Monday, August 31, 2009

Forum examines ways to fully assimilate immigrants into G.I.

Communities all over the country are having their own conferences, trying to solve immigrant problems in their own place and their own way. Little by little, we will fix these problems. Read this whole article, very interesting! - - Donna Poisl

By Harold Reutter

One sign that Grand Island's two-day secondary migration conference may have been successful was that people did not stop talking at the end of Friday's community forum.

Sudanese immigrants stood talking with Somali immigrants, while Anglos talked with Latinos. Then groups would re-arrange so a whole different mix of ethnic groups were talking with each other.

Those informal conversations mimicked the much more structured dialogue that had taken place for the preceding three hours during a community forum on secondary migration conducted by the Spring Institute of Denver.
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Immigration services center finally coming to Queens

A community known for its ethnic diversity is finally getting their own immigration service center. - - Donna Poisl

BY Leigh Remizowski

Taking care of immigration paperwork has been a major hassle for Queens residents - a strange paradox for the most ethnically diverse county in the U.S.

Scheduling a citizenship interview means finding time to journey to lower Manhattan or to Garden City, L.I.

But early next year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is set to open a field office in Long Island City, federal officials announced Tuesday.

It will be only the second agency office in the five boroughs. The other one is in Federal Plaza in Manhattan.

"We have a large immigrant constituency in Queens," Andrea Quarantillo, the New York district director for the agency, said as she unveiled plans for the new office at 27-35 Jackson Ave.

"We want our offices to be closer to where our customers live and work," she said.
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New Bedford's immigrant workers targeted for English classes

These employers and the city understand that everyone benefits when immigrants are proficient in English. - - Donna Poisl

By Brian Boyd

Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Corp., whose employees are almost 90 percent foreign-born, has been offering workers English classes for nine years, an effort that was started with the help of the employees' union.

Anthony R. Sapienza, president of Abboud, a New Bedford manufacturer of men's clothing, believes proficiency in English helps businesses and opens up more job opportunities to the workers.

"There is just no question about it," Sapienza said Monday during the announcement of a new area campaign to increase the availability of language classes for immigrant workers.

Statewide, 25,000 people are on waiting lists for classes in English as a second language, about 1,000 in New Bedford alone, he said.
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Among Young Sikhs, Expressions of Faith Mixing Two Worlds

Many young, well-educated and upwardly mobile Sikhs are meeting with each other and keeping their religion alive in this country. They are doctors, lawyers, bankers, engineers, computer consultants, graduate students and others. About half are the children of immigrants, half are immigrants themselves. All are becoming Americans, but not losing their own culture. - - Donna Poisl


Mandeep Singh was having dinner with a friend in Queens several years ago when the subject turned to their common religion, Sikhism. Mr. Singh had grown up in India unquestioningly embracing the faith of his parents. As a college student in Delhi, he attended a gurdwara, or temple, with a congregation well into the hundreds and a paid staff of a dozen, leaving him feeling devout yet somehow peripheral.

By this time, working as a technology consultant in New York, Mr. Singh had a different sensation, not exactly unsettled but acutely curious. So when his friend mentioned that a local Sikh association had a page on Facebook, not exactly the place Mr. Singh was expecting to find religious direction, he eagerly clicked to it.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adelante Empresas: Helping Latinos prosper is their business

This program is helping Latino immigrants learn business skills and start their own businesses. Many immigrants are entrepreneurs and this program shows how they can be successful. Read the whole story, please. - - Donna Poisl

by Gosia Wozniacka, The Oregonian

Under the scorching sun, Heriberto Nogales waters Japanese Maple saplings on a rented half-acre lot just off the Tualatin Valley Highway.

It can be tough going for an immigrant with little capital and English skills. There are days when sheer determination pushes Nogales to graft plants and fix rickety greenhouses.

A new program may help. Adelante Empresas, launched this spring by Forest Grove nonprofit Adelante Mujeres, is teaching Nogales and half a dozen other Washington County Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs to overcome barriers and develop skills to start or improve their small businesses. It also encourages environmentally sustainable businesses.
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'Life is an adventure' for Watsonville High grad Rebecca Alcantar

This is a nice success story about this woman who has speaks 3 languages, taught English in China, worked for a political figure and is now enrolling at Columbia University. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers and fit all this into only 25 years. - - Donna Poisl


Rebecca Alcantar believes she inherited her adventurous spirt from her parents, immigrants from Guanajuato, Mexico who settled in the United States as a young married couple.

Next week, Alcantar, a 2002 Watsonville High School graduate, will leave for New York City to enroll at Columbia University with the goal of earning a master's degree in public administration. It's another step in a journey that has taken her to China to teach English and to a job as field representative for Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, D-Salinas.

