Monday, May 30, 2011

Community reaching out to help Burmese refugees fit in

Burmnese refugees are being helped by their Iowa community; learning English and how to live there. - - Donna Poisl


WATERLOO, Iowa --- Ber Wah gets an immediate critique from her instructor after writing the letter "v" on the blackboard twice.

Marina Durinova, who is teaching English to Wah and three other Burmese refugees, explains that the two similar-sized letters --- one of which is supposed to be a capital "v" --- are too much alike. Wah looks uncertain, but erases the letters and tries again.

With the letters still not quite right, she gets further explanation from Durinova and some advice in Burmese from classmates. After parallel lines are drawn to guide her effort, the young woman finally understands the difference between the two and writes a proper capital and small "v."
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Democratic bill seeks green card status for soldiers’ kin

This bill would give our soldiers on active duty one less thing to worry about while they are away. - - Donna Poisl

by Erik Shilling / The Record (Hackensack N.J.)

HACKENSACK, N.J. - Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and seven other Democratic senators reintroduced legislation last week that would grant permanent-resident status to the immigrant relatives of active-duty military personnel.

The Military Families Act would make immigrant parents, spouses and children of anyone who has served in the armed forces since 2001 permanent residents. The bill, which was reintroduced Thursday, also would cover the immigrant relatives of those who have died while serving in the military.

"We owe the men and women who risk their lives in service of our nation so much, and that should include the right to be united with their closest family members in our country on a permanent basis," Menendez said of the bill.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Immigrants need individualized services in domestic violence cases, experts say

This conference in Louisville is trying to improve help to victims of domestic and sexual violence among immigrants and refugees. - - Donna Poisl

Written by Peter Smith

Laura Carmona said that after she came to the United States from Mexico about 14 years ago, she would call police or other emergency responders to seek protection from an abusive partner.

But she didn't speak English and couldn't reach anyone who understood what she was saying.

When she finally reached a Spanish speaker at the Center for Women and Families, she said, she was able to start the long process of moving away from her abuser, learning English and starting a new job and creating a safe environment for her children.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Ga. gov requests inquiry into farm labor shortage after state approves immigration crackdown

The new law this governor signed, barring most immigrant labor, has created hardship for his residents. Farmers have pushed for help. - - Donna Poisl

by RAY HENRY Associated Press

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has asked agriculture officials to assess complaints of farm labor shortages after he signed one of the toughest laws in the country targeting illegal immigrants, including those who help harvest the state's fruit and vegetable crops.

The letter sent Thursday asks Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black to report his findings by June 10.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Nashville sees boom in Hispanic-owned businesses

Nashville has a very large immigrant population and a high percentage have started businesses there. - - Donna Poisl

by G. Chambers Williams III | The Tennessean

Maria Ramos, Karla Ruiz and Fernando Maldonado all came to Nashville from their native Mexico, looking for the American dream – owning their own businesses and creating a good future for their families.

Today, the three have realized that ambition, joining a growing number of immigrant entrepreneurs, not only from Mexico and other Latin American countries but from other nations as well, who have started their own businesses here.

Nashville is a good place for immigrants to go into business, according to Forbes magazine, which recently ranked the city as No. 3 among the nation’s best metropolitan areas for minority entrepreneurs.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Federal Immigration Agency to Launch Campaign Promoting Naturalization Application

There are almost eight million people eligible to apply for citizenship, this new campaign will help them do that. - - Donna Poisl


Wanting to encourage the millions of eligible immigrants in the U.S. to become citizens, the federal government will be running a national advertising campaign, which they hope will assist immigrants in becoming more integrated into society.

The campaign is directed at the 7.9 million immigrants able to file application to naturalize, but have yet to do so. Immigration officials said most immigrants with green cards only worry about citizenship when they need to travel abroad or when they wish to vote in elections, but cannot.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

ACLU And NILC File Lawsuit Challenging Indiana’s Draconian Anti-Immigrant Law


INDIANAPOLIS--(ENEWSPF)--May 26, 2011. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the law firm of Lewis & Kappes, P.C. filed a class action lawsuit yesterday challenging a discriminatory Indiana law inspired by Arizona’s notorious SB 1070. The lawsuit charges the law authorizes police to make warrantless arrests of individuals based on assumed immigration status and criminalizes the mere use or acceptance of the commonly used consular ID card. The groups charge that the law will lead to racial profiling and trample upon the rights of all Indiana residents.

“Indiana has created a law that not only tramples on the constitutional rights of Hoosiers, but also improperly involves Indiana in areas that are clearly of federal, not state, concerns,” said Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Immigrant women face high levels of harassment, and most never report it.

Sexual harassment of immigrant women is rarely reported, since they are afraid they will be deported. - - Donna Poisl


There is evidence that the majority of women immigrants in the United States experience some form of sexual harassment or coercion on the job, and very few of them come forward.

In one recent study of 150 immigrant women working in the food industry conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, titled “Injustice On Our Plates,” every single one – yes, that is 100 percent – reported some kind of workplace sexual harassment, and for the majority, this involved a sexual assault. According to SPLC’s Senior Staff Attorney Mónica Ramirez, most did not know they had any legal recourse. Only a few reported it. 

Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Students Earn Credit by Teaching English and Civic Lessons to Immigrants

Thirty immigrants have been taught English by five university students and everyone has benefited. - - Donna Poisl

Nadine Alexander, a senior health and nutrition sciences student who has been accepted to Johns Hopkins, recently accomplished something that took her outside the realm of her major: She taught English and civic lessons in the same setting to immigrants. As one of the Brooklyn College student facilitators in the "We Are New York" program, Alexander not only provided a valuable service, she also received credit for community service for her effort.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Another Win!! Elier Gets to Stay

from Mohammad Abdollahi, co-founder of

This has been a great week, it turns out that the Obama administration is not yet ready to lose the support of the DREAMer community. Yesterday Elier, the 19 year old Ohio DREAM-eligible student we told you about received word that his deferred action request would be granted!

Support DreamActivist and the work we do for students like Elier.

Elier extends a big thank you to the over 5,000 of you who took action, made calls and helped pressure ICE to react positively to his case. This deferred action is going to allow Elier to give back and remain united with his family.

Obama's administration may have given some relief for Ola and Elier, however he is still dragging his feet on countless other deportations of very similar students. Meet Zulma, the mother of a beautiful 4 year old, Reina. Now as a result of an immigration attorney's mistake Zulma is facing a July 2nd deportation to Guatemala. If deported, she will be separated from her family and her 4 year old daughter!

We know the work we do together works, will you help us with Zulma's case?

Thank you for all you are doing to keep our communities safe,

BROKEN LIGHT, BROKEN DREAM: Illegal immigrants in Aurora

This high school graduate might be deported, after being picked up for a license plate light that was burned out. He needs the DREAM Act to be passed! - - Donna Poisl

by SARA CASTELLANOS The Aurora Sentinel

A gallon of milk, a burnt out car light, and Aurora will likely have one less illegal immigrant.

Everyday life led to the worst that can happen for Gerardo Noriega, who was living illegally in Aurora when the never-ending fear of being deported became a reality.

Noriega, 20, was driving from his Aurora home to a grocery store in April 2010 when an Arapahoe County Sheriff pulled him over for a broken license plate light. The Mexican-born graduate of Smoky Hill High School was arrested for driving without a license and detained in Aurora’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement jail for three days.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

First Quarter 2011, Record 1538 State Bills Relating to Immigrants Introduced

Read this to see what state bills have been introduced and enacted the first few months of this year, affecting immigrants. - - Donna Poisl

by HS News Staff

State legislatures continue to grapple with immigration issues at an unprecedented rate. In the first quarter of 2011, state legislators in the 50 states and Puerto Rico introduced 1,538 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees. This number surpasses the first quarter of 2010, when 1,180 bills were introduced.

As in past years, employment, identification/driver’s licenses and law enforcement remain top areas of interest for immigrant-related bill introductions. With passage of federal health care reform, however, health also emerged as a top contender. This quarter, the number of health-related bills was more than double those introduced during the same quarter last year. Following last year’s example of Arizona’s SB 1070, omnibus bill introductions also increased in 2011.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Children of recent immigrants lead America's scientific competitions

These citizen students show how important immigrants are to this country. They have the hard work values their immigrant parents brought with them and are adding to our country. - - Donna Poisl

By Lisa M. Krieger

Quantifying what has long been obvious in Silicon Valley, a new analysis shows the majority of America's top high school science competitors are the children of new immigrants.

The report, released Monday by the nonpartisan National Foundation for American Policy, found that about two-thirds of the finalists at the Intel Science Talent Search -- the Nobel Prize of high school science -- were born to parents who hailed from either China or India.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Understanding Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Law

For Immediate Release

Washington D.C. - Frustrated by the lack of comprehensive immigration reform, many immigrant advocates, from grassroots community organizers to Members of Congress, have begun calling on President Obama to take action on immigration. They want the President and his Administration to use the power of the executive branch to prevent or defer removals, to revisit current policies and priorities, and to interpret the law as compassionately as possible.

Like all government officials from the local traffic cop to the Attorney General of the United States, immigration officials must make decisions every day about how they exercise their power. It is within the discretion of immigration authorities to determine whom to target for removal. For instance, by prioritizing “criminal aliens” over “non-criminal aliens,” the Department of Homeland Security exercises its authority to enforce the law against some people but not others. These decisions are exercises of prosecutorial discretion.

For those unfamiliar with the idea of prosecutorial discretion—or with the way immigration laws are actually enforced—it can be confusing to identify and understand what is at stake when advocates call for more prosecutorial discretion.

Consequently, the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council has produced the following brief introduction to the concept of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and answers the following questions:

What is Prosecutorial Discretion?
When is Prosecutorial Discretion Used in Immigration Enforcement?
Who Exercises Prosecutorial Discretion?
Is Prosecutorial Discretion Always Case by Case?
What Factors Lead to an Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion?
Is Prosecutorial Discretion a New Idea in Immigration Enforcement?
Is Prosecutorial Discretion the only authority the Executive Branch has to affect the immigration laws?
Do Members of Congress Recognize Prosecutorial Discretion as An Executive Branch Authority?
To view the fact sheet in its entirety see:

Understanding Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Law (IPC Fact Check, May, 2011)
To view a list of resources and information on Executive Action see:
Executive Action: A Resource Page at

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

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Key Hearing on Challenges Facing Immigration Courts

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C.—The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center commends Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for convening today’s hearing on “Improving Efficiency and Ensuring Justice in the Immigration Court System.” Immigration courts have long suffered from crushing backlogs that can delay the scheduling of hearings for years at a time. Additionally, immigrants who appear before these courts enjoy fewer legal protections than most Americans expect from any fair system of justice. With the dramatic and rapid escalation of immigration enforcement policies and resources, too little attention has been paid to the many challenges that face our immigration court system.

