Thursday, June 27, 2013

Poll finds Americans mistaken on immigration rate

Let's hope people read this, and believe it.    - - Donna Poisl

Susan Page, USA TODAY

Most Americans say the number of immigrants entering the United States illegally is higher now than it was 10 years ago.

Most experts say they're wrong.

In a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll, 55% of those surveyed say the numbers have increased and 27% say they are about same. Just 15% say they're lower.
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St. Louis region making push for immigrants

Only 4.6% of the population of St. Louis are immigrants, the city is trying to convince more to live there.    - - Donna Poisl

By JIM SALTER, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis lags behind many other U.S. metropolitan areas in attracting immigrants, but a new effort is underway to change that.

The St. Louis Mosaic Project was formally launched Thursday with an ambitious aim to make the St. Louis region the fastest-growing metropolitan area for immigration by 2020.

"The real goal is to grow the population of this region, grow the diversity of the region, which makes it a more interesting place to visit, live and work," said Kitty Radcliffe, president of the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission and a member of the project's steering committee.
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Immigrants shed tears, hug children as they watch historic immigration vote

The immigration bill has passed the Senate, it will be interesting and probably painful to watch the House work on it.    - - Donna Poisl

By Alvaro Ortiz

The familiar rallying cry of "si se puede" (yes we can) rang out as a dozen people gathered for a watching party in Houston Thursday afternoon for the U.S. Senate's passage of sweeping immigration reform legislation.

They were watching the 68 to 32 vote live at the Houston offices of FIEL (Familias Inmigrantes y Estudiantes en la Lucha which means Immigrant Families and Students in the Struggle).

Some in attendance cried; others hugged their children, excited by the prospects of a bill offering a path to citizenship to 11 million immigrants who came to this country illegally.

One of those people is 53-year-old Gerardo Tobar who arrived in the U.S. from Monclova, Coahuila-Mexico. He's been living here since 1993.
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How Immigrant Neighbors Make You Richer

I'm sure many people never expected this to happen, and it is good news. These people are getting good prices on the houses they are buying and they are keeping neighborhoods alive and thriving.  - - Donna Poisl


Immigrants help stabilize the U.S. housing market and represent trillions of dollars in housing wealth, according to a report released Thursday.

The report found that immigrant homeowners help build up less-popular areas, making real estate investments that eventually draw in more residents.

Jacob Vigdor, a professor of public policy and economics at Duke University and the researcher who compiled the report, said that the trend is happening across the country.

"They've taken what would have been a downward spiral and they've stopped it and reversed it," he said.
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State to spend more to help English Language Learners

Iowa has set aside more money to help ELL kids in school. This will help them be more successful in their later school years and as adults.   - - Donna Poisl

Written by Mary Stegmeir

Iowa schools will soon be eligible for more money to educate children who are learning to speak English.

A provision included in a bill signed last week by Gov. Terry Branstad extends to five years the time period that districts can receive additional funding to serve English Language Learners.

Previously, school districts could receive extra dollars to help such students for a maximum of four years. The extension applies to children who first received ELL services in 2010, so the additional funding won’t become available until the 2014-15 academic year.
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For many literacy students, English is a life skill

This class teaches English to mostly older students, working to give themselves better lives in this country.   - - Donna Poisl

By Melissa Montoya, The Brownsville Herald

Rosalio Osorio was once a teacher in Mexico. Now she’s back in the classroom, but as a student.

The 73-year-old is one of the 16 students in a life skills class at the Brownsville Literacy Center. They are studying to improve their English, which some of them say is crucial to living in the United States.

Until recently Osorio lived in Mexico, but the drug violence, she said, caused her to make her way north and settle in Brownsville.

“Now in my home everyone speaks English,” she said.
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American Immigration Council Applauds DOMA Decision

For Immediate Release

June 26, 2013

Washington D.C. - Today, the Supreme Court unequivocally affirmed that there is no legitimate reason for the federal government to discriminate against married couples on account of their sexual orientation.  The Justices struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, noting in their decision, “DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal.”

Today’s historic decision means that our immigration system must stop treating gay and lesbian families differently than other families.   For far too long, gay and lesbian U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have been barred from obtaining immigration status for their noncitizen spouses.  As a result, families have been separated and spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been deported from the United States.

President Obama issued an immediate directive to the Attorney General to “work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.”

