Monday, January 31, 2011

ESTHER CEPEDA: Adding to the pack: Scouts aid assimilation

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are a good way for kids to get together and become assimilated, but not many immigrants join, maybe they should. - - Donna Poisl

by ESTHER CEPEDA, The Bakersfield Californian

The Flintstones introduced me to the world of Scouting. I vividly recall the episode where Fred and Barney took their families camping in Shangri-La-De-Da Valley and found themselves in the middle of the biggest international Boy Scout jamboree of all time.

That episode taught me about camping trips, good deeds and being prepared. Later, I learned that the Boy Scouts were an integral part of American culture.

But to a child of recent immigrants, the thought that either of my male cousins or I would ever have anything to do with Scouting was as foreign to me as the Irish soda bread I first tasted during my third-grade classroom's "cultural celebration."
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Cleveland: Immigrant family's American dream could yield new development

This immigrant family bought a large building and is heading a new development which will house a Town Center. This will have a supermarket, restaurants and other stores and employ many people. They are living the American Dream! - - Donna Poisl

by Paul Thomas

CLEVELAND -- As traditional lion dancers weaved through the crowd to the beat of a drummer, the Duong family watched the Chinese Lunar New Celebration, along with hundreds of customers.

The Duong family is the modern adaptation of immigrants building their American dream. They are the driving force behind a new Asian Town Center on East 38th Street and Superior Avenue in Cleveland.
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An immigration reform window opens

This op-ed in the LA Times tells reasons why this is a GOOD time to be working on immigration reform. I hope it is correct. - - Donna Poisl

By Peter H. Schuck

Reports of the death of immigration reform in the 112th Congress may be exaggerated. True, immigration politics are divisive and sometimes toxic, and Republicans don't want to enable President Obama to claim another legislative victory as he gears up for the 2012 election. Even so, the strands of effective reform are there, waiting to be knitted together into a grand bargain by political entrepreneurs.

Almost everyone accepts that our current approach to immigration needs fixing. And they also recognize that the problem is likely to get worse. Paradoxically, given our current economic troubles, now is the best time to tackle the problems, for several reasons.
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Keeping ties to homeland

Immigrant parents want their children to keep in touch with their culture while becoming Americans. It is hard to keep the kids interested in the old stories. They should learn this as kids though, because they will probably regret it as adults if they don't do it. - - Donna Poisl

Many families face cultural quandaries about assimilation

By Kim Lamb Gregory

Twelve children dressed as signs of the Chinese zodiac stood in a classroom at the Ventura County Chinese Language School in Camarillo recently and rehearsed the song that means “happy New Year and congratulations.”

They were rehearsing for a play to present to their parents in celebration of the Chinese or Lunar New Year, which begins Thursday.

“I’m the jade emperor!” said Alden Huang, 10, of Camarillo, as he swept around the room in a red cape.

Although most of their kids were born in the U.S., their parents don’t want them to forget the Chinese part of their Chinese-American heritage. It’s a sentiment shared by many parents who were not born in this country, but want their children to know about their roots.
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For ethnic Karen immigrants, life in KC is a dream after a nightmare

These immigrants are having a hard time learning to live in this country but compared to the life they came from, they are happy. - - Donna Poisl

By DONALD BRADLEY, The Kansas City Star

Paw Wah Tamla bounces between getting her people to remember and forget.

Her people are the Karen who fled oppression to come here from a land they still call Burma.

As a community leader, she wants them to remember their proud history and customs. For several weeks, she’s helped plan today’s celebration of the Karen New Year, a pageant complete with traditional costumes, food and dance.

But as a parent liaison for the North Kansas City School District, she works to get them to forget the crude ways of the refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border where they all lived before coming to Kansas City.
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Arizona-inspired immigration bills lose momentum in other states

This law may fail in other states for reasons other than humanitarian or moral ones. - - Donna Poisl

By Lois Romano, Washington Post Staff Writer

As state legislatures convene this month, lawmakers across the country who had vowed to copy Arizona's strict measure cracking down on illegal immigrants are facing a new reality.

State budget deficits, coupled with the political backlash triggered by Arizona's law and potentially expensive legal challenges from the federal government, have made passage of such statutes uncertain.
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Families That Learn Together

Boston University has a program to teach English and other skills to immigrants and refugees, teaching all members of the family. - - Donna Poisl

by Kimberly Cornuelle

Griselda Madronero has just finished work—boxing food on the late night shift at a bread factory in Chelsea. It’s 7 a.m. and by 8:30, she’s sitting in a classroom at Chelsea’s John Silber Early Learning Center, sounding out words in English. “Enemy,” she says, “friends,” and a new one today: “pose.” The class is one of several in the Intergenerational Literacy Program, an enduring component of a two-decade collaboration between the Chelsea Public Schools and Boston University.