The backlogs in our nation’s immigration courts are longer today than at any time in U.S. history. In many U.S. cities, immigrants must wait eighteen months or longer for a hearing before an immigration judge. These backlogs not only delay the removal of noncitizens with no lawful claim to remain in the United States, but also impose hardships on individuals—such as asylum seekers—whose status and ability to work remain in limbo until their cases are resolved. The troubles that have long faced our immigration court system have been magnified and compounded by the Department of Homeland Security’s increasing reliance on state and local law enforcement agencies. So long as the federal government continues to expand its enforcement efforts through programs like Secure Communities and ignores the need for court reform, our nation’s immigration courts will continue to be flooded beyond capacity.

Moreover, immigrants in removal proceedings have historically been denied the very rights that Americans have come to expect from civilized justice systems. Unlike criminal defendants, immigrants who cannot afford an attorney have no right to appointed counsel. Immigrants can also be removed on the basis of hearsay and other evidence that would be excluded in federal courts. Vulnerable immigrants, including those who lack mental competency, are often deported without inquiries into their ability to comprehend the proceedings against them. And the immigration court system remains largely exempt from crucial checks and balances like judicial review.

“For far too long, immigration courts have failed to provide a fair and efficient system of justice for immigrants in this country,” said Melissa Crow, Director of the Legal Action Center at the American Immigration Council. “While the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform should remain Congress’s ultimate goal, improving the immigration courts would help treat a chronic, if underappreciated, symptom of our broken immigration system.”


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

We can't wait. Think bigger, Mr. President

from Marissa Graciosa, Reform Immigration FOR America

We can't wait
Our communities need relief

Last week, President Obama made his big pitch in El Paso for immigration reform by asking Congress to deliver a comprehensive reform bill by the end of the year.
The President has given the other side what they wanted to bring them to the table, but they haven’t shown up. Instead of joining with him to solve the problem, restrictionists in Congress have doubled down on their opposition with more divisive politics.

President Obama doesn’t have to wait for them any longer. He can get immigration reform started without their help by stopping the deportations of DREAM students and preventing more of our families from being torn apart right now.

Tell President Obama immigration reform must start with him

Help me in telling the President our communities can’t wait for Congress to take action – we need relief now.

Hispanic Voter Turnout 2010

New Census Bureau voting data from November 2010 shows that Hispanic turnout conformed to the pattern of recent midterm elections.

Click on the headline to read the analysis at the Center for Immigration Studies website.

AHRQ, Ad Council launch "Conoce las Preguntas" campaign

Conoce las Preguntas, (Know the Questions) a new, multimedia Spanish-language campaign encourages Hispanics to get more involved in their health care.

Click on the headline to find tips and other important health information in Spanish.


Social Security is a critical income source for Asian Americans.
Click on the headline to read the report.

Impact of Social Security and Proposed Benefit Changes on the Latino Population

New report by the University of Southern California (USC) Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging underscores the importance of Social Security to Latinos.
Click on the headline to read the report.

Local Organization Helps Immigrants Apply For Citizenship

Many immigrants are eligible to apply for citizenship but need some help. - - Donna Poisl

by Matt Laslo

Local Hispanic groups, labor unions and volunteer lawyers spent the weekend helping immigrants apply for citizenship.

Becoming a United States citizen isn't as hard as many immigrants think. When Orlando Bonilla, business manager for the Baltimore-Washington Laborers' District Council, went through his group's rolls, he found many workers weren't taking advantage of available legal paths to citizenship.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Top ASU mechanical engineering graduate in limbo because she's an illegal immigrant

This graduate certainly needs the DREAM Act to be passed and her sister does too. - - Donna Poisl


PHOENIX — Angelica Hernandez excelled in high school and did just as well in college, graduating earlier this month as the distinguished graduating senior in mechanical engineering at Arizona State University.

But Hernandez won't have much of a chance to excel as an engineer, despite a recovery in the jobs market for the sought-after professionals. That's because Hernandez is an illegal immigrant and can't legally work.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Chinese eateries are entry point for many immigrants

Chinese restaurants are very numerous in this country and they help Chinese immigrants survive when they first move here. - - Donna Poisl

by Diana Louise Carter

Author Jennifer 8. Lee proves her point about iconic American cuisine by asking this: Which do you eat more often, apple pie or Chinese food?

It's not even a contest, is it?

And Rochester does its patriotic part, with more than 100 Chinese restaurants listed in the phone book. That's one Chinese restaurant for every 51 local residents who identified themselves as Chinese or Taiwanese in the U.S. Census.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Ola Wins Her Case!

from Mohammad Abdollahi, co-founder of

Yup, that's right! Ola was originally told to appear at ICE on June 8th, there she was going to be told the exact date and time she, along with her mother, would be deported back to Albania. Knowing that it is wrong for even one DREAMer to be deported we joined others to help Ola and her family launch a campaign to stay here. Just over 10,000 of you responded and took action. In the end your calls and emails really put the pressure on ICE, just yesterday Ola and her mom were granted deferred action!

Support us so we can fight for more DREAMers like Ola and her mom.

Ola wanted us to convey her gratitude to each of you, since she was young it was her dream to go to the University of Michigan. With her deportation looming, despite having been accepted, she had almost given up on that dream but now thanks to each and everyone of you she can live it out.

All of the work we do for families facing deportation is free, if you can, please make a $5 donation support our efforts. If you know of DREAM-eligible youth in the same boat as Ola please respond to this email with a quick summary and we'll see what we can do.

