Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Advocates Convene in Washington to Strategize about Immigration

Next week HIAS will participate in the National Immigration Forum's national strategy session and advocacy day in Washington, DC. The event will feature a wide array of speakers from across the country and across the political spectrum, including Attorney General Mark Shurtleff of Utah, Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Rich Stolz of One America, and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. Advocates from the faith, business, and law enforcement communities will strategize about how to prioritize immigration reform as the first legislative item in the 113th Congress.

Learn more, click here.

Immigration reform: This time, it's different

Now that the Republicans lost the election, they might cooperate with the Democrats and pass reform. Finally!   - - Donna Poisl

WHEN Congress last wrestled with immigration reform, in 2007, John Boehner, then the leader of the Republican minority in the House of Representatives, denounced the bill under consideration as "a piece of shit". George W. Bush, the president of the day, supported it, but many Republicans opposed it, mainly because it granted an amnesty of sorts to some of America's 12m or so illegal immigrants. Over the next five years immigration reform languished in Congress, a victim of Democratic distraction and Republican opposition. Yet earlier this month Mr Boehner, now speaker of the House, declared himself "confident that the president, myself and others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all."

Barack Obama also seems optimistic. He recently said he expected a bill on the subject, including a mechanism to normalize the status of illegal immigrants, along with tougher penalties for hiring them and even-tighter border security, to be taken up in Congress early in the new year.
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Seeing America through immigrants' eyes

This article tells the stories of immigrants in their town and how they came here and how they have succeeded.    - - Donna Poisl

Newburyport Daily News  OPINION

It’s refreshing to see our country through the eyes of immigrants. It reminds us that the foundation that this nation was built upon is as strong today as when it was first conceived in 1776.

As has become something of a recent tradition here at The Daily News, at Thanksgiving time the newspaper published a series of stories on the experiences of recent immigrants who have settled in the Newburyport area. No two stories are alike, but there is a theme that runs through all of them.
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Immigrant Stories: Argentinian brings flavors of Italy to the U.S.

These immigrant stories appear once a month, this month is about a man from Argentina.   - - Donna Poisl

by Walter Gallacher

Adrian Falero and his wife, Natalia, own and operate Trattoria Dionisia, which opened in downtown Glenwood Springs in October.

Adrian Falero: I was born in Argentina. My father is from Italy and my mother is from France. I was 15 when I came to Miami in 1995. I came here because my family had nothing in Argentina, there was no future. My brothers and I came looking for new opportunities. In Argentina we were watching our country go down year after year.

Gallacher: Why was your country in decline?
Falero: There was a lot of corruption. We couldn't trust the president and the politicians.
Gallacher: What did your father do there?
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GOP immigration bill keeps the well-educated

This bill is great, but they want to drop the diversity lottery in exchange for it. Both programs should be kept, we need educated immigrants and we also need diversity.   - - Donna Poisl

by Stephen Dinan

Trying to beat Democrats to the punch on the first post-election immigration bill, House Republicans have scheduled a vote later this week on a business-friendly proposal to grant green cards to foreigners who earn high-tech doctoral degrees from U.S. universities.

It would offer as many as 55,000 immigrant visas a year to people in science, technology, engineering and math fields, and would free up those visas by eliminating the diversity visa lottery, which offers green cards based on random chance.

“We cannot afford to educate these foreign graduates in the U.S. and then send them back home to work for our competitors,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who wrote the bill. “For America to remain the world’s economic leader, we must have access to the world’s best talent.”
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Beliefs about immigrants may be false

Some people still have these beliefs and there are some good arguments against them here.    - - Donna Poisl

By Skip Marsden

Many of us hold assumptions about things for which we don’t have all the facts. I hear something from a trusted source, and I assume it is fact.

That seems to be true about our local immigrant community. I decided to check into some beliefs about immigrants that get bantered about, and borrowed an information sheet I received from Centro Latino, a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to respond to critical needs of Latinos and to bridge the cultural gap between Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish-speaking members of our community.

I addressed issues with more current data I found online.
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Commentary: Immigrants took risks, opened door to hope

I imagine most of us would feel the same gratitude if we visited our ancestors' homes in the "old country".  And we would also see the similarity to today's immigrants.  - - Donna Poisl

Written by Alcestis ‘Cooky’ Oberg

When I went to my grandparents’ ancestral villages in Greece last month, I found the experience both beautiful and troubling.

One village was a garden spot nestled in a mountain valley, full of nut trees and rich farmland, with a history that went back more than 4,000 years. The other village was a seaside resort on a magnificent peninsula surrounded by a sapphire sea, also with a long history.

However, both places made me glad my grandparents left those ancient and alluring places, and came to America.
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Latinos did it in 2012; let's do it again in 2013

from ya es hora

This year's election decision was decided by the Latino vote— which accounted for 10 percent of the total vote and contributed to victories in battleground states. On November 6, Latinos voted and were the difference in this year's election.

November 6 was just one step towards bettering our communities and our future. The next step is continued participation.

In 2013, many state and local elections will take place in cities like Los Angeles and states like New Jersey. The candidates we elect and decisions we mark on the ballot in these elections have huge impacts on our daily lives.

We need to encourage Latinos to keep the momentum and partake in all aspects of civic engagement to continue to shape our country – from turning out at the polls to participating in town halls and holding elected leaders accountable.