Founded by Jeanne Paratore, a School of Education associate professor, as part of the Boston University/Chelsea Partnership—where BU educators helped rebuild the Chelsea public education curricula and managed the school system—the program is designed to teach English language literacy skills to entire families, children and parents. It usually serves between 75 and 90 families at any one time, and over the years has helped equip more than 2,400 families with the reading skills needed for life in a new country.
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

LULAC to Honor Legislative Champions


Senator Richard Lugar, Congressman Pedro Pierluisi, Texas Representative Trey Martinez Fischer and Daniel Hernandez Jr. will be recognized at LULAC National Legislative Awards Gala on February 10th

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The League of United Latin American Citizens will honor Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, Congressman Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico, and Texas State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio at its 14th Annual National Legislative Awards Gala on February 10th at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. In addition, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Charlie Gonzalez will speak at the event.

"LULAC is proud to honor these outstanding legislators who have championed key issues important to Latinos," said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. "We look forward to thanking them for their efforts to pass the DREAM Act, increase access to health care, expand educational opportunities and defend our civil rights."

Daniel Hernandez, Jr., the intern whose quick actions helped save Congresswoman Gabriella Gifford's life, will receive a special recognition during the Gala. Satcha Pretto, the host of Univision Network's weekend newsmagazine "Primer Impacto Extra," will be the Mistress of Ceremonies.

The gala begins with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by the awards program at 7 p.m. and dinner at 8 p.m. For tickets or table sponsorships, call Silvia Perez at (202) 833-6130 ext. 17 or Tickets can also be obtained on our web site at

The awards gala caps off LULAC's two-day legislative conference which provides Latino leaders from across the country the chance to strategize on legislative priorities for the Latino community and visit with their elected members of Congress and senior administration officials. On February 9th, the conference begins at 9:30 a.m. with a series of workshops including: What's in Store for Hispanic Students, New Opportunities for Addressing Poor Health Outcomes in Latino Children, and Effective Latino Advocacy Strategies.

A luncheon at 12:00 p.m. that day will address Improving Latino Broadband Access and feature Anna M. Gomez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Deputy Administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn. On Thursday, attendees will meet with their elected representatives and visit federal agencies during the LULAC Advocacy Day. Free registration is available at

The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating through 880 LULAC councils nationwide.

CONTACT: Amanda Keammerer, +1-202-833-6130 ext. 17

SOURCE League of United Latin American Citizens

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CHCI President & CEO Esther Aguilera Statement on the State of the Union


CHCI President & CEO Esther Aguilera Statement on the State of the Union

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) President & CEO Esther Aguilera released the following statement today in response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech last night:

Keeping the Promise of the American Dream for Latinos: Education First

In his speech last night, President Obama stressed our nation's commitment to keep the promise of the American Dream alive by working together "to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build" other nations in the new global economy.

I agree, but would argue that it starts with making the United States number one in the world once again in college graduation rates. The U.S. now ranks tenth in the world in college completion for adults 25-34. Education needs to be the first priority – especially for Latinos.

Today, higher education is not just a pathway to opportunity – it is a prerequisite. Over the next decade, nearly 80 percent of new jobs in this country will require advanced workforce training and/or post-secondary education.

Currently Latino children account for the largest percentage of the elementary school population, yet continue to lag dramatically behind other demographic groups in high school and college graduation rates. By 2020, one out every two new entrants into the U.S. workforce will be Latino. Clearly, increasing the educational attainment rate of Latinos is a national imperative and must be at the forefront of any investment in this country's future.

To address this critical need, the Board of Directors of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHCI) recently passed a unanimous resolution in support of the Lumina Foundation for Education, The Gates Foundation, key educational partners, as well the Administration to increase to 60 percent by 2025 the national college graduation rate for all Americans. To reach this goal and have the U.S. regain its education leadership status in the world will require engaging in programs and activities to improve the Latino college completion rate.

CHCI will launch this effort in April, with a series of education policy forums that will bring together leading education experts, advocates, and practitioners. We will host panels in cities from Los Angeles to New York to examine the unique education challenges facing young Latinos, define the barriers to higher education attainment for Latinos, and identify best practices for addressing these to reach the 60 percent goal by 2025.

CHCI will share this vital information with other organizations and work collaboratively to ensure that together, we keep the promise of the American Dream accessible for the next generation – and that Latinos are part of that promise.

Esther Aguilera is President & CEO of CHCI. Since 1978, CHCI has been developing the next generation of Latino leaders by providing higher education attainment support, hands on public policy experience on Capitol Hill, and proven leadership development curriculum. Today more than 5,400 CHCI Alumni across the country are Latino leaders in all sectors of U.S. society – public, private, and non-profit.

