Friday, June 27, 2014


Click the HEADLINE to read stories from this week from the Immigration Policy Center.
Educating Kids ... By Educating Parents, Too

When parents know English, read to their kids, help with school work, etc., the whole family does much better.   - - Donna Poisl

By John Sanchez

The first 26 participants to graduate from a new family learning program in our Mott Haven community consisted of 26 unique stories involving parents and their children helping one another overcome challenges and – for many – experience for the first time true educational achievement.  

The May 29 graduation ceremony recognized the completion of an innovative, intergenerational education and community service program launched at East Side House Settlement (ESH) this spring. Study after study has proven that parents engaged in their children’s learning increases student achievement. And more recent studies also indicate that a parent’s willingness to get involved in their child’s education can greatly benefit and strengthen the parent-child relationship … as well as the entire school and the community as a whole.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Data Shows Immigrants No Longer Majority of Hispanics in U.S. 

Fewer Latinos are coming to the U.S. and more Latinos are being born here, so they will be in the workforce and voting before very long.    - - Donna Poisl

BY REILLY DOWD, The Fiscal Times

On Thursday, the Pew Research Center released an analysis of government data revealing a dramatic shift in the demographics of the American workforce.

For the first time in nearly twenty years, immigrants no longer make up the majority of Hispanic workers in the U.S., marking a dramatic shift in the demographics of the American workforce.

The data, as analyzed by the Pew Research Center, found that of the more than 22 million employed Latinos in 2013, 49.7 percent were immigrants, a significant decrease from the pre-recession high of 56.1 percent in 2007.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Remembering My Immigrant Grandparents' Vision and Sacrifice

This is Immigrant Heritage Month and here is an immigrant story; much like many others but different too. - - Donna Poisl

by Danica Oparnica

Growing up in a multi-generational home in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in the 1950's, I had no idea how fortunate I was. Despite the smell of the steel mills and the soot in the air, I lived in a rich melting pot composed mainly of eastern Europeans, Greeks, Irish and Germans where ethnic holidays were celebrated with food, music, old world customs, camaraderie and good will. At the time I didn't understand the uniqueness of the melting pot that is America or the sacrifices my family had to make in order to be a part of this country.

My family's immigrant story although unique, is not that different from the story of millions of immigrants who call the United States home. This month we celebrate immigrant heritage month and honor the achievements and contributions of immigrants to the United States.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
Immigrants seek flexibility in driver’s licenses rules

Immigrants are trying to persuade the DMV to accept more documents to show proof of ID.    - - Donna Poisl

by Amy Taxin

LOS ANGELES – As California prepares to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally, residents sounded off Tuesday on what documents should be accepted as proof of identity and residency in the state.

At a packed hearing in Los Angeles, scores of immigrants urged the Department of Motor Vehicles to expand the list of acceptable documents to include church and children’s school records, which may be easier for some people to obtain.

“As a homemaker, we don’t get a membership card or a pay stub,” said Martha Escandon, 42, whose Mexican immigrant family obtained legal papers in the 1980s. Escandon said she volunteers at her South Los Angeles church and knows many mothers who could face a hard time obtaining proof of residency to apply for a license.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.
New York City Letting Immigrants Lawyer Up for Free

Maybe other cities will start this also, I'm sure it is needed.  - - Donna Poisl

by Caitlin Dickson

New York City is now the first jurisdiction in the country with a public defender system dedicated solely to providing free legal council to every poor, detained immigrant facing deportation.  On Thursday morning, New York’s City Council approved a $4.9 million budget for a program called the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, following the success of a year-long trial run. That money will cover representation for approximately 1,380 detained immigrants facing deportation in the next year.

‪The Family Unity Project was born from the results of a five-year study by the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, the Center for Popular Democracy, Make the Road New York, and the Immigrant Justice Clinic of Cardozo Law School. The study discovered 67 percent of detained immigrants in New York go through immigration hearings without the help of a lawyer, because they can’t afford one, and of those that represent themselves only three percent do so successfully. According to the study, those same immigrants are 10 times more likely to prevail in immigration court with legal representation.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Buffalo Partnership Project: UB collaboration with Lafayette

This project is helping immigrant students and their schools.   - - Donna Poisl


A unique partnership has unfolded between the University at Buffalo and Lafayette High School. The Buffalo Partnership Project: A Common Core Collaborative is generating new learning methods for teachers as they instruct many of the refugee and immigrant students at Lafayette. In this Focus on Education report, WBFO's Eileen Buckley explores how this effort is aiding one of the city's six failing schools.

Imagine trying to take a standardized test under the new common core learning rigors -without understanding the English language.

"How difficult is it to take some of the tests?," asked Buckley.  "It's difficult because English is not my first language. I mean I really want the Common Core -- it's difficult for us -- English is our second language," said Hodan Ahmed.  Ahmed arrived two years ago from Somalia.  She's a junior at Lafayette.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Illegal immigration dilemma: Are migrant children refugees or criminals?

