News Clips March 12, 2010

March 12, 2010

Stakes Getting Higher for Obama, Latino Voters, and Immigration

Maybe there’s a game on. The President had three meetings on immigration reform at the White House today.  He is increasingly under pressure to act on promises he made as a candidate to enact immigration reform in his first year in office and, now in his second year, the patience of pro-reform advocates – and Latino and immigrant voters – is wearing thin.
The power of the Latino vote is a big reason the Democrats won the White House and control of both houses of Congress in 2008.  If the Democrats fail to address the immigration issue – an issue to which Latino voters are particularly sensitive and which helped drive their increased turnout in 2008 – the Democrats face even longer odds with voters in 2010.

Gut Check Time for GOP on Immigration

There is a quiet battle underway within the Republican Party that may soon break out into the open – and it will heavily impact whether the GOP can continue as a national political party in the decades ahead.

The conflict is over how the Party will position itself with respect to the question of immigration reform – and just as importantly – the fastest-growing demographic group in country: Hispanic Americans.

Lindsey Graham: Immigration reform in peril

A pair of White House meetings Thursday designed to chart a path forward for immigration reform instead spotlighted the daunting obstacles ahead — and showed why many Capitol Hill insiders believe it’s quite unlikely an immigration bill will happen this year.

After meeting with President Barack Obama, the leading Republican backing a comprehensive approach warned that a Democratic health care push could scuttle any chance of action on immigration in this Congress.

“I expressed, in no uncertain terms, my belief that immigration reform could come to a halt for the year if health care reconciliation goes forward,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a statement issued just after he and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met with Obama.

Senators give Obama a bipartisan plan on immigration

Reporting from Washington – A pair of influential senators presented President Obama with a three-page blueprint for a bipartisan agreement to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, but the proposal’s viability is threatened by politics surrounding the healthcare debate.

Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), in a 45-minute meeting Thursday in the Oval Office, also asked for Obama’s help in rounding up enough Republican votes to pass an immigration bill this year.

Although details of their blueprint were not released, Graham said the elements included tougher border security, a program to admit temporary immigrant workers and a biometric Social Security card that would prevent people here illegally from getting jobs.,0,5784564.story

Why the 2010 Census will target Valley Hispanics

PHOENIX, AZ — A Census public service announcement will be out in a couple of days calling on the Hispanic community to come forward and be counted.

The PSA emphasizes the importance of participating in the 2010 Census which will in turn bring money into the community for transit, infrastructure and political representation.

Census workers aiming to coax undocumented immigrants out of shadows

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. —  Sure, he has seen the ads on television and heard the public service announcements on Spanish radio, but Alejandro Martinez said he had no intention of filling out the U.S. Census questionnaire.

“It’s not worth the effort; it doesn’t really relate to the immigrant community,” said Martinez, of Port Richmond, in Spanish, as he stood yesterday with other day laborers on the service road, at the Forest Avenue exit off the Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway. “I’m not scared. I just don’t see the importance.”

But when a friend of his, Juan Perez, explained he would respond when the letter arrives in the mail in the next week or two because doing so could bring more funds to their neighborhood — it prompted Martinez to warm to the idea, musing: “Maybe, if it comes right to my house, I’ll fill it out. Why not?”

Rights Groups to ICE: Stop Raids for Census

OAKLAND, Calif. – Immigrant rights advocates have sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano asking them to immediately suspend all immigration enforcement activities through the end of the year in order to decrease fear within immigrant communities and encourage their participation in the 2010 Census.

Questionnaires for the 2010 Census are due to arrive in the mailbox of every U.S. household between now and April 1.

“We are genuinely concerned that the climate of fear will seriously impact the census form return rate of immigrant households — and if people do not return the form, they will be reluctant to open the door to a follow-up visit from a census worker,” said Catherine Tactaquin, director of National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR). “We really need the leadership of the administration right now to make a difference in the success of the census among our diverse immigrant populations.”

Health Reform Myths

Health reform is back from the dead. Many Democrats have realized that their electoral prospects will be better if they can point to a real accomplishment. Polling on reform — which was never as negative as portrayed — shows signs of improving. And I’ve been really impressed by the passion and energy of this guy Barack Obama. Where was he last year?