The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano also issued a statement to press confirming that DHS is “working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, [to] implement today's decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws."

“Far too often, exceptions have been carved out to exclude immigrants from basic rights and protections. We are pleased that the Administration has made it clear it intends for this important decision to apply fully to the immigration system” said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council. “We urge the immigration agencies to work quickly to unite these families and honor the marriages that the Supreme Court has affirmed.”
For more information, contact Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524
Study: Poor, minority students see biggest advantages from charter schools; general gains seen

Minority students in charter schools across the country made bigger improvements in their reading and math scores than their peers in regular public schools.    - - Donna Poisl

Article by: CAROLYN THOMPSON , Associated Press

Charter schools benefit students from poor families, black students and Hispanic English-language learners more than their peers in other groups, a study shows.

Overall, charter school students are faring better than they were four years ago, surpassing those in traditional public schools in reading gains and keeping pace in math, according to the National Charter School Study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University.

The study, released Tuesday, updated and expanded upon 2009 findings comparing student performance on standardized reading and math tests.
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Opinion: Assimilation is a two-way street

Immigrants must assimilate into American life and America has to assimilate to the new look of our country.    - - Donna Poisl

by Stephen A. Nuňo

Ever since the late Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington wrote his famous article “The Hispanic Challenge,” conservatives have felt validated by their impulse that Latinos don’t assimilate into American society like past immigrants do.

Most damaging was that Huntington’s hefty credibility as a respected academic mainstreamed the fear being flamed by the anti-immigrant cottage industry.

While scholars have countered Huntington’s scholarship since then, that hasn’t stopped the persistence of the myth.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported a list of the ways today’s immigrants are following similar patterns of assimilation as past groups, such as the Italians.
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Friday, June 21, 2013

For Mexican immigrants, traditional foods remade for health

Mexican women in Georgia are learning how to change some of their recipes to be more healthy; leaving out the lard, cutting the salt and maybe not so much frying.   - - Donna Poisl


Pinewoods Estates North, a mobile home park across Highway 29 from Athens Christian School, has for many years served as a hub for Mexican immigrants living and working in Athens. Within those trailers live families from distinct regions within Mexico — Veracruz, Michoacan, Mexico City, etc. — each with its own unique approach to cooking. For many weeks now, a group of Pinewoods women have been meeting at the library there to talk about Mexican cuisine, the differences therein, and how to prepare it with health in mind. Of course, each cook has his or her preferred method for mole, and every week the debate over edible provincial superlatives is heated but polite.

“Just because we’re from Mexico doesn’t mean we cook the same,” said Gabriela Sanchez-Brambila, a food scientist who leads this nutrition and cooking class, as well as a cook who already guided this reporter through the intricacies of authentic from-scratch mole. 
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The Contributions of Immigrants and Their Children to the American Workforce and Jobs of the Future

A very interesting and informative piece, with good graphs and charts showing how important immigrants are to our country and our future.   - - Donna Poisl

By Dowell Myers, Stephen Levy, and John Pitkin

Our nation is in the middle of two great demographic shifts. The largest generation of Americans—the Baby Boomers—is reaching retirement age and will leave the workforce en masse between 2010 and 2030. The retirement of the Baby Boom generation will create millions of replacement job openings, even as economic growth creates the need for additional workers to fill newly created jobs. At the same time, our nation is becoming more demographically diverse. Immigrants and their children make up a growing share of the population that will be entering their prime working years over the next two decades.

With large numbers of jobs coming open in every sector of the economy and at all skill levels from now to 2030, immigrants and their children will be critical to the continued dynamism of the American workforce and economy. They will play a vital role in reshaping the workforce, filling essential jobs, and sustaining economic growth.
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For young immigrants, a delayed coming of age

This is a success story about a young man who got DACA permission to stay and work legally.   - - Donna Poisl

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO, Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — As a child, Jorge Tume used to sit and do homework as his parents cleaned the desks and floors of a concrete company in Miami. When he was done, he'd take out the trash and help finish cleaning.

Tume's parents brought him to the U.S. from Peru with his younger brother when he was 12. They came on tourist visas and then stayed in the country illegally when their visas expired.

