Thursday, December 29, 2011

He dresses up history and his students like the fit

This high school teacher uses a wonderful way to teach world history. I am sure his students learn about the world and are much more tolerant of people from different parts of it. - - Donna Poisl

By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times

The students in Chuck Olynyk's world history class will learn about the Hundred Years' War by helping him dress for it.

It's not unusual for their teacher to bound around his room at Roosevelt High School — or the "O-zone," as it's known — wearing armor made of aluminum or a puffy tunic as he takes his students on a journey through history.

But even for Olynyk, this day is a little different. For one, he tells his students not to bother taking notes. None of this lesson will show up on a test — it's "enrichment," he says. He wants to show them that the uniform of a knight isn't what they see in the movies: easy to maneuver or even remotely comfortable. It's hot, it's heavy, it's stinky, and it makes whoever is wearing it walk with the stiff-jointed gait of RoboCop.
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Immigrants Founded Half Of The Top U.S. Start-Up Ventures

Another group, venture capital investors, are pushing for immigration reform. I hope the government listens. - - Donna Poisl

Written by Amanda Peterson Beadle

Studies continue to show the important economic impact immigrants have on the national economy as well as states, be it the millions in losses Alabama faces after passing a draconian immigration law to the number of jobs immigrants help create.

Now venture capitalists are arguing for immigration reform for the sake of the economy after a study showed that immigrants founded almost half of the U.S.’s top 50 start-up companies and are vital management or development employees at roughly 75 percent of the nation’s leading cutting-edge companies.
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Why Mexican Immigrants Can’t Get Ahead

This report says Mexican immigrants have fared worse than other groups. - - Donna Poisl

by HS News Staff

The real wages of Mexicans in the U.S. have declined since 1970, and Princeton sociologists say a “perfect storm” of anti-immigrant laws is to blame.

Princeton sociologists argue that a “new regime of immigration enforcement” is to blame for the stagnant wages of Mexicans in the U.S.

An annual Christmas pilgrimage used to see perhaps millions of Mexican immigrants, documented or not, return to Mexico from the U.S. for the holidays. But that flow has slowed as the U.S. militarizes its southern border and violence back home reduces the motherland’s charms. But the economic charms of working in the U.S. are paling, too.
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COMMENTARY: For immigrants, no room at the inn

The Christmas story is a good lesson about being humane to immigrants. - - Donna Poisl


Thanks to my home state’s new immigration law, I’m reading the Bible’s Christmas story with fresh eyes this season.

A young family travels far from home, finds no room in the inn, and then has to flee for safety.

You could read the Gospel journeys of Mary, Joseph and Jesus as a parable of what Alabama’s undocumented Hispanic immigrants have endured since the Republican-dominated Legislature passed the nation’s harshest immigration law.
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Immigrants blend Christmas traditions from home and America

Immigrants have to figure out how to live in our culture, especially when they have school children who have American friends. A big struggle for some of them. - - Donna Poisl

Article by: ROSE FRENCH, Star Tribune

Teferi Nigatu dreamed of this Christmas for years. It's the first one that he, his wife and six children will spend together in the United States since arriving from Ethiopia.

To celebrate the holiday, they've trimmed a tree, exchanged gifts and "played Santa" -- traditions they didn't observe in their native country but are embracing in their new Minneapolis home.

"Every person is waiting until the last day, wondering with great joy what is in the [gift] box," said Nigatu. "It's full of excitement, the waiting. That's what makes me like Christmas [in America], because there is excitement in the patient waiting."
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Warm welcome for immigrants

Colorado Springs is welcoming immigrants from many different countries. - - Donna Poisl

by Rhonda Van Pelt

You've heard it before, but it bears repeating: Unless you're Native American, you or your ancestors came to this country as an immigrant.

Barzan Malazada was one of those "huddled masses yearning to breathe free," to quote the Statue of Liberty's message. Malazada is from Iraq's Kurdistan region. He and his family fled Saddam Hussein's reign of terror in 1996; they were targeted because his father was working with a United States-backed charity.

He remembers vividly what life was like there.
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Lucie Tondreau, Untiring Fighter for Haitian Immigrant Rights

We need more people like this woman. - - Donna Poisl


MIAMI, USA ( – Living in Miami for 26 years, Lucie Tondreau is one of the most active community leaders in the Haitian Diaspora. Having left Haiti with her family under the totalitarian regime of Francois Duvalier in 1967, she has long fought for the rights of compatriots. "The battles were tough, but worth it, however they are not finished," says activist in an interview with Defend Haiti.

Born in Haiti and raised in Canada, Lucie Tondreau had “discovered” Miami in 1984 “by accident”. After leaving the Canadian cold, she was first in 1982 in New York where she was already involved in the fight for the Haitian immigrants’ rights.
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Immigration Wars: How to Waste Money and Treat People Cruelly

We sure do need immigration laws that will help everyone, this is ridiculous. - - Donna Poisl


We have written a lot on our editorial page about immigration policy – or rather the lack of a coherent, comprehensive immigration policy. Sometimes big national issues can boil down to one person’s story.

Lawrence Downes, who covers immigration issues for the editorial page, pointed out an article today by Nina Bernstein about a Mexican immigrant in Brooklyn, a waiter named Angel, whose kidneys are failing. Dialysis keeps him alive. His brother is willing to donate a kidney, but Angel can’t get a transplant because he is here illegally.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Detainee is released

Mohammad Abdollahi,

We asked for your support and you responded. You either signed Cesar's petition or you made a call on his behalf, whatever you did it worked. Today is Cesar's birthday and we are happy to report that he'll be spending it at home, with his family! On Monday night Cesar was released from the Michigan detention center he was being held at.

This case was made possible thanks to your work, that of 1Michigan and the Indiana Dream initiative. Great Job! Cesar is very thankful for everything you did, he is hoping the Obama administration will take his release one step further and finally grant his deferred action. We'll be sure to keep you in the loop about his case just in case he needs a bit more help.