Everyone is still trying to figure out what to do with all the children who have crossed our border recently.    - - Donna Poisl

By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer

 An overwhelmed US immigration system is trying to figure out the exact legal status of thousands of immigrant children rushing the US border. In one of the most politicized asylum systems in the Western world, that won’t be easy.

The growing crush of vulnerable migrant children crossing the Rio Grande and entering the US through south Texas has put urgency to a vexing question for the US immigration system:

Are children fleeing Central American violence refugees who need asylum or illegal gold-diggers who need to go home?
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

New York State Mulls Citizenship for Undocumented Workers

New York is considering a bill to give state citizenship to undocumented immigrants. It probably won't pass now but will open up serious discussion and may pass eventually.   - - Donna Poisl

By Josh Eidelson

While Congress drags its feet on immigration reform, New York State lawmakers are considering an immigration bill of their own. It would grant state citizenship to some noncitizen residents—including documented and undocumented immigrants—allowing them to vote and run for office. Under the New York Is Home Act, introduced on June 16, noncitizens who have proof of identity and have lived and paid taxes in the state for three years could apply for legal status. It would qualify them for Medicaid coverage, professional licensing, tuition assistance, and driver’s licenses, as well as grant state and local—but not federal—voting rights. The responsibilities of citizenship would also apply, including jury duty. “It’s mind-boggling,” says Michael Olivas, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center who specializes in immigration law and is in favor of the bill. “I don’t believe there’s ever been a serious attempt to codify so many benefits and opportunities.”
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Iraqi Immigrants Fear for Loved Ones Back Home

The new fighting in Iraq is causing fear for immigrants from Iraq who live here now.   - - Donna Poisl

By JULIE WATSON Associated Press

A sobbing businessman in his 30s called a hotline set up by his fellow Iraqi immigrants, desperate to talk to someone after fearing his father was the man he saw in an online news video of a beheading in northern Iraq.

Another call came in from a mother who was inconsolable after not hearing from her son and daughter-in-law who had a baby a year ago in the besieged city of Mosul.

The anguish caused by the violence thousands of miles away fills the business office in San Diego where volunteers man the hotline to help Iraqi immigrants cope.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

On World Refugee Day, Consider Today’s Migrants Fleeing Violence

Today we honor refugees and asylum seekers all over the world and their lives in their new countries.   - - Donna Poisl

Written by Amy Grenier

Governments and organizations around the world mark June 20 by honoring refugees for their struggle and their contribution to their new country with World Refugee Day. As we tackle a humanitarian crisis at the southern border of the United States, this day is an important reminder of why we offer humanitarian protection to individuals fleeing conflict, and their value to our society once they arrive.

A refugee is defined both internationally and within the United States as someone who is outside of their country of citizenship and “is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion,” according to the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocols related to the status of refugees. The United States became a party to this in 1968.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA

For Immediate Release

June 16, 2014

Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council releases Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA by Roberto G. Gonzales, Ph.D. and Angie M. Bautista-Chavez. To date, more than 550,000 individuals have been approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. DACA provides a two-year renewable reprieve from deportation and allows beneficiaries to obtain work permits and, in nearly every state, driver’s licenses. Shortly after the program began, Harvard University Professor Roberto G. Gonzales launched the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP) to assess the impact that DACA has had on some of the young people who have received it.

At DACA’s one-year anniversary, the American Immigration Council released some of the preliminary findings of the NURP study, however, now that the program has been in effect for two years, much more has been learned. The survey results find that DACA beneficiaries have experienced a pronounced increase in economic opportunities, and the newly DACAmented young adults demonstrate a strong work ethic that has significant implications for their new status as contributors to our nation’s economy. The study also uncovers the important role played by community organizations in assisting DACA applicants and in helping them make the most of their benefits. The report also provides recommendations aimed at bolstering DACA’s effectiveness and more fully addressing the needs of immigrant young adults and their families.

To view the report in its entirety, see:
Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA (Special Report, June 2014)

For media inquiries, contact Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524202-507-7524

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Why Immigration Reform Is So Difficult

This is another article on the report just issued showing that Americans want immigration reform.    - - Donna Poisl

By Robert VerBruggen

Today the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Brookings Institution's Governance Studies program are releasing a report that covers a lot of new immigration polling data. The public's attitudes on this issue could affect both the midterm elections and the potential for a new immigration law in the next Congress.