We’d like to hear from you and learn about what you have planned in 2013. Click here and take a short survey – only a minute long – about your plans in 2013.     

Questions? For more info, call 888-VE-Y-VOTA / 888-839-8682

Tomorrow, Nov 29th: Nat'l State of Play Call

from Shuya Ohno, National Field Organizer, Reform Immigration FOR America

This is a reminder that tomorrow, Thursday, Nov 29th at 4pm Eastern, we will be holding an important national State of Play conference call on the prospects for real immigration reform in the changed political environment.

Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters came out to the polls in unprecedented numbers, and their voices resonated loudly, across the country and through the halls of Washington. Instead of the divisive rhetoric we had been hearing for so long, the President, the politicians, and the pundits from both parties are all talking about the need to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

How did we get to this moment, and what does this mean for us as advocates and supporters of real immigration reform?

Please join this important national call as experts and movement leaders discuss this pivotal political moment.

Tomorrow, Thursday, November 29th  at 4p.m. Eastern, 3pm Central, 2pm Mountain, and 1pm Pacifc.

Please call: 1-866-952-1907. Your conference title and password is "REFORM."

Please note: This call is closed to members of the press. For press inquiries, please contact Katherine Vargas at

Looking forward to your participation this Thursday.

Shuya Ohno
National Field Organizer
Reform Immigration FOR America

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Grandpa's Story. The story of a Soviet Army Combat Medic

A nice story; the grandfather came here at age 81 and became a U.S. citizen at age 90.   - - Donna Poisl

by Eric Bogomolny

All this and many other stories of his life experiences my grandfather told me over many years, including fairly recently. He was telling stories and was full of life and humor pretty much until his last day. Grandpa’s feelings and thoughts at the time of the war are also described in his diary. Well, it wasn’t really a diary. When the war ended, he was in Germany with the rest of the troops. All of a sudden he found himself with nothing to do until he was released from service: there was no more wounded soldiers on the battlefield to take care of. And so he decided to put on paper his wartime experiences. He only got from the beginning to his first combat. But it still very interesting and valuable from the historical perspective.

Grandpa was born in 1908, and when the war started for Russia, he was almost 33 years old. When he was 21 (the age of the draft at the time), he was not drafted into the army for active duty because of health reasons. Instead, he was trained as a combat medic. In 1941, however, he was considered a valuable qualified worker and, thus, was not to be drafted. Shortly after the war started his factory was to be evacuated from Odessa. He was supposed to go with the factory and was allowed to take his immediate family with him, my grandmother and my dad who was 3 at the time. However, grandma did not want to leave without the rest of her family. Nobody was taking the German threat seriously.
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Bill would let illegal immigrants drive legally

It has always seemed that this is common sense; more people with legal licenses and insurance make the roads safer for all of us.    - - Donna Poisl

By Monique Garcia and Dan Hinkel, Chicago Tribune reporters

In a nod to the growing power of Latino voters, state and local political leaders said Tuesday it is time to bring illegal immigrants into the ranks of legal Illinois drivers.

Details are still being worked out for a measure that supporters say would make roads safer and lower insurance costs by providing an estimated 250,000 unlicensed immigrant drivers a way to get behind the wheel legally.

The idea of a special license for illegal immigrants is being pitched by ruling Democrats as a common-sense safety and consumer measure that can be passed as soon as lawmakers return to the Statehouse next week, but the idea has failed twice in recent years in Springfield.
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Hurricane Sandy's Forgotten Victims - Undocumented Immigrants

People without Social Security numbers can't get federal help, including from FEMA after the hurricane.  Who will help these people?  - - Donna Poisl

By Bryan Llenas, Fox News Latino

Staten Island, N.Y. –  On a tour of storm-ravaged Staten Island, President Barack Obama assured residents of one of the worst-hit areas in the New York region that they were not alone.

"During difficult times like this, we're reminded that we're bound together and we have to look out for each other," Obama said from a Staten Island street where so much had been demolished by Superstorm Sandy.

As he had done before his visit, Obama vowed to lend federal help to victims of the storm.
Hours later, Emma Bedals, an undocumented immigrant, was at Staten Island's center for immigrants, handing out lettuce heads, chicken, orange juice, and cereals to more than 200 people waiting in line.
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DACA Scholarship Update - November

from Mohammad Abdollahi,

Thanks to support from you and people just like you we are now on the 3rd month of our DACA Scholarship. That means we've awarded more than $1,860 so far!

Donate: Help Sponsor a DREAMers DACA Fee!

Our first winner Diane just got back to us; she's in the final stages of gathering her needed paperwork and plans on applying soon. This year Diane started college in Alabama; despite having to pay out-of-state tuition she's grateful for the chance to go to school. She wanted us to pass on a big thank you to everyone who made her DACA possible!

Now onto our November update. As you know each month we need to raise $930 in order to be able to award two-DACA scholarships; this month we've already raised an amazing $810.That means in order to reach our November goal we only have to raise an additional $120! Will you be one of our November donors by donating $15, $30 or $60 to help us reach that goal?

The Deferred Action Waiver Scholarship was set up in September to award undocumented activists with a scholarship to cover their Deferred Action fee. We recognize that many of the activists we work with on a daily basis do not have the financial means to apply for Deferred Action and so this fund will try to meet the needs of these activists.