"Both of my parents were farmworkers, migrants who moved around a lot," Alcantar said. "That experience of adventure, always going to a new place and adapting to new people ... made me curious about what is out there."
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The Department of Homeland Security Releases Report on Refugees and Asylees

DHS' Office of Immigration Statistics has released an Annual Report showing trends, characteristics, and other statistics on the number of people admitted to the U.S. as refugees or granted asylum here during 2008. According to the report, people from Burma, Iraq, and Bhutan accounted for nearly two-thirds of all refugees in 2008.

Click on the headline or go here to read the 6 page report:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

“Speak Out/Stop Hate” Video Contest


For immediate release
Press contact: Ted Hesson, 516-304-5644,

Long Island, NY - Long Island Wins is giving every person with a video camera, a concept, and a desire to “Speak Out/Stop Hate” against immigrants the chance to have their voice heard, and to teach others the value of tolerance.

Our organization—a public information campaign driven by the belief that immigration creates valuable opportunities for economic, cultural, and social growth—wants you to put together a 30-second video aimed at reaching middle school and high school students for our video contest, which runs from Tuesday, August 18, 2009, to midnight on Friday, October 2, 2009. The winning video will be featured at the Long Island Latino International Film Festival ( this November, promoted on national immigration websites, and utilized by Long Island Wins as an educational tool to increase understanding within our community.

Why you need to "Speak Out/Stop Hate:"
For years, politicians and media across the country have fanned the flames of hatred against immigrants, blaming newcomers for problems that the politicians themselves refuse to fix. This type of rhetoric has invariably influenced some young people, further reinforcing anti-immigrant sentiment. On Long Island, we’ve experienced this personally. In November 2008, Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero was beaten and stabbed to death in the village of Patchogue by several young men who routinely roamed the streets “beaner jumping.” Simply put, it was a hate crime.

The overall response to the Lucero murder from Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy—one of Long Island’s chief anti-immigrant politicians—has been predictably tepid. When Levy did reach out to Suffolk County's young people by releasing a 30-second PSA against hate crimes this May, the video, while well-intentioned, missed its mark (watch the PSA below). With that in mind, we think there are filmmakers out there—professional and amateur, local and national—who can do better.

About the contest:
We're looking for the video that best conveys the message of "Speak Out/Stop Hate" to students. We don’t want spoofs or remixes—videos should be created specifically for this contest. To submit your video, post it to YouTube, and then send the link to Videos will be judged by our contest panel members, who will choose the winners based on creativity, originality, and effectiveness of message.

- All submissions must be received by midnight on Friday, October 2.
- Submissions must not exceed 30 seconds in length.
- Individuals may submit more than one video.
- Contestants agree that upon submitting an entry to license it under a creative commons that gives us ( the right to post your video on our website and circulate it to others.
- Entries must be an original creation and not contain the intellectual property of another person or company.
- Entries containing obscene material will not be accepted.
- Groups of people are encouraged to submit videos, but prizes will be the same.
Click on the headline or go to to see details and all the links to enter the contest

Community colleges deserve attention

Community colleges are very important to students and parents and many immigrants who take their ESL classes. The tuition is lower than other schools. Students can upgrade their skills and take classes before transferring to university. - - Donna Poisl

posted on

Students are starting to migrate back to college and university campuses, and it's almost certain their wallets are thinner than they were last year.

But that's a song you could have sung just about any year in the last couple of decades. College costs have been reliably increasing, far outstripping the pace of inflation.

What makes this all the more frustrating for students and parents is a college education is increasingly the path to a middle-class life.
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Interfaith summit in S.A. supports immigration reform

Groups from different churches are getting together and working on immigration reform together. Faith communities can work on it in different ways than political groups can. - - Donna Poisl

By Elaine Ayala - SAEN

Calling reform of the nation's immigration laws “the civil rights test of our generation,” about 150 Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Jewish leaders gathered in San Antonio on Monday to set an agenda for helping their congregations better debate the issue and convince Congress to pass it.

“We cannot wait anymore,” said Archbishop José Gomez. “It's a matter of great importance for our country.”

The daylong summit unfolded a week after President Barack Obama, delaying a campaign promise to pursue comprehensive reform legislation in 2009, announced it would be put off until 2010.
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A Changing America

This commentator tells what his town was like when his family first moved there and how it has changed, with more immigrant families moving there. - - Donna Poisl

by Pius Kamau

AURORA, CO (KUNC) - Even after 30 years of living in Colorado, KUNC commentator Pius Kamua feels that he's still regarded as a foreigner. But that's had him thinking how the natives have had to change - and if it's been for better or for worse.

When we moved to Denver, the city of Aurora was a shadow of what it is today. Where today's streets and avenues crisscross the land, fallow fields lay dormant, sleepy, wide open spaces. There were few black faces, and fewer Hispanics. We were a curiosity to the white natives, most of whom had not traveled far from their neighborhoods.
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Immigrants are vital to recovery

State and local governments, struggling with their budgets, need immigration reform as much as the immigrants do. As our economy recovers, we need all these people working and paying taxes. - - Donna Poisl

In purchasing power and taxes, they contribute greatly to the economy.

