Monday, July 25, 2011


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

Novena celebrates region's immigrant roots with foreign language masses

This church is offering masses in six different languages to celebrate the different people in their congregation. - - Donna Poisl


Benita Trently was excited as she climbed the steps to St. Ann's Shrine Basilica on Saturday afternoon.

As part of the Solemn Novena to St. Ann, Ms. Trently was able to attend a Mass celebrated in her native language of Spanish.

"We should be thankful that they're welcoming us to this beautiful church," Ms. Trently said.

The Spanish Mass was part of a day that also included a children's Mass in the morning.
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Bill Introduced To Help Immigrants With Start-Up Ventures


July 24, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A bill creating The StartUp Visa Act of 2011 was introduced in Congress this year to allow an immigrant entrepreneur to obtain a two-year visa if he or she can show that a qualified U.S. investor is willing to invest in the immigrant's startup venture.

Senators John Kerry, Richard Lugar and Mark Udall introduced the legislation to drive job creation and increase America's global competitiveness.

"We want to establish a way for the smartest and most entrepreneurial individuals in the world to come to the United States and create jobs. Many are already here studying at our great universities," said Sen. Lugar. "Helping them stay to invest in their ideas and create jobs benefits all Americans."

SB 565 Provides Three Options for Immigrant Entrepreneurs
The StartUp Visa Act of 2011 would give immigrant entrepreneurs three new options for entry to the U.S. or ways in which to remain here:
Option One: The immigrant entrepreneurs living outside the U.S. would be eligible to apply for a new visa if they are sponsored by a qualified U.S. financial investor with a minimum investment of $100,000.
After two years, their business must have created five new jobs (non-family) and raised not less than $500,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $500,000 in revenue.

Option Two: is focused on those who are already in the U.S. on an unexpired H-1B visa or students in the U.S. who have completed a graduate level degree in science, technology, engineering, math, computer science, or other relevant academic discipline from an accredited United States college, university, or other institution of higher education and:
- Have annual income of greater than $30,000 or the possession of at least $60,000 in assets; and
- Have a qualified U.S. investor agreeing to provide a minimum investment of $20,000. (numbers are approximate)
- After two years, their business must have created three new jobs (non-family) and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital or generated not less than $100,000 in revenue.

Option Three: Immigrant entrepreneurs who live outside the U.S. would be eligible to apply for the visa if they have a controlling interest in a foreign company that has generated at least $100,000 in revenue from sales in the U.S. during the most recent 12-month period.
After two years, their business must have created three new jobs (non-family) and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment or generated not less than $100,000 in revenue.
The visas used for this new category (EB-6) would be taken from the EB-5 investor visa category and would not increase overall the number of available U.S. visas. EB-5 has been somewhat underused, so the goal is to obtain better use of the investor type visa.

If you are an investor and are interested in investing in a business in the United States, an experienced immigration attorney can help with your questions and the visa application process.

Article provided by May Law Group LLC
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Angel Island's immigrant heritage to be celebrated

Descendants of Asian immigrants who first came through Angel Island are celebrating the courage and hard work of their ancestors. - - Donna Poisl

By Justin B. Phillips, Contra Costa Times

Nearly 156 years ago, a 12-year-old boy from Guangdong chose to flee his famine- and war-ravaged south China home to come to America. His only means of escape was aboard a deteriorating ship he shared with five adults.

After a rough journey across the Pacific Ocean, the exhausted teenager finally set foot on American soil in 1855. His name was Lim Lip Hong.

Seven generations later, Hong's descendants will honor his courage Saturday when they gather to dedicate the Immigrant Heritage Wall at Angel Island.
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US Immigrants Attend Legal Help Workshop in Alabama

Immigrants need legal advice and this attorney organization is helping them navigate life here and get some citizenship assistance. - - Donna Poisl

by Hanna Eliasson | Migration Expert USA

Immigrant families gathered in the fellowship hall at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Alabama to receive legal help for their immigration to the US.

There were dozens of immigrant families packed into the Church for a workshop on July 18. Issue of the workshop was about legal information relating to US immigration.
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Defining Thai America — Locals connect with Thai culture

Thai people living in Washington state are trying to learn more about their culture and homeland. After being here for many years, they have forgotten much of it. - - Donna Poisl

By Tiffany Ran, Northwest Asian Weekly

Every Sunday, Supakit (Duke) Bhuphaibool goes to Thai temple for Thai language classes. There is only one non-Thai person in attendance. But, few Thai Americans attend temple to reconnect with their culture. One Sunday a monk at the temple inquired whether Bhuphaibool is Thai.

