Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Google's Brin give $1M to aid immigrants

This is one of the ultimate immigrant success stories in this country. And everyone knows what he has accomplished, since it is happening now. - - Donna Poisl

Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal

Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin is giving $1 million to the group which helped his family escape anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union 30 years ago.

Brin told The New York Times he is donating the money to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
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Making New York 'Immigrant Friendly'

New York City is home to people with more than 170 languages, Mayor Bloomberg knows how important immigrants are to the city and he is encouraging more to come. - - Donna Poisl

by Larry Tung

Elick Bloomberg, a native of Balvan, Russia, moved to the United States before the turn of the 20th century. According to his World War I draft registration card, he settled in Chelsea, Mass., and was employed by Metropolitan Life as an insurance agent.

His experience was shared by tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe at the time. However, it was one of his grandsons, Michael, who gave the family name a household recognition. Mayor Bloomberg is proud of his immigrant heritage in a city where 40 percent of its residents are foreign-born.

"Immigrants are why New York City became America's economic engine," said Bloomberg in a recent press conference where he announced his campaign platform for immigrant communities.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Church's ‘Talk Time’ helps immigrants improve English skills

Immigrants in this neighborhood meet weekly just to talk. They are all new English speakers, from many countries; learning, sharing stories and practicing their English. - - Donna Poisl

By Leonel Sanchez, Union-Tribune Staff Writer

LINDA VISTA — Linda Vista Presbyterian Church wanted to reach out to the immigrants and refugees who live in the poorer sections of the neighborhood.

The congregation needed only to look at the limited-English-speaking students at the adult school next door.

The church launched a conversation program this year to help the students who settled here from around the world improve their English skills. They call it “Talk Time.”
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Immigrant children most at risk

This study followed 5,200 children for almost 20 years. An interesting and somewhat upsetting story emerged. Most are doing well, but one group needs help. - - Donna Poisl

By EDWARD SCHUMACHER-MATOS - For the North County Times

NEW LONDON, Conn. ---- In the early 1990s, sociologist Alejandro Portes and a group of colleagues began an ambitious project of following the progress of 5,200 children of foreign-born immigrants.

Immigration studies were rare then, and focused on arriving adults. Portes hit on the observation that the real national impact of the burgeoning number of immigrants turned not on inflammatory issues such as their health care, but on the success or failure of their children. In turn, there was a historical American bargain for the immigrants themselves: They might suffer, but their offspring would advance.
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Parent Academies Help Mom and Dad Face School

Miami-Dade County, Philadelphia and Boston all have Parent Academies and other programs to help immigrant parents and other parents in low performing schools learn more to help their kids succeed in school. At the same time, these parents are learning too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Guest editorial: Adult ed often starts with basics: reading

Another great story about teaching adults and immigrants to read, write and speak English. - - Donna Poisl

By Meg Nugent

Imagine how limited your life would be if you were an adult who could not read. Think about the basic things you could not do. Imagine how limited you would be if you could not speak English. And yet you must work, take care of kids, grocery shop, fix the car and pay bills.

The Nashville Adult Literacy Council sees this every day. We teach U.S.-born adults to read and English skills to adult immigrants, thanks to many volunteer tutors who sign up to help us.
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Hispanic Immigrants’ Children Fall Behind Peers Early, Study Finds

More help should be given to immigrant parents to begin reading to their babies. They are healthy but are behind their peers when they start school and many never catch up. Language is part of the problem and so is poverty. - - Donna Poisl


HOUSTON — The children of Hispanic immigrants tend to be born healthy and start life on an intellectual par with other American children, but by the age of 2 they begin to lag in linguistic and cognitive skills, a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, shows.

The study highlights a paradox that has bedeviled educators and Hispanic families for some time. By and large, mothers from Latin American countries take care of their health during their pregnancies and give birth to robust children, but those children fall behind their peers in mental development by the time they reach grade school, and the gap tends to widen as they get older.
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Literacy brings immigrants closer to full participation in life

This Literacy Center is teaching English to immigrant adults and also teaching them how to read. Both are necessary for success. - - Donna Poisl


In her one-bedroom apartment in the Pico-Union district, garment worker Julia Rodriguez lives surrounded by young readers.