By Walter Ewing

As Pennsylvania grapples with a budget deficit brought on by the current recession, state and local policy makers would do well to keep in mind that immigrant communities are a potent force for economic recovery.

Immigrants and their adult children already contribute billions of dollars to the state economy each year as workers, taxpayers, consumers, and entrepreneurs. These contributions would be even greater if illegal immigrants had a pathway to legal status, which would draw all of them into the tax system. Moreover, newly legalized workers could earn higher wages, further increasing their tax contributions and the amount of money they have to spend in Pennsylvania.
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Advocates want District to use unspent federal funds

This is a switch. Most school districts have no money and this one has a surplus in the fund to serve immigrants. Residents want the money spent on more ELL classes and services. - - Donna Poisl

They want more bilingual assistants hired. The surplus may be $1.2 million

by Paul Socolar

The School District has for years carried surpluses of a million dollars or more in unspent funds from the federal aid program designated for immigrant and English language learner (ELL) students – and has continued to do so even as advocacy groups pleaded for more services, a Notebook investigation has revealed.

The District last fall received its latest annual grant of more than $3 million from Title III, the federal program that aids immigrants and ELLs. As of this June 30, nine months into the grant year, $2.2 million of that grant was still unspent, according to a District financial report provided to the Notebook.

Officials now project that at least $1.2 million of the funds will remain at the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30, when a new grant will be awarded.
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Newsom touts immigrants' rights in speech at Stanford

Immigration and budgets are a big part of the next election, probably in most states, and certainly in California. - - Donna Poisl

By Will Oremus, Daily News Staff Writer

Gubernatorial candidate and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom on Friday staked out liberal ground on immigration and budget cuts in a speech to hundreds of union workers at Stanford University.

"Do I support a driver's license for everybody? The answer is yes," Newsom said to a burst of applause from members of SEIU United Service Workers West, who gathered at the university for a two-day leadership convention. He touted San Francisco's municipal identification cards, which are available to illegal immigrants as well as citizens, as a model for the state to build on.

Meanwhile, the Democratic candidate railed against Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent use of an executive order to impose furloughs on state employees, calling the move an "unconscionable" grab from hard-working Californians. Newsom suggested the furloughs and other tough cuts could have been avoided by raising the state's tobacco tax and imposing a new oil tax.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Muslim Community Encouraged by Immigrant Affairs Commissioner

The new appointee as immigrant affairs commissioner is a woman who speaks five languages and understands the immigrant story and problems in NYC. - - Donna Poisl

by Julianne Welby

NEW YORK, NY August 12, 2009 —Members of the city's Muslim community are expressing optimism about Mayor Bloomberg's choice for a new immigrant affairs commissioner. He appointed an education adviser from his administration named Fatima Shama, who speaks five languages - including Arabic - and whose father is Palestinian. Linda Sarsour, with the Arab American Association of New York, expects Shama to push for Muslim holidays in public schools.
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Stereotypes Persist Even Where Immigrants Don't

Recent reports are showing we are making progress with immigrants and stereotypes and prejudice. I hope so. - - Donna Poisl


It's never been easy to be part of the huddled masses. The Statue of Liberty may not be choosy about the wretched refuse she allows in the door, but Americans haven't always been so hospitable. Immigrants from Ireland landed in the U.S. in the 1850s only to find shop windows festooned with signs reading "No Irish Need Apply." The Chinese toiled to build our transcontinental railroad in the 1860s only to see the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act signed in 1882, suspending further immigration. The unwritten rule was simple: pretty much anyone was welcome, except the newest group — or at least the one arriving in the greatest numbers — who would have a harder go of things.

All that's changed, though, right? In our new postracial world, haven't we risen above such petty prejudice? Actually, no, we haven't. But the good news is, we're doing better than you might expect.
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Alejandro Mayorkas Sworn in as USCIS Director

Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban immigrant, was sworn in as diector of USCIS. - - Donna Poisl


Mayorkas Becomes Third Director to the World's Largest Immigration Service

WASHINGTON—Alejandro Mayorkas was sworn in today as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a ceremony at USCIS headquarters here. Mayorkas, a Cuban immigrant to the United States, comes to USCIS with a broad legal background and will lead the agency charged with running the nation’s immigration and naturalization system.
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Unmet Needs of Limited English Proficient Students in the United States

This essay is about another group of English learners, LEP, Limited English Proficient. They have different needs than other students. - - Donna Poisl

Julia Brock

The face and voice of public schools in the United States has drastically changed in most of America in the last 30 years. Classroom dynamics, methods of teaching and pedagogy, have been evolving and changing in recent years and so has the student body. It has been my experience, after teaching in public schools in both Arizona and Colorado, that meeting the needs of immigrant and Limited English Proficient (LEP) students is an increasing focus in countless schools around the country.

