Monday, April 23, 2012

Big immigration news

from Frank Sharry, America’s Voice Education Fund

This week, all eyes will once again be on SB 1070. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the Arizona law and will soon decide whether to strike it down forever, or open the door to Arizona laws across the country.

Exactly two years ago today, Governor Jan Brewer signed Arizona’s now-infamous “show me your papers” anti-immigrant legislation -- SB 1070 -- into law.

SB 1070 is an attempt to purge the state of Latino immigrants.  Fortunately, most parts of the law have been blocked by lower courts. Nonetheless, other states, like Alabama, followed suit crafting laws that go even further.  Now it’s up to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not to legalize discrimination and harassment.

It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of this moment for the civil and human rights of immigrants in America as well as of millions of Latinos, Asians, and other minorities.  And, yet, many of our friends and relatives don’t know this case is happening, let alone how widespread its impact will be.

We need to make sure the Court, the media, and our members of Congress know what’s at stake with this Supreme Court decision. Click here to join our SB 1070 Rapid Response Team.

If the Court sides with Arizona, it will be nothing short of devastating.  It would clear a path for Arizona to start enforcing the worst aspects of its law, and for states across the country to pass their own Arizona and Alabama copycat laws. It would legalize racial profiling in order to pursue an ugly strategy of mass expulsion.

We fought back in Arizona.  We’re still fighting back in Alabama.  But the future of these bills -- and all copycat bills in the future -- will be decided by the Supreme Court.  And the oral argument will be heard Wednesday, April 25th.

We need your help.  On Wednesday, we need to be prepared to spread the truth about the dangers of laws like SB 1070 and HB 56. Help us get the word out on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to join our social media rapid response team.

Thanks for taking a stand.

Frank Sharry
America’s Voice Education Fund

Mark your Calendars - THURS 4/26 4pm: National Call on Supreme Court AZ Case

from Shuya Ohno, National Field Organizer, National Immigration Forum

Please mark your calendar and join us this Thursday, April 26th at 4pm Eastern on an important national State of Play to hear from legal experts who will have attended the upcoming Supreme Court hearing on AZ's SB1070.

This week, the nation's attention will turn to immigration as the Supreme Court hears arguments on the Department of Justice's challenge to Arizona's discriminatory anti-immigrant law, SB 1070.

Undeterred by the cold and the rain in Washington DC today, faith leaders stood outside the Supreme Court to launch a 48 hour vigil to bring attention to the discriminatory law that the Court will be considering on Wednesday. There are events around the country this week, culminating in large rallies in DC and in Phoenix, where leaders and community members will stand up to deliver the message that AZ's SB1070 is discriminatory, immoral, and unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court's decision will impact all of us, in every state and community across the country. The decision will determine whether our 50 states can enact 50 different sets of immigration laws, and whether legislators practicing the politics of fear and hate will continue to abuse our communities or be forced to stop their legislative attacks.

Please join this important national call to discuss what happened, what we need to know, and what we need to do to take action together.

Please join us:
Thurday, April 26th at 4 p.m. Eastern, 3pm Central, 2pm Mountain, and 1pm Pacific.

Please call: 1-800-895-0231. Your conference title and password is "SCOTUS."

(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
National Immigration Forum

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Opinion: Controversial immigration law heads to court this week

Arguments will be heard for and against SB 1070 and the decision will come back this summer.   - - Donna Poisl


THE U.S. Supreme Court case over Arizona’s latest anti-immigration law, scheduled for a hearing next week, hinges largely on the question of where states’ power over immigration ends and federal power begins. But in a sign of how contentious the case is, many states are supporting the federal government instead of Arizona.

Eleven states, all represented by Democratic attorneys general, warned the justices that Arizona’s law reached too far and undermined the immigration policy of the United States. However much Arizona may disagree with federal policies on immigration enforcement, they wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief, “It cannot operate its own unilateral removal policy outside of any federal oversight.”
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Push to make immigrants citizens in time to vote

Everyone who can vote, should, but sadly, many don't. New citizens should learn how valuable their votes are.    - - Donna Poisl

from Associated Press

Cambridge, Mass. -- A coalition of groups supporting immigrants has recruited teams of volunteers to help push programs they hope will add thousands of new U.S. citizens to the voter rolls in several states in time for the November presidential election.
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
New HISD approach in teaching English shows signs of success

Houston schools are using a new model to teach English to students who know little or no English and it is working quite well.    - - Donna Poisl

By Susan Carroll

The middle school teacher moved from desk to desk in a portable classroom on the city's southwest side, helping students read a second-grade-level story about a butterfly and a moth.

