Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Small World celebrates 45 years of helping women learn English, American culture

This organization helps women learn English and helps them learn how to fit into this country, it gives them a community of friends all in the same situation.  - - Donna Poisl

By Rebekka Schlichting

In the wake of the new century, Isbelia Sanquinetti, a Venezuelan-Lawrence resident, was like many other foreign women. She moved to the U.S. with her husband and immersed herself in a new culture and a new kind of people. She knew little about her surroundings and even less about the English language.

By 2003, she had picked up enough phrases to start up her own children's clothing store, called Isbella Sangui. Shortly after it opened, Sanquinetti realized just how little English she knew, which made it a struggle to communicate with her customers.
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Passport Pages Tell Our Tale:
The Personal Story of One Same-Sex Binational Couple’s Struggle Under Current Immigration Laws

For Immediate Release

April 29, 2013

Washington D.C. – Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases, as part of its Perspectives on Immigration series, Passport Pages Tell Our Tale: The Personal Story of a Binational Same-Sex Couple’s Struggle to be Together Under Current Immigration Laws.

Currently in the United States, gay Americans who are legally married are not recognized by the federal government. This impacts these couples in many ways, including how they are treated under immigration law. Numbering 28,500, the U.S. Citizen spouses in same-sex, binational couples are not allowed to sponsor their husbands or wives in order to keep them in the country.

This Perspectives piece tells the personal story of Judy Rickard and her wife Karins’ work to change the way in which immigration policy treats same-sex couples. It also details the numerous sacrifices they have made along the way.

To view the Perspectives piece see:
Passport Pages Tell Our Tale: The Personal Story of a Binational Same-Sex Couple’s Struggle to be Together Under Current Immigration Laws by Judy Rickard. (IPC Perspectives, April 2013)

For more information contact Wendy Feliz at wfeliz@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7524

New Suburban Dream Born of Asia and Southern California

In the past 10 years, more Asians than Latinos are immigrating to California. This will change many things in the state.  - - Donna Poisl


SAN MARINO, Calif. — Beneath the palm trees that line Huntington Drive, named for the railroad magnate who founded this Southern California city, hang signs to honor families who have helped sponsor the centennial celebration here this year. There are names like Dryden, Crowley and Telleen, families that have lived here for generations. But there are newer names as well: Sun, Koo and Shi.

A generation ago, whites made up roughly two-thirds of the population in this rarefied Los Angeles suburb, where most of the homes are worth well over $1 million. But Asians now make up over half of the population in San Marino, which has long attracted some of the region’s wealthiest families and was once home to the John Birch Society’s Western headquarters.
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Lower tuition for immigrants becomes law in Colo.

Colorado has become the 14th state to allow their high school graduates who are here illegally to pay in-state tuition for college.   - - Donna Poisl

By Ivan Moreno

 DENVER (AP) — Immigrant students will pay significantly less in tuition at Colorado colleges under legislation signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday.

Hundreds cheered as the Democratic governor ratified legislation that was first proposed a decade ago but regularly rejected under less favorable circumstances for people in the U.S. illegally.
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Supreme Court won't revive Alabama immigration law

The Supreme Court has voted on the Alabama law and rejected it.  - - Donna Poisl

By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON— The Supreme Court made it clear Monday that enforcing immigration laws was reserved for the federal government, not the states.

By an 8-1 vote, the justices rejected a request from Alabama to revive part of a 2011 law designed to drive out illegal immigrants. That year saw a wave of new laws in Republican-controlled states where lawmakers decried federal inaction. Alabama's was deemed the toughest.

State officials said that if federal authorities were not going to arrest illegal immigrants, their police would take on the task.
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dear Colleagues and Friends,


from Ben Johnson, Mary Giovagnoli & Wendy Feliz

What do you think of the Senate bill's exclusion of 11 million immigrants from healthcare?  Will the new "W" visa for lesser-skilled workers prevent future flows of undocumented workers? Should the bill provide noncitizens better access to their A-files? How are you feeling about the rhetoric being used so far in this debate?

In order to promote a robust conversation on these issues and more, the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Council has launched an online space for you to engage with other advocates, academics, attorneys and impacted individuals who are discussing the policies laid out in the bill. Visit ThinkImmigration.org and join one (or more) of the conversations.

Help us define and develop the policies that will create a 21st century immigration system that best serves our nation’s interests? Visit ThinkImmigration.org.