Students who are considered LEP require different techniques and methodology than what most teacher-preparation programs emphasize, and meeting the needs of these students is often viewed as a ‘problem’. At this point, many of the needs of LEP students are not being met, especially their linguistic needs, due to an unexpected high rate of immigration, unsubstantial funding, and teachers that are not properly trained to teach LEP students. These unmet needs of LEP students lead to an inability to assimilate socially, poor academic success and high drop out rates.
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ELL director honored for helping immigrants

This director of a program that helps immigrants who have children in the school system has won an award in the program's first year. It must be quite a program! - - Donna Poisl


Corrie Wallace this week begins her second year overseeing the Niles Township English Language Learner Parent Center, which provides services for newly-arrived immigrants with school children in the township.

Wallace's innovative and hard work during the Center's inaugural year was recently recognized as she was named the winner of the prestigious 2009 Horace Mann Friend of Education Award by the Illinois Principals Association. The nominations come from principals from across the state, and the winner is selected by a committee of IPA past presidents.
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Unanimous Baltimore City Council Support for Immigration Reform

This country needs many more cities supporting immigration reform. If enough do, maybe it will happen sooner. - - Donna Poisl

Baltimore Hispanic Business Examiner -- by Elianne Ramos

As of approximately 7 p.m. Monday night, Latinos in the Baltimore area have much to celebrate. At that time, in a bold, unprecedented action, the Baltimore City Council gave unanimous approval to the motion to support President Obama’s proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The motion, originated by Councilwoman Spector, is the first step in the road to the ultimate goal: obtaining congressional approval of this legislation.

For months, members of the Baltimore City's Commission of Hispanic Affairs, the Latino Providers Network, Casa de Maryland, Centro de la Comunidad, Education-Based Latino Outreach, the Hispanic Business Association, the Center for Community Change and other community organizations have been lobbying with elected officials in order to gain the support of the local City Council.
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Georgia: Police and church leaders seek immigration reform

Police and clergy are working together for immigration reform. - - Donna Poisl

By KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press Writer

ATLANTA — Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson joined law enforcement and religious leaders Tuesday in calling for immigration reform to increase the security of local communities and improve the treatment of immigrants.

In a panel discussion at Atlanta’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, Johnson called for “commonsense American solutions” to repair the country’s “broken immigration system.” Holding the event at the King Center was symbolic because immigration reform is ultimately a human rights issue, Johnson said.
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How can I teach English as a Second/Foreign Language in New York City - Part One

People who are thinking about becoming an ESL teacher should read this. - - Donna Poisl

NY English as a Second Language Examiner -- by Christopher Denzer

Before you start your foray into the exciting world of ESL/EFL instruction, let's get a couple of terms straight. First of all, the whole EFL/ESL itself.

ESL, or English as a Second Language, is primarily the discipline of teaching English to speakers of another language who have emigrated and now live in a country that has English as its primary language. This population may be resident aliens, illegal immigrants or citizens who either recently moved to the country (often children or adolescents) or have lived there for an extended period of time but who, because of cultural insularity, have not mastered English.
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The immigrant experience on Ellis Island

The Museum on Ellis Island tells a very interesting story. My grandparents went through here, I wish I had asked them about it, too late now. - - Donna Poisl

NY Historic Destinations Examiner -- by Victoria Lam

Wondering what immigrants experienced on Ellis Island? A visit to Ellis Island could be more than a surprise; a pair of shoes belonging to a visitor’s relative might even be recovered. Visitors to Ellis Island can trace their family’s genealogy and first arrival experience by boarding on a ferry from Battery Park City, Manhattan.

Ellis Island is a partner of the National Park Service and the Statue of Liberty monument. Situated on a body of water, at the southernmost tip of Manhattan’s New York skyline, Ellis Island is a historic destination, a museum and a renowned research facility that is open to the public, to anyone who is interested in gaining a better understanding of the American immigrant experience and history.
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Janet Napolitano on the border, immigration and more

This interview with Janet Napolitano discusses border security, drug war, enforcement and other things, including immigration reform. - - Donna Poisl

The Homeland Security secretary talks about immigration reform, overhauling Bush administration policies and changes in detention policy.

By Anna Gorman, Reporting from El Paso -

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is attending a conference in Texas on border security. She sat down with a Times reporter Monday to discuss a number of issues, including the Mexican drug war, immigration detention in the U.S. and legislative reforms.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Six-week ESL program at All Saints Episcopal Church turns into permanent class sessions

This trial ESL program discovered what people all over the country have already discovered. People want and need to learn English and there are not enough classes or teachers. - - Donna Poisl

By Mahdi Nuru

Watsonville -- After launching a six-week English as a Second Language ESL program at All Saints Episcopal Church in Watsonville in June, church organizers have learned that people are eager to learn English.