About CHCI

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), a nonprofit and nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, provides leadership development programs and educational services to students and young emerging leaders. The CHCI Board of Directors is comprised of Hispanic Members of Congress, nonprofit, union and corporate leaders. For more information call CHCI at (202) 543-1771, visit, or join us on Facebook, Twitter (chci) and LinkedIn.

SOURCE Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

CONTACT: Scott Gunderson Rosa of CHCI, +1-202-548-5876,

Say no to raids and criminalizing babies

Hold the new leadership responsible

from Marissa Graciosa, Reform Immigration for America

Today, the House Judiciary committee will hold a hearing on worksite enforcement. This is the first in a series of hearings that will set up the Republican-controlled House’s immigration agenda: and it’s not pretty.

Heading up the committee is Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) whose strategy on immigration can be summed up as follows: target workers & target families. We are facing a leader who wants to take our country back to the days of the Postville Raid that destroyed a Midwestern community and will criminalize newborn babies in order to push his “deport them all” agenda.

Now, more than ever, we have to be sure that our voices are heard in the halls of Congress.

Make sure that Lamar Smith knows we’re watching him. Click on the headline.

Like President Obama said in last night’s State of the Union: “I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort”. Tell Lamar Smith & his committee that we’re ready to hold them accountable to making an effort.

Project Light honors founder, Sister Nora

A nice tribute to the woman who founded this center to help immigrants. - - Donna Poisl


BRADENTON -- It’s tough to say no to Sister Nora Brick.

Luz Corcuera found that 10 years ago when she met the persuasive Franciscan nun from Ireland’s County Kerry.

It was at Project Light Literacy Center, which Brick founded in 1995 in a humble storefront on 14th Street West to teach English to migrants.
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Clergy to Utah Legislature: Let feds fix immigration

The Federal government has to fix immigration problems; when each state has different rules, nothing will ever work properly. - - Donna Poisl

The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah religious leaders warned Monday that the Legislature’s proposed immigration bills — especially Rep. Stephen Sandstrom’s enforcement-only measure — would create a climate of fear that divides communities.

About a dozen faith leaders, led by the Rev. Steve Klemz, pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Salt Lake City, assembled on the Capitol grounds as the 2011 Legislature got under way.

The clerics acknowledged that the immigration system is broken, but argued it is the nation’s problem to fix, not the state’s.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

AMV Celebrates 15th Anniversary of Successful English Literacy Program

Here is a wonderful program using volunteers to teach English to immigrants. - - Donna Poisl

Residents Volunteer to Teach English to Associates

from Asbury Methodist Village

GAITHERSBURG, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than five dozen residents at Asbury Methodist Village (AMV) have volunteered over the last 15 years to teach English to more than 100 AMV associates who are first generation immigrants to America. These associates represent more than two dozen countries – from Cameroon to Vietnam. This program is sponsored through the Literacy Council of Montgomery County.

“For us, it’s a win-win—our associates are able to communicate better with residents, which is something everyone can feel good about,” said Asbury Methodist Village Executive Director David Denton. “These one-on-one tutoring sessions help enhance the community feeling here overall.”
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8-Country Soccer “Family” Goes Undefeated

These immigrants were struggling in school here and are now excelling after finding soccer as a common interest. They are an undefeated team and study together too. - - Donna Poisl

BY Thomas MacMillan

Faced with three young African immigrants who were struggling in school, Lauren Mednick found the key to begin unlocking their academic potential: a soccer ball.

Now, over three years later, Mednick leads a “family” of 14 young men from eight different countries. She’s created an undefeated soccer team that plays together and hits the books together too, transforming their lives in the process. Her players are finding success in soccer, joining elite athletic programs; and in academics, entering a prized private school.
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Immigration reform needed for economic growth - Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg has always welcomed and encouraged immigrants, maybe more mayors will start to agree with him. - - Donna Poisl


NEW YORK - Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in his 10th state of the city address, reiterated with conviction the need for immigration reform, which he says ‘is the single biggest step we can take’ to promote innovation and economic growth.

“The biggest single step we can take to promote innovation in New York City, and across this country, is to fix our broken immigration system,” Bloomberg said. “It’s not only hurting national security, it’s the most ruinous economic policy you could ever conceive of. It’s destroying American jobs every single day. We’ve got to change it.”
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Immigrant start-ups seen as key to reinventing Michigan

Immigrants start up MANY businesses in this country, these two entrepreneurs are exactly what this country needs and especially Michigan. - - Donna Poisl

By KATHERINE YUNG, Detroit Free Press Business Writer

When it comes to reinventing Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder has a clear message: The state needs more people like Thanh Tran and Vinay Gupta.

