Monday, October 31, 2011

Statue of Liberty turns 125 as immigrants declare oath of American citizenship in honor of monument

These new citizens will certainly never forget this day, what a story for their grandchildren! - - Donna Poisl

BY Emily Sher And Jose Martinez, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

The Statue of Liberty celebrated her 125th birthday Friday by serving as an inspiring backdrop for immigrants declaring the oath of American citizenship.

The new Americans came from 46 countries in all, with one person swearing the oath for each of the years Lady Liberty has stood as a beacon of freedom in New York harbor.

"Now I can say I'm American!" gushed an ecstatic Anatoliy Gryshchenko, 21, who came to the U.S. from the Ukraine in 2005. "I'm actually a part of this country like everyone else."

The new citizens came from countries like Russia, Cuba, China and the Dominican Republic.
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Immigrants Thrive in Long Island - Former Tension Hotspot, Report Says

It is good to see that cities can change, after a history of tension. - - Donna Poisl

Written By Andrew O'Reilly, Fox News Latino

Before controversial immigration laws in Alabama, Arizona and Georgia made headlines, there was Long Island, New York. But a new study released on Thursday shows that this former hotspot of tension over immigration has quietly become a haven for successful immigrants.

The report, released by the Fiscal Policy Institute, found that 54 percent of white-collar jobs on Long Island were held by immigrants and that 22 percent of small businesses in the area were owned by immigrants. Besides many immigrants holding white-collar jobs, about half the immigrants on Long Island live in households where the annual income is over $80,000.
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Lady Liberty turns 125; Immigrant recalls passage

The Statue of Liberty has been here 125 years and people who experienced seeing her for the first time as immigrants are recalling their stories. - - Donna Poisl

By David Ariosto, CNN

New York (CNN) -- As snow fell across New York harbor, Isabel Belarsky said she clutched her mother, Clara, aboard a passenger ship that puttered toward Ellis Island, and wondered what their new lives would bring.

The year was 1930. About a week earlier, the 10 year-old girl from what is now called Saint Petersburg, Russia, had embarked on a transatlantic journey with her Ukrainian parents from the French port city of Cherbourg, escaping what she described as Jewish persecution at the start of Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union.
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S. Carolina immigration law will also affect legal residents

This new immigration law will hurt everyone in South Carolina, not just the illegal residents. - - Donna Poisl

from Fox Latino News

Charlotte – South Carolina's new immigration law, SB 20, which faces a lawsuit from pro-immigrant organizations, will not only affect undocumented foreigners but also U.S. citizens and legal residents.

Puerto Rico-born Carolina Belen de Paguada is concerned about the possible entry into force of the controversial law, which was inspired by Arizona's SB 1070 legislation.

Married to an undocumented Honduran, Belen says that even she is in danger of being penalized with a fine of up to $5,000 for transporting a foreigner without authorization to be in the country, or even for giving a neighbor a ride to church.
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Guest column: Passion for Americanism runs deep

This Muslim man tells that many Americans are not aware how much Muslims love this country. - - Donna Poisl

By Najmun Noor, Special to The Commercial Appeal

Last May, when Osama bin Laden was declared dead, Muslims saw an opportunity to dispel myths and fallacies that are manufactured by mischief-mongering groups.

As Muslims, we are keen to raise our assimilation with renewed allegiance, unreservedly to God and country.

Several months later, though, the Muslim is still the piƱata. Not a week goes by without acts and expressions of hate that target Muslims.
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Learning English was the hardest part of immigrating

The only people who say learning English is easy are those who have never tried to learn a language. - - Donna Poisl

Immigrant stories: Violeta Ornelas de Flores
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Violeta Ornelas de Flores: I came with my husband and my son from Juarez, Mexico, so that my son could get a good education. My husband had been working in El Paso, Texas, across the border from Juarez. He was working in a restaurant frying chicken and when he lost his job he decided we should come to Colorado and start a new life, a better life. There weren't many jobs in El Paso and salaries were low.

My husband is an American citizen who was born in Texas, but when he was young his parents moved back to Mexico. So he never really learned English. We wanted our kids to be able to speak both languages.
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Immigrants "come out" at Winston-Salem rally

These students are supporting the DREAM Act passage. - - Donna Poisl

By: BERTRAND M. GUTIERREZ | Winston-Salem Journal

Uriel Alberto doesn't carry a wallet.

"You know, I've asked myself, 'Why — why don't I carry a wallet?' It's because I have no driver's license. I have no Social Security card. No bank account. I've never had these basic things. I'm not even a second-class citizen. I'm a third-class citizen," he said Monday.

Alberto, a 24-year-old Winston-Salem resident, made those comments on the main campus of Forsyth Technical Community College a few minutes before he declared himself as "undocumented" during a rally of about 50 people, some holding signs that read, "There Are No Illegal People."
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Immigrants find legal paths to U.S. long, difficult

This story explains how hard it is to become a citizen in the U.S. legally. And makes it easier to understand why some people won't or can't wait. - - Donna Poisl

By Brian Lyman, The Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Pablo Pilco has met Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

He studied philosophy, psychology and mass communications in Peru, his native land. And when the Catholic TV network EWTN, based in Irondale, Ala., asked him to produce their Spanish-language programming, he felt called to do so.

"It's just part of my life," he said. "That is the reason they called me. They knew my work as a religious producer in Latin America."
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Immigration Day - Friday Oct. 28, 2011

Otto Coca, National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations

Hello, I am the media communications director for the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO), a not-for-profit agency founded in 1984 by Lee Iacocca and others which promotes immigration rights, supports diversity and religious tolerance, along with assisting our many partners in life-saving initiatives such as disaster relief and bringing healthcare to children in need, as well as maintaining the Ellis Island monument. NECO is the sponsor of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor which is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary.

