Friday, March 28, 2014

Two years after Obama program launched, NYC advocates "reach deeper" for young immigrants who qualify for social security cards, work permits

This group is trying to get more New York young immigrants to apply for DACA, they may not know how much it can help them.    - - Donna Poisl


“Don't have immigration papers? Scared of deportation? Want to get a work permit?” a new flyer plastered around immigrant neighborhoods provocatively asks.

The poster — in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Haitian-Creole and Hindi — is part of a city-wide push to get more people to sign up for a special program called deferred action for childhood arrivals, which grants social security cards and work permits to young immigrants here illegally.

Emma Murphy, a coordinator at Cabrini Immigrant Services in the Lower East Side, canvassed her neighborhood this month, hanging them everywhere — from pharmacies and restaurants to bodegas and flower shops.
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DHS giving illegal immigrant ‘petty’ criminals second chance in waiver application process

Some immigrants who were denied before because of criminal offenses are now allowed to apply for citizenship.   - - Donna Poisl

by Caroline May, Political Reporter

Are you an illegal immigrant whose waiver to stay in the country was denied because of your criminal past? Well, you’re in luck, because the Obama Administration may let you stay in the country anyway.

In a guidance distributed to congressional offices and obtained by The Daily Caller, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it is reopening cases in which applications for provisional unlawful presence waivers were denied to criminals.

According to the notice, USCIS had determined that applicants should not be denied an I-601A waiver due to a past criminal offense so long as it “falls under the petty offense or youthful offender exceptions or is not considered a crime involving moral turpitude.
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Young Immigrants After DACA: Clear Benefits Despite Obstacles

This article tells how young immigrants who are allowed to stay here because of DACA are doing now.    - - Donna Poisl


Young immigrant adults who are able to remain in the U.S. through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have been able to rapidly integrate into the economy and their communities, according to preliminary findings from a national survey. Yet access to higher education remains elusive due to many states' laws, and most live in constant fear that their loved ones will be deported.

"As a policy that offers the ability for undocumented young adults some widened access, it is has been very successful," said Roberto G. Gonzalez, of Harvard University, who is directing a 5-year study of 2,684 DACA-eligible young adults. "These young people are getting new jobs, getting paid internships, getting driver's licenses, opening bank accounts and applying for credit cards. These are tangible aspects of the American dream," added Gonzalez.
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Programs help immigrants understand kitchens in US

Refugees face many strange things when they relocate to this country, our kitchen appliances are some of them. This class is helping them understand how to use them.     - - Donna Poisl


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The problems refugees face after relocating in Sioux Falls are relatively mundane compared to what they faced at home.

But an unfamiliarity with household appliances and cleaners, for example, is a real hurdle. A new housing orientation program by one of the city's largest property management companies is explaining these everyday necessities.

More refugees are coming to Sioux Falls every year, and with them come different cultures.

"We've got to embrace it," said Tannen Loge, vice president of property management for Lloyd Cos., which has more than 3,000 apartments in Sioux Falls. "It's very important that we provide housing for individuals that feels like their home."
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Immigration Reform 2014: Keeping High-Skilled Immigrants in US Could Boost National Defense

Here is another good reason to pass immigration reform: our country will be safer.   - - Donna Poisl

by Jessica Michele Herring

Passing immigration reform will do more than keep families together and put undocumented immigrants on a pathway to citizenship: passing reform will also help boost national security.

The Washington Post reports that military spending cuts were recently announced, which will reduce the size of the U.S. army to pre-World War II levels. But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel added that the government will be investing in new technologies. However, investing in new technologies will not be a successful endeavor without keeping immigrants in the U.S. who have come here to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

America's defense tactics depend on science and technology, but losing STEM students to outdated immigration laws could drain the U.S. of many of its best innovators.
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Students learning English benefit more in two-language instructional programs than English immersion, Stanford research finds

This study compared English proficiency results from dual language programs to results from English immersion programs.    - - Donna Poisl


Like a growing number of school systems across the country, San Francisco Unified School District is tasked with educating increasing rolls of students for whom English is not their first language. In the United States, the school-aged population has grown a modest 10 percent in the last three decades, while the number of children speaking a language other than English at home has soared by 140 percent.

