ago to ensure Latinas had access to job opportunities in corporate America. What started with 50 participants has grown to a yearly audience of over 2,000 Latinas.
The conference's Women of the Year Awards Luncheon will honor Latinas who have excelled in their chosen industry and have made a mark on society as a whole. This year, MAOF will honor five exemplary Latinas: Julie Stav, financial expert and host of Tu Dinero con Julie Stav; Chef Lala, celebrity chef, nutritionist and author; Lora J. Villarreal, EVP & Chief People Officer at ACS; Milka Duno, professional race car driver; and, Concepcion Rueda Gomez, Mexican Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, MAOF is proud to present the first-ever American Latina Spirit Award to U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, the highest-ranking Latina in the U.S. government, for two decades of courageous leadership and historic accomplishments in public service.
Award-winning Journalist Elizabeth Espinosa will serve as mistress of ceremony during the awards luncheon. Immediately following the awards luncheon, MAOF will present a runway fashion show sponsored by Macy's.

About MAOF
The Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF), a 501 (c) (3) charity, was founded in 1963 to empower the Mexican American community. MAOF has become the nation's third largest Latino nonprofit organization by providing no-cost, high quality human services to those communities where the need is the greatest. MAOF operates in seven counties throughout California, and is headquartered in Montebello, Calif. For more information about MAOF, visit

SOURCE Mexican American Opportunity Foundation
-0- 05/15/2009
/CONTACT: Frank Molina, MAOF Public Relations, +1-626-755-6159, /
/Web site: /

Immigrant Homeownership Proves Resilient in the Face of Slowdown

This is good news, maybe the studies can figure out why - and use those lessons for the native-born Americans. - - Donna Poisl

Boosted by Boom, Rate Virtually Unchanged During Bust

The rate of homeownership in the United States is holding up better among immigrants than it is for native-born Americans, according to a study released yesterday.

The study, by the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, analyzes housing, economic and demographic data from government agencies and private sources. It found that although immigrants are far less likely than their native-born counterparts to own a home, the rate of homeownership for immigrants during the housing bust has declined at a much slower pace than it has for those born in this country.

"Contrary, perhaps, to common perception, immigrants have not really fared as badly as one might have expected," said Rakesh Kochhar, an economist with Pew and an author of the study. "The forces of assimilation seem alive and well and have guided them through the troubles in the housing market."
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When the Stranger Knocks

An interview with the author of a new book about our domestic immigration policy and her experiences while with World Relief. - - Donna Poisl

The influx of immigrants to the U.S. means a new mission field for churches, says World Relief's Jenny Hwang.

Interview by Katelyn Beaty

When Jenny Hwang first began working at World Relief in Baltimore, she wasn't sure she even believed what the relief arm of the National Association of Evangelicals was teaching about domestic immigration policy. "I had a lot of concern, because these immigrants broke the rule of law," she says. "How come they couldn't come the legal way? If I'm going to be advocating for immigration reform, I need to believe in it."

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Hwang had studied immigration laws in Spain (with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees) and Costa Rica. But she didn't delve into U.S. immigration policy until becoming WR's director for advocacy and policy for the refugee and immigration program in 2006.

Now her book (with Matthew Soerens), Welcoming the Stranger, tells what she's learned in the position and the stories she's heard. She recently spoke with CT assistant editor Katelyn Beaty.
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English as a Second Language: Adult English courses declining, study says

Immigrants need ESL classes, people complain constantly that immigrants refuse to learn English, which is rarely true, yet budget cuts are closing classes. Maybe every one of us should volunteer to help just one immigrant learn English. - - Donna Poisl

Steady drop in funding forces cutbacks

By Antonio Olivo | Tribune reporter

After 20 years of sporadic English classes, Esperanza Marrufo still stumbles over the language, exasperated when unable to find the right word.

"Part of my problem is ... I can't express myself!" said Marrufo, 43, in her native Spanish. "I want to keep practicing so I can enter fully into American society."