Her oldest child, 10-year-old Santos, is giving Harry Potter a try. Nine-year-old Wendy devours girl-detective stories. Even her youngest, 6-year-old Marlyn, zips through early-reader books.

"Tim spins," Marlyn reads from her book. "Tim spins his hat." Julia listens to her daughter and beams. Until recently, the 34-year-old mother of three couldn't read the simplest sentence in any language. Having been illiterate most of her life, she feels deep, bittersweet emotions watching her children master reading.

Earlier this year, in the classrooms of the nonprofit Centro Latino for Literacy, Julia finally started learning to read and write herself.
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Cardinal Egan memorializes forgotten Irish immigrants on Staten Island in New York

Many unnamed Irish immigrants died in quarantine on Staten Island in the mid 1800s. Some of the bones from the mass grave were found during a construction project and are being reburied with a funeral ceremony. - - Donna Poisl


Mourners gathered at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church on Staten Island Saturday to bury the dead, but this was no ordinary funeral.

Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians escorted two caskets - one a small, white children's casket with golden angels; the other larger and pearl-colored - into the church as bagpipes played "Amazing Grace."

The two coffins contained the final remains of immigrants who died over 150 years ago.
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Commentary: Latinos Are Assimilating In The USA

This well-known writer talks about the CNN special about Latinos and how it proved that assimilation is happening. - - Donna Poisl

Reporter: Ruben Navarrette Jr., Special to CNN

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- Have you ever seen 47 million people hold their breath and hope for the best?

Take it from this Latino in America, when many of my compadres heard that CNN was putting together a documentary on being "Latino in America," that's pretty much what happened.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Literacy opens doors to those who knock

Here is another nice story about a woman who found that becoming fluent and literate in English is necessary to be sucessful here. - - Donna Poisl

By Teri Vance

Beatriz Britting, 34, is living the American dream. She and her husband of eight years, Jerome, own a home in Dayton where they are raising their sons Branden, 6, and Jason, 4.

He works during the day as a plant manager in Minden. She attends evening classes at Western Nevada College. They spend most weekends camping as a family.

But at 17, Britting had no idea what her future held. She only knew she didn't have one in Mexico.
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Saint Joseph’s Literacy Connection helps immigrants Connect

All immigrants know that they need fluency in English to be successful in this country. Here is another wonderful program helping some of them to achieve this. - - Donna Poisl

By Pat B. Tarantino

Allston-Brighton - When Natasha Iftica immigrated to Boston from Albania, she found herself isolated in the most populous city in New England.

Without a command of written or spoken English, Iftica struggled to find a job, schedule a doctor’s appointment or even navigate the Registry of Motor Vehicles until she discovered the Literacy Connection, a program operated by Brighton’s Sisters of Saint Joseph to give recent immigrants and refugees one-on-one tutoring in English and professional skills.

Last week, Iftica stood with Literacy Connection’s director, Sister Pat Andrews of Saint Joseph’s, before community leaders who helped fund the Literacy Connection since its inception in 1987 to thank them for their continued support during their second annual community meeting at the Saint Joseph Motherhouse.
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Latinos are honored at citizenship ceremony

More than a million people became U.S. citizen last year. This ceremony in Portland had a mariachi band serenading 69 new citizens. - - Donna Poisl

By Gosia Wozniacka, The Oregonian

With a ruffle of colorful double-circled skirts and the "ay, ay, ay!" of a serenading mariachi, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services honored Latinos and their contributions during a special citizenship ceremony Thursday commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month.

Sixty-nine new U.S. citizens were sworn in during the ceremony at the Bonneville Power Administration auditorium in downtown Portland. They hailed from 26 different countries, the majority Spanish-speaking. Half of Thursday's new citizens were born in Mexico.
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Bilingual Americans essential to makeup of U.S

This opinion piece talks about how important it is to be bilingual and how far we have come since Reagan talked about everyone knowing English. - - Donna Poisl

by Wyatt Kanyer

Ronald Reagan once said, "By emphasizing the importance of a common language, we safeguard a proud legacy and help to ensure that America's future will be as great as her past."