After he graduated from high school, Tume had few job prospects. So he did what his parents did: Cleaned offices, washed cars and picked up odd jobs.
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Immigrants sworn in as citizens on World Refugee Day (photos)

Click above and go to this site and see all the pictures (and captions) from the citizenship ceremony of immigrant refugees.
How Immigrant Neighbors Make You Richer

Another way to think about immigrants and how they are helping our country and economy.   - - Donna Poisl


Immigrants help stabilize the U.S. housing market and represent trillions of dollars in housing wealth, according to a report released Thursday.

The report found that immigrant homeowners help build up less-popular areas, making real estate investments that eventually draw in more residents.

Jacob Vigdor, a professor of public policy and economics at Duke University and the researcher who compiled the report, said that the trend is happening across the country.

"They've taken what would have been a downward spiral and they've stopped it and reversed it," he said.
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Latinos Learn English Faster than Other Immigrants, Says Study

I'm sure this report will surprise many people and there will be many who will not believe it.  - - Donna Poisl

Written by Kirsten Gibson

A new study demonstrates that Latinos are learning English faster than past immigrants in a country without an official language.

The study, conducted by Joseph Salmons of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Miranda E. Wilkerson of Columbia College, looked at German immigrants to the U.S. from the 19th century and their rate of English use.

The researchers found that high numbers of second- and third-generation German immigrants spoke only German. These areas with German-rich populations had limited interactions in English; in schools and churches, German was the preferred language.
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National LULAC Members Galvanize In Support of Immigration Reform


LAS VEGAS, June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), at its 84th annual National Convention here, conducted an immigration reform town hall where members discussed recent developments in the Senate impacting immigration reform legislation. 

Today, the "hard trigger" provision supported by Senator Cornyn that 90 percent apprehension be achieved as a precondition for citizenship has been dropped as part of the border security measure.

In an attempt to get more GOP votes, Senators are in negotiations with the Gang of Eight to include a significant increase in border security funding and officers; essentially doubling the current 21,000 agents that currently patrol the border. Conservatives are also pushing for a provision that the fence along the border with Mexico be finished before immigrants can apply for citizenship.

"The GOP has reached a cross fork in their ideology where leadership must decide whether to be the party of immigration reform or the party that essentially signed away the Latino vote and severed ties with the Hispanic community," said LULAC Executive Director, Brent Wilkes at a press conference today in Las Vegas. His remarks were given at the LULAC Convention which attracts 20,000 attendees, the vast majority of whom can easily trace their roots to other countries.

Nevada's immigrant population grew 71 percent between 2000 and 2010, and is one of the fastest-growing Hispanic communities in the nation. The profile of immigrants in Nevada is not unlike that of the rest of the nation.  According to a report from the University of Nevada Las Vegas' Center for Democratic Culture, our country will be largely multicultural as the Asian and Latino populations continue to boom. Nevada was historically an open door for immigrants, with 44 percent of residents foreign born according to the 1870 Census.

"Immigrants have always contributed to the fabric of this country and for years we've been pressing the point that immigration reform would bring value to the country's economy," said LULAC National President, Margaret Moran. "The Hispanic community will not stand idly by and allow 11 million members of our community to remain in the shadows."

LULAC is entrenched in the future of immigration reform as it will affect 11 million residents and their families that are living in limbo. As the nation's premier Latino organization, the convention attracts top government, business, labor and community leaders, including Vice President Joe Biden, for a week filled with renowned speakers, important seminars, celebrities and entertainment.

SOURCE  League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
CONTACT: Paloma Zuleta,, (202) 812-4477
The Power of Reform: CBO Report Quantifies the Economic Benefits of the Senate Immigration Bill

For Immediate Release

June 20, 2013

Washington D. C. -  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation issued two reports this week on the Senate Immigration Bill, S. 744. The first one analyzes (or “scores”) the fiscal impact of the bill over the next 20 years and the second one focuses on the impact some aspects of the bill would have on the U.S. economy. According to these reports, the expected fiscal and economic effects of the bill are overwhelmingly positive. All in all, S. 744 will help reduce the federal budget deficit by $1.1 trillion over 20 years, will boost the economy, and will not negatively affect U.S. workers. The Immigration Policy Center has produced a fact sheet that highlights the expected benefits of the bill on the U.S. budget, economy, and workforce.