Though that desire is shared by thousands of immigrants -- even as critics often chastise them for not integrating quickly enough -- opportunities to learn English are harder to come by in Illinois, according to a study released Monday.

From 2002 to 2008, the number of English as a Second Language slots funded by the state dropped by 20 percent to 69,700, according to the report by the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
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Our view: Congratulations, graduate. Now leave the USA.

Our universities educate thousands of foreign students every year and then our country won't allow them to stay and use their education by working for U.S. companies. So they take their wonderful education to another country and compete with us. This does not sound like a smart plan. - - Donna Poisl

Limits on skilled-immigrant visas hurt the nation’s competitiveness.

by Opinion editorial board

Around this time each year, thousands of foreign students graduate with science and engineering degrees from U.S. universities. Many are eager to stay in America and contribute to the U.S. economy.

So does the United States welcome them with open arms? No, the government tells thousands of them to hit the road — and take their sought-after skills and brainpower to countries and companies that compete with the USA.

Talk about a self-defeating immigration policy.

Mind you, these immigrants are not seeking to sneak across the border and stay here illegally. They are educated students, many with professional or masters' degrees or doctorates, who want to play by the rules. U.S. companies want to hire them. But they get painted with the same broad anti-immigration brush that Congress has used to make the nation's legal immigration system a morass of quotas, caps and unconscionable waits.
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ESL teacher emphasizes social survival skills

Jann Sweenie teaches ESL and tells about all the things her students learn and practice and all the countries her students come from. All with the goal of succeeding in this country. - - Donna Poisl

by Edward Guthmann, Special to The Chronicle

Jann Sweenie has taught English as a Second Language for 25 years. Originally she planned to teach comparative literature on the university level but discovered she could be more directly involved in students' lives through ESL. A native of Nebraska, Sweenie, 53, lives in Berkeley with her Mexican-born husband, Luciano Cortes. Their older daughter graduates from college this year and their younger from high school.

I teach English as a Second Language at the Berkeley Adult School, the Beginning Low level, one step up from literacy. My students come from all over the world as immigrants and refugees. They're your toddlers' babysitters, the mothers of your kids' classmates, the cooks at Burger King and your Thai restaurant, the prep cooks and dishwashers in restaurants all over the East Bay.
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Day Laborers on Long Island, Left at the Curb

Most day laborers are out of work and when they do get a job, they often are not paid. Some groups are raising money to at least help them get a plane ticket back to their home countries. - - Donna Poisl


Just south of the commuter train tracks in Huntington Station, Long Island, a weary pileup of streets forms a little district of desperation.

Down along New York Avenue, Fairground Avenue and Depot Road, men in groups of a half-dozen or more linger by a gas station, a bar, a tire-repair shop. They are Latino day laborers, waiting for trucks to pull up with jobs to do.

When times were good, there was lots of work. But hardly anyone is building or renovating now, and the men go days and weeks without being hired. Wages have plummeted, and when a job is done, the men are often paid nothing and told to get lost. The sidewalks they have claimed are small outposts of the national pain created by the burst housing bubble.

The men have no safety net: no unemployment insurance, no food stamps.
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Family life a complex affair for immigrants

This heartbreaking story shows how difficult it is for illegal immigrants here. It is not so easy for them to "just go home" as many people want them to do. - - Donna Poisl

Illegal status creates fault lines

By Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff

When school lets out for the summer, Eliane will take her only son to Logan International Airport and put him on an airplane to Brazil. She will miss his birthday party in July, his soccer games, and all of his summer vacation.

Eliane will stay behind because she is an illegal immigrant, unlike her 5-year-old American son and a sister who will escort him to South America. If she leaves the United States, she will not be allowed back in.

"I don't like it," she said, speaking on the condition that her last name not be used for fear of deportation. "When I have my papers, he won't ever go with anyone else."