"Look at your pictures," teacher Joan Marshall cajoled the 13 newly arrived immigrant and refugee students, who all speak little or no English. "See if you can think of a sentence."

Hands shot up high. Razqia Al Tuma, 12, from Iraq, bounced in her seat, waiting to be called on.

"The … moth … is … small," a boy from an indigenous tribe in Mexico said slowly.

The other children clapped.
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Marco Rubio's Dream Act: A nightmare for immigrants

This article compares Rubio's Dream Act and the original DREAM Act.    - - Donna Poisl

By Raul A. Reyes

In her April 18 Times Op-Ed article, "How Romney could win over Latinos," Tamar Jacoby urges Mitt Romney to support Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) immigration bill, which she dubs "Dream 2.0," saying it would be "good for Romney, good for Republicans, good for many hopeful young immigrants and good for America." Yet she presents a misleading picture of this proposal, which would present a dead end for undocumented youth and betray the American values of assimilation and equality.  

The original federal Dream Act was designed to allow undocumented youth who were brought here as children a path to citizenship, provided they either served in the military or attended college. The new version gives these youth only a non-immigrant visa, and it seems designed to help Republicans soften their image with Latinos. Dream 2.0, floated by Rubio, seems conveniently timed to Romney's search for a running mate. It is no accident, by the way, that Romney has suddenly taken an interest in Latinos, after having alienated many with his extreme views on immigration during the primaries.,0,2004890.story
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Martha's Vineyard Adult Learning Program provides a new path

This program is celebrating 13 years of teaching English to members of their community.   - - Donna Poisl

By Jeanne Burke

The Martha's Vineyard Adult Learning Program (MVALP) celebrated the completion of its 13th year of teaching English to adult immigrants with a ceremony at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School's Performing Arts Center on April 5.

In attendance for the presentation of certificates and awards was Martha's Vineyard Superintendent of Schools James Weiss, school financial administrative assistant Janet Sylvia, teachers and other educators, community partners, students, and numerous family members, friends and supporters of the program.

This year's student body was comprised of students from 11 different countries who all now call Martha's Vineyard their home.
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
In Arizona, Immigrants Make Plans in Shadows

Several states have similar harsh laws, Pres. Obama says he will get immigration reform at the beginning of his next term. We certainly need it!  - - Donna Poisl


PHOENIX — Miguel Guerra has a wife, three children and a house. He has a car, but no driver’s license. He has business cards, but no immigration papers. He got into the habit of keeping his cellphone close when he drives so he can quickly call a cousin, the only legal resident among his relatives in the United States, in case he gets pulled over.

If he does not call again within an hour, he said, the cousin knows to look for him at the county jail.

Mr. Guerra, 36, moved here 13 years ago, before Arizona made illegal immigrants a target, turning once mundane tasks like driving to the grocery into a roll of the dice. Protesting the state’s strict immigration laws “hasn’t changed anything,” he said, so one recent evening he took a more pragmatic approach. He filled out an affidavit designating his cousin to care for his children, his money, his house and everything else he owns should he be arrested.
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Project Literacy Will Celebrate 25 Years of Teaching English to Immigrants in Watertown

I wonder how much has changed in these 25 years.    - - Donna Poisl

It’s an exciting time for Project Literacy, a department of the Watertown Free Public Library which offers free English classes and tutoring to adult immigrants and Adult Basic Education learners.

This year, 2012, marks Project Literacy’s 25th year, and Project Literacy is celebrating this milestone on Sunday, April 29, in the Watertown Free Public Library’s Watertown Savings Bank Room, from 2-4 p.m.
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Take part in the national movement for naturalization

from Mayron Payes, Reform Immigration FOR America

In a few days, the Supreme Court will review SB 1070, Arizona’s extreme anti-immigrant law that became a model for states like Alabama and Georgia to launch an attack on our communities.

Immigrant families are saying Ya Basta! We have the power to stop these hateful laws -- the most effective way to influence our government is at the ballot box, and we have an obligation to our families and our community to do what’s necessary to become a citizen, register, and vote.

Start the process for naturalization now to be able to get to the voting booth this November. Visit Mas Respeto: Become a Citizen for all the resources you need, and share with family and friends.

Today, thousands around the country are beginning the process for citizenship. Will you join in? If you are already a citizen, encourage your parents, your friends, even your abuelita to start the process.

Visit now to get started, and share with family and friends.

With hope,
Mayron Payes
Reform Immigration FOR America
Voter Protection 101, Register Today!