The six-week program was just a trial, according to Peggy Eklund, instructor at the Episcopal Church. But when it was over, the students weren't ready to leave.

"Sometimes it's difficult to learn English, but I'm trying to do my best," says Giasela Sota, a student at the church who's been learning with a private tutor. "Every day I'm learning something," she says.

The classes are free and open to anyone who wants to improve his or her English, no matter what the native language is.
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Oakland's Salvadoran festival tries to bridge political divide

This festival is celebrating the heritage of these people in this country and might be able to soften the differences they carry from the political happenings in their home country. - - Donna Poisl

By Matt O'Brien, Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND — Members of the East Bay's Salvadoran community celebrated their nation's heritage and contemporary politics with a festival in downtown Oakland on Sunday.

The festival coincided with El Salvador's weeklong August feasts, which celebrate the country's patron saint, El Divino Salvador del Mundo — the Divine Savior of the World.

The celebration also marked what some organizers hoped was a taming of the sharp political differences that have polarized Salvadorans for decades.
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Sunday, August 09, 2009

PBS series POV re-airs Made in L.A.!

Submitted by Almudena

We're excited to announce the 2009 Encore broadcast of Made in L.A. on the PBS series POV on Tuesday, August 11th at 10pm! At a time when policymakers are working on a major overhaul of the immigration system, we are happy that Made in L.A. can offer a revealing look at the human side of the immigration debate and the experiences of immigrant workers.

To see if your PBS station is one of over 70 stations airing the film next week check local listings or download the full press release for station information (in English or Spanish). Keep in mind that many stations will air Made in L.A. during August and September, so check back every week for up-to-date information!

The PBS broadcast is a powerful and free opportunity to use the film to put a human face on the issue of immigration. We also want to encourage viewers to take action to support immigration reform after watching the film.

Parenting class focuses on Spanish speakers

This class which helps parents with parenting skills is being taught to immigrant families in Spanish, this way they understand everything. When they are taught in English, many parents can't understand all the details. - - Donna Poisl

by Andrew Gaug

A community action group is looking forward to helping bridge a cultural gap in St. Joseph.

The Los Ninos Bien Educados parenting classes kicked off with a celebration Saturday evening lead by the program’s creators from Head Start at the Community Action Partnership in St. Joseph. Starting Thursday, 21 people will meet for 12 weeks to take the first-ever Spanish language parenting course in the city.

Dozens of children gathered to participate in games such as kid bowling and golf. Meanwhile, their parents got more information about the program, aimed at enhancing parenting skills in Hispanic families in areas such as family roles and education.

“It all comes back to poverty. The chances of getting out of poverty are slim if you don’t get an education at a young age,” she said. “We want to encourage these families to use different strategies to help their children.”
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U.S. needs to expand support for bilingual citizens

This opinion piece says our country should encourage bilingual citizens, not allow people to push for monolingualism. We need more of our people to know more than one language. We should encourage our children who already speak a different language at home to keep that language, not lose it, like our ancestors did. - - Donna Poisl

By Domenico Maceri

The push for English monolingualism will not make anyone feel safer.

More than 47 million American residents age 5 and older use a language other than English at home, according to the latest figures of the U.S. Census. That translates into nearly one in five Americans, while 10 years ago one in seven Americans spoke a foreign language at home.

This information has been widely publicized in the media. For some Americans, the "large" number of non-English speakers causes problems since the fear is that these new immigrants will not integrate and dilute the fabric of our country.

However, another way to look at it is that these "non-English speakers" make not only valuable economic contributions but linguistic ones as well.
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Program helps immigrants learn health care system

This new program in Camden NJ, is helping immigrant families learn about health care for their children. - - Donna Poisl


David Arreola feels out of place when he takes his children to the doctor for the occasional cold or fever because he doesn't speak English well enough to explain their symptoms.

"I feel uncomfortable," said Arreola, 39, a father of six who moved from Mexico 10 years ago. "I don't have the words."

Arreola's children, ages 11 to 18, are all fluent in English, so he tells them to describe their symptoms to the doctor. But he worries about whether they're adequately explaining their symptoms and whether they're getting proper care.

Health-care providers say language and cultural barriers can stymie their effort to provide proper health care to sick children whose parents are fluent in a language other than English.
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Immigrants tell their stories of fighting red tape

Immigration reform will be hard to pass, but it certainly is necessary. - - Donna Poisl

By Devin Banerjee, Mercury News

When Maria Esther's father fell sick in Mexico five years ago, she found herself tangled in a twisted web of immigration policy. An undocumented immigrant, Esther knew that returning to her homeland would end her future in America and keep her from her U.S.-born daughter, Monserrat Cabrera, also suffering from a serious illness at the time.

So Esther remained in San Jose while her father died south of the border.