To say that the language "legacy" in the United States is "proud" is a dangerously presumptuous statement.
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Immigrants from India wanted to participate in SJSU study

This notice was in the San Jose Mercury News. Any readers here who know people who fit into this group? Donna Poisl

By Lisa Fernandez

A team of researchers wants to interview people who immigrated to Silicon Valley from India between the years of 1940 and 1965 in a project titled, "The Indian Diaspora Oral History Project.''

Participants will be asked basic biography questions that delve into deeper issues about difficulties in transitioning to life in the United States and hardships encountered as a new immigrant. When complete, the findings will be available at the San Jose State University library.

"This research will fill an important gap and serve as a benchmark in the studies of Indian immigrants,'' said historian Rajiv Khanna, one of the researchers involved in the project. "The oral histories will both illuminate what it means to live as an Indian-American in the Bay Area as well as help the immigrant connect with their roots.''

Khanna said he hopes to attract immigrants, ages 65 to 85, who come from all parts of India and come from an array of cultural, educational, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.

The $9,500 study is being funded by the San Jose State University Foundation and Silicon Valley Center for Global Innovation and Immigration.

If you're interested in participating, contact Khanna at 408-924-5548 or e-mail him at rajivkkhanna@yahoo.com

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flushing House fund-raiser to honor senior advocate

Three women are receiving an award for their work with senior citizens, including immigrant seniors who are often very isolated. - - Donna Poisl

By Connor Adams Sheets

The legacy of Queens-based senior citizen advocate Rose Kryzak, who died in 1999 at 99, has not been forgotten as three annual awards are set to be bestowed in her name at a Nov. 5 fund-raiser to benefit the nonprofit Flushing House retirement residence.

A dedicated advocate and activist, Kryzak is most remembered for her key role in helping to pass New York’s landmark 1987 Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage legislation, according to Robert F. Salant, director of community relations at Flushing House.

A year after her death, the first Rose Kryzak Senior Leadership Awards were distributed to deserving senior advocates, and the tradition has continued with three new recipients named every year.
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Maryville College documentary premier highlights Ferschke immigration struggle

Maybe if more people learn about the problems this Iraq soldier widow is having, the law can be changed. - - Donna Poisl

posted by Blount Today

The story of Michael Ferschke’s life, death and how his wife has struggled with federal immigration laws is the subject of a documentary that premiered at Maryville College recently.

The national premier of the Brave New Films documentary “Second Battle” is about two military spouses fighting to stay in the country for which their husbands proudly served. A portion of the film focuses on Ferschke and his widow, Hota.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gutierrez Outlines Core Principles for a New Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill


(Washington DC) At a rally today on the west lawn of the United States Capitol, U.S. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) addressed a crowd of thousands who demanded change to our nation's broken immigration system. Rep. Gutierrez' address responded to a recent call from the immigration advocacy community to introduce comprehensive immigration reform in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Gutierrez has been actively talking to advocacy and civil rights groups, faith-based groups, labor groups and his colleagues on the Hill to identify the most essential components of such a comprehensive bill. Today he outlined some of those core principles.

In a statement, Rep. Gutierrez said:
"We simply cannot wait any longer for a bill that keeps our families together, protects our workers and allows a pathway to legalization for those who have earned it. It is time we had a workable plan making its way through Congress that recognizes the vast contributions of immigrants to this country and that honors the American Dream. I am preparing such a plan, and will introduce it in the near future. It will include the following core principles:"
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Reno Vigil Underscores Immigration Reform Push

This vigil in Reno, Nevada is trying to put immigration reform back in the spotlight. - - Donna Poisl

by Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NV

RENO, Nev. - It's a big week for immigration reform, and Nevadans are holding a candlelight vigil in Reno tonight to stress the importance of the issue. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks in California on Thursday and immigrants' rights advocates are busing in from other states to put the pressure on there there. Today, Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) unveils his plan for comprehensive immigration reform.
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Local Hispanic leaders pleased with new federal Web site that provides information in Spanish

USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov are helping immigrants and especially Hispanics. - - Donna Poisl

By Express-Times staff

A new federal Web site, GobiernoUSA.gov, has been online for two months and allows the nation’s 44 million Hispanics to access information in their native language.