Presented by NALEO Educational Fund and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Thursday, April 26th
1:00pm EDT / 10:00am PDT

The NALEO Educational Fund and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law invite ya es hora partners and supporters to join them for a free webinar training on how to protect your community’s right to vote in the 2012 elections.

This webinar will provide an overview of potential voter issues, assistance at the polls, common voter rights violations, and provide resources and tools to ensure that no eligible voter is denied the right to participate and cast a ballot in the 2012 Elections.
Register here!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Author-chef finds Tex-Mex happiness in Paris

Here is another author and book about Mexican food, this time in France.   - - Donna Poisl

By Greg Morago

Love of a French man took Ellise Pierce to Paris.

Love of Texas food kept her there.

When her relationship went rocky and she found herself broke, Pierce turned to the one thing that always made her happy: cooking. She built a website and started a Tex-Mex catering company. Soon she was teaching cooking classes, developing recipes and writing about food.

"My inner chef had finally caught up with my outer cowgirl," Pierce writes in her new cookbook "Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking With a French Accent"
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
To Gustavo Arellano, Mexican food is a big melting pot

The author of 'Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America' explores the history and types of cuisine, and weaves in a larger picture of assimilation.

This author shows how intertwined food, culture, immigrants and assimilation are. This has happened with other immigrant groups in our history too.     - - Donna Poisl

By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times

It was a humble Cal-Mex combo plate that first brought enlightenment to Gustavo Arellano.

At the time, Arellano, now editor of the OC Weekly, author of the syndicated ¡Ask a Mexican! column and five-star cultural provocateur, was an Anaheim high school student. His Irish American girlfriend craved Mexican food and steered the couple to a landmark Orange County restaurant.

But when the meal arrived, Arellano was taken aback. Instead of the beloved cactus leaves, goat stew and "stinky cheese" he'd been served since childhood by his Zacatecas-immigrant parents, he was confronted with a plate of dry rice and a glop of refried beans, laced with toxic-yellow queso and smothered in a sour-cream avalanche.,0,883158.story
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Hispanic Leader Says Christians, Not Congress, Can Solve Immigration Crisis

This evangelical leader thinks church people can get immigration reform in place. They should help Congress and maybe everyone working together can do it.   - - Donna Poisl

By Anugrah Kumar , Christian Post Contributor

Hispanic evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez said Christians must realize the importance of dealing with the issue of illegal immigration, and urged them to rise up and apply biblical principles rather than leave it to "self-seeking" Republican and Democrat lawmakers.

Dealing with the immigration issue "may very well be the salvation of American Christianity," said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, pastor and president of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, in an interview on Christian TV program Life Today with James and Betty Robison on Monday.
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Immigrants vs Supreme Court

from Carlos Saavedra, Field Coordinator, United We Dream

April 25 will be a historical date in our fight for equality. That is the day when the constitutionality of SB1070 will be heard in the Supreme Court. Different organizations and faith based groups will be mobilizing to share their stories of how SB1070 is affecting their own community.

United We Dream is taking steps to make sure that the story of how DREAMers are being affected by this bill is heard as as well. DREAMers from around the Washington DC area and surrounding states will be mobilizing to make sure our presence is felt. Please show support to our brothers and sisters who will be attending the rallies. Your support will help our presence be known.

Will you give $5 to help sponsor a dreamer going to DC? Five dollars will help a bus DREAMers get 20 miles closer to DC.

It all started in Arizona, this onslaught of anti-immigrant legislation. Now the fight has been taken to the Supreme Court. DREAMers are definitely making a presence. With your help, we can make our voices heard, and tell our story of how SB1070 has affected DREAMers.

Give $5 right now to help us have our voices heard in DC during the AZ vs US Supreme Court hearing.


Carlos Saavedra
Field Coordinator
United We Dream
Tweaks to Alabama’s draconian immigration law are not an improvement

Changes to Alabama's law might be worse than the original one. Bad news.  - - Donna Poisl

By Editorial Board

ALABAMA’S LAW targeting illegal immigrants has been partly gutted by federal judges, who found key provisions unconstitutional; attacked by agricultural interests, which say it has created labor shortages in the fields; and assailed by business groups, which fear it is fostering a hostile economic climate. Shortly after the law took effect last fall, a visiting German executive from Mercedes-Benz was detained for hours by police. Oops. Officers said that under the new law, they had no choice but to check his legal status when all he could show them was a German ID.

Undeterred, state lawmakers have refused to repeal the law. Instead, they are tweaking it in hopes of avoiding such embarrassments and running further afoul of the courts. In the process, though, they may make matters worse.
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Obama would push major immigration plan in second term

It is usually easier to do difficult legislation in the second term, maybe this will get done next year.    - - Donna Poisl

By David Jackson, USA TODAY

President Obama says he will push for major immigration legislation if he is re-elected.