If you like the work we do and want to stay better connected please be sure to Like us on facebook. We have an active community there and want to make sure your voice is present.

Thank you for everything you do.

Much love,

Mohammad Abdollahi

All of the work we do is volunteer run, please consider making a donation to support us.

States make daily life harder for illegal immigrants

Some states are using other tactics to find illegal immigrants, while their state laws are being reviewed and challenged. - - Donna Poisl

By Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

State legislators looking to crack down on illegal immigration in 2012 are turning away from the law enforcement laws that dominated state houses this year, and instead are pushing other measures that can make life just as difficult for illegal immigrants.

Much of the international furor over state immigration laws in states such as Arizona and Alabama focused on the portions that granted local police the ability to conduct roadside immigration checks of people stopped for other crimes.
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Lack of immigrants could hurt growth

Our economy needs immigration reform -- now. - - Donna Poisl


Congress could be hampering economic growth by moving slowly on immigration reform.

Illegal border crossings may grab the headlines, but the entrepreneurial spirit of foreign-born graduate students has become essential for job creation. Of the 50 top firms that received venture capital backing in the past three years, 46 percent include at least one immigrant founder, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Foundation for American Policy.

“It’s clear that America gains a great deal when we’re open to talent, wherever that talent is born,” said the foundation’s executive director, Stuart Anderson.
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American Immigration Council and Partners Sue U.S. Immigration Agencies Over Asylum “Clock”

For Immediate Release

December 20, 2011

Washington, D.C.—Last week, the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in federal court in Seattle. The lawsuit alleges widespread problems with the asylum “clock”—the system that the government uses to determine when immigrants with pending asylum applications become eligible to obtain work authorization in the United States. The class certification motion describes the nationwide impact of these policies.

The complaint, co-filed with the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, Gibbs Houston Pauw, and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, was submitted on behalf of untold numbers of asylum applicants wrongfully denied work authorization due to unlawful agency policies and practices. The named plaintiffs include asylum seekers who have pursued their cases for years without work authorization—including a man from China who initially filed his asylum application in 2003.

With limited exceptions, federal law requires USCIS to grant work authorization to any person with an asylum application pending for 180 days. In calculating this period, however, USCIS relies on determinations made by immigration judges who work for EOIR. As a result, arbitrary EOIR policies on when the “clock” should start and stop—combined with growing backlogs in U.S. immigration courts—have unlawfully prevented asylum seekers from working. The suit alleges these policies violate the Constitution, federal statutes, and governing regulations.

“This lawsuit targets a problem that has plagued asylum applicants for far too long,” said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council. “Asylum seekers who have fled persecution in their native countries and have made good faith efforts to comply with the asylum process should not be arbitrarily deprived of the ability to earn a living while their applications are pending. This lawsuit challenges the longstanding disregard for basic due process protections for this vulnerable population.”

For press inquiries contact Wendy Sefsaf at 202-507-7524 or

Take the Pledge: Muslims are our fellow Americans

from Elizabeth Potter, Unity Productions Foundation

I thought that the readers of Immigrants In USA Blog would be interested to know that Lowe's Home Improvement recently pulled its ads from the TLC show All-American Muslim in response to an organization claiming the show "falsely humanized Muslims in America.” This controversy has exposed more Islamophobia in America which falls directly in line with what the My Fellow American project is trying to prevent and overcome in America.

As a supporter of the project, would you please visit to share what this controversy means to you? I encourage you to help spread the message of tolerance to fight back against intolerance and fear-mongering. We've just posted a host of new content from various entertainers and faith leaders on this topic.

When you post or tweet about this important issue, please send me the link so I can share it with my team. Thank you for your continued support!

Elizabeth Potter
Unity Productions Foundation

Sheriff Joe Shut Down

from Adam Luna, America’s Voice

Last week, the Justice Department released a blistering report confirming what we already know: Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio harasses, intimidates and terrorizes Latinos and immigrants, and he’s been doing it for years.

And because of these findings, the federal government is FINALLY removing Arpaio’s authority to enforce immigration law.

Make no mistake about it, this victory would not have happened without you. Advocates from around the country signed petitions demanding that the Department of Justice investigate Arpaio and they answered the call. We demanded that DHS and Secretary Janet Napolitano stop allowing Arpaio to funnel immigrants into deportation proceedings and finally, after three years, they’ve responded.

We’ve had some major victories this year, but this is definitely one of the biggest. It’s days like these that remind us what working together can do.

Sheriff Arpaio has until January to decide whether he will reform his policies or face a lawsuit, and he’s already stated that he won’t go down without a fight.

We’ll keep you updated, but for now we just wanted to thank you for helping make a difference.


Adam Luna
America’s Voice

P.S. Of course, Arizona isn’t the only place where the Constitutional rights of Latinos and immigrants are being violated. Right now we have an ongoing crisis in Alabama caused by HB 56, their extremist new anti-immigrant law. We’re already seeing politicians who voted for the law are now beginning to back pedal. Now is our chance to make a difference in Alabama. Please join the fight at

20 Best Books About The American Dream

Click on the headline to see a very interesting list.

Monday, December 19, 2011

USHCC Supports Secretary John Bryson's Outline to Create Jobs


WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) today applauded U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson for his leadership and focus in articulating a vision for the future of job creation. He has put forward a plan that will make the Commerce Department a true partner with the American business community.

After endorsing the nomination of Secretary Bryson by President Barack Obama in October, the USHCC is proud to see his private sector background is producing initiatives that will help Hispanic entrepreneurs across the country.

"We are proud to see that the Hispanic business community's support of Secretary Bryson was well placed," says USHCC President & CEO Javier Palomarez. "After laying out his plan for job creation, we thank Secretary Bryson for focusing on initiatives that will allow American small businesses, the true engine of job creators, to grow."

"The Secretary's plan for job creation will be especially good for Hispanic business. By recognizing the power of collaboration and focusing on manufacturing and exports, the Department of Commerce is making great strides in helping our constituency to realize their marketplace potential."