We just left the post office where we dropped off two more checks to cover DACA fees you all helped sponsor. Now, with your help, this won't be our last trip to the post office. Can you help us reach our final $120 goal? That means we need just 4 or 5 people to donate at least $30 each and we'll be there! Your donations will help us sponsor another DREAMer just like Diane. Thank you.

Much love,

Mohammad Abdollahi

P.S. If you, your organization or someone you know would like to set up a matching donation please contact us.
Give qualified immigrants work visas

This article has a different suggestion than a path to citizenship for undocumented people who are here. It sounds very harsh and somewhat complicated.    - - Donna Poisl

Charles S. Meek, For the Express-News

We have illegal immigrants living among us in Texas. We like them and greatly appreciate their contribution. We want to provide a process to assimilate qualified people. The impasse between conservatives and liberals is preventing a solution to the problem.

Liberals want to ignore the law — an abhorrent and destructive position. Conservatives insist on a blind allegiance to a system that has proved unworkable, failing to meet the needs and compassion of all Texans. My solution will make both sides uncomfortable, but it is workable.
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"Exposure" to U.S. may raise immigrants' obesity risk

We must hope these people and also Americans who have been here for generations pay attention to this and adjust their diets.    - - Donna Poisl

By Andrew M. Seaman

(Reuters Health) - A new study finds that the longer immigrants from Mexico, and their U.S.-born offspring, spend in the United States, the greater their odds of becoming obese.

Compared to similar individuals living in Mexico, researchers found the grandchildren of immigrants to the U.S. from Mexico were three times more likely to be obese adults.

"We just couldn't believe the fact that we found roughly a threefold increase from the one extreme… to the people on the other side," said the study's lead author Karen R. Florez, an associate social scientist at the non-profit research institute Rand Corporation, in Santa Monica, California.
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Click the HEADLINE to read stories from this week from the Immigration Policy Center.

Documentary Gives Voice to Undocumented Immigrants in U.S.

This film tells the stories of many immigrants and the struggles they went through to make better lives for their families.    - - Donna Poisl

from Efe, Fox News Latino

Wendy Thompson-Marquez, a Peruvian who for eight years worked as an undocumented nanny, on Thursday in Washington presented her documentary "Harvest of Empire," which shows the human side of the crisis of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

In an interview with Efe, Thompson-Marquez said the film seeks to provide the "historical context" for the Latino presence in the United States and to contribute to the debate on immigration reform.

"Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America" is based on a book by New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez.
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Univision working to create immigration archive

Immigrants can tell their stories to be archived for generations to come. I imagine this will be valuable to people in the future who are researching their family histories.    - - Donna Poisl

By DAVID BAUDER - AP Television Writer

NEW YORK -- The Spanish-language media company Univision and one of its top advertisers are encouraging Hispanics to share their stories about establishing new lives in the United States for an immigrant archive.

The Univision network will kick off the effort, called Generacion America, during Thursday's telecast of the Latin Grammy Awards.

Univision and its affiliated networks will help collect stories from celebrities and average citizens to be part of the Immigrant Archive Project, an independent effort to collect the stories, and show snippets of them on TV. The advertiser Procter & Gamble is helping to fund the effort, although neither company would say how much is being spent.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Low-income immigrants get a hand

This group is helping immigrants start their own businesses. Immigrants are almost always very entrepreneurial, they have the ideas and need some help with the laws, bookkeeping, etc.   - - Donna Poisl

by Carolyn Said

Rebekah Lwanga Peterkin always loved color, fashion and design.

When she moved to the Bay Area in 2007 after a career in merchandising, the Uganda native wanted to launch her own business creating clothing but wasn't sure how to get going.

Then she encountered AnewAmerica Community Corp., a Berkeley nonprofit that trains immigrants to start and run their own businesses.

"AnewAmerica gave me the perspective to look at myself as a designer," she said. "All those years, I was always designing on the side. But I didn't know about business. I started their class and began to learn about it."
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U.S. immigration U-turn has Hispanics seeing 'light at end of tunnel'

This is a perfect example of the saying "your vote matters".  Look what it is accomplishing.  - - Donna Poisl

by Tim Gaynor, Reuters

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Ricardo, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, sets off each day before dawn looking for casual work in construction not knowing if he will return home to his wife and three children or get snared in an immigration sweep. Lately, he feels the pervasive fear slowly lifting.

Ricardo, 46, is among millions of Latino immigrants who, regardless of their immigration status, feel fresh optimism this week over newfound Republican willingness to consider immigration reform to avoid further alienating Hispanic voters who proved key to re-electing President Barack Obama.

Some leading Republicans have signaled a shift away from an enforcement-only approach to illegal immigration, with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner saying that a "comprehensive approach is long overdue."
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It's time to lead on CIR

from Donna De La Cruz, Reform Immigration FOR America

It's been nearly a week since the election, and one thing is certain: the conversation in America has changed -- and you helped change it.

News outlets across the country are reporting what you and I have known all along: that with our vote, we have an undeniable power to demand real leadership in Washington to take on comprehensive immigration reform.

Our election messages -– from registering to vote to finding your polling place -– reached over 3.1 million people, and the proof of our work is in the historic numbers of immigrant and Latino voters that cast their ballots. For the first time, our vote makes up a double-digit percentage of total national turnout.