But reform still has to run a gantlet of misinformation and outright lies. So let me address three big myths about the proposed reform, myths that are believed by many people who consider themselves well-informed, but who have actually fallen for deceptive spin.


News Clips March 1, 2010

March 1, 2010

Take the power to draw new political districts away from the Florida Legislature

As two Floridians who have been working on both sides of the partisan aisle to improve Florida government, we are thrilled that voters will have the opportunity to vote this Nov. 2 on two constitutional amendments to stop what amounts to a legalized conflict of interest in our state. One newspaper called it “Florida’s dirty little secret.” It comes up every 10 years when legislators are charged with the awesome responsibility of redrawing their own district boundaries as well as those of the congressional districts….

…..It is not surprising that the two amendments have the support of groups like the League of Women Voters, the Florida League of Cities, Florida League of Mayors, Legislative Black Caucus, Florida NAACP, Florida Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials and Democracia Ahora. Newspaper editorial boards across the state unanimously support these important changes. That is because, as this newspaper elegantly said, “The amendments make sense.”

Thousands of Floridians – Republicans, Democrats and independents – are working for passage of these “FairDistricts” Amendments 5 and 6.

Pelosi Says She’ll Get Votes Needed for Health Bill

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is confident she will be able to get the votes needed to pass sweeping health care legislation in the House, even if it threatens the political careers of some members of her party.

In an interview carried Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Ms. Pelosi said she was working on changes to a Senate-passed bill that would make it acceptable to the House.

Ms. Pelosi was asked what she would say to House Democrats who were “in real fear of losing their seats in November if they support you now.”

“Our members, every one of them, wants health care,” Ms. Pelosi said. “They know that this will take courage. It took courage to pass Social Security. It took courage to pass Medicare. And many of the same forces that were at work decades ago are at work again against this bill.”

GOP governor’s campaign is more texting than talking

Rick Perry’s campaign has a radical approach that eschews traditional voter turnout efforts in favor of extensive use of social media networks to win Tuesday’s GOP primary.

Haven’t seen a Perry yard sign? There aren’t any, and Perry has no local office to house them. Dreading yet another phone call from a political candidate? Don’t worry; Perry has no phone banks. And you probably won’t see supporters with T-shirts knocking at the door.

But you may get a Facebook message from a friend in your social circle. You’re more likely to find Perry campaign appeals on Twitter, even craigslist, than to see his mug on a highway billboard.

Combine that with a broad and sometimes problematic program that pays supporters to sign up followers, and Perry’s campaign for re-election is bringing an entirely new approach – a largely untested one – to the ever-evolving area of getting out the vote.

To be counted, here’s what counts with the 2010 census

Census Bureau hopes shorter form, which should take 10 minutes to complete, will increase response rate
The Census Bureau hopes the shorter form, which should take 10 minutes to complete, will increase the response rate of Americans. In 2000, 67 percent of Americans returned their census questionnaires by April 1. In Florida, the response rate was slightly lower — 63 percent. The Census Bureau contends that it saves $85 million in follow-up costs to non-responding households for every one percent increase in the response rates.,0,2544346.story

Democrats try cozying up to Latino community

Workshops focus on getting Hispanics involved in campaigning

In an effort to court Latino voters, The Massachusetts Democratic Party held several Spanish-language workshops on Saturday for community leaders interested in becoming part of the electoral process.

The workshops are part of an outreach effort aimed at Latino communities throughout the state that were largely neglected by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s U.S. Senate campaign.

“We are saying, hey we know you’re here. You live in areas we represent and we want to give you the tools and skills to organize and become part of the process,” said Gloribell Mota, Education and Training Director for the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
Held at the Waltham Westin Hotel, the workshops focused on grassroots organizing and campaign strategies.
Jorge Poueriet, a Dominican resident of Worchester and a participant in Saturday’s workshops, had never been involved in politics before.

Democratic primary will put to test power of Hispanic surnames

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Political prognosticators and demographers alike figure that Hispanics are the growth industry in Texas politics.

The rapidly expanding Hispanic population tends to vote for Democrats. And there’s also substantial evidence that Hispanics often vote for Hispanics.

Judith Zaffirini, the longtime Democratic state senator from Laredo, has said that if voters know something about the candidates, they vote based on qualifications and issues.

If they don’t, they often vote on ethnicity based on the candidates’ names.

