Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Recession hits immigrant business

Businesses owned by immigrants are very hard hit by the recession, since most of their customers are also immigrants. Many of them are out of work, especially the construction workers. - - Donna Poisl


Evelia Arrellano surveys the empty barber chairs with a worried look. It's 1 p.m. on a recent weekday, and she has yet to see a client at her salon, which also sells phone cards, compact discs and sodas to a cluster of mostly Mexican immigrants in the St. Johns neighborhood in North Austin.

She traces her salon's woes to hard times among Austin's immigrant workers, especially those in the hard-hit construction industry. "If they don't work, we don't work either," she said. "Things are getting worse. It's disillusioning. They say the economy is getting better, but it's not true."

Arrellano is feeling the effects of a recession that is hitting Austin businesses that cater to immigrants with a pronounced fury, according to interviews with more than a dozen managers, cashiers and business owners. With construction jobs dwindling, money is no longer flowing freely through Austin's immigrant community, hurting the many businesses selling Norteño records, phone cards, boots, groceries and other goods.
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Walter Ewing: Immigrants are not a fiscal drain

Mr. Ewing gives many statistics and shows that immigrants, and even undocumented immigrants, are not hurting our economy. - - Donna Poisl

By Walter Ewing, Special to The Bee

As state and local governments grapple with budget deficits brought on by the economic recession, some are blaming immigrants – particularly undocumented immigrants. According to this flawed reasoning, if the tax contributions of immigrants in general, or undocumented immigrants in particular, don't cover the costs of the public services they utilize in a single year, then immigrants must be a financial "burden" on the majority of taxpayers.

However, by this measure, nearly all native-born children, retirees and unemployed workers also qualify as economic "burdens." A realistic accounting of the economic "value" of a person must include the contributions made over a lifetime as a worker, consumer and taxpayer.
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Family battles reality of immigration debate

This American family is learning first hand why we need immigration reform now. - - Donna Poisl

By News-Journal staff

The debate over U.S. immigration policies has become personal for a Longview family. Linda Bischoff said Americans have forgotten the engraving on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free …”

She also said federal laws and lack of knowledge by the public have forced people seeking refuge to enter the United States illegally.

“I used to think, ‘Why don’t they just get a visa and come here legally?’ ” Bischoff said of illegal immigrants. “Now, after going through the endless process of paperwork and extreme cost and still not being guaranteed you’ll get approval, I understand why.”
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Griego: A move to integrate — not to assimilate

This article talks about how immigrants and citizens have to learn to trust and respect each other. Immigrants should learn the rules and keep their house and yard so it fits into the rest of the neighborhood. Then everyone will get along better. - - Donna Poisl

By Tina Griego, Denver Post Columnist

On Thursday, while President Barack Obama was meeting with lawmakers on immigration reform, about 300 people gathered in downtown Denver to talk about how to best integrate immigrants into American society.

Before I go any further, let me first take you back to City Councilman Paul Lopez's congreso last weekend, where people from his southwest Denver district spent three hours discussing their community's problems and what to do about them.

They rattled off issues like graffiti and illegal dumping and too much noise and not enough parking. I waited for someone to say, "illegal immigration," but no one did.

The American citizens, white and Latino, on that block all told me the same thing: The issue for them was not so much that their neighbor might be an illegal immigrant. The issue was that the neighbor was washing her laundry in a tub in the front yard and hanging wet underwear on rope strung from the porch to the tree to the fence post. The issue was that 14 people lived next door. The issue was that they could not communicate with their Spanish-speaking neighbors.
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Religious groups show support for immigrants

Religious groups in Utah are encouraging their people to stand up for human rights and support immigrants. - - Donna Poisl

Religious groups draw attention to issues raised by Utah's SB81

By Clayton Norlen, Deseret News

Religious leaders of Salt Lake City, along with members of their flocks gathered at the Gallivan Center Friday evening to show support for immigrants and their families.

To welcome Unitarian Universalists from across the United States for general assembly meetings in Salt Lake City, a Day of Witness was held to raise awareness of the issues immigrant families are facing across the United States. Speakers at the event were critical of Utah's SB81, a bill that establishes new requirements for businesses that contract with the state to screen employees for legal presence status and calls for an immigration enforcement role for state and local law enforcement agencies.

Bishop Irish said that SB81 ignores due process and encourages racial profiling without providing immigrants the ability to contest charges.
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Proposal aims to remove barriers between immigrants, King County services

This will help immigrants feel safer and be safer. If they can get medical care and report fires and crimes without fear, it will help them and help the whole community. - - Donna Poisl

King County considers a proposal to direct county workers and the sheriff's office to not ask for immigration papers when people seek services and protection, or talk to law-enforcement officers. Supporters say the move would build needed trust between immigrants and local government.

By Lewis Kamb, Seattle Times staff reporter

Under a proposal before the Metropolitan King County Council, health facilities run by the county could not deny care based on immigration status, and sheriff's deputies could not ask people for immigration papers, or investigate, detain or arrest people for immigration violations.

Supporters say the move would reduce mistrust between immigrants and local government.

The proposal, they say, would help to safeguard against racial profiling, ensure that a big segment of the population feels safe enough to seek health care and allow more witnesses and victims of crime to go to the police without fear.

"We see this as something that really benefits the entire community, not just immigrants," said Shankar Narayan, legislative director of the ACLU of Washington.
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Meeting Bhutan in Oakland

A small group of Bhutanese are living in this area and more are expected soon. A new group is helping them get settled. - - Donna Poisl

by Ananta Gurung, co-founder of the Bhutanese American Community Center

You already know this. Oakland, where about half a million people speak more than 80 languages, is a magnet for immigrants. We've got people from Ethiopia, Japan, India, Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Vietnam... the list goes on. There's a new addition. The latest arrivals are from Bhutan, a small (less than 15,000 square miles) south Asian country neighboring India.

If you've been following the news, then you probably know that about 60,000 Bhutanese of Nepali origin are being settled in the U.S. These Bhutanese have been living in refugee camps in Nepal for close to two decades due to an internal conflict in Bhutan. Six other countries -- Australia, Canada, Norway, Netherlands, New Zealand and Denmark -- are also taking in 10,000 refugees each.

Ananta Gurung, the director of the Bhutanese American Community Center (BACC), a secular not-for-profit-group, says that the population of the Nepali-Bhutanese in Oakland will see a sharp increase in the coming year due to the resettlement deal. Right now, there are about 400 Bhutanese living in Alameda and Oakland.
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Republicans Focus on Guest Workers in Immigration Debate

At least they have started talking, I am sure this will go on for many months. - - Donna Poisl


WASHINGTON — President Obama told a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday that Congress should begin debating a comprehensive immigration plan by year’s end or early next year, but Republicans said they would support a measure only if it included an expansion of guest worker programs.

Leading the call for that provision was Senator John McCain of Arizona, who told Mr. Obama he would have to take his “political lumps” and stand up to labor unions that oppose the idea. The president praised Mr. McCain for paying “a significant political cost for doing the right thing.”

In the State Dining Room, Mr. Obama met with about 30 lawmakers for the first substantial discussion on immigration since he took office.
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Puncturing myths - Immigrant assimilation does happen

Some myths are disproved here, read this and you can see the assimilation happens, automatically. - - Donna Poisl


It's the strangest thing. Much of the heat generated by the immigration debate comes from myths masquerading as facts, things which people are passionate about and know to be true but actually are false.

As when some people say immigrant birthrates in the United States are going up, but all the available research points to newcomers having smaller families for economic reasons. Or when some say immigrants aren't learning English when, actually, native-language retention is the real challenge. Or when we say illegal immigrants don't pay taxes when, actually, they pay a bundle in sales taxes and property taxes.