Bryson's three pillar outline specifically focuses on supporting manufacturing, increasing American exports, and attracting more international investment to the U.S. In articulating his vision, Secretary Bryson stated, "We have a major role to play at this critical time to support job creation in America. We have an array of tools to help make our businesses more innovative, more efficient, and more competitive around the world."

The USHCC is eager to work more closely with the Department of Commerce under Secretary Bryson's leadership in order to support policies and continue initiatives that help Hispanic small businesses prosper through necessary resources.

About the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)

Founded in 1979, the USHCC actively promotes the economic growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs and represents the interests of nearly 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States that combined generate in excess of $420 billion annually. It also serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers and business associations in the United States and Puerto Rico. For more information, visit

SOURCE United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

CONTACT: Lisa M. Martin, +1-210-227-1999, ext. 129,


Click the headline to read stories from this week from the Immigration Policy Center.

Our View: English immersion charter school to provide opportunity

This newspaper is making its case for English immersion to teach immigrant kids. - - Donna Poisl


There are many different ways in which to learn a second language, and the importance of that is magnified in southern border areas.

One such method is learning by immersion. As the name suggests, it's not just going into a classroom for an hour a day, learning rote lessons from a textbook, and then going home and spending minutes or hours on some homework.

Think of immersion in relation to water. If you're immersed in water, you're surrounded by it to the exclusion of all else, and you have to learn to deal with it effectively in order to survive.

Transfer that image to the learning of a language — English, in this case.
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One year later, the DREAM lives on

from Marissa Graciosa, Reform Immigration FOR America

One year ago today, we received the bitter news that the U.S. Senate would not take the DREAM Act to a vote. Callous Senators sought to punish immigrant youth, and overwhelmed those Senators who stood with us in our fight for the vote.

You made over 80,000 calls, sent thousands of faxes, and brought countless new individuals into the struggle by convincing them of a simple truth, the truth that lit the fire within us all: the hard work of young people deserves the recognition and reward of our entire country, no matter their status.

Without the federal legislation, what has become of the DREAM? Immigrant youth continue to lead and continue to fight -- winning major victories this year in Illinois, Maryland and California. But as long as our leaders continue to support a broken system, these breakthroughs will remain fragile.

One year ago, I wrote asking you to remember where our legislators stood on this vote. We have a lot of work ahead in 2012, and we won’t be forgetting who stood with us and against us one year ago today. I know you won’t either.

Thanks for all that you do,

Marissa Graciosa
Reform Immigration FOR America

Emmanuel Adjei-Boateng, Grand Forks, column: Let’s help immigrant children learn English

Researchers are working on new strategies to help teachers and their ESL students learn better, since English is necessary for all their studies and development. - - Donna Poisl

By Emmanuel Adjei-Boateng

GRAND FORKS — Immigration is changing the population profile of students in the United States. There are more children of immigrant parentage in the schools today than ever before. Some have limited English language proficiency, while others may not speak English at all.

This presents a challenge to both the students and teachers.

Schooling in a new country becomes challenging for the immigrant children due to many reasons. Primarily, they may lack the needed proficiency in English to cope with their academic work.
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Vast majority of Somali immigrants arrived as refugees

An interesting history of the Somali immigrants who are living in Maine. - - Donna Poisl

By Andrew Cullen, Staff Writer

LEWISTON — Virtually all of the Somalis who have come to Lewiston since January 2001 are legal residents of the United States.

The vast majority arrived with refugee status, meaning they had lived in refugee camps in Kenya or other countries neighboring Somalia and were not able to return home because of “well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group,” criteria for refugee status in the United States, according to a 2010 Senate report.
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Karen immigrants find viable employment option

Many refugees from Myanmar are working happily in their new communities. - - Donna Poisl

from: Aberdeen American News

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — Sixty-one Karen refugees from Myanmar are now helping Molded Fiber Glass meet its employment needs.

The Karen (pronounced ka' ren or kuh-ren) began immigrating to the United States about 20 years ago after fleeing persecution in their native land. Most spent months and sometimes years in refugee camps in Thailand before immigrating to primary settlement sites in the U.S.

Many of those now making wind turbine blades at Molded Fiber Glass previously lived in Huron, a primary settlement city, where they worked at the Dakota Provisions turkey processing plant.
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Immigrants start new businesses at rapid rates

Another report showing how immigrants are often business owners, which helps the economy. - - Donna Poisl

from: Minnesota Public Radio News

WORTHINGTON, Minn. (AP) — Enrique Aguilar recently opened a new accounting business, hoping the coming tax season will be the key to his startup's success.

After a career working as an accountant for other firms, Aguilar, 61, has another reason to be optimistic. In the 14 years that he's lived in southwest Minnesota, he's watched Worthington's Latino population grow to some 4,500 residents now, more than a third of the town's population.

"Many people know me in the town," said Aguilar, who was born in Mexico City. "So, I hope they can look for me this tax season."

He is among about 1,000 new Latino business owners in the last several years, a boost to the state's economy.
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Prayer vigil to oppose immigration bill Sunday in downtown Spartanburg

Prayer vigils praying that the harsh SC immigration laws are not enacted. - - Donna Poisl

By Kim Kimzey

Believers of various faiths who are opposed to South Carolina's new immigration law will unite at prayer vigils across the state, according to a written statement from the South Carolina Immigrants Rights Coalition.

The council is a coalition of faith-based and community organizations opposed to South Carolina's S-20 immigration bill.

Events are planned throughout the state.
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Report: Highly-skilled immigrants drive job creation for U.S. citizens

Even though everyone agrees that more highly skilled immigrants are needed and that they start businesses, nothing is being done. - - Donna Poisl

By Emi Kolawole

If you’re searching for bipartisan agreement, Washington is the last place to look, particularly on the subject of immigration. But you wouldn’t know it listening to freshman lawmaker Tim Griffin (R-Ark.).