In Tuesday’s Democratic primary, that idea will be put to the test in a few races — though there are other factors than surnames.

Protests, grand jury challenge Sheriff Joe Arpaio

PHOENIX — With a sheriff’s helicopter beating overhead, the man known as “Sheriff Joe” stood behind a line of officers as 10,000 people marched past — but this was not the usual show of affection and support for Joe Arpaio.

“Joe must go! Joe must go,” whole families chanted, as they rounded the corner in front of the county jail complex run by the five-term Maricopa County sheriff famed for his confrontational tactics, his harsh jail policies and a gift for publicity. The parade of mostly brown-skinned people wanted to show they hated his trademark immigration patrols.

For years, Arpaio has been the rare politician whose popularity remained rock solid no matter the criticism. He was the self-proclaimed “America’s toughest sheriff,” unbeatable at the polls.

Today, however, some indicators have changed for the 77-year-old lawman — and it’s not just the marching in the streets.

His soaring approval ratings dropped to 39 percent in one recent poll. Critics are emboldened by a federal grand jury that’s examining abuse-of-power allegations against him and a second federal investigation that he says focuses on his immigration enforcement.

Pro-immigration forces gird for battle

WASHINGTON — A coalition of pro-immigration groups is preparing for a renewed congressional battle over reform legislation — and this time they have money to spend.

A reform bill was blocked in 2007 by Senate Republicans opposed to legalizing the status of the nation’s roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants. But those who want immigrants to be able to earn legal status or citizenship say they are better funded and more organized this time.

A reform bill has been filed in the House, and one is expected to be introduced in the Senate soon.

Deepak Bhargava with the Center for Community Change said conservative activists were able to use talk radio to “create a groundswell of anger and hate in the country that brought the bill down.”

“Our effort this time has been targeted to make sure that we out-match them at every level and in every facet of the game,” he said.

News Clips Feb 4, 2010

February 4, 2010

Hispanics urged to be counted in upcoming census

Complete count of population could bring Nevada extra government funding

Hispanic residents gathered Wednesday to learn about the 2010 Census and how minorities’ participation can help improve Southern Nevada communities.

The event in front of Cardenas Market, 4421 East Bonanza Road, was part of the 2010 Census Portrait of America Road Tour, which is scheduled to make more than 800 stops nationwide.

Will Abel Maldonado Become GOP’s First Hispanic Lt. Governor in Calif?

California State Senator Abel Maldonado is hoping to become the state’s first Hispanic Republican lieutenant governor in modern times, but Democrats aren’t sure whether to approve his nomination.

The state Senate today began its confirmation hearing on the matter.

ICE agents conduct city-wide immigration bust

HOUSTON—Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials raided several Houston businesses Tuesday as part of a city-wide immigration bust.
Shortly after 9 a.m., ICE agents raided People’s Express in the 7200 block of Long Drive and took a number of people into custody.

ICE and Big Business: Too Close for Comfort

Today, workers, along with immigrant and civil rights advocates, exposed evidence of a disturbing and dangerous attack on workers’ rights by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). Testimony in the case David et al. v. Signal et al. has revealed that high level executives of defense contractor Signal International worked closely with ICE and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to quash organizing efforts by courageous workers from India who were allegedly caught in a human trafficking ring.

Immigration reform risky for Dems

Immigration reform may seem a distant priority for a ruling party that’s made the increasingly elusive goals of job creation and health care reform its primary focus in 2010.

Nevertheless, President Barack Obama and top congressional Democrats have signaled that, as Obama said in his State of the Union address, “fixing our broken immigration system” remains at the top of their legislative To Do list before the midterm elections.

But Democrats push immigration reform legislation, which would include amnesty for illegal residents, at their own peril. With employment persisting at 10 percent, addressing immigration risks reviving the grass-roots backlashes that have thus far defined the Obama presidency.

Latino museum wins arts excellence award

Maruca Salazar won the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2005 for past work in the Chicano art movement.

But winning it this year for the Museo de las Americas signals the work that lies ahead for the institution she has led for less than a year.

“It was a very pleasant surprise and welcome surprise,” said Salazar, who was named executive director of Museo de las Americas last May. “It will allow us to have a better standing and to recognize so many volunteers and sponsors who donated and contributed so much to (keep) this institution vibrant and alive.”