Why has the debate dragged on so long? This chart might seem to suggest that granting legal status to illegal immigrants is a no-brainer for any self-interested politician:
Click on the HEADLINE above to see the graphs and read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Americans still favor immigration reform, despite political friction, study finds

This makes us wonder why the politicians won't follow the majority of the people.    - - Donna Poisl


Despite a year of contentious national debate and several stalled congressional proposals, Americans still overwhelmingly agree that illegal immigrants living in the United States should be allowed to remain in the country and seek some form of legal status, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution, found that 62 percent of Americans favor allowing illegal immigrants a way to become citizens, compared with 63 percent a year ago. An additional 17 percent said in the new poll that illegal immigrants should be able to become legal residents but not full citizens. Nineteen percent said they should be deported.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Statement by Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), Regarding the Future of Immigration Reform Following Eric Cantor's Defeat


SAN FRANCISCO, June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ --

"Among the many complex factors contributing to Eric Cantor's loss in the Virginia GOP primary election Tuesday, June 10, interpreting his defeat as a collective conservative clarion call opposing immigration reform stands as both a political miscalculation and an indication that Republicans continue to suffer from ethno cultural myopia. Simply stated, without immigration reform, the GOP cannot and will not successfully engage the Hispanic American electorate. Republicans have a choice to make as it pertains to this critical demographic: they can either build a bridge by passing comprehensive immigration reform or continue to construct a wall alienating a constituency that supported George W. Bush with 44 percent of the vote.

Correspondingly Tuesday night, non-amnesty immigration reform supporter Senator Lindsey Graham triumphed in his South Carolina Republican primary re-election. In that regard, while a recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute indicates that there exists a bit of angst amongst conservatives regarding a path to citizenship, the majority of Americans do support a non-amnesty immigration reform solution that legalizes and integrates individuals currently undocumented while simultaneously securing our borders.

Finally, just a few weeks ago, the Tea Party came out in favor of immigration reform, prompting the question, "Is the Republican Party suffering from multi-personality disorder and short-term memory loss?" Now is the time to pass immigration reform - for the good of America, for the good of God-fearing families and for the good of all."

The NHCLC is the largest Hispanic Christian organization representing millions of Evangelicals, 40,118 U.S churches and more than 500,000 churches across the globe. Seeking to reconcile evangelist Billy Graham's message of salvation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s march of prophetic activism, the NHCLC emphasizes "7 Directives" of Life, Family, Compassionate Evangelism, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth. For additional information, visit

SOURCE  National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
CONTACT: Julie Shutley, 972-267-1111,
English-Speaking Ability of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2012
American Community Survey Reports

Click on the HEADLINE above to read the report. 

LULAC sues Texas over learning English in schools

Many schools in Texas are not teaching English according to the requirements of the law. They are underfunded and don't have qualified teachers.   - - Donna Poisl

By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Advocacy groups filed a federal lawsuit against Texas on Tuesday, alleging that Hispanic English language learners are having their civil rights violated by not receiving adequate instruction in high schools statewide.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a 27-page complaint on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens in the Eastern District of Texas. It argues that the state is violating the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, which says no state can deny students educational opportunities by failing to "take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation" in instructional programs.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Monday, June 09, 2014

The DACA Renewal Process: Everything You Need to Know

This tells all the rules to renew DACA and work permits.    - - Donna Poisl

Written by Patrick Taurel

Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the renewal process for hundreds of thousands of young noncitizens who received a grant of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Renewal of DACA ensures current DACA holders will continue to be safe from deportation for another two year period.  In addition, they will continue to have work authorization and to be eligible to receive a social security number, and, in nearly every state, a driver’s license.

The renewal announcement comes not a moment too soon. Because DACA recipients are encouraged to request renewal between four to five months ahead of their expiration date to avoid a lapse, the earliest major wave of DACA recipients – who received their DACA grants in September and October of 2012 – will need to act right away. Although DACA recipients who seek to renew must complete multiple applications and submit to a background check, most will be pleased to discover that the renewal process is relatively straightforward and that most DACA recipients should qualify for renewal.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Immigrants may seek renewals of deportation deferrals, work permits

The government is recommending DACA recipients apply for renewal four months before it expires.     - - Donna Poisl

By Jeremy Redmon, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Obama administration announced Thursday that immigrants can immediately begin applying for renewals of their deportation deferrals and work permits under a controversial program that started nearly two years ago.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program applies to immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children, who have attended school here and who have not been convicted of any felonies. Since it went into effect in 2012, the program has granted two-year deportation deferrals to 553,197 people, according to federal figures through March 31. Of those, 17,356 live in Georgia.

The government is recommending people apply for their renewals — with a new form released Thursday — four months before their approvals expire. First-time applicants are still welcome.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

High-Skilled Immigrants Create Jobs for U.S. Workers, Study Finds

Another study proving that high-skilled immigrants do not take jobs away from Americans.   - - Donna Poisl

Written by Sean Hackbarth

Immigration reform opponents claim that high-skilled immigrant workers take jobs away from Americans. A new study by the Partnership for a New American Economy shatters that claim and instead finds that more American workers would be employed in computer-related jobs, and their wages would have grown faster after the recession, if more high-skilled immigrants were allowed to work in the United States.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the report! This is only the beginning.