Most importantly, we turned out for our families. We supported candidates who stood for our issues, and rejected anti-immigrant hardliners who promised to obstruct progress on reform.

Now, it's up to us to hold our leaders to their promises to fix our broken system and to ensure that their words become action.

Our work begins now. Send your message to call on the White House and Congress to lead the charge on day one to fight for reform that ensures dignity and unity for every family.

With hope,

Donna De La Cruz
Reform Immigration FOR America

US Citizen Mistaken for Undocumented and Jailed Wages Court Fight

This New Jersey native was profiled and jailed, something many Latino people are afraid of.   - - Donna Poisl

from Fox News Latino

Allentown, Pa. –  A Pennsylvania man who reached a $50,000 settlement in a civil rights lawsuit after local police detained him and reported him over to immigration officials even though he is a native U.S. citizen is not feeling completely triumphant over the court’s handling of the matter, according to The Morning Call newspaper.

Ernesto Galarza successfully fought his 2008 three-day detention on grounds that he was reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement because he was profiled – suspected of being undocumented by local police because he is Latino, the publication reported.

But a federal judge chose not to hold the jail accountable because he determined that Lehigh County Prison’s practice of holding people for immigration matters is “nondiscriminatory and mandated by federal regulations,” the paper said.
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UndocuQueer Poster Raffle

from Jorge Gutierrez, QUIP Coordinator, United We Dream

QUIP is raffling 10 IamUndocuQueer posters by our fierce UndocuQueer artist and activist Julio Salgado as a way to celebrate our work and recognize our narratives in the immigrant and LGBTQ movements. Winners will be announced at United We Dream’s Congress at the end of November.

All you have to do to enter the raffle is to sign onto to the QUIP list serve!

The Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP) has been instrumental in creating UndocuQueer visibility of our narratives/stories, organizing work and contribution to the immigrant youth movement and communities across the country. As our UndocuQueer movement expands and moves forward we must fully embrace an intersectional organizing framework and understand that our communities are impacted by multiple political identities and never just by one.

Sign up for QUIP updates and automatically enter for a raffle to win an IamUndocuQueer poster by Julio Salgado!
Also, we must always make it intentional to celebrate and embrace our work and our identities. QUIP is currently searching for leaders to help give QUIP direction and vision.

Please email me at if you’re interested in getting involved.


Jorge Gutierrez
QUIP Coordinator
United We Dream
URGENT: Voter suppression in Arizona

from Adam Luna, America's Voice Education Fund

Election day was over a week ago, but officials in Arizona still haven't counted all of the votes. Right now, over 324,000 votes - many of which were cast by Latino Arizonans -- still remain uncounted.

That just might be enough votes to swing the outcome of close races in the state. But Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett might call this election without counting them.

Tell Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett that every vote must be counted.

The extremist politicians who run Arizona know that their days are numbered. Our movement for citizenship is winning across the nation, so the extremists are pulling out all the stops to repress the vote.  We can't let Arizona officials disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people for temporary partisan gain.

Whether or not you live in Arizona, please tell Secretary Bennett to ensure that every vote is counted no matter what.

Advocates on the ground are doing an amazing job of putting pressure on local county officials, but we need to help them turn up the heat. Next week, we’ll deliver our petitions to Secretary Bennett so he knows the whole country is watching his decision.

Thanks for taking action,
Adam Luna
America's Voice Education Fund
New Latino Digital Think-Tank Launches At Rutgers University


The Latino Information Network at Rutgers (LIN@R) to produce original research and analysis on social, political and economic issues affecting the Latino community

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Latino Information Network at Rutgers (LIN@R) University today launched a first-of-its-kind Latino-focused research center and digital think-tank.  LIN@R will provide original research, analysis and commentary on cultural, social, educational, political and economic aspects affecting the Latino community.

Analysis, research and insights produced by LIN@R will be made available to the public through its website. LIN@R will focus on issue areas including technology and telecommunications, immigration, politics and education.

LIN@R is headed by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Robert Montemayor, Editor and Director; Jorge Schement, Dean of the School of Communication & Information at Rutgers University; and Patricia Munoz, Managing Editor.

"Latinos represented ten percent of the vote in last week's Presidential election, and they are a quickly growing demographic in the United States. At LIN@R, we wish to examine the policies most pressing to the Latino community, as well as their potential effects on social and economic wellbeing," said Montemayor. "By studying issue areas that are important to Latino businesses and consumers, we aim to become the go-to resource for scholarly and academic work addressing Hispanic communities."

Added Schement, "Our launch is just the beginning of what we hope will be a greater effort to understand and address issues of importance to the Latino community.  Much of our scholarly strength will draw upon more than two dozen academic institutions, providing us with the knowledge that is so often lacking from the broader political and societal debate."

The website will offer access to content from a larger network of universities nationwide, as LIN@R is a member of the Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR), a consortium of 25 of the country's leading Latino research institutes.

For more information about LIN@R and to view original research, please visit:

CONTACT: Robert Montemayor,, +1-848-445-1365
GALLAGHER: Immigration pushes former Marine to voting booth for first time

This Iraq war veteran voted for the first time, because of one word: deportation. His wife could be deported at any time.    - - Donna Poisl


SIOUX CENTER, Iowa | Not much rattles Apolonio Topete, who, at age 20, fought as a U.S. Marine in the world's most dangerous place, Fallujah, Iraq.