This Friday will mark the 24th anniversary of ‘Immigration Day’, today a little remembered proclamation signing by President Reagan in the 1980s. NECO is using this day to speak out on the positive impact immigrants have had on our country since its founding as well as sending a message to Wall Street that immigrant entrepreneurs can be a major force in our country’s economic reinvention. NECO’s chairman, Nasser J. Kazeminy, an immigrant entrepreneur himself, will have an op-ed in a major media outlet this Friday on the topic. My team has created a video that supports this message and we wanted to make sure that immigration leaders and opinion makers such as yourself see both the op-ed piece and the video. For a previous Kazeminy op-ed in Huffington Post, please see this link:

Please visit us on Facebook for the full op-ed:

The video is up now at:

Please feel free to comment on our video and join the conversation by following our Twitter feed at!/NECO_org

Thank you for your consideration.

Otto Coca
Media Coordinator

National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations
12 E. 33rd
New York NY, 10016
NECO is the sponsor of the Ellis Island Medals of Honor

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fiscally Irresponsible: Immigration Enforcement without Reform Wastes Taxpayer Dollars

For Immediate Release

Fiscally Irresponsible:
Immigration Enforcement without Reform Wastes Taxpayer Dollars

October 19, 2011

Washington D.C. - Many political pundits, presidential aspirants, and Members of Congress want to have it both ways when it comes to federal spending on immigration. On the one hand, there is much talk about the need for fiscal austerity, and a Congressional “super-committee” is currently working on slashing federal spending in order to reduce the deficit. On the other hand, even though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just announced a record high number of deportations, some still want to increase federal spending on immigration enforcement; putting more Border Patrol boots on the ground, completing the border fence, and deploying an array of high-tech gadgetry. However, they miss one very important fact: piling on more immigration enforcement without immigration reform is a practical and fiscal dead-end.

Over the past decade, the federal government has spent tens of billions of dollars trying to keep unauthorized immigrants out of the United States, or trying to get them out of the country if they are already here. The end result? Roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants now call the United States home, the majority have been here for more than 10 years, and many have U.S.-born children. In short, the “enforcement only” approach to unauthorized immigration has proven to be costly and ineffective. But many political candidates and Members of Congress have yet to get the news that the enforcement-only approach has been tried and failed.

To learn more about the impracticality of enforcement without reform, view our Fact Check:
Fiscally Irresponsible: Immigration Enforcement without Reform Wastes Taxpayer Dollars (IPC Fact Check, October 2011) Click on the headline above.

Also see today's blog post on the recent release of DHS's fiscal year 2011 deportation numbers:
Redefining Criminality: Untangling DHS’s Record High Deportation Numbers (, October 19, 2011) Go to:’s-record-high-deportation-numbers/


For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at or 202-507-7524

Immigrants in limbo

This shows one of the families that are not being broken up right now, while the officials study the cases and make individual decisions about deportations. - - Donna Poisl

By ANTONIO OLIVO, Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO -- Inside the yellow house on Genesee Street, Clara Ibarra can hear the sound of grinding teeth from several rooms away - grating, grating, like rocks crushed against rocks.

It's her son Alejandro Brito. He is 24 years old now, but his body, gnarled by quadriplegia cerebral palsy, is not much bigger than when she carried him across a desert to enter the U.S. illegally 15 years ago to seek better medical care.
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Study finds education gap for illegal Mexican migrants' children

It makes sense that children with unstable homes, moving around a lot, would not do as well in school. - - Donna Poisl

By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

The majority of children of illegal immigrants from Mexico in the Southland fail to graduate from high school, completing an average of two fewer years of schooling than their peers with legal immigrant parents, a new study has found.

The study by UC Irvine professor Frank Bean and three other researchers documented the persistent educational disadvantages for such children — who number 3.8 million, with about 80% born in the United States.
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Phoenix students cheer teacher becoming U.S. citizen

What a perfect way to learn about citizenship and becoming a U.S. citizen! Watching your teacher go through the process and take the oath. - - Donna Poisl

by Maria Polletta, The Arizona Republic

Sixteen people became U.S. citizens in a recent naturalization ceremony hosted by Washington Elementary School.

The outdoor gathering also served as the culmination of a months-long lesson in naturalization for students of one of the newly sworn-in citizens, Washington fourth-grade teacher Marieluise Taylor.

Taylor, 52, said she had been teaching her English-as-a-second-language students, nearly all of whom are immigrants or children of immigrants, about the path to citizenship as she went through the steps herself.
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Former migrant's incredible journey

This is quite a story. This man came here illegally as a child and finally got legal residency through hard work and proving himself. - - Donna Poisl

Brady McCombs Arizona Daily Star

The immigration judge's question was simple: "Why should I let you stay?"

Leo Guardado had arrived illegally in Los Angeles as a 9-year-old boy, fleeing with his mother from their war-torn village in El Salvador. But by 2001 he was a college freshman, tired of hiding his immigration status from classmates and professors. And he was painfully aware that without a green card, he wouldn't be able work legally no matter how many degrees he earned.

So he and his mother decided to emerge from the shadows and seek legal sanctuary.
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Bilingual and struggling

Parents who want their children to speak their language at home and English outside and at school, must work hard to keep their children bilingual. English often wins out. - - Donna Poisl

A bilingual parent tries to keep a native tongue alive at home, a problem faced by many immigrants.