Obama told Univision he would like to do immigration this year, but Republican opposition is too intense.

"I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term," Obama said.

"I want to try this year," he added. "The challenge we've got on immigration reform is very simple. I've got a majority of Democrats who are prepared to vote for it, and I've got no Republicans who are prepared to vote for it."
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
International Center for Immigrants Faces Eviction

This Center is forming committees to find a new location and funds.    - - Donna Poisl

Written by Aine Creedon

The International Center in Manhattan has fallen victim to the economic recession and will have to close by the end of the month, according to its board. The center has helped immigrants adapt to American culture for decades. The organization, which is now facing eviction, currently teaches about 1,500 immigrant students English for no cost and has provided hundreds with a home away from home.

Although the board is dissolving the nonprofit after failing to come to an agreement with the landlord, the International Center’s volunteers and staff members are fighting to find a way to hold on to what they describe as “a home, a family and a cultural hub.”
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
USHCC Applauds Passage of Bipartisan JOBS Act


WASHINGTON, April 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) today cheered Congress for its firm support of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the final version of the bill that will be signed by President Barack Obama on Thursday. The JOBS Act has received bipartisan support and strives to relieve regulatory burdens on small companies and foster more initial public offerings.

"The bipartisan passage of the JOBS Act shows that Democrats and Republicans can work together to jump start our economy, even in an election year," says USHCC President & CEO Javier Palomarez. "The USHCC strongly supports the JOBS Act and future measures aimed at creating a more business friendly environment for American small business and Hispanic entrepreneurs to raise capital. It is efforts like this that ensure small business owners continue to be at the forefront of our nation's economic recovery."

One of the legislation's most important provisions is allowing shareholders to invest in companies with fewer SEC regulations and permitting small businesses to advertise to potential investors. For the nation's nearly 3 million Hispanic-owned firms, making it easier to raise capital from investors has the incredible potential to create American jobs when Hispanic businesses operate on a larger scale.

"The bipartisan JOBS Act represents an increasingly rare legislative victory in Washington where both sides seized the opportunity to work together, improved the bill and passed it with strong bipartisan support," commented House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) after its passage.

About the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Founded in 1979, the USHCC actively promotes the economic growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs and represents the interests of nearly 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States that combined generate in excess of $465 billion annually. It also serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers and business associations in the United States and Puerto Rico. For more information, visit

SOURCE  United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

CONTACT: Lisa M. Martin,, 210-227-1999, ext. 129

First generation, second language: Children of immigrants can struggle with culture

When parents speak their language and their children speak English, many problems can arise. But it the children learn both languages, they will benefit in many ways.   - - Donna Poisl


Michelle Kim is 22 and was born in Chicago. She spoke Korean before English. Her parents had her shortly after immigrating to the United States from Korea.

“It was my parent’s first language,” Kim said. “It was a great way for us to communicate, for them to teach me their culture and for me to grow up in that kind of atmosphere.”

Communication plays an important role in the passing of culture between immigrant parents and their first generation American children. These children learn English in different ways, while discovering their respective culture.
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Hispanics in U.S. more diverse, study shows

Many Hispanics don't think of themselves as Americans, unlike in the past. Assimilation is not encouraged as much now.   - - Donna Poisl

by Linda Chavez

A new report from the Pew Hispanic Center says a lot both good and bad about the assimilation of the nation’s largest minority group. Hispanics have become both more numerous and more diverse in the past 40 years. In 1970, Hispanics were primarily U.S.-born Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans — who are U.S. citizens, whether born in Puerto Rico or on the mainland. But the adult population of Hispanics today is almost equally divided between those who were born in the U.S., 48 percent, and those who are foreign-born, 52 percent.

Unsurprisingly, the presence of this large immigrant group is affecting the way Hispanics think of themselves. One aspect of the report that is bound to provoke controversy — and, in some quarters, resentment — is how few Hispanics identify themselves first and foremost as Americans. Only 8 percent of immigrants, 35 percent of second-generation Hispanics and 48 percent of third-generation Hispanics do, according to the Pew study. The question is, why?
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Immigrants experiencing quicker job growth than native-born Americans

Since immigrants work in so many different industries, they can probably recover faster than people who must wait and search for specific jobs.  - - Donna Poisl

by Perla Trevizo

Immigrants are experiencing a faster rate of job growth than native-born Americans in the economic recovery, data show.