Also on the list: the assumption that recent waves of immigrants, especially from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America, aren't assimilating and that they and their children usually wind up stuck in a permanent underclass because they lack wealth, skills and education.

Again, simply not true, according to a timely and important new study from researchers Michael J. White and Jennifer E. Glick, who examined the issue for the Russell Sage Foundation. The study – “Achieving Anew: How New Immigrants Do in American School, Jobs, and Neighborhoods” – takes aim at several misconceptions about immigrants and how they fare in U.S. society. According to the study, the poverty gap between immigrants and natives decreased from 1994 to 2004 and the poverty level for immigrants fell over the entire decade; immigrants who arrive in the United States as children and attend U.S. schools tend to achieve parity with natives at the same socioeconomic status; and, over the generations, children of immigrants and immigrant children do as well as the children of U.S. natives unless they encounter obstacles such as poverty or discrimination.

And here's a troubling surprise. The researchers found that adults who were born in the United States to immigrant parents were more likely to have a college degree than adults who were in the third generation.

This sort of finding challenges the conventional wisdom that the longer an immigrant family stays in the United States, the better off it is. In some respects, that's true. No matter what some folks believe, assimilation happens. And when it does, immigrants are invariably better off. But there are also some bad habits that people pick up living in the United States, such as taking for granted the value of an education.

Studies like this are extremely important, even if many Americans aren't ready to accept all of their conclusions. The immigration debate already has plenty of fear, division and animosity. What it could use more of is facts.

And who knows? If those facts are given a fair hearing, we might just get beyond a lot of the emotion surrounding the immigration issue and get closer to a viable solution. A great country deserves no less.

Teens Tell Their Families’ Stories of Coming to America

These students from immigrant families are telling their stories about coming here. They are from many countries and all their stories are different. This should give them positive feelings about their experiences. - - Donna Poisl

by Extra News

Forty-two Chicago high school students from immigrant families will gather at DePaul University a week before Independence Day to participate in an innovative oral history project, called “In Our Own Words.” The project will challenge them to explore who they are through the stories of their families’ diverse journeys to America.

Nominated by public and private high schools across the city, the sophomores and juniors will engage in a series of exercises led by DePaul educators to discover and tell their families’ stories on the university’s Lincoln Park Campus in Chicago through June 27.

The program targets academic achievers from low-income backgrounds who are immigrants, or the children of immigrants, from a wide range of Latin American, African, Asian and Eastern European countries. This year’s group speaks 11 languages in addition to English. The program is designed to give students the skills necessary to understand and embrace their family histories without letting their backgrounds become stumbling blocks for their continued academic success.
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Obama, lawmakers to discuss immigration issues

President Obama and congressional leaders are starting to talk. I hope it leads to much more talk and debate and then reform will come soon. - - Donna Poisl

by Tyche Hendricks, Chronicle Staff Writer

President Obama plans to sit down today with congressional leaders for the first serious discussion about the thorny issue of immigration policy since he became chief executive.

The meeting is likely to cover the issues of legalizing illegal immigrants, enforcing immigration law, accommodating future immigrants and, some analysts hope, incorporating them into American society.

Obama has voiced support for comprehensive immigration reform, and aides say he hopes this initial conversation will lead to a more substantive debate later in the year.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reuniting Families Act

Reuniting Families Act

The Reuniting Families Act was introduced in the Senate on May 20 (S1095) and in the House on June 4 (HR 2709). The bill contains practical solutions for reducing family immigration visa backlogs and promoting humane and timely reunification of immigrant families.

Please ask your Members of Congress to sponsor this legislation by sending the letter here:

Reuniting Families Act Introduced

Reuniting Families Act Introduced

Thanks to the leadership of Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Edward Kennedy (D-M.A.), and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) the

Reuniting Families Act was introduced in the Senate on May 20, 2009. The bill contains practical solutions for reducing family immigration visa backlogs and promoting humane and timely reunification of immigrant families. Specifically, the bill includes provisions that would ensure that visas are allocated efficiently, alleviate lengthy wait times that keep legal immigrants and their overseas loved ones separated for years, and decrease measures that prevent family members from obtaining visas.

Please take a moment to send this letter to the four sponsors to thank them for introducing this legislation.


Teaching literacy in the city benefits learners, tutors

UCLA students are teaching English and literacy to immigrant adults in their community. This helps the adults learn English which they need in so many parts of their lives, but it also helps the students become better in Spanish and better teachers. The students all are amazed at how hard these immigrants work and still find time to study. - - Donna Poisl

By Alison Hewitt

The mostly immigrant adults attending Centro Latino for Literacy in downtown Los Angeles usually speak only Spanish. They come to learn to read and write their language, motivated by a panoply of hard-luck tales that they share with the UCLA interns who teach them to trace the letters of the alphabet.

There's the garment worker, paid by the piece, who realized he'd been signing forms acknowledging making only 60 pieces a day, when he should have been paid for making 100.

There's the father, ashamed to let his first-generation American children know that the reason he won't help them with homework is because he can't read their textbooks.

There are the adults who can't read maps or street signs, who navigate relying on an extraordinary memory of landmarks.
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ESL Teacher Opens Up World to Students

Our language is very difficult to learn, mainly because it has so many rules that have exceptions. And so many similar words with entirely different meanings and spellings. Certified teachers can help them become fluent, especially in business schools and university programs. - - Donna Poisl

By Cindy Atoji Keene

The English language is full of idioms that make it difficult to understand, says ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher Robert Davis, who gives some examples: “‘Let’s go over that’ makes it sound like you’re flying over something; ‘Stand behind a product’ is another confusing statement,” says Davis, an associate director at the Boston Language Institute. Davis teaches advanced level classes that prepare foreign students for the linguistic and cultural challenges of such MBA programs as MIT Sloan and other business schools, but he also has experience teaching what he calls “true beginners” – those who have never been exposed to English before.

For immigrants living in the U.S. who don’t know English, life can be difficult, whether asking for directions or listening to a lecture at college. But with the help of teachers like Davis, who are certified to teach English to non-English speakers, every lesson makes a big difference in helping often-befuddled students get through the day. Davis starts with the general building blocks of language, like the verb “to be” and expands from there. “
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The key is to embrace diversity

As second and third generation immigrants attend college and intermarry, assimilation just happens automatically. They can and should keep some of their own culture, but they all become Americans eventually. - - Donna Poisl


Another rift is growing in our community. There seem to be many views on how we all perceive assimilation.

In one of my recent columns, I touched upon the idea of assimilation and its inevitability in our society. I also wrote about the fact that despite what some may think or claim, there is a dominant culture in America and everyone eventually conforms to its standards.

I even suggested that those who intend to delay assimilation indefinitely may be well-advised to look elsewhere for a home.

Being a nation of immigrants does not mean that immigrants are able to maintain their heritage indefinitely. Research shows that the use of the language and customs from the home country often disappear after the first generation. Lasagna and shish tawook are the last things to go.
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National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Announces Opening of First Ever Hispanic Evangelical Think Tank


National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Announces Opening of First Ever Hispanic Evangelical Think Tank, The Jesse Miranda Center, in Addition to Four Regional Offices to Accommodate Unprecedented Growth in the Hispanic Evangelical Community

WASHINGTON, June 22 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- America's largest Hispanic Christian organization, The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), The Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals, announced today the formal national launch of the Jesse Miranda Center, the first ever Hispanic Evangelical Think Tank. As the educational arm of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the Jesse Miranda Center will focus on research and leadership development addressing both ecclesiastical and social issues within the context of the Hispanic American Faith Experience.