Thank you for all you do,

Mohammad Abdollahi
co-founder of

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sign Petition to Stop Deportation

Mohammad Abdollahi, co-founder

Despite widespread support the Obama administration is still set on deporting Elier Lara, a DREAM-eligible student from Ohio. Elier was brought here by his parents when he was just 4 years old, he was detained last year while in New York for a high school competition.

Will you take a second to sign Elier's petition? Click on the headline.

Elier had court this past Friday, there, despite President Obama repeatedly saying he does not want to deport DREAM-eligible youth, Elier was told by ICE that they planned on pushing forward with his deportation case.

We need your help to stop Elier's deportation, in addition to signing his petition can you take a minute to call Senator Brown and ask that he intervene on Elier's behalf?

We know stopping one deportation here and there is not enough, in order to help DREAMers everywhere we need President Obama to once and for all issue deferred action for all DREAMers. After taking action for Elier please spend a second or two signing this petition urging Obama to take action for all of us.

Loida Velazquez: Is America a melting pot or salad bowl?

An interesting article pointing out the differences in the two ways immigrants fit in here. - - Donna Poisl

Difference between acculturation and assimilation is significant

by Loida Velazquez,

Many sociologists and anthropologists have concluded that the melting pot concept never accurately described the immigrant experience in the United States. They have begun to use the salad bowl image instead.

In the melting pot image, the process of assimilation is the catalyst for the disintegration of the values, traditions and customs of the old country.

In the salad bowl concept, the values, traditions and customs of both become part of the salad.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Illegal Immigrants’ Children Suffer, Study Finds

This study shows how these children are suffering and falling behind since their parents don't know where to get assistance or are afraid to. - - Donna Poisl


Eulogia was scared and adrift. At 25, she was poor, pregnant and an illegal immigrant. She worried about how she would pay for medical care and raise her baby, and even whether a trip to the hospital might prompt her deportation to Mexico.

But when she plunged into a postpartum depression in 2003 after the birth of her daughter, the first of three children, a hospital social worker referred her and her husband to an East Harlem social service agency that has counseled them and helped them get care for their family and get the government assistance their children were eligible for as American citizens.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Georgia immigration law worries farm owners

When lawmakers make laws, they sometimes don't seem to care how it will hurt their people. - - Donna Poisl

By Kate Brumback and Ray Jenry, ASSOCIATED PRESS

LYONS, GA. — Signs point to an exodus in Vidalia onion country. Fliers on a Mexican storefront advertise free transportation for workers willing to pick jalapeños and banana peppers in Florida and blueberries in the Carolinas. Buying an outbound bus ticket now requires reservations.

Illegal immigrants and their families who harvest southeast Georgia's trademarked sweet onions are considering leaving rather than risking deportation in the wake of a law signed by Gov. Nathan Deal targeting illegal workers.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Teacher of the Year is speaking the same language as students

A bad teacher helped this woman become an award winning teacher. She knows what the students are going through. - - Donna Poisl


One reason Paula Da Silva-Michelin is such a good teacher is that she once had a very bad one.

It could also be that she had a very good one - her father, Candido Da Silva, who was once director of the Economics Department at Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Campinas, the university in her hometown of Capinas, Brazil.

"My father always said if you want something, you have to work for it," Da Silva-Michelin said. "When I told him I wanted to take an English class, he said find one you can afford."
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Co-sponsor DREAM Act in the Senate

from Senator Durbin

I'm writing you today to help me do right by some of America's most talented, hardworking, patriotic young adults -- many of whom have reached out to me directly over the years with inspiring personal stories and emotional pleas for help.

I'm talking about a select group of high school graduates who were brought to America as children -- often before they can even remember -- but who now face deportation, through no fault of their own.

These young people have been raised in America. They have sat in the classrooms of our schools and stood up every morning to give the Pledge of Allegiance to the only flag they've ever known. They have worked hard and played by the rules.

They deserve a chance to be legal, contributing members of our society -- and it’s up to you and me to give them that shot.

Click THE HEADLINE to sign on as a citizen co-sponsor of the DREAM Act that I just re-introduced in the Senate -- to give a select group of bright immigrant students the chance to contribute more fully to America.

My legislation would give students with good moral character who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years -- and came here before turning sixteen -- the chance to earn legal status after earning a high school degree and completing two years of college or military service in good standing.

It would ensure that some of our nation's honor-roll students, class valedictorians, star athletes and talented artists could continue their studies in America and become our next generation of doctors, nurses, teachers, soldiers, public servants, and more.

And it would ensure that these young people are not punished for a wrong they didn't commit. That's not the American way.

Passing the DREAM Act is simply the right thing to do. Please sign on as a citizen co-sponsor of this important legislation right now.

In recent votes, a growing majority of the Senate has supported the DREAM Act.

But we still need to pick up a few more “Yea” votes to break the filibuster, and convince obstructionist Senators it's in their political best interest -- and the country's best interest -- to stand with this select group of promising young people.

As you may know, this is an issue I’m especially passionate about. I'll keep you posted as I look for ways to advance this legislation in the Senate, and hope I can claim your support as I do.

Thank you for standing with me to do right by these young people.


Dick Durbin
U.S. Senator

Thursday, May 19, 2011

US immigrants turn to junk food: study

This article was written about Asian immigrants but the same is true for all nationalities. Too much junk food. - - Donna Poisl

from The China Post

WASHINGTON--Immigrants to the United States often ditch their ethnic diets for high-calorie American fare, partly because it is cheap and easy to find but also as a way to fit in, a new study shows.