We look forward to reading your thoughts!
Ben Johnson, Mary Giovagnoli & Wendy Feliz
English learners get too little aid, suit says

Students are entitled to extra help learning English but many of them are not getting it. Obviously they will suffer in school if they don't know the language.   - - Donna Poisl

Jill Tucker

California schools are required to help English learners master the language - and they get federal and state money to do so - but more than 20,000 students aren't getting the help they need, according to a statewide lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The legal challenge filed by civil rights groups alleges that state education officials have failed to investigate and fix the lack of English language services in 251 school districts.

Each year, state schools are required to report how many English learners they have and what programs they provide students to help them learn the language.
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National Jewish Call Discusses Immigration Reform

from HIAS/JTA Weekly Briefing

On April 18th, We Were Strangers, Too: The Jewish Campaign for Immigration Reform (WWS2) hosted a national conference call with over 90 participants from across the country to discuss the Senate immigration reform bill S. 744, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, introduced on April 17, 2013.

The call featured policy experts from HIAS, Center for American Progress, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs who discussed specific provisions of the bill, how the policies would affect our communities, and next steps moving forward. For more information and to listen to a recording of the call, please visit the WWS2 website.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also recently held a series of hearings to further discuss the bill. Learn more.
Senators aiming for 70 votes on immigration bill

If the Senate gets 70% "yes" vote, we must hope the House at least gets a majority.    - - Donna Poisl

by Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON -- Two senators working on a sweeping immigration bill said it's not a question of whether it would pass the Senate, but by how much.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., members of the so-called Gang of Eight that crafted the immigration plan, said they believed the bill could reach 70 votes in the Senate, sending a message to the House of Representatives of the bill's overwhelming support.

"We're looking not to get 61 votes -- obviously that's the minimum. I'd like to get ... a majority on both sides," Schumer said during a breakfast Thursday hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

"I think that's very doable," McCain added.
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Monday, April 22, 2013

HIAS to Launch Report on LGBTI Protection Concerns for Urban Refugees

from HIAS

Please join HIAS in New York on May 6th and in Washington, DC on May 7th for discussions on HIAS' new report, "Invisible in the City." Written for HIAS by Yiftach Milo, an expert in forced migration, this groundbreaking report discusses the dangers faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex refugees living in Ecuador, Ghana, Israel, and Kenya and provides a comprehensive guide and key recommendations for the treatment of LGBTI refugees everywhere.

Learn more and RSVP.
What do you think of the Senate's immigration proposal?

think immigration

from Ben Johnson, Mary Giovagnoli & Wendy Feliz

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Today's Washington Post warns the Senate against setting up arbitrary numerical goals on border enforcement that must be met before legalization begins. Senator Chuck Schumer says the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill will make the country safer. Advocates around the country are raising red flags around the eventual elimination of the sibling category and the exclusion of same-sex, bi-national couples in the legislation.

In order to promote a robust conversation on these issues and more, the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Council has launched an online space for you to engage with other advocates, academics, attorneys and impacted individuals who are discussing the policies laid out in the bill. Visit ThinkImmigration.org and join one (or more) of the conversations.

We want to know what you think should be included in immigration reform. How do we create a 21st century immigration system that best serves our nation’s interests? Visit ThinkImmigration.org.

We look forward to reading your thoughts!
Ben Johnson, Mary Giovagnoli & Wendy Feliz
Lessons from Orchard Street: Immigrants then and now are hard-working, risk-taking job creators

Since our country began, immigrants have started small businesses to support themselves. Some stayed small and some grew into the largest companies in the country and the world.    - - Donna Poisl

By Morris J. Vogel

John and Caroline Schneider operated a German lager beer saloon in the basement of New York's 97 Orchard St. in the 1870s. John dealt with patrons in the front, while Caroline prepared customer meals in a tiny back apartment, where the couple also slept, ate and lived.

Meanwhile, upstairs in the tenement, Natalie Gumpertz, a single mother, depended on a living room sewing machine to support her four children as a dressmaker. Other immigrant entrepreneurs, such as Harris Levine, followed her, running full-scale garment sweatshops in the building's cramped tenement homes.

Small business in America is not always glamorous and not always a path to fortune. But for generations, small business has been a path out of poverty for hard-working, risk-taking Americans and, along the way, one of the principal drivers of new job growth in America. And for generations, immigrants have played an outsize role as this country's entrepreneurs.
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San Jose: Immigrants get some tips on navigating U.S. citizenship process

Becoming a citizen has a LOT of paperwork to get through. This class is helping local immigrants understand and get through them.    - - Donna Poisl

By Steve Johnson

SAN JOSE -- Veronica Landeros was among hundreds of immigrants from around the world who descended on San Jose City College on Saturday to get a few pointers on how to manage their way through the sometimes arduous process of becoming a U.S. citizen.