To view the fact sheet in its entirety see:
The Power of Reform: CBO Report Quantifies the Economic Benefits of the Senate Immigration Bill (IPC Fact Check, June 20, 2013)

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

How does immigration reform help us save $1 trillion?      click to see the details.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

LULAC Praises the Supreme Court for Rejecting the Arizona Proof of Citizenship Requirement


LAS VEGAS, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Today, in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, No. 12-71, the Supreme Court held that the Arizona requirement for prospective voters to show proof of citizenship before using a registration form to vote in a federal election was unconstitutional. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 provides for voters to register by using a federal form produced under the Motor Voter registration law, where they must declare, under penalty of perjury, that they are a U.S. Citizen. LULAC was one of the plaintiffs in the suit from the trial court level, the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals, and now with the Supreme Court decision.

The Arizona state law required prospective voters to provide documentation of their U.S. citizenship in order to use the registration form. In a 7-2 decision the court ruled that the Arizona state law, which required proof of citizenship, was an invalid requirement in that it was inconsistent with the controlling federal statute, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

"LULAC has worked hard to combat efforts that suppress a citizen's right to vote – which is precisely what the Arizona law was designed to do," said LULAC National President Margaret Moran.  "We are pleased with the Supreme Court decision today striking down such a restrictive law. We believe that the Supreme Court decision not only affects Arizona but other states which have tried or may try in the future to suppress voter participation through such abhorrent practices.  These attempts are un-American to their core, in that our democracy is at its best when citizens practice their right to be heard."

Although today's decision was focused on Arizona it will impact states who have filed similar legislation. Currently, similar voter restriction requirements have been filed in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation's largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities.  Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 900 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC's programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future.  For more information, visit

SOURCE   League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
CONTACT: Paloma Zuleta, (202) 812-4477,

Prosperity Candle and Women’s Refugee Commission Partner for Displaced Women and Children Around The World

June 10, 2013, Easthampton, MA - Prosperity Candle ( has announced that it will donate 5% of all online and designated corporate sales from May 12th through June 30th to the Women's Refugee Commission ( The donations will support the WRC’s work creating a positive impact on the lives of displaced women, children and youth around the world. The partnership is in honor of World Refugee Day on June 20th 2013.

The WRC, a nongovernmental organization, examines the needs of refugees, identifies solutions and advocates for programs and policies to strengthen their resilience and drive change in humanitarian practices. Donations from the partnership will go to fund on the ground research missions and the dissemination of reports to bring attention to refugee issues around the world, as well as provide trainings for refugees and aid workers.

This announcement comes just days before the 13th annual World Refugee Day. The June 20th, 2013, celebration will feature events hosted in over 100 countries involving aid workers, government officials and celebrities, as well as current and former refugees.

“Prosperity Candle is honored to support the thousands of women and girls around the world struggling for the right to return home,” says Kaitlin Hasseler, Director of Partnerships at Prosperity Candle “World Refugee Day is the perfect opportunity for individuals and organizations around the world to pledge their support of refugees, both at home and abroad.”

Prosperity Candle is a social enterprise company that partners with female entrepreneurs in and from some of the most distressed regions around the globe. The organization works with women from places like Haiti and Iraq to start candle businesses with access to local and global markets. In the U.S., it works with recently resettled refugees from places like Burma who are finally getting the opportunity to rebuild their lives after years of hardship.

“We are thrilled that Prosperity Candle has selected the Women's Refugee Commission as a partner in striving for a future in which refugees and internally displaced women, children and youth are safe, healthy and self-­‐reliant, and have their human rights respected and protected,” said Sarah Costa, executive director of the WRC.

All Prosperity Candle purchases during the partnership period will benefit the WRC. Products and details are available online at

For more information about the Women's Refugee Commission, Prosperity Candle, or to schedule an interview with Kim Hutt contact Prosperity Candle by phone at 413-­‐727-­‐3078 or by e-­‐mail at


About Prosperity Candle

Prosperity Candle is a social enterprise that offers women living in distressed places around the world with the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills and create thriving enterprises producing distinctive candles for local and international markets. Currently the company is working in Iraq and Haiti, and with Burmese women refugees in the U.S. For more information and to see products made by Prosperity Candle entrepreneurs visit

About The Women’s Refugee Commission

The Women's Refugee Commission was established in 1989 to address the particular needs of refugee and displaced women and children. The Women's Refugee Commission is affiliated with and is legally part of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a non-­‐profit 501(c)(3) organization. It does not receive direct financial support from the IRC. For more information, visit

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Analyses on Immigration and Unemployment

For Immediate Release

June 12, 2013

Washington D.C. - Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases The Economic Blame Game: Immigration and Unemployment and Allies, Not Enemies: How Latino Immigration Boosts African American Employment and Wages.