"All I could do was watch my mom cry," said Monserrat, now 13. "Mom stayed with me instead of telling her dad goodbye."

Emotions were palpable Thursday night at San Jose's St. Patrick Proto-Cathedral, where hundreds of immigration reform advocates listened to testimonies from young, undocumented locals and reassurances from Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, that "the time for comprehensive immigration reform is now."
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Obama sees early 2010 start on immigration reform

Let's hope this gets started then. With health care reform causing so much trouble now, I wonder what the stories will be when this is being worked on. - - Donna Poisl

by Anthony Boadle, editing by Philip Barbara

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Friday he expects Congress to overhaul the country's immigration system, an issue that fires up emotions on both sides of the political divide, by "early next year."

Speaking to Hispanic reporters at the White House, Obama said he hopes a bill for comprehensive immigration reform will be drafted by the end of this year.

Obama tapped Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on June 25 to work with Congress to speed up immigration reform as senators warned another failed effort could doom chances for a generation.
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Friday, August 07, 2009

August Immigration Campaign Events

August Events

Reform Immigration FOR America

Make a difference in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform this month! Events are happening all across the country - click on a pin on the map above to find an event near you. New events are being added to the list every day, so if there's not an event near you right today, check back again soon.

After finding an event near you, tell your friends to join you in supporting a sensible solution to our broken immigration system.

Click on title for the interactive map or go to

Immigration Effort Draws GOP Backer

Some behind the scenes work is going on to get an immigration reform bill ready to present to the country. This is good news. - - Donna Poisl


WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats have found a Republican in Sen. Lindsey Graham to help them push for passage of a comprehensive immigration overhaul this year.

But the lag in getting prominent support from a Republican -- more than two months after Democrats first announced their push -- shows how complicated prospects for passage could be this year, as immigration remains a wedge inside an increasingly divided GOP.

Democrats and Republicans say Mr. Graham of South Carolina is working behind the scenes with Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) to gain support from other GOP members. Mr. Schumer is quarterbacking this year's campaign for an overhaul.
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Increasing ranks of jobless don't cancel the lure of using risky immigrant labor

Most out of work people can earn more on unemployment than in these low wage jobs, so immigrant labor is still needed in many areas. - - Donna Poisl

By Steven Oberbeck, The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah's unemployment rate is rising, but that doesn't mean those who are searching for work are rushing out to take on the lower-paying jobs typically filled by immigrant laborers.

The reason is simple.

Utahns out of work as a result of the national economic downturn often find they can bring in more each week collecting unemployment benefits than holding down a minimum-wage job.

"We may be in a recession, but it still is the case that immigrants are filling many of the jobs that others just don't want," said Tony Yapias, an immigration activist and director of the Latino Project for Utah. "And it is especially true for undocumented workers."
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Long-range plan to reach out to Skokie's immigrants

Skokie IL is doing what every city should do, developing plans to integrate immigrants better into their community. When all the residents are working to help the civic life of a community, everyone benefits. - - Donna Poisl


Skokie will develop a long-range immigrant integration plan for its community, one of the final projects to be funded through a three-year grant the village received for immigrant services.

During the last few years, the village has held leadership and citizen police academies for immigrants as well as providing other important services for newly-arrived village residents. The village in 2008 won The Chicago Community Trust Immigrant Integration Grant, which has provided and will provide Skokie with $50,000 from 2008-10.

The Village Board Monday approved paying Millennia Consulting $21,300 to conduct an immigrant integration assessment and then to develop the long-range immigration integration plan for the community.
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Opinion: Legal immigrants need better protection from scams

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Edward Kennedy have introduced legislation to penalize companies who are defrauding immigrants in connection with federal immigration laws. These scams are delaying or ruining these peoples' chance for citizenship. - - Donna Poisl

By H. Thomas Wells Jr., Special to the Mercury News

It's hard to stay one step ahead of crime. Schemers always seem to be on the prowl for their next opportunity. In particular, citizens of other nations who are eager to immigrate lawfully to the United States can fall victim to people who offer solutions that are too good to be true.

Often these people call themselves notarios or notarios publicos. In some Latin American nations, the term "notario público" refers to a highly educated, closely regulated expert in the law. Here, however, the term's literal translation, notary public, refers to a clerical position, and U.S. notaries are not authorized to give legal advice.

While accredited immigration consultants offer legitimate services, unethical consultants or notarios take advantage of those who think the word means "licensed lawyer," or someone authorized to handle immigration matters.
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New store to sell foods from all over the world

This immigrant family is opening up a new supermarket in Tucson, with food from all over the world. This store will be welcomed by other immigrants, chefs, and everyone who wants to experience new foods. This is a wonderful success story about this refugee family and their dream. - - Donna Poisl

By Dan Sorenson

Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket may not generate the same urbane consumer rush as the coming of an Ikea, REI or Nordstrom store, but when the international ethnic grocery opens its doors in Tucson later this month, it will have them beat for exotic taste.