Against this backdrop, researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) are examining student performance in various types of English-language learning programs.
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US schools add Vietnamese to dual immersion

Several states are adding Vietnamese in dual language immersion school programs to help refugees' children keep their parents' language.     - - Donna Poisl


GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) — When Thuy Vo Dang came to the U.S. as a young girl, her English took off. Her parents sent her to Vietnamese school on the weekends to learn her native language, but she eventually had to study it in graduate school to become fully literate.

Now, the 35-year-old mother of two and archivist for University of California, Irvine's Southeast Asian Archive has been lobbying for her Southern California school district to start the state's first dual immersion elementary school program in Vietnamese. She said she wants to help keep the language alive for the next generation.
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Click the HEADLINE to read stories from this week from the Immigration Policy Center.

Roger Williams University to help Providence schools improve math scores for English language learners

While concentrating on learning English, many primary school kids fall behind in math. This program will help.   - - Donna Poisl


BRISTOL, R.I. – The Rhode Island Office of Higher Education has awarded a $145,000 grant to Roger Williams University for starting a new partnership with the Providence public schools to improve math achievement for English Language Learners.

It will involve five local elementary schools.

The program, Providence Rhode Island Mathematics Excellence – English Language Learners, will create math professional learning communities where local K-3 teachers will work with RWU faculty and students to develop specific classroom strategies to better meet math learning goals and improve academic achievement for English Language Learners.
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Astrid Silva Winner of Immigrant Youth Achievement Award

from the American Immigration Council

We are pleased to announce that Astrid Silva, DREAM Act activist is the winner of this year's Immigrant Youth Achievement Award.  She will be honored, along with Chair of the SEIU Civil Participation & Immigration Initiative Eliseo Medina, GALA Theatre founders Rebecca and Hugo Medrano and immigration reform leader Jeanne Butterfield at the Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards on April 10th.

In 2009 Astrid became deeply involved in the politics surrounding the DREAM Act after a chance encounter with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. She formed a pen pal relationship with the Senator, writing him handwritten notes about her life. Sharing her stories allowed him a unique insight into the life of a DREAMer. His friendship with Astrid was a crucial motivator and source of inspiration for Senator Reid’s policies on immigration.

From that moment on, she became the poster child for the DREAM Act in Nevada, where she was one of only a handful of students in the state to reveal her identity and status in the United States.

In 2011, Astrid and a small group of dedicated DREAMers and allies formed DREAM Big Vegas, an organization that aims to educate the community about the DREAM Act. After Deferred Action was announced, DREAM Big Vegas helped organize workshops and help for DREAMers who were unable to obtain information through other sources.

To read more about our honorees and to purchase tickets or sponsorship click here.

We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of our honorees with you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Largest-Ever Latino Online Voter Registration Campaign Launched at SXSW

Voto Latino and Rock the Vote announced TrendUrVoice Midterm Elections Campaign

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recently, Voto Latino and Rock the Vote launched TrendUrVoice, the largest-ever online campaign to register Latino voters, at South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive and Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Voto Latino Co-Founder and Chairwoman Rosario Dawson joined volunteers on the ground to register Latino Millennials to vote.

TrendUrVoice targets Latino Millennials in a way that speaks their language. Like previous voter registration efforts, this initiative will activate volunteers, celebrities, and media partners. But in keeping with the social media habits of Millennials, TrendUrVoice will also target young people where they already are: online. The campaign will leverage over half a million dollars in culturally-relevant online media buys to target Latino Millennials in southwest states in advance of the 2014 midterm elections. TrendUrVoice is the first voter registration campaign to target Latinos primarily via social media, desktop, and mobile advertising to reach and register Millennials.