The evidence in these two reports runs contrary to claims that immigration reform will increase the nation’s unemployment rate. In fact, both the legalization and “future flow” provisions of the current Senate bill would empower immigrant workers to spend more, invest more, and pay more in taxes—all of which would create new jobs.

Another popular myth addressed is one that assumes Latino immigrants and African Americans are locked in ruinous competition for the same jobs, resulting in lower wages and higher unemployment rates for African Americans. In truth, Latino immigrants and African Americans fill complementary roles in the labor market—they are not simply substitutes for one another.

To view the analyses in their entirety, see:
The Economic Blame Game: Immigration and Unemployment (IPC Fact Check, June 2013)
Allies, Not Enemies: How Latino Immigration Boosts African American Employment and Wages (IPC Perspectives, Jack Strauss, Ph.D., June 2013)

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

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), established in 2003, is the policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.   

Division of the American Immigration Council.   
Program helps refugees enhance English skills

Refugees have to learn English to function in this country. Some learned a bit of English in their previous country, this class in Pittsburgh helps them get the American accents and meanings.   - - Donna Poisl

By Stephanie Hacke

Nay Nwoi recalls a time when she was scared to answer the telephone.

The 30-year-old Whitehall mother of three had just moved to the United States after spending 10 years in a refugee camp in Thailand and struggled to understand what the person on the other end of the line was saying.

So, she made a habit of telling the caller that she didn't speak English and would hang up the phone on whomever was trying to reach her.

Hours of practice, and English classes from the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council and Whitehall Public Library, have helped Nwoi master the English language.
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The real immigration ‘crisis'? Not enough immigrants

This could be an interesting problem. For many reasons we need more immigrants, let's hope they keep coming.    - - Donna Poisl


What if someone gave an immigration “crisis” and no one came?

Literally, as in no immigrants came.

We might want to gird for the real immigration crisis — not enough immigrants.

This is a scenario posed by René Zenteno, a professor of demography at University of Texas-San Antonio and a former undersecretary of population, migration and religious affairs in Mexico’s Ministry of the Interior.

Also on a recent panel with him in San Antonio on this topic were local immigration attorney Juan Gonzales, AFL-CIO executive vice president emerita Linda Chavez-Thompson and Jeff Judson, senior vice president of the San Antonio Tea Party.
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An Immigrant's Life, Defined

Despite her status, this young woman has accomplished much. She is the perfect example of the immigrants the DREAM Act is intended to help     - - Donna Poisl


As an undocumented immigrant living in America, I've always refused to be defined -- or confined -- by my immigration status. I am so much more than just an immigrant; I am a college graduate, an engineer by training, a sorority sister, a peer counselor, a volunteer for abused women and an advocate for immigration reform.

Despite all of the roles I have played in my life and in my community, the fact remains that I am an undocumented immigrant. I have spent much of my life in the shadows, living in fear that I will be deported. For many years I didn't share my story because of that fear. But with immigration reform a real possibility, I feel compelled to add my voice to all those calling for a path to citizenship for people like me.

I was born in Lagos, Nigeria and came to the U.S. when I was 14. From a very young age I dreamed of becoming an engineer. Once I got to America I worked hard to fulfill that dream. I graduated in the top five percent of my class and was admitted to one of the country's top universities. In 2002, I graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering.
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Governor Signs Bill to Help Young English Language Learners

This is good news; if these kids don't learn English completely, they will suffer all through their school years and then in the rest of their lives.    - - Donna Poisl

By Sharie Harvin, Reporter

LAS VEGAS -- Thousands of Clark County School District students whose primary language is not English will soon have $50 million funding more of their education.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the state's first-ever funded bill for English language learners, or ELL, at the YMCA, 4141 Meadows Lane, on Wednesday.

Of the 67,000 students considered English language learners, 75 percent are below average in reading and more than half are underperforming in math.
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Immigrants use less health care than native-born Americans

Many immigrants are not accustomed to using health care or emergency rooms and they do the same here.    - - Donna Poisl

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times

As Congress spars over what types of health care coverage to extend to illegal immigrants, a new report Thursday says immigrants overall are less likely than native-born Americans to go to the doctor or show up in the emergency room.