Like many who showed up for the annual Citizenship Day event -- the 16th year it has been hosted by the Santa Clara County Citizenship Collaborative -- the 27-year-old Mexican immigrant, who lives in San Ramon and works as a Togo's cashier, was grateful for the advice.

"It was very helpful," she said of the classes held in 14 languages ranging from Arabic, Tagalog, Mandarin and Vietnamese to Russian, Somali, Tigrinya and Spanish. "They had a lot of information."
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Breaking down barriers: Illinois State University empowers teachers to engage English learners in the classroom

A new program is teaching teachers how to connect better with their ESL students; most can talk to friends on the playground but can't use proper English in class.    - - Donna Poisl

Written by: Kevin Bersett

It’s happening in classrooms all around the U.S.
Talented, passionate educators who do not possess the pedagogical training to work with English learners are struggling to engage these students through their curriculum. They are confused when English learners can speak English with ease on the playground and at the lunch table but cannot express themselves in the classroom.

This is a common situation for teachers, according to Associate Professor Pauline Clardy and Assistant Professor Elizabeth Skinner, both of the elementary bilingual/bicultural elementary education program. In their work with teachers and teacher candidates, they help demystify such phenomena and, more importantly, prepare educators to better serve English learners. “My goal is to help teachers to modify their lens,” Clardy said.

Sometimes English learners possess the language and interpersonal skills to carry on a conversation with friends but not the mastery of academic language required for abstract thinking and problem-solving in the classroom.
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Catholic bishops: Don’t let Boston attacks derail immigration reform

Some people in Washington are using the Boston attack as an excuse to not support immigration reform. Others are saying it is the perfect reason to support it.  - - Donna Poisl

By David Gibson, Religion News Service,

Leading U.S. Catholic bishops on Monday (April 22) denounced efforts to use the Boston Marathon bombings to derail the push for immigration reform, saying it is wrong to brand all immigrants as dangerous and that a revamped system would in fact make Americans safer.

“Opponents of immigration ... will seize on anything, and when you’ve got something as vivid and as recent as the tragedy in Boston it puts another arrow in their quiver,” New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told reporters.

“To label a whole group of people — namely, the vast population of hard-working, reliable, virtuous immigrants — to label them, to demean them because of the vicious, tragic actions of two people is just ridiculous,” he said. “Illogical. Unfair. Unjust.”
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Five ways immigration reform will help low-wage workers

There are some very interesting facts and a graph that prove that immigration reform will not hurt our workers who are here already.   - - Donna Poisl

Posted by Ezra Klein

Something odd happens whenever immigration reform enters the news: Politicians and pundits who barely spare a word for low-wage workers in normal times suddenly become extremely concerned that immigrants might compete with low-wage laborers.

There’s a reason for that: The overall economic benefits of immigration are clearly positive. Immigration is good for the economy. So opponents of the bill are left picking over the distribution of those benefits.

As the Hamilton Project writes in their summary of the evidence, “immigrants create average wage increases of between 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent for American workers.
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Immigration bill takes steps to uniting country

The bill does what most Americans want it to do, let's hope the senators think so too.    - - Donna Poisl

by Linda Chavez

The immigration reform bill introduced last week by a bipartisan group of senators will please few die-hards on either side of the immigration debate, but it’s likely to please most Americans. Polls consistently show majority support for allowing the 11 million people who reside illegally in the U.S. to remain here, as long as they pay a penalty for violating immigration laws, have not committed serious crimes and, importantly, learn English. But many people remain skeptical that our borders are secure and want proof that we’re making progress toward that end before Congress makes other changes to immigration law.

The Senate bill does a credible job of addressing both. Illegal immigrants will be allowed to stay and earn a living and eventually a green card and citizenship, albeit with long waits. Those who have been given provisional legal status will not be eligible to become permanent residents until the backlog of others awaiting green cards has been cleared.
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

The American Immigration Council Welcomes Bi-Partisan Senate Immigration Bill


April 17, 2013

Washington D.C. – The American Immigration Council applauds the “Gang of Eight” Senators who have introduced the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act."  The Senators and their staff have been working tirelessly, for months, to create a bi-partisan solution that attempts to fix our broken immigration system. The Senate is to be commended for having the courage to lean into this difficult issue and bring forth a detailed and comprehensive proposal. In addition, labor and business groups should be acknowledged for their role in negotiating, in advance, some of the toughest sticking points to help ensure a smooth path through Congress.