Immigrants who eat American are consuming, on average, 182 extra calories and seven additional grams of saturated fat compared to immigrants who stick to their traditional diet, leaving the fast-food immigrants more likely to become obese and suffer chronic illnesses related to obesity.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Three cheers for assimilation!

Awards have been given to programs that help immigrants thrive and become successful in this country. - - Donna Poisl

Abby W. Schachter

The Migration Policy Institute has handed out its annual prize for "immigrant integration" -- what they call their E Pluribus Unum Awards . The point of the awards is to highlight "programs that help immigrants and their children adapt, thrive, and contribute to the United States or that bring immigrants and the native born together to build stronger, more cohesive communities," declares the MPI web site. And according to Margie McHugh, co-director of MPI's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy this year's winners are "a terrific group for showing the breadth of integration across the country." Successful immigration can only be achieved with successful integration, McHugh argues.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

US gives Haitians deportation reprieve

Haitian immigrants have been given at least 18 more months to stay here. - - Donna Poisl

By Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff

Until yesterday, Ricardo Joseph and his family were running out of time.

They fled to Massachusetts after the violent earthquake last year in Haiti destroyed their house, their schools, and the car dealership where he worked. They had hoped to start over, but instead their visas expired and they spiraled into poverty, ending up homeless and living in a Brockton motel, fearing deportation.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Top Hispanic Name Loses Ground, Even as Birthrates Stay High

The name, Jose, has dropped as the most popular Hispanic name, probably partly because of assimilation. - - Donna Poisl


The most popular Hispanic name for baby boys since the Social Security Administration began counting has fallen from the Top 50 list. Even in Texas, where Jose has been No. 1 among all newborns since 1996, it was bumped to second place last year by Jacob.

Because this happened when birthrates for Hispanic-Americans were among the highest of any ethnic or racial group, the rankings just might be a measure of assimilation, said Prof. Cleveland Kent Evans, who teaches psychology at Bellevue University in Nebraska and wrote “The Great Big Book of Baby Names.”
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

How Assimilation Works

A very interesting piece comparing assimilation and multiculturalism. And why one works and the other does not. - - Donna Poisl

—and how multiculturalism has wrecked it in California


California is a concentrated example of the time-honored idea that America is an immigrant nation. From its beginnings as a territory through the twentieth century, California comprised a riotous variety of ethnic groups, nationalities, and religions. The whole world, it seemed, was coming and contributing to the state’s ethnic tapestry: Mexicans, Irish, Australians, South Sea Islanders, Italians, Basques, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Armenians, Volga Germans, Filipinos, Hmong, Laotians, Punjabis, Vietnamese.

And for a long time, immigration worked, because everyone was expected to assimilate, more or less, to the American paradigm.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Immigrant activist fights for education rights

This young woman, who is undocumented and a university graduate is working hard to get the DREAM Act passed. - - Donna Poisl


Isabel Castillo is undocumented and unafraid. When she was 6, she left Mexico for the United States and has been living in Harrisonburg ever since. She graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) with a degree in social work, but she currently waits tables.

Now 26, Castillo also works tirelessly to lobby Congress to pass the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that would give immigrants who were brought to the United States at a young age legal status and clear the path for citizenship if they pursue a college degree or enlist in the armed forces.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

States make their own tuition rules for undocumented students

Congress has to pass the DREAM Act. With each state doing its own thing, it is very confusing and also unfair. - - Donna Poisl

By Julie Mianecki, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington— Anngie Gutierrez was a child when she arrived in the United States as an illegal immigrant 10 years ago. There's still no path to legal status for her, but in Maryland and a handful of other states, there is a more affordable road to college.

Gutierrez, a high school junior in Hyattsville, Md., will benefit from a new state law that allows illegal immigrants who reside there to pay in-state tuition rates at Maryland's public colleges. If she lived in Virginia, about 15 miles to the west, she would find that many public colleges require undocumented students to pay out-of-state tuition.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

State Labor Officials Teach Immigrants About Workers' Rights

Immigrants are often mistreated by their employers because they don't know how to stick up for themselves. This seminar is helping them learn what their rights are. - - Donna Poisl

By: Amanda Farinacci

The streets of Richmond Hill, Queens bustle with activity on the weekend, as the storefronts in the ethnically diverse neighborhood crowd with shoppers and workers trying to make a day's pay.

Organizers said that's why it is one of the best places to stage a seminar for immigrant workers, to inform them of their rights on the job.

"They're afraid to complain because they feel they're going to be deported," said resident John Serrano.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Our Voice: Make Michigan cities home for educated immigrant entrepreneurs

Some people thought this was a terrible idea by Mayor Bloomberg, but others think it would work perfectly if businesses are started in these depressed areas. - - Donna Poisl

By Editorial Board | The Flint Journal

The New York City mayor’s suggestion that immigration would benefit the shrinking city of Detroit has ignited interest in an idea that Gov. Rick Snyder has advocated for years.

Invite immigrants with advanced college degrees to create companies and jobs in Michigan.

Definitely; do it.

Direct them toward hollowed-out urban cores such as Flint and Detroit, with incentives such as the low-cost housing and business property abundant in these cities.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Why America Needs Immigrants

This explains why we need immigrants and why more immigrants are not interested in staying here. - - Donna Poisl


If there's one fact that Americans take for granted, it's that other people want to live here. As President Barack Obama noted in his speech on immigration earlier this week, the U.S. has always attracted strivers from every corner of the globe, often willing to risk great hardships to get here.