Read more:

News Clips Jan. 17, 2010

January 19, 2010

Thousands protest sheriff’s immigration efforts

PHOENIX — Thousands of immigrant rights advocates marched in front of a county jail in Phoenix Saturday in a protest that was aimed at Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration efforts and was marked by a clash between a small group of protesters and police officers.

Youth step up in immigration debate

Undocumented students go public to push reforms
When she was a top student in her Chicago high school French class last year, Reyna Wences tried every excuse to avoid a planned field trip to Quebec. She secretly longed to join but knew she’d be arrested if she tried.

“Is it the money?” she recalled her teacher at Walter Payton Prep asking.Wences, fed up with the double life she’d been leading since her parents brought her into the country illegally nine years ago, finally said: “You know what? I’m undocumented.”,0,4772766.story

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Intersection of Immigration and Civil Rights

Today, we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man whose dream of equality and human rights changed the course of history. His legacy will be remembered this week by people of all colors and creeds who still believe in the American dream and who continue to fight for equality, civil rights and the basic human dignity they deserve. Over the weekend, thousands of human rights activists took to the street in Phoenix, Arizona, to march for civil rights and for “long-overdue federal action on immigration.”So how is immigration a civil rights issue? In a recent editorial, Rev. Harvey Clemons Jr., the pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Houston, connects Dr. King’s fight for equality with the struggle many immigrants face today.

Gutierrez On Immigration Reform: “This Is The Year We’re Gonna Get It Done”

In both a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.’s work and the legacy of the broader civil rights movement, more than 1,000 people packed the First Baptist Congregational Church on Chicago’s West Side Saturday to rally for immigration reform. It’s no surprise that activists grew frustrated last year over the lack of action by Congress and the Obama administration. In an effort to build momentum, Rep. Luis Gutierrez introduced a bill last month that outlines a plan for overhauling the nation’s immigration system to create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented Americans.

Obama’s health care plans could change drastically today

Get ready for what might be the biggest legislative donnybrook in quite some time.

If Republican Scott Brown wins the special Senate race in Massachusetts, Democrats will try to speed up completion of the health care bill, while Republicans will be urging that Brown be seated in the Senate as soon as possible.

Census to hire 1,000 local workers


The U.S. Census Bureau is hiring 1,000 temporary employees to ensure an accurate enumeration of people in Southern Colorado.
Count on it.
Emily King, assistant manager for recruiting at the Pueblo census office, on Monday said hiring is taking off slowly but will pick up in March.

News Clips Jan. 15, 2010

January 15, 2010

Special status will halt deportations from U.S.

Lawmakers and immigration groups are calling on the Obama administration to grant Haitians in the USA, including those here illegally, a special temporary legal status that would protect them from deportation and allow them to take jobs.

That would be a step beyond what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced: a halt in deportations “for the time being.” About 30,000 Haitians now in the USA had been ordered deported.

White House pressed to OK immigration change for Haitians

Haitian-American activists, immigrant advocates and South Florida lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are intensely lobbying the Obama administration to keep undocumented Haitian immigrants from being deported to an island nation whose economy is in ruins following Tuesday’s horrific earthquake.

On Thursday, all three groups will be holding news conferences in Miami to press their case to the public.

Obama pledges campaign for health-care bill and Democrats

With unemployment hovering in the double digits and House Democrats eager to move on to the politically crucial task of job creation, President Obama pledged Thursday to publicly champion the health-care legislation that in the past year has consumed much of their attention and often made them targets.

Arizona has become ‘ground zero’ of immigration fight

PHOENIX — When activists from around the country rally for immigrants’ rights Saturday, it’s no coincidence that they’ll converge here.

Arizona is the flash point of the immigration debate, a place where high levels of illegal immigration have led to state and local restrictions, most recently a law that requires government workers to report illegal immigrants seeking public benefits.

Immigration reform advocates seek plan

Immigration reform advocates urged Rep. Mary Bono Mack on Thursday to support an overhaul that would legalize the nation’s undocumented workers.
The coalition of business, labor and community leaders who met with the Palm Springs Republican’s staff was part of a national strategy to press legislators across the nation this week, seizing on the president’s promise to tackle immigration reform in 2010.Advocates said they hope to see the draft of a proposed bill by the president’s state of the union address next month.