In the coming days and weeks as the bill is analyzed and debated, there will be many who criticize both the policy remedies in the bill, as well as the sheer length of the legislation. It is important to keep in mind, however, that developing a comprehensive solution requires striking a delicate balance between a diverse cross section of stakeholders and impacted constituencies. Furthermore, the dysfunctional system that we have developed over the past two decades is in dire need of deep and precise reforms. While there will be fair criticisms of some of the bill’s contents it is important to keep the spirit of the debate productive and to ensure room for compromise.

“The Senate has been working for months and the country has been waiting for years for this kind of broad and deep immigration reform legislation. Introduction of this bill will launch a critical debate on how best to reform our broken immigration system,” said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council. “These Senators are confronting the critical immigration challenges we face and are due a great deal of credit. There is much more work ahead but our hope is that all members of Congress will set aside old thinking and divisions and do what is right for American families, workers, and businesses.”

We look forward to the House of Representatives engaging constructively in the process and continuing to advance positive reforms, as well as ongoing support from the White House.

For more information, contact Wendy Feliz at wfeliz@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7524.

NHCLC Applauds Proposed Senate Immigration Reform Bill


We Are Inches Away from Crossing the 'Jordan' of Reform

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the nation's largest Christian Hispanic organization, the Hispanic Evangelical Association, and NHCLC President, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, applaud the proposed Senate bill on immigration reform.

Rodriguez will join Senator Marco Rubio and the bipartisan Senate "Gang of Eight" in a press conference in Washington, D.C on Thursday, April 18, 2013, as they outline their proposed immigration reform bill. The Senate introduced legislation, which serves to solve the immigration reform process, at 2 a.m. this morning (http://www.schumer.senate.gov/forms/immigration.pdf).

Rev. Rodriguez, praising this movement and momentum for reform, said, "Engaging a biblical narrative as a metaphor, the immigration cause no longer resides in the Egypt of political apathy or the desert of inevitable deportation. Today, this just cause stands before the 'Jordan' called reform. With prophetic courage, spiritual fortitude and political will, we will cross into the promise land of integration thus protecting our values, borders and dream.

"Ironically the same issue that once polarized our nation now serves as a conduit for bipartisan collaboration. Now is the time."

Today, on the same day that the Senate introduced immigration reform legislation, hundreds of evangelical congregants and leaders from over 24 states descended upon Washington, D.C. for the first-ever national "Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action on Immigration Reform." Dr. Carlos Moran, Board Member, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and NHCLC Immigration Spokesperson is one of several leaders speaking at this event in D.C, many of whom believe the Unites States is on the verge of a major and much anticipated breakthrough on immigration reform.

Dr. Carlos Moran, said, "As Evangelicals, as born again believers, as the spiritual heirs to the mantles of Billy Graham and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we affirm our conviction that it is the time to reconcile border security with security of our values; values that include faith, hope and charity. Values that prompt us to worship our Lord and welcome the stranger. For at the end of the day, passing immigration reform is not, as Rev. Samuel Rodriguez reminds us, about advancing the agenda of the donkey or the elephant. Immigration reform is about living out the agenda of the lamb."

Rev. Wilfredo "Choco" DeJesus, profiled along with Rev. Rodriguez's description of the Latino Reformation in the April 15th TIME magazine feature story, and Pastor of New Life Covenant Church, NHCLC Vice President and NHCLC Illinois Chapter Director, said, "Comprehensive Immigration Reform is long overdue. As long as a pathway to citizenship remains at the heart of this bill I remain hopeful that undocumented families will be offered the opportunity to stay together and not be torn apart by our current broken immigration system. These families are woven into the fabric of our daily lives – their children attend school with our children, they worship and are active in our churches, they are contributing members of our society. As a pastor and NHCLC Vice President of Social Justice, I will continue to advocate and stand for the millions of undocumented families that deserve a pathway to citizenship as the word of God instructs me to do."

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

Matti Stevenson • 719.360.0586 • mattistevenson@nhclc.org

SOURCE  National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

National Conference Call to Discuss Immigration Bill - Thursday, April 18th, 3:30 EST

from HIAS Today
A bipartisan group of eight Senators will soon be introducing legislation to reform our country's broken immigration system. As we anxiously await introduction of the bill, please mark your calendars to join experts from HIAS and the We Were Strangers, Too: Jewish Campaign for Immigration Reform for a national conference call:

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
3:30 - 4:30 pm EST
Call: 805-399-1000, Passcode: 403065

Click here to RSVP

Before Passover, the Jewish community  sent a strong message to President Obama and Congress, urging them to take steps to fix our country's broken immigration system. We outlined that "the current system does not reflect our history as a nation of immigrants, does not meet today's security and economic needs, and is not fair and humane." And last week, members of the Jewish community joined tens of thousands of community, labor, faith, and immigrant rights supporters on the National Mall to urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

The time is now. We clearly need an immigration system that is aligned with our Jewish and American values. Join us on Thursday to discuss what provisions are included in the Senate bill, how the policies would affect our communities, and next steps moving forward.