He wasn’t sure what to say. That was when his Thai language teacher stepped in and answered for him. “Yes, he is Thai.”
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Friday, July 22, 2011

United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hosts Biz Fest 2011 in McAllen, TX


- McAllen welcomes Hispanic youth in becoming successful entrepreneurs July 29th- 31st-

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) Foundation, in conjunction with the Ford Motor Company Fund and Visa, proudly present BizFest Youth Entrepreneurship Competition 2011 in McAllen, Texas.

BizFest is an innovative and intensive entrepreneurial training program where Hispanic high school juniors and seniors learn how to turn their hobbies into a profitable business venture. BizFest will be hosted in McAllen, Texas by the University of Texas-Pan American and the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (RGVHCC).

"It's all about opportunity," says Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the USHCC. "Our partnership with the Ford Motor Company Fund and Visa has given our youth another opportunity to become the next generation of successful Hispanic business men and women."

The three day training event is designed to teach students a variety of relevant business techniques. The curriculum particularly focuses on leadership development and entrepreneurship training. During the leadership development training, students will be asked to evaluate their own personal level of attitude, level of commitment, discipline and other personal traits in relation to being successful.

Additionally, expert trainers from UTPA will teach students various business techniques such as how to network in business environments and how to give public presentations. Serving as the capstone of BizFest, students will also be asked to develop a practical business idea and plan, which will be presented to a panel of judges.

"The Ford Motor Company Fund has always valued education as the key to being successful," says Jim Vella, President of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. "We are happy to help pave the way, alongside our partners and friends with the USHCC, for our leaders of tomorrow."

The top three winners will be awarded with iPads and will be invited to attend the USHCC 32nd Annual National Convention and Business Expo in Miami, Florida. In addition to instruction and business experience, participants will receive a tote bag and supplies, a BizFest certificate of completion, and many internship and scholarship opportunities.

About the 32nd Annual National Convention & Business Expo

The 32nd Annual National Convention & Business Expo is the largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders in America. Join the USHCC, Fortune 500 companies, Hispanic Business Enterprises (HBEs) and local Chambers of Commerce in Miami to connect, strategize and grow. The National Convention takes place September 18th – 21st at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. For more information about the Convention and a full schedule of events, 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.

About the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The USHCC Foundation is committed to giving Hispanic entrepreneurs alternatives for life preparation and life-long learning by developing and implementing initiatives and educational campaigns to awaken and nurture their entrepreneurial spirit. The Foundation leverages corporate and public support to ensure that existing and aspiring Latino entrepreneurs gain access and achieve success in the world of business. Please visit for more information on the USHCC Foundation.

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services is a community relations and philanthropic non-profit funded by Ford Motor Company. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2009, Ford Fund supports initiatives and institutions that foster and promote innovation in education, greater automotive safety and American heritage and diversity. National programs include Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies (Ford PAS), which provides 21st century skills-based curriculum to more than 40,000 high school students; and Ford Driving Skills for Life, which has taught safe driving skills to more than 337,000 young drivers. In addition, the Ford Volunteer Corps, established in 2005, enlists the help of thousands of Ford employees and retirees who volunteer their time to continue Ford's legacy of community service worldwide.

SOURCE: United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation

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

In Iowa town immigrants transformed, hope outweighs fear

Even though immigrants are more than half of this town's population, they are all getting along together. They understand how to appreciate each other's culture. - - Donna Poisl

By James B. Kelleher

WEST LIBERTY, Iowa -- (Reuters) - The Hispanic population in this small town in eastern Iowa has surged in recent years as immigrants from Latin America have come to work in a local turkey slaughterhouse.

In 2010, the town's many Hispanic residents officially grew to 52 percent of West Liberty's population, according to the U.S. Census. That made the town of 3,700 people the first white-minority community this overwhelmingly Caucasian state has seen in nearly 100 years.
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Ethnic suburbs can isolate residents

When the ethnic communities grow so large, the immigrants who live in them have little need to learn English and take much longer to assimilate into U.S. culture. - - Donna Poisl

By: Liz Farmer | Examiner Staff Writer

When Korean-American Elizabeth S. Chong moved to Fairfax County in 1993, it was hard to find a taste of home.

"There were one or two Korean grocery stores, but they were small," she said. "Now there are lots -- and they're Walmart-sized."