"It seems that the rate of unemployment for immigrants is slightly lower than for the native group," said Jeanne Batalova, a policy analyst with the Washington, D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute, which analyzed employment data for the region -- Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama -- from 2008 to 2010.

One reason immigrants seem to do better when the economy improves has to do with the types of industries they work in, she added.
Click on the LINK above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pressure on Alabama HB 56 

from Patty Kupfer, America's Voice Education Fund

Last week, I had the privilege of representing America’s Voice Education Fund-- alongside Renata Soto of the National Council of La Raza and Fred Redmond of the United Steel Workers and the AFL-CIO -- at the Daimler AG shareholder meeting in Berlin, Germany.

Renata spoke on behalf of our delegation, bringing our message powerfully to the shareholders and the Daimler managing board. When she asked if they would abide by their own corporate principles and call for the repeal of HB 56, Renata got perhaps the loudest applause of the day from the 6,000 shareholders in the room!

Daimler responded, offering their first public comment on HB 56 since the law passed. (They didn’t say anything about the law last year, even when one of their German Mercedes-Benz executives was arrested in Alabama for not having his papers on him.)

Daimler didn’t commit to calling for repeal, but they did say they’re in conversations with the Alabama business community and with US Congressional representatives about the law and waiting for “progress on these discussions.” (Read: they’re worried about the law, too.)

This was an important first step toward getting Mercedes-Benz involved in the fight to repeal HB 56. But we need to keep the pressure on so that Daimler, Hyundai and Honda all take a stand on the Alabama law.

Stay tuned and thanks so much for your support,

Patty Kupfer
America's Voice Education Fund

Deadline for New National Multimedia Contest Extended to Oct. 31


The American Immigration Council Seeks Entries & Extends Deadline for New National Multimedia Contest

New Deadline October 31, 2012!

The American Immigration Council is calling all young filmmakers and photographers to submit to the 2012 “Change in Motion” Multimedia Contest. The contest invites young adults to explore the role that immigration plays in their lives and communities through video and other multimedia projects. The first place prize is $1,000! Projects should focus on celebrating America as a nation of immigrants and exploring immigration's impact on our everyday lives. The extended deadline is 11:59 EST, October 31, 2012.

Who is eligible?

Young adults between the ages of 14-25 are eligible to submit entries.  Both individual and group entries are permitted, however there is a single cash prize for first, second and third place.

What do we mean by “multimedia”?

Acceptable entries include videos projects or photo essays. (Check out these examples created in iMovie and Power Point)

How technical does my project need to be?

Your story and the way you tell it matter more than how sophisticated your technical abilities are.

Is there a time limit?

Entries should be no more than 5 minutes in length.

Who will judge the contest?

The winners will be chosen by representatives of the American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and a panel of distinguished judges.

What criteria will be used to select the winner?

The multimedia entries will be judged on the basis of concept, originality, creativity, aesthetics, technical execution and relevance.

What is the prize?

There are first ($1,000), second ($500) and third place ($250) prizes.

What is the deadline?

The deadline is 11:59 EST, October 31, 2012.

For full details, including the rules and terms of the contest, please visit our Multimedia Contest page at       or email

Your Brain on Books: 20 Proven Benefits of Being an Avid Reader

Some immigrant cultures are not accustomed to reading to their small children, this article might prove why this is a good thing to do. Children who are read to when young, usually become book lovers, (it helps the parents learn English too).  - - Donna Poisl

by Staff Writers at

Romantic types like to portray books as flights of fancy offering up imaginative escapes from everyday drudgeries of work, school, and the like. But literature, no matter the medium, holds some pretty amazing, scientifically analyzed perks right here on terra firma. Passionate readers generally enjoy more finely-tuned brains than those who prefer more passive (though not lesser) activities, so anyone hoping to improve their minds both psychologically and cognitively might want to think about taking up the habit of regular reading.
Click on the LINK above to read the 20 benefits!

Institute for Immigration Research Launched at George Mason University


MALDEN, Mass, April 11, 2012 /  A new institute to conduct research about immigrants and their contributions in the United States was launched this month as a joint venture between George Mason University and The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) of Mass.

The Institute for Immigration Research will conduct unbiased research to educate policymakers, media, teachers, students and the business community about the contributions of immigrants as entrepreneurs, workers and consumers. Early research projects will include mapping immigrants’ economic activity as well as examining the impact of immigrants in higher education on the economy.

The institute will be located within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University and will work closely with the Center for Social Science Research at Mason, a multidisciplinary research center that examines some of the most pressing social, behavioral and political problems facing contemporary society.