New Arrival Center graduates celebrate learning English language

This innovative program has wonderful success teaching English in a short time to the students.   - - Donna Poisl

from Cypress Creek Mirror

Hundreds of students, parents and staff gathered at the Berry Center on May 22 to hear inspirational stories of transformation from graduates of the CFISD New Arrival Centers (NAC).

Students who graduated from one of the district’s 13 NACs told stories, recited poetry, sang songs and thanked teachers for helping them learn the English language after just one year in the program.

“There was a huge barrier between this country and me — that barrier was a language,” said Cypress Falls senior Cesar Cruz, whose family immigrated from Mexico two years ago. “When I came here I didn’t know how to interact and communicate with other people. Then something changed my life — the NAC program.”
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

How Music Helps Young Learners Acquire Language

Many things help people learn a language, music is a well known example.   - - Donna Poisl

by Helen Doron

All parents know that a quiet, gentle lullaby can soothe a fussy baby. As adults, a magnificent symphony can make us swell with excitement. But music also can affect the way we learn. Music is one of the few activities that involves using the whole brain. It is inherent in all cultures and can have surprising benefits not only for acquiring language, improving memory and focusing attention, but also for physical coordination and development. 

Music encourages learning and enhances communication. In recent years, we’ve learned a lot about how the brain develops. Babies are born with billions of brain cells. During the first years of life, those brain cells form connections with other brain cells. Over time, the connections we use regularly become stronger. Children who grow up listening to music develop strong music-related connections that in turn strengthen their language skills.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Philadelphia Library Cooks up Culinary Literacy

This program in the city library teaches literacy while teaching cooking; reading ingredients and recipes, figuring out costs and measurements, etc. Learning while doing, excellent!   - - Donna Poisl

By KATHY MATHESON Associated Press

What's cooking at the Philadelphia public library? Plenty, now that it has a million-dollar kitchen at its main downtown branch.

The library has whipped up an unusual culinary program designed to improve the city's low literacy rate. Some courses will use recipes and nutrition labels to teach language and math, while others are geared toward immigrant restaurant workers learning English.

About 500,000 Philadelphia adults — a third of the total population — don't read above an eighth-grade level, according to library president and director Siobhan Reardon.

"We're looking to raise the bar on the library's approach to dealing with this confounding literacy issue in this city," Reardon said.
Click on the HEADLINE above to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Customs and Border Protection Releases Long-Awaited Review and Use-of-Force Policy
For Immediate Release
May 28, 2014

Washington D.C. - Today, after numerous formal and informal requests from border advocates and a lawsuit, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a 2013 report by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a nonprofit research organization, analyzing the agency’s use-of-force policies and practices. CBP commissioned the report after receiving inquiries from sixteen Members of Congress following a series of deaths during encounters with CBP personnel. CBP also released its new Use of Force Policy, Guidelines and Procedures Handbook.

At first glance, CBP appears to have incorporated a number of PERF’s recommendations into its handbook, but a closer analysis is necessary. While policy change is critical, PERF rightly noted in its report that “CBP will need to craft an implementation strategy for re-orientation and training before new policies go into effect.”  Effective training and periodic retraining, coupled with better oversight and accountability mechanisms, will be critical for real change to take hold.

While the release of these documents represents an important step toward greater openness in an agency long known for secrecy, this is merely the first step in a very long process. The real measure of success will be how quickly and effectively CBP is able to adopt and implement policies that rein in abuse and whether it will develop a culture of transparency and accountability.

For press inquiries, contact Wendy Feliz at or 202-812-2499.

National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators Applauds President's Nomination of Julian Castro for HUD Secretary
WASHINGTON, May 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL), an organization representing the interests of over 350 Hispanic state legislators throughout the country, applauds President Barack Obama for nominating San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to serve as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Mayor Castro has already proven himself a strong and innovative leader in San Antonio, now recognized as one of the top thriving cities in the country. He has lead San Antonio to be ranked at the top as Best- Performing city according to the Milken Institute. His leadership and experience particularly in urban revitalization, economic development and the New Energy Economy clearly demonstrates his capabilities in directing HUD.

NHCSL urges Congress to move forward in confirming the President's nomination of Mayor Castro. Senate President Eduardo Bhatia (PR), NHCSL President stated, "I am pleased to see that the President continues to name key Latinos to Cabinet positions. NHCSL fully supports Mayor Julian Castro's nomination; it is our hope that a smooth confirmation is reached in Congress."

The NHCSL is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country. NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to be the most effective voice for the more than 350 Hispanic legislators. For more information visit

SOURCE  The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL)

CONTACT: Rhina Villatoro, 202-434-8070,