The two entrepreneurs -- one just starting out and the other with lots of experience -- are smart, talented immigrants trying to create more jobs in Michigan just as Snyder called for in his State of the State address Wednesday.
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Immigration bill could hurt Head Start in Kentucky, officials say

We all know of many ways hardline immigration laws hurt states, here is one I had not thought of. - - Donna Poisl

By Beth Musgrave

FRANKFORT — A bill that would make it a crime for an illegal immigrant to set foot in Kentucky could cost the state's Head Start programs millions of dollars, Head Start officials warned this week.

In a letter to House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, Head Start officials said that Senate Bill 6, which passed the Senate this month, could create problems for the federal pre-kindergarten program that serves 17,444 children in all 120 counties.
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Hispanic engineers making progress

Hispanic people with engineering degrees are doing well in this country and their membership in this society helps them survive and succeed. - - Donna Poisl

by Marcus Atkinson, editor

College can be a lonely place, often people with similar majors and/or culture form bonds to help cope with the assimilation needed to survive those tough years.

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) is one of those groups.
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United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to Host 21st Annual Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C.


United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to Host 21st Annual Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C.

-Elected officials and business leaders to highlight key policy issues at Legislative Summit-

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) is pleased to announce the 21st Annual Legislative Summit on Monday, March 28th through Wednesday, March 30th at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C.

"We want to focus on the policy fundamentals impacting entrepreneurship in America," says Javier Palomarez, USHCC President and CEO. "This is an important time to be in Washington to learn about the legislative priorities affecting our business community. For our members and partners it is an unprecedented opportunity to advocate on those issues in front of key members of Congress and the Administration."

The Legislative Summit provides Hispanic business owners, chamber leaders and corporate executives the forum to advocate for issues that impact their respective businesses and the Hispanic community. Participants will learn about today's pending policy and business concerns from top officials of the Administration and powerful legislators representing the entire political spectrum.

"The Legislative Summit will help set and advance the Hispanic business agenda for the year ahead, laying the groundwork for further advocacy and enabling the USHCC to continue to represent our constituents' views successfully on the national level," says Nina Vaca-Humrichouse, USHCC Chairman of the Board.

Highlights of the upcoming 21st Annual Legislative Summit include workshops that address the implications of issues such as: Broadband access, green energy and financial services reform for small business owners. Participants will also have the opportunity to hear from political leaders and visit with key legislators and policy makers. For the first time this year, the Summit will also include a business matchmaking session, emphasizing procurement opportunities with federal agencies.

To register for the 21st Annual Legislative Summit, please visit

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 generate nearly $400 billion annually. It also serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers in the United States and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

CONTACT: Lisa Martin, Public Relations, +1-210-227-1999, ext. 129,; or Missy Schultze, Public Relations, +1-210-227-1999, ext. 130,, both for USHCC

Friday, January 21, 2011

Faces of Immigration: Refugee to councilman

Read this terrific story about a Vietnamese refugee who worked hard and is now involved in politics, giving back to his community. - - Donna Poisl


At 17 years old, Michael Vo knew his life had taken a turn when he caught sight of a woman in the driver's seat of a bus he'd just stepped onto in Hawaii.

"I was shocked," said Vo, who is now 48. "I said to myself, 'Wow, in this country if people put their mind to things and they want something, everyone has the same opportunity.'"

While a female bus driver might not have seemed like much of a novelty to most Americans, the young Vo had never seen such a thing back home in Vietnam in the 1980s.
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Immigrant Action Day Unites Oregon Latinos

CAUSA, an immigrant rights coalition, is working to change Oregon laws. - - Donna Poisl

by Chris Thomas, Public News Service

SALEM, Ore. - The ability to get a driver's license or get health care for a child are things most Oregonians take for granted. But for undocumented immigrants, they are barriers to success and eventual citizenship. At Saturday's Immigrant Action Day, the Latino community will outline its plans to seek legislation to restore drivers' license access for all Oregonians.
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Even Bloomberg Can’t Escape Complexity of Immigration

Mayor Bloomberg is a very vocal supporter of immigrants and immigration reform, maybe people will listen to him. - - Donna Poisl


On “Meet the Press,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg declared, “We have to go and get the immigrants here.” To a group of business leaders in Brooklyn, he extolled “the economic power” of immigration. And in his State of the City address on Wednesday, he interrupted a litany of local issues to urge Americans “to fix our broken immigration system.”

