Monday, January 30, 2012

Hispanic National Bar Association Statement on State of the Union Address


WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) is encouraged by President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address, in which he addressed issues of great importance to our membership and the Hispanic community at large, namely the economy, immigration and judicial nominations.

"We are heartened by the President's continued support and dedication to advancing comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM Act, support of veterans, and addressing the excessive cost of higher education. We also appreciate his recognition of the existing vacancy crisis in the federal judiciary, which directly impacts individuals' basic right to have access to justice," said Benny Agosto, Jr., HNBA National President.

While the HNBA stands behind the President's dedication to addressing the economic crisis and ensuring that Latinos and all Americans have the necessary education and job security needed to fulfill the promise of America, we are committed to continuing to press the administration and Congress on issues critical to fulfilling this vision. Specifically, we will continue to press for passage of comprehensive immigration reform, ensure that all Latinos have equal access to quality education at all levels, and guarantee that all Americans have access to a fair hearing in court in a timely manner.

"The President should be commended for the unparalleled strides that he has made in diversifying the bench and his administration. But more work remains to be done, and we hope that he and the U.S. Senate hasten the pace of nominating and confirming appointees," added the Honorable Celeste Villarreal, HNBA Vice President of External Affairs.

About the Hispanic National Bar AssociationThe Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) is an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership organization that represents the interests of the more than 100,000 Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, and law students in the United States and its territories. From the days of its founding four decades ago, the HNBA has acted as a force for positive change within the legal profession. It does so by encouraging Latino students to choose a career in the law and by prompting their advancement within the profession once they graduate and start practicing. Through a combination of issue advocacy, programmatic activities, networking events and educational conferences, the HNBA has helped generations of lawyers succeed.

Hispanic National Bar Association

Web site:

California's Catholic hierarchy takes stand against illegal-immigration dragnet

These Bishops and pastors are pushing for humanitarian action, not the talk that is so popular now. - - Donna Poisl

By Matt O'Brien, Bay Area News Group

The Bay Area's biggest religious institution, the Catholic Church, is throwing its weight against a federal immigration dragnet that in the past two years deported more than 6,500 people from the region.

As Republican presidential contenders clash in the days leading up to the crucial Florida primary over the harshness or softness of their stands on illegal immigration, Catholic priests here and across the country are championing a humanitarian approach and condemning what they describe as "selfish" demagoguery.

"It is heartbreaking to hear the painful stories of unjust deportations pouring in from our congregations. California can do better," San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer said in a statement ahead of a Saturday gathering of immigrants and their supporters at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Too few English classes for immigrants who line up to learn

This same problem happens all over the country, such a shame. People complain that immigrants don't want to learn English, yet when they try, they can't succeed. - - Donna Poisl

By Kathleen Burge

Twice a year, when hundreds of people who want to learn English crowd into a middle school cafeteria in Framingham, many of them end up in a purgatory usually reserved for high school seniors: the waiting list.

Framingham Adult ESL Plus, the city’s largest program for teaching English as a second language, can usually offer spots to a fraction of the would-be students who apply. The competition became so intense that a few years ago, the program resorted to a lottery to award seats.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Eased Immigration Laws May Spur Growth, U.S. Chamber Report Says

All the surveys find the same numbers and the same conclusion. - - Donna Poisl

By William McQuillen

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. needs to ease restrictions on immigrants who plan to open businesses, and create a separate visa for potential entrepreneurs, according to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Current immigration laws make it difficult for people to enter the U.S. and start a business, according to the report, released today by the Chamber and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council. Expansion of the visa program would also aid companies’ access to foreign-born graduates of U.S. universities, helping economic growth, the authors of the report said.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Immigrant Children Face Uncertain Futures, Foster Care

Another reason we need immigration reform now. - - Donna Poisl

from America's Wire -- Marjorie Valbrun

WASHINGTON -- More than 5,000 children of immigrants are languishing in state foster care nationwide because their parents were living in the United States illegally and were detained or deported by federal immigration authorities.

These children can spend years in foster homes, and some are put up for adoption after termination of their parents' custody rights. With neither state nor federal officials addressing the problem, thousands more are poised to enter the child welfare system every year.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Florida could test GOP's stance on immigration

It seems that Jeb Bush is the only reasonable one in the GOP. - - Donna Poisl

By Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

MIAMI – During a speech here last year, former Florida governor Jeb Bush warned his GOP brethren to soften their tone on immigration, fearing the party was alienating the fast-growing Hispanic electorate.

Since then, GOP-dominated legislatures in Alabama, South Carolina and other states have passed strict laws cracking down on illegal immigrants. Republicans in Congress have pushed for more employment verification systems, and GOP presidential contenders have called for more border security and restrictions on illegal immigrants.

The Florida primary provides the first, albeit unique, test of that tone among Hispanics.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) Proudly Announces David Ferreira as Executive Director


WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- After an extensive search, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) announces David Ferreira as the organizations Executive Director.

With over 15 years of experience in Washington, D.C., David Ferreira is no stranger to government formation, political advocacy and Hispanic based issues. Prior to NHCSL, he was a partner at Hispanic Strategy Group, a boutique government relations firm, preceding his four year tenure as Vice President of Government Relations for the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC).

"We will continue a proud legacy of successful advocacy for the Hispanic community while further strengthening our capabilities, improve member satisfaction and place a renewed focus on the needs of the fast growing number of Latino legislators throughout nation," said David Ferreira, NHCSL Executive Director. "I am proud to be part of this organization whose critical mission is to help Hispanic legislators be more effective in their advocacy, both nationally and locally."

Representative Minnie Gonzalez (CT), NHCSL President, said Ferreira's broad range of skills, multiple facets of government relations and extensive fundraising experience can help lead the organization to greater heights.

"David Ferreira has a successful history of leadership and development in government relations that will serve NHCSL well," said Representative Gonzalez (CT), NHCSL President. "David is a valuable addition to the NHCSL executive team. Among many talented individuals, we chose David for his wide ranging experience along with his deep commitment to Hispanic political empowerment making David an exceptional asset for the NHCSL. We look forward to an exciting period with a focus on empowering our members under his leadership."

The NHCSL is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country. NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to be the most effective voice for the more than 340 Hispanic legislators. For more information visit

SOURCE National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL)

CONTACT: Nelly Robles, +1-202-434-8070

The DREAM Act under attack

from Adam Luna, America’s Voice

Right now in Florida, the Republican candidates for president are fighting over who is the least anti-immigrant.