By Fariba Nawa

NEWARK, CALIF. -- My daughter Bonoo Zahra, age 3, began preschool in August, and my worst fear about her education in the United States is coming true – English is invading her speech.

Before she began school, she exclusively spoke Farsi, our native Afghan language, but now she shuts the door to her room and prattles in English with her imaginary friends. She prefers to watch cartoons in English and wants me to read her books in English.
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Test fails to replace immigrant laborers with U.S. citizens in Alabama

This proves what most people have been saying: citizen workers do not want and/or cannot do the hard work the immigrant workers have been doing. The farmers need the immigrant workers back. - - Donna Poisl

from Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Jerry Spencer had an idea after Alabama’s tough new law against illegal immigration scared Hispanic workers out of the tomato fields northeast of Birmingham: Recruit unemployed U.S. citizens to do the work, give them free transportation and pay them to pick the fruit and clean the fields.

After two weeks, Spencer said Monday, the experiment is a failure.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Accounting can be door to U.S. professional class

Large US firms will hire thousands of graduates this year, this is a good profession for immigrants to get into. - - Donna Poisl

By Nanette Byrnes

WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - When Gemma Urquiza interviewed for her job at True Partners, a Chicago tax and consulting firm, she remembers talking about her university honors, her ambitions and her dad's restaurant.

Urquiza, 25, is the eldest of four children of Mexican immigrants and, like many first-generation Americans, she's found accounting to be a perfect fit.

Her employer likes her work ethic and multicultural upbringing, as well as her technical mastery and spreadsheet savvy. She likes the variety of the job and its stability.
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What happens after we send the illegal immigrants away?

This opinion piece tells what we really get if the illegal immigrants leave. It is not good. - - Donna Poisl

by Peter St. Onge

For years, we’ve been told how much better our lives would be after we truly cracked down on illegal immigration. There’d be more jobs for Americans, fewer classrooms bogged down by non-English speakers. Our emergency rooms would be free of burden. We wouldn’t have to punch “1” so much for calls in English. A better life, if only we could send the illegals home.

Now we know.

Here’s what you get when you get the Mexicans to leave: Rotting crops, businesses closing, concerned police, children missing school. And, of course, families torn apart.
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Thinking globally, teaching locally

This small town in Vermont has people helping local immigrants to learn how to live in this country and town. Every town needs this. - - Donna Poisl

By CHRIS GAROFOLO / Reformer Staff

BRATTLEBORO -- For a small town in southern Vermont, Brattleboro has quite a flair for international flavor.

While World Learning and the School for International Training can take credit for some of the town's cosmopolitan atmosphere, English teacher Brian Dockery and his predecessor, Tara O'Brien, are responsible for aiding in the emergence of Brattleboro's multiple ethnic markets and restaurants.

Dockery, with Vermont Adult Learning's Brattleboro office for seven years, has worked behind the scenes with dozens local shop owners coming into the United States. He has assisted in teaching incoming residents English, file their business forms and pass their citizenship tests.
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Regents Plan Push for Aid to Illegal Immigrants

Another group pushing for the DREAM Act, we need more and more of them. - - Donna Poisl


When they vote on their legislative agenda on Tuesday, New York State’s top education officials will focus for the first time on the contentious topic of illegal immigration.

The agenda, proposed by the state education commissioner, John B. King Jr., to the Board of Regents, has as a top priority a proposal to push Congress to pass legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who go to college. Included in that legislation, known as the Dream Act, is a provision that would give students who are in the country illegally access to tuition assistance at city and state universities. The agenda is expected to be approved.
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Mentors Help Local Immigrants ‘SHINE’

University students are mentoring immigrant students and all of them are learning a lot from each other. - - Donna Poisl

By Jordan Friedman

College senior Meera Shah’s experience as a tutor has brought her beyond the confines of Emory’s campus, allowing her to assist those who have only recently come to the United States.

During her time as an Emory student, Shah made the trip one day to Fugees Family — a non-profit organization devoted to helping child survivors of war — to tutor an immigrant student from China.

To her surprise, she found that despite his placement in the eighth grade at a local public school, the student had minimal proficiency in the English language.

“Reading with him made me realize that he was completely unaware of what his teachers taught him each day,” Shah said. “But to me, his tenacity was admirable.”
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Are Blacks Threatened by Immigrants?

A new study shows that African-Americans and immigrants should work together to help all of them. - - Donna Poisl

By Naeesa Aziz

Stories about the interactions between Black and immigrant communities usually report strained and tense relations, but a new study suggests that the Black-immigrant demographic mix is on the rise and with it comes a great opportunity for social change.

The study, All Together Now?, takes a look at data surrounding the Black and immigrant communities of California in an attempt to help bolster inter-ethnic activism. Broadly, the report finds that living together is common but complex as many traditionally African-American neighborhoods are seeing a sharp increase in immigrants and simultaneous declines in the Black population — causing resentment and tension in some cases. The report also acknowledges that the influx of immigrants fuels economic competition, but also suggests that in most cases immigrants improve the economic picture for existing residents of all skill levels.
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Karen immigrants celebrate new lives in Minnesota

Immigrants from Burma have settled in Minnesota and more are joining them all the time. - - Donna Poisl

By Frederick Melo

Saw Morrison knew he had to name his fourth and youngest child after his snowy, adopted new homeland, even as unfamiliar as it still was.

But "Minnesota"? Too long.