For families such as Eliane's, made up of illegal and legal immigrants, life is a dizzying array of complications, disappointments, and fears. Having legal papers determines who can work, drive a car, and afford to go to college, but also who can rush out of the country to sit by a parent's deathbed, dance at a wedding, or visit grandparents.
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Dolan: Church must do more to aid immigrants

This is an interesting interview, let's hope he also gets involved in immigration reform. - - Donna Poisl

Archbishop wants Hispanic Catholics to feel at home


Newly installed Archbishop Timothy Dolan plans to turn up the Catholic Church's support for immigration reform, saying Catholics cannot sidestep the controversial issue if the church is to maintain its historic role as a chief protector of immigrants' rights.

In a wide-ranging interview with The (Westchester County) Journal News, Dolan said he "bristles" when Catholic politicians do not support immigrants.

"I'm thinking, 'Darn it, I'm glad politicians didn't say this when your great-great-grandfather came over, or you might not be here today,' " he said.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

At Somali town meeting, a show of solidarity

There is a very large Somali immigrant population in Minnesota and they are trying to learn what to do if they are hassled by anyone about their background. And educate their neighbors about their culture and that they are not all terrorists or pirates. - - Donna Poisl

Several hundred people went to the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday hoping to dispel myths about the community.

By JANET MOORE, Star Tribune

Several hundred people, mostly of Somali descent, gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday in a show of solidarity for a community that is often misunderstood by many Minnesotans.

The town meeting came at a sensitive time for the Somali community, currently at the center of a far-reaching federal counterterrorism investigation into whether young men from Minneapolis have been recruited by terrorists to fight in their homeland.

"The Somali community has been under a microscope for the wrong reasons,'' said Sharmarke Jama, a spokesman for the nearly two dozen community and religious groups that sponsored the event. "This has been guilt by association. We want to demystify our community."
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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Guest column: Use 7 principles to guide immigration reform

This writer lists seven rules to follow to get immigration reform to go through. Sounds like a good plan to me. - - Donna Poisl


Tuesday, May 12, marks the one-year anniversary of the immigration raid on Agriprocessors in Postville. The raid in Postville clearly symbolizes what is wrong with current immigration policy.

The Iowa Immigration Education Coalition, a nonpartisan education coalition of business, labor, education, health, religious, civil- and immigrant-rights groups, has developed seven principles for common-sense solutions to immigration reform.

1. Create smart enforcement.
2. Create an employment-based program to meet workplace and economic needs.
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Thursday, May 07, 2009

The immigration debate, again

This opinion piece gives us some reasons to be hopeful that things will be different this time around. - - Donna Poisl

Has the political landscape shifted enough to change the dynamics of immigration reform?

By Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA

Immigration reform -- you may think you've seen this movie before, too many times already. You know the arguments. You dread the polarization. And you doubt that Congress can do any better at making the compromises needed to fix the system.

But with the Obama White House rekindling the conversation about immigration, skeptics ought to think again. None of the problems have gone away, after all. Neither the economic downturn nor enhanced enforcement has driven 12 million illegal immigrants to leave the country. Enforcement is still far from effective, either on the border or in the workplace. And even in a recession, we still seem to need foreign workers, especially at the bottom of the economy.

But other things have changed since 2006 and 2007, when the nation last wrangled so bitterly over immigration. And although the new landscape hardly guarantees success -- immigration is never an easy issue, and some of what has changed will make it harder to pass reform -- it's going to be a different debate this year.
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Prosecute hate crimes, demand justice for Luis Ramirez

Press Release

Adam Luna, America's Voice

Last year a group of teenagers brutally murdered Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

As Luis lay unconscious at their feet, the teens yelled to a young woman by his side: "Tell your effin Mexican friends to get the eff out of Shenandoah or you're going to be laying next to him!"

Just last week an all-white jury found the teens "not guilty" of the serious charges of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation. The ruling was greeted with cheers in the courtroom, and gasps of disbelief from Luis's grieving fiancee and children.

Today we're asking you to join with us and our friends at the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF) to demand justice for Luis, his children, and his fiancee.