Griffin attended a gathering at the conservative American Enterprise Institute to discuss the emerging trend of reverse brain drain, the scenario where highly skilled immigrants, educated in U.S. colleges and universities, are unable to acquire a permanent resident or worker visa to remain in the United States. In some cases, skilled immigrants, educated in their home countries, are choosing to stay where they are rather than navigate the cumbersome visa application process.
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

DOJ Report Slams Sherriff Joe Arpaio and DHS Restricts 287(g) and Secure Communities Programs

For Immediate Release

December 15, 2011

Washington D.C. - After a three-year investigation into the abusive practices of Sherriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office (MCSO), the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that it had found a pattern and practice of civil rights abuses, including extreme cases of racial profiling. The enormity of the violations, the majority of which were experienced by immigrants and Latinos, has led the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to suspend its cooperation agreement (under section 287(g)) with the sheriff’s office and restrict the MCSO’s access to immigration databases through the Secure Communities program.

The dual announcements from DOJ and DHS reinforce what many in Arizona and the broader immigration community have long argued: the practice of allowing local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law increases the likelihood of racial profiling and pretextual arrests which leads to disastrous results for entire communities.

The DOJ’s Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez commented on the investigation noting “MCSO’s systematic disregard for basic constitutional protections has created a wall of distrust between the sheriff’s office and large segments of the community, which dramatically compromises the ability to protect and serve the people. The problems are deeply rooted in MCSO’s culture, and are compounded by MCSO’s penchant for retaliation against individuals who speak out.”

The DOJ has requested a response from Maricopa County and writes “If MCSO is not interested or if we deem that MCSO is not engaged in good-faith efforts to achieve compliance by voluntary means, we are prepared to file a civil action to compel compliance.”

The report contains a review of the constitutional abuses rampant in Maricopa County including an analysis by a leading expert on measuring racial profiling who examined MCSO traffic stops and found that “Latino drivers were between four to nine times more likely to be stopped than similarly situated non-Latino drivers. Overall, the expert concluded that this case involves the most egregious racial profiling in the United States that he has ever personally seen in the course of his work, observed in litigation, or reviewed in professional literature.”

Today’s announcements also highlight the critical issues at stake in the upcoming Supreme Court review of Arizona’s SB 1070, a law that institutionalized the role of state law enforcement in federal immigration matters. Even under the best of circumstances, ceding immigration authority to state officers presents an array of complex and politically charged issues. Under the worst of circumstances, as illustrated by Sherriff Arpaio’s MCSO, state and local law enforcement agencies enforcing federal immigration laws can be disasterous.


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

Uptown Microlenders Help Immigrant Women Launch Businesses

Immigrants are always very entrepreneurial, these women are proving that point with the assistance of microloans. - - Donna Poisl

by Yumna Mohamed

Between braiding clients’ hair in her salon, Matou Mukamabano checks that her two daughters are doing their homework.

With a $1,500 microloan from Grameen America, Mukamabano opened Africa Hairbraiding, her salon on West 116th Street in Harlem, in 2009 and now spends up to 16 hours a day there. Most days, her daughters come to the salon after school, eat lunch and sometimes dinner there and watch a DVD or two after they’ve finished their assignments.
“This job requires a lot of man – no, woman-hours,” Mukamabano said. “African women work harder than African men.”

Immigrant women are one of the nation’s fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs, according to a 2007 report by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Missouri, and have attracted investment from local and international microfinancing organizations. The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneural Activity reported that immigrant women started businesses at a rate 57 percent higher than American-born women.
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Letter to immigrants from 33 Hispanic and Latino bishops

Catholic bishops have written this welcoming letter to immigrants in this country. - - Donna Poisl

from the National Catholic Reporter


Dear immigrant sisters and brothers,
May the peace and grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you!

We the undersigned Hispanic/Latino Bishops of the United States wish to let those of you who lack proper authorization to live and work in our country know that you are not alone, or forgotten. We recognize that every human being, authorized or not, is an image of God and therefore possesses infinite value and dignity. We open our arms and hearts to you, and we receive you as members of our Catholic family. As pastors, we direct these words to you from the depths of our heart.

In a very special way we want to thank you for the Christian values you manifest to us with your lives—your sacrifice for the well-being of your families, your determination and perseverance, your joy of life, your profound faith and fidelity despite your insecurity and many difficulties. You contribute much to the welfare of our nation in the economic, cultural and spiritual arenas.
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Alabama’s Imperiled Immigration Law Clogs Government Machinery

The tough new law is not working well and is costing the government a lot of money. - - Donna Poisl

By Margaret Newkirk

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Mobile County spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to comply with a law designed to drive illegal immigrants from Alabama. Kim Hastie, the first-term Republican license commissioner, had an up-close look at the crackdown’s political cost.

Customers clogged her office in the Gulf Coast city founded by French colonists in 1702. Locals demanded to know why they were treated like foreigners after having to prove their citizenship to register a car or license a dog. A World War II veteran shouted at a clerk. A widow wept.
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Bennet bill seeks visas for illegal immigrants studying math, science

This is a good idea, it will solve two problems. - - Donna Poisl

By Allison Sherry, The Denver Post

WASHINGTON - In hopes of meeting a yawning need for engineers in the United States, Sen. Michael Bennet has introduced legislation that would create a new green card category for math and science graduates to stay in the United States after college if they have work.

Bennet's proposal would also give undocumented kids a student visa if they enroll in a science, math or technology program as undergraduates.

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Visa Act of 2011 was drafted after Bennet, a former Denver schools chief, heard a loud cry from CEOs and university chiefs that America was good at delivering a world-class higher education but not so good at keeping those students in the country for jobs after they graduate.
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Immigration as Economic Renewal

We need laws that allow businesses to bring in and keep foreign workers if they need them. A new report shows more reasons for immigrants to be here. - - Donna Poisl

By Madeline Zavodny

New research shows that immigrants create jobs for U.S. natives.