Morrison, part of an early wave of Karen immigrants who relocated from Thai refugee camps to St. Paul in 2004, celebrated his new surroundings with a compromise. Sota August Johnny is now 6 and, unlike his father, has grown up familiar with snow, the English language, American television and other daily intricacies of Minnesota living.

Morrison still puzzles over much of it. Big Macs leave him hungry for home cooking, even as his kids complain about some of the traditional dishes he whips up. Traditionally, the Karen, an ethnic minority from southern Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), have no surnames, forcing them to invent them on arrival in the U.S.
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Farmers say stricter immigrant screening could hurt their businesses

If immigrant workers are not harvesting, the farmers won't find many local people to take those hard, hard jobs. This will affect all of us. - - Donna Poisl

BY MICHAEL MATZA, The Philadelphia Inquirer

BIGLERVILLE, Pa. - Toiling methodically in a vast green orchard, Saintasia Elysee reaches into the branches of dwarf apple trees and pulls out rosy winesaps. Her husband, Kenol Laurent, drives a tractor that lifts the heavy bins of harvested fruit.

The next day at Hollabaugh Bros. Farm, they were picking pears.

Haitian immigrants, Elysee and Laurent keep a home in the Caribbean nation and return annually to rural Adams County, Pa., for the summer and fall harvests. About 25 other immigrant workers, mostly from Haiti and Mexico, also come back year after year, laboring about five months for $15 to $20 an hour.
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Click the headline to read stories from this week from the Immigration Policy Center.

A Road Map for Immigrant Parents

This group is helping immigrant parents learn about the school system that their children are in. School is very different where they come from. The school and the children will benefit. - - Donna Poisl


Even as immigrant dropout rates in the city’s public schools have soared, immigrant parents — mystified by the bureaucracies, short on time, cowed by their inability to speak English or fearful that their illegal immigration status would be discovered — have typically stayed away from schools.

On Thursday, the New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella group of dozens of immigration organizations, announced an ambitious project that it hopes will address both problems. The coalition introduced a city-backed plan to increase involvement by immigrant parents in the city’s public school system.
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Albertville Immigrants Protest Through Absence

Hispanics have organized a quiet protest, showing the city what it will be like if they were not there. - - Donna Poisl

by Robert Richardson, WHNT News 19 Sand Mountain Bureau Reporter

ALBERTVILLE, Ala.— Many Hispanics in Albertville protested the immigration law by giving the city a sample of what will happen if they leave.

Shoppers stayed home.

Latino businesses shut down.

Some had signs on the door which said “Miercoles Estara Cerrado.”

Others had their English translation, “We will be closed Wednesday.”
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Watch PBS Tomorrow Night: Lost in Detention

from Carlos Saavedra

Are you busy tomorrow night? There's a film airing on TV that you can't miss!

The mass incarceration of immigrants will be brought to light tomorrow night, Tuesday, October 18th, as part of PBS's award-winning Frontline series. Acclaimed journalist, Maria Hinojosa, will expose the devastating consequences of our country's failed immigration policy in her new documentary, Lost in Detention.

Click headline to check your local listings or go to:

The astonishing and unprecedented footage in this documentary has the power to change how people understand the immigration crisis overall, starting with highly criticized S-Comm, the Secure Communities program. That's why we've got to do everything we can to make the viewing a huge success.

Maria Hinojosa recently sat down with our friends at to talk about her new piece. Check out this interview and when you're done, please post this video on Facebook and Twitter.

And don't forget to watch "Lost In Detention" tomorrow night, Tuesday, October 18th. Click here for more information and to find your local listing. You will be joined by people all around the country and immigrant rights groups, who will use this day to demand an end to S-Comm. It will be powerful, and it will send an unmistakable message to the media and to the Obama Administration that we are watching. Don't forget to tune in tomorrow evening, Tuesday, October 18th.

NHCSL's Broadband En Accion Taskforce Addresses Capitol Hill, Administration


Legislators Address Policy Concerns Including Access to Capital for Small Business, Job Creation, and Investment in Digital Literacy to Spur Jobs

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- This week, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) convened its Broadband En Accion Taskforce in Washington, for a two-day series of meetings on Capitol Hill, with key Obama administration officials, and with private sector thought leaders, to discuss the issues surrounding jobs, small business, and full digital participation for Latinos.

A key topic of the meetings focused on the ways in which expanded broadband access and digital literacy can spur new economic opportunity for Latinos. "NHCSL's Washington meetings with members of Senator Menendez' Senate Democratic Hispanic Taskforce, and key thought leaders brings our constituents' interests and needs directly to the conversation in Washington," said Senator Iris Y. Martinez (IL), NHCSL President.

"Meeting in Washington with those developing plans for major investment and reforms – including the critical reforms developing to bring high speed Internet to every American, are critical for Latinos, and all of our constituents," said Senator Juan M. Pichardo (RI), Chair, NHCSL Business and Economic Development Taskforce, and Co-Chair, Broadband En Accion Taskforce.

"Opportunities abound for Latinos to be a part of jobs-creating innovation – we must ensure that every one of our community institutions are connected, and that our families focus on bringing those opportunities to our children. These issues are nonpartisan, practical and key to the future," said Representative Nora Espinoza (NM).

Meetings included participation in a half-day long summit on small business and jobs hosted by Senator Robert M. Menendez, as well as meeting with key Senate and House offices, administration officials and members of the private sector. NHCSL will use these meetings to develop policy proposals that will be released in a forthcoming whitepaper focused on broadband and digital literacy.