Sign the petition to the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Demand that they prosecute Luis's murder as a federal Hate Crime:

Afterward, the head of the jury said publicly "I believe strongly that some of the people on the jury were racist." He said that some "had their minds made up maybe before the first day."

Hate crimes against immigrants are on the rise across the country.

Law experts on CNN have argued that "the only reason [Luis] is dead is because he was Mexican." It's becoming clear that in that courtroom an undocumented Mexican immigrant was seen as less than a man.

Public Benefits for Immigrants in New York

The New York Immigration Coalition has published a new guide to Public Benefits for Immigrants. It was published by the office of New York Public Advocate Betsy Gottbaum and should be used as a resource for immigrants and their advocates.

The guide is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Bengali.

The guide provides information about which benefits - including food stamps and health care and financial assistance - immigrants could qualify for. There are even certain benefits that undocumented immigrants may qualify for.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

'English Plus' best for commerce, safety

Mr. Stevens has written a good piece telling English speakers why they should know at least one other language. He has first hand experience. - - Donna Poisl

By Chandler Harrison Stevens

Today is Cinco de Mayo -- meaning, in English, the "5th of May." In 1862 it was particularly significant because it was the last time an army (the French) invaded the Americas.

While the Cinco de Mayo defeat of France took place in Mexico, it is still significant here in the U.S.

Mexico is our closest ally other than, of course, Canada. We are all a part of "The Americas" and, in particular, of North America. While there are mixed feelings about NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, there is no denying that in this age of globalization, we are much closer than ever to our neighbors both to the north and to the south.

There is also no denying that here in Austin, also known as SpamTownUSA, that our meatpacking economy would probably not have survived had it not been for the influx of Hispanic immigrants during the two globalizing decades, the nineties and the aughts.
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Celebration an opportunity for students to learn culture

Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. is a good opportunity for kids to get a history and civics lesson and have fun doing it. - - Donna Poisl

By Kathryn Dailey, Loveland Reporter-Herald

The students at Sarah Milner Elementary School stared wide-eyed at the beautiful costumes and stomping feet in front of them.
During an assembly Tuesday morning to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the children got the opportunity to watch a performance by a Mexican folk dance troupe from Fort Collins.

“It was pretty cool, and I like how all the girls swing their skirts around like that,” said third-grader Becca Tremelling.

In addition to the music, dancing and laughing, the students also got to learn a little more about the history of the holiday and why it is so important to the Mexican people.

Sarah Milner Principal Dale Bryant and two teachers read the students a story about Cinco de Mayo and its history in Spanish and English.
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Obama knows the U.S. and Mexico are mutually dependent on each other

This article is very true. Our two countries have to work together to solve problems on both sides of the border. - - Donna Poisl


GUADALAJARA, Mexico — As he stood by the cash register of the restaurant he runs in this city’s historic district, Mario Garcia Calleja puffed from a cigarette and demanded respect.

President Barack Obama has struck the right tone toward Mexico, Garcia Calleja said, but he wondered whether Obama could muster support for Mexico from congressional conservatives who regard the nation as a problem and not a partner.

“They should not be looking at Mexico as a garbage dump but as a real country, as an entryway to North America,” the restaurateur said.

“Together, we have to deal with the problems of both countries,” he added. “Geographically, we have to understand each other."
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It's About Assimilation, Not Immigration

This is a very funny opinion piece, equating immigration with throwing a party. And it makes a lot of sense. - - Donna Poisl

I've been thinking that this whole immigration issue is like Easter Sunday at my family's house: A bunch of people start showing up — a lot of them, mind you, I really don't want to see. But the reason why I don't want to see them has nothing to do with race, it has to do with being human.

By Greg Gutfeld

Human beings, as a rule, resist discomfort, so when someone drops by unannounced — or perhaps with a date you assume is pompous, stupid and covered in cheap cologne — you take an instant dislike.