Visit www.wewerestrangerstoo.wordpress.com for more information, and please forward this message to anyone who might be interested.

Utah teacher boosts kids' English skills by getting them to read to younger siblings

Kids love reading to others and their younger brothers and sisters love being read to. A perfect match.   - - Donna Poisl

Article by: ERIN ADLER , Star Tribune

 Most weekends third-grader Dayana Estrada Martinez brings home a book to read aloud to her first-grade brother, Esau.

Whether the book is about dolphins or mummies, Esau “likes all of them,” Dayana said.

In addition to having fun, the two are building their English literacy skills as a part of the Read to Me Please program at Hidden Valley Elementary in Savage.

The program is the brainchild of English Language Learner (ELL) teacher Kimberly Olson, who started it last fall with a grant from Foundation 191, the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district’s nonprofit foundation.
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Evangelicals see a shift in views on immigration

These people are coming around in their thinking, maybe listening to people who tell them this is what the Bible teaches.   - - Donna Poisl

By Julia Preston, New York Times

ORLANDO, Fla. — In the pews of the First Baptist Church of Orlando, where thousands of evangelical Christians gather on Sundays to worship and sing, a change of heart is happening on the once toxic issue of immigration.

Two years ago, national evangelical leaders began to speak out in favor of legislation to give legal status to immigrants in the United States illegally. Now, as Congress is about to start a debate on overhauling the immigration system, conservative Christians in those churches, once inclined to take a hard line on immigrants they viewed as lawbreakers, are consulting their Bibles and coming around to the pastors’ view.
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Immigration bill would spark surge of legal arrivals

More legal immigrants will come after immigration reform, it will not only affect those here illegally.   - - Donna Poisl

By Brian Bennett and Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — While much of the debate over immigration has focused on the fate of the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. without legal authorization, one of the biggest immediate impacts of the reform bill being prepared in the Senate would be a sudden, large surge in legal migration.

The U.S. admits about 1 million legal immigrants per year, more than any other country. That number could jump by more than 50% over the next decade under the terms of the immigration reform bill that a bipartisan group of senators expects to unveil as early as Tuesday. The impact would be felt nationwide, but areas that already have large immigrant communities would probably see much of the increase.
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Click the HEADLINE to read stories from this week from the Immigration Policy Center.
Americans And Cuban Americans Support Jay Z And Beyonce, End The Travel Restrictions To Cuba


MIAMI, April 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- An Open Letter of support to Jay-Z and Beyonce:

We, the undersigned, Americans, Cuban Americans, and organization representing millions of citizens, wholeheartedly support and endorse your recent trip to Cuba. We apologize in advance for certain Cuban American lawmakers, who in their obsession to maintain failed policies with our island neighbor attacked you and the rationale for your trip, which they always knew was legal. You discovered certain things that we know, that the Cuban people and island are a beautiful one, rich with culture, art, and music, yearning to share that with us who are in America. Our citizens are denied that experience freely. While Cuba has its problems and we look forward to becoming a positive influence and friend to our neighbor, we also know travel restrictions on our own people make no sense and yield no results other than aggravation and misery. We ask and hope that you will do the following:

Tell President Obama about your trip and your experience.  Let him know if he should open more travel to Cuba.
Encourage all your friends in the world of arts and entertainment and sports to make the trip to Cuba too.
Join us to become active participants in the campaign to end all the travel restrictions once and for all.

Generation Cambio Cubano
Hugo Cancio ( President)
USCubaPolitics.com U.S. Cuba Now
Antonio Martinez ( Director)
Cuban Americans For Engagement CAFE
Arturo Lopez Levy ( Director)
Andres Ruiz ( Director)
Romy Aranguiz ( Director)
Elena Freyre(Director)


CONTACT: Hugo Cancio, Fuego Entertainment Tel. 786 546 8304 hugo_cancio@yahoo.com

High-tech English

It is interesting that the school is using a commercial product to teach the kids and having good luck with it. This is one way to deal with a shortage of ESL teachers.     - - Donna Poisl

BY ERICA ERWIN, Erie Times-News

Twelve students are hunched over computers in the Erie's Wilson Middle School library, headphones on, working to sound out the words or decipher the pictures on the screens in front of them.

It's a foreign language-learning class, but with two twists: This group of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders includes students from Nepal, Iraq, Congo and Eritrea, and the language they're learning is English.