The Supreme Court’s announcement Monday that it will review SB 1070, Arizona’s Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, is welcome news. A ruling that clearly defines federal and state roles in immigration policy could put the brakes on the tsunami of state-level immigration legislation experienced in recent years and, with luck, spur the federal government into action.
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Teaching in a Diverse America: It's the Relationships That Matter

It takes special skills to teach a group of children from many countries all together. We need more teachers with these skills. - - Donna Poisl


Our nation continues to grow more diverse.

It's especially apparent in our nation's classrooms where one out of four students are the children of immigrants.

Today, when the school bell rings, more teachers are finding themselves looking at a sea of young faces representing an array of racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Sadly, there are unacceptable gaps in the academic achievement of students from diverse backgrounds.

That is why it is so important for teachers to have the skills to reach every student in the classroom and close that achievement gap. As a nation, if we fail to reach students from diverse backgrounds we'll lose the wealth of contributions they could have made to their communities and to the country.
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Immigrant stories: Dad inspired Jimenez to get a good education

This story is a wonderful example of an immigrant working incredibly hard to make something of herself. Read the whole story, please. - - Donna Poisl

from Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Nine years ago, Susana “Susie” Jimenez came to Aspen after graduating from culinary school. She quickly earned a reputation as an outstanding chef, and eventually started her own catering business. This year she was a finalist on the Food Network's “The Next Food Network Star.”

This Thanksgiving, Jimenez prepared six turkey dinners for her Aspen clients and returned home to Carbondale in the afternoon to host Thanksgiving dinner for 20 of her friends.

Jimenez: My family is from Michoacan, Mexico. My dad came here with his older brother 45 years ago to pick citrus in Florida. There was a drought in Florida that year, so they went to California and worked in the vineyards. While they were there they discovered there was lots of work and they ended up sending for the whole family.
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Valley shows signs of assimilation, acculturation

Hispanic assimilation is a little bit different than it was in the 1950s, but mostly the same. - - Donna Poisl

By JULIO MORALES, Imperial Valley Press Staff Writer

Growing up in Brawley during the 1950s, Alicia Armenta remembers a time when students overheard speaking Spanish on the playground were admonished and told to stand by the fence surrounding the campus as punishment.

The daughter of Mexican immigrants who immigrated to the Valley in the 1940s, Armenta said that back then the tendency was for society to devalue anything associated with being Mexican.
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Wealthy immigrants can invest way to visas

This visa program helps this country in several ways. Canada and other countries already have this visa program. - - Donna Poisl

By Lornet Turnbull, Seattle Times staff reporter

As his son moved through high school, Xiaohong Mu began researching the immigration policies of Western countries where he believed his boy would get the best education.

The owner of a petroleum-engineering firm in the southwest Chinese city of Chengdu, Mu considered Australia and Canada before settling on the United States.

America, he believes, will not only prepare his son for future success, but he also thinks he can find new business opportunities here.
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Sign Petition: Alabama's Immigration Law Repeal

from Adam Luna, America’s Voice

Did you know that under Alabama’s new immigration law, HB 56, thousands of children are too afraid to go to school, pregnant women are not getting the care they need, and countless employees are not working for fear of being deported?1 It is the most extreme anti-immigrant law in the nation and it could spread to other states if we don’t stop it.

But I’m glad to report that the tide is beginning to turn, because of a growing movement in Alabama working day and night to repeal HB 56. And as the movement grows and the evidence piles up, former supporters of this experiment in extremism are beginning to change their minds.

For example, Gerald Dial, an Alabama State Senator who voted for the bill said in a recent interview:

"There are things in the law we just didn't see[...] I'm a big enough guy to say I made a mistake and that I'll do everything I can do to correct it."2

But repealing the most extreme anti-immigrant law in the nation won’t be easy - it’ll take all of us to make it happen.

We’re helping build energy for repeal with this petition to demonstrate that the national support for repealing HB 56 is strong and getting stronger. Will you sign it?

Principled Alabama legislators are working right now to build support for their effort to repeal this bill when they convene again next February. That’s why it’s critical that legislators feel the pressure of our collective voices.

Your action will also bolster the power of the grassroots. This Saturday, students, religious leaders, farmers, advocates and business people will march on the state Capitol in Montgomery, AL and with one voice say, “enough is enough - it’s time to repeal HB 56!”

You can do your part in the fight against the worst immigration bill in the country by signing this petition to repeal HB 56.

Our team at AV will be sure to keep you posted as the fight goes on and we return to Alabama. Until then, please make sure to sign this petition and pass it along to your family and friends.

Click on the headline or
Go to:

Thanks for joining the movement,

Adam Luna
America’s Voice

Friday, December 09, 2011

Testimony Before Congressional Ad Hoc HB56 Hearing

Read this testimony about the Alabama anti-immigrant law, there are amazing examples of how it is hurting people. - - Donna Poisl

Testimony given in Birmingham, Ala. in the Birmingham City Council Chambers.
By Mary Bauer, Legal Director

Thank you for the opportunity to speak about the devastating effects that Alabama’s extreme anti-immigrant law, known as HB56, has had on this state.

My name is Mary Bauer. I am the Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Founded in 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a civil rights organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights of minorities, the poor, and victims of injustice in significant civil rights and social justice matters. The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of several civil rights groups representing plaintiffs in HICA v. Bentley, a lawsuit challenging HB56 in federal court. That case is currently pending before Judge Sharon Blackburn in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, and the ruling on Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction is on appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
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Gilchrist Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary

This center is celebrating 10 years helping immigrants in their community. - - Donna Poisl

The center serves the immigrant community in Montgomery County by connecting them with county resources and offering English and citizenship courses, among other things.

By Esther French

The Charles W. Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity, named after a former Montgomery County executive, partners with other organizations to help immigrants to the county adjust to a new way of life and understand their rights and responsibilities, as well as explore paths for the future.