It’s ridiculous. Mitt Romney flat-out said he would veto the DREAM Act, and Newt Gingrich says he’ll weaken it. They both want to gut the DREAM Act -- limiting its scope to only those who want to join the military.

Here’s the bottom line: there is only one DREAM Act and it includes the right to an education. Politicians who want to veto or change it are anti-immigrant. Period.

We're telling Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich that gutting the DREAM Act is anti-immigrant. Will you join us? Go to

The DREAM Act is about opportunity. It includes a path towards citizenship for DREAMers who want an education and will strengthen our economy. In the mutilated Romney/Gingrich version of the bill, young undocumented Americans can give back to their country only by enlisting in the military.

This is a critical moment for the countless young people across America whose lives depend on Congress passing the DREAM Act. We cannot let the Republican circus leave Florida and continue through the rest of the primary season thinking the DREAM Act is for sale.

There is only ONE DREAM Act, and we must protect it. Can you help?


Adam Luna
America’s Voice

The Real Meaning of “Self-Deportation”

For Immediate Release

The Real Meaning of “Self-Deportation”

January 26, 2012

Washington D.C. - The term “self-deportation” has found its way into the GOP presidential primary race, with candidate Mitt Romney outlining a vague immigration platform which includes "self-deportation," or the idea that unauthorized immigrants will voluntarily choose to leave the U.S. if life here is made unbearable enough. While "self-deportation" may be a new idea to some, those who monitor immigration policy understand that it is code for “attrition through enforcement” - a plan pursued by extremist immigration-control organizations in Congress and state houses across the nation.

Mr. Romney explains how he thinks "self-deportation" would work by saying “if people don’t get work here, they’re going to self-deport to a place they can get work.” However, as described in a forthcoming report from the Immigration Policy Center, "self-deportation" - or, more accurately, "attrition through enforcement" - goes far beyond denying unauthorized immigrants work. The strategy is currently embodied in state laws that include provisions denying education, transportation, and even basic services like water and housing to anyone who cannot prove legal immigration status. So far, the states that have attempted to roll out this plan have done little more than undermine basic human rights, devastate local economies, and place unnecessary burdens on U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants.

There is little evidence that "attrition through enforcement" is causing unauthorized immigrants to leave. In fact, a July 2011 study from the RAND Corporation found that, despite improved economic conditions in Mexico and worsened conditions in the United States, fewer Mexican immigrants returned to Mexico in 2008 and 2009 than in the two years before the recession.

The Urban Institute’s Juan Pedrozo has also pointed out that “it’s tough to tell whether (and how many) immigrants have left a community if you are looking right after a state passes a law. It can take years of evidence to test claims of a mass exodus.” Moreover, “growing evidence suggests that most immigrants (especially families with school-age children) are here to stay, except perhaps where local economies are particularly weak.”

Furthermore, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, “nearly two-thirds of the 10.2 million unauthorized adult immigrants in the United States have lived in this country for at least 10 years, and nearly half are parents of minor children,” most of whom are U.S. citizens. There is no reason to believe that they are going to “self-deport” as their ties to the country have grown much deeper.

Whether you call it “self-deportation” or “attrition through enforcement,” this is a policy that offers no genuine solution to the growing instability of our immigration system. Relying on a strategy conceived by immigration restrictionists and pursued by opportunistic politicians is no game plan. This country deserves to hear more detailed and thoughtful approaches from politicians and policy makers—ones that will offer a way forward, rather than ones grounded in divisive and punitive approaches to unauthorized immigration.


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

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

South Jersey ethnic organizations evolve to meet changing immigration trends

Dozens of ethnic groups in this area have organizations that help new immigrants assimilate. - - Donna Poisl


Cape May County's Ancient Order of Hibernians is part of an Irish-Catholic organization that has been around for 175 years, dating to before the Irish Potato Famine of the late 1840s.

Today the organization, operating out of North Wildwood, still provides a sense of identity to the county's Irish population.

South Jersey has dozens of ethnic groups with organizations that were created to support the first waves of immigrants to arrive here. Those organizations have had to adapt to changing immigration trends, but it's that ability to adapt, organizers say, that has kept their groups strong and vital and made them a significant part of the community.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Immigrants in South Carolina Confused About New Immigration Laws

The new immigration laws have immigrants scared and confused, it happens in every state with these laws. - - Donna Poisl


Mexicans in South Carolina are confused about articles in the state immigration law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, so activists have hurriedly prepared information campaigns so they’ll understand the situation and know what to do.

“Here there’s nothing but confusion and disinformation,” 44-year-old Mexican immigrant Jose Luis Cortez told Efe.

He was one of the more than 1,000 people to turn out Sunday in Columbia, South Carolina’s capital, for a visit by diplomats from the Mexican Consulate-General in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Common Sense Does Exist in Washington After All

This opinion piece calls the new immigration policy "common sense". I think that is a good name for it, and it is missing in many policies. - - Donna Poisl


Last year the administration added a revolutionary new weapon to its immigration enforcement arsenal -- common sense.

In June, John Morton, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announced that the agency would employ "prosecutorial discretion" in its enforcement of the immigration law, prioritizing the deportation of illegal immigrants who pose security risks -- dangerous criminals and terrorists. Prosecutorial discretion gives ICE agents the ability to decide how to best use finite resources to enforce the immigration law so that our communities and country are protected from those who would do us harm. Clearly, the danger to a community is less likely to come from a breast-feeding mother or gifted student than from a dangerous felon or terrorist.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Legal immigrants eligible for Massachusetts insurance plan

The state's high court has found that cutting legal immigrants out of medical assistance is discriminatory. - - Donna Poisl

By ALICIA GALLEGOS, amednews staff

Preventing legal immigrants from participating in a state medical assistance program for low-income residents is unconstitutional, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled.

The Jan. 5 decision by the state high court ended a two-year court battle between patient advocates and the state over medical care for about 35,000 Massachusetts immigrants. Arguments were heard twice by the court, both times ending in favor of the plaintiffs.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Immigrants Learn English With Their Children

This teacher teaches English to students in school classes and then teaches their parents in the cafeteria at the company where they work. - - Donna Poisl

Maryland school, business team up to teach Burmese refugee parents

June Soh | Howard County, Maryland

Tha Neih Ciang is learning vocabulary words with other immigrant students. She's among four dozen Burmese youngsters at Bollman Bridge Elementary School, which is less than an hour's drive from Washington.