Having taken on the New York City school system and the illegal gun trade, Mr. Bloomberg has now proposed overhauling the federal immigration laws, offering himself as the man to help settle one of the nation’s thorniest debates. He praises immigrants as a precious resource and speaks of current immigration policy with undisguised disgust — “the most ruinous economic policy you could ever conceive of” was his line on Wednesday.
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The “Border Security” Canard

By John Richards

When discussing comprehensive immigration reform, which most people, whether on the left or the right, agree is desperately needed, anti-immigrant politicians and pundits often say that no action can be taken on reforming our mess of an immigration system until the border is secured, and existing immigration laws are enforced to their satisfaction.

They rarely bother to define what security and enforcement measures they would find satisfactory. They have, however, become more vocal in their ultimatum: improve border security and immigration enforcement, or forget about getting any type of immigration reform through Congress.

If the statistics from the last few years are any indication, however, one has to wonder how sincere this ultimatum is. It seems that 2010 was a banner year for the “more enforcement” crowd: deportations of undocumented immigrants and company audits were near an all-time high, President Obama sent over 1,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico, and Arizona (a state that has placed itself at the forefront of the immigration fight) saw record numbers of immigrants located in that state deported from the U.S.

Despite all this, (mostly) Republican lawmakers are able, without much effort, to perpetuate the meme that Obama is “soft” on immigration. Every new enforcement effort is met with the same criticism: “this is just a token effort from an administration that isn’t serious about the problem of illegal immigration, and won’t be nearly enough to win our support for moving forward on comprehensive [or even incremental] immigration reform.” And they can even get significant public support for draconian anti-immigrant measures, such as Arizona’s new immigration law, and even proposals to repeal the 14th Amendment.

It’s almost as if some Republicans are opposed to immigration as such, and therefore don’t really mind that our current system is such a bureaucratic mess that it can take decades for a person to come to this country legally, and have no incentive to expend any political capital on a reform effort which, even in the best of times, would have a lot of interests pulling at it from every direction, and is likely to be extremely controversial. This tactic has the added bonus of demonizing the opposing party, and giving the person using it an easy out when they’re accused of inaction on this important issue.

Furthermore, the fact that it’s impossible for many people to come to the U.S. legally within a reasonable period of time means that many will opt to come here illegally (people from all over the world do still want to come to this country to make better lives for themselves, a fact that should make us proud, not scare us). While the negative economic impact of illegal immigration is extremely overblown by immigration opponents (and the net economic impact of undocumented workers is likely positive), they’re largely an invisible, voiceless group. That makes it very easy for immigration opponents to turn them into bogeymen.

This, in turn, creates a perpetual political issue that can be used to stir up the political base of a candidate or party. Given the wave of paranoia and nativism that seems to have swept this country in the last few years (people are, without irony, calling for a repeal of the 14th Amendment), this tactic seems to be working. Obviously, the simple solution to this is a more educated and informed electorate, but that’s far easier said than done. “Simple” is not the same as “easy,” after all.

However, a better-informed electorate would, at least in theory, see through these cheap political tactics, and support comprehensive immigration reform. Now, I personally think immigration reform should be undertaken, first and foremost, with the goal of making it easier to come to the U.S. legally for ordinary people.

This would make it cheaper and easier to keep out people who should be kept out (people with a history of violent crime, connections to terrorism, etc.), while allowing honest, hardworking people who (like 95.5% of the people in the world) didn’t have the fortune of being born in the United States to try and make a better life for themselves here, without having to spend 20 years navigating a bureaucratic nightmare, or being treated like a criminal.

John Richards is a writer for the Law Blog and

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Punitive and Productive Immigration Legislation Moving in the States

For Immediate Release

Punitive and Productive Immigration Legislation Moving in the States

January 20, 2011

Washington D.C. - After passage of Arizona's controversial SB1070 law last year, other states threatened to introduce similar measures. South Carolina, Mississippi, and Nebraska have already begun working on SB1070-style legislation. Meanwhile, legislators seeking true solutions have begun pursuing progressive immigration policies. On a teleconference yesterday, immigration policy experts discussed the ramifications of pursuing anti-immigrant legislation as well as alternatives to SB1070, many which seek to boost economic and job growth on the state level.

Jonathan Blazer, Policy Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, said: "As in past years, states will continue to consider both restrictive and inclusive immigration-related legislation in a broad range of areas, including employment, education, and law enforcement. We expect to see enactment of Arizona copycats in some states, perhaps first in South Carolina. However, the fact that a court has enjoined core provisions of the Arizona bill from being implemented has given pause to some states. Yet other states seem to welcome the confrontation, and with it the legal costs and harm to the economy and tax base. When it comes to immigrant bashing, for some legislators, fiscal conservatism seems to fly out the window."

Vivek Malhotra, Advocacy and Policy Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said: "In many states across the country, constitutionally suspect, discriminatory bills are becoming a distraction from pressing needs that the legislature actually has some control over, like balancing budgets or stimulating job growth. The federal court's decision to block core provisions in Arizona's racial-profiling law is having a deterrent effect on other states considering copycat bills. They know this unconstitutional approach to immigration enforcement is likely to embroil them in costly litigation at the taxpayer's expense."