"The 2008 elections, the arduous work of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, immigration reform and the emergence of the Hispanic Mega Church Association, all speak to the growth of the Hispanic Evangelical community as the fastest growing and most influential segment of the American Faith Experience in the 21st Century.

"For that matter, our center will conduct research and survey our constituency on both faith and public policy matters while simultaneously facilitating an academically rich platform for leadership development," explained Dr. Jesse Miranda, Chief Executive of the NHCLC and founder of the Center.

Last year, NHCLC and the Center, at the time working out of the Vanguard University Campus in Costa Mesa, California, partnered with Faith in Public Life and America's Voice to publish a survey on "Hispanic Evangelicals and the 2008 Elections". The survey accurately predicted the voting inclination of Hispanic Evangelicals. Correspondingly, Hispanic evangelicals were crucial to President Obama's success in swing states such as Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado. This explains why Hispanic Evangelicals stand as one of the most sought after voting blocs in the current political landscape.

"Dr. Miranda is the Godfather of the Hispanic Evangelical movement. This Center will provide a prophetic and scholarly platform where Faith and research will converge around the nexus of Kingdom and Society. Our commitment to provide a unified voice for Hispanic Evangelicals coincides with a commitment to usher in a Cross Roots movement in America where both the vertical and horizontal elements of the Cross stand reconciled as we address Salvation and Poverty Alleviation, Covenant and Community, Faith and Public Policy, John 3:16 and Matthew 25. At the end of the day, this center will produce Hispanic Evangelicals that embody the Kingdom passion of Dr. Billy Graham and the social activism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," declared Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, NHCLC President.

In addition, the Conference announced the opening of four regional offices to serve the growing Hispanic Evangelical community. NHCLC regional offices in Texas, Washington State, Pennsylvania, and Chicago will begin serving their
corresponding regions on July 1, 2009.

For interviews and additional information, please contact Maritza Ramirez, NHCLC Marketing and Media Director, at 916-919-7476 or hispanicchurch@aol.com. www.hispanicevangelicals.com

SOURCE The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
-0- 06/22/2009
/CONTACT: Maritza Ramirez, Press and Media Director, NHCLC,
+1-916-919-7476, hispanicchurch@aol.com/
/Web site: http://www.hispanicevangelicals.com /

Language Training Key To Economic Growth

Refugees and immigrants should be learning English now while the economy is slow, so they are ready when things pick up. But there is a shortage of ESL classes and teachers, with long waiting lists. - - Donna Poisl

By Laurie D'Amico, Special to the Worcester Business Journal

Without a plan to provide more English as a second language instruction for adults, Worcester will not be ready for recovery and revitalization.

According to the Bay State think tank Mass Inc., the state’s labor force is estimated to have grown by less than 1 percent since 2000, but without immigrants and refugees it would have shrunk.

As English speakers are leaving Massachusetts, there are fewer workers who can speak English fluently to replace them. How can businesses grow and new companies find workers if the available workforce is not English ready?

Revitalizing and energizing the Worcester economy will require the talents and skills of the growing immigrant/refugee population. The largest numbers of new pilgrims come from Ghana, Brazil, China and the Dominican Republic.
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U.S. government encourages schools to teach foreign languages vital to economy, security

Many schools are teaching other languages than they offered when we were in school. Translators are always needed and these bilingual or multilingual people will be in great demand, with many career options. - - Donna Poisl

by Karen Keller/The Star-Ledger

French class? Passe. Latin? Finis.

Try Chinese, Arabic and now, Hindi.

The future of the United States depends on it, according to the federal government, which is pushing schools to teach students foreign languages deemed vital to the country's economy and national security.

Edison heeded the government's call three years ago, becoming the first school district in the nation to use federal money to teach Hindi, India's major language. Next fall, Piscataway High School will also offer it.

The government wants more students to learn Chinese, Arabic, Korean, Russian, Japanese, and hundreds of regional languages from Iran, Turkey and India as part of its 2006 National Security Language Initiative. The program was created as a result of the 9/11 Commission's conclusion that the U.S. needed more skilled translators to be able to intercept surveillance.
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Washtenaw Literacy Tutoring Offers Job-Seekers Valuable Experience

This literacy program is seeking volunteers from the unemployed people in their community. This work might even help the volunteer teachers find a new career. - - Donna Poisl

Unemployed have a unique opportunity to help others

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Washtenaw Literacy, a non-profit organization devoted to eradicating adult illiteracy, offers an opportunity for the unemployed to continue to contribute to the community while job-seeking. In a recent Washtenaw Literacy tutor training session, 27% of the volunteers self-identified as unemployed. While looking for work, these volunteers tutor adult learners in reading, writing or English. The tutoring experience encourages the volunteer tutors to persevere in their own search for work, as they witness the struggles that their learners face.

Let's take a look at Susan Place, just one of the many recent volunteers who seek employment. Susan has a degree in social work along with work experience in human services. However, most recently, she has been a homemaker. For 18 years, Susan took care of an ill family member, volunteered in a school and taught her son at home. She is now looking to find employment because finances are tight at home.
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Obama Reiterates Commitment to Immigration Reform

The commitment is still there, we must hope it happens soon. There are so many other huge problems, though. - - Donna Poisl

By Scott Wilson

President Obama told a Hispanic prayer breakfast today that he is committed to passing "comprehensive immigration reform," although he did not give the audience a timeline for doing so.

Hispanics supported Obama by a wide margin in the last election, and many of their leaders have grown impatient waiting for a president busy with the economic crisis to move on their agenda.
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Hispanic: what does it mean to be called a Hispanic?

Here is an interesting editorial, answers some questions and asks some other. click on the title and read all of it. - - Donna Poisl

Editorial: La Prensa San Diego

With the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court, conversations quickly turned into debates about race and, in particular, about the term ‘Hispanic’ and what it means, or may not mean, to be called a Hispanic.

Many newspaper articles, television editorials, and blogs about Sotomayor question whether or not it is even relevant that she is Hispanic. Is she a Hispanic, a Latino, a Puerto Rican, or just an American? There has even been a question as to whether or not she would even be the first Latino/Hispanic on the Supreme Court!

Some pundits wonder why race is even a part of the conversation. The confirmation process of Sotomayor should be based purely on the basis of her qualifications, her judicial track record, and her judicial demeanor. Race should not be a part of the process. Sounds good in a color-blind society, but in the real world it doesn’t work that way.

The question of what we call ourselves: Latino, Hispanic, or Mexican-American is a debate that has been swirling around for some time now. Here at La Prensa San Diego we have often been asked the questions, “What do you call yourselves? What is a Hispanic? Where does the term Chicano comes from?”
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Suing, Praying, Pleading for Immigration Reform

Children of immigrants, who will be old enough to vote in a few years, are drawing attention to the need for immigration reform. - - Donna Poisl


On Wednesday, dozens of American-born children of parents who’ve been deported gathered at a Miami nonprofit organization with activist Nora Sandigo to draw attention to what they say is a deprivation of their rights to live in the United States, because their parents have been deported. Many live in homes without money to pay for school supplies, or are at risk of foreclosure.

“Today these children’s voices are not heard,” Sandigo said at a press conference on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. “But tomorrow these U.S. citizens will be voting.”
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Catholic bishops urge immigration reform

More calls for immigration reform this year. - - Donna Poisl

Posted by Michael Paulson

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which is meeting this week in San Antonio, today called for immigration reform. The statement from Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who is the president of the bishops' conference:

"On behalf of the United States Catholic Bishops, gathered in San Antonio, Texas, at our annual spring meeting, I would ask President Barack Obama and congressional leaders of both parties to work together to fashion and enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation before the end of the year.