Their teacher, Laurel Conran, specializes in teaching English to speakers of other languages.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

New Immigration Center Promises Easier Naturalization for Queens Immigrants

This new modern office has opened to help immigrants get through the naturalization process easier. - - Donna Poisl

By Nick Hirshon, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

LONG ISLAND CITY — A new immigration facility opened in Queens Friday amid vows of improved efficiency during the naturalization process for the nation's most diverse county.

The $3.4 million facility on Jackson Avenue will provide customer service information and handle fingerprinting, interviews, green cards and naturalization oath ceremonies for a federal agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, that oversees lawful immigration to the United States.

About 100 employees from another immigration office in Garden City, Long Island, were relocated to the new office, which occupies more than 48,000 square feet on two floors of the building.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

You are Invited to a Telebriefing To Release a New Study on the Critical Role of Immigrant Entrepreneurs to the U.S. Economy


You are Invited to a Telebriefing To Release a New Study on the Critical Role of Immigrant Entrepreneurs to the U.S. Economy

January 23, 2012

Join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council and The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. for a tele-briefing on a new report highlighting the important role of immigrant entrepreneurs to the U.S. economy. The report explores the many dimensions of economic growth, innovation, and job creation and offers recommendations for creating an entrepreneur-friendly immigration system.

The author of the report, Dr. Marcia Drew Hohn, will join the Chamber’s Randy Johnson and Immigration Council’s Benjamin Johnson to discuss the importance of these findings and highlight commonsense recommendations for encouraging immigrant entrepreneurship through changes to national law and policy.


Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director, American Immigration Council
Randy Johnson, Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration, & Employee Benefits, US Chamber of Commerce
Marcia Hohn, Director of the Public Education Institute, The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.
Mary Giovagnoli (Moderator) The Immigration Policy Center

WHAT: Tele-briefing on Immigrant Entrepreneurship

WHEN: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 2:15 – 3:00 pm. EST

HOW: Please RSVP for dial-in instructions.

RSVP: To RSVP email or 202-507-7524.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In Deportation Policy Test, 1 in 6 Offered Reprieve

This will help some families and also help the backlog of cases before the courts. - - Donna Poisl


DENVER — A review ordered by the Obama administration of virtually all 7,900 deportation cases before the immigration court here has identified about 1,300 foreigners — 16 percent — who pose no security risk and will be allowed to remain in the United States, although with no new legal status, immigration officials said Thursday.

It was a fast-paced test run of the first comprehensive docket review in the nation’s immigration courts. Department of Homeland Security officials plan to extend it in coming months to all of about 300,000 deportation cases before the courts nationwide.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Mayors urged to lead on immigration, but not to follow Arizona’s path

The U.S. Conference of Mayors was told they should work on immigration but not do what Arizona did. - - Donna Poisl

By DUSTIN VOLZ, Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – Federal inaction on comprehensive immigration reform has forced the issue on state and local leaders, but Arizona-style approaches are not the solution, a group of mayors was told Wednesday.

Local immigration laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 are a step in the wrong direction, said Angela Maria Kelley, vice president for immigration policy and advocacy for the Center for American Progress.

“As elected leaders, I implore you to stop the efforts of anti-immigrant bills,” Kelley told about 15 mayors at an immigration reform session at the U.S. Conference of Mayors convention. “It will not solve the problem of illegal immigration in your states.”
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

She Has A Dream: Undocumented Bryn Mawr student turns to activism

from Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum

South Korean-born Jessica Hyejin Lee was the kind of student colleges dream of enrolling. She excelled in her high school’s demanding International Baccalaureate program, participated in a long list of extracurricular activities, and made many friends at school. However, when college admissions time came around, Jessica – who had applied to 24 schools – was accepted into just one, with no financial aid.

Why would colleges reject such a promising student? Jessica, like thousands of other high-achieving students across the U.S., was undocumented. Her parents brought her and her younger siblings to Los Angeles in 2003 on a six-month tourist visa, to escape the rigid and stifling nature of their home country. They never returned.

Growing up, Jessica says she was really angry at her parents for bringing her to the U.S. illegally. She could not apply for a driver’s license, prestigious internships, or study abroad programs. She felt like she was living in the shadows, unable to act freely or speak openly even with her closest friends.

Today, she tears up talking about the months she spent watching her friends grow excited about their college opportunities, while rejection letters flooded her mailbox. Upon graduating from high school, Jessica wrote an appeal letter to Bryn Mawr College, where she had been wait-listed, and months later received an acceptance. She calls it a miracle.

Just last month, Jessica, now 20 years old and a junior at Bryn Mawr, blurted out her secret to an auditorium packed with professors, administration, and her fellow students. “A lot of people in admissions are worried about me getting deported,” she said. "But I’ve lived this life for eight years. My dreams and the dreams of 12 million people can’t wait anymore."

Jessica, like many Dreamers, has resolved to fight her situation and empower other undocumented immigrant students to speak out. This new year, what is your resolution? Share your hopes for 2012 with us at


Ali Noorani
Executive Director, National Immigration Forum

Girl Scouts' Chief Exec Chavez To Be Honored by US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

USHCC is awarding its Chairman's Award to the head of the Girl Scouts of the USA. - - Donna Poisl


With the country caught up in its yearly "Girl Scout Cookie fever," it's a great time to look at the program, which helps shape young women into the leaders of tomorrow, and the chief executive currently guiding the Girl Scouts of the USA: Anna Maria Chavez.

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) today announced it would honor Anna Maria Chavez with its 2012 Chairman's Award at an event titled "A Celebration of Women Entrepreneurship in America" during the Chamber's Legislative Summit gala. The Summit will take place in Washington, D.C., on March 21-23, 2012, at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Offering a path to legalization for illegal immigrants could mean a local tax windfall

Our federal and state governments are all losing tax payments because many illegal immigrants are working illegally. Some taxes are paid but many are not. - - Donna Poisl


A report by the Greater Houston Partnership estimated that legalizing Houston-area undocumented workers would generate about $1.4 billion annually in tax revenue ("Study sees tax boon in legalization," Page A1, Jan. 11). This report, which was announced during an immigration summit at Rice University, is another piece of evidence in support of comprehensive immigration reform.