That's a result of the growing concentration of Koreans in Fairfax County, especially in Annandale and Centreville. But the community can have its drawbacks -- some say the growing services for Koreans are keeping new immigrants isolated.
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Chicago mayor creates support office for immigrants

Chicago has huge immigrant communities, they want to help them fit into the culture of the city better. - - Donna Poisl

from Fox News Latino

Chicago – Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday announced the creation of the Office of New Americans to provide support for Chicago's immigrant communities and strengthen their contributions to the city's economic, civic and cultural life.

"Chicago's vitality has been built on the strength of immigrant populations that have come to enjoy new freedoms and access new opportunities," Emanuel said in a statement.

"I want to make Chicago the most immigrant-friendly city in the world," the mayor said.
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Snyder sees immigrants as a key to state's economy

A recent conference on immigration and Michigan's economy shows that immigrants are needed to revive the state. - - Donna Poisl


DETROIT -- Michigan has seen the results of what immigrants can do to help the economy through companies such as Meijer Inc., Masco Corp. and Dow Chemical Co., and should be attracting more immigrants who can repeat those successes, Gov. Rick Snyder said Monday.

Speaking at a conference on immigration and Michigan's economy at Wayne State University, the governor pointed out that the Meijer retail chain was founded by a Dutch immigrant, the building products maker Masco ( MAS - news - people ) by an Armenian immigrant and Dow by a Canadian.
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Philadelphia livestock shop a touch of home for immigrants

A livestock shop caters to immigrants and allows them to shop for meat the way they are accustomed to. Not a bad way for anyone to shop, you know the meat is fresh! - - Donna Poisl

By Kia Gregory, Inquirer Staff Write

Along the shopping strip of Woodland Avenue, between the pizza shop and an abandoned building, a wind chime carved with the Chinese symbol for luck dangles in the doorway, next to a well-used fly strip. In walks a young woman chatting in Spanish on her cellphone. A regular, she passes through a second glass door to the middle of the store, stands in front of a wall of cages that house live chickens, and picks out a plump red pullet.

A clerk holds the prized poultry by its feet and places it on the scale. After an agreement of sale is reached, he takes the bird in the back to dress it, which at Woodland Avenue Livestock in Southwest Philadelphia means to slaughter it and prepare it for the stove, while the woman waits outside.
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New group aims to help Somali immigrants in Siouxland blend cultures

This new organization is helping this immigrant group be active in their community without losing their Somali culture. - - Donna Poisl

By Earl Horlyk

SIOUX CITY -- Dressed in the colorful, head-to-toe garb of her native Somali Republic, Nabiha Mohamoud doesn't mind sticking out in a crowd.

"When I wear clothing like this," the 25-year-old woman said, while fanning herself from Sunday's 95 degree heat, "I make sure to crank up the a.c."

Mohamoud was one of approximately 100 people celebrating the grand opening Sunday of Somali Community of Siouxland, an organization aimed at strengthening the ability of Somalis living in Siouxland to become active members of society while preserving their culture.
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'Antiquated system': Some immigrants face 18-year backlog

I cannot imagine having to wait 18 years or more to get through the citizenship process, but people do it. - - Donna Poisl


Give me your brilliant, your rich, your highly educated citizens - but not too many please.

Those words will never resonate with Americans like the oft-quoted line in the 1883 Statue of Liberty poem by Emma Lazarus: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

They do, however, come much closer to describing the United States' official policy toward immigration today.

U.S. immigration laws are a patchwork quilt of preference categories and numerical caps that can ease the way for people like scientists, star athletes, and wealthy entrepreneurs to immigrate to the United States, while leaving unskilled laborers who are desperate for work sitting in lines for years.
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Immigrant impact

Regardless of how many people say we don't need more immigrants, all studies prove that we do. - - Donna Poisl

By jonathan e. johnson

Since before its founding, America has been a magnet for the world’s brightest minds. Every generation, millions of hard-working, risk-taking immigrants come in search of a better life promised by the American dream. And, every generation, this new influx of energy and innovation spurs our economy to greater heights.

Last week’s tepid job numbers are a reminder that we still have a long way to go before we rebound from the current recession. As we think of ways to jump-start our economy, we should reflect on how America achieved economic dominance in the first place. What is clear from our history is that a chief factor behind our economic success has been our openness and attractiveness to job creators.
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GOP lawmaker blasted for 'shooting' immigrants rant

These people have to realize that their words are important, we all have to remember that. - - Donna Poisl

By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is pushing back on a Republican lawmaker's rhetoric that he would do anything to stop illegal immigrants "short of shooting them."

Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas, said "words have consequences" as he denounced the comment made recently by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala.
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Hmong follow earlier immigrants to the suburbs

These immigrants grew up in the city and are now moving out to the suburbs as they are financially able to do that. - - Donna Poisl

by: MARY JANE SMETANKA , Star Tribune

Like immigrant populations before them in Minnesota, the Hmong who first arrived as refugees 35 years ago are filling up the suburbs in significant numbers.

U.S. census data for 2010 released Thursday show the rapidly evolving Hmong community grew by 52 percent in the last decade. Even more striking, almost 44 percent of the 63,619 Hmong in Minnesota lived outside Minneapolis and St. Paul. In 2000, only 19 percent lived outside the urban core.
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Immigrant worker shortage could mean fewer crops

We will all start seeing produce shortages and higher prices if all farmers have to cut back like this. - - Donna Poisl

Written by Jerry Carnes

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Some Georgia farmers have indicated they're not going to plant any fall crops as they continue to struggle with an immigrant labor shortage.

At Minor Brothers farm in Sumter County, owner Dick Minor says the labor shortage cost him tens of thousands of dollars.

"We left quite a bit in the field," said Minor. "We didn't have enough labor to pick our entire cucumber crop. We left probably 20 to 25-percent of it."
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More Fear and Loathing from the House Judiciary Committee

For Immediate Release

Committee to Take Up Reps. Smith and Goodlatte's Restrictive Immigration Bills

July 13, 2011

Washington, D.C. – Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up two immigration bills that supposedly address community safety, but in reality are simply the latest attempts to restrict immigration and limit due process for immigrants. Neither Chairman Lamar Smith’s (R-TX) “Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2011,” or Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) “Security and Fairness Enhancement for America Act of 2011” (SAFE Act) offer solutions to the immigration crisis. Instead, Chairman Smith’s bill would authorize indefinite detention for a wide range of immigrants, while Rep. Goodlatte’s bill would eliminate the diversity visa—a lottery that offers 50,000 visas per year to immigrants from countries that send few people to the U.S. Once more, the House Judiciary Committee is using fear to restrict our immigration system.

While studies have repeatedly shown that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans, “The Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2011” attempts to exploit the public’s fear of crime to advance an anti-immigration agenda. The bill would expand the authority of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to subject certain immigrants to indefinite—that is, potentially life-long—detention, even though the Supreme Court has held that such detention raises serious constitutional concerns. The bill relies on the continued detention of immigrants—many of whom have never committed a crime—as a stand-in for fixing the underlying problems of our broken immigration system. Similarly, the deceptively titled SAFE Act simply eliminates 50,000 visas that currently go to immigrants from many countries in Africa and elsewhere that have less of a tradition of immigrating to the U.S.

Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center, noted:

“The cynical use of public safety to justify dramatic changes in our immigration laws is a tired argument that must be put to rest. Whether the issue is eliminating visas in the name of public safety or justifying the detention of thousands in order to avoid dealing with institutional barriers to returning some individuals to their countries, the bills before the House Judiciary Committee offer no real solutions to our immigration problems. Proposing a bill that would increase governments costs, fail to use DHS resources against actual threats to public safety, put further strain on the judicial system and weaken due process protections by sanctioning indefinite detention does not make us safer. The pressure is on Congress to pass practical solutions to our very real immigration problems, not to use demagoguery and rhetoric—while ignoring the facts—to advance an anti-immigrant agenda.”

For more information, see:

Rep. Lamar Smith’s “Keep Our Community Safe Act of 2011” Creates More Problems than Solutions (IPC Fact Check, July 2011)’s-“keep-our-community-safe-act-2011”-creates-more-problems-solutions

Diversity Visa System: A Fact Sheet (IPC Fact Check, April 2011)

For more information contact Seth Hoy at or 202-507-7509

Census: Share of children in US hits record low

This is the most important reason why we need more immigrants now, not fewer. Many industries need the workers now and all will need them in a few years. - - Donna Poisl

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Children now make up less of America's population than ever before, even with a boost from immigrant families.