It has been clear for years that the United States immigration system requires repair and that reform legislation should not be delayed.
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Immigration: It’s Time

Let's hope the President and the House and Senate can get together and get immigration reform passed soon. - - Donna Poisl


President Obama keeps saying he is serious about fixing immigration. You can expect him to say it again at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Friday morning. He will likely say it again next week, if his twice-postponed meeting with Congressional leaders to discuss immigration reform finally takes place.

This profusion of promises has not led to any results. Inaction and the passing of time have only increased the frustration of those who have been counting on Mr. Obama to deliver something on immigration reform — a plan, a timetable, the outlines of a bill.

Mr. Obama needs to break the stalemate on immigration. And he needs to do it soon.

He owes it to the Hispanic voters whose overwhelming support helped push him into the White House, and to the undocumented immigrants whose lives have been made miserable under a cruel, ill-conceived enforcement crusade that was concocted in the last administration and survives into this one.
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Preschoolers learn despite Spartan surroundings

Budget cuts have closed classrooms but these kids are learning their colors and shapes with the help of dedicated teachers. - - Donna Poisl

Education » About 10 students who don't qualify for Head Start get a chance to learn.

By Jennifer W. Sanchez, The Salt Lake Tribune

Midvale » Using a room with the bare essentials, Carolina Carasa manages to teach young students the basics.

There are a couple of educational posters, no desks and only a few tiny plastic chairs. Students take turns sitting at two donated living-room end tables and Carasa teaches them how to spell their names. The other kids play with plastic food and blocks or flip through tattered books while they wait for their turn.

Once a week for two hours, Carasa changes a multipurpose room with two sofas -- in the basement of the Midvale Performing Arts Center -- into a classroom for La Escuelita (the Little School), an early-education program for native Spanish speakers.

Carasa, the program's teacher for six years, said it would be easier to teach the students in a nice classroom with supplies -- but there's no money.
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A plea to set a civil tone, stop blaming immigrants

A thoughtful piece showing how a civil tone could help everyone and put a stop to antagonism and some hate crimes. - - Donna Poisl

Posted by Bob Braun/Star-Ledger Columnist

He is a runner like me, and I see him often on the Warinanco Park track in Elizabeth. We usually exchange meaningless greetings and keep running.

But the other day the park was packed with families enjoying a few hours of sun. Kids played soccer in the field inside the track. Nice day, nice scene.

This guy was ahead of me, but running a slower pace, so I caught up with him. We exchanged nods and, then, as I passed, I heard him say behind me, "I wish these people would go back where they came from."

I knew who he was talking about. "These people" are Latinos. Warinanco is a social gathering spot for the area's large Hispanic population and the venue for many of the organized youth soccer clubs, many members of whom are Hispanic.

I didn't respond. I run to run, not to argue. But I wish I had said something. It is again getting very easy, far too easy, to hate -- especially Spanish-speaking people.
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Let's Re-light the Lamp by the Golden Door: A Case for Immigration Reform

An interesting opinion piece, talking about the need for immigration reform. - - Donna Poisl

By Steve Cohen

Recently, we read news reports that a Sudanese family, granted asylum in the United States due to the war in Darfur, was finally reunited after a two year struggle with U.S. Immigration. The separation of these parents from their four year old child was heartbreaking, and an example of an immigration system that does not serve our national interest.

I know that when most people think of immigration reform they think of the issue of illegal immigrants and of our border with Mexico. That is a problem that needs to be addressed, and I do not want to minimize the importance of that issue. Even though illegal immigrants take jobs that American citizens would not accept and at salaries citizens would not tolerate, the issue of immigration remains wrapped in fear for many Americans.

There is the fear that an immigrant will take your job. There is the fear that an immigrant is a terrorist and a danger to our security. Despite these fears, as long as there is a tourism industry, global trade and jet travel, there will be relatively free movement of people and goods around the globe. Sealing our borders is a fantasy and it’s an idea that doesn’t serve us well.
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HIAS Uses Its Expertise To Facilitate Reunion Of Darfuri Refugee Family In U.S.

This refugee family has finally been able to get their four-year old daughter to join them in this country. Because of technicalities, they could not bring her here and she had to stay behind. - - Donna Poisl

HIAS report

A four-year-old Darfuri girl, who has languished in a displaced person camp in Sudan without her mother and father for most of her life, arrived in New York yesterday morning, where she was reunited with both parents. Wesal Adam’s arrival signaled a happy ending to her parents’ years-long struggle to bring her here to live together as one family. HIAS, the international migration agency of the American Jewish community, was instrumental in obtaining permission for her to enter the country.

“This is an incredible feeling, I can’t even describe it. Now we will become a big family – it’s the difference between day and night,” said the girl’s father, Motasim Adam, upon arrival at John F. Kennedy Airport from Amman, Jordan, where he met his daughter last week for the first time since she was nine months old to bring her home to NY.

“HIAS was so pleased to help the Adam family,” said Gideon Aronoff, President & CEO of HIAS. “We are motivated by Jewish values to welcome the stranger and rescue refugees from dangerous persecution. In this case, HIAS had both the will and the expertise to turn a potential tragedy into a joyful reunion.
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For immigrants, living the dream is getting tougher

Immigrants are struggling in this economy. They are usually entrepreneurial, and often are risk takers and start businesses that are successful in good times, but often harder hit in a bad economy. - - Donna Poisl

By Judy Keen, USA TODAY

CHICAGO — Raudel Sanchez's American dream was so strong that he tied a few possessions around his waist in 1967 and swam across the Rio Grande into Texas.
"I wanted to make a better life in America," says Sanchez, 63. "My dream was bringing my family here and working together."

Sanchez, now a U.S. citizen, joined a brother in Chicago after crossing the border near Laredo, Texas. He worked as a butcher, making $1.85 an hour, and took a second job at a candy factory. He often worked 14 hours a day. He saved his earnings and eventually brought his wife, siblings and parents — who are now in their 90s — to Chicago.

Eventually, he opened several small businesses and built a comfortable life for himself and his family. But now, the recession has hit him hard. He has sold one of his three clothing stores and a restaurant, resulting in layoffs of several immigrant workers. He's considering selling a second store.
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Flawed US Refugee Admissions Program is Failing Iraqi Refugees

Iraqi refugees need more help from the immigration system, they are not getting assistant to rebuild their lives. Our government ruined their lives in Iraq and promised resettlement here. - - Donna Poisl

Recession Only Makes Matters Worse - IRC Commission Calls for Overhaul of Resettlement System

For the Media

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is outdated and under-funded and is resettling Iraqi refugees into poverty rather than helping rebuild their lives in the country that offered them sanctuary, says the International Rescue Committee.

In a new report, “Iraqi Refugees in the United States: In Dire Straits,” the IRC’s Commission on Iraqi Refugees says resettlement continues to be a critical and lifesaving intervention for thousands of at-risk Iraqi refugees who are living in precarious conditions in exile and unable to return home safely. Yet the federal program no longer meets the basic needs of today’s newly arriving refugees and requires urgent reform.

“The resettlement program in the United States fails individuals with high levels of vulnerability, especially during difficult economic times,” the report states.
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Sagging economy boosts English language class enrollment

Immigrants who have suffered in the present economy are trying to improve their language skills. They know this will help them find and keep a job. But with budget cuts, some of these classes are being cut. - - Donna Poisl

More immigrants look to improve their language skills, educators are finding.


The sinking economy has spurred demand for English classes, while at the same time cuts in education budgets have left some of the programs without classrooms, education officials say.