Every year, 800,000 Latino Millennials -- the equivalent of a new congressional district -- turn 18 and become eligible to vote. In states like California and Texas, Millennials already make up one-third of Latino voters. Yet there is no ongoing effort to register this demographic year-round, leaving Latino Millennials significantly underrepresented at the polls.

"Latino Millennials are often the gatekeepers to their families," said Voto Latino President and CEO, María Teresa Kumar. "If we can encourage them to participate at the polls, chances are that they are influencing their parents to join them."  Latino Millennials are also the fastest-growing share of the American electorate, and it is crucial for them to have a voice in shaping their country's future. The first step for that is registering to vote.

"TrendUrVoice will tap into the cultural and social lives of this generation of young people and empower them to participate," said Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote. "It will garner the attention of this generation by tapping into the issues that matter most to them and their communities and fuel that energy to ensure they are casting ballots in November for those that best represent them."

For more information, visit

SOURCE  Voto Latino

CONTACT: Yándary Zavala, (801) 682-0816,; Chrissy Faessen, (703) 582-2777,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Immigrant Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Welcoming Initiatives State-By-State and Across the U.S.

March 11, 2014

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council releases the full set of entrepreneurship and innovation state fact sheets. These fact sheets highlight the role immigrant entrepreneurs and innovators play in a state's economy and the initiatives that welcome them. In this series, fact sheets cover all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and the United States overall. 

50 state-by-state and D.C. entrepreneurship and innovation fact sheets can be found here:
State Fact Sheets on Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Innovation, and Welcoming Initiatives (IPC Fact Sheets, 2014)

United States entrepreneurship and innovation fact sheet can be found here:
Growing the Economy and Creating Jobs: Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Innovators across the United States (IPC Fact Sheets, 2014)

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

Eliseo Medina to be Honored at Immigrant Achievement Awards

from American Immigration Council

Join us for the Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards on April 10th  as we honor Eliseo Medina who for nearly 50 years has been fighting for the rights of immigrants and union workers. From the United Farm Workers' strike in 1965 to leading the Fast for Families this winter, Eliseo has become a driving force in the immigration reform movement. His undying devotion to the cause has made him an icon for people fighting for the rights of others and for people promoting what is right.

Other honorees include Rebecca and Hugo Medrano, founders of the GALA Theatre and Jeanne Butterfield, immigration reform leader.

To read more about our honorees and to purchase tickets or sponsorship click here.

We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of our honorees with you!
Immigration change gives legal status to undocumented relatives of US military

This new policy was started by the President, without approval by Congress.    - - Donna Poisl

By William La Jeunesse, Dan Gallo

Immigration reform may be stalled in Congress, but a new Obama administration policy is extending legal status and military benefits to thousands of illegal immigrants who are the spouses, parents and children of American military members.

Supporters say the policy -- which applies to active-duty military, reservists and veterans -- is long overdue.

"Those veterans and those men and women who serve in the National Guard certainly deserve the peace of mind that their family members will not be deported," immigration attorney Faye Kolly said.

But critics say the policy is tantamount to backdoor amnesty.

"A whole class of aliens with no right to be in the United States are suddenly going to be allowed to live and work here on the basis of their relationship with military and veterans," said Dan Cadman, with the Center for Immigration Studies.
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Irish seek voice in immigration debate

Not only Latinos are pushing for immigration reform.   - - Donna Poisl


 A group led by Irish New Yorkers, some from Long Island, jumped into the fray of the immigration reform debate Wednesday, lobbying in the nation's capital for Congress to fix what they say is a broken system.

The point that several dozen advocates sought to make as St. Patrick's Day nears: Lack of action is hurting Irish immigrants who are in the United States illegally and is keeping many from coming through proper channels.

"U.S. immigration today has a sign that says 'No Irish Need Apply,' and we want them to take down that sign," said Ciaran Staunton, president of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, based in Sunnyside, Queens.
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As new immigrants arrive in Central Minnesota, the sense of community evolves

This area was mostly German and is changing now, with many Asian, Latin American and African immigrants.     - - Donna Poisl

Written by Caitlin Yilek

Central Minnesota’s German heritage is just as thick as some of the accents that remain in the families that settled here decades ago.