And they're doing it with the help of Rosetta Stone, a popular computer software program designed to teach language through immersion.
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Teach for America: California schools need their talent

These teachers, trained in the TFA program are needed to teach ESL to high school students.   - - Donna Poisl

By Chris Funk, Special to the Mercury News

The English Learner Authorization embedded within the intern credential is a very hot issue for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing due to the concerns over incomplete education and preparation of intern teachers who serve students who are English Learners.

As the superintendent of East Side Union High School District, it is my privilege and duty to support my principals and teachers in creating learning environments that allow our students, many of whom are English Learners, to uncover their potential and thrive. For my district and others in California, Teach For America has been a key part of that equation for over 20 years.

You will find outstanding educators from TFA and other alternative certification programs throughout our Bay Area school districts and in successful local charter schools like Rocketship and KIPP. This is why the current statewide conversation about changes to how alternatively prepared teachers can receive certification to teach our English Leaners has me so concerned.
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People in America need to learn how to speak English

This is an interesting piece; he talks about immigrants learning English and also about American kids not knowing English well enough for a good job. A very true and sad situation.    - - Donna Poisl

By Kenneth Kowald

In the current discussion of immigration reform, learning to speak, read and write English with some efficiency is one of the requirements for citizenship that everyone seems to agree on. It is something someone applying for citizenship today has to be able to do, but there are some exemptions to that requirement. They should be few in number.

Some years ago, I was called for grand jury duty at the Supreme Court building in Kew Gardens. During the opening session, all of us were in a large courtroom and the judge went through information which we needed. At one point, one of those who had been called asked to be excused because he claimed he might not understand the proceedings because of his poor English.
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Survey says ESL teachers use The Beatles to help students learn English

This makes sense, think of how many songs in other languages that we learned as little kids.    - - Donna Poisl

by David Burger

A new study has found that 40 percent of surveyed ESL teachers play songs by The Beatles to help their students learn English.

Research by Kaplan International Colleges, a leading provider of English courses, revealed that 86 percent of ESL teachers play music during class to enhance lessons and help students improve their understanding of the English language.

Kaplan discovered that The Beatles were the most popular band used by ESL teachers, with 40 percent stating that they used the songs of The Fab Four such as "Hey Jude," "Love Me Do" and "A Hard Day’s Night" during lessons.
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How Young People Are Leading the Call for Immigration Reform

Young immigrants have so much at stake here. They have the education, the dreams and plans and can't get jobs without documents.   - - Donna Poisl

by Joy Lawson

Three years ago, Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez and three fellow college students walked from Miami to Washington, DC.

It took four months for the group to complete their 1,500-mile trek -- what they called the "Trail of Dreams" -- on foot. They treaded through snow and slept on couches because they had a message to share with Washington: We need immigration reform. We need an end to the deportation of undocumented students. We need solutions, now.

Sousa-Rodriguez had been a part of the Young People For leadership development program, and the young organizers who have followed in his footsteps share the same extraordinary commitment to fixing our country's broken immigration system. As the director of that program, my respect for the passion and effective organizing of young people on this issue today -- as the highly anticipated bipartisan immigration bill is expected to be introduced -- is no less strong than it was then.
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Small Business Wants Immigration Reform for More Than Cheap Labor

All businesses need more customers, and small businesses know that immigrants are customers. Many are lower income people and they are definitely consumers; clothing, food, cars, etc..    - - Donna Poisl

By Patrick Clark

Business leaders often portray U.S. immigration reform as a necessary means to increasing the supply of workers, whether as high-skilled engineers for the technology sector or, say, minimum-wage housekeepers for the hotel industry. A pair of recent polls suggest that small business owners also see immigrants as important customers, job creators, and taxpayers.

In a survey released today by the Main Street Alliance and the American Sustainable Business Council, 82 percent of Democrat small business owners and 62 percent of Republicans supported a road map to citizenship for immigrants already living in the U.S. as well as for future immigrants. Seventy-one percent of the 515 respondents, meanwhile, said that immigration policies should encourage economic integration, and that such policies would strengthen the customer base for small businesses.
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Most Americans think immigrants without documents all sneaked in. Actually almost half of them came in legally and stayed when they should have returned home.    - - Donna Poisl


