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 Jan. 29, 2010

January 29, 2010

Latinos needed to apply for redistricting commission

In 2010 Latinos have a historic chance to shape our state’s future. All of us can play a part, and the time to act is now.

Taking advantage of this huge opportunity depends on all communities getting involved in a process that may seem obscure or even boring to lots of us: Legislative redistricting. But redistricting is a classic example of how something that seems technical and dull can affect each of us in a big way. If you care about jobs, schools, or your community you should care about redistricting.

Read more:

NCLR and Freddie Mac Partner on Innovative Effort to Help Latinos Avoid Foreclosure

RISMEDIA, January 29, 2010—In an effort to keep more families from losing their homes, NCLR (National Council of La Raza), one of the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organizations in the United States, and Freddie Mac announced their partnership on a program that will provide personalized credit counseling free of charge to Hispanic homeowners who are more than 90 days behind with their mortgage payments.

Culture complicates Latino access to mental health care

If you work two jobs, care for a large family, don’t speak the language and are struggling economically, you may not recognize anxiety or depression as a health issue. It’s just part of your life.This is the case for many Latinos, the country’s fastest growing population and largest minority group. Seeking mental health care is often stigmatized in Latino culture, and there is a lack of culturally sensitive mental health care, according to mental health experts.

Did Hispanics catapult Brown to Massachusetts Senate win?

As Politico notes, there were no exit polls in the special election for the Massachusetts Senate race.  But there was a good poll put out by Politico/Insider Advantage just before the contest that should rattle most folks.

In that Politico/InsiderAdvantage poll, Brown won 76.9% of the Hispanic vote to Coakley’s 23.1%.  For many, that’s perhaps more shocking than Brown’s overall victory.  After all, we tend to assume that Hispanics are a Democrat Party lock.  Obama won 67% of the Latino vote, according to CNN’s 2008 exit poll , roughly split among men and women.  And the same Politico/InsiderAdvantage poll revealed that 70% of Hispanics self-identified as Democrats.

This is the direct link to the “insider advantage polling results”

(Interesting argument. What do you think?)

Do immigrants really do the jobs Americans don’t want?

As of April 3 of 2009, the unemployment rate in the United States has raised to 8.5 percent. This has been created due to the 3.3 million jobs lost within the last 5 months. There are currently over 300 million Americans (not including illegal immigrants). So, almost 30 million Americans who are actively seeking employment are without a job right now. I have seen unemployed factory workers now start working in fast food or other occupations, as they need to work somewhere to get some money in their pockets to support themselves and their families.

Barack Obama’s State of the Union: Immigration Reform Not on the Agenda

Barack Obama achieved the presidency in part due to the votes of U.S. Hispanics. According the Pew Hispanic Center, 67 percent of Latinos voted for Obama over John McCain in 2008.

And yet, the Obama administration has given little more than lip service to an issue that directly affects the extended families of many American Latinos: immigration reform.

Immigration Reform Dead in 2010?

As I noted yesterday, the chances of getting an immigration-reform bill passed this year dimmed dramatically in the wake of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts special election. Last night President Obama’s SOTU speech pretty much snuffed out any remaining possibility. He waited until roughly word 6,300 of a 7,000-word speech to address the issue. He devoted all of one sentence to it (“And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system,” etc. etc.). And he offered no specifics for a potential measure or timeline to get it done. That fleeting reference was “a crumb that was placed on the domestic-policy-agenda table to really satisfy the hunger of the immigrant and Latino communities,” says the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which has pushed for a reform package. “It was the death knell of immigration reform in 2010.”

Peña: Immigration Reform Will Be Difficult but Obama Must Deal with It

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama said that he didn’t aspire to the White House to put off America’s most pressing problems – and so in his State of the Union address he must make it clear that his commitment to immigration reform in 2010 is not just talk.

News Clips Jan. 26, 2010

January 26, 2010

Spanish-Language Newspaper to Launch Next Month

Deseret Management Corp. is launching a new Spanish-language newspaper in Utah.

El Observador is scheduled to begin publication Feb. 9. It will run Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends.

The weekday editions will focus on hard news, and the weekend editions will include more features and family-oriented content.

Deseret News Publisher Jim Wall says El Observador’s initial circulation will be 10,000 home deliveries weekly, with another 15,000 copies distributed on racks and by hand delivery.

R.I. Latinos go the extra mile

Since the earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12, the distance between willing hands and hearts that have known hardship can be measured not in feet and inches, but in dollars and two tightly packed cargo containers.

Rhode Island’s Latino community, which raised $74,000 in cash for Haiti in two fundraising events, on Friday shipped one cargo container of relief supplies to the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic and is shipping two more on Wednesday.

Motorist checkpoints will continue, expand

Despite the threat of a lawsuit from the ACLU, Escondido has decided to continue its driver’s license checkpoints, which a Latino group has characterized as traps to deport illegal immigrants.

Escondido police will conduct them differently, however. Instead of checking only driver’s licenses, officers also will ask for proof of registration and insurance, City Attorney Jeff Epp wrote in a letter this month to the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties. The organization has demanded that the city stop the checkpoints because it contends they violate state law.

Maryland hispanic population booms since 2000

WASHINGTON – The Maryland Hispanic population has increased by at least 65 percent since the 2000 Census, contributing to increasing ethnic diversity nationally, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report.

There are 375,830 Hispanics living in Maryland as of 2007, an increase from 227,916 in 2000, according to Census Bureau data analyzed by the Maryland Department of Planning and released Wednesday. After Hispanics, Asian immigration ranks second with a 29 percent increase.,0,245191.story

Is Medina beginning to gain ground in GOP primary for governor?

urrently in third place, Republican candidate hopes to surprise Perry and Hutchison.