A visit to the supermarket, being built in a former Food 4 Less at 1990 W. Orange Grove Road, will be more like an expedition than a shopping trip, based on the description given by Kevin Ho, who is setting up the Tucson store.

It's easier to name the continents whose cuisine won't be represented than those that will. Groceries will be organized by regions as follows, the Phoenix-based markets' Web site says.
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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Alexander Pushes English, U.S. History Education For America’s Newcomers

Senators Lamar Alexander and Kirsten Gillibrand have introduced legislation to teach English, U.S. history and civics to immigrants. They need this knowledge to become Americans. - - Donna Poisl

Posted on

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced his introduction of legislation to help legal American immigrants learn English and obtain a basic grasp of U.S. history and civics, which he says “they need to grow and thrive in America.”

He said that the release of a report he asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to produce on the state of English language proficiency in the U.S. further demonstrated how needed this legislation is.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Alexander introduced the Strengthen and Unite Communities with Civics Education and English Skills Act of 2009 to address many of the needs the GAO study confirmed.
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Camp Helps Young Immigrants Adjust

This summer camp is helping these refugee kids adjust to life here. They are learning English and some life skills and will be more prepared when the school year starts. - - Donna Poisl

Children Are Refugees From Burundi, Iraq, Burma

WJXT Jacksonville News4

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local nonprofit is making a difference in the lives of some local children who are new immigrants to the U.S.

They're holding a special summer camp to help them adjust to life in their new country. And at the same time, these children are learning baby-sitting skills to help them better take care of their siblings and help their families out.

All of the children attending the Lutheran Social Services summer camp have been in the country for less than a year. They're refugees, coming from places like Burundi, Iraq and Burma. The camp is preparing them for life as an American.
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Saturday, August 01, 2009


When residents are not counted in the Census, the district does not get federal funds for them. Every resident should be counted. Schools and all services need the money and every dollar counts. - - Donna Poisl


State Rep. Hazelle Rogers wants everyone in South Florida, legally documented or not, to be counted in the 2010 Census.

“I’m willing to put my name on the line to assure our immigrant population that they will not be targeted,’’ Rogers told members of the media during a July 29 press conference on the steps of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale.
During the 2000 Census count, fewer than 40 percent of questionnaires mailed to areas with high immigrant populations were returned.

In Florida, an estimated 190,000 people were not counted. If fear prevents people from filling out the questionnaires, which will be mailed in March 2010, communities could lose their fair share of more than $300 billion for schools, hospitals, senior citizen centers and other community services.

“Every 1,000 people that’s undercounted is equivalent to $1.2 million that’s lost in federal dollars,’’ said Hulbert James, chair of the South Florida Caribbean American Complete Count Committee.
“When cities are hurting for dollars, every dollar counts.’’
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District 2 English camp graduates 36

This month long summer camp for English learners is very successful in teaching the kids. It uses different methods than the usual ESL classes do and now they will be able to function better in school. - - Donna Poisl


The first day of school is never easy, but when you don’t even speak English, it can be downright frightening.

Seventeen-year-old Katherin Aponza knows this all too well. Barely knowing a word of English, Aponza was enrolled in Grade 10 at Moncton High School this past September.

“It was so scary because everybody was speaking and I was wondering what they were saying,” she said.

“Now I don’t speak it very well but I understand it very well.”

Her native language is Spanish, but after a month of English Additional Language summer camp held by District 2, she can now speak and understand her new language.

“It’s fun learning to speak another language,” she said. “They teach us words we don’t know and that’s really cool. I love learning new words.”
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Former participants of Syracuse's Asian Apostolate program assist new arrivals

This program to teach Asian immigrants English is being run the same as the one I posted about the classes in Quincy, MA. I imagine they learn better when the teacher knows their struggles. - - Donna Poisl

by Maureen Sieh / The Post-Standard

When Hau Ly immigrated to Syracuse from Vietnam in 1990, she turned to the Asian Apostolate for help with English, making friends and learning American culture.

Today, Ly returns to the apostolate's summer program to help new Asian immigrants and refugees and Asian children growing up in America. She teaches arts and crafts and traditional Vietnamese dance.

"They helped me so much, so I wanted to help other kids," said Ly, 20, who attends State University College at Fredonia, where she's majoring in biology.

Ly is among more than a dozen former participants who volunteer at the Asian Apostolate, a program created by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse in 1991 to serve the wave of refugees and immigrants coming from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Today, the apostolate is welcoming refugees from Bhutan and Mynamar.
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Summer work program helps Asian immigrants get acclimated

This English class is for Asian immigrants and is taught by other Asian immigrants who have been here longer and are now fluent in English. They know what these newcomers are going through. - - Donna Poisl

By Tony Catinella

QUINCY - Yau Chong, 21, stands in a computer lab in Quincy High School and supervises eight Asian students who speak very little English.