There are signs, however, that the allure of America is fading. A new study by researchers at U.C. Berkeley, Duke and Harvard has found that, for the first time, a majority of American-trained entrepreneurs who have returned to India and China believe they are doing better at "home" than they would be doing in the U.S. The numbers weren't even close: 72% of Indians and 81% of Chinese said "economic opportunities" were superior in their native countries.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Immigration reform unlikely until after 2012 election

I don't think anyone will be surprised at this idea. The second term will be easier to get something done, especially if the Democrats do well next time. - - Donna Poisl


Another Presidential speech, another flurry of emails from well-meaning activists urging support for immigration reform. Unfortunately, I'm afraid we will all be disappointed. Unless we see an overwhelming display of advocacy by immigrants, students, educators, religious leaders and unions, immigrants must face the bitter news: immigration reform is unlikely until at least after the 2012 elections.

Despite President Obama's stirring words of support, the political, social and economic conditions in our country make me more discouraged than ever. Even the Dream Act - the proposal to give legal status to students who came here while still children - is unlikely to get through the House and Senate, even with the President's support.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Illegal immigrant is now KSU grad

This young woman, who was almost deported last year, has just graduated from University. - - Donna Poisl

by Marcus E. Howard

As Washington debates the nation’s illegal immigration problem, a Kennesaw State University student who reignited the issue with her arrest a year ago graduated on Wednesday with a degree in political science.

Jessica Colotl, 22, was among the 2,235 students who graduated from the university during five commencement ceremonies this week. She received applause from some in the audience as she walked across the stage to accept her degree, pausing for photos on her way back to her seat.

Colotl captured the nation’s attention and fueled the broader immigration debate last spring when she was arrested on traffic charges, which led to her detention in Cobb County on immigration charges. She subsequently spent 37 days at an Alabama detention center, but was allowed to finish her studies at KSU.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Gov. Martin O’Malley signs immigrant tuition bill into law in Maryland

Another state with their own DREAM Act. This will help Maryland in the future when these graduates stay and start businesses and work there. - - Donna Poisl

By Ann E. Marimow

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, bucking a trend in other states, signed off on legislation Tuesday that extends in-state tuition breaks to illegal immigrants at the state’s colleges and universities.

O’Malley’s signature sets up a showdown with opponents who have already started gathering signatures for a petition to try to repeal the law, which is slated to take effect this summer.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor tells students to work hard for dreams

Our country's first Hispanic Justice tells graduates to work hard to succeed at their dreams. - - Donna Poisl

By Kelly Heyboer/The Star-Ledger

MAHWAH -- Three years ago, Sonia Sotomayor was a little-known appeals court judge sitting on a folding chair in the rain watching her godson graduate from Ramapo College. Yesterday, she was back on the Mahwah campus, this time as a U.S. Supreme Court justice and the commencement speaker.

"I never imagined I’d be up here," Sotomayor said in her address. "It is humbling, awe-inspiring and very, very moving."
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.


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

Ana Hernandez Luna's story of assimilation

A very interesting opinion piece about a very successful woman (now a Texas State Representative) who came here as an illegal immigrant, became a citizen and has certainly assimilated into U.S. life. - - Donna Poisl

By William McKenzie/ Editorial Columnist

At the same time that President Barack Obama gave his remarks today in El Paso about moving beyond border security to overhauling our immigration system, the Texas House was giving its final approval to outlawing sanctuary cities in Texas. The pairing of his speech with that vote was like watching a study in contrasts.

I think folks instead need to see how illegal immigrants have assimilated into American society and have made a positive contribution. That's why I found the speech given by Democratic State Rep. Ana Hernandez Luna of Houston after the House's passage of the sanctuary bill so compelling.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Colorado libraries host immigrants working to become citizens

These immigrants are studying for the citizenship exam and probably know more about our history and government than many people who were born here. - - Donna Poisl

By Nancy Lofholm, The Denver Post

GRAND JUNCTION — Argentinian Sandra Lusthoff is in a civics hot seat in the basement of the Mesa County Public Library.
"How many members are there in the U.S. House of Representatives?"
"435," she fires back.
"What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?"
"Freed the slaves."
"Who was president during the Great Depression and World War II?"
She doesn't even blink: "Roosevelt."
Lusthoff answers dozens of these civics and history questions posed by volunteer teacher Brian Davis. He is a sewing-machine repairman when he is not here at the library preparing people like Lusthoff for their tests as they reach the end of a years-long process to become citizens.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Watch President Obama's speech live at 3:30 EDT

from David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to the President

Today, President Obama is traveling to El Paso, Texas to discuss the need to fix our broken immigration system. You can watch his speech live at starting at 3:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. MDT):

Our nation is the leader of the global economy in part because of the steady stream of hardworking and talented people who have come to our country in search of a better life for themselves and their families. As we continue to strengthen our economy, we need an immigration system that demands responsibility and accountability from government, businesses and immigrants themselves.

In his speech today, the President will lay out his vision for an immigration system for America's 21st century economy and will call on Americans across the country to join a constructive conversation on this issue. We know that folks are already discussing this issue around their dinner tables, with their friends and neighbors and through social media communities like Twitter.

Here are just a few ways you can get involved in the conversation, and tell us here at the White House what you think:

Twitter. During the President's speech today, I'll have a screen up next to my TV to watch the conversation on Twitter using the #immigration hashtag, so make sure to use #immigration to share your thoughts.