While there has always been a high demand for English classes, recently more students are calling and walking up to registration counters at local community colleges throughout the county, hoping to sign up for one of the hundreds of classes offered during summer sessions, according to education officials.

Many of these students are immigrants motivated to learn English because of a downward-spiraling economy that may have left them without a competitive edge for advancement or simply without a job.
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New ESL and Computer Classes at Chinese Newcomers Service Center

New classes in ESL and computer use are being offered to Chinese immigrants. - - Donna Poisl

by AsianWeek Staff

As an immigrant in the U.S., do you have difficulties in work and life because of English? Do you have basic computer skills which can greatly benefit your work and life? Sponsored by Western Union, Chinese Newcomers Service Center will open new ESL and computer classes this June and July to help immigrants better adapt to the life in the US.

Western Union has always been devoted to helping the Chinese community. It offers all kinds of resources to help immigrants better adapt to the life in the U.S.. Now with Chinese Newcomers Service Center, it will launch a series of free ESL and computer classes for immigrants in the Chinese community. These intensive classes are based on daily life and work. They deal with problems new immigrants commonly have. They aim to improve the competitive strength of new immigrants in the job market in a most efficient way.
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Attacks on Mexican immigrants often go unreported

Because immigrants are often afraid to report crimes, especially if they are undocumented, more of them are attacked. Immigration reform will help this horrible problem too. - - Donna Poisl

By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer

One moment, Cerelino Velasquez was riding his bike on South Eighth Street near Christian, enjoying an April night as he pedaled home from his job at a nearby pizza shop about 10.

Suddenly, a baseball bat whipped at him from the darkness. The blow fractured his right forearm, cracked a rib, and sent the 5-foot, 135-pound Mexican immigrant crashing to the pavement. Three men pummeled and robbed him, leaving the bike but making off with his pay, more than $200.

In a parting shot, they grabbed his arms and legs, tossed him into the air, and ran before he hit the ground.
His attackers never spoke, Velasquez, 37, recalled in a recent interview. The assault lasted only a minute, but it produced injuries requiring $18,295 worth of treatment at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Undocumented Mexican workers - typically paid in cash, often dependent on bikes because they can't get driver's licenses - are easy prey. And their fears of presenting themselves to police, coupled with their limited fluency in English, mean they generally do not report the crimes.
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San Gabriel pols push immigration reform for students

Politicians are trying to get the DREAM Act passed. - - Donna Poisl

By Rebecca Kimitch, Staff Writer

EL MONTE - A group of local politicians is trying to breathe life into an 8-year-old proposal that would allow undocumented immigrants who grew up in the United States to work toward citizenship.

The legislation, known as the DREAM Act, would create a path to citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants who came here before they were 16, have graduated high school in the United States or will attend college or join the military here.

"It's just not right to have somebody with that kind of promise, that kind of talent, and not give them the opportunity to be productive," Board of Equalization member Judy Chu said at a press conference in El Monte Friday while promoting the legislation.

Chu, the Democratic nominee for the 32nd Congressional district, her husband Assemblyman Mike Eng, D-El Monte, and others are pushing for Congress and President Barack Obama to put the DREAM Act on the front burner.

Chu and Eng reminded a crowd of mostly Asian journalists the legislation would benefit Asian Americans as well as Latinos.
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Ohio Governor Honors Armenian Americans

Several people were honored as first-generation American immigrants who have made a contribution to Ohio. - - Donna Poisl

By Yelena Allakhverdov - The Armenian Weekly

On May 30, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland held a reception in Cincinnati honoring first-generation immigrants who have made significant contributions to the state. Among others, the honorees included an Indian-American, a doctor born in a Nazi concentration camp, and two Armenian American immigrants, from Azerbaijan and Lebanon.

Tigran “Ty” Safaryan, who was also featured in a 2008 Armenian Weekly article on Ohio’s Armenian refugees from Baku, was honored for his entrepreneurial spirit and contributions to Ohio’s economy.

The other Armenian American honoree at the event, Hagop Pambookian, is current Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

2009 Law & Policy Conference: "Refugee Protection around the World: Durable Solutions or Durable Suffering?"


The 2009 Human Rights Law & Policy Conference
Refugee Protection around the World:
Durable Solutions or Durable Suffering?

Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Minneapolis, MN

The Advocates for Human Rights will host the seventh annual human rights law and policy conference, Refugee Protection around the World: Durable Solutions or Durable Suffering? on Monday, June 22, 2009, at the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney, LLP.

This year’s conference will bring together local, national and international experts and advocates to examine the current refugee protection system, its shortcomings, and possible durable solutions.
Click on the headline to read the full schedule!

Obama Shows Empathy To Immigrant Widows, Widowers

Spouses who face deportation because they are widowed before the 2-year time requirement are considering changing the law. This is good new. - - Donna Poisl

By Felicia Persaud, CaribWorldNews

WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. June 12, 2009: The Obama administration is showing empathy to immigrant spouses who have lost their wives or husbands.

This week the Department of Homeland Security revealed that it will temporarily be halting the deportation of US citizens` widows and widowers. The policy shift also applies to unmarried children under 18 years old who reside in the United States and who were married for less than two years prior to their spouse`s death.

Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano said the DHS would also favourably consider requests from people previously affected by the `widow penalty` who may want their cases reinstated.
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California should apologize for persecution of Chinese immigrants, legislator says

This assemblyman recommends that Chinese immigrants receive an apology for the abusive treatment and laws they faced while helping to build the state. - - Donna Poisl

By Jessie Mangaliman, Mercury News

California should formally "express regrets" to the Chinese immigrants who were historically persecuted and abused while they helped build the Golden State's railroads, mines and agricultural fields, said a state legislator who is promoting legislation that would lead to the first-ever government apology to Chinese-Americans.

Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Mountain View, the grandson of a Chinese immigrant who was interned at Angel Island, said his goal is to eventually convince the federal government to also issue an apology, and then legislate redress for the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which specifically barred Chinese immigrants from the U.S. It was repealed in 1943.

The first Chinese immigrants to California — who called it "gam saan," or Gold Mountain — faced discriminatory laws that prevented them from marrying or owning property. They were paid less and taxed more while children were denied access to public school.
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Boy Scouts try to earn Latinos' badge of trust

Latino kids are not naturally attracted to the Scouts, but this new recruitment effort by the Boy Scouts may change that. - - Donna Poisl

by Antonio Olivo / Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO -- The smells of roasting jalapenos and buttery pancakes swirled together in the Tinley Park forest preserve campsite as mothers chattering in Spanish prepared breakfast for the boys in Cub Scout Pack 3345.

The mostly Mexican-American children, wolfing down their meal in the southern Cook County woods, represented what the Boy Scouts of America sees as its new face after striving for nearly 100 years to embody painter Norman Rockwell's idyllic vision of America.

Worried about dwindling membership, the organization has launched a pilot recruitment effort to double its ranks of Latinos to 200,000 before its centennial next February. Chicago is among six test sites for even more ambitious plans to tap into the nation's fastest-growing demographic.
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Refugee agencies need sponsors

The title of this story tells the whole message. More clients and less money to help them. - - Donna Poisl

Downturn in aid hurting services


Two prominent agencies that resettle refugees in Lancaster are struggling to find sponsors even as they deal with a rising number of incoming clients.

Church World Service's Lancaster County chapter expects to resettle 200 refugees this year, 50 more than last year, and Lutheran Refugee Services, which is based here, expects 150, 30 more than last year.

The U.S. State Department contracts with both organizations to resettle refugees. Recently, those resettled have come predominantly from Myanmar, Bhutan and Iraq. Each year, the organizations set a general target for the number they will accept.