NHCSL members participating in the meetings included: Senator Juan M. Pichardo (RI), Co-Chair, Broadband En Accion Taskforce; Representative Minnie Gonzalez (CT); Representative Mara Candelaria Reardon (IN); Representative Nora Espinoza (NM); Senator Eduardo Bhatia (PR); and Representative Joseph E. Miro (DE), Co-Chair, Broadband En Accion Task Force.


The NHCSL is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country. NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c) 3 with the mission to be the most effective voice for the more than 300 Hispanic legislators. For more information visit

SOURCE NHCSL-National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators

CONTACT: Rhina Villatoro, +1-202-434-8070

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Inquirer Editorial: Stop picking on immigrants

A thoughtful editorial. - - Donna Poisl

Inquirer Editorial

A tide of anti-immigrant sentiment has produced the nation's harshest crackdown on undocumented residents.

While the courts have blocked some of Alabama's draconian law, it still stands as a distressing example of the growing national anger at vulnerable people whose main offense is wanting to pursue better lives in this country.

Among other things, Alabama's law makes criminals of anyone who would "harbor" or "transport" an illegal immigrant. Parents will have to start asking a child's Hispanic playmate to show them his papers before allowing him sleep over. Likewise for any landlord renting to someone with a foreign accent.
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Putting Things In Perspective: Our Broken Immigration System And The 2012 Elections

A well written piece of advice for presidential candidates. Maybe they will read and heed. - - Donna Poisl

Posted by Ilanit Sisso

With concerns about the current state of the economy, healthcare, and the low unemployment rates, why should our presidential candidates care about immigration reform? Aside from the economic benefits that would flow from comprehensive immigration reform (there is wide consensus that it would boost America’s GDP, decrease unemployment rates, and increase the country’s revenue), there are two other reasons:

First, presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle should care about immigration reform for basic ethical reasons. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States, a population that could fill the stands in over 138 football stadiums.
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A Look At Iowa's First Majority Hispanic Town

This Iowa town is thriving, mostly because of the Hispanic population that is there. Many of them have been there for several generations. - - Donna Poisl


One place the Hispanic population is growing is in the overwhelmingly white state of Iowa. The latest census figures show the Hispanic population, while only 5 percent of the state, has almost doubled since 2000.

And one small town — West Liberty — is the first in Iowa to have a majority Hispanic population.

Downtown West Liberty, Iowa, is quintessentially Midwestern American, both quaint and historic, with brick buildings lining brick streets. A typical stroll involves walking past the bank, a renovated theater, a hair salon, restaurants and stores.
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Illegals in Alabama rush to make plans for kids

There can't be many more horrible things for parents to make plans for, they know they might be deported and are finding homes for their children, just in case. - - Donna Poisl

Jay Reeves, Associated Press

Birmingham, Ala. -- Terrified by Alabama's strict new immigration crackdown, parents living in the state illegally say they are doing something that was unthinkable just days ago - asking friends, relatives, co-workers and acquaintances to take their children if they're arrested or deported.

Many illegal immigrants signed documents in the past week allowing others to care for their children if needed, assistance groups say, and a couple living illegally in nearby Shelby County extracted a promise from the man's boss to send their three young children - all U.S. citizens - to Mexico should they be jailed under the law.
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Governor Brown Signs Second Half of California Dream Act

California's DREAM Act is now official; the kids can apply at state universities and for state scholarships and aid. - - Donna Poisl


SACRAMENTO – Illegal immigrants can now apply for state-funded scholarships and aid at state universities after Gov. Jerry Brown announced Saturday that he has signed the second half of a legislative package focused on such students.

AB131 by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, is the second half of the California Dream Act. Brown signed the first half of the package in July, which approved private scholarships and loans for students who are illegal immigrants.
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Immigrant Injustice

No matter what state undocumented immigrants live in, they can be cheated and have no way to get justice. - - Donna Poisl

By Grace Meng

I met “Sonia,” a farmworker in upstate New York, in August. She and her husband had managed to scrape together $3,000 for a down payment on a house. After two years of making mortgage payments, they discovered the seller had never transferred the title to them. They are being evicted from the home they thought was their own.

What would you do if you were Sonia? Hire a lawyer?

Sonia and her husband tried to do just that, but as they started to seek recourse in the legal system, the seller threatened to call immigration. Sonia is an undocumented immigrant.
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Alabama Employer Bemoans Loss of Legal Workers Since Immigration Law Took Effect

The new Alabama laws are hurting Alabama businesses and citizens. - - Donna Poisl

by Elizabeth Llorente

They were hard-working, loyal employees.

They toiled for hours on end, on their feet, at the Wayne Farms chicken processing plant in Marshall County in Alabama. Then, just like that, they left – scores of them, accounting for a big chuck of the 120 jobs that suddenly were unfilled.

“We had 850 employees, 120 openings is inordinately high for us,” said Wayne Farms spokesman Frank Singleton. “We play by the rules, we take applications and run them through the [federal immigration] verification program. But if people feel they’re being single out, they’re not going to stick around. They’re going to go elsewhere.”
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Gov. Cuomo orders state agencies to provide aid in 6 foreign languages to help non-English speakers

Being able to access state services is very important and could even save lives. - - Donna Poisl


ALBANY - New York's non-English-speaking immigrants will soon have an easier time dealing with state bureaucracy.

Gov. Cuomo Thursday signed an executive order requiring all state agencies that deal directly with the public to offer vital forms and instructions in six foreign languages.