Advise the Advisor. Cecilia Muñoz, one of the President's senior advisors on immigration issues, just posted a new Advise the Advisor video asking for your feedback on this important issue. Visit to see the video and tell us what you think.

Roundtable Discussions. In addition to all the ways you can join the conversation online, we're encouraging Americans to host roundtable discussions in your own communities over the next few months, and let us know what you talked about and what issues matter the most in your community. Visit to get started.

Most Americans agree that our immigration system is broken: it hamstrings our economy, it hurts families who play by the rules, and it leaves millions living in the shadows without a path to get right with the law.

We can't out-educate, out-innovate and out-build our competitors without an immigration system that works for our economy. That's why this conversation on immigration reform is so important. We need voices from across the country to help us elevate the debate and move forward.

We're looking forward to hearing what you have to say.


David Plouffe
Senior Advisor to the President

Monday, May 09, 2011

Local woman’s desire to help other immigrants is rewarded

This Kansas City woman recently was honored with an award for the work she has done helping immigrants. - - Donna Poisl

By MARY SANCHEZ, The Kansas City Star

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will visit El Paso, Texas, where he will discuss border security and the need for Congress to address immigration quandaries.

Guess which local newspaper will have a close angle?

Dos Mundos, a 30-year-old bilingual paper that began in the Overland Park basement of Clara Reyes, might have a reporter nearby.

The paper recently expanded with editions in Topeka and Odessa, Texas. Reports from those areas will be forwarded here, formatted and then sent back.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Judge Gives Immigrant in Same-Sex Marriage a Reprieve From Deportation

This couple has been given several more months for the appeals courts to decide this case. It gives them time to fight deportation and will help others in similar situations too. - - Donna Poisl


An immigration judge in Newark on Friday suspended the deportation of a Venezuelan man who is married to an American man, responding to an unusual signal this week from the Obama administration that it is exploring legal avenues for recognizing same-sex marriages in immigration cases.

The Venezuelan, Henry Velandia, had been awaiting the hearing with dread, since immigration authorities had said it was the last step before his deportation. Mr. Velandia, a dancer, was legally married last year in Connecticut to Josh Vandiver, a graduate student at Princeton.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

SJC ruling a boost to immigrant health care

Several states have cut legal immigrants from getting health care, maybe this will get them to reconsider too. - - Donna Poisl

By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that the state’s exclusion of thousands of legal immigrants from subsidized health coverage probably violates protections in the state constitution, and a legislative leader said the impact on the state budget could be significant.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Learning English in Campbell's Schools

This is an interesting story, it also explains how kids are tested for English fluency when they start school. - - Donna Poisl

By Mayra Flores de Marcotte, Tyler P. Do, and Eddie Fernandez

School registration can be difficult for immigrant parents. For Tessa Corona, the process became even more convoluted when she found out her children would be classified as English learners.

“I had no clue that my children were lacking English proficiency,” she said. “I had no idea until they were registered.”

Corona came to the United States 11 years ago with her husband Arturo de Alba. He was offered a job at Cisco and the family came with a work visa. They are now residents of this country.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Organization helps Oromo immigrants transition to Central Minnesota

These immigrants from Ethiopia have settled in MN and have a new local group helping them learn how to live here. - - Donna Poisl

Written by Ben Katzner

Thousands of people live and work in Central Minnesota, so a group of about 500 might be easy to miss.

Most of those 500 people, however, are in a new country and learning new customs while trying to keep a tight grip on the traditions that came with them to America.

That group — the Oromo, an East African ethnic group rooted in the Oromia region of Ethiopia — has been coming to the area for the past 10 years. But it wasn’t until recently they had any local group designed specifically to their needs and to help them with the transition.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.


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

Illinois Senate passes dream act

Illinois also wants to educate their students and keep them there in the future. We need these kids to go on to college and graduate and get good jobs or start businesses. - - Donna Poisl

By Rebecca Klopf

ROCKFORD (WREX) - A measure being considered in the Illinois House gives more opportunities to immigrants who want to go to college, including those who are here illegally. The proposal known as the Illinois Dream Fund Commission has already passed the Senate. It allows privately funded scholarships to be set up and let's immigrants' children participate in college saving programs.

"We know of so many students who really have terrific potential. They can compete with any student from around the world. So if we embrace those students and say they belong to us, how can we help them so they can make a great contribution to our state and our country," says Patricia Gomez, La Voz Latina Executive Director.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Calif. bill OKs college aid for illegal immigrants

California knows how important it is to give these students a better chance to go to college and keep them there paying taxes and using their education. Maybe other states will follow this lead. - - Donna Poisl

By LIEN HOANG Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—College students who entered the country illegally appear closer than ever to receiving financial aid in California.

On a party-line vote of 51-21, the state Assembly approved a bill Thursday that allows those students to collect privately-funded college scholarships.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Immigrants take oath of citizenship at MSK

Forty one new citizens. Welcome! - - Donna Poisl

By Laura Dolce

KENNEBUNK — A living civics lesson took place at the Middle School of the Kennebunks on April 29, when 41 Maine residents took their oaths to become new citizens of the United States of America.

The ceremony, organized by MSK Spanish teacher Ellen McEnaney along with immigration officials, brought together people of all cultures and ages, along with their friends and family members, before hundreds of MSK students who helped make the day special.