Wednesday night the center celebrated this 10-year tradition with music, dance performances, food and awards to volunteers.
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The agony of our failed immigration policy

This article shows how hard our immigration laws are on families. - - Donna Poisl


There is much to be thankful for in Petaluma as we enter this season of the returning of the light. Petaluma Latinos Active in Civic Engagement appreciates its work with the Argus-Courier over the last year to highlight issues of importance to the Latino community and spotlight some of the positive contributions of Latinos to the community as a whole.

We also appreciated Lois Pearlman's Nov. 24 article about the threatened deportation of two young people who have grown up among us, 19-year-old Fernando Diaz and 20-year-old Gilbert Mejia (also the subject of another Argus article on the DREAM Act).
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Stiff Immigration Laws, No Bar To Big Dreams

Another story about an immigrant who needs the DREAM Act. - - Donna Poisl


Even though Maria Luna's parents are U.S. residents, she is in limbo. That's because her mother drove to Mexico to deliver Maria and leave her there.

"I happened to be born on New Year's Day, and my grandmother who owned a house in Mexicali, Mexico — where I was born — was celebrating with her family. And when she found out what my mother had done, she immediately came to my rescue and brought me over to the United States at just three days old. So she basically saved my life within the first 72 hours of my birth," Luna told Tell Me More host Michel Martin.
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U.S. Immigrant Business Owners Supported by Chicago Officials

Here are more details about the new office for immigrants opened up in Chicago. It should do a lot of good. - - Donna Poisl

From USA Immigration News

Chicago officials have recently launched a new department called The Office of New Americans with an aim to help U.S. immigrant business owners, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on December 6, 2011.

Following other cities and states, Chicago has now kicked off its municipal department focusing on immigrant entrepreneurs. The Office of New Americans is headed by former activist Adolfo Hernandez. He's from the Little Village neighborhood, one of the largest Mexican business communities in the U.S. The department coordinates training and workshops for immigrant entrepreneurs in hope of creating jobs in the U.S. and promoting Chicago as a global economic hub. In addition, The Office of New Americans will soon expand its concentration to other issues like English language and U.S. citizenship.
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Alabama Immigration Law May Get Second Look After Big Business Backlash

Alabama is reconsidering its awful law. Maybe they will repeal it. - - Donna Poisl

from Fox News Latino

Faced with backlash over the detainment of two foreign auto employees, two architects of Alabama’s tough immigration law say they are having second thoughts about the law.

The Republican attorney general is calling for some of the strictest parts of it to be repealed. Some Republican lawmakers say they now want to make changes in the law that was pushed quickly through the legislature.

Gov. Robert Bentley, who signed the law, said he's contacting foreign executives to tell them they and their companies are still welcome in Alabama. The moves comes following backlash from big business after the embarrassing traffic stops of two foreign employees tied to the state's prized Honda and Mercedes plants.
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New federal grant expands citizenship, ESL programs

This federal grant will employ people, teach ESL and assist immigrants with the citizenship process. - - Donna Poisl

By Marie Mischel, Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — A $200,000 grant from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will allow Catholic Community Services to expand its outreach to immigrants and refugees seeking to become United States citizens, and also increase English Skills Learning Center of Salt Lake City’s ability to offer citizenship education.

CCS is Utah’s affiliate of Catholic Charities U.S.A. ESLC is a nonprofit organization that offers free English instruction to low-income adult immigrants and refugees. The two agencies partnered to apply for the federal grant, which was awarded in October and runs for two years.

"The goal is for us to have helped 300 individuals in a two-year period achieve citizenship," said Catherine Barnhart, ESLC executive director.
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Handmade Kipot, With Immigrant Touch

This immigrant from Myanmar is crocheting yarmulkes for the Jewish Museum, which perfectly demonstrates the museum's theme about immigrants. - - Donna Poisl

by Deborah Hirsch, Jewish Exponent Staff

Win Htay gives a glimmer of a shy smile as she holds up a delicate, hand-crocheted yarmulke. The 28-year-old had never heard of a yarmulke until she came here four years ago, resettled by HIAS and Council Migration Service of Philadelphia as she fled political and military repression in Myanmar.

Nor did she expect that crocheting the round head coverings would become a modest source of income. Over the past few months, the National Museum of American Jewish History purchased 11 of her kipot to sell in its store.

Htay has a personal agent to thank for the connection, longtime HIAS volunteer Resa Rudney.
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Immigration enforcement shatters families

Families suffer in many cases of immigration enforcement, they should be considered more. - - Donna Poisl

By Rinku Sen

The federal government appears to be taking a close look at immigration enforcement. Recently, the House Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement conducted a hearing on Secure Communities, a federal program that will soon involve every local police department with the deportation of immigrants.

Next week, the Department of Homeland Security will initiate a six-week pilot program in Denver and Baltimore that it says will result in quicker deportations of immigrants who have convictions, while providing relief for those considered low-priority. Unless these programs address the needs of families through clear policy guidelines, tragic separations will continue, especially for those also involved in the child welfare system.
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Democrats Forecast Moves Toward Immigration Reform in 2012

It will be much easier to push immigration reform in 2012 since both parties must show Hispanics that it is important to them. And it will be easier in President Obama's second term. - - Donna Poisl


Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate predicted Wednesday that there will be advances, albeit small ones, toward immigration reform in 2012, at a time when both they as well as President Barack Obama are trying to attract the support of the Hispanic electorate.

During a round table with several Hispanic media outlets, including Efe, the senators said that despite what they described as Republican obstructionism, there are possibilities for achieving advances on some elements of an immigration bill.
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Alabama's tough immigration law questioned

Alabama's officials are finally agreeing with what many people have been telling them. - - Donna Poisl

from the Associated Press

Reporting from Montgomery, Ala.— The top legal official in the state with the country's toughest immigration law has suggested throwing out parts of the law after challenges by the federal government and strong protests by rights and business groups.