The agencies will also have to provide free interpretation and translation services designed to help roughly 2.5 million New Yorkers who do not speak English as their primary language.
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City OKs immigrant-friendly plan unanimously

It is wonderful to see this when so many stories are about states, like Alabama, enacting laws that harm immigrants. - - Donna Poisl

By Jeremy P. Kelley, Staff Writer

DAYTON — A potentially divisive City Commission meeting turned into a love-fest Wednesday, as Dayton’s plan to become an “immigrant-friendly city” was lauded by nearly every speaker and approved by a 4-0 Commission vote.

“Immigrants cross many lands and seas carrying on their shoulders the hopes and dreams of so many others left behind,” said Festus Nyiwo, an immigrant from Nigeria. “This great city of Dayton is called upon at this moment to act with a sense of diversity, prosperity and posterity.”

By its vote, City Commission accepted the Welcome Dayton plan “as a framework for action.”
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Know Nothings and Immigrants: Some Things Never Change

This woman was the first immigrant to go through Ellis Island, and treated the same as many immigrants are being treated now -- not well. - - Donna Poisl

by James Peron

There are two statues, in two different countries, which honor Annie Moore. One is in Ireland, the other in the United States. Annie Moore was not great philanthropist, nor was she a scientist, a great leader or educator. She spent most of her life a housewife and full time mother, having had 11 children, five of whom survived -- no wonder she died at the age of 47 in 1924.

The reason Annie was honored is simple. The young girl, with her two younger brothers, had left Ireland as immigrants to America, where they would join their parents, already here. Annie was the first person to enter the country through the famous Ellis Island immigration station. She was certainly not the first Irish immigrant, nor the last.
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Immigrants Dominate Small-Business Ownership In New York City

Immigrants have always been entrepreneurs here, many huge companies were started by immigrants. This is being proved in NYC now. - - Donna Poisl

by Alicia Ciccone

Nearly half of all small-business owners in New York City are immigrants, according to a new report by the Fiscal Policy Institute's Immigration Research Initiative.

That number increases dramatically when the focus is turned on small businesses that aid in residents' daily lives. According to the study, immigrants own 84 percent of small grocery stores, 69 percent of restaurants and 63 percent of clothing stores. The trend continues into other industries like construction and engineering, which cite 62 percent and 40 percent ownership, respectively. In total, 48 percent of business owners in the Big Apple are immigrants.
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Immigrants bond in kitchen

These women, from Venezuela and Bolivia, have become friends while cooking and learning about each other's culture. - - Donna Poisl

Written by Jennifer Justus | The Tennessean

Walk into the Brentwood home of Alba Gonzalez-Nylander, and she’ll hand you a glass of coconut water, bits of sweet pulp floating among the ice cubes.

It comes from a can, like so many brands of coconut water readily available at grocery stores these days, but Alba still remembers when her grandmother would put her to the task of draining and scooping out the flesh from fresh coconuts after she warmed them over the stove.

It was a regular occurrence in the kitchen, much like on a recent Monday when Alba peeled and sliced plantains for a torta or cake.
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Saturday, October 08, 2011

New York farms need immigrant labor program, senators hear

Farms in this country are hit the hardest by the laws against immigrant laborers. Something must change and soon. - - Donna Poisl


WASHINGTON — The federal government’s stepped-up enforcement of immigrant worker laws could put hundreds of farms in the Northeast out of business unless Congress updates a guest worker program, a key agricultural lender in the state said Tuesday.

Robert A. Smith, senior vice president of Farm Credit East, told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that more than 1,700 Northeast farms are vulnerable to increased enforcement by immigration authorities, putting as much as $2.4 billion in annual sales at risk and threatening to take more than a million acres of farmland out of production — in most cases, he said, because workers appear to the farmer to have legitimate documentation when in fact they do not.
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How to Enroll in the U.S. Visa Lottery


WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Be careful not to make mistakes or you can risk being disqualified

There are many ways to legally immigrate to the United States, but only one of them depends completely on luck: the congressionally mandated visa lottery, which offers 50,000 green cards to people from certain countries.

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is open to countries with low rates of immigration to the United States, such as Malaysia, Belarus, and Algeria. In order to diversify the immigrant population of the U.S., participation is limited to countries with less than 50,000 new immigrants to the United States per year.


Alabama Immigration Law Could Impact Schools' Funding

When schools have fewer students, they lose funding and could suffer in other ways too. - - Donna Poisl

by Jim Cook

Alabama's tough new immigration law is chasing many Hispanic students out of public schools, and could have unintended consequences with regard to local funding and schools' ability to meet accountability requirements.

An unusually high number of absences and withdrawals have been reported in some school districts with large Hispanic populations, according to the Alabama Department of Education. The law is resulting in large withdrawals and absences of Hispanic students in some districts, and fewer withdrawals and absences in others.
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Could you pass a US citizenship test? take the quiz

Get at least 58 answers correct to pass the test.


Hispanics leave school in face of Alabama's tough immigration law

Immigrant families are moving out of Alabama or at least keeping their kids home from school, because of the new laws. - - Donna Poisl

By Mark Guarino, Staff writer

Hispanic students did not show up for school in noticeable numbers Thursday and Friday in Alabama following a federal judge’s ruling Wednesday that upheld several provisions of a harsh state law restricting illegal immigration in the state.

The absence of Hispanic students has many education leaders worried that immigrant families are withdrawing their children from school to prevent state authorities from looking into their legal status.
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Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) Rebrands Itself "Americans for Immigrant Justice", Turns to National Expansion


MIAMI, Sep 30, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC), an organization dedicated to helping immigrants obtain legal status, successfully litigating their unjust treatment and pressing for constructive immigration laws and policy for more than 15 years, is redoubling efforts to improve immigration policy at the national level and today unveiled a new name: Americans for Immigrant Justice -- or AI Justice for short and Americanos Pro Justicia Inmigrante in Spanish.