Kurt Pelletier, an immigration officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the 41 candidates represented 14 different nations from Albania to the United Kingdom.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

South Philadelphia immigrants the focus of multifaceted art project

This art project shows the journeys these immigrants have taken to come here. - - Donna Poisl

By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer

Samnon Mao Chan - 63, newsstand owner, Khmer Rouge survivor, Buddhist meditator, and lottery-ticket dispenser - is outside the Doggie Style pet-supply store on East Passyunk Avenue.

Arms spread for balance, a willing smile on his face, he places his feet on footprints painted on the sidewalk, choreographed by Miro Dance Theatre's Amanda Miller to echo his "backward and twisted" journey from Cambodia to Philadelphia.

"My history is here," Chan says as he follows the steps, tracing his initial exit from and subsequent return to Phnom Penh, then a big leap across the ocean to Washington, D.C., then to Philadelphia.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Rotary clubs offer computer for African immigrants to learn English

African immigrants in this community are able to study English on a very flexible schedule by using the computer and English programs. - - Donna Poisl

By: Wendy Reuer, INFORUM

FARGO – Here, English is essential in nearly all aspects of life, from finding a place to live and work to even just traveling around the two cities.

Since February, local African immigrants have been able to work on their language skills at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School once a week using Rosetta Stone software. But, thanks to Fargo-Moorhead Rotary clubs, they will now be able to hone their skills on a more flexible schedule.

Two Fargo Rotary clubs and one Moorhead club unveiled a new computer equipped with state-of-the-art Rosetta Stone programs at the Central African Union on Tuesday evening.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

House committee encourages greater cooperation on immigration enforcement

The federal government and all the state and local departments must work together, it won't work unless they are all together. - - Donna Poisl

By Kelsey Sheehy- The Daily Caller

Securing the border and catching undocumented immigrants are tasks that fall on federal shoulders, but a House committee said Tuesday it is a load the Department of Homeland Security can’t carry alone.

Instead, the federal government should share those responsibilities with state and local agencies, House Homeland Security Committee members said.

“No matter what uniform they wear, the American people expect law enforcement officers to work together,” said Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s ranking member.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Colotl allowed to remain in U.S. for another year

This university student has been given another year to complete her studies. We must hope the DREAM Act is the law by then. - - Donna Poisl

By Laura Diamond, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As Jessica Colotl sat in a classroom taking a final exam at Kennesaw State University Tuesday, federal immigration officials sent word she can remain in the country for another year.

Colotl, an illegal immigrant brought to this country as a child, was nearly deported to Mexico last spring following an arrest for a traffic violation on campus, but the federal government granted her a yearlong deferment so she could complete a degree in political science.

That reprieve was set to expire Thursday.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Revitalizing the Golden State: What Legalization Could Mean to California and Los Angeles Count

For Immediate Release

Revitalizing the Golden State:
What Legalization Could Mean to California and Los Angeles County

Washington D.C. - Today, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) and the Center for America Progress (CAP) release "Revitalizing the Golden State: What Legalization Over Deportation Could Mean to California and Los Angeles County," by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda and Marshall Fitz. This report looks at the likely economic impact on California and Los Angeles County of deportation-only policies that would drive unauthorized immigrants from the state. The report compares that scenario to the economic gains which would result from a program that would allow unauthorized immigrants to attain legal status. The analysis finds that the economic and fiscal consequences of widespread deportation for California and Los Angeles County would be devastating given the number of jobs which are supported through the labor, consumption, and tax payments of unauthorized immigrants.

The IPC and CAP recently released a similar report which focused on Arizona. The analysis in today's report finds that the economic and fiscal consequences of widespread deportation for California and Los Angeles County would be even more devastating than in Arizona. Our analysis demonstrates unequivocally that unauthorized immigrants don’t simply “fill” jobs—they create jobs. Through the work they perform, the money they spend, and the taxes they pay, unauthorized immigrants sustain the jobs of many other workers in the U.S. economy, immigrants and native-born alike.

To view the report in its entirely click on the headline:
Revitalizing the Golden State: What Legalization Over Deportation Could Mean to California and Los Angeles County (IPC/CAP Special Report, April 27, 2011)
For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at 202-507-7524.

Legal Experts Weigh in on Executive Branch Authority

For Immediate Release

May 2, 2011

Washington D.C. - President Obama’s insistence that his “hands are tied” by Congressional inaction on immigration has raised questions about how much executive power the President has when it comes to immigration. To this end, top immigration law experts, including former counsels to the agencies that manage immigration, have drafted a legal memo outlining the scope of executive branch authority and examples of its use in the immigration context.

Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, noted upon release of the memo:

“Ultimately, responsibility for failing to reform our dysfunctional immigration system rests on Congress. However, it is rarely the case that a President‘s hands are tied by existing law—and where the President disagrees with current law, his or her policy choices regarding the implementation of that law take on even greater importance. In the context of immigration, the President and his cabinet have a wide range of choices available that can ameliorate some of the worst excesses of current law. The legal memo attempts to give a short review of these options and demonstrates how wide the ranges of choices really are.

No matter how definitive or rigid a law may appear, the exercise of executive branch authority is critical to the ultimate implementation of the law. The opportunity to infuse executive branch actions with a generous spirit is always within a president’s reach. The choice on immigration today is whether the President and his cabinet will act boldly to use their authority to improve the lives of millions, or will allow the current enforcement-only mindset to continue unabated. Such choices will have an impact for years to come, and require thoughtful and diligent attention.”

The full memo can be viewed, click on headline:

Legal Experts Weigh in on Executive Branch Authority (Legal Memo, April 29, 2011)

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

Register to Vote for Municipal Elections

Click on the headline to find the deadline for registering to vote in your area.