The site is an exact copy of USA.gov and provides links to employment, income tax, science, nutrition and voting information as well as other helpful services such as life in the United States, the Bill of Rights, information about voting rights and where to find free legal services.
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Teaching reading, both at work and in her free time

Another great story about a reading tutor, teaching an immigrant to read better. - - Donna Poisl

By ELAINE ROSE, Staff Writer

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - Lisa Mainor works as a reading instructor at a Sylvan Learning Center and teaches reading and writing at Atlantic Cape Community College.

So when her work day is over, you'd think she would like to do something in her spare time besides teaching people to read, right?

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Summit focuses on immigrants’ road to integration

Many immigrants arrive here with a very good education but can't use any of their experience or degrees to find work here. Plus, they have to adjust to all the other things that are new, including cold weather. - - Donna Poisl

by Patrick Meighan

NASHUA – Immigrants who freshly arrive here struggle with everything from learning how pedestrian crossing signals work to adapting to cold weather.

Simple acts of daily life aside, one of the largest frustrations is education.

During the second annual immigration summit held here Monday, several immigrants talked about how frustrating it is to have college degrees and years of experience in a career in their native land, only to be told they have to start from scratch in the U.S. Starting from scratch can mean not only having to go to college again, but also first needing a GED.
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Cardinal McCarrick brings immigration reform message to Senate

Cardinal McCarrick has told a Senate committee that immigration reform is needed to reunite families, help the country economically and restore human rights. - - Donna Poisl

by Catholic News Agency

Washington D.C., (CNA).- Comprehensive immigration reform is needed to help bring undocumented immigrants “out of the shadows” and to reunite them with their families, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick told a Senate subcommittee on Thursday.

Addressing the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, the cardinal said the United States requires an immigration system that links legal immigration with the country’s long-term economic needs, with family unity and with basic human rights.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Latinos would be wrong to boycott the 2010 Census count

I hope Latinos do not listen to the people telling them to boycott the Census just because they are unhappy about immigration reform and enforcement. Numbers talk and more counted on the Census will have a louder voice. - - Donna Poisl

by Ruben Navarrette Jr.

If Census Bureau estimates are accurate, there are about 47 million Latinos in the United States, accounting for about 15 percent of the total U.S. population.

The 2010 Census is six months away, but the national count is stirring controversy in the Latino community. It’s also exposing a contradiction on the part of America’s largest minority.
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Teaching Spanish to Pinellas deputies is a smart move

This police force has decided to teach their officers basic conversational Spanish so they can respond better to emergency calls. In the long run, it saves a lot of lives and money too. - - Donna Poisl

by Tampabay.com staff

Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats probably didn't need any population numbers to tell him that the county's Hispanic population is booming. His deputies see it daily and are grappling with a problem resulting from it: Increasingly, deputies are unable to communicate with people who call them for help. So Coats is sending deputies back to class — to learn Spanish. It is a creative and relatively inexpensive way to address a difficult problem for law enforcement.

Some police agencies in Pinellas have chosen to teach their officers a smattering of conversational Spanish to help them on the beat. For example, earlier this year more than 25 officers in the Clearwater Police Department took an intensive two-week Spanish course. They learned common phrases as well as some cultural information to help them serve Clearwater's fastest growing minority.
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Contributions of immigrants in U.S. recognized as Nobel Prize winners announced

Four of seven U.S. Nobel Prize winners were born in other countries. More proof how important immigrants are to our country. - - Donna Poisl

posted on www.chinaview.cn

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- The role of immigrants and their contributions to society have been recognized in the United States as four of the seven 2009 Nobel prize winners from the U.S. were born in other lands.