The business advocacy group, using data from the Texas Workforce Commission and the Pew Hispanic Center, estimated that there are 132,000 illegal immigrants in the Houston area, earning about $7 billion in 2008.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Takes Steps to Improve Noncitizens’ Access to Legal Counsel

For Immediate Release

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Takes Steps to Improve Noncitizens’ Access to Legal Counsel

January 19, 2011

Washington D.C. – During its nine-year history, issues have arisen with respect to restrictions on counsel by the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration agencies. Tuesday, in response to calls from the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued immediate, comprehensive changes to their policies to ensure an appropriate role for attorneys in the immigration process.

Many noncitizens are forced to navigate the immigration process without representation because they cannot afford an attorney. But even persons who can afford one, or are represented by a pro bono attorney, have at times faced severe restrictions on their representation. This is particularly troublesome given the significant power USCIS officers wield. For example, they decide whether a noncitizen is entitled to stay in the U.S. or not. The assistance of an attorney well versed in the complexities of immigration law can help safeguard the rights of these noncitizens and ensure just outcomes.

By revising its guidance, USCIS has responded to some of the most serious access concerns. For example, the new guidance provides that an attorney generally may sit next to his or her client during an interview, may be permitted to submit relevant documents to the USCIS officer, and may raise objections to inappropriate lines of questioning.

The American Immigration Council looks forward to commenting on the new guidance and working with the agency to make sure it is followed. The other immigration agencies – Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – should take note of USCIS’s commitment to improving access to counsel and take similar steps to recognize the meaningful role that attorneys play in protecting noncitizens’ rights.

To view the guidance click on the headline above:

The Role of Private Attorneys and Other Representatives; Revisions to Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) Chapters 12 and 15; AFM Update AD11-42

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sign up for refugee email digests

Sign up for HIAS' Digests

HIAS' email digests are a great way to learn about international Jewish and refugee issues.
The Latin America Refugee Digest, sent monthly, and the
Mid-East Refugee Digest and the
Lautenberg Amendment Digest, each distributed weekly, will keep you up to date on some of HIAS' priority issues of concern.

Click on the headline or go to

Video: Alabama's H.B. 56 on The Colbert Report

from Mahwish Khan, America’s Voice

Last night on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert interviewed Scott Douglas of Greater Birmingham Ministries about the worst anti-immigrant law in the country, Alabama’s H.B. 56.

Click the headline above to watch Stephen Colbert and Scott Douglas take on H.B. 56 or go to

With Colbert’s unique ability to use humor to highlight serious situations (like the conditions in Alabama, for example), this conversation with Scott Douglas demonstrates just how disastrous H.B. 56 is for our country and how ridiculous it is for Alabama.

Be sure to check it out.

Mahwish Khan
America’s Voice

P.S. The Alabama legislative session begins in just three weeks and we’re gearing up for the big fight to repeal H.B. 56. We’ll be sure to keep you posted about how you can stay involved and help us.

Immigration law's wrinkle keeps man in Davis, may help others

This loophole in the immigration laws helped this man stay here. Maybe more can use it too. - - Donna Poisl

By Stephen Magagnini

Davis waiter Rogelio Servin entered deportation proceedings in San Francisco earlier this month and came home a legal resident, thanks to a little-used wrinkle in immigration law.

Servin, 32, was a boy when he came here from Mexico with his family without documentation. After 20 years worrying about whether he might be deported, he rushed home after the decision to celebrate with his wife, Juana, daughters Diamond and Princess, and Romeo, his baby boy.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

RI police seek to help immigrants adjust to U.S.

This is an excellent idea, many of these people probably fear the police, and this will solve more than one problem. - - Donna Poisl

by Steven Martens

For immigrants unfamiliar with the laws and customs, and who have a limited ability to speak or read English, adjusting to life in the United States can be challenging.

Refugees from the Asian nations of Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar (formerly Burma) were invited to meet Saturday with representatives of the Rock Island Police Department and the Community Caring Conference as part of a program to help the new residents better understand and adjust to the city.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Bishops Urge Catholics to Promote Humane Immigration Reform

A recent conference discussed immigration and how the Catholic church and its people should act. - - Donna Poisl

from Fox News Latino

Catholics should be politically active at both the local and national level to promote a humane reform of immigration law is the message coming out of a conference in Salt Lake City sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

"The USCCB doesn't support any state immigration accord, though the dioceses and the state Catholic bishops conferences have done so," Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy and public affairs for the USCCB, told Efe from the Utah capital.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Arizona DREAM Act Coalition (ADAC) Calls Out Mitt Romney



Arizona DREAM Act Coalition (ADAC) Calls Out Mitt Romney
Accountability Campaign to Begin in Florida by Latino Voters and Dreamers

Phoenix, Arizona - The Arizona Dream Act Coalition (ADAC) announces an accountability campaign during the GOP Presidential Party. The ADAC is the oldest and largest immigrant youth-led organization in the State of Arizona. "For years laws have passed in this state that has taken away our merit-based scholarships, taken away our freedoms, taken away our friends and families. In 2011 we learned that civic engagement is the next step in our movement. We will have a voice in the most important election of 2012," says Dulce Matuz, current President of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition.

The race for the GOP Presidential Nomination has included various statements from front-runners in regards to immigration. The ADAC commended Governor Rick Perry for defending his support of the Texas Dream Act, which most Texas voters also support. Newt Gingrich's willingness to have a conversation about immigration reform is also noteworthy. "There have been some good statements by candidates but it's sad to see some of them backtrack on their positions. But even Perry and Gingrich seem to have a better approach to immigration than Governor Mitt Romney," states Carmen Cornejo, long-time advocate.

Governor Romney, the leading Republican Presidential candidate, stated he would veto the Dream Act, calling it a "hand-out" and "more benefits for free." "His comments are misguided, crafted to appeal to the most extremist wing of his party", said Matuz, "he cannot win the Latino vote and Presidency by attacking students that are integrated, educated and represent fundamental values of the American Dream".

"Dreamers need to hold politicians accountable, whether they are democrat or republican," says Daniel Rodriguez, co-founder of the ADAC and an organizer of the Romney Accountability Campaign. "We will hold Romney accountable and also remind President Obama that while we appreciate his leadership on the Dream Act, he needs to step up his efforts to protect immigrant youth at a time of record-breaking deportations." The ADAC intends to organize accountability events in every state during the GOP Primary Race beginning in late January in Florida.

Media Contacts:
Dulce Matuz

Daniel Rodriguez
(623) 206-42432

Carmen Cornejo

What Does Your State’s Immigrant, Latino and Asian Population Look Like?