But as a new wave of immigrants plants roots in Central Minnesota, Germans are losing their reign.

Thirty-nine percent of Benton, Stearns and Sherburne County residents reported having German heritage, according to three-year estimates from American Community Survey data collected between 2010 and 2012.

That’s down 1 percent from the three-year estimate for 2007-09.
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St. Louis Mosaic Project: Skilled Immigrants Connect for Success

Here is another area trying to make use of their skilled immigrant population. Our country needs these educated workers.   - - Donna Poisl


Miguel Cedeno, of the Dominican Republic, recently moved to St. Louis when his wife received a job transfer Professional Connector #1 Dunkin Cedenofrom Nestle Purina. Miguel, like many immigrants in our bi-state region, carries an advanced degree and has extensive work experience outside the United States.

Miguel holds a Master’s Degree in Logistics Management with nine years of experience in marketing, business intelligence and finance. Despite his impressive professional background, Miguel, as with many immigrants, had difficulty finding work in St. Louis for a variety of reasons, namely a lack of a professional network.

To address this challenge, the St. Louis Mosaic Project created the Professional Connector Program, which launched in January of this year. Based on an award-winning program in Halifax, Canada, the St. Louis Mosaic Project’s Professional Connector Program helps skilled foreign-born individuals holding long-term U.S. work authorization network to find a job.
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Obama eyes even less immigration enforcement, seeks to reduce deportation of illegals

The President is making changes that he can make without Congress.   - - Donna Poisl

President Barack Obama may further reduce the small percentage of illegal immigrants who are sent home each year, say advocates for immigrants and would-be immigrants.

Obama “has charged his Secretary of Homeland Security… to reduce where they can the levels of deportation,” Janet Murguia, president of the major Latino ethnic lobby group, the National Council of la Raza.
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Underemployed immigrants: A plug for Maine's 'brain drain'?

Many immigrants are working at menial jobs, yet have graduate and professional degrees in their homeland. Maine is trying to find a way to use their education and skills.   - - Donna Poisl

by Ben McCanna

PORTLAND — Sally Sutton is working on what she believes is a win-win proposition for Maine.

Since December, Sutton has served as program coordinator for the New Mainers Resource Center, a two-year pilot project to help skilled, foreign-trained professionals pursue their former careers here in their adoptive country. She estimates there are hundreds of immigrants with professional degrees in the greater Portland area who cannot work due to barriers of language or licensing.

They are doctors, nurses, pharmacists, engineers, teachers and computer scientists who are unemployed or underemployed. In a state where the buzzword has long been "brain drain," the newly arrived Mainers provide an opportunity to stem the tide, Sutton said.

"As a state, we need these people. We are old, we're aging out of the workforce," she said. "They are who we need for our workforce now. And if they're better off, we're better off."
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Oregon immigrants, allies at California border: Back home, work to challenge deportations won't stop

These political activists are pushing for immigration reform and a stop to deportations.   - - Donna Poisl

By Andrea Castillo

An Oregon delegation of activists is back after spending a week at the California border, aiding undocumented immigrants attempting to cross back into the country from Mexico.

Throughout the last week, 120 or so people presented themselves to immigration authorities and most now remain in detention centers. The latest group, mainly mothers and children, including one woman deported from Portland, crossed the border Sunday.
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Study finds 125,000 immigrant youth with “Deferred Action” may be eligible for Medi-Cal

Young immigrants with legal status can apply for medical insurance in California, this is much better than using hospital emergency rooms for minor illnesses.    - - Donna Poisl

By Public Affairs, UC Berkeley

SACRAMENTO – University of California researchers today released two reports that indicate high need and potential for health coverage among undocumented teens and young adults in the Golden State. The findings trail a bill recently introduced in the California Legislature that calls for healthcare coverage for all Californians regardless of their immigration status.