That was 2004, the second of Topete's three tours of duty in Iraq.

But mention immigration, and Topete stirs. It's a scary subject in his house, the issue that prompted him to vote on Tuesday in his first presidential election.

Like more than 70 percent of his fellow Latinos, Topete voted for Barack Obama, based on Obama's push to grant work permits to immigrants brought here illegally as children.

"It was something," Topete says. "We are hoping for more."
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Immigrants share their stories through art

This art exhibit is showing immigrants' lives and experiences through their art creations.   - - Donna Poisl

By Meredith Moss, Staff Writer

Maria Jemenez stands over a long art gallery work table, gazing down at her intricate mosaic creation. She has named it “Life in Seasons.”

“I wanted it to represent the three periods of my own life,” said the 55-year-old woman, who grew up in Columbia and now lives in Centerville.

Sandwiched between two brightly colored scenes of blue skies and sunshine is a dark and threatening image of three small figures peering into a dark tunnel. That portion of the mosaic, Jemenez explains, represents herself and her two children as they faced the death of her beloved husband, murdered by FARC terrorists.
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Migrants Are Also Neighbors

This op-ed says our government should improve its relationship with Mexico and other Latin American countries, along with immigration reform.    - - Donna Poisl


LATINOS might have made the pivotal difference in Tuesday’s election, especially in battlegrounds like Nevada, Colorado, Florida and Virginia. Republicans are already debating how to convert more of them — along with women, blacks and young people — from the Democratic camp.

Comprehensive immigration reform has been an elusive goal of both parties for two decades and is a priority of President Obama’s second term. But it will be hard to achieve unless the United States also re-envisions its approach to Mexico and other Latin American countries. The United States has historically shifted its Latin American policies according to its national interests. This won’t change, but the growing Latino voting bloc is likely to bring about a more nuanced approach.
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Thursday, November 08, 2012

NHCLC President Responds to Outcome of 2012 Presidential Election: "It's Time for the Lamb's Agenda"


SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The following is a statement from the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:

"First, permit me to congratulate the President on his re-election. I pray that our President will be used by God to bring our nation together. I pray that he will recognize the image of God in every human being (in and out of the womb), strengthen families, defend religious liberty both domestically and abroad, alleviate poverty, protect our Judeo-Christian value system, and advance the cause of immigration reform.

Second, it's important to understand that our nation stands divided. The outcome of the 2012 Presidential election reinforces the fact that what America needs the most is not a political movement driven by expediency and agendas of man but a prophetic movement driven by the impetus of the cross.

To that respect, I am convinced more than ever that the only agenda that can save America and unite our nation is not the agenda of the donkey or the elephant but the agenda of the Lamb.

The agenda of the Lamb is one of righteousness and justice. We need a multi-ethnic kingdom culture cross driven movement that will reconcile Billy Graham's message with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s march. In other words, we need a movement committed to protecting life and alleviating poverty, strengthening marriages and doing justice in the name of Jesus. It can no longer be either or, it must be both and.

In order to protect our Judeo Christian value system, defend the image of God in every human being (in and out of the womb), secure religious freedom, reform the culture, transform our political discourse and usher in a new awakening, we must reconcile truth with love, conviction with compassion, sanctification with service and holiness with humility.

It's time to reconcile Billy Graham's message of righteousness with Dr. King's march for justice. It's time to focus, not on the left or the right but on the power of He who is on high for the purpose of lifting up the low. Behold the Lamb."

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the nation's largest Christian Hispanic organization, is the Hispanic Evangelical Association unifying, serving and representing millions in the Hispanic Born Again Community via 40,118 member churches by reconciling the vertical and horizontal of the Christian message through the 7 Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.

SOURCE  National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
TO BOOK an INTERVIEW with Rev. Samuel Rodriguez.
CONTACT: Matti Stevenson, +1-719-360-0586,
Former teacher uses Bible in English language instruction

This former high school teacher is now teaching adults in a church program. Parents have to know English or they will lose much of their relationships with their kids who learn faster.    - - Donna Poisl


Linda Rynd may have retired from teaching, having taught English and Spanish for 20 years at Becton Regional High School before leaving last year, but her drive to educate remains intact.

Last year, she took on the position of English as a Second Language /Literacy coordinator at the Rutherford Bible Chapel and introduced a Bible story-based program designed to teach English.

The idea came to Rynd when she noticed that some parents of the children at the church's vacation bible camp were recent immigrants who struggled with the language. She "saw a need," and took action by creating a free course modeled on instruction from the American Bible Society, and developed by the Bank Street College of Education.
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L.A. council approves ID cards for city residents

These cards will make life much easier and safer for immigrants, they can open bank accounts and not carry cash around. Just like the rest of us.    - - Donna Poisl

By Catherine Saillant, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles City Council members Wednesday gave enthusiastic backing to the creation of a controversial city identification card that could be used by illegal immigrants to open bank accounts, borrow library books and pay utility bills.

Councilman Ed Reyes called it a way for the city's poorest workers to "come out into the light."