How Immigration Reform Would Help the Economy

Fact Sheet on the Benefits of Legalization
A new report, “Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” by Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, finds that comprehensive immigration reform that includes a legalization program for unauthorized immigrants and enables a future flow of legal workers would result in a large economic benefit—a cumulative $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. In stark contrast, a deportation- only policy would result in a loss of $2.6 trillion in GDP over 10 years.

City Immigration Firms Charged With Fraud

Two firms offering services for immigrants in Manhattan and the Bronx have been charged with fraud.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is suing two non-profits — International Immigrants Foundation and International Professional Association — for allegedly scamming immigrants by making false promises of citizenship and charging exorbitant fees.

The suit also says the organizations are practicing law without authorization.

Cuomo says the law protects someone who blows the whistle on immigration scams, but many immigrants are afraid of exposing themselves to prosecution.

Irish American community leaders push for new immigration bill

Irish community leaders are being asked to give their support to the push for a comprehensive new immigration bill. The White House recently sent out invitations to Irish American community leaders nationwide to attend a special briefing on comprehensive immigration reform this week.

Obama administration officials will host the briefing on Friday January 15 in Washington where the Irish American attendees will hear from the National Security Council on US-Irish Relations. Also scheduled is a briefing from the Domestic Policy Council on immigration reform.

News Clips Jan. 7, 2010

January 7, 2010

Ill. Senate candidates say little on immigration

CHICAGO – Illinois politicians and activists have helped shape the national Immigration debate, but those vying for President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat had little of substance to say when asked about the issue recently by The Associated Press.,0,2882922.story

U.S. Catholic leaders want President Obama to make immigration reform a priority

Stepping up the pressure on President Obama, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday urged the administration to make legalization of millions of undocumented immigrants a priority to enhance national security and improve the nation’s battered economy.

UCLA study says legalizing undocumented immigrants would help the economy

Based on surveys done after the 1986 amnesty program, it concludes that even during the recession, legalizing undocumented workers would benefit the economy. Not everyone agrees.
Even during the ongoing recession, immigration reform legislation that legalizes undocumented immigrants would boost the American economy, according to a new study out of UCLA.

The report said that legalization, along with a program that allows for future immigration based on the labor market, would create jobs, increase wages and generate more tax revenue. Comprehensive immigration reform would add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years, according to the report.,0,5871672.story

On Immigration, Which New York Will Rule?

In New York State, the legacy of Ellis Island is clearly echoed today. One in five New Yorkers are immigrants, granting the state one of the most vibrant and dynamic populations in the nation.

Perhaps it’s only fitting, then, that New York has become an important crossroads at the intersection of immigration and politics.

Migrant issue could haunt McCain in race

Two years ago, a push for comprehensive immigration reform nearly unraveled John McCain’s bid for the White House. Now, his long-standing support for border reform is complicating his bid for a fifth Senate term.

President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders have signaled their intention to take another crack at overhauling U.S. immigration policy in early 2010, putting Sen. McCain, R-Ariz., back on the spot as his conservative critics take aim at him in the state’s GOP primary.

What Health Care Reform Means for the States

As the battle enters its final stage in Washington, a rebellion is taking shape in the states, which are alarmed about the new financial burdens they will face in a revamped system. Governors of both parties are complaining that reform will drive their budgets into even deeper holes, with some feeling the effects far more than others. But just how much will be riding on the states? Here’s a look at four changes that lie ahead.

Read more:,8599,1952147,00.html#ixzz0bvyz2URI

Is the Health Care Bill at Risk?

Democrats are near the finish line on health care legislation but they have yet to overcome one of the biggest hurdles — merging the Senate and House bills together.
The Senate and House discuss compromises on the different versions of the bill.

Although Congress is officially still in recession, key lawmakers are actively involved in intense negotiations to merge the two different bills that, while similar, have some important differences between them.

How interest groups behind health-care legislation are financed is often unclear

Many of the Washington interest groups that are seeking to shape final health-care legislation in the coming weeks operate with opaque financing, often receiving hidden support from insurers, drugmakers or unions.

The groups, some newly formed and others reappearing with different sponsors, have spent months staging noisy protests, organizing letter-writing campaigns and contributing to a record $200 million advertising blitz on health-care reform.