The Migration Policy Institute said 8 percent of low-income immigrants visited a doctor’s office in 2010, compared to 13 percent of native-born Americans.

“Our analysis shows that immigrants — even those who have insurance — use emergency rooms more sparingly than the native born,” said Leighton Ku, one of the MPI report’s co-authors.
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Why It Makes More Sense Than You Know to Learn a Second Language

There are many everyday reasons to learn a second language, but many people don't realize how beneficial it is to your brain.     - - Donna Poisl


My wife is Colombian, I grew up in Germany, and I now work in Philadelphia. As I like to joke, that gives me three good reasons to know a language other than English. But the truth is, recent research suggests that learning a new language, at any age, not only will enhance your next vacation or better prepare you for an upcoming business trip, it can also make you a better listener, boost your creativity, spur brain growth, and for some people, even delay Alzheimer's.

Each of these benefits stems from the various ways that language learning improves your brain's ability to focus. Learning a language physically changes your mind, ultimately making you a stronger, more creative thinker. So if your high school Spanish lessons are a buried memory or even if you're already bilingual and just want to find out what that skill is doing for you, here are five reasons why you should start learning a foreign language right now:
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Will immigration reform provide the workers America needs? Yes!

This country needs lots of workers who are young and will be paying into Social Security and Medicare for many years. Immigrants are the answer to that need.    - - Donna Poisl

By Thomas J. Donohue

Throughout our nation's history, the world's biggest risk-takers, boldest thinkers and hardest workers have flocked to America's shores in pursuit of greater freedom and opportunity. Their contributions to our society and economy are no less important today than they were 200 years ago.

In the face of changing demographics, shifts in the labor market, and an increasingly global workforce, immigrants are essential to our economic strength and competitive standing in the world. And that's good for all Americans.
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Immigrants sow new idea: They're also here to give back

Immigrants in NC got together and donated their time working at a Farm Center in their area.    - - Donna Poisl

from The News & Observer

DURHAM, Jun 16, 2013 (The News & Observer (Menafn - Raleigh - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --As immigration reform proposals sow heated debate nationally and across North Carolina, a nonprofit organization brought together American- and foreign-born residents Saturday to plant a different seed: Many immigrants living in this state -- legally or not -- often want to give back to their new communities.

That was the message echoed over and over during a workday that Uniting NC, a nonprofit organization working to foster mutual respect and cooperation among North Carolina residents, held at the Goodwill Farm Center in Durham.

More than 30 volunteers spent three hours under a hot sun picking blueberries, weeding eggplant and potato rows, and planting sweet potatoes and fruit trees.
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Demographic and Economic Impacts of New Americans on ALL 50 States

June 5, 2013

Washington D.C. - Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases all 50 updated state-by-state fact sheets with accompanying infographics, which highlight the demographic and economic impact of New Americans, Asians and Latinos in each state. All fifty states, plus the District of Columbia and an overall U.S. fact sheet, are complete and available at the following links:

District of Columbia:
New Hampshire:
New Mexico:
New Jersey:
New York:
North Carolina:
North Dakota:
Rhode Island:
South Carolina:
South Dakota:
West Virginia:
The United States:


For more information contact Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524
The American Immigration Council Announces the Winners of the 16th Annual 'Celebrate America' Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest

 For Immediate Release

June 6, 2013

Washington D.C. - The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce that the first place winner of our Community Education Center's 16th Annual 'Celebrate America' Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest is Erin Stark of Enetai Elementary School in Bellevue, Washington. Her poem entitled What Would You Miss About Immigrants? was chosen from among thousands of entries nationwide. The piece asks what one would do if immigrants stopped coming to the United States:

Would you miss the food?

The potstickers, sushi and dumplings,

Pizza, spaghetti, curry or crepes?

Just think about it for a

minute or two,

Could you survive eating fish at every meal? Could you?
Immigrants are coming every day,

Variety is what they bring with them in every way.

To read the rest of the winning entry click here.

The second place winner is Julianne Capp of Las Vegas, Nevada, the third place winner is Helen Agee of Dallas, Texas and honorable mentions are Emma LaTendresse of Portland, Oregon and Jeffrey Phong of Los Angeles, California. 

Stark will read her poem and receive her award at the American Immigration Council’s Annual Benefit in San Francisco on June 28, 2013. Her winning entry will be read into the Congressional Record and all top five winners will have a flag flown over the Capitol.