In his first public concerns about the law, expressed in a letter to legislative leaders obtained by the Associated Press, Alabama Atty. Gen. Luther Strange said the proposed changes would make the law "easier to defend in court" and "remove burdens on law-abiding citizens."
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Years after immigration raid, Iowa town feels poorer and less stable

The raid on the meatpacking plant here changed this town forever, and not for the better. - - Donna Poisl

By Liz Goodwin | The Lookout

POSTVILLE, Iowa—A group of Jewish boys in yarmulkes and winter coats walked past the "Taste of Mexico" restaurant on Lawler Street last week on their way home from school. Minutes later, a Somali man wearing a keffiyeh scarf around his neck passed by, perhaps on his way to the town's makeshift mosque on Main Street.

This improbably diverse rural town of about 2,000 people in northeastern Iowa suffered a near-fatal shock more than three years ago when a federal immigration raid scooped up 20 percent of its population in a single day. An ultra-Orthodox Lubavitcher Jewish family from Brooklyn bought the town's defunct meatpacking plant in 1987 and attracted workers from Israel, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. The plant became the largest producer of kosher beef in the world. When the plant was raided one spring morning in May 2008, most of the workers on shift were Guatemalan and Mexican, and undocumented. Many workers later said they had been physically or sexually abused at the plant, and at least 57 minors were illegally employed there, some as young as 13.
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Justice Department warns Alabama law enforcers on immigration

Maybe this pressure can get Alabama to pull back. - - Donna Poisl

By Pete Williams and Kari Huus

The Justice Department has sent a letter to dozens of local law enforcement agencies in Alabama that receive federal money, warning them that they risk losing that funding if they're not careful in how they enforce the state's tough new immigration law.

The Obama administration has already sued the state, claiming that the law is unconstitutional. Now it's keeping the pressure on by addressing how the law is carried out.
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Chicago names Mexican-American to head immigrants' office

A new office for immigrants has its first director. - - Donna Poisl


Chicago – Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday named Mexico-American activist Adolfo Hernandez to be the director of Chicago's just-created Office of New Americans, which will attend to matters concerning immigrants.

"Chicago is a global economic hub because of generations of immigrants who used their new freedoms and opportunities to make this city stronger and more vibrant," Emanuel said in a statement, vowing to make the Midwestern metropolis "the most immigrant-friendly city in the world."

Hernandez, the son of Mexican immigrants, was born and raised in Chicago's Little Village/La Villita neighborhood and has experience in community initiatives related to health and quality of life.
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Arizona immigrant students find way together, without families

The determination of these kids to stay and get their high school diploma! Quite amazing. - - Donna Poisl

by John Faherty - The Arizona Republic

In the predawn darkness, Gerson Gonzalez wakes without an alarm.

He always wakes this way. He lies silently in bed for a moment under his blanket. The January air is cold. Gerson showers quickly and dresses in the dark in the back room of the narrow trailer.

The trip to North High School will require a bus, then light rail, then another bus. But he wants to be there early. He is always hungry in the morning, and school means a free breakfast.

Gerson lives in this trailer with two other young men. They are all seniors in high school, and they are all in the country illegally.In the aftermath of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which made it a state crime to be an illegal immigrant, Gerson's father was deported. Jonathan Labrada's family moved away, and Alejandro Sau's family, such as it was, began to fall apart.
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Fuentes proposes help for immigrants

This ballot initiative should bring more than $300 million a year to the state. - - Donna Poisl

By Christina Villacorte, Daily News Staff Writer

Undocumented workers would pay state income taxes in exchange for the prospect of leniency on federal immigration laws under a ballot initiative proposed by a San Fernando Valley assemblyman.

If approved by a majority of voters, the California Opportunity and Prosperity Act would not guarantee protection from deportation.

Instead, it would merely authorize the governor of California to ask the president of the United States to make these undocumented workers their lowest priority when they enforce federal immigration laws.
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Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs: Starting Businesses and Creating Jobs

For Immediate Release

December 8, 2011

Washington D.C. - Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases, Our American Immigrant Entrepreneurs: The Women by Susan Pearce, Elizabeth Clifford and Reena Tandon. Today, immigrant women entrepreneurs are in every region of the United States. In 2010, 40 percent of all immigrant business owners were women—1,451,091 immigrant men and 980,575 immigrant women. That same year, 20 percent of all women business owners were foreign-born.

In a tele-briefing to release the report, author Susan Pearce noted “This report is the result of our research into that less-visible population that is starting various enterprises every day. Why do we focus on women? Not only does the image of a woman not come to mind when one hears the word "immigrant," but their particular experiences are under-represented in reports on immigration. We also equally emphasize these women's nonmaterial contributions. Women immigrant entrepreneurs are providing training for the next generation, supporting charities and activism through their volunteer contributions and anchoring communities.”

Entrepreneur Rubina Chaudhary, president of MARRS Services, Inc., a Management, Engineering, and Environmental firm discussed her enterprise. “MARRS employs 50 full time and part-time professional and support staff of which 78% are U.S. citizens, 54% are U.S. born citizens and 36% are women. I am grateful for the opportunities that I, an immigrant woman in the U.S., have had to not only achieve my goal of providing for my children’s education but also to have the opportunity to create jobs and help others, native born and immigrants, men and women, students and entrepreneurs.”

Entrepreneur Yolanda Voss of Yolanda Voss Fashion Gallery shared her story. “I came to the land of my dreams in 1962 and my goal was to become a prominent designer. In 1980, Yolanda Voss Studio International became incorporated. In 1991, I opened Yolanda Voss Fashion Gallery. The latest recession has affected our market, but I remind myself that effort, dedication and the incorporation of new ideas will bring a return to prosperity. I continue to be an active member of my community, offering scholarships, internships and lectures to inspire the creative spirit of new designers in our nation.”

To view the report in its entirety, see:
Our American Immigrant Entrepreneurs: The Women by Susan Pearce, Elizabeth Clifford and Reena Tandon (IPC Special Report, December 2011)
Click on the headline or go to:
Adapted from Immigration and Women: Understanding the American Experience available at


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

USHCC Announces 2012 Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C.


WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) today announced plans for the 22nd Annual Legislative Summit, slated for March 21-23, 2012, at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center.

"As the pre-eminent voice for Hispanic business in America, the USHCC is proud to host our 2012 Legislative Summit. There is no better time to bring together government officials and business leaders than during a Presidential election year. The USHCC has long focused its efforts on ensuring that government keeps working to foster growth in the Hispanic business community," says USHCC Chairman Nina Vaca.

The Legislative Summit is a signature annual event hosted by the USHCC that provides a platform for business owners and chamber leaders from across the country to advocate for critical issues that impact their businesses and industries.

"Hispanic-owned businesses are leading economic recovery in America through entrepreneurship, business development, job creation and new energy implementation," says USHCC President Javier Palomarez. "Our Legislative Summit provides a unique opportunity for enterprise to advocate for policies that will help business grow.

The Summit includes the Legislative Summit Opening Reception, Federal Procurement Business Matchmaking, and the Celebration of Women Entrepreneurship in America Gala. New events include the Welcome Breakfast, as well as a number of focused workshops dedicated to pertinent topics such as Improving Access to Capital, America's Energy Future, U.S. Leadership in the Global Food Economy, and other key issues that are relevant to business owners today. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in meetings on the Hill with key legislators.

About the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Founded in 1979, the USHCC actively promotes the economic growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs and represents the interests of nearly 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States that combined generate in excess of $420 billion annually. It also serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers and business associations in the United States and Puerto Rico. For more information, visit

SOURCE United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

CONTACT: Lisa Martin, +1-210-227-1999,

Monday, December 05, 2011

Editorial: Alabama nets more than illegal immigrants

Awful examples of the harm this new law is doing and a couple comical ones. - - Donna Poisl

USA TODAY Editorial

Alabama's harsh new immigration law has been in effect for less than three months, but it has already wreaked the kind of havoc that's inevitable when legislators are so obsessed with driving out illegal immigrants that they don't think much about who else gets hurt in the process.

Growers have seen immigrant labor disappear and produce rot in the fields as they try to recruit the citizens the law's proponents promised would do the work the illegal immigrants were supposedly stealing from them. An outfit called Grow Alabama hired more than 50 legal workers to pick tomatoes, but most quit in a day or two, and only one stuck it out for two weeks.
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Hispanic Caucus shifts gears toward restricting Alabama immigration law

The federal government is not helping individual states enforce their tough immigration laws. - - Donna Poisl

By Mary Orndorff -- The Birmingham News

WASHINGTON -- The members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will meet next week with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to discuss enforcement of Alabama's immigration law, according to Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.

Gutierrez, a leading critic on Capitol Hill of states that try to police immigration themselves, said he wants the federal government's top immigration officials to emphasize that they will not deport illegal immigrants snagged in Alabama's dragnet unless they have a record of other crimes.
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Hebrew group talks immigration

HIAS was started to help Jewish refugees and now helps immigrants from every country. - - Donna Poisl

Post and Courier Staff report

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society was started in the U.S. in 1881 to help persecuted and oppressed Jews around the world find refuge. Over the years, the group has assisted more than 4.5 million people.

In recent years, the number of Jewish refugees has diminished, so HIAS has widened its reach, aiding immigrants of all backgrounds, especially the U.S.'s undocumented Hispanic population. The group is calling for federal-level reform of the immigration system and a compassionate and proportionate response to people disparagingly called "illegals."
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US Government Cracks Down on Immigration Scams

We definitely need the government to get involved and shut these scams down. They are harming so many people. - - Donna Poisl

from Fox News Latino

Federal officials are cracking down on immigration scams.

In a press conference this past week, federal officials explained that immigration services scams are getting so sophisticated that fraudsters now advertise online with websites that perfectly mimic those of official government agencies.

So the federal government is setting out to raise awareness about such scams.

Officials from several federal, state and local agencies, as well as immigration lawyers and advocates, met in Newark in recent days to expand nationwide a campaign that started in seven pilot cities. It focuses on enforcement, education and interagency collaboration.
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Suicide spurs immigration talk

If this tragic death gets people talking about immigration reform and doing something about it, we can take some comfort in it. - - Donna Poisl

by Jared Janes and Gail Burkhardt

Diyer Mendoza said goodbye Thursday to his younger brother, a good student who dreamed of one day becoming a civil engineer.

Two busloads of students, faculty and staff from a La Joya High School joined Mendoza’s family Thursday for the funeral of Joaquin Luna, an undocumented immigrant who dressed last Friday in his best suit and tie, kissed his family members, walked into the bathroom and shot himself in the head.
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DREAM Act Logo Contest!

from Nico Gonzalez, CAD Walker

I need your help. Check us out at

On March 10th, along with four friends -Raymi, Lucas, Jonatan and Tony- I am going to be a part of a journey across America, the Campaign for an American Dream. I will be walking about 3,000 miles from California all the way to Washington D.C.! We will be walking from community to community taking action, gathering stories and building up the case for why we need the DREAM Act now.

We've been working really hard to launch this campaign and we just realized something, how can we have an awesome campaign without an awesome logo?!? As you can see our current logo needs a lot of work - work that we know many of you are really awesome at! Will you help us come up with our new logo? Would it help if we told you winning gets you a ca$h prize . . .

If you want to take part in the contest you need to follow a few simple rules:

You must be at least 15 years old;
Come up with a creative logo including the words 'Campaign for an American DREAM';
Download and submit an Official Entry Form by December 27th; and
Maximum of 2 entries allowed (mix it up!)

Once we have all of the entry forms we'll pick the top 5 and then let you vote on them. On January 3rd, the logo with the most votes will win a $250 cash prize and a free plane ticket to be with us when we make it to Washington D.C.

What do you think, can you send some designs over to us? I know DREAMers are very talented! Can't wait to see all the awesome stuff you come up with.


Nico Gonzalez
CAD Walker

P.S. Not really the one to design a logo but know someone who would be? Forward this to them because we really want to see what they can come up with!