Seven of the Nobel Prize winners announced so far this week, including U.S. President Barack Obama, are U.S. citizens. But four of the winners are immigrants born outside of the United States.
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High School in NY Observes Hangeul Day

This small high school of 460 students is learning about Korean culture in a fun way. - - Donna Poisl

by Dong-A Ilbo staff

Dobbs Ferry High School is about a 50-minute drive from Manhattan. A Dong-A Ilbo reporter visited the school Wednesday, seeing banners reading, “Today, October 7, is Hangeul Day” at many locations, including the entrance to the library, classrooms, corridors and steps.

Posters on the wall also promoted events to introduce Korea and teach the Korean alphabet on the occasion of Hangeul Day.
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New York Needs More Immigrants, Says Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg says the most important thing immigrants need is help learning our language. More immigrants and more ESL classes are what NYC needs. - - Donna Poisl

By Charlotte Cuthbertson, Epoch Times Staff

NEW YORK—Immigrants are New York City’s economic engine, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by an immigrant and both the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center were built by the hands of immigrants.

“New York City needs more immigrants,” Bloomberg said to a group of ethnic media at CUNY Graduate Center on Thursday. It was the first time Bloomberg met with ethnic media in New York—a detail the audience did not let pass.
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Friday, October 09, 2009

President Sets Refugee Admissions at 80,000 for 2010

President Obama has authorized the admission of up to 80,000 refugees to the United States in 2010. Read the whole press release and list of countries at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Presidential-Memoranda-9/30/09/

Or click on the headline.

Winooski refugee influx brings praise, concern

Even though all the new refugees are a challenge to accommodate and teach, this city in Vermont feels it is worth it. They see it as an opportunity, not a negative. - - Donna Poisl

By Matt Sutkoski, Free Press Staff Writer

WINOOSKI -- History is repeating itself in Winooski in the form of a wave of new immigrants, and the city's leaders said they consider that a blessing and a challenge.

A continuing influx of immigrants and refugees is enlivening the cultural life of the city even as it crowds the schools, challenges teachers and police, and raises questions among residents about the mix of rental and owner-occupied housing in the city.
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Commerce chief: Immigrants can rebuild country

A center has opened in Michigan for businesses to access all the federal government programs and information to enable them to be more successful. Economic recovery depends on small business, many of which are owned by immigrants. - - Donna Poisl

Locke touts opening of business center


Speaking in Dearborn on Tuesday to about 60 Arab-American and religious leaders, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said that metro Detroiters with roots in the Middle East can help grow the economy but sometimes face problems with discrimination.

Drawing upon his experiences as the son of Chinese immigrants, Locke said, "We are all immigrants except for the Native Americans ... America owes a great debt to Arab-Americans and people of the Islamic faith."
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What should immigrants do when they get here?

This OpEd piece has compiled figures from the Census telling how immigrants are assimilating compared to how they did 100 years ago. Very interesting. - - Donna Poisl

By: Jacob L. Vigdor, OpEd Contributor

Immigration has temporarily faded as a hot-button issue, for the moment overshadowed by health care reform (not to mention foreign affairs). Expect it to return to attention, however--not least because of the scale of our current immigrant population.

There continue to be more foreign-born American residents (almost 40 million) than at any time in our history (almost three times the previous peak in 1920). That's raised understandable concerns not only about border control--with perhaps as many as a third of these immigrants in the country illegally--but about the extent to which new immigrants are following in the footsteps of their predecessors and assimilating into American culture--learning English, becoming citizens, moving up the economic ladder.
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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Economics of undocumented immigrants: Myth and reality - Feature

Successful, hard-working immigrants are rarely talked about in the immigration debate, but they should be. This is what most of the recent immigrants will become in a few years and we need them. - - Donna Poisl

By : dpa

San Francisco - Alfredo Flores crossed the border 12 years ago from Mexico to the United States with two clear missions on his path to success. First he bought forged identity papers that enabled him to get a job.

Then he sat for hours in front of the television, watching old movies and soap operas to teach himself English.

Now Flores provides a valuable service to the local economy in Minneapolis, Minnesota, running his own car repair shop and employing several mechanics. Living the same American dream as previous generations of immigrants, he owns a 350,000-dollar house with a white-picket fence.
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NYC Chinatown could get 1st Chinese rep on council

This is good, immigrants are getting more active in their local politics. One of the biggest Chinese communities in the U.S. will finally have an elected representative. - - Donna Poisl


NEW YORK — Chinatown is likely to get its first Chinese-American representative on the City Council, and a Taiwanese immigrant is headed for citywide office — a dramatic change for the nation's largest city, which had no Asian-Americans in elected office just eight years ago.