While the federal government has failed to pass immigration reform, the city of Los Angeles is able to manage its own affairs, said Councilman Richard Alarcon, who along with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is a chief sponsor of the card plan.
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Dreamers Celebrate Obama Win, Gear Up For Immigration Fight

These young immigrants will definitely push for immigration reform, they are very motivated and have some power now.    - - Donna Poisl

by Elise Foley

WASHINGTON --- Nayeli Manzano, 16, nervously watched Tuesday's election results roll in with her family. She is undocumented, as are her parents, and she has not yet applied for deferred action that would allow her to remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation. If GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had won, that policy would have been eliminated. Manzano said her heart sank every time a result came in that looked like it would go that way.

"You're never sure what's going to happen, what's the future," Manzano said later, after President Barack Obama had been declared the winner. "I was just thinking, 'If Romney wins, I'll still send in my papers and see what happens, but if I don't get it, what's going to happen? Am I really going to get deported? Is my future over? Do I have a future?

"All of these start running through your head and it's all negative, but in the end when they said Obama wins, all of that leaves you, you just get a sigh of relief," Manzano said.
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Latino role in election to fuel new immigration reform push

Immigration reform will be worked on this term, as soon as the tax issue is fixed. We all need both fixed.    - - Donna Poisl

By Brian Bennett, Hector Becerra and David Lauter, Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The outsized role that Latino voters played in securing victories for President Obama and Democratic Senate candidates has energized the effort to rewrite America's immigration laws, but opposition in Congress, particularly among House Republicans, remains a significant hurdle.

In his election-night victory speech, President Obama specifically mentioned "fixing our immigration system" as a priority — along with reducing the deficit, reforming the tax system and reducing the country's use of imported oil. Latino leaders made clear they planned to hold Obama to that, noting that the president had promised in his 2008 campaign to push for reform but did not deliver.

"No more excuses, no more obstructions, we want action," Eliseo Medina, the secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union and a prominent strategist among Latino political leaders, said in an interview.
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City hopes to help refugees, immigrants find local employment

Refugees and immigrants have a hard time finding local work, which creates many problems for them, including time to learn English and assimilate into the culture.    - - Donna Poisl


The city of Bowling Green is trying to connect members of the refugee and immigrant populations to employers with a Refugee and Immigrant Job Development Forum on Thursday.

Many immigrants and refugees living in the Bowling Green area have round-trip commutes of up to four hours to get to jobs outside the city, International Communities Liaison Leyda Becker said.

If those people were able to find work closer to home, they would be able to invest that extra time into other activities, such as taking English language classes, spending more time with their families and taking part in city activities that could help them become more integrated into city life, she said.

“I think it’s just a matter of connecting the two – the employers and the refugees – and facilitating that process,” Becker said.
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Newer immigrants review life in Minnesota

There are many immigrants in MN from Africa, they find a very welcoming environment there.    - - Donna Poisl

by: ALLIE SHAH , Star Tribune

 Immigrants will get a chance to share their stories -- good and bad -- about living in Minnesota at an upcoming event hosted by the Advocates for Human Rights and African Immigrant Services.

Billed as a "community conversation," the discussion is part of an ongoing project conducted by the Advocates for Human Rights. The aim of the One Voice Minnesota Monitoring Project is to ensure that all Minnesota residents feel welcome here.

Feedback from the Nov. 15 discussion will be used to create a list of recommendations for lawmakers and activists.
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Monday, November 05, 2012

Why I vote: Community action begins at the ballot

This young woman lists all the reasons that she votes. Good reasons for everyone, I think.   - - Donna Poisl

from Cristina TzintzĂșn

Since I was 15, I have been serving my community. From teaching English to new immigrants to giving food to the homeless, from marching for immigration reform to organising Latino workers. I also vote. As a woman, progressive and Latina, there are so many reasons to vote, and that's why I am not sitting out this election. I realise that voting isn't the most important thing I do to make a difference, but to honour those who struggled to get into the voting booth, to prevent the Republican party from undermining the needs of my community, and to advance a more progressive agenda, I vote. For Latinos who care about our community and can vote, it's our duty to do so. 

I live in a predominately low-income black neighbourhood. At my polling place, the volunteers are older African American women. These women remember a time when their vote and voice were intentionally and brutally excluded from the political process. The Civil Rights movement won them the ability to vote. By voting, I honour that struggle.
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Immigrants voting for first time: 'I have the right to have a voice'

People born here take voting for granted, but it is more precious to immigrants.   - - Donna Poisl

By Brooke Hauser, TODAY contributor

When Kadidja Ata came to the United States from Cameroon five years ago, she knew one word in English: “Hi.”

A refugee from the Central African Republic, she was 17, and she couldn’t read or write. But thanks in part to the International Rescue Committee, a New York-based agency that aids and resettles refugees around the world, Ata now speaks English and attends college. In August, she and her mother, Rose Nzata Ayeke, both became U.S. citizens, and on Nov. 6, like millions of other Americans, they will fulfill the ultimate act of civic responsibility: They will vote.

