News Clips Dec. 22, 2009

Sunrise vote nudges health care bill forward

WASHINGTON — Exhausted but happy Democratic leaders began nudging their painstakingly crafted health care compromise a step closer to pre-Christmas passage with three votes that started as the sun rose Tuesday.

Only one requires the difficult tally of 60 senators, and the outcome of that vote — to overcome GOP opposition to the sweeping legislation — is preordained. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has herded 58 Democrats and two independents into line through a combination of wheedling, cajoling and dispensing special deals. The strategy has Republicans irate.

Obama naming Hispanics to top posts at record pace

MIAMI — President Barack Obama is on track to name more Hispanics to top posts than any of his predecessors, drawing appointees from a wide range of the nation’s Latino communities, including Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Colombians.

That won’t necessarily give the president a free pass on issues such as immigration, but it may ease Hispanics’ worries about whether Obama will continue reaching out to a group that was key to his winning the White House.

Latinos Overwhelmingly Support Health Care Reform

Garcia Research and Santiago ROI, two long-standing leaders in the US Hispanic marketing community, launched LATINOMICS(SM), The Hispanic Market Index(TM), an ongoing tracking service to monitor consumer sentiment, economic activity, political perspectives and other issues of the day within the burgeoning US Hispanic community. The initial wave, a national representative survey of roughly 600 interviews was conducted, 400 by phone and 200 online, in December 2009 with a margin of error of + or – 4%.

Latinos close 2009 with the economy and jobs as the most important issue yet give overwhelming support to health care reform.

Immigration Enforcement Fuels Spike in U.S. Cases

Federal prosecutions reached a record high in the 2009 fiscal year, with the surge driven by a sharp increase in cases filed against immigration violators.

The 169,612 federal prosecutions were a jump of nearly 9 percent from the previous year, according to Department of Justice data analyzed by a research center at Syracuse University in a new report. Immigration prosecutions were up nearly 16 percent, and made up more than half of all criminal cases brought by the federal government, the report said….

…..The fact that immigration prosecutions remained high “shows that this administration is serious about enforcement to some degree,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a policy group in Washington that favors restricting immigration. “This administration understands that it needs to appear tough on enforcement if it’s going to make a credible case for legalization,” or amnesty programs, he said…..

Arizona Prisons Plan to Transfer Illegal Immigrants to Federal Custody

Desperate to save money, Arizona will transfer illegal immigrants who have been convicted of nonviolent crimes to federal custody for the last three months of their sentences, saving the state the cost of housing them.

Currently, prisoners who are not illegal immigrants are eligible to leave prison 90 days before their sentences end and begin community service. Under the new plan, which begins Jan. 1, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will take custody of the illegal immigrants pending deportation. The Arizona Department of Corrections said that a total of more than 1,200 prisoners would be moved this fiscal year and next, saving about $5.7 million.

Archdiocese of Miami kicks off census campaign

A national coalition of civil rights organizations is teaming with the Archdiocese of Miami to encourage members of religious communities in South Florida to participate in the upcoming 2010 Census.

The Washington, D.C.-based group, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, kicked off its campaign Wednesday morning at the archdiocese’s Notre Dame d’Haiti Mission church in Miami by unveiling a poster that will be distributed to 113 Catholic churches and a handful of non-Catholic churches in South Florida during the Christmas season.

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