Erin’s poem was inspired by her fifth grade teacher Monica Chun’s lessons about immigration. “I thought immediately about food, holidays and contributions [of immigrants]-like buildings”, Erin stated. Besides writing, Erin likes to read books with fantasy and action.

The celebrity judges of the national contest are all immigrants including Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, co-founder of National Organization for Women Sonia Pressman Fuentes, award-winning author Edwidge Danticat, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Gerda Weissman Klein.

21 Chapters of the American Immigration Lawyers Association participated in the contest. The top entry from each participating Chapter was judged by a panel of immigration experts who chose the top five entries sent to the celebrity judges.

2013 marks the American Immigration Council’s 16th Annual Creative Writing Contest, a national contest for fifth grade students sponsored by the Community Education Center. The contest provides youth with an opportunity to learn more about immigration to the U.S. and to explain, in their own words, why they are proud America is a nation of immigrants. 

For more information contact Claire Tesh at or 202-507-7518.
Silicon Valley’s Immigrant Janitors Learning English at Work

Learning English at the work place saves time, makes it possible for the people to get to the class and makes them better, happier employees too.   - - Donna Poisl

by Jason Margolis

If the new US Senate immigration reform bill becomes law, millions of people will need to learn English to become permanent US residents. It’s hard enough for any of us to learn a new language, but it can be especially difficult for immigrants. Many work multiple jobs and have little spare time. And there are diminishing resources available for them to learn.

Consider the case of Daniel Montes. When he was 18, Montes moved to the Bay Area from Mexico. Everything was an adjustment, but nothing was more difficult than the new language.

“It would be equal to losing your voice and not being able to speak from one day to the next,” said Montes.
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Immigrants Have Contributed Billions More to Medicare Than They Have Taken

An important benefit of immigrants in our country is how much they contribute to Medicare.    - - Donna Poisl

by: Emily Cadik

In addition to the moral arguments for immigration reform, the practical arguments keep adding up. The potential economic boost, the increased tax revenue and the contributions to the housing market (to name a few) all make a compelling case on economic grounds to naturalize the 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S.

A new study on Medicare adds another layer to the argument by showing immigrants already contribute more to the program than they benefit from it - a trend that will become more pronounced as more immigrants are poised to contribute to the economy.
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Immigrants Receive Scholarships from Illinois Dream Fund

About 30 DREAMERS will be able to go to college next year because of this private fund.    - - Donna Poisl

from Latin American Herald Tribune

CHICAGO – The privately financed Illinois Dream Fund announced Friday the awarding of the first college scholarships, for a total of $100,000, to undocumented immigrants who have been accepted to universities in the state.

The roughly 30 recipients were chosen by a selection committee that reviewed more than 1,000 applications, the fund’s president Tanya Cabrera told Efe.

“We’re helping a group of future leaders and to do that we must strengthen and expand financially their access to higher education,” she said.
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Catholic bishops: Fix unjust immigration system

A letter from Catholic bishops.  - - Donna Poisl

by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Immigration reform is an issue close to Catholic hearts. America has wonderfully welcomed generations of immigrant families, and our parishes, schools and charitable ministries have long helped successfully integrate immigrants into American life.

Congress will soon debate the most comprehensive overhaul of our nation's immigration laws in almost 30 years. With the stakes so high, it's important that Congress craft legislation that balances the legitimate needs of security with our heritage of welcoming immigrants and the gifts they bring to our country.
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Plainfield schools could introduce bilingual classes

This program would teach both languages to kids at the same time, they will do better in all their classes and life in general.    - - Donna Poisl

By Frank Vaisvilas

PLAINFIELD — Native English-speaking students and native Spanish speaking students could one day attend classes together in Plainfield learning in both languages as early as kindergarten.

It’s called a dual language program and officials argue that students who attend tend to do better academically.

“The idea is that the brain works harder to think and process and learn in two languages, therefore those kids are actually smarter than kids who know only one language,” said Tom Hernandez, director of community relations for Plainfield Consolidated Community School District 202.
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An Immigrant's Tale

This immigrant American writes about a famous immigrant American couple who has given back to our country.    - - Donna Poisl


We have a lot of different feelings about immigrants. Once, we wanted to be a magnet for people fleeing other places. We wanted their energy, their desperate desire to make good. Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. That was the spirit of the thing. It used to be our invitation to the rest of the world.