For the first time in its 150 years, the downtown Manhattan neighborhood, which is one of the biggest Chinese communities outside Asia, could be represented by a Chinese-American.
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Reach out to struggling child refugees and immigrants

A very thoughtful piece by a former refugee, telling us how we can all help refugees and immigrants avoid gangs so they don't go down the wrong path and harm themselves and others -- and us. - - Donna Poisl

Society's challenge of helping young people avoid gangs and other violence extends to the young people of refugee and immigrant communities, writes guest columnist Ahmed Dahir.

By Ahmed Dahir, Special to The Times

AS a member of the Somali community in Seattle, I was shocked and terrified when I heard that the suicide attack against the peacekeeper's compound in Mogadishu was carried out by a Somali American with ties to Seattle. The suspect's father was quoted saying "He's very sorry about the tragedy" and "ashamed of the whole thing." These feelings are shared by Seattle's Somali community.

There is no question that we all reject and condemn any terrorist act or tendencies. At the same time, I also want to shine a spotlight on another face of this tragedy.
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Activist: Criminals prey on immigrants' fear of law enforcement

Immigrants are often targeted by criminals because of their fears and limited English. Neighbors can help and watch out for them until they are more comfortable. - - Donna Poisl

By Trang Do -

ALBERTVILLE, AL (WAFF) - One working theory is that Maria Gurrolla may have been targeted because of her Hispanic heritage and limited English.

Investigators said Tammy Silas was able to get Gurrolla to open the door to her home because she identified herself as an immigration agent.

WAFF 48 News spoke to a community activist about crimes targeting immigrants.
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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Navarrette: Civic rules shouldn't be just for immigrants

Last week, Ruben Navarrette listed 10 rules for immigrants to follow. Click on the headline and see the 10 rules he lists for the rest of us to follow. - - Donna Poisl

By Ruben Navarrette Jr.

There was a huge response to a column listing 10 ways for immigrants — especially those from Mexico and Latin America — to improve their relationship with the United States. The feedback was about 95 percent positive. That was true even among self-identified Latinos, both immigrants and the native-born.

But by far the most interesting reaction was from dozens of readers who suggested that the advice — don't feel entitled, don't play the victim, stress the value of education, etc. — should not be limited to immigrants. The sermon, they said, should also be aimed at Americans, too many of whom have grown soft and have shed the values of their immigrant ancestors.

Great idea. I have no problem criticizing my own tribe — my fellow native-born Americans. After all, it's the cohort I know best. Besides, the criticisms apply to me too. There are plenty of things I could learn from my Mexican immigrant grandfather, if only he were here to teach me.
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Immigration plan should draw crowd

An important meeting Monday will have many people watching. The law being discussed concerns undocumented juveniles accused of crimes. - - Donna Poisl

by Marisa Lagos

The never-ending immigration debate will rear its head again in San Francisco Monday when a Board of Supervisors committee takes up a controversial proposal that would make it tougher for local police to hand over undocumented juveniles accused of crimes to federal authorities.

The meeting is expected to draw a large crowd supporting the proposed law (we're not sure whether the opposition has organized to come out as well - all public speakers will be allowed two minutes to tell the committee how they feel).
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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Reform Immigration FOR America news

sent by Rich Stolz, ReformImmigrationFORAmerica.org

Campaign Update: Immigration, Health Care and Veterans

The Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign has its eyes set on the week of October 13 as thousands of grassroots leaders gather in Washington, DC and other communities across the country calling for comprehensive immigration reform in the name of family unity and faith. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and congressional allies are now preparing principles for legislation that will help turn the dreams of millions into reality. The urgency of this moment builds everyday. For more information on how you can get involved in the events of October 13th, please contact Nora Feely at nfeely@immigrationforum.org.