Up to 125,000 young immigrants are estimated to be Medi-Cal (the state’s Medicaid program) eligible under state policy, according to a new report, Realizing the Dream for Californians Eligible for DACA: Demographics and Health Coverage released by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.  DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, provides temporary work authorization and relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. In California policy, unlike that of most other states, low-income individuals granted Deferred Action are eligible for Medi-Cal.
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Reporting crime, assisting police puts immigrants in line for visas

Crime victims can apply for visas to stay in this country.   - - Donna Poisl

By Curt Brown, also by Simon Rios

NEW BEDFORD — When two young men beat and robbed David Rolando Oliva in the South End on a summer's night in 2010, little did he know it would put him in line for an immigration benefit allowing him to stay legally in the U.S. and later apply for permanent residence.

Some time after the beating, Oliva, who said he was living in the U.S. illegally at the time his tourist visa expired, learned he qualified for a so-called U Visa, if he cooperated with police and aided in the prosecution of his case.

And he did cooperate with police, according to New Bedford Detective Capt. Steven Vicente.
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More Than 600 Businesses Urge Congress to Act on Immigration Reform

Perhaps Congress will pay attention.    - - Donna Poisl

Written by Paul McDaniel

Immigrants are helping to grow the economy all across the nation. Take Charlotte, North Carolina for example, where immigrant restaurant owners have opened businesses across the city catering to increasingly eclectic tastes. Tacos El Nevado is one example. Heriberto Mali and Vianey Juarez, immigrants from the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, opened the restaurant around five years ago.

The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce recognizes the importance of  immigrants and their entrepreneurial endeavors for the area. “Immigration is a good thing. Economies grow when populations grow. Immigration is a key way we keep our population and economy growing,” Charlotte Chamber President Bob Morgan told the Charlotte Observer Thursday. That is why the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce was one of more than 600 businesses, chambers of commerce, and industry organizations to sign a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner earlier this week encouraging him to take action on immigration reform legislation this year.
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Museum of Newport Irish History tells immigrants’ story

Photos, maps and artifacts in this museum show Irish immigrants' history in Rhode Island.   - - Donna Poisl

By Christopher Klein |  GLOBE CORRESPONDENT

NEWPORT, R.I. — Long before the blue bloods turned this city into their summertime resort, green coursed through the arteries of Newport. In the early 1800s, Irish immigrants started coming to this corner of Rhode Island in large numbers to work the coal mines in nearby Portsmouth. During the Gilded Age, Emerald Isle immigrants began to settle in the Fifth Ward, a working-class neighborhood sandwiched between Newport’s commercial waterfront and the opulent oceanside mansions of the rich and famous.

Today, the tight-knit enclave of two-story, sidewalk-hugging houses remains the Hibernian heart of one of Rhode Island’s greenest cities, and since 2011 it has been home to the nonprofit Museum of Newport Irish History.
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Supreme Court rejects efforts to revive anti-immigration laws in Texas and Pennsylvania

This was good news for our country, maybe it will stop some states from passing these laws.  - - Donna Poisl

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected attempts by towns in Texas and Pennsylvania to revive local laws that cracked down on illegal immigration.

The court decided against hearing appeals filed by the towns of Farmers Branch, Texas, and Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which were seeking to overturn appeals court rulings that said the ordinances were trumped by federal immigration law. In doing so, the court left intact the appeals court rulings and avoided wading into the divisive issue of immigration at a time in which reform efforts have stalled in the U.S. Congress.
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Immigration Polling Roundup: Americans of All Political Stripes Want Congress to Pass Immigration Reform

Read this article and see the results of the five most recent polls on immigration.   - - Donna Poisl

By Philip E. Wolgin and Evelyn Galvan

Just under a month ago, House Republican leaders put out a set of standards that laid out their principles for immigration reform, including, for the first time, an endorsement of legalization for the 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country. But the principles stopped short of offering a full pathway to citizenship, instead coming out in favor of legal status only.