And when this generation grows up, it will become a shrinking work force that will have to support the nation's expanding elderly population — even as the government strains to cut spending for health care, pensions and much else.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Alabama Churches Mobilize Against Harsh Anti-Illegal Immigration Law

Church groups are on the side of immigrants and against the harsh laws being enacted. - - Donna Poisl

from Fox News Latino

The movement against Alabama's harsh crackdown on undocumented immigrants is being led, in some respects, by the church.

The latest example was Sunday in Huntsville, where a few hundred people gathered in a downtown park for an interfaith prayer rally to protest the law.

Many participants wore white and carried candles; some pastors wore clerical garb.

The mobilization of the church, for some, is a chance for Bible Belt redemption.
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Slow Flow of Immigrants Already Impacting California Farms?

Farms all over the country are having problems just like these; there are not enough workers. - - Donna Poisl

By Elena Shore and Jonah Most

The number of immigrants illegally crossing into the United States from Mexico has declined according to a new study, and some California farmers are already seeing the effects on their crops.

“We’ve seen in the valley this year a reduction of labor that we haven’t seen for five or six years,” said Manuel Cunha, president of the Nisei Farmers League in Fresno, Calif.

“There could be crops that could go down as being damaged because they cannot be harvested fast enough. Many of the vegetables growing in the valley are going to be in competition for the labor as well,” he said. “You’re going to see rotting.”
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Moran Introduces “Melting Pot Museum” Bill


Contact: Anne Hughes

Studies Creation of a Museum of the American People

Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, today introduced legislation to create a Presidential Commission to study the establishment of a Museum of the American People devoted to the role immigration and migration played in development of American society.

The legislation enjoys the support of more than 130 ethnic and minority groups and is cosponsored by Representatives Tim Bishop (D-NY), John Duncan (R-TN), John Garamendi (D-CA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), and Delegates Eni Faleomavagea (D-AS) and Gregorio Sablan (D-MP).

“With 160 museums and monuments along the National Mall, there is no one institution telling the complete narrative of the many, vibrant ethnicities that make up the fabric of the American experience,” Rep. Moran said. “There should always be room for museums in our nation’s capital devoted to all manner of art, cultural and scientific accomplishments, but we must leave future generations room on the National Mall to honor their heroes and causes. The Museum of the American People would bring together all the stories of the ethnicities that make up the fabric of our society, precluding the need for more and more individual museums representing one particular ethnicity or culture.”

“The United States was uniquely created and built by peoples from every land,” said Sam Eskenazi, Director of the Coalition for the National Museum of the American People. “I envision the museum becoming a national pilgrimage destination for all Americans, and for foreign visitors who would learn about natives from their countries who became Americans. It could become one of the world’s most visited museums.”

Funding for the Presidential Commission as well as construction of the museum itself would be derived solely from private donations.

Canada and Mexico are both home to major national museums in their capitals, and remain the most visited museums in each nation. Following the example of successful museums like the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Museum of the American People would use the latest in museum technology to house a permanent exhibition, National Genealogical Center, Center for Advanced Studies of the American People, and an Education and Resource Center.

To read Congressman Moran’s July 7 Op-Ed in Politico, please visit:

To read more on the Coalition for the National Museum of the American People, please visit:


Monday, July 11, 2011

CHCI Launches High School Latino Leaders in DC Program


Partnership with Close Up Foundation, State Farm, Provides Weeklong Leadership Experience for Twenty Students from Around the Nation

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the nation's premiere Latino youth leadership development and educational organization, hosts the inaugural High School Latino Leaders in DC (HSLLDC) program on July 10-15, 2011. In partnership with the Close Up Foundation and State Farm Insurance, CHCI welcomes 20 low-income high school students from five cities across the country to the nation's capital to learn about how the federal government works, meet important leaders, visit historic sites and develop a deeper understanding of how they can affect positive change in their communities.

"We are very proud to include high school students in the Washington, D.C. experience that we have been providing to college students and college graduates for more than three decades," said Esther Aguilera, CHCI President & CEO. "These 20 talented Latino high school students are eager to learn more about government and policy, as well as prepare themselves to be the leaders of tomorrow."

The HSLLDC program is an extension of CHCI's intensive one-day Ready to Lead (R2L) college readiness program, held in cities throughout the country. All 20 student participants attended R2L in Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York or Phoenix during the 2010-11 academic year. The program combines the Close Up Foundation's civic education program and CHCI's proven leadership curriculum for Latino youth to expand CHCI's outreach to Latino high school students and increase its impact in the college readiness and leadership development arenas.