This year, the refugees are coming at a time when the recession is sharply limiting the resources of those who want to help them start a new life.

Many churches are already pushed to the limit just helping their own members cope with the downturn, according to Sheila McGeehan, Lancaster director of Church World Services.
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Program helps seniors get jobs in Chinatown

Older immigrants to this country have skills and experiences that are often not needed here and this program is helping them find jobs. Also needing help with English makes it much harder. - - Donna Poisl


Finding a job in today’s economy? Hard.

Finding a job as a senior citizen? Harder.

But what can be more difficult yet? Add immigration to the mix.

“Realistically, for those of us that are older, finding a job really isn’t that easy,” said Tzu Chien Lu, a quietly amiable man more comfortable speaking in his native Mandarin than English. Lu, 60, immigrated to the United States from Taiwan in 2007.

One person who works with job placement for senior immigrants at the Chinese American Service League, or CASL, says most of his clients come from Asia and do not speak English very well.
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English they want, and get

This editorial is rebutting the often heard complaint that Hispanics don't want or try to learn English. - - Donna Poisl

By Tracy Warner, Editorial Page editor

The Wenatchee Valley Literacy Council has a waiting list. More people want to learn to speak and write English than there are spaces in class.

This is not an unusual situation, said Louise Verellen, Literacy Council director. Demand for English instruction is high among the local immigrant population. English As a Second Language classes fill quickly. "People who want to stay here realize they do need to learn the language, and get their citizenship," Verellen said. The current waiting list is about 25 people, long for this time of year, when harvest is near, work more plentiful and class attendance usually drops.

This observation put me in mind of something we often see among submissions to The Safety Valve: the standard they-don't-learn-English letter. It comes from people making the casual observation that the native Spanish speakers among us — surprise — speak Spanish. They speak it often and unhidden, and they speak it especially to other native Spanish speakers. We overhear and sense that the air is filled with foreign conversation. And if we try to communicate we find they either speak no English or have great difficulties with it.

From this comes the extrapolation that local Latinos 1) do not wish to speak English, and 2) they will never be assimilated, and become by our standards, Americans. The letters usually ask something like this: My ancestors came to this country and learned English, and so why can't these people do the same?
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Immigrant touts English language

This immigrant is telling people why she thinks all immigrants should learn English and do it quickly. - - Donna Poisl

Gisela B. Dyer, Special to The Reporter

At the outset, let me say, being an immigrant myself, I am a strong supporter of expanded legal immigration. But, arriving here in the United States in 1950, having requested the community accommodate me with signs in my own language never entered my mind.

At any rate, people would have told me to go back from whence I came.

English is the official language of this country. Good grades, good opportunities, good advancement in trade, business or college depend on a good grasp of the English language.

If you come to this country, it is good to be prepared to embrace its language, customs and culture.

That is not to say you give up your own language, customs and culture. Within family and neighborhood settings, it should be encouraged.
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The Soul of the Border Crisis

While some think immigration reform will be too hard to accomplish, churches are possibly the best groups to get it through. - - Donna Poisl

Local churches are key in fixing the immigration mess.

A Christianity Today editorial

The newest research from the Pew Hispanic Center, released this spring, suggests that the immigration system in the United States is going to be nearly impossible to fix. This is an important realization; with a weak economy and high unemployment rates, few leaders are enthusiastic about tackling the complex problems that undocumented immigrants face. Immigration reform has stalled in Congress since 2005, and extremist rhetoric on both sides of the debate has only exacerbated the stalemate.

While Pew reports that the number of illegal immigrants has slowed to a trickle, there are now nearly 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. The undocumented population's issues go far beyond residency status. These individuals have lower incomes, are less educated, and have poorer health than the typical American.

How can churches best respond locally? While the Feds have control of our borders, Christians still have a powerful voice, by which we should call on political leaders:
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Clayton blazes trail with bilingual school

More little kids learning languages and becoming fluent so young! I envy them, am so happy to know that this country is going to have many bilingual people in the future. - - Donna Poisl

By Steve Visser, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Each day of the school year, Thaddeus Hood and his fellow second-graders said the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish.

They were among the 300 students at Unidos Dual Language Charter School in Forest Park, which teaches at least half its classes in the Spanish language with the goal of making native English and native Spanish speakers bilingual by the time they reach middle school.

“He is not fluent yet, but I am confident he is on his way because he is speaking, reading and writing Spanish at his grade level,” said Thaddeus’ mother, Yolanda Hood. “He is doing well in English language arts as well. He scored either at his level or above his level on the standardized tests.”

Hood also has enrolled her 5-year-old daughter Kennedy in the Clayton County school’s pre-kindergarten program for the coming year so she can learn Spanish. Hood bought Rosetta Stone, the language-teaching software, to keep up with her children.
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Women Immigrants Key to Family Unity

We women have always known that women are the key to family unity. Why does it take a survey to discover this? But I am happy that this survey tells everyone. - - Donna Poisl

New America Media, News Report, Viji Sundaram

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Women immigrants must overcome formidable barriers when they first come to the United States, but their determination to hold their families together helps them overcome many of those obstacles.

Those are among the findings of a recent New America Media-commissioned national survey that pollster Sergio Bendixen shared with a tightly packed gathering here at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on June 5 at a forum, "Women in Ethnic Media Breakfast: Women Changing the Face of Immigration and Journalism."

NAM chief of staff Odette Keeley, who immigrated from the Philippines nine years ago, said women are redefining themselves both in the home and the workplace.

Meredith Greene Megaw, communications director at the Committee to Protect Journalists, a press freedom advocacy group, talked about her organization's efforts to shine the spotlight on the two North Korean journalists and the Iranian American journalist, Roxanna Saberi, all of whom were arrested while in pursuit of stories.
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Schools reaching out to Portuguese community

Primary school kids who are already fluent in English and Spanish are learning Portuguese in this district. And many of us struggle with only one! - - Donna Poisl

By Linda Conner Lambeck, Staff writer

BRIDGEPORT -- Sarah Hernandez, 9, has a ready answer for why she'd want to learn Portuguese.

"At home, I always speak Spanish, so why would I take Spanish," said the Multicultural Magnet School third-grader.

Intent on becoming fluent in a third language, Hernandez is in her third year of taking a Portuguese Language Arts class from Maria Conroy, one of school's two Portuguese language teachers.

She knows how to count in Portuguese, can say the days of the week and months of the years. She listens as Conroy reads a storybook called Borboletas and knows its about butterflies.

She even has a few classmates of Portuguese descent in her class; from Brazil and Cape Verdi.

Not enough to suit some.

Portuguese is the second most common foreign language spoken among city students at home, after Spanish. As of 2006, there were 534 students in the district whose families speak Portuguese at home and 142 whose dominate language is Portuguese.
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Seeking a Way Between Two Worlds

These teenagers and young adults are trying to keep their faith when many around them distrust them because of their faith. - - Donna Poisl

Young Muslims Strive to Uphold Their Faith, Find a Place in the Dominant Culture

By Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post Staff Writer

Many had just entered high school in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks and now, eight years later, they are leaving college and choosing their path in life. Young Muslims in the Washington area are part of a generation that appears markedly different from their parents in career choices, assimilation and views of their religion.

Their youth has often been affected by the mistrust and wariness many Americans have of Islam. They are struggling with how to live their faith, from how to dress to whom to date, in a broader American society that frequently views them with suspicion.