“With all of the heated rhetoric about immigration these days, academically-rigorous research results are needed to cool the discussion with objective information. The Institute for Immigration Research will fill that void," says research director James Witte, who is also a professor of sociology and director of the Center for Social Science Research at George Mason University.

Diane Portnoy, president and CEO of The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc., said of the joint venture, “This institute will expand on the work that’s been done by The ILC’s Public Education Institute. Since 2003, The Public Education Institute has educated the public and published research about immigrants’ contributions as entrepreneurs, workers and consumers in Massachusetts and New England. It is time to expand the focus nation-wide, and I’m thrilled to have such a competent and well-respected partner as George Mason University.”

Mason has a strong history of conducting scholarly research on immigration. The Center for Social Science Research has been home to the Mason Project on Immigration, which centers on the immigrant experience in the United States. Members of the project have been committed to furthering a reasoned, empirically informed discussion and debate about the role of immigrant groups within the contemporary United States. The project has focused on the immigrant experience in Northern Virginia, completing original research on Virginia's Latino community, sponsorship of intellectual events and speaking engagements, and introduction of new academic programs in the field of immigration studies.
About The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.
The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) of Malden, Mass, is a not-for-profit organization that helps immigrants and refugees become successful workers, parents and community members through direct service programs and public education. Our direct service program provides free year-round English classes to immigrant and refugee adults in Greater Boston. The ILC further supports immigrants through the Public Education Institute, which informs Americans about the economic and social contributions of immigrants in our society. For more information visit

About George Mason University
George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in education, engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University—Where Innovation Is Tradition.
Media Contacts:
Karen E. Glover, The ILC Director of Communications

Tara Laskowski, George Mason University

Celebrating April Month of Citizenship

from ya es hora

Celebrating April Month of Citizenship – naturalize to vote this November!

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will celebrate its 6th Annual Citizenship Day on Saturday, April 21st by helping hundreds to apply to become U.S. citizens. AILA Citizenship Day provides free or low-cost assistance to eligible Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) who wish to apply for U.S. citizenship, utilizing partnerships between AILA chapters across the country and local nonprofit organizations.

The push for naturalization in April is important because it marks the final month for many to apply and naturalize in time to vote in this year’s general election. On average it takes five to six months for naturalization applications to be processed, from the moment applications are submitted to when residents take their oath. This means the more we encourage naturalization throughout April, the more we can strengthen the voting power of Latino communities to make their voices are heard this November!

What is your organization doing in 2012? How can ya es hora provide support?

Many organizations are already actively engaging voters across the nation. Please fill out this quick survey and let us know what you and your organization have planned for this election season so that we can better support and promote your efforts throughout the year.
Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) partners with ya es hora and the NALEO Educational Fund
LATISM, the largest organization of Latino professionals engaged in social media, helps shape and drive conversations around issues important to Latinos. With this partnership and working closely with LATISM, the NALEO Educational Fund aims to expand its reach and deepen its online engagement to promote Latino civic participation and the ya es hora campaign.

For more info in English and Spanish, go to:

Naturalization Webinars, April 19

During the month of April, national and local ya es hora partners will be partnering with the  American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) to host citizenship workshops throughout the nation in honor of AILA”s National Day of Citizenship and our ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía! Month of Citizenship. Each workshop will need volunteers, attorneys, and local community support.
ya es hora, AILA, and IAN are committed to supporting your local efforts. For this reason, the NALEO Educational Fund, and ya es hora have partnered with AILA and IAN to host national webinar trainings for community and attorney volunteers who will be participating in ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía! and AILA events around the country. Each of the local partnering organizations will have the opportunity to offer this training via webinar to their volunteers. This FREE webinar training will cover the basics of filing out an N-400 application, red flags to watch out for while filling out the application, eligibility requirements, and legal insight into the naturalization process.
Thursday, April 19th @ 1:00 pm EST / 10:00 am PST
Click here to register:
For more information, visit or call 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA / 888-839-8682

Monday, April 09, 2012

Volunteers Scramble to Save a School for Immigrants

This school needs some financial help, what a shame if it has to close.    - - Donna Poisl


As a result of the economic downturn and a dwindling endowment, the International Center, which has taught English and helped immigrants assimilate for decades, faces dissolution and eviction from its Manhattan home.

The center, which has more than 300 active volunteers and currently teaches about 1,500 students, shocked its volunteers last month with the news that it was behind on its rent and would have to close its doors on West 23rd Street, where it has been for about 20 years.
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Chelmsford library hosts English conversation circles

This is the best way for people to learn a language, especially when they come from different countries. The group setting gives all members a comfort level and they help each other.   - - Donna Poisl

By Monica Jimenez/Wicked Local staff writer, GateHouse News Service

Chelmsford — Chelmsford library patrons sometimes hear shouts coming from the conference room where Fredda London holds her advanced English conversation circle for non-English speakers.