"Making sure that students from all backgrounds develop the skills and attitudes to become active and engaged citizens is an important to the health of our democracy," said Timothy Davis, President & CEO of the Close Up Foundation. "We are looking forward to an exciting week where the students will have the opportunity to discuss and debate policy issues, learn from their peers, and interact with Washington insiders."

"Our support of the High School Latino Leaders in D.C. Program reinforces State Farm's commitment to young people, their families and our community," said Steve Aguilar, Operations Vice President for State Farm Mid America Zone. "We know that access to leadership programs is a key factor for the success of Latino students."

About Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
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.

About Close Up Foundation

The Close Up Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501 (c) (3) organization that helps young people become active and engaged citizens. Since 1971, more than 700,000 students and teachers from across the country have participated on its Washington-based civic education programs and used its classroom resources. For more information, visit or contact Mia Charity at 703-706-3355 or

SOURCE Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

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

Alabama churches among leading opponents of new law against illegal immigrants

Southern churches are opposing the harsh new laws against illegal immigrants, using their experiences during the civil rights movement. - - Donna Poisl


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — For some, opposing Alabama's toughest-in-the-nation law against illegal immigration is a chance for Bible Belt redemption.

During the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, many state churches didn't join the fight to end Jim Crow laws and racial segregation. Some cross-burning Ku Klux Klan members took off their hoods and sat in the pews with everyone else on Sunday mornings, and relatively few white congregations actively opposed segregation. Some black churches were hesitant to get involved for fear of a white backlash.
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Saturday, July 09, 2011


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

The Livingroom Sessions Episode Two. Meet Wunmi


The Livingroom Sessions Episode Two with Wunmi
just released today at

We think you might like this episode of our webseries. If you do, please feel free to share out with your communities!

Caits Meissner’s The Livingroom Sessions Episode Two. Meet Wunmi, Brooklyn afrobeat musician, dancer and clothing designer by way of Nigeria and London. Wunmi invites us into her colorful home, shares new unreleased songs and speaks on the subject of home and immigration.

Watch the show at Creative Control at

Follow The Livingroom Sessions at:

For Press Inquiries Contact:

Bukharan Jewish community thrives in NYC

This section of New York City, populated by a specific group of Jewish immigrants, is thriving. - - Donna Poisl


Ties with Ashkenazi brethren sometimes strained; some residents fear assimilation.

FOREST HILLS, New York – In this quiet part of New York City dubbed Queensistan, no signs of economic woe were visible last week even as US job growth remained stagnant and unemployment remained high – on the contrary.

During a tour of the area, which is home to approximately 35,000 Bukharan Jews, several construction crews were hard at work putting the final touches on ostentatious mansions being built by members of the community.

“They’ve done in 20 years what it took other Jews at least 40 years,” said Zalman Zvulonov, the director of the local Ohr Avner Jewish School, whose students are predominantly of Bukharan origin. “My family arrived in Israel in the 1950s and we haven’t succeeded like this.”
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Message of the Week: Christians, TN should embrace illegal immigrants

A very thoughtful opinion piece pointing out the Bible teachings about how we should treat other people. - - Donna Poisl

Written by Ken Locke

When our economy was growing and low-end jobs were plentiful, our country was glad to welcome illegal immigrants. If they cleaned our offices, mowed our lawns and were willing to be paid in cash, they were very welcome.

But now that our economy has shrunk, these formerly important members of our society are increasingly ostracized. Thanks to laws passed by the states of Arizona and Alabama, even productive, law-abiding people who have lived here for years are afraid of forcible deportation. As The Tennessean recently reported, attitudes in our own state are now moving in this direction.
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Call ICE: Demand Safety for Mathe Family

from Mohammad Abdollahi, co-founder of

Andy Mathe is still in jail, ICE is currently reviewing his case and will soon decide whether he'll be deported back to Africa where he could be killed, or returned to the safety of his family in Atlanta, Georgia.

Call ICE: Demand Safety for Mathe Family

The family needs your help, we need to convince ICE they need to grant deferred action for the family. Please make a call to ICE for the Mathe family, your 30 second call can be the difference we need:

"I am calling to ask that Andy Mathe (A#88-488-386) and his family be allowed to stay. If deported the entire family could be killed, please grant deferred action for the Mathe Family, their life is in danger."

Janet Napolitano: 202-282-8495
John Morton: 202-732-3000

If you need any additional motivation please check out this video of Hope pleading for support for her son, Andy.