These days, not so much.

This week the Senate of the United States will commence debate on an immigration law. It's a critical issue for America and all Americans. Personally, I think it's cause for celebration if we can reach a fair and wise solution to our immigration challenge. It's beyond time we address openly an issue which is both economically and morally vital to a better America.
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Translate this: Immig kids’ test scores soar

Tutoring and prep work from teachers has helped this school get higher grades this year.   - - Donna Poisl


Students at a Bronx high school for new immigrants may struggle with learning English — but they can suddenly spell success.

The International School for Liberal Arts boosted its passing rates on the English Regents exam from a dismal 34 percent in 2011 to a stunning 87 percent last year — a difference of 53 points.

Despite serving nearly a full roster of Spanish-speaking transplants, the school bested the average citywide pass rate on the English exam — 73 percent — by a full 14 percentage points.
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English Shared

People from many countries studied English together and got together and shared stories and food.    - - Donna Poisl

BY Ava Kofman

For Leidy Carolina Baron, Springs Learning Center’s annual June celebration of the attendance and achievements of English as a Second Language (ESL) students was bittersweet.

The next day would mark her last class as a student at the Springs Learning Center, where she has gone every week for tutoring for the past decade––almost as long as the center, which teaches practical English skills in free one-on-one lessons to about 112 students a year, has been open.

Baron, who emigrated to New Haven from Colombia, spoke Monday evening about her experience learning English alongside 20 other learners in the basement of the Saint Rosa of Lima Church, which is next door to the learning center.
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Tuesday, June 04, 2013


While I was working on yesterday's post " A List of Great iPad Apps for Summer Learning " It dawned on me to curate a list of iPad apps to learn English. Summer is probably the ideal time to train your vocal cords and get them attuned to another linguistic system different than yours. Learning a language is a process that entails a lot of dedication and commitment. However, now with the advance in web technologies and mobile apps, learning a new language has become a less rigorous task and a more enjoyable endeavor.

Besides the plethora of web based tools that helps learners easily learn a new language , there are also a number of great mobile apps that can do the some job or even better. Most of these apps are interactive and cover all the language areas ( grammar, vocabulary, speaking, writing ) learners need to master to speak the target language.

See a list of some great iPad apps for learning English.

In effort to turn around schools, Nevada eyes English-language learners

If a school has a low percentage of immigrant graduates, it has to start with them when they are little kids learning English.   - - Donna Poisl

Written by Michelle Rindels, Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — It’s early one Thursday morning at Jay W. Jeffers Elementary School in Las Vegas, and Lisa Cabrera-Terry’s voice is spilling from the first-grade classroom where she’s reading about an illiterate grandma who surprises her family by learning to read.

Cabrera-Terry takes a fat marker to a sheet of poster paper and adds to a wheel-shaped diagram of words that describe feelings.

“If your face beams, you’re sooooo happy,” she said. “Why are they so happy about grandma reading?”
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Immigrants subsidize Medicare recipients, study says

Immigrants use fewer services than other Americans do and yet they pay the same into it.   - - Donna Poisl

Written by Kelly Kennedy, USA Today

WASHINGTON — Immigrants contributed about $115 billion more from their paychecks to the Medicare Trust Fund than they took out over a seven-year period in the past decade, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School.

As the Senate debates a new immigration bill and House Republicans work toward a bill that restricts access to government services for unauthorized immigrants who become legal citizens, the researchers concluded in a study released Wednesday that restricting immigration could deplete the fund. Researchers looked at data from 2002 to 2009.
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The Immigration Debate: English Matters

Census data proves that immigrants have much more successful lives here when they learn English.  This sounds like common sense to me.  - - Donna Poisl

by Barbara Mujica

One aspect of the proposed immigration reform that has attracted little attention is the requirement that applicants for legal status show proficiency in English. The issue should be central to the discussion, because whether immigrants become productive participants in the American economy or drag it down depends largely on their ability to speak the majority language.

Two primary objections to the plan for legalizing undocumented workers put forward by a bipartisan group of eight senators is that these immigrants will become dependent on the government and depress wages. The Heritage Foundation has produced papers arguing that the reform would make more than 11 million illegal immigrants eligible for welfare in about ten years, costing U.S. taxpayers $6.3 trillion over the next 50 years.
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