How do the American people feel about immigration reform and a pathway to legal status only? Despite the many ways to phrase the question, five recent polls from January and February illustrate clearly that the public strongly supports immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, rejects approaches that would continue to give unauthorized immigrants second-class status, and will be disappointed if immigration reform fails to pass this year.
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Helping refugees reach the American dream

Burmese refugees in Iowa are receiving help with English so they can apply for and pass the citizenship test.     - - Donna Poisl

By CASSIDY NOBLE, Staff Writer

Every Saturday at First Methodist Church in Waterloo, UNI students tutor Burmese refugees one-on-one in English as part of UNI RISE.

“We were concerned that they wanted to learn English but there is not very many resources in the community for it,” said Jordan Peterson, founder of UNI RISE.

The overall goal of the group is to help provide students with enough knowledge so they pass the citizenship test – a $680 test that allows people to become American citizens – on the first try.
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Talking to babies improves their learning skills

Some people think babies don't learn anything by talking to them before they can understand what you are talking about. This research shows that babies need people talking to them in long, normal sentences, they will learn everything better.     - - Donna Poisl

By Lauran Neergaard

Using videos that claim to teach toddlers or flash cards for tots may not be the best idea. Simply talking to babies is key to building crucial language and vocabulary skills. Doing that early is good, and long sentences are better than short ones.

So says research that aims to explain, and help solve, a troubling "word gap," which indicates children from more affluent, professional families hear millions more words before they start school than poor kids. That difference in learning experience leaves the lower-income students at an academic disadvantage that's hard to overcome.

That gap starts to appear at a younger age than scientists once thought, around 18 months, says Stanford University psychology professor Anne Fernald.
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Austin Public Schools: Adult learning can improve lives

This program helps its residents learn English and other subjects, get their GED and be successful in their lives.   - - Donna Poisl

AMY BASKIN, Austin Public Schools

Austin Adult Learning is a program that helps people gain the skills they need to improve their education, life or job. Classes in Adult Learning focus on the three main areas of academic preparedness, GED and English language learning. All adult learning classes are free and open to anyone 16 years or older who are not currently enrolled in a high school program.

Academic preparedness teaches basic skills in reading, math, computer and transition to college. Collaborative classes are also taught in science and English in conjunction with Riverland Community College instructors. Academic classes are held at Riverland Community College.
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Honorees Announced for 19th Annual Immigrant Achievement Awards

The American Immigration Council invites you to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of immigrants and advocates from around the country at a reception followed by an inspiring and thought-provoking ceremony at the Capitol Liaison Hotel on Thursday, April 10, 2014.

This year marks our 19th Annual Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards and we are excited to announce that we will be honoring:

Jeanne Butterfield whose recent "retirement" (we're leaving the lights on in hopes she comes back) leaves a huge vacancy in the "immigration guru" role. No one has had a more successful career in immigration law and advocacy. Her behind-the-scenes no-nonsense approach to all the major immigration milestones over the past three decades and has made lasting contributions to every facet of immigration law. From refugees to asylees, from family immigration to business immigration, Jeanne is ending her career as the grande dame of immigration.

Rebecca and Hugo Medrano who founded the GALA Theatre and, for more than 38 years, have worked to promote and share the Latino arts and cultures with a diverse audience. Through the GALA Theatre they have created work that speaks to communities today, and preserved the rich Hispanic heritage for generations that follow.

Eliseo Medina who for nearly 50 years has been fighting for the rights of immigrants and union workers. From the United Farm Workers' strike in 1965 to leading the Fast for Families initiative this winter, Eliseo has become a driving force in the immigration reform movement. His undying devotion to the cause has made him an icon for those fighting for the rights of others and those promoting what is right.

In addition, soon we will be recognizing our Immigrant Youth Achievement Award winner. The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award celebrates high-achieving young immigrants whose personal accomplishments and contributions demonstrate the important impact young immigrants are having on our nation every day. For more information click here.

Click here to purchase tickets and for more information about Sponsorship opportunities.