Thank you,

Mohammad Abdollahi
co-founder of

Filipinos fight for US citizenship in Afghanistan

Thousands of immigrants serve in the US military to get their citizenship papers. A very high price for many of them. - - Donna Poisl

By Ben Sheppard | AFP

Darby Ortego, 25, endures gunfire and mine attacks fighting for the United States army in Afghanistan, but this July 4 will be his first as a citizen of the country he serves.

Ortego, who battles insurgents in the violent eastern province of Khost with Bravo Company, 1-26 Infantry, recently attended a naturalisation ceremony at a US base near Kabul ahead of this year's Independence Day celebrations.

Like thousands of fellow Filipinos, he sees the US military as a fast-track to American citizenship, securing his own future and also helping his family back home.
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Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North

A better economy in Mexico, along with crackdowns and a poor economy here, are helping some Mexicans to decide to stay home. - - Donna Poisl


AGUA NEGRA, Mexico — The extraordinary Mexican migration that delivered millions of illegal immigrants to the United States over the past 30 years has sputtered to a trickle, and research points to a surprising cause: unheralded changes in Mexico that have made staying home more attractive.

A growing body of evidence suggests that a mix of developments — expanding economic and educational opportunities, rising border crime and shrinking families — are suppressing illegal traffic as much as economic slowdowns or immigrant crackdowns in the United States.

Here in the red-earth highlands of Jalisco, one of Mexico’s top three states for emigration over the past century, a new dynamic has emerged.
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Looking At The 'Bamboo Ceiling'

A very interesting interview about Asians and their challenges assimilating into U.S. life. - - Donna Poisl


This week we're looking at the shifting demographics in America and what it means, given those changes, to be considered all-American.

That phrase all-American is often used to convey a certain idea. A dictionary definition, for instance, says it's something or someone considered to be typical of the United States and respected and approved of by Americans, in other words a seal of approval, top notch, the best of us.

And that brings us to the next conversation in our series. Recently New York magazine published an article called "Paper Tigers: What Happens to All Of The Asian-American Overachievers When the Test-taking Ends?"
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Friday, July 08, 2011

Diversity in schools is hitting suburbs

More and more suburban and small town schools are learning how to best teach their immigrant students who don't speak English yet. - - Donna Poisl

By Maureen Hayden The Herald Bulletin

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University professor Annela Teemant specializes in teaching educators in urban settings how to teach English as a second language to immigrant children. But three years ago she expanded her efforts to reach teachers in the affluent suburban community of Avon, Ind.

Her help couldn’t have come soon enough. The number of students in Avon’s elementary schools who don’t speak English as their native tongue went from 87 to 127 in the last four years. At Avon’s Hickory Elementary School, the number went from 1 to 64 students; more than 10 percent of the school’s students are now classified as English Language Learners, or ELL.
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Celebrating the immigrants among us

An interesting opinion piece telling us some famous immigrants and how an immigrant becomes a citizen. - - Donna Poisl

By GREG CHASE | Guest columnist

Today we celebrate 235 years of freedom and independence. And, today many more will join our ranks. Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and himself a Cuban immigrant in 1960, has launched a federal initiative to raise awareness about the rights, responsibilities and importance of U.S. citizenship.

While citizenship ceremonies are held throughout the year and throughout the country, two ceremonies will be held today at significant historic sites. One will be at Ellis Island, where about 16 million immigrants arrived between January 1892 and November 1954. Another will take place at Saratoga National Historical Park, N.Y., where in the autumn of 1777 the American Army under Gen. Horatio Gates defeated the British Army under Gen. John Burgoyne.
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Seven immigrants, seven paths to better lives

Seven new citizens were interviewed and tell their story of coming to this country. - - Donna Poisl

By JACOB CARAH | Winston-Salem Journal

"The freedom to be who you are" is what makes the United States a wonderful country, says one woman from Ukraine who will become a U.S. citizen on July 4 in a ceremony at Old Salem square.

"The doors of opportunities are endless," said another man from Jamaica.

On July 4, these two will join 98 other people from across northwest North Carolina in getting the official paperwork that verifies them as a U.S. citizen. The Winston-Salem Journal interviewed seven of them, asking them to tell their stories and why they wanted to become a citizen.
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Immigrants, children start businesses

An amazing number of businesses in this country are started and owned by immigrants, from Google down to the corner stores. - - Donna Poisl

By Elizabeth Stuart, Deseret News

MIDVALE — It's not much.