The new name better reflects the focus and depth of AI Justice's national work. A non-profit immigration law firm, the organization also plans to open an office in Washington, DC. Immigrant advocates nationwide, national media, key funders and federal and state policy makers already consider AI Justice as one among a handful of the most effective national groups fighting for immigrant justice.


Stand up for Alabama families under attack

from Marissa Graciosa, Reform Immigration FOR America

Schoolchildren in Alabama are hiding. Immigrant families are fleeing the state. Alabama passed an anti-immigrant law so extreme that it allows teachers to corral students and ask them to raise their hand if their family is undocumented, and would allow indefinite detention for those stopped by the police to ask for immigration status without proper paperwork. And a federal judge just approved it.

This is an all-out assault on immigrant families, and it’s not isolated to Alabama. Congress’ inaction on federal immigration reform has left the door wide open for this racist and inhumane legislation, in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana and now Alabama. These states aren’t waiting for Washington to do something. They’re writing their own policy, with anti-immigrant leaders holding the pen.

Alabama launched an assault on its immigrant communities -- and we must not let these disgraceful actions stand. Take the pledge now to stand with Alabama families against these unjust practices.

A massive outcry of individuals supporting Alabama communities now will send a wake-up call to Washington: we need comprehensive immigration reform now, before other states follow this devastating example. We need your voice to deliver our message to families in the state that the entire country is watching.

Click the HEADLINE to pledge your solidarity with Alabama families against the state’s injustice and demand Congressional action on immigration reform. or go to:

Thanks for all that you do,

Marissa Graciosa
Reform Immigration FOR America

Nation's First Comprehensive Online Immigrant Oral History Project


Nation's First Comprehensive Online Immigrant Oral History Project, Sponsored by Farmers Insurance, to Present Latest Stories From Local Leaders

New Videos and Expansion Plans to be Unveiled on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 8:00 a.m. PDT

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The Immigrant Archive Project (IAP) and Farmers Insurance will host a special presentation featuring the stories of struggle and triumph of some of Southern California's most successful immigrants during a special media event to be held on Thursday, October 6 at 8:00 a.m. PDT at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in the Historical El Pueblo de Los Angeles district, across from historic Olvera Street.

Because the stories of America's immigrant's merit being told and preserved, Farmers has agreed to partner with IAP to expand the reach of the group's work and to increase the number of stories recorded and shared, especially from immigrants who have come from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Some of the newest immigrant stories to be unveiled will include those featuring Giselle Acevedo of Costa Rica who now leads one of the nation's most celebrated organizations dedicated to children; the honorable Jose Huizar who is the first Mexican immigrant elected to the Los Angeles City Council; and, Naji Garabet, who immigrated from war-torn Lebanon as a youth to become district manager of the year for the nation's third largest insurer of homes and autos. The stories of other immigrants of note will also be highlighted at the Oct. 6th event.

"The American Dream is a universal dream that inspires immigrants from around the world to come to our great nation," said Luisa Acosta-Franco, vice president of multicultural marketing for Farmers Insurance. "These stories of struggle and sacrifice need to be captured and shared with today's America and with future generations."

The Immigrant Archive Project is an independent national initiative dedicated to preserving the life stories of America's immigrant population. Members of the IAP team have traveled throughout the United States to record, in their own words, the intimate stories of immigrants from a number of nations. Interviews are shared on television, radio, online, and through a traveling art exhibition.

Immigrant Archive Project Co-founder and Executive Producer Tony Hernandez, himself a Cuban immigrant understands the importance of this work. "We are honored to partner with Farmers Insurance in celebrating our nation's collective immigrant heritage. These stories told in the subject's own words; contain a truth that simply cannot be captured in any other way. Individually they teach us to look at the immigrant in fundamentally human and moral terms. Collectively, they remind us that these are the stories of the American Dream."

To secure stories from a broader range of nations, Farmers and IAP will be partnering with venues across the country to host tapings. The first venue in the United States to host IAP recordings will be LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. LA Plaza will be home to these recordings in Los Angeles by hosting monthly taping events. "We are thrilled that LA Plaza will be affording residents and visitors alike the opportunity to archive and share their dreams and memories," said Acosta-Franco.


Established in 2008, the Immigrant Archive Project is dedicated to preserving the struggles, dreams, and accomplishments of America's immigrants from around the world. Over 300 videos feature subjects ranging from ages 7 to 95 telling their stories in their own words; videos are recorded at no cost. IAP founders include Tony Hernandez, owner of the Latino Broadcasting Company, and Colombian-born Gustavo Pambo of Miami, Florida. The Immigrant Archive Project is an independent initiative of the Latino Broadcasting Company, a minority-owned nationally syndicated radio network based in Miami.

ABOUT LA PLAZA DE CULTURA Y ARTES LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (LA Plaza) is the nation's premier center of Mexican American culture. Providing an experience unlike any other, LA Plaza's interactive exhibits and dynamic programs invite visitors of all backgrounds to explore as well as contribute to the ongoing story of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles and beyond. The mission of LA Plaza is to celebrate and cultivate an appreciation for the enduring and evolving influence of Mexican and Mexican American culture, with a specific focus upon the unique Mexican American experience in Los Angeles and Southern California. Located near the site where Los Angeles was founded in 1781, LA Plaza's 2.2-acre campus includes two historic and newly renovated buildings (the Vickrey-Brunswig Building and Plaza House) surrounded by 30,000 square feet of public garden.