What Does Your State’s Immigrant, Latino and Asian Population Look Like?
Immigration Policy Center Updates 50 State Fact Sheets and Infographics (click on headline)

January 12, 2012
Washington D.C. - Today, the Immigration Policy Center is pleased to re-release our 50 state fact sheets updated with the most current government and academic data available. In addition to the fact sheets, we have added 50 state infographics which highlight the top data points of each state in a graphic format.

The fact sheets and infographics are a synthesis of current government and academic data which highlight the growing economic and political power of immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in each of the 50 states. These materials are free for download, printing and distribution, and can be shared via social media or on your website.

Click the headline above to find your state’s infographic.

To view all of the fact sheets and infographics see:
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians State by State (IPC Fact Sheets, January, 2012)

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

Teleconference about farm workers and immigration policy


The Connection Between Farm Workers and Immigration Policy

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The following is being released today by Bread for the World:

WHAT: Teleconference about farm workers and immigration policy

WHEN: Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 11 a.m. EST

WHERE: 1-877-419-7892. Conference Access Code: 119604#

WHO: Andrew Wainer, immigration policy analyst for Bread for the World Institute.

WHY: Bread for the World Institute examines the disparities and contradictions between U.S. agricultural and immigration policies. Most of the farm labor is done by immigrant workers, many of whom are not authorized to work in this country.

Bread for the World Institute's paper, "Farm Workers and Immigration Policy," is part of the 2012 Hunger Report. The farm worker fact sheet recommends a shift in agricultural policies to improve efficiency on the farms, encourage production and distribution of healthy foods, support rural development, and help farmers manage risk more efficiently.

"Many of these workers have been living in the United States for decades and are highly skilled laborers with lots of experience, but they have a constant fear of being deported," said Wainer. "The average age of a U.S. farm worker is 57. Very few young people are interested in following this profession, and those workers who have been doing this for years lack the protection of the law."

Farmers say the process to secure H-2A visas—the federal program that allows immigrant agricultural workers to legally work in this country—for their laborers is too complex and time-consuming. Many are reluctant to petition for visas for their workers if hiring unauthorized workers is easier.

Bread for the World ( is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

SOURCE Bread for the World

NOTE: To RSVP, please contact Isabel Morales at (202) 681-1770 or, or Racine Tucker-Hamilton at (202) 688-1138 or

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Next Immigration Challenge

This op-ed shows more reasons why we need immigration reform and more immigrants too. - - Donna Poisl


Los Angeles -- THE immigration crisis that has roiled American politics for decades has faded into history. Illegal immigration is shrinking to a trickle, if that, and will likely never return to the peak levels of 2000. Just as important, immigrants who arrived in the 1990s and settled here are assimilating in remarkable and unexpected ways.

Taken together, these developments, and the demographic future they foreshadow, require bold changes in our approach to both legal and illegal immigration. Put simply, we must shift from an immigration policy, with its emphasis on keeping newcomers out, to an immigrant policy, with an emphasis on encouraging migrants and their children to integrate into our social fabric. “Show me your papers” should be replaced with “Welcome to English class.”
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Republican Snyder Woos Immigrants to Refill Depopulated Michigan

Michigan lost much of its population during the recession, the governor is trying to get more people to move in. - - Donna Poisl

By Chris Christoff

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Michigan Governor Rick Snyder calls himself the most pro-immigration governor in the country, and he’s out to prove it.

Other Republican governors in Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina are embroiled in political tumult over their efforts to weed out illegal immigrants. Snyder assigned agencies to woo educated immigrants to the only state that lost population in the 2010 U.S. census. He’s called well-educated, skilled foreigners crucial to building Michigan’s economy.

“I view it as education, to explain the facts to people,” Snyder said in an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit yesterday. “They’re not taking jobs, they’re creating jobs.”
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Conference of Bishops holding immigration forum in Utah

This forum is discussing humane ways to deal with immigration. We need this! - - Donna Poisl

BY DAVID MONTERO, The Salt Lake Tribune

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will hold a three-day conference on immigration reform in Salt Lake City beginning Wednesday, tackling state-initiated laws and how they impact local communities.

Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy with the USCCB, said Utah was chosen because of its “unique laws” related to state-based immigration reform as well as it being the home of The Utah Compact.

The compact, signed in November 2010 by political, religious and business leaders, was crafted as a foundation for a humane approach to immigration reform that focused on compassion, a recognition of economic contributions of immigrants and a desire for federal solutions. It has served as a template for compacts in Indiana, Maine and Iowa.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.


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

Immigration system gets fixes in small steps

I guess we should be thankful for even these tiny fixes, they are better than none. - - Donna Poisl


Bit by bit, inch by inch, the Obama Administration is taking baby steps to mend a broken immigration system.

The time for a real fix has long passed, but that effort appears all but dead. In the meantime, the best we can do is cheer on small changes that make for a more humane — a more American — immigration system. By highlighting the perversity of the current immigration maze, a compelling case can be made for wholesale change.

The latest baby step is a proposed rule announced Friday that would fix a devilishly unfair and burdensome policy that punishes legal citizens who have a spouse or a child who is an illegal immigrant.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Assimilation study

This study has some points to pay attention to since we are a multicultural country. - - Donna Poisl

Researchers find majority and minority groups seek to protect their own identities

from UDaily

White Americans generally believe that members of minority groups should assimilate into the majority culture, rather than maintaining a distinct identity. That view changes, however, when they find themselves in a setting where they're the ones in the minority.

That's one of the findings in a new study by researchers at the University of Delaware and other institutions, published in the Association for Psychological Science journal Psychological Science, the highest ranked empirical journal in the field.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Assimilation Tomorrow, How America’s Immigrants Will Integrate by 2030

Click on the headline to read this new report from the Center for American Progress by Dowell Myers and John Pitkin

Immigrants, Assimilation and the New Economy

This new report brought memories to this author about her own immigrant family experiences. - - Donna Poisl


OUT OF FRYING PAN - A recent report, “Assimilation Tomorrow: How Immigrants Will Integrate by 2030,” published by the Center for American Progress (CAP) is a very important read despite its rather dry title. It is an economic crystal ball that focuses on measuring the ability of immigrants to assimilate into American society.