And these brand new voters make up a pretty large block of the electorate. Since the 2008 presidential election, more than 2 million people have become naturalized, and next week many of them will be voting in a presidential election in the United States for the first time.
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Museum shows immigrants' transition to American life

This museum in northern Wisconsin is a living museum, showing life as it was in the middle 1800s.    - - Donna Poisl

By Wayne Anderson

We took a step back in time at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor living museum near Eagle, Wis., with costumed actors performing the tasks of the early settlers who began to immigrate here from northern Europe starting in the 1840s. The Wisconsin Historical Society has collected more than 50 buildings from around the state built by different immigrant groups and distributed them in naturalistic settings at this 576-acre site. Some, including the Crossroads Village and the German farming areas, have many buildings, and others, such as the black American and Polish areas, have only a building or two.

Crops of the period were growing in the fields when we were there in early August. The original immigrants focused on wheat, wool and the dairy products for which Wisconsin later became noted. The typical animals the settlers would have had were in the fields and barns, including two large black oxen, which at times are used to pull equipment but on our visit were basking in the shade. At threshing time, horses would walk on a treadmill to run the threshing machine, which separated grain from stalks and husks.
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Young Immigrant, Newly Fearless, Ponders Future

This is quite a story! All the fear this young woman has been living with and now her life is looking bright.    - - Donna Poisl

By HELEN O'NEILL AP Special Correspondent

Angy Rivera glided through the airport as though she owned it, giddy with excitement at her brave new world.

Then she saw the security guards, and froze.

After a lifetime of avoiding any public place where she might be asked for identification, had she just made the biggest mistake of her life? Would she be stopped, arrested, detained — and deported? Nervously, she handed over her boarding pass.

The security guard barely glanced at her Colombian passport, questioned her about a tube of hair mousse — and waved her through. Elated, she boarded the plane.
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Howard Berman: A Standard of Leadership on the DREAM Act

Many politicians have worked hard to get some form of the DREAM Act enacted, from state to federal level.    - - Donna Poisl


As the issue of immigration and the Latino vote takes center stage in the 2012 election cycle, Democrats are not shy about touting their support for the DREAM Act legislation that would create a path to legal status for undocumented students through college or the military. While the Republican Party is still stricken by the Tea Party flu, there is also some Republicans, like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), jumping into the mix on immigration.

Although it is easy for politicians or candidates to deliver talking points on the DREAM Act, it is more difficult to see real leadership on the issue. Like U.S Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Rep. Howard Berman has provided not only comforting rhetoric, but also legislative leadership on the DREAM Act and immigration in general.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) first introduced the Student Adjustment Act in 2001 together with Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT). The bill would eventually become the DREAM Act. Since then, Berman has been introducing the legislation time after time, speaking about it on the House floor and meeting with DREAMers. 
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Latinos Urged to Oust Sheriff Over Deportations

Many small groups are working together to get Sheriff Arpaio's opponent elected.    - - Donna Poisl


PHOENIX — This election year, community groups working to get more Latinos to turn out and vote have enlisted the help of an unwitting ally: Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the brash-talking embodiment of the battles over illegal immigration in Arizona and beyond.

When they knock on doors — trying, at first, to persuade Latinos to join voter rolls, and later returning to make sure they cast their ballots — the activists resort to the same question to drive the conversation: Don’t you want Sheriff Arpaio out of office?

Then they deliver their pitch: Have you heard of his opponent, Paul Penzone?
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Nominate your candidate for the Immigrant Youth Achievement Award today!


The American Immigration Council is now accepting nominations for their 2013 Immigrant Youth Achievement Award.

Each year the Council receives hundreds of nominations from around the country lifting up exceptional young people whose accomplishments amaze us and whose dreams inspire us.  The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award celebrates high-achieving young immigrants, whose personal accomplishments and contributions demonstrate the important impact young immigrants are having on our nation every day. These nominations serve as a reminder that our country was built by hard-working, forward-thinking immigrants and in order for our country to continue to lead, we must invest in the future of today’s immigrant youth.

The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award is presented to the winner at the American Immigration Council’s annual Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards in the Spring. Past honorees have emigrated from countries such as Ireland, India, Mexico, Cambodia, China, and Cuba and have made contributions in literature, journalism, music, and politics.

• The honoree must be between the ages of 14 and 25 years of age on April 11, 2013 ;
• The honoree must be an immigrant to the United States, including those who have become naturalized citizens;
• The accomplishments of the honoree must reflect more than personal success and should have evidence of a commitment to making a positive impact in their community or the world around them;
• The honoree must be willing and available to travel (at the American Immigration Council’s expense) to Washington, DC for the awards ceremony on Thursday, April 11, 2013. The American Immigration Council will cover the costs of travel and accommodations for the honoree, and for a parent or guardian if the honoree is a minor.

Deadline: February 1, 2013 at midnight EST.

Click here to nominate your candidate!

Find your nearest polling place

from Donna De La Cruz, Reform Immigration FOR America

At long last, the election is here. And, this Tuesday, November 6, our communities will turn out to the polls and show their power like never before.

Are you ready? Click here to find your local polling place.

We know what's at stake. We know who the candidates are and where they stand on our issues.

Now is our chance to let anti-immigrant candidates and legislators know that we will not tolerate their divisive policies and tactics. Find your polling place, plan time to get to the polls, and vote!

With hope,

Donna De La Cruz
Reform Immigration FOR America

PS: Already voted, or can't vote this year? Forward this to family and friends, and make sure they join us at the polls on Tuesday!