Farmers Insurance Group of Companies is the country's 3rd largest insurer of both personal lines passenger automobile and homeowners insurance, and also provides a wide range of other insurance and financial services products. Farmers Insurance is proud to serve more than 10 million households with more than 20 million individual policies across all 50 states through the efforts of over 50,000 exclusive and independent agents and nearly 24,000 employees.

Farmers is a trade name and may refer to Farmers Group, Inc. or the Farmers Exchanges, as the case may be. Farmers Group, Inc., a management and holding company, along with its subsidiaries, is wholly owned by the Zurich Financial Services Group. The Farmers Exchanges are three reciprocal insurers (Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange), including their subsidiaries and affiliates, owned by their policyholders, and managed by Farmers Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information about Farmers, visit its Web site at or at

SOURCE Farmers Insurance

CONTACT: Luis Sahagun, +1-323-292-3574,, or Lizz Mishreki, +1-949-280-5515,

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Obama pushes DREAM Act, but says he needs Congress to do it

We are all finding out that a president cannot make the laws alone, a president needs Congress to do it with him. - - Donna Poisl

By Lucy Madison

President Obama on Wednesday reiterated his commitment to overhauling U.S. immigration laws, but said those who want him to do it without Congress are doing "a great disservice" to the cause.

In a roundtable with Latino journalists, Mr. Obama outlined his plan to increase border security while also providing a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants, known as the DREAM Act.
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Solemn and sweet: Festive tables of the high holidays

During the holidays, most people prepare the foods from their culture. Rosh Hashanah brought out the best of Jewish foods. - - Donna Poisl

By Anna Herman, For The Inquirer

Every cuisine exists as part of a story. One part of the story told by Jewish foods is of migration, assimilation, and now-vanished worlds.

Eastern Europe, Spain, Russia, Yemen, Greece, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, and Bukhara in what is now Uzbekistan were all once home to large and vibrant Jewish communities. As these old communities were forced to disband and regroup in the diaspora, the foods of their past became an important link in their new lines.

So the story of modern Jewish food is one of a dynamic, multicultural cuisine.
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Church community hub gives English lessons

This woman is using her experience to teach English to immigrants from several countries. - - Donna Poisl

by Sandie Shirley

Brazilian-born Paula Mullane has a passion to teach. She taught English in South America before travelling to the UK with a return ticket, to enhance her vocabulary skills. But her visit became a one-way trip following an unscheduled visit to Norfolk that birthed a new adventure as an interpreter and English speaking teacher.

The member of Hope Community Church, Wymondham, provides English speaking lessons at the town's Hub Community Project. The weekly Saturday sessions are paving a new path of communication and confidence for a variety of immigrants now living in Wymondham, Attleborough, Dereham and Watton, since they were launched six months ago.
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Schools Integrate Immigrants Thanks to Radio Classes in English

Thousands of students are being helped with these radio English classes. - - Donna Poisl

from Fox News Latino

Denver – Several school districts in four states are fostering the integration of Spanish-speaking immigrants via a program of radio classes in English that already have thousands of participants.

The Maestro en Casa ("Teacher at Home") project was developed by the Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together Foundation, known as MATT, and it is being offered on radio stations in Texas, Colorado, Nevada and California.
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- - Donna Poisl

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Immigration Debate Alive And Well In Presidential Campaign

It looks like everyone will be talking about immigration reform during this election season, whether they want to or not. - - Donna Poisl

from Huff Post LatinoVoices

If people thought immigration would not be a major issue once non-stop political campaigning begins, the events of the last few days have shown otherwise.

All the controversy surrounding immigration reform, from a call to a new amnesty for undocumented immigrants to an outright support for immediate deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants are as loaded with emotions as they were over the last few years.
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Rhode Island offers lower tuition to immigrants

Another state with its own DREAM Act. - - Donna Poisl

By Daniel Lovering

(Reuters) - Rhode Island next year will begin allowing illegal immigrants to pay lower in-state college tuition, the 13th state to allow some form of lower tuition for undocumented immigrants.

The Board of Governors for Higher Education approved the measure at a meeting late Monday after the state legislature failed to take action for six years.
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Alabama’s Immigrants, Latinos and Asians: An Economic and Demographic Snapshot


September 30, 2011

Washington D.C. - This week, portions of Alabama’s harsh new immigration law, HB 56, take effect in Alabama. While the governor of the state proclaimed that this is the toughest immigration law in the country, Alabama businesses, state agencies, and taxpayers will ultimately pay the price for this economically damaging legislation.

In order to provide the latest economic and demographic information on immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in Alabama, the Immigration Policy Center has updated its Alabama state fact sheet, New Americans in the Yellowhammer State.

Highlights of the data show that immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are a growing and important part of Alabama’s state economy as workers, taxpayers, and consumers. For example:

Immigrants are important to Alabama’s economy as workers.

Immigrants comprised 4.9% of the state’s workforce in 2010 (or 111,670 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Unauthorized immigrants are important to Alabama’s economy as workers and taxpayers.

Unauthorized immigrants in Alabama paid $130.3 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy. This includes:

$25.8 million in state income taxes.
$5.8 million in property taxes.
$98.7 million in sales taxes.

Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 4.2% of the state’s workforce (or 95,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Alabama, the state would lose $2.6 billion in economic activity, $1.1 billion in gross state product, and approximately 17,819 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

To view the fact sheet in its entirety, click on the headline or see:
New Americans in the Yellowhammer State (IPC Fact Check, September 30, 2011)
For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at 202-507-7524 at