Not surprisingly to those of us who have grown up in immigrant families and/or lean to the progressive side, immigrants have been and are integrating, whether it be through home ownership, naturalization, learning English or other ways of contributing to society’s well-being and need for diversity.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Gov. Cuomo proposes new state office to help refugees and immigrants with citizenship, jobs and more

New immigrants and refugees need lots of help after they are here, there are so many new and strange things to learn and discover. - - Donna Poisl

By Michelle Breidenbach / The Post-Standard

In the fine print of his State of the State message last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would create an Office for New Americans to help immigrants on the path to citizenship and jobs.

Cuomo did not say much about the promise, but it is already welcome news to refugees and other immigrants who are trying to gain traction in Syracuse.

The Rev. Blessed Sikhosana, a U.S. immigrant from Zimbabwe and an advocate for refugees, said America is doing a good job of rescuing people from violence and famine in many countries. But once the refugees arrive, the government needs to pay better attention to language and cultural differences and the emotional and medical needs that come from trauma in war-torn countries.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Nominate an Outstanding Immigrant Youth by 2/1


Immigrant Youth Achievement Award Nomination Deadline February 1, 2012.

In a media fueled environment where the label “immigrant” has taken on such negative and hateful qualities, the American Immigration Council works to combat these stereotypes by holding up exemplary youth in our communities as examples of the positive contributions young immigrants are making in our country everyday. The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award recognizes a young immigrant in the United States whose accomplishments are the embodiment of the immigrant spirit and show a commitment to making a positive impact in their community or the world around them.

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

In determining the selection of a nominee to receive the American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award, the selection committee will use the following criteria:
The honoree must be between the ages of 14 and 25 years of age;
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 the evening of Thursday, March 29, 2012. 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.

Application Procedure:
Please forward your nominee’s name, address, age, immigration history, and how long they have been living in the United States to Megan Hess at Please include a thorough synopsis of their contributions and achievements. Additional documentation (newspaper articles, etc) is encouraged.

All nominations must be received by 5:00pm EST on February 1, 2012.

Please note it is required that the honoree attend the Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards the evening of Thursday, March 29, 2012.

The nominees will be reviewed by the American Immigration Council. An invitation will be extended by February 10, 2012.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In Seminar, US Undergraduates Help Asylum Seekers

This wonderful program helps refugees and immigrants and also the students. - - Donna Poisl

By: MARYCLAIRE DALE | Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) A few years after leaving Franklin and Marshall College's leafy campus in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, alumna Kristen Stephen and Morgan Marks reconnected last month at an apartment on a gritty North Philadelphia street.
Inside, a 25-year-old woman from Sierra Leone rocked her new baby and mixed warm tea with cocoa for her 3-year-old as the college friends recalled the life-changing day in 2007 they had met the woman at the York County Prison.

"I was scared out of my mind walking into that prison. And she's in there with women who have actually committed crimes," Marks said. "She was just turning 20, younger than us. ... I couldn't imagine myself reversing roles."

The woman was seeking asylum. Marks, 25, and Stephen, 26, were assigned to help her case as part of a unique seminar at F&M called Human Rights/Human Wrongs.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Opponents fall short of challenging California Dream Act

The California DREAM Act will stay in force, not enough people against it. - - Donna Poisl


(Reuters) - Organizers have failed to gather enough signatures for a California voter initiative aimed at barring illegal immigrants from receiving public aid for college, a leader of the campaign said on Friday.

The petition drive led by state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican, took aim at 2011 legislation known as the California Dream Act.

The first part of the legislation signed into law in July by Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, allowed illegal immigrants to receive privately funded college scholarships.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Tweak in Rule to Ease a Path to Green Card

This law will help families stay together while trying to get legal residency. - - Donna Poisl


Obama administration officials announced on Friday they are proposing a fix to a Catch-22 in immigration law that could spare hundreds of thousands of American citizens from prolonged separations from illegal immigrant spouses and children.

Although the regulatory tweak appears small, lawyers said it would mean that many Americans will no longer be separated for months or years from family members pursuing legal residency. Even more citizens could be encouraged to come forward to bring illegal immigrant relatives into the system, they said.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Ga. ag chief: Congress must fix immigration system

New anti-immigrant state laws are hurting our own farmers the most, a national law would be the only way to help them now. - - Donna Poisl

by Ray Henry

(AP) ATLANTA — Congress must make a national guest worker program that's easier for farmers to use now that states including Georgia have passed laws targeting illegal immigrants that threaten possible labor shortages in the fields, Georgia's agriculture commissioner said Tuesday.

Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black's main recommendation came in a report that lawmakers required his office to produce last year when they joined with Arizona, Alabama and other states in passing harsh laws targeting illegal immigrants. Georgia's main farm lobbying groups opposed the move, arguing that immigration should be left to the federal government and that a crackdown would scare away migrant workers needed to harvest crops in the state's largest economic sector.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Future of Anti-Immigrant State Laws on the Line for 2012

The negative economic legacy and the political price will, hopefully, make conservatives reconsider before enacting similar laws. - - Donna Poisl

New America Media, News Report, Valeria Fernández

PHOENIX, Ariz.—The year 2011 started out as a tough year for immigrants, with five states enacting harsh anti-immigration legislation modeled after Arizona’s SB 1070. But one by one, the key provisions of each of these laws – like the Arizona law that inspired them – have been blocked by federal judges.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to the temporary stay of her state’s law. The fate of SB 1070 – and possibly those of the copycat laws it inspired in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Indiana and Utah – hangs in the balance.

A showdown in 2012 between Arizona and the federal government over SB 1070 may provide crucial guidance for other federal courts on newer state laws that are moving through the system.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Many Illegal immigrants pay taxes they'll likely never see again

Billions of dollars are paid every year by immigrants using fake Social Security numbers. They will never get the benefits from it. - - Donna Poisl

Lisa Loevsky

PASCO, Wash. -- While there is a misconception illegal immigrants don't pay taxes, new figures released from the social security administration show otherwise.

Social Security officials keep a record of wages that do not match up with real names and numbers in their system. The record is called the earnings suspense file. Most of the taxes taken out, will likely never be returned to these workers in the future.

In 2009, the last year for which figures are available, employers reported wages of $72.8 billion for 7.7 million workers who could not be matched to legal Social Security numbers.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Monday, January 09, 2012

In Alabama, a church sees its Latino brethren vanish

Here is another group losing members because of the harsh new laws. - - Donna Poisl

By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Tallassee, Ala. — The small group, six Mexican men and a woman from Guatemala, sang No. 619 in the hymnal with a force that belied their number:

"Alabad a Jehova! Naciones todas, pueblos todos …"
Praise God! All nations, all people ...