Friday, November 02, 2012

October DACA Scholarship Goes To. . .

from Mohammad Abdollahi,

Another month and we have another winner; Kemberly Gil from New York! If you know someone who you think should receive this award you should send us a note at Each month we'll be selecting two deserving dreamers for this scholarship.

The DACA Fund is only possible thanks to your donations; if you'd like to see us continue with this effort please help us with a donation of $25.

Meet Kemberly; our 3rd DACA Scholarship winner:
When I was three years old, my sister Geraldyne was two and my brother Bryan four we moved to United States with parents’ from Colombia. We came here with a visa, but unfortunately we stayed here longer than expected. Our visa got expired and became labeled as aliens to the government.

Growing up as an undocumented child was very difficult. My family and I went through many hardships. Such as learning two languages Spanish & English at the same time, having to repeat kindergarten because teachers assumed I was mentally retarded, being put into E.S.L for 5 years, moving a lot, and my parents going through a variety of low class jobs causing us to go through many humiliating circumstances and financial needs.

Make the DACA Scholarship Possible for Another Deserving DREAMer: Donate $25 to Support the DACA Fund

We are excited to be able to award Kemberly with this scholarship and look forward to finding other amazing DREAMers

Are you a DREAMer and think you might qualify for a scholarship? Send us your application!

Mohammad Abdollahi
Disparate immigrant groups united in get-out-the-vote efforts

These groups are persuading immigrants to vote and helping them do it.    - - Donna Poisl

by Nadya Faulx, Medill News Service

The already razor-thin race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney could hinge on the immigrant vote, with record numbers of newly naturalized citizens expected to turn out in next week's election.

More than 26,000 immigrants were registered to vote this year, through the combined efforts of groups like the Arab American Action Network, the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment.

The United African Association held citizenship workshops and voter registration drives throughout the year, said executive director Alie Kaba, who is also the board president of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
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Trading croissants and baguettes for eggs and sausage

This article tells about this immigrant student fitting into her new culture, starting with food.   - - Donna Poisl


Living well in a different country is all about assimilation. Like any other individual who is unfamiliar to the culture and the area, I had to make a few adjustments in order to fit in and make my new life a little bit easier.

The biggest one had to be food wise. I clearly realized I wouldn’t be able to eat croissants and baguettes every morning so when I first came here, I traded it for eggs and sausages. It was probably not the healthiest choice, but it tasted delicious. When I went back home after a year, everyone was calling me “American girl” because I was bigger. There was no way I was going to go to Fresh at 9 a.m., pass the bacon and go straight to the fruit section. American food and I have a love/hate relationship. Good for my wallet but bad for my body.
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A Single Mother's Journey as an Immigrant from Guyana

from Taylor Harruff

Culture, a word with countless definitions and even more meanings to different people. What do you know about Guyana and their culture? What do you know about moving to New York from Guyana and leaving your entire family and life behind?

Given your interest in immigration and assimilation, chances are you know far more than the average American. But – do you know it from a mother’s perspective?

Author Bibi K., a native of Guyana now living in New York, came to this country shortly after her 31st birthday in 1988. She left her semi-luxurious life, her two children and family in Guyana in the hopes of obtaining her green card. But why? What brings someone to leaving their comfortable life?

Bibi’s recently published book, The Green Grass, tells us why. It is shows us an entirely new view of the Immigration issues from the eyes of a female immigrant.

The Green Grass, though about American culture from the eyes of an immigrant, dives even further. It’s an emotional journey and the gripping tale of how to survive when you have no one but yourself.

Taylor Harruff
Civil Rights, Human Rights and Labor Organizations Warn True the Vote: Do Not Harass and Intimidate Voters


WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The following is being released by Velasquez & Associates on behalf of the undersigned organizations:

An alliance of 21 civil rights, human rights and labor organizations, including the NAACP, the Hispanic Federation and the AFL-CIO, today urged True the Vote and its affiliates to halt immediately its national campaign to assert challenges to the eligibility of voters.

True the Vote, a Texas-based organization, has announced plans to place a million poll watchers around the country, reportedly targeting minority groups and other demographic groups traditionally under-represented in our democracy. The 21 organizations wrote True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht to urge her to dismantle the program, which they called "a sad revival of racially targeted voter suppression that America left behind decades ago."

In the letter, the 21 organizations warned that state and federal laws prohibit harassment and intimidation of voters and cited examples of potentially illegal harassment and intimidation that have already occurred. The organizations pledged to monitor polls "to ensure that no one interferes with the right of each voter to cast his or her ballot in a safe and orderly atmosphere, free from intimidation and fear."

"We will not go back," the organizations wrote. "Generations of Americans have fought and died to secure the right to vote, and costly battles have been waged in the streets, in the courts, and in our legislatures to protect Americans from intimidation and harassment at the polls."

Representatives of the following organizations signed the letter: A. Philip Randolph Institute, Alliance for Retired Americans, AFL-CIO, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Black Leadership Forum, Communication Workers of America, Hispanic Federation, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, League of United Latin American Citizens, League of Rural Voters, MANA A National Latina Organization, NAACP, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, National Congress of Black Women, National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, National Puerto Rican Coalition, Rock the Vote, Rural Coalition, Service Employees International Union, The Hispanic Institute and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

For a copy of the letter, email

Contact: Nick Lanyi, 202-812-6679

SOURCE  Velasquez & Associates