Roughly 40%  of the 11 million undocumented workers in the United States are foreigners who came legally mostly through visas but have overstayed the length of the visas or overstayed their legal residence here, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. These immigrants did not cross the U.S. border with stealth but rather obeyed the laws when they arrived. The scant hard evidence about this group indicates that they are better educated than non-visa illegal immigrants, and often speak English with greater fluency. They also tend to emigrate from Europe, Asia and Africa,  rather than Central and South America. In many cases, they used tourist visas to enter the U.S.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), who is working on the Senate immigration bill, “Whenever I use that statistic, people seem completely surprised. They assume that, yeah, some people overstay—but 40% of the illegal population here?" Flake commented that a sizable group of the overstayers exceeded the time limit on H-1B visas, which apply to highly skilled workers
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Young immigrants blame high fees as deportation deferral applications drop dramatically

What a shame, if the fees cause the immigrants to pass up the chance to apply and they don't get the guarantee they won't be deported.   - - Donna Poisl

By Arturo Garcia

Interest in the two-year deferred-deportation program has flagged heavily in recent months, with some immigrants pointing to high application fees as an obstacle to taking part.

Univision News reported on Monday that applications to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative have decreased steadily (PDF) since October 2012, when 117,213 application were turned in, to just 16,778 for the month of March 2013. Overall, 469,530 applications have been turned in for the program, meaning that about 25 percent of DACA-eligible immigrants have attempted to take part in it.

The program, instituted by President Barack Obama in June 2012, was seen as a salve to younger immigrants who were in danger of being deported after the failure of the DREAM Act. It is open to applicants under 30 who were brought to the U.S. before their 16th birthday and requires a $465 fee, on top of legal and scholastic guidelines.
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Expanded immigration would reduce the federal deficit, some conservatives say

This new report has said the same thing many people say; immigration helps the economy.  - - Donna Poisl

By Jim Tankersley

Conservative champions of opening the flow of legal immigration into the United States are invoking economics in hopes of winning Republican lawmakers’ support — specifically, the idea that more immigration will increase growth and cut the federal budget deficit.

The American Action Forum, a conservative think tank, will release an analysis on Tuesday that projects that an overhaul of immigration laws could boost gross domestic product growth by a percentage point each year over the next decade. That growth would produce tax revenue that would reduce federal deficits by a combined $2.5 trillion, according to the group’s president, the economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: Immigration and the knowledge economy

This is a good opinion piece about why we need immigrants and need them to succeed, especially in our new knowledge economy.  - - Donna Poisl

By Mark Zuckerberg,

Earlier this year I started teaching a class on entrepreneurship at an after-school program in my community. The middle-school students put together business plans, made their products and even got an opportunity to sell them.

One day I asked my students what they thought about going to college. One of my top aspiring entrepreneurs told me he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to go to college because he’s undocumented. His family is from Mexico, and they moved here when he was a baby. Many students in my community are in the same situation; they moved to the United States so early in their lives that they have no memories of living anywhere else.

These students are smart and hardworking, and they should be part of our future.
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Syracuse refugee population needs a one-stop shop

It is hard to help refugees and immigrants from many different locations, organizing the help in one location would help everyone.    - - Donna Poisl

By Marnie Eisenstadt

Syracuse, N.Y. -- Makene Yelusa is one of 12 refugees from the Congo who came to Syracuse over the past decade.

She’s struggled to find work and is still learning English. But she’s also started a sewing business with another woman from the Congo. And she can sleep again.

“Before, you don’t sleep. Maybe soldiers are coming to take me,” said Yelusa, who lived in a refugee camp in the Congo for 13 years before coming to Syracuse.
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America’s Assimilation System Is Broken

In the past, new citizens could not return to their homeland easily and had very little contact with their family. Now everyone is connected and there is not much necessity to assimilate.    - - Donna Poisl

By John Fonte

On Monday, the Hudson Institute published a paper entitled “America’s Patriotic Assimilation System Is Broken,” which I co-authored with social scientist Althea Nagai.

Nagai’s quantitative analysis of Harris Interactive survey data revealed that the evidence of patriotic assimilation of immigrant citizens to American identity is weak and ambiguous compared with that of native-born citizens.

Over 20 survey questions on issues of patriotic attachment and civic knowledge, there was a large gap between native-born and naturalized citizens. Some findings of the Harris survey (originally commissioned by the Bradley Foundation Project on American National Identity) are listed below:
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Students languishing under Massachusetts' bilingual education law, critics say

Students are having difficulty in immersion classes and are asking for the law to be changed.   - - Donna Poisl


BOSTON — Alternating between speaking English and Spanish, mothers, teachers and students urged lawmakers Tuesday to revamp a decade-old law that nearly eliminated bilingual education, arguing it has left students learning to speak English “languishing” and struggling to advance academically.

Advocates want lawmakers to revisit English language learning programs that promote dual-language instruction. In 2002, backers of a successful ballot question argued that allowing students to continue instruction in their native tongue hindered them from learning English.