They had come this Sunday morning to pray, as they always do, at Riverside Heights Baptist Church, out beyond Rosehill Cemetery, where the graves of Civil War dead are marked with tattered Confederate flags.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Obama administration sets up new hotline for immigration detainees

In case immigrant detainees need help, there is a government hotline for them to call. - - Donna Poisl

By Nick Valencia, CNN

In the latest volley between the federal government and states pushing anti-illegal-immigration laws, the Obama administration announced Thursday it was establishing a new hotline for immigration detainees who feel they "may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime."

The 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week hotline is part of a "broader effort to improve our immigration enforcement process and prioritize resources to focus on threats to public safety, (on) repeat immigration law violators, recent border entrants, and immigration fugitives while continuing to strengthen oversight of the nation's immigration detention system and facilitate legal immigration," a news release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said.
Click on the headline above to read the rest of this story and get the hotline number! This is only a small part of the story.

HIAS Regina Spektor Benefit Concert 2/23/12

from HIAS

Regina Spektor, one of our generation's leading singer-songwriters, will be performing a special concert to benefit HIAS on February 23rd, 2012, at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York City. Since immigrating through HIAS in 1989, the Russian-born Jewish singer-songwriter and pianist has sold out concerts around the globe. Regina returns to the limelight with this special concert, closely followed by the release of her new album "What We Saw From The Cheap Seats."

Tickets are on sale starting January 9th at:
Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office
Broadway at 60th Street, Ground Floor
Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm
CenterCharge 212-721-6500
Tickets start at $55, and there are only 1,200 seats available, so be sure to get yours early.

Join us as Regina lends her voice to support HIAS and its mission to rescue, resettle, and reunite vulnerable refugees, so they may live in dignity and freedom.

New procedure change could keep more families together

from Donna De La Cruz, Reform Immigration FOR America

Last month, we resolved to make 2012 the year for immigrant families -- the year we show our united strength to defend our communities from the threats of the broken, unjust American immigration system.

Today, the administration is proposing changes that would keep hundreds of thousands of families together.

Imagine this scenario: your father leaves home to apply for his US visa -- and finds himself barred from returning. Or your wife, finalizing her application to gain a visa, is stuck waiting months across the border, with no form of recourse.

Situations like these are reality for hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their families. It’s a catch-22 in the American immigration system: if you return to your country of origin to apply for a visa, you trigger a bar of 3 or even 10 years that prevents you from coming back to the US.

The administration is proposing family unity waivers that would allow spouses and children of US citizens to file for visas while remaining in the US.

Today's announcement is welcome news. This reform could prevent parents from missing a decade of their children’s lives, and spouses from facing years without the support and care of their partners. There’s nothing abstract about potentially sparing hundreds of thousands of individuals from being separated from their families for years.

Read more about what these changes mean and how you can join in our commitment to make 2012 the year for even more common-sense reform to keep families together.

With hope,

Donna De La Cruz
Reform Immigration FOR America

Jose Garza to Present Oral Argument to U.S. Supreme Court in Texas Redistricting Case


WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Today, at 1 P.M., the Supreme Court will hear Perry v. Perez, a case in which the state of Texas used redistricting gerrymandering techniques to delineate districts that dilutes Latino voting strength, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments. Long-time LULAC attorney Jose Garza will argue for all plaintiffs, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the interim maps drawn by the Texas Federal Court.

"In 1965, the federal government created an institutional mechanism, the Voting Rights Act, to prevent further infringement of minority voting rights due to the state's history of abuses," stated LULAC President Margaret Moran. "This act has been violated since the maps drawn by the state reduced the opportunity of Latino voters to participate in the political process in Texas. The Voting Rights Act was extended to Texas in 1975 and was retroactive to the 1970 redistricting maps."

"Texas has issued objections in every redistricting map for every decade since the 1970s," stated LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes. "We at LULAC trust that the Supreme Court Justices will agree with the evidence and will continue to protect and uphold minority voting rights."

The Texas Legislature used 2010 Census information without consideration of the Latino population growth to create inadequate maps for Congress, State Senate, and State House of Representatives. These maps have been challenged in court. Investigations have found that the state established district lines in such a way that reduce the voting power of the overwhelming presence of Latinos in Texas. Retrogression is alleged in Nueces, Harris, Dallas, Travis, Tarrant, Hidalgo, and Cameron Counties.

Maps must be drawn with zero deviation for Congress and with less than 10% deviation from perfect population equality. Texas has ignored the precedent found in 2004 Supreme Court case Larios v. Cox 159 L. Ed. 2d 831, 833 whereby 7 - 10% deviation in maps was still found as infringing minority voting rights. The Texas House districting plan adopted by the Texas House of Representatives has a total or top to bottom deviation of 9.9%.

Section Five of the Voting Rights Act requires that legislative-drawn maps be pre-cleared by the Department of Justice before they are put into effect. Because the state's map has not yet been cleared, it cannot go into effect and be used in the 2012 election. This will delay voting in primary elections in the state of Texas.

For more than twenty years, Jose Garza has represented LULAC in civil rights abuses that affect the Latino community. In this case, he was the attorney for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus of Texas, a case that joined with LULAC to fight the transgressions of the Texas Legislature.

Attorney Paul Clement will represent the defendant in this case. In the past, he has defended Arizona's unconstitutional law S.B. 1070, as well as, Congress's prohibition against federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

SOURCE League of United Latin American Citizens

CONTACT: Paloma Zuleta, +1-202-812-4477,

The Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Coalition Applauds the Proposed Administrative fix to our Nation's Immigration Procedures


LOS ANGELES, Jan. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform coalition stands for family values and family unity ( CfCIR believes that the recently announced administrative proposal to amend the waiver process for certain immigrant family members will solve one of our outdated immigration issues, and will go a long way toward solving a small but serious part of our Nation's immigration problems.

Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the nation's largest Christian Hispanic organization ( and CfCIR member, stated, "We applaud and commend the administration for taking the appropriate steps in protecting immigrant families. The decision makes economic and practical sense. Family unification stands as a firewall against many social ills. As a community committed to faith and family, this decision serves as an extension of our Judeo Christian values."

"While this is not comprehensive reform, or even the DREAM Act, it is still an important step forward in the right direction and will help to keep many families united," said, Dr. Juan Hernandez, Co-Founder of CfCIR. "Perhaps this proposal will spur some of the additional reforms that our immigration system needs so desperately."