Pollsters and researchers are just beginning to study this group of young people, almost three-fourths of whom are first- or second-generation American. One of the group's biggest issues, Altaf Husain said, is their concern that Islam is viewed as dangerous.
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Church embraces two languages to form ‘one body’

This church is trying very hard to make the Anglo and Hispanic members feel equally welcome in their congregation. - - Donna Poisl

by BOBBY ROSS JR. | The Christian Chronicle

ESCONDIDO, CALIF. - Damaris Romanillo, the American-born daughter of Mexican immigrants, feels equally comfortable praising God in Spanish or English.

The 17-year-old high school senior worships in both languages at the North County Church of Christ, a growing congregation north of San Diego.

Many Sundays, she attends one of two English services, which draw a combined 500 worshipers. Then she joins her parents — and 250 other souls — in a Spanish assembly.

Other times, she helps with children’s Bible classes — all integrated and featuring “team teaching” by English and Spanish speakers. “Whenever there is a situation, I translate and I help out, so we can be one big family,” said Romanillo, a children’s ministry intern.

At many churches, the Hispanic ministry occupies a back room or meets in the afternoon after the English assembly, said Daniel Rodriguez, associate professor of religion and Hispanic studies at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.
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GED program offers graduates a brighter future

People who did not finish high school and need that diploma to get a good job are getting their GED. Some take years to do it, many immigrants struggle with the language but still know they need it. - - Donna Poisl

By Phyllis Coulter

BLOOMINGTON — Luis Alberto of Bloomington knows first-hand that having a diploma makes a difference in getting a job.

But even with a General Educational Development (GED), it’s a challenge to support his family and prevent looming foreclosure of his home.

After a ceremony Friday, another 156 GED (also known as general equivalency diploma) graduates from the DeWitt, Livingston and McLean Regional Office of Education program will have a tool for the future as they begin their journey, school administrators say.

The graduates range from young learners to a grandmother who took almost 10 years to finish. Some have lived here for generations; others are immigrants who may have first learned English as a second language.

Alberto, an aviation mechanic in Mexico, studied English first and earned his high school equivalency in 2000.

“It’s an excellent idea to get as much training as possible, and to continue to study to get more opportunities,” he said.
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ONE Telluride Offers Flexible Language Learning Options for Hispanic Community

This is a flexible English learning program, matching volunteers with people who can't make it to classes at the schools. Some are even in the people's homes. - - Donna Poisl

Volunteers Work One-on-One With Students

by Martinique Davis

TELLURIDE – Every Saturday morning, ONE Telluride volunteer April Montgomery visits the home of an Hispanic family. For nearly two hours, they chat, laugh, and talk about what’s happening that week – in English.

The exchange is part of ONE Telluride’s adult English Language Learners (ELL), a program designed to help members of the local immigrant population gain vital language skills. Like ONE Telluride’s classroom-based language programs, the ELL volunteer program seeks to accomplish the non-profit organization’s mission of helping to bridge the gap between immigrants and receiving communities by offering numerous services that help with the integration process, including low-cost language instruction at all levels.

To help serve a growing population of students seeking language education, ONE Telluride, an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, is currently seeking volunteers to teach English in Telluride and Norwood. Volunteers will teach English in a one-on-one or small group setting – a new, flexible ELL teaching approach that supplements One Telluride’s existing classroom-based English courses. The volunteer program is a less traditional approach that takes ONE Telluride’s English language instruction outside of the classroom, bringing people like Montgomery into a less formal setting for one-on-one interaction.
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Bidding school a fond farewell

This school, with predominantly Hispanic immigrants and Middle Eastern refugees as students, is closing because of budget cuts. - - Donna Poisl

Generations of students find its closing bittersweet

By Leonel Sanchez, Union-Tribune Staff Writer

EL CAJON — Nereyda Monzon remembers telling her 6-year-old son in March that his school would be closing. She had just finished reading a book about change to him.

“He was sad,” Monzon, 33, said about his reaction to the closing of Cuyamaca Elementary in El Cajon. “I said there's not enough money to keep the school open. You have to go to another school.”

Generations of El Cajonians learned to read, write and count at the school, which opened 61 years ago during the post-World War II population boom and will close in 15 days.

Such a neighborhood loss of a school is becoming more common, as districts face declining enrollment and financial issues. San Diego Unified officials said they will close North Park Elementary, and they are looking at whether to close other small elementary schools. The Del Mar Union School District also will study the possibility of closing a campus.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Older Hispanics a work force to be reckoned with

AARP is reporting that this labor force will be very important when the economy improves. - - Donna Poisl

Growing pool of 55+ workers will need to be tapped: AARP

By Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- One day the recession will end, workers will be needed and the growing pool of older Hispanics may be a good option to fill job openings, according to a report released Monday by AARP.

The pool of older Hispanic workers is growing faster than the "traditional" labor pool of those between 25 and 54, the report said. And for healthy growth, employers will need to replace and add to the more than 6 million jobs that have been lost since the recession began in December 2007.

"Once the recession ends, employers may face a scarcity of working-age adults with the necessary skills and experience," said Deborah Russell, AARP's workforce issues director. "Hispanics are one of the fastest growing segments of the older population, and they can help in a big way in filling the void."

In coming years, the traditional labor pool may grow relatively slowly and could be supplemented by older workers. Adults 25 to 54 years old will increase 2% between 2008 and 2020, while the total population grows 12%. Over that same time period, adults age 55 to 69 will increase 34%.

Older workers, who may be overlooked by employers, offer a "mature, experienced, and skilled source of labor," according to the report.
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The 2009 National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference, June 17-19, 2009- Washington, D.C.


The 2009 National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference, June 17-19, 2009
- Washington, D.C.

PHILADELPHIA, June 5 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Esperanza, the largest Hispanic faith-based Evangelical network in the United States, committed to strengthening the Latino community, is hosting the 8th annual National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference, June 17-19, 2009 in Washington, D.C. These unique events bring together over 750 national Hispanic spiritual and community leaders to the nation's capital where they join in celebration and prayer for our country, our political leaders, and our communities, and advocate for the needs of Hispanics in the United States.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WHAT: The State of Hispanic Housing Dinner
Features discussions of housing issues that affect the Hispanic community.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 17
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
6:00 p.m. Media Check-In Outside Salon I & II

WHERE: The J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Salon I & II

WHO: Mr. Ken Wade, Neighbor Works America
Mr. Ira Goldstein, Ph.D., The Reinvestment Fund
The Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr., President and founder, Esperanza
Gospel recording artists Julissa and Ingrid Rosario

WHAT: Church Leadership Plenary
How Church Leaders can address a community in crisis.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 17
8:30 - 9:45 p.m.
8:00 p.m. Media Check-In Outside Salon I & II

WHERE: The J.W. Marriot Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Salon I & II

WHO: Three-time Latin Grammy Award winner, Marcos Witt

Thursday, June 18, 2009

WHAT: Esperanza Partners and Awards Dinner
Features a formal recognition of Esperanza'''s partners and award recipients.
Esperanza to announce partnership with AETNA in response to the needs of the
Hispanic community. Esperanza also to highlight partnership with Wal-Mart
working towards environmental sustainability.

WHEN: Thursday, June 18
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
6:30 p.m. Media Check-In Outside Salon III & IV

WHERE: The J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. Salon III & IV

WHO: Mr. Adolfo Carrion, Jr., Director, White House Office of Urban
Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL), receiving the Esperanza
Advocate Award
The Rev. Adolfo Carrion, Sr., receiving the Esperanza Spirit Award
Mr. Fernando Arau, receiving the Esperanza Image Award
Gospel recording artists Alex Campos, Julissa, Ordained Praise,
Marcos Witt, and Ingrid Rosario

Friday, June 19, 2009

WHAT: The 2009 National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast
Over 750 national Hispanic Clergy and community leaders join in prayer for our
nation and the Hispanic community.