The voter-approved law called for immigrant students to be immersed into English-only classrooms, with their native language used minimally and only when necessary.
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Watch the Rally for Citizenship today live from your computer

from Gabe Ortiz, America's Voice Education Fund

As you read this, thousands of immigrant rights activists like you are gathering at the Capitol in Washington for a massive rally to demand immigration reform with a clear and direct path to citizenship for 11 million Americans in waiting. Our immigration system is broken, and we need to tell our leaders that it's too late to turn back now.

Even if you can't make it in person, you can still be a part of this event -- watch the Rally for Citizenship live from your computer today at 3 PM EST/12 PM PST.

We're approaching what could be a turning point in the fight for immigration reform. As our elected leaders in Washington finalize a bill to present in the coming days, our job is simple yet vital -- to make sure that their plan reflects the needs of our community.

Join us today and be a part of this historic event.

Thanks for your support.

Gabe Ortiz
America's Voice Education Fund

PS: Use the #A10 and #TimeIsNow hashtags to follow and tweet news about the event!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Immigration Reform: Path to Citizenship, Path to Growth

Fox News agrees that immigration reform is good for the economy.   - - Donna Poisl

By Antonio Garza, Fox News Latino

Immigration reform is at the top of Washington’s to-do list. It’s not the first time in recent memory that the issue has received serious attention from lawmakers. But unlike six years ago when the last bipartisan effort fell apart, it now looks as if there may be the right combination of public support, leadership (public and private) and political will to make sensible reform a reality.

This turnaround, regardless of the reasons for its occurrence, is good. That’s because the country’s economic vitality and future competitiveness depends on getting immigration right.
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We Can't Keep Ignoring The Spanish Language Problem For Long

This article compares immersion and bilingual classes for learning English .   - - Donna Poisl

David Francis, The Fiscal Times   

Lawmakers in Washington appear to be inching closer to a long-anticipated immigration overhaul that would address issues from pathway to citizenship to border security. But the bill is not expected to address issues affecting tens of millions of families across the country: how to educate students who don’t speak English.

The fight over bilingual education has been especially passionate. Some believe that students should be forced to learn English through immersion, while others argue that students who do not speak English should receive education in their own language while they learn English. Some believe it should be a combination of both. Hints of anti-immigrant sentiments soil the debate.
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'Gang of Eight' needs to deliver immigration fix

This is definitely our best hope, if they don't do it now, I fear it won't get done for years.   - - Donna Poisl

The Sacramento Bee, the following editorial appeared in the Sacramento Bee on Wednesday, April 3:

Republicans and Democrats working on an immigration overhaul bill missed their goal of unveiling a draft by March. Now they hope to present a bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee by April 8, when they return from a two-week recess.

The so-called Gang of Eight in the U.S. Senate crafting a bill has hit another of the usual stumbling blocks - what to do about future legal flows of lower-skilled immigrants who traditionally fill jobs that native-born workers shun. The failure to address this issue in the 1986 immigration reform fueled new ranks of illegal migrants.

The "Gang" does agree on admitting more highly skilled immigrants and is close to consensus on much-needed agricultural workers, a big issue for California's Central Valley.
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Immigrants See Chance to Be ’Real’ Americans: House Bill

With more people believing this, immigration reform has a better chance.   - - Donna Poisl

By Roxana Tiron 

A group of U.S. House members will propose steps to legal status for undocumented immigrants, who shouldn’t be living here permanently without a chance to become “real Americans,” said Representative Mario Diaz-Balart.

Bringing many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. “out of the shadows” and improving the immigration system would be “great” for businesses, Diaz-Balart said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Peter Cook for “Capitol Gains” airing April 7. The Florida Republican is a member of a bipartisan House group negotiating a plan.
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'Illegal immigrant': what words to use becomes a debate itself

This is a good start, the other news groups will probably follow soon.   - - Donna Poisl

By Cindy Chang and Marisa Gerber, Los Angeles Times

As lawmakers in Washington debate the possibility of legalization for 11 million immigrants, a more basic question has emerged in the nation's newsrooms and beyond: what to call those immigrants.

Most news organizations have long used the term "illegal immigrant," which some people find offensive. They prefer "undocumented," arguing that "illegal" is dehumanizing and lumps border crossers with serious criminals. Some even view "illegal immigrant" as tantamount to hate speech and refuse to utter it, referring only to the "I-word."

On Tuesday, the Associated Press revised its influential stylebook and jettisoned "illegal immigrant," reversing a decision from six months earlier. The AP did not offer an exact replacement, instead recommending that writers fully describe a person's immigration status.
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