Michele Waslin, Senior Policy Analyst at the Immigration Policy Center, said: "These battles are taking place at a time when states are facing severe budget crises, and people have to recognize that these immigration bills would be very expensive to implement. States would face the high costs of arresting, processing, detaining, and prosecuting a large number of people. Since these laws will be challenged in court, state taxpayers will have to bear the litigation costs. Furthermore, undocumented immigrants and their families are workers, taxpayers, and consumers, and if they leave a state, it means lost tax revenue, lost productivity, and lost consumers."

Suman Raghunathan, Immigration Policy Specialist at Progressive States Network, said: "There is a story that isn't often told. We see a diverse and rapidly growing group of legislators from 32 states who understand the reality of immigrants and immigration and are crafting common-sense proposals at the state level. These proposals expand economic opportunity for all residents, both immigrant and native-born, keep communities safe, and preserve workers' rights. Proposals include tuition equity legislation, which offers undocumented students in-state tuition so they can attend college; wage-enforcement and workers' rights legislation, which goes after bad-apple employers who bypass their responsibilities; community-policing legislation, which builds trust between law enforcement and communities; as well efforts that support immigrant, small-business entrepreneurs."

To hear a recording of the entire briefing visit

Telebriefing: Is Arizona-like "Papers Please" Legislation Coming to Your State?
For a list of other resources see:
Responding to State Immigration Legislation: A Resource Page

Q&A Guide to State Immigration Laws: What You Need to Know if Your State is Considering SB1070-Type Legislation


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

Reid lists Spending ,Tax and Immigration Reform As Priority for Senate

Harry Reid wants to work on immigration reform this term, hopefully he has better luck with the minority party. - - Donna Poisl

from Hispanically Speaking News

Harry Reid stated Tuesday that he places government spending, taxes, and immigration reform as objectives for this congressional term.

Reid also plans on making another attempt on immigration reform, regardless of the failure of the DREAM Act during the lame-duck Congress.
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African immigrants appreciate, celebrate MLK, Jr.

This shows how important Martin Luther King Jr. is to recent African immigrants, not just the descendants of African slaves. - - Donna Poisl

By Hana Baba,

The American Civil Rights Movement may have been a struggle fought by, and for, descendents of African slaves wanting their basic human and civil rights in society, but in reality, that movement helped another population as well: African immigrants.
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Monday, January 17, 2011

Q&A: Reaching English language learners

People who are fluent in more than one language have an additional career choice; teaching the English language to immigrants. Knowing another language is a tremendous help. - - Donna Poisl

Teacher talks about growing population in county

By TINA REED, Staff Writer

When Anne Arundel County native Shelley Hartford first headed to Florida to major in French more than 10 years ago, she had no idea it would lead to a career teaching English.

Hartford, who began her career in education policy, teaches 60 English language learners, or ELLs, in four Anne Arundel County elementary schools. It's a fast-growing population of students countywide who need extra assistance to be successful in school, she said.
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Tough Tactics: Immigration Reform In California Is Serious Business

Maybe if the DREAM Act goes forward state by state, it will help some people, even if only a smaller number at a time. It will be better than none. - - Donna Poisl

By Darcie Perkins

The introduction of the measure into California’s political atmosphere makes the buzz surrounding the issue of immigration in the state all the more interesting. Gov. Jerry Brown has already hinted that he would support the notion of a California Dream Act.

With the election of Brown, immigration reform activists are all the more motivated to carry out their grassroots efforts, especially demonstrated by the strong showing that the state’s rapidly growing Hispanic population made in electing the recently sworn in governor against his Republican opponent Meg Whitman.
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Many Haitians in US still afraid to seek amnesty

These refugees are afraid to register with our government, but they must -- and then they will have a better chance of supporting themselves. - - Donna Poisl

By GEORGIA EAST - Sun Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. Suze Lubin spent five years in hiding, unable to apply for most jobs or even a driver's license, and in constant fear of being deported to Haiti, where her son had once been kidnapped.

Then the earthquake that devastated her homeland on Jan. 12, 2010, transformed her life in North Lauderdale, Fla.

Citing humanitarian reasons, President Barack Obama allowed undocumented Haitians already here to apply for Temporary Protected Status, as long as they have no criminal background. The program is reserved for selected undocumented migrants from countries disrupted by natural disasters, armed conflicts or other emergencies.
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Immigrants use slow season to improve skills

These immigrants are using the winter season to learn new skills. I wish everyone did that, instead of just watch more TV, especially when jobs are scarce and require more skills. - - Donna Poisl

By Tara Bahrampour

When Jesus Echeverria waits for employers to select him from a crowd of day laborers, they often pass him up.