We're an irritable bunch and the people we take it out on are those unfamiliar types without a proper invite.
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Education flows both ways in Mexico

Colorado college students spent three months in Mexico teaching English to middle school students. The college kids learned as much as the younger kids did. - - Donna Poisl

by John Peel

Poor people living in packed homes. Men pining for jobs in the rich country to the north. They'll walk across a desert with little water to get to those jobs, then send back most of their earnings to their families over the border.

The people have little to spare, yet give an inordinate share to a relatively wealthy visitor from the U.S.

Sounds like a difficult life, and perhaps it is, but this is what a bunch of young visitors from Southwest Colorado found in Mexico:"The happiest people I've ever met."

Those were the words of Sarah Gorman, one of 16 Fort Lewis College students who spent nearly three months in Mexico teaching English to middle school-aged students. They lived and taught during the week in host homes in small towns surrounding the larger city of Cuauhtémoc, about five hours south of the border in the state of Chihuahua.
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Foreign Language Lessons

A terrific article about learning languages and being bilingual. All American children should study a foreign language or two. - - Donna Poisl

Posted by George Berkin

There's an old joke among teachers and students of foreign languages that goes something like this: What do you call somebody who speaks three languages? Tri-lingual.

What do you call somebody who speaks two languages? Bi-lingual. And what do you call somebody who speaks one language? American.

This comes to mind after reading a recent Star-Ledger story describing the growth of Chinese language courses in high schools across New Jersey.

I enjoyed the fact that more young students here are learning Chinese, which, with a billion speakers, is the world's most spoken language.
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Abusive immigration policies damaged Postville, Iowa

The meatpacking plant that allowed immigration officials to arrest 400 of their workers has gone bankrupt, mainly because they could not find workers. And this has caused big problems in the whole town. People don't see very far ahead when they do these things. - - Donna Poisl

By Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star columnist

At last, Washington seems to be getting serious about immigration reform. Democratic leaders in Congress have begun hearings to look into ways to overhaul federal immigration enforcement, and President Barack Obama promised to convene a working group on the matter.

Obama ought to assemble that brain trust quickly and load its members up on a bus to Postville, Iowa.

There they can take in the sights of a small town that’s paying the price for our government’s inhumane and broken immigration policy. If they hurry, they might make it there in time for the church-led vigils marking the May 12 anniversary of the raid of Agriprocessors, the giant slaughterhouse that once was Postville’s largest employer.
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Justices Limit Use of Identity Theft Law in Immigration Cases

The ruling says that when workers use a false SSN in order to work, they are not guilty of Identity Theft, unless they intended to harm the person who might actually have that SSN. In almost cases, that was not the worker's intent. Most didn't even know someone had that number already. - - Donna Poisl


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a favorite tool of prosecutors in immigration cases, ruling unanimously that a federal identity-theft law may not be used against many illegal workers who used false Social Security numbers to get jobs.

The question in the case was whether workers who use fake identification numbers to commit some other crimes must know they belong to a real person to be subject to a two-year sentence extension for “aggravated identity theft.”

The answer, the Supreme Court said, is yes.

Prosecutors had used the threat of that punishment to persuade illegal workers to plead guilty to lesser charges of document fraud.
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Hispanic Marketing: A Critical Market Segment

A very interesting analysis of the "Hispanic market". Talks about language, country of origin, age, culture, income, buying patterns; everything that goes into marketing to this community. - - Donna Poisl

By Laura Sonderup

Capturing the Loyalty of a Critical Market Segment
Multiculturalism is redefining what it means to be American today. With the changing appearance of the U.S. population comes new definitions of the U.S. consumer and new dilemmas for marketers trying to reach those whose tastes, customs and language may differ from what is commonly know as "general market". Culturally relevant marketing plans will become increasingly critical as the population becomes more diverse and the buying power of U.S. Hispanics becomes more significant.