Around Chinese New Year, London said, most of the group admitted they were wearing red underwear for good luck, a fact that had them roaring with laughter. Another day, members were cheering about the victory of a popular political party in Taiwan.

But although talk about home countries is permitted in the group, it all has to be in English.
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OUR VIEW: Revisions to immigration law on the way

Some changes are being made to Alabama's law, but it still won't be fair, maybe they will be forced to make more changes.    - - Donna Poisl

Editorial, Gadsen Times

As promised by Gov. Robert Bentley and legislative leaders, modifications to Alabama’s controversial immigration law are on the way.

Rep. Mickey Hammon, R-Decatur, author of HB 56, the original legislation, on Thursday introduced a bill intended to ease the law’s impact on Alabamians who just want to conduct everyday business without hassles, and satisfy federal courts which have tossed parts of the law out.

Civil rights groups say it’s a lame attempt to dress up the indefensible and continue to call for the law’s repeal.
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New Las Cruces charter school to focus on immigrant students

This new charter school has special strategies to teach English to immigrants in high school and others who did not get a diploma.   - - Donna Poisl

By Diana Alba

LAS CRUCES — Construction of Doña Ana County's sixth charter school is in full-swing in downtown Las Cruces, and school officials are recruiting their first-ever students and teachers.

The New America School, a publicly funded school, will focus on teaching English to immigrant high schoolers and anyone — regardless of their age — who never earned a high school diploma, school officials said.

The nonprofit that pitched the idea to the state of New Mexico already has similar schools in Denver, Albuquerque and Las Vegas, Nev.
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Controversial Mississippi immigration law dies in state Senate

This is very good news, they have discovered "issues", probably the same ones everyone else found.   - - Donna Poisl

From Joe Sutton, CNN

(CNN) -- Less than a month after handily passing Mississippi's House of Representatives, a controversial immigration law died this week in the state's Senate.

The Mississippi bill would have required police to check the immigration status of people who are arrested. It also would have prohibited any "business transactions," including renewal of drivers' licenses and obtaining business licenses, for undocumented immigrants.

Laura Hipp, spokeswoman for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, told CNN on Friday that "issues" with the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act "did not surface until after the bill was sent to the Senate."
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New generation of immigrants call Biddeford home

These kids learn English, thanks to teachers like this, but it is a struggle for the school district and their parents need help too.     - - Donna Poisl

By Kate Irish Collins

BIDDEFORD – Patty Shaw doesn’t speak Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese or Spanish, but she doesn’t have to. It’s her job to teach students from these places to read, write and speak English as proficiently as possible in as short a time as possible.

Shaw is a part-time English Language Learner, or ELL, teacher at Biddeford Primary School and her students come from all over the globe. She currently has students from Vietnam, Cambodia, El Salvador, China, Iraq and the Philippines.
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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Lessons make English language, American culture far less foreign

This English language class is teaching immigrants from several countries about our culture at the same time they are learning English.   - - Donna Poisl

Written by Bonnie Burch. The Tennessean

NOLENSVILLE — Right off the main street, with antiques stores and a feed mill that serves as a country store, several recent immigrants are learning how to tell a doctor what ails them.

Williamson County Adult Education teacher Suzanne Marley, who instructs a beginner level English language/civics class, makes a deep-chested hacking sound in front of her students, who come from such far-flung countries as India and Korea in addition to Mexico.

“Cough,” she says as she writes the word on a dry-erase board.
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Tips on filing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration  Services’ Application for Naturalization

Valuable Questions and Answers for people applying for citizenship.   - - Donna Poisl

from Alan Wernick

Q. How can I be sure U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received my form N-400, Application for Naturalization?

A. Mail your naturalization application Certified Mail/Return Receipt Requested. The post office will send back proof USCIS received it.

Q. How much is the filing fee? Can I use a personal check?
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Tough anti-illegal-immigration law dies in Mississippi

Let's hope this is just the first step to killing the whole bill.    - - Donna Poisl

By Richard Fausset

ATLANTA -- Mississippi's controversial illegal immigration crackdown bill died in a state Senate committee Tuesday, bucking a trend in Deep South states for more-stringent enforcement efforts.

Reportedly still afoot, however, are other legislative maneuvers to get the core elements of the bill onto the desk of recently elected Gov. Phil Bryant, a strong supporter of an Arizona-style immigration law. Pro-immigrant groups say they are not ready to declare victory until the legislative session ends next month.