A small office with a glass-top desk. A handful of part-time employees. A wooden sign on a wall: "de la Cruz & Associates."

But the small consulting firm on Main Street in Midvale is the culmination of generations of dreams.

Olga de la Cruz's father immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1967 looking for a better life. For him, that meant 4:30 a.m. shifts doing manual labor. For his children, he — like countless new Americans before him— had bigger hopes.
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More than 150 become US citizens at Naturalization Ceremony

Immigrants from more than 50 countries became citizens in NC. - - Donna Poisl

Submitted by Cliff Pyron

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY)--The week leading up to America's birthday saw more than 24,000 immigrants become United States citizens across the globe.

More than 150 candidates took their oath of allegiance Sunday afternoon in Southport.
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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Arlington school program helps immigrant families bridge language gap

This program works with the families and tries to get the children in the appropriate classes. So much depends on their English proficiency. - - Donna Poisl

By Kevin Sieff

A few days after Mikal Siele’s long journey from Eritrea ended in Arlington County this spring, she found herself in a nondescript office building, staring at a series of drawings, trying to think of the right English words.

What’s happening in this picture?” asked Monica Sugaray, who tests newly arrived students for Arlington public schools.

Mikal, 16, looked at the image of a man moving through water. “Swimming,” she said.
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Adam Cortes aims to teach Mexican immigrants citizenship

This young man came here as a 17 year old, learned English, became a citizen and is helping other immigrants learn to be Americans too. - - Donna Poisl

By Ross Farrow, News-Sentinel Staff Writer

Growing up near Mexico City, Adam Cortes saw how much better life was in the United States through his TV set.

Watching 1960s sitcoms like “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Leave It to Beaver” with Spanish voice-overs, Cortes noticed how nicely the characters dressed, how nice their cars were and the high-quality roads and highways there were in America.

At the age of 17, Cortes decided to leave his homeland and move in with his grandparents in Lodi. That was in 1988, when he came to Lodi with $20 and a pair of jeans.
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74 immigrants become U.S. citizens in Charleston

These people, from many countries, turned in their green cards and became citizens in a ceremony in S.C. - - Donna Poisl

By Ryan Quinn

NORTH CHARLESTON -- Two groups of immigrants lined up for two employees of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services on Friday morning at Middleton Place.

The men took the documentation from the immigrants and asked if them if their loyalty had changed since the beginning of their naturalization process.

"Still willing to bear arms for the United States?" the men asked each of the 74 candidates. Yes, they all answered.
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Why Does America Welcome Immigrants?

A very interesting piece explaining our immigrant story. - - Donna Poisl

by Matthew Spalding, Ph.D.

By the very nature of the principles upon which it was founded, the United States—more than any other nation in history—beckons to its shores the downtrodden, the persecuted, and all those “yearning to breathe free.” It embraces those who come to this country honestly, armed with their work ethic, in search of the promises and opportunities of the American Dream. Why does America welcome immigrants?

The key to the uniquely successful story of American immigration is its deliberate and self-confident policy of patriotic assimilation: America welcomes newcomers while insisting that they learn and embrace its civic culture and political institutions, thereby forming one nation from many peoples — e pluribus unum. While there are differences of opinion about the number of immigrants the nation should accept and the process by which they should become citizens, there has always been widespread, bipartisan agreement that those who come here should become Americans.
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Tour Draws Immigrants to Honor Their Saint

A special mass celebrated the life and work of a priest who became the patron saint of immigrants. - - Donna Poisl


Last Friday night, the faithful and the curious lined up for a special mass at St. Anthony Parish in Oakland. On a pedestal up front stood the object of their affection: a 4-foot-5 statue of a blue-eyed Mexican priest.

That priest is Toribio Romo, the patron saint of immigrants who cross the Mexican border.

Some 200 worshipers snapped cellphone photos of St. Toribio and reached up to touch a small glass pane embedded in his chest. Behind the glass was a shard of brown bone, a piece of the saint’s left ankle.
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'A Better Life' Tells 1 Latino Immigrant's Story

Maybe if enough people see a film like this, it will give them a different view. - - Donna Poisl

By LYNN ELBER AP Entertainment Writer

A stranger's plight lodged itself in producer Paul Junger Witt's heart, pushing him for 25 years to bring the dramatized story to life on screen.

"A Better Life," the result, is the rare Hollywood film that focuses on a Latino family in the United States and, rarer still, takes an intimate view of the price paid by illegal immigrants making their bid for the American dream.
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