The biggest mistake that a company can make is to view the U.S. Hispanic market as homogeneous. Acculturation levels, language preferences and country of origin make for unique sub-groups within the segment.
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Monday, May 04, 2009

U.S. Detention of Asylum Seekers - Seeking Protection, Finding Prison

This Human Rights Watch report documents the high costs of detaining asylum seekers, the impact of detention on asylum seekers, and the policies and practices of ICE that have perpetuated abuses.

This quote tells the whole story: “When I was back home I was in prison [for speaking out for human rights]. I thought that when I got to America I’d be free, but then I was in prison again. I was surprised by that.”
From a Burmese school teacher: beaten and jailed for two years by the Burmese government, and detained by U.S. immigration authorities for seven months in an El Paso, Texas, immigration jail after requesting asylum in the United States.

Read full report at

Illegal immigrants deserve medical care for swine flu

Whether someone is legal or not, we need them ALL taken care of if they have a virus that others can catch. Such as the flu! - - Donna Poisl

Aside from the moral obligation, it just makes sense to treat all people for the illness -- before they have to go to the emergency room.

by George Skelton, Capitol Journal

From Sacramento -- The swine flu scare may be hype. Maybe not. Either way, it's reassuring to know that hospital emergency rooms and community clinics are treating anyone who's sick, including illegal immigrants.

"Swine flu knows no borders," notes Carmela Castellano-Garcia, chief executive of the California Primary Care Assn., an organization of roughly 700 clinics. "It pays no regard to income or immigration status."

Hardly a day goes by that I don't receive at least one e-mail from someone complaining about tax dollars "wasted" on illegal immigrants.
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Army extends immigrant recruiting

Legal immigrants without green cards can join the military if they have special language and medical skills. They would exchange this service for citizenship. - - Donna Poisl

Pilot program seeks to boost the ranks of language and healthcare specialists by offering citizenship.

By Alexandra Zavis and Andrew Becker

The lanky 19-year-old from South Korea has lived in the Southland since he was 9 years old. He is as comfortable speaking English as his native Korean. And he desperately wants to join the Army.

Late last week, the teenager walked into a recruiting office in an Eagle Rock mall wearing a pendant shaped like a dog tag around his neck. Until recently, local recruiters would have had to turn him away. His student visa would not have qualified him to enlist. Only citizens or permanent residents who carry green cards were eligible to serve.

But starting today, 10 Los Angeles-area Army recruiting offices will begin taking applications from some foreigners who are here on temporary visas or who have been granted asylum.

In all, the pilot program, which was launched in New York in February, seeks to enlist 1,000 military recruits with special language and medical skills, most of whom will join the Army.
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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Everywhere but the U.S., English is unchallenged

English is being learned all over the world and has become the universal language. And yet, some people still say that all the immigrants here will make this country lose English. It is not going to happen. - - Donna Poisl


Once again, the question about English as the only official language in the U.S. was discussed. Some people in Delaware are interested in Spanish as another official language, protesting the "English Only" bill passed some time ago by the state House of Representatives. Demands by disparate groups for the institution of languages other than English are beyond comprehension when one considers the impact of English in the U.S. and worldwide.

English, the language of Shakespeare and Yogi Berra, has become the universal language of the world. No matter what corner of the world one visits, and I have visited quite a few, the language one can use most effectively on the street or government offices is English. In the boardrooms and on the Internet, English has no equal. English has truly become an international language.

Great Britain was the predominant colonial power in the 19th century, and the U.S. is now the major superpower on the face of the Earth. America is still the major driving force in international commerce and has an enormous cultural influence through American movies, music and books.
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Barron residents work toward self sufficiency

This Wisconsin town has many Somali refugees who have settled in their community. Most arrived 15 years ago, and are citizens now. - - Donna Poisl

Barron News Shield staff

Hijacking and hostage taking by Somali pirates have brought lots of national media attention in recent weeks to the turbulent East African country, but the ramifications of Somalia's violent history are not isolated to its immediate area. It has resulted in a flow of refugees to Barron and elsewhere. The refugee phenomenon has also led to much curiosity in the Barron area, as people try to understand their new neighbors.