"The war continues -- that's the reality," Bill Chandler, executive director of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, said in an interview. "I'm sure if we're successful in killing this monster, it's going to come up again in some other form.",0,6250106.story
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Terms of assimilation: What do we call people who assimilate into another culture?

Here are some answers to a question I never even thought of. Interesting.   - - Donna Poisl

By Leslie Berestein Rojas

A panel that I moderated last week on what defines the 1.5 generation, immigrants who arrive in the U.S. as children and adolescents, yielded enough material for many, many related posts. Panelists and audience members connected over identity, the immigrant experience as lived by young people and how it shapes them, among other things. And of course, the role of language.

On the language front, a follow-up question via email this week from an audience member, my KPCC reporter colleague Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, has prompted a great collection of replies from the panelists. First, his question:
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Click the LINK to read stories from this week from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Mexican man OK'd to attend funeral

This is certainly the humane thing to do.    - - Donna Poisl


ALLENTOWN - An immigration lawyer said a Mexican man will be allowed to enter the United States to bury his 10-year-old son, a U.S. citizen who died in a house fire in Shenandoah.

The Associated Press and Allentown Morning Call reported that Fidelmar "Fidel" Merlos-Lopez initially was barred entry into the country. But his Philadelphia-based lawyer, Elizabeth Surin, told WFMZ-TV that her client was issued a humanitarian parole to attend the funeral.

She said Lopez is on a plane bound for Pennsylvania.
Lopez's son, Damien Lopez, died Tuesday in an East Coal Street row house fire along with his cousin, aunt and 7-month-old half-brother.
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Miss. farming town's immigrants pray bill will die

Lawmakers don't always care how new laws will affect their residents and businesses.  - - Donna Poisl

By Laura Tillman, Associated Press

VARDAMAN, Miss. (WTW) — On a recent afternoon in this Mississippi sweet potato farming town of 1,300, a group of immigrants gathered in the safe haven of the Catholic Charities office to discuss visa options.

The conversation quickly turned to the immigration bill being debated in the state Legislature, and talk of what to do if it passes.
Immigrant advocates mostly suggest they pray the bill does not become law.
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Click the LINK to read stories from this week from the Immigration Policy Center.
Q&A Guide to Arizona v. United States: What You Need to Know About the Supreme Court Case Over SB 1070

For Immediate Release

April 2, 2012

Washington, D.C.—The Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in Arizona v. United States, a dispute over the legality of the immigration law known as “SB 1070.” More than any matter in recent history, the case involves a range of important questions regarding the role that states may play in the enforcement of federal immigration law. The Court’s decision will likely affect not only the future of SB 1070, but the fate of other state immigration laws being challenged in court and the odds of similar laws being passed around the country.   

Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases a guide providing brief answers to common questions about the case, including how the litigation began, what the contested provisions do and do not say, and what arguments have been raised by each side. The guide also includes an appendix listing all of the outside individuals, organizations, and governments that filed briefs supporting and opposing SB 1070. As the Supreme Court considers the case, knowing the facts and legal arguments behind the case will prove critically important in furthering a rational discussion about the implications of the Court’s decision.

To read the report in its entirety, see:
Q&A Guide to Arizona v. United States: What You Need to
Know About the Supreme Court Case Over SB 1070

By Ben Winograd
IPC Special Report (April 2012)

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

Obama proposes new rule for immigrant families

Maybe we will get immigration reform, even if it is a piece at a time.   - - Donna Poisl

By Brian Bennett / Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is proposing to make it easier for illegal immigrants who are immediate family members of American citizens to apply for permanent residency, a move that could affect as many as 1 million of the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally here.

The new rule, which the Department of Homeland Security will post for public comment Monday, will reduce the time illegal immigrants are separated from their American families while seeking legal status, immigration officials said. Currently, such immigrants must leave the country to apply for a legal visa, often leading to long stints away as they await resolution of their applications.
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English-language classes at East County college district prepare Iraqi immigrants for the workforce

Refugees from Iraq, here because they worked with the American forces in Iraq, are getting help to get into the workforce.    - - Donna Poisl


A pilot program for recent Iraqi immigrants that teaches English in the context of office work is being offered at Cuyamaca College through a partnership between the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and San Diego County.

The “Working English” program is designed for Iraqi immigrants with limited English who want to improve their language skills so they can find office-related work. Twenty-eight students are participating in the first class sessions that began February 6 and will continue until mid-June. Two other classes are scheduled to begin in June and run through December.
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