Health Care Reform Updates:
This week, the Senate Finance Committee rejected a number of anti-immigrant amendments to its health care reform proposal, including measures that would have created strict identification requirements and barred legal immigrant access. This outcome would not have been possible were it not for the thousands of phone calls that community leaders generated into Senate Finance Committee Members over the last two weeks. At this time, the committee is likely to complete consideration of its bill next week, and we'll have our work cut out for us to make sure the bill that gets brought to the Senate floor and voted on by the full Senate will do right by immigrants and citizens alike.

Other Important News:
This week, Arlington County, VA adopted a resolution in support of comprehensive immigration reform. To see the resolution that the county will send to its congressional delegation and to the President, click here.

Also this week, a broad coalition of national and local community groups called Ya Es Hora announced the launch of a campaign to ensure that Latinos are counted in the census and incorporated fully into the American political process.

Last week the Rights Working Group and the American Friends Service Committee released an organizational sign-on letter addressed to Senator Schumer, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Immigrant Sub-committee. Outlined in the letter are "Principles for Immigration Policies that Protect Community Rights." Please take a moment to sign on to this letter. To do so, please contact Pabitra Benjamin at pbenjamin@rightsworkinggroup.org or Christian Ramirez at cramirez@afsc.org.

On October 9th, Brave New Foundation will release an on-line video highlighting the stories of two veterans whose families are being torn apart by the immigration system. The preview to the video that highlights immigration issues is called "Second Battle" and can be viewed here. The tag line: "Second Battle is about the wives of two US service members who cannot stay in the country their husbands proudly served - and in one case died for." Here is the trailer: In Their Boots: Second Battle.

-- Rich Stolz, ReformImmigrationFORAmerica.org

U.S. immigration agency girds for workload spike

USCIS is getting ready for an increase in their workload, when immigration reform is enacted. They have to clear up the present backlog first though. - - Donna Poisl

Posted by: Tim Gaynor

The U.S. government agency in charge of processing naturalization and residency applications is preparing for a surge in its workload if President Barack Obama pushes ahead with federal immigration reform next year granting millions of undocumented workers legal status.

A spokesman for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said the agency is gearing up to handle the huge increase in applications expected if immigration reform is passed by the U.S. Congress.
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New Americans: 245 Persons Take Oath At NPAC

These new citizens are told how important it is to be a responsible citizen. They came from 72 countries, all with the same goal. - - Donna Poisl

Responsibilities Of Citizenship Stressed During The Happy Event


Two-hundred-forty-five people from 72 countries became U.S. citizens Wednesday at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.

U.S. District Judge J. Ronnie Greer, who presided during the 10 a.m. ceremony, approved a government motion to confer citizenship on the assembled candidates after first stressing that with the rights of citizenship come responsibilities.

"Ladies and gentlemen, citizenship has long been among the most important privileges this nation can bestow," the judge said in noting that the prospective citizens were about to take the "final step" in the citizenship process.
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Nepal exit becomes city school entry

Almost 30 students from refugee camps in Nepal are settling into life and school in Chicago. A huge change from the life they had before, they are being helped by teachers and an organization that assists refugees. - - Donna Poisl

Rejected by Bhutan and Nepal, refugees come to Chicago with help from Heartland Alliance

By Pam DeFiglio, Special to the Tribune

For the first time in her life, Laxmi Biswakarma, 17, is going to a school that has electricity, heat, running water and food at lunch time.

In June, Biswakarma left her remote Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal and along with her parents and 8-year-old sister took her first plane ride -- to a new life in Chicago. That life began in earnest last month when she entered Sullivan High School in Rogers Park, traditionally a gateway for immigrants.
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Hispanic immigrants retain pride in heritage

Dozens of countries come under the Hispanic label, not just Mexico. National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrating all of them and their cultures. - - Donna Poisl


Paulita Matheny, a native of Bolivia, lost her job as a prominent attorney, her social life and her maids when she married and moved to Hanover County eight years ago.

More significant, in the eyes of many, was that she lost her Bolivian identity when she fell under the "Hispanic" label used by the federal government since the 1970 census.