WHEN: Friday, June 19
7:00 - 11:00 a.m.
6:00 a.m. Media Check-In Outside Grand Ballroom
(NOTE: All media representatives need to be present no later than 6:50 a.m. -
- doors close at 7:00 a.m.)

WHERE: J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave., Grand Ballroom

WHO: President Barack H. Obama (Invited)
The Hon. Edward G. Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania
The Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr., President and Founder of Esperanza
The Rev. Danny Cortes
Mrs. Maria Ruiz, receiving the Mujeres de Esperanza Certain Woman
Gospel recording artist Marcos Witt, Julissa, Ingrid Rosario, Alex
Campos, and Ordained Praise

SOURCE Esperanza USA
-0- 06/05/2009
/NOTE TO EDITORS: To schedule interviews with The Reverend Luis Cortes,
Jr., President of Esperanza, and other senior Esperanza staff members, please
contact Rosario Diaz-Cintron, 215-324-0746, extension 205./
/CONTACT: Rosario Diaz-Cintron of Esperanza USA, 215-324-0746,

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Senegalese immigrant graduates from Brookhaven College with dreams to live out

This young man from Senegal learned English in a year and has now received his degree from a community college. Now he will go on to university and probably will be doing good things in a few years. Congratulations to him. - - Donna Poisl

By DIANNE SOLÍS / The Dallas Morning News

Draped in a black gown with a gold sash, Mamadou Diallo took the podium like a pro at graduation ceremonies for Brookhaven College last month.

The Senegalese immigrant student came to the U.S. on an education visa three years ago, learned English in one year, earned membership in the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, and racked up a 4.0 grade-point average at the Farmers Branch community college.
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JCTC goes global

The numbers of students enrolling in these classes is rising all the time and the waiting lines are getting longer in many cities. These classes are wonderful, we need educated, English-fluent immigrants, - - Donna Poisl

More immigrants are studying English at the college


When Yaslin Pupo Morera arrived in Louisville from Cuba with her husband and twin sons two years ago she couldn't speak more than a word or two in English.

"I understood nothing," said Morera.

But this fall, thanks to an English as a Second Language class offered at Jefferson Community and Technical College, Morera will take her first college-credit course in English this fall.

A growing number of newly arrived immigrants are enrolling in the community college's English as Second Language classes. Since fall 2006, ESL enrollment has increased 44 percent, from 330 to 474 students.
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Latinos, Asians explore Morris' political landscape

Asians and Latinos are discovering that they should take part in the political activities in this country. What a government does affects them too, and they can change things, but not if they are silent. - - Donna Poisl


When Ed Correa runs for Dover alderman next year, his candidacy could mark a change in the way Latinos approach politics in the town and elsewhere.

He won't be the first Latino to run for Dover office; the town had a Latino mayor a few years ago. But Correa is not simply running on his own. He's expected to be part of a slate of Latino candidates across the state, perhaps one of several running in Morris County.

A Daily Record survey found minorities are underrepresented in government across Morris County compared to their population numbers -- especially Latinos and Asians, the county's largest and fastest-growing minorities. There are no Latino elected officials in the county's two largest Latino communities, Dover and Morristown. And while Asian-Americans make up at least 26 percent of Parsippany's population, they have no elected officials there.

Members of the Latino and Asian communities say their lack of participation stems at least partly from a large number of first-generation immigrants too busy working and learning about American culture to run for office. Their children and grandchildren probably won't feel the same way, they say.
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An identity in soccer

These immigrant high school students have found a way to have fun, learn English, compete with other schools and become leaders, on and off the soccer field. - - Donna Poisl

Playing soccer for Roanoke's William Fleming High School has helped the many immigrants on the roster find their niche in a foreign environment.

By David Harrison

A muddy field near Reserve Avenue in Roanoke serves as home turf for the William Fleming High School soccer team. In early spring, sweat shirt weather, about two dozen boys can be seen there every afternoon running tight soccer drills in the shadow of Mill Mountain.

Suddenly, coach Landon Moore whistles the drill to a stop and shouts a question: "In order to communicate, do you have to use words?"

The players are tentative. "Yes?"

Moore tries again: "Do you have to use words?"

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Immigrant stories

New immigrants and especially, women, have a very hard time adjusting to life here. The women in this story tell about the differences and similarities. Very interesting. - - Donna Poisl

Women develop new skills, roles in the United States


Imagine you are 20 or 30 years old and you're going swimming for the first time. That was the experience of one group of women who immigrated to the Elgin area. The women told leaders of the Elgin YWCA they had never gone swimming in their lives because they always have been required to keep their bodies covered.

So the YWCA recently covered all the windows to the outside of its pool at 220 E. Chicago St. and set up a private session for the women to swim for the first time. "It impacted them deeply," said Rebecca Walker, coordinator of the YWCA's English as a Second Language and Family Literacy programs. "Sometimes it is the small things that are empowering and liberating to women."
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Immigrants Sworn In as Citizens in Fairfax County

Most people born here have no idea the struggles many immigrants have in order to become U.S. citizens. - - Donna Poisl

NewsChannel 8

FAIRFAX, Va. - A group of new immigrants were sworn in as U.S. citizens Friday in Fairfax County (web | news) , and local leaders hope it's the first of many similar ceremonies.

As they raise their hands to take the oath of allegiance, the new Americans know this is the last step in a journey of miles, courage and hard work. And for Premi Hira of the United Kingdom, the impact of this moment sparks emotions that cannot be measured.
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FREE Hispanic or Polish Construction Training Module Available to U.S.


FREE Hispanic or Polish Construction Training Module Available to U.S.
Construction Companies and Community Groups

HILLSIDE, Ill., June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Construction Safety Council developed a new training tool for Hispanic and Polish construction companies for use in training their employees, especially those at most risk who do not possess a good understanding of the English language. Developed with federal funding, these training kits are available immediately free of charge and only until mid-September 2009. The only requirement for obtaining the kit is an agreement to provide the Construction Safety Council with sign in sheets to authenticate the training. Booklets are also available for each trainee upon
the request of the provider. The training must be provided free of charge to those persons in the target audience: Hispanic and Polish construction workers.

To provide safety training for these groups, the Construction Safety Council is appealing not only to the smaller Hispanic and Polish construction companies who employ these workers but also to the leaders of community groups and faith based organizations who are in contact with the groups.

The training module is FREE. It is designed as a large 11" x 17" flip chart that contains 16 short, separate construction safety topics with illustrations and training notes. The modules are available in either English/Spanish or English/Polish. Anyone who speaks Spanish or Polish may present the materials; instructor notes and a glossary are included for each topic. Total training time for all topics could be two hours, or more. It is not necessary to cover every topic, only what is needed. Topics include:
employee general safety, housekeeping, material handling safety, personal protective equipment, health hazards, ladder safety, fall protection, scaffolding, aerial lifts safety tips, overhead power lines, electrical safety GFCI, power tool hazards, machine guarding, trench & excavation safety, cranes and rigging, work zone traffic safety. The required sign-in sheets and program evaluation sheets must be faxed before September 30, 2009 to the Construction Safety Council after the training has taken place. Additional booklets, sign-in sheets and evaluations for additional training are available upon request.

To obtain a free training kit, a 30-second Public Service Announcement, or additional information please contact Beverlee Carrick 800-552-7744 extension 202. The Construction Safety Council is a 501 C (3) corporation.

SOURCE Construction Safety Council
-0- 06/03/2009
/CONTACT: Beverlee Carrick of the Construction Safety Council, +1-800-552-7744 ext. 202