Chong didn’t speak English when he moved to America from Hong Kong five years ago.

Since then, with the help of Quincy Asian Resources Inc. he has graduated from Quincy High School and is fluent in English. He is entering his senior year at Bentley College and will graduate in May with a degree in finance and economics. He hopes to work for a non-profit organization.

Chong is just one member of the summer youth employment program run by Quincy Asian Resources.

The program is funded and coordinated by the non-profit South Coastal Workforce Investment Board.
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UCLA Course Teaches High School Students Language of Their Parents, Grandparents

Classes in Russian, Persian and Hindi are being offered to these high school students to learn the language of their families. This country needs more bilingual citizens, this is a good plan all around. - - Donna Poisl

By Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, Los Angeles

Second- and third-generation immigrants tend to lose the language and culture of their ancestors. The University of California Los Angeles hosts summer classes for high school students intended to break that pattern.

Heritage Language program director Olga Kagan says the youngsters are regenerating cultural roots that assimilation almost severed.

"These kids are either first generation born here, or a few of them are 1.5 generation, which means they came here early."

Graduate student Larisa Karkafi, born and raised in Ukraine, leads Russian "heritage language" learners through a story about a World War II orphanage. They laugh when a student misses the subtle difference between the Russian words for "salted meat" and "elephant meat."
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Petition to remove negative immigration amendments

Notice from The Campaign to Reform Immigration FOR America:

The Campaign is also following-up this week on making sure that House and Senate negotiators remove negative immigration amendments from the FY 2010 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bills. Please take a moment to review and sign your own organization on to this letter being circulated by the National Immigration Forum. To sign on, please e-mail Grisella Martinez at by Thursday, August 6th at 5:00 PM Eastern Time.

To sign the petition, click on the headline or go to:

Sign Our Petition to DHS: Enough is Enough!

Notice from The Campaign to Reform Immigration FOR America:

This week, under the banner of the "Enough/Ya Basta" Campaign, organizations and activists across the nation called on Secretary Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security to stop enforcing broken immigration laws and begin reforming them. Already, thousands of people have signed an on-line petition calling for an investigation into the Department's use of Bush-era home raids, and thousands more have called the Department to ask the Secretary to stop enforcing bad policies, like the 287g program, which enables local police to enforce federal immigration laws. For more information on how to participate in these efforts, please contact Adam Luna at or Shu Ohno at

To sign the petition, click on the headline or go to:

Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign

Notice from Reform Immigration for America

The Campaign to Reform Immigration FOR America is sprinting into the August recess thanks to the work of hundreds of organizations across the country planning in-district meetings and events. If you are planning an event in August, please register it on the Campaign website. Click on the headline above or use this address:

We need to make sure Members of Congress hear from us while they are in their home districts and states. For more information on what you can do in your own communities, please contact Petra Falcon at

The Campaign is also working with allies in the House of Representatives to build support for a letter signed by Representatives to President Obama calling on comprehensive immigration reform this year. To help get your own Representatives signed on to this letter, please contact Celina Barrios Ponce at

Disaster Education Promoted in Latino Community



LOS ANGELES, July 24 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles and the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles co-hosted a signing ceremony at the Mexican Consulate to announce a joint working relationship to prepare the Mexican immigrant community in Los Angeles County for disasters.

Consul General Juan Marcos Gutierrez Gonzalez and Paul Schulz, CEO of the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles, signed a letter of understanding that calls for the two institutions to provide disaster education outreach programs, recruit and train Spanish-speaking Red Cross volunteers, and develop bilingual educational materials.

"We are grateful to the Mexican Consulate for reaching out to the Red Cross in helping us promote disaster preparedness to the Mexican community here in Southern California," said Paul Schulz, CEO American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles. "This agreement allows for an even stronger and mutually beneficial working relationship."

As part of the partnership, the American Red Cross will distribute materials at the Mexican Consulate Health Office as well as screen disaster preparedness videos in the waiting area. The Mexican Consulate will assist in the translation of educational materials and recruitment of Red Cross volunteers.

"Historically, the Red Cross has been one of the most recognized and respected institutions by the Mexican community," said Consul General Juan Marcos Gutierrez Gonzalez. "This alliance will enhance the capabilities of both our institutions to improve the services we provide during emergencies caused by natural disasters."

The event also included remarks from Captain Ruth Nelson of the Emergency Operations Bureau for the Los Angeles Country Sheriff's Department, who spoke on the importance of community collaboration in natural disaster preparedness. Doors were also opened to other Latino consulates to make the same or similar agreements.

SOURCE American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles
-0- 07/24/2009
/CONTACT: Monica Diaz of American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles, +1-310-445-2653, or Cell: +1-310-562-3878/