The skills they are looking for are ones the Salvadoran immigrant doesn't have, such as electrical work, drywalling or masonry.
"I want to know how to do the work," said Echeverria, 54.

With the launching of a new program called "Winter Semester" at Casa de Maryland, he may have better luck this spring.
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Farm lobbying group cautions states on immigration

Farms are the businesses that need immigrant laborers the most. We have to get something in place that will help them, it affects the food we all buy and eat. - - Donna Poisl

from Google news

ATLANTA (AP) — States that crack down on illegal immigrants should also help farmers who need seasonal labor, the nation's largest farm lobbying group said Tuesday.

And if Congress doesn't overhaul immigration, farmers will assist the federal government in helping states create programs that give growers access to enough legal labor, under a policy approved at the annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kaiser Permanente grant aids Latino immigrants

A grant of $25,000 is helping this program continue to help immigrants learn to live in this country successfully. - - Donna Poisl

posted by Kaiser Permanente

Maria Cordova of Roseville has a pretty unique job.

She is a promotora with the non-profit Latino Leadership Council. A promotora – which in English means promoter – is a trained para-professional community member who works with families as a sort of cultural broker, helping social service agencies in Placer County connect with Latino parents and children.

Cordova’s assignment varies from day to day, but always includes a similar theme: Educating and advocating for families navigating a maze of services.
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Dallas program brings immigrants eager to learn English together with nursing home residents eager for company

This is a brilliant idea and a perfect match. These lonely seniors in a nursing home are helping immigrants learn English. - - Donna Poisl

By DIANNE SOLÍS / The Dallas Morning News

PLEASANT GROVE – In the sinking violet light of a Saturday afternoon, Jessica Vazquez takes the hand of Annie Taylor, whose sepia skin is as delicate as tissue paper.

Vazquez's little girls take position at Taylor's bed. They're barely past their fifth and ninth spring. Taylor is in her 103rd winter.

"I want to keep your children," Taylor chirps. The girls, Lesley and Allyn, giggle.
"Is it OK we are here?" Vazquez asks. "You want to sleep?"
"Oh, no!" comes the response.

So begins an unconventional lesson in English acquisition.
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Griego: Illegal immigrants in U.S. face a cruel choice

This teacher wonders if the illegal immigrants are just trading one problem (lack of work at home) for another (deportation or prison here). Sounds like a terrible choice to me. - - Donna Poisl

By Tina Griego, Denver Post Columnist

Several years ago, I accompanied a teacher on her walk to school. Her class was full of the children of Mexican immigrants, some of whom were here illegally. She saw in her young students an eagerness to learn and in their parents a desire to give their children opportunities they themselves did not have.

Which is not to say she did not have her conflicts about illegal immigration. Most of us do. As we passed the homes of people she knew to be here illegally, she wondered what it would be like to be denied the exercise of one's full potential both in the home country and the adopted one, to exist in some in-between place. She wondered how they lived with the threat of discovery and what it would be like to risk so much on a chance at something better only to find the gamble comes at great cost.
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127 National Ethnic Organizations Join Call for Bipartisan Museum Study

Click on the headline to read and watch the video about a proposal to open up a National Museum of the American People in Washington D.C. - - Donna Poisl


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

It doesn’t add up

Click on the headline to read this opinion piece showing why we must be humane in our dealings with the immigration "problem". - - Donna Poisl

OPINION, The Salt Lake Tribune

The solution to the issue of illegal immigration will not be found by totaling the numbers we compile, but by agreeing about the kind of people we are.

Those arguing about what the federal government and the states should do are quick to cite statistics on how many undocumented workers there are, what burden they place on the schools, the criminal justice system and various social services and what they produce in terms of labor, purchasing power and tax payments.
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Class gives San Mateo County immigrants 'Passport to Employment'

Immigrants have a much harder time than others finding work in this job market. This new programs gives them special help that they need. - - Donna Poisl

By Elizabeth Pfeffer, San Mateo County Times

Looking for work is hard enough in today's unstable job market, but being an immigrant in a country where the language and customs are unfamiliar adds new challenges.

Martin Doerner, a teacher at the San Mateo Adult School, co-founded Passports to Employment, a class that primes immigrants for the job hunt.

The program teaches key skills such as writing informative, succinct cover letters and preparing polished résumés. The program also offers extensive on-camera interview practice.
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Storied E. Boston immigration hub to be demolished

This 90 year old building will be torn down, although the stories about its history will live on. - - Donna Poisl

By Steve Holt, Globe Correspondent

In a matter of weeks, a nearly century-old relic of Boston’s rich immigration history will be rubble. Demolition of the former East Boston Immigration Station — which processed an estimated 23,000 immigrants between 1920 and 1954 — began in mid-November and is expected to wrap up after Martin Luther King Day. At one time considered Boston’s Ellis Island, the now-dilapidated yellow brick building has for years sat empty, becoming a fire hazard and home to skunks and feral cats.