The Somalis have been arriving as refugees to the United States since 1992 and are protected from being sent back to their war-torn homeland. The largest wave of Somali immigrants came in 1994-1997, and the majority of these refugees have since become citizens.

For those who didn't make that first wave, there is a family reunification program that allows an immediate family member to rejoin his/her relatives in the United States. Due to the ongoing conflict in Somalia, there were still 60,000 Somalis in refugee camps in neighboring Kenya as of 2008.
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Roosevelt Middle School tears down language barriers

This middle school and two organizations have started a multicultural center to help their students and families who do not speak English fluently. This will help them all the way through their lives. - - Donna Poisl

By: Lurdes C. Silva 05/01/2009

NEW BEDFORD - Roosevelt Middle School has partnered up with two local community organizations to stand up to one of its biggest challenges - language barriers.

Although 96 percent of the faculty does not speak any language other than English, about one fourth of the student population is enrolled in the Sheltered English Immersion program designed for pupils who are limited in English.

"Anyone that immigrates to our city at the middle school age passes through our doors," Roosevelt Middle School Principal Darcy Fernandes. "Approximately 160 students are English-as-a-second-language learners. We have 72 teachers and although many are certified to teach ESL (English-as-a-Second-Language), only one speaks Cape Verde Creole fluently, only one speaks Portuguese and only one speaks Spanish. It makes it difficult to service our students and their parents."

Fernandes said it's been a dilemma for Roosevelt to find ways to network with the limited English families. About one third of the students reside in homes where English is not the primary language.
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Ideas change; assimilation is constant

This article tells us we should all relax, that assimilation is taking place, perhaps not quite like it did last century, but it is happening and will continue. - - Donna Poisl


The topic of assimilation has been in the air. The issue is one of those than can generate unnecessary friction among individuals and communities.

The concept of assimilation is an evolving one. And the way society has looked at it has changed since the inception of America. There was a time that there was immediate pressure on immigrants and even Native Americans to conform to the standards of mainstream America. Even if the newcomers were to change their ways and conform to the traditions of the New World, this was not always a sufficient condition to be accepted in the mainstream. The process of becoming an American did not happen overnight. Many ethnic communities, such as the Italians of New York, the Irish of New England, as well as the Armenians of Fresno went through a long, sometimes arduous process before they became the inseparable part of the larger American society.
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Friday, May 01, 2009

CityBuild Helps Disadvantaged Asian Americans Find Jobs

This Academy helps Asian immigrants find training and jobs, help that is desperately needed in this economy. Many of their students had very good jobs in their homeland, but for various reasons, need completely new careers here. - - Donna Poisl

By Lian Qiu

Wind Chang was a successful businessman in China, but all that changed when he immigrated to the U.S. two years ago. With limited English skills, Chang struggled to find work, and when he eventually did, he was laid off because of the economic downturn.

Chang’s luck finally changed when he discovered CityBuild Academy (CBA), a structured pre-apprenticeship program designed to prepare attendees for employment in a variety of skilled trades.

CityBuild provides recruiting, on-the-job training and placement services to job seekers, employers and contractors working in San Francisco’s construction industry.
There have been 8 CBA cycles, each roughly 3 months long since the program’s inception. Approximately 400 students have graduated from CBA, with a job placement rate is as high as 95%. CityBuild was created in 2004, when San Francisco County Transportation Authority appropriated $700,000 towards an 18-month pilot initiative, spearheaded by Commissioner Sophie Maxwell and Mayer Gavin Newsom.

Chang says CBA simulated a realistic workplace environment and helped him to understand the construction industry.

Chang was hired to a union job immediately after he graduated from CBA. He now works as a glazer with a decent starting wage, $15.72 per hour. He is just one of the many Asian immigrants that have benefited from the program.
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School mentor program opens doors for immigrant parents

This is a wonderful story, all schools should do this. They all need volunteers and this program helps the volunteers as much as the kids. - - Donna Poisl

When immigrant mothers break out of their isolation and become parent mentors, they are transformed, and so are their schools.