Democrats’ retirements point to shifting political landscape

Sens. Byron Dorgan and Christopher Dodd and Gov. Bill Ritter decline to seek reelection, suggesting that the GOP may be able to capture Democratic seats. But both parties face volatile elections.
Reporting from Washington – The decisions by two powerful Democrats to retire from the Senate are a rude reminder of how dramatically the political climate has changed over the last 12 months since President Obama came to power — a wind shift that has thrown the Democratic Party off balance and turned the politics of raising hope into the politics of managing anger.,0,7018263.story

Three kings holy day growing in popularity

When Sandra Salas spotted a Spanish commercial showing three camels raving about Verizon cell phones as they carried the three kings, the Riverside homemaker couldn’t help but wonder: “Que pasa?”

It’s rare in the United States, she said, to see commercials about the Mexican celebration of the three wise men or tres reyes magos as they are called in Spanish.

News Clips Jan 6, 2010

January 6, 2010

Census Bureau employs new technology in centuries-old practice

Social media and a national road tour are part of the plan to drum up interest. The campaign will stress the importance and secrecy of the count.
The U.S. Census Bureau launched a national road tour Monday to drum up participation in the decennial population count, bringing Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other 21st century technology to the centuries-old exercise.

The road tour, billed as the largest civic outreach campaign in the bureau’s history, features 13 vans that will bring census information and interactive displays across 150,000 miles for 1,547 days with 800 publicity stops at parades, festivals and major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and NCAA Final Four basketball tournament.,0,842867.story

Immigration’s New Year

The quest for overhauling immigration received two very welcome lifts on New Year’s Day.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, at his inauguration, pledged to help the Obama administration pass immigration reform. Mr. Bloomberg is a force to reckon with, as he proved with his national campaign against illegal guns. On the same day, four young people in Miami, current or former students at Miami Dade College, began their own determined march to Washington in an effort to bring pressure from the grass roots.

Opponents on immigration reform gear up for forthcoming battle

Obama has signaled he’ll take up immigration reform soon. As a result, both sides are mobilizing their forces.

Immigration reform is far down on Washington’s “to do” list, after healthcare reform, the Afghanistan war, and job creation. But outside the Beltway, in America’s community centers and protest venues, you’d think someone had already pushed the hot button to bring this always-simmering issue to a boil.

Though the Obama administration and the Democrats who control Congress are not expected to take up immigration reform until later this year – and possibly not till the midterm elections are over – both sides are already rallying their grass roots in anticipation of a fight that, some say, could make the great immigration debate of 2007 look like a playground spat.

House Democrats to Pursue Health Bill Changes

WASHINGTON — House Democratic leaders said Tuesday that they would insist on changes to the Senate health care legislation to make coverage more affordable for middle-class Americans and to tighten control over the insurance industry.

But it remains unclear how much leverage the House will have in negotiations given that Senate Democrats cannot spare a single vote without jeopardizing the bill’s chances. The White House will also have a big role in the final product.

The Nation: Fox News Health Care Scare Tactics

“They’ll send me to jail if I don’t sign up for Obama’s health care,” an 89-year-old woman said at my family holiday gathering last week. She was agitated and angry. “Imagine sending someone to jail — at my age!”

Even the Republicans in the room rushed to reassure her: “You’re covered by Medicare. You’re already signed up. Nobody is going to jail.”

The Struggle Over Health Care

President Obama scored a victory as the Senate voted to approve sweeping health care legislation. The vote, 60-39, was along straight party lines underlining the sharply partisan nature of the debate. Republican senators had voiced fierce opposition to the bill.

Democrats cinched the crucial vote needed to pass the bill after negotiations with Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska led to a compromise provision affecting abortion coverage. But deep internal divisions remain over the issue that may complicate their efforts to merge the Senate and House bills and send final legislation to Mr. Obama, who has called health reform his top domestic issue.

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N.J. Latino pastor urges undocumented immigrants to boycott U.S. Census

In the past, when the Rev. Miguel Rivera of Ridgefield Park came out publicly in support of illegal immigrants, he could count on widespread support from other national Latino leaders.

Not this time.
As president of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, Rivera, 56, is urging illegal immigrants nationwide to boycott the upcoming U.S. Census unless comprehensive immigration reform is passed before the census count begins in April. But many in Latino circles say the pastor’s call is irresponsible and ultimately damaging to those it purports to help.