Last year, the Boston Landmarks Commission ruled that the building — which the Massachusetts Port Authority has owned since 1987 — should not be protected as a historic landmark. Its condition and lack of original artifacts make it a poor candidate for adaptive reuse, the commission said in a 41-page report. The report came 10 years after neighborhood residents filed a petition to have the building protected as a landmark.
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Monday, January 03, 2011

Immigrants who work in medicine open free health care clinic

These naturalized citizens have opened a free health care clinic for people temporarily out of a job and without insurance. They are giving back to their adopted country. - - Donna Poisl

By TIFFANY RONEY, The Wichita Eagle

WICHITA | Abdul Arif, a Wichita-based attorney originally from India, and a group of his friends — all immigrants — have opened a free health care clinic as a way to give back to the United States.

Named Mayflower Clinic for the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America, the clinic offers a full range of medical care — everything but hospitalization. It is designed to help people between jobs or temporarily lacking health insurance, not chronically unemployed or homeless.

“They’re people like … an aircraft worker who may be temporarily out of a job; that job could have been a $90,000-a-year job with all the benefits,” said Bill Hess, College Hill Neighborhood Association president. “What this clinic is designed to do is to provide benefits for that individual.”
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A Building, and a City, as a Way Station to a Better Life

This piece explains how immigrants move from one city to another, the same as many other Americans. They first move to areas with other immigrants and then, as they are more assimilated, they move to another area. - - Donna Poisl


For two years, a five-story walk-up apartment building in the Bronx has served as a small beachhead for a new immigrant community: refugee families from the South Asian nation of Bhutan. From this new home on University Avenue, where they were placed by a resettlement agency, the families have made their first, tentative steps in an unfamiliar culture and language.

But now they are on the move again. In the year since The New York Times profiled the building and the eight Bhutanese families who were living there, four of the families have left for other states — Virginia, Pennsylvania, Vermont and North Carolina — and most members of a fifth have moved to Albany.
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Md. to weigh own 'DREAM' tuition act

When students have graduated from high school and qualify for college, their states should give those students in-state tuition rates. They paid to educate them that far, why not a few more years and keep them there? - - Donna Poisl

By Shankar Vedantam, Washington Post Staff Writer

Maryland would offer in-state college tuition benefits to undocumented immigrants who have attended state high schools and whose parents are taxpayers if a measure being proposed by state Democrats becomes law.

The proposal, which will be introduced by Sen.-elect Victor R. Ramirez (D-Prince George's) when the General Assembly convenes next month, is certain to generate controversy at a time of heated debate about illegal immigration, gaping state budget shortfalls, and intense competition for coveted spots at the University of Maryland and other state universities. Montgomery College came under attack this year for offering tuition benefits to illegal immigrants.
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Legal immigration can take decades

We can understand why people try to sneak in here, when it often takes 20+ years to come legally. - - Donna Poisl

By LEE DAVIDSON, Salt Lake Tribune international

SALT LAKE CITY - Six years after applying to sponsor her sister for emigration from the Philippines, Eunice Jones of Salt Lake County, Utah, was ecstatic to receive a letter last year saying the State Department finally approved her sister's eligibility.

But that didn't mean Emerald Guerra, 39, could come anytime soon. The State Department cautioned that no visas were currently available for Filipinos in her sister's category of siblings of U.S. citizens seeking to immigrate.

"We found out that Filipinos who were then getting those visas had first applied in 1987" or 22 years earlier, said Jones, a naturalized U.S. citizen and real estate agent. Because of tight quotas on visas, legal immigration for Guerra might require another 16 years of waiting.
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Click the headline to read stories from this week from the Immigration Policy Center.

Immigration impasse ahead

This editorial tells how difficult immigration reform will be this next term, but also why it is so important to achieve. - - Donna Poisl


DESPITE THE lame-duck defeat of a modest immigration reform known as the Dream Act, both President Obama and Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said they are not giving up on improving the nation's immigration laws. We applaud their persistence and hope progress is possible - if not for something "comprehensive," as was the goal in the past Congress, then for incremental change.

The recession and high unemployment certainly clouded the prospects for reform. Not coincidentally, the midterm elections elevated both in Washington and state capitals a number of politicians who are not much open to compromise. Mr. Obama has stepped up deportations and company audits above Bush administration levels, yet these politicians continue to attack the administration for its supposed softness on the issue.
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