By Pam DeFiglio | Special to the Tribune

Monica Espinoza was 17 when she left Mexico to work 11 hours a day, six days a week at a Chicago factory, continuing that grueling schedule even after marrying and having a baby. Feeling overwhelmed and isolated, she says, she sank into depression.

"There was a time in my life when everything was so pitch black," she said. "I was like, 'My life doesn't have a purpose.' "

But then Espinoza, a 9th-grade dropout, became a parent mentor at her son's school, McAuliffe Elementary in Logan Square. She began helping 1st graders learn to read and in the processdiscovered a passion for teaching.

"In the parent mentor program, you learn you have a leader within yourself," said Espinoza, 30. "You have to look at where you're coming from, become stronger, make peace with the past and move on."
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Greenspan Says Illegal Immigration Aids U.S. Economy

Alan Greenspan says immigration reform is badly needed and even believes illegal immigrants have helped our econonmy. Against people who still insist they hurt it and steal jobs. - - Donna Poisl

By Nicholas Johnston

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said that illegal immigration makes a “significant” contribution to U.S. economic growth by providing a flexible workforce.

Greenspan, appearing before a Senate subcommittee today, said illegal immigrants provide a “safety valve” as demand for workers rises and falls.

“There is little doubt that unauthorized, that is, illegal, immigration has made a significant contribution to the growth of our economy,” Greenspan said. An overhaul of U.S. immigration laws is “badly needed” to create legal avenues for skilled and unskilled workers to enter the country legally, he said.

“Our immigration laws must be reformed and brought up to date,” Greenspan told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.

Congress is beginning hearings on an overhaul of U.S. immigration policies, a legislative priority of President Barack Obama.
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As Swine Flu Spreads, So Does Backlash Against Mexico

This analysis shows how this new flu outbreak is affecting so many other aspects of life. Mexicans are being blamed and this could also affect the immigration reform debate. - - Donna Poisl

New America Media, News Analysis, Gebe Martinez

Editor's Note: It seems like swine flu is increasingly becoming a political football, with the right wing using the crisis to whip up opposition to immigration from South of the border. NAM contributor Gebe Martinez analyzes what's being said in different circles about this.

In this current worldwide “swine flu” outbreak, two sources are shouldering most of the blame: pigs and Mexico.

Interestingly, there seems to be a louder, broader public defense of pigs than of Mexico.

During a Senate hearing Tuesday on the disease that first spread in Mexico and has claimed dozens of lives, including at least one in the United States, federal officials insisted “swine flu” is an incorrect, simplified label of a complex virus that should properly be called “H1N1,” even though it contains swine genes.

The imprecise nickname leads some to think pork is unsafe and should be taken off the international trade shelves, according to government officials. “This is not a food safety issue. Pork is safe to eat,” Dr. John R. Clifford, a deputy administrator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture told the Senate.
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Wal-Mart gives its Supermercado concept a tryout

This is a way for the retail stores to be more relevant in the community. We must assume this will bring out the bigotry though, the people who are upset with "press 1 for English" on the phone. - - Donna Poisl

By JENALIA MORENO, Houston Chronicle

When restaurant worker Jorge Castillo goes grocery shopping, he typically isn’t greeted by dozens of food and beverage samples and a mariachi belting out Spanish-language ballads. But during Wednesday’s opening of the Supermercado de Walmart, a party welcomed shoppers.

“It’s something new and different,” said Castillo, who traveled to the Spring Branch-area store from his north Houston home after seeing its advertisements.
In an effort to reach more Hispanic customers, Wal-Mart Stores opened the nation’s first Supermercado in Houston and this summer plans to open a Mas Club, a warehouse outlet for Hispanics, patterned after its Sam’s Club.

The Long Point Road Supermercado was the company’s first in the nation, and shoppers arrived in throngs. The next such store is scheduled to open in May in Phoenix. The retail giant may open more such stores if the format proves successful.
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