Robert Gittelson, Co-Founder of CfCIR, stated, "This 'tweak' to our immigration system will help thousands of immigrant families to remain united during their legalization process, and we applaud this common sense approach. Our laws are antiquated, and in serious need of a comprehensive updating. CIR is fundamentally a series of such tweaks that will improve border security, workplace security, and alleviate many of the causes of illegal immigration. However, ultimately we need Congress to get together in a bi-partisan method to bring our immigration system into the 21st century."

"CfCIR is motivated and committed to helping to solve the nation's immigration problems," Gittelson concluded. "This narrow regulatory adjustment will preserve family unity, and streamline a clogged immigration process. Therefore, we applaud this action, but urge our leaders to please put politics aside, and come together to address a long-needed and meaningful reform of America's immigration policies."

SOURCE Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

CONTACT: Robert Gittelson, +1-818-481-0671, or Juan Hernandez, +1-817-676-4090, both for Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

LULAC Supports Immigration Proposal by the Obama Administration That Will Have a Significant Impact on Countless Numbers of American Families


WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Today, the Citizenship and Immigration Services will publish a formal notice in the Federal Register of a new regulation that would allow for undocumented immigrants to obtain a provisional waiver in the U.S. before they leave for their country of origin to pick up their green cards. The waiver will allow the undocumented immigrant to have certainty that they will be allowed to return to the U.S. in a short period of time. Under the law, an undocumented immigrant who is married to an American citizen or is a child of American citizens, is eligible to become a permanent resident but a hurdle in the law required that they must first return to their country of origin to pick up their green card and wait until their waiver to return to the U.S was approved.

"For thousands of American families returning to their country of origin meant tearing the family apart for an undetermined amount of time because once they left the U.S., they were barred from returning for at least three years with little certainty that a waiver would be granted at all," said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. "We thank the Obama Administration for a remedy that we have long advocated for that will have a positive impact for undocumented immigrants that are completely eligible to have legal status."

The agency proposes to grant a provisional waiver in the U.S. before the undocumented person leaves the U.S. to pick up their green cards and thus avoid a prolonged and unnecessary separation from their loved ones. The regulatory process calls for a comment period before the agency can publish the rule.

"While this is no substitute for comprehensive immigration reform, it's a step in the right direction and we encourage the Obama Administration to grant relief to other undocumented immigrants who are also eligible for legal status," said LULAC Executive Director, Brent Wilkes. "We have long sought relief for immigrants who have legal avenues to become legal residents of the U.S. and while we applaud the Administration we also hope for immigrants that are not married to an American citizen, or are not children of American citizens to be granted eligibility in the near term as well."

About LULAC: The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating through 900 LULAC councils nationwide. For more information, visit

SOURCE League of United Latin American Citizens
CONTACT: Paloma Zuleta, +1-202-812-4477,

Proposed Rule Change Will Unify Families Subject to 3 and 10 Year Bars

For Immediate Release

January 6, 2012

Washington D.C. - Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a proposal to streamline the application process for the spouses and children of U.S. citizens currently eligible for legal permanent resident status, minimizing the amount of time that applicants would have to be separated from their families. Under current procedures, thousands of persons who qualify for legal status must leave the U.S. to obtain their permanent resident status, but as soon as they leave, they are immediately barred from re-entering for 3 or 10 years if they have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 180 days. Many are eligible for a family unity waiver, but under current rules (not law), the waiver can only be applied for from overseas. Because that process can often take many months and even years, it is believed that many otherwise eligible applicants do not apply for legal permanent resident status, remaining unauthorized in the U.S. rather than risk lengthy separation from their families.

Published in the Federal Register today, the proposal—or, at this point, a “notice of intent to issue a rule”— recognizes this Catch-22 by revising the procedures for determining the family unity waivers for spouses and children of U.S. citizens. However, the rule change will not cover spouses and children of legal permanent residents. Under this “in-country processing” proposal, which must still go through the formal rule-making process, spouses and children of U.S. citizens who apply for legal permanent residence and need a family unity waiver to re-enter the U.S. will be allowed to apply for the waiver without first leaving. This process does not alter or revise eligibility standards and only affects persons whose sole need for a waiver is based on having been in the U.S. without authorization.

This “in-country processing” proposal would permit USCIS to grant a provisional waiver, eliminating the often prolonged wait that many applicants currently face when they seek a waiver outside the U.S. Although applicants would still be required to depart from the U.S. before receiving final approval on their application, pre-processing of the family unity waiver will encourage applicants to come forward and create a faster and safer means for processing applications.

The emphasis on safety is particularly important, given the large number of applications processed in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a city that has been wracked with violence in recent years. Numerous cases of violence against persons waiting for their waivers have been reported, increasing the urgency of implementing the new rule quickly. For other applicants, the streamlined process will minimize the time away from family members, reducing the possibility of economic and other hardships caused by long separations.

Our current immigration laws are riddled with inconsistent and conflicting provisions which have the absurd result of discouraging legal immigration. Some of the most notorious are the bars to returning to the U.S. after a period of unlawful presence, even if a person has a legitimate relationship to a U.S. citizen. Today's announcement does not eliminate the bars, but it recognizes that there is no practical reason for forcing the spouses and children of U.S. citizens to wait outside the country for months or even years while their application for a waiver is pending.

According to Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, “By proposing new rules for processing waiver applications for spouses and children of U.S. citizens, USCIS has shown a commitment to addressing one of the most notorious implementation problems in our current immigration system. Improving this system, within the framework of the law, is the legitimate role of any administration. We commend USCIS for embarking on this rule change and its other attempts to bring efficiencies and fairness to the immigration system.”


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

Research into immigrant workers: take the survey by Jan. 15

I received this email from a university student in the UK researching immigrants in the USA. Please click on the headline and complete the short survey and possibly win $100. - - Donna Poisl

from Charlotte Clark

I am a college student conducting research for my dissertation and I need to survey immigrants in the US. I have designed a short survey (8 questions, takes 5-10 minutes) and as a reward for completing it people can enter to win $100. I am not getting as many responses as hoped, so maybe you could post a link on your blog or ask any immigrants you know in your personal life if they'd be willing to complete it? It'd mean a lot to me and really help my research. I need responses ideally by January 15. The survey doesn't ask for any personal or sensitive information. You can see it here: Let me know if you can help.

Thank you,
Charlotte Clark