But that designation barely begins to define a group that comes from dozens of countries, cultures and backgrounds.
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Census Gets Some Latino Help and Needs It

Many groups are trying to convince Latinos to be counted in the Census and explain how important it is. Others are telling them to boycott the count to protest the lack of immigration reform. It seems to me that a boycott would be self defeating. - - Donna Poisl

By Carol Morello, Washington Post Staff Writer

The census can be a hard sell in some Hispanic communities.

Fears that the information illegal immigrants give to the census could lead to their deportation is partly responsible for Latinos being under-counted in the 2000 Census by an estimated 3 percent.

A host of Latino organizations are telling people that the census will help their communities get more federal funds, could help them put more Latinos in elective office and could also help them gain more say on immigration laws.
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Learning English A Family Affair

Parents learn English and their children get help with their school courses. This is especially helpful to the high school kids, they fall behind quicker than the younger kids do. - - Donna Poisl

Reported by: Geraldine Cols

JEFFERSON CITY - As our Hispanic Heritage Month series continues, KOMU 8's Geraldine Cols shows that learning a new language can be a family affair.
Veronica, Jessica, Jose Alfredo and Josue are all Hispanic immigrants attending Jefferson City High School. They are part of 71.5 percent of Hispanic students in the English Language Learning program.

"I teach them language skills, I teach them cultural differences and try to shed some light in that," said ELL teacher Melanie Fraga. "But I am also a resource teacher for their other courses."
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Immigrants learn English at downtown church

Immigrants and refugees from many countries are all together learning English, the first thing they need to succeed here. - - Donna Poisl

By Marc Katz, Staff Writer

DAYTON — Inside downtown’s St. John’s Church, refugees and immigrants greet each other in their native tongues, then sit down in various classrooms to learn English.

The attention spans are long; the faces serious.

“I like people,” said Khedidja Bensmail of Algeria, who has been here five years and lives with her family in Kettering. “I like Americans. This is the best life for my kids.”
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Museums take on immigration debate with exhibits

Many museums across the country are highlighting immigration exhibits, hoping it will help in the immigration debate. This country was built by immigrants, this should be a good reminder. - - Donna Poisl

By SOPHIA TAREEN Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO - With little progress on Immigration reform among lawmakers, the nationwide debate has entered a new space: museums. A network of U.S. museums launched a program Wednesday in Chicago that aims to grapple with tough questions on Immigration, including who should have access to health care, how borders should be controlled, and issues of citizenship and identity.
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Groups Seek Better Count of Hispanics

Hispanics need to be counted in the Census, yet are very reluctant. These groups are working together to get a better count this time. - - Donna Poisl


A coalition of Latino groups backed by the Census Bureau will launch a campaign Thursday to pull off an elusive feat: getting an accurate count of Hispanics in the U.S.

The Hispanic population has exploded since the 2000 census, growing 33% to an estimated 47 million. But it is also one of the hardest groups to track.

Hundreds of thousands of Hispanics are migratory workers. Several million are in the country illegally and reluctant to fill out official forms. Language barriers persist, and the foreclosure crisis has left many Hispanic families without a mailing address.
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New Website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Newly redesigned website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was unveiled 22 September. It is in both English and Spanish. The website lets citizenship applicants check their case status and receive alerts in email or text messages when their case status changes.

Check it out, there is information there about laws, green cards, adoption, military, visiting and much more.


Schools give Spanish-speaking adults primer in own language first

These adult schools make sure Hispanic students are literate in Spanish before teaching English to them. They find that they learn English much easier this way. - - Donna Poisl

By Timothy Pratt

Hector Godoy stands in the rear of a trailer converted into a classroom, drawing lines on a board between the letter “p” and each of the five vowels.

He asks one of his 13 students, Maricela Bolaños, to sound out a series of words using those letters. Bolaños is learning to read and write, in Spanish, at 53 years old.

Her class is a “plaza comunitaria,” a program within the division of the Clark County School District that is aimed at teaching English to adults. The plaza’s unlikely home in that division stems from a discovery academics made earlier this decade: If Hispanic immigrants are to learn to read and write English, they must first be literate in their native language.
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