The campaign of Debra Medina for the Republican nomination for governor may put a kink in the presumption that the GOP isn’t all that kind to people with Hispanic surnames.

Medina, of Wharton, has now gotten herself included in the second televised debate with the two major candidates: nine-year Gov. Rick Perry, trying for 14 years, and his challenger for the nomination, 16-year U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Medina had managed to get herself included in a Jan. 14 TV debate put on by Texas public television stations and also shown on some commercial stations, and C-SPAN. But a debate sponsored by the Belo Corporation, which owns WFAA-TV in Dallas, a handful of other Texas TV stations, and the Dallas News, was to have excluded Medina on grounds she didn’t meet the criteria necessary to participate in the debate.

Read more:

Poll: GOP primary for US Senate seat in Fla. a tie

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Former Florida legislator Marco Rubio has closed the gap in the race for the state’s Republican U.S. Senate nomination and is in a virtual dead heat with Gov. Charlie Crist, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Rubio, a lawyer who served as Speaker of the House, was once considered a long shot against Crist, who has widespread name recognition and a significant fundraising lead. But with Florida’s primary seven months away, Rubio was favored by 47 percent compared with 44 percent who preferred Crist – statistically a tie in the Quinnipiac University poll that has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Calif. councilman defends ‘proud racist’ remark at immigration rally

A Southern California councilman is attracting attention and drawing some fire for declaring at an anti-immigration rally that he is “a proud racist” if that means believing that the United States should have only one flag and one language, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

In a long article posted yesterday (and flagged by memorandum), the paper writes that Santa Clarita Councilman Bob Kellar “stood by his remarks” at the Jan. 16 rally, saying they “reflected his frustration with illegal immigration, but weren’t intended to express animosity against nonwhites.”

McCain again protects his right flank

Arizona Sen. John McCain (R), the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential nominee, has announced that he will oppose Ben Bernanke’s confirmation for another term as Fed chairman.

“Our country is still facing an economic crisis and while I appreciate the service that Chairman Bernanke has performed as Federal Reserve chairman, I believe that he must be held accountable for many of the decisions that contributed to our financial meltdown,” he said in a statement.

McCain’s opposition to Bernanke’s is just the latest maneuver McCain has made to protect his right flank — given the primary challenge he’s receiving.

Apparent immigration detention abuses spark calls in Colorado for reform

The detention policies of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in Colorado and the network of facilities that has grown here in the last few years are drawing increasing attention among local lawmakers and human rights organizations.

Critics of the system say men and women held on suspicion of immigration violations in the state are housed in conditions that rival those established for violent criminal offenders, that the immigrants are becoming fodder for a booming detention industry, and that detainees are often difficult to locate in the tangle of state facilities, which include unlisted so-called subfield offices.

Felony charges filed against immigration protestors

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has filed felony charges against immigration protestors involved in a minor skirmish with Phoenix Police at a march Jan. 16.
Thomas filed aggravated assault charges — a state felony — against the three protestors who poked at a Phoenix Police officer on a horse and threw a water bottle during the incident. The office pepper sprayed a small crowd during the incident, which occurred during protests against Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration raids and crime sweeps. Those sweeps were targeted against businesses suspected of hiring illegal immigrants.

News Clips Jan. 21, 2010

January 21, 2010

Push made to count Latinos in 2010 census

SACRAMENTO, CA — Forms for the 2010 U.S. Census will be mailed out in March and well in advance of that, there’s a push to make sure everyone returns those forms, particularly Latinos.

“Typically the Latino community is scared, especially if they’re undocumented,” said Diana Rodriguez of the Sacramento Latino Complete Count Committee. “They’ll typically mark ‘other’ or they’ll mark themselves as a different race.”

Ariz. Senate panel approves immigration bill

PHOENIX (AP) – An Arizona Senate panel has approved a sweeping bill to strengthen immigration enforcement.

The measure passed the Republican-controlled Public Safety and Human Services Committee Wednesday on a 4-3 party-line vote.

Program with Arpaio defended by top ICE official

A top U.S. immigration-enforcement official on Wednesday defended a federal program that lets local jail officials from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office check the immigration status of people booked into jail.

During a large protest on Saturday in Phoenix that drew 10,000 people, immigrant-rights advocates called on the Department of Homeland Security to end the program, saying some Valley police officers are engaging in racial profiling by arresting Latinos for minor crimes in order to check their immigration status during the booking process.

Latinos and the Political Earthquake in Massachusetts

There was that horrible earthquake that devastated Haiti. Last night, Massachusetts and the United States experienced a political earthquake that could be as in many ways as profound with the election of Republican Scott Brown over Democrat Martha Coakley to the U.S. Senate. And today is the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, which means that the Massachusetts debacle will be magnified by media assessments of the President’s first year.

Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson take heat on remarks

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and televangelist Pat Robertson are being scolded for their comments in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake in Haiti that has killed tens of thousands, according to early estimates.

Critics from both the left and right are denouncing their remarks as insensitive to the disaster and attempts to score political points off human tragedy.

Read more:

In Latino Gardens, Vegetables, Good Health and Savings Flourish

SAN JOSE — At dawn, Maria Lupercio Alarcon wakens to the heady scent of onions and cilantro from her family’s first garden, outside her bedroom window.
The two-month-old vegetable garden, from which Mrs. Alarcon picks extravagant bursts of broccoli for breakfast with scrambled eggs, is both comforting and unfamiliar. It is one of 30 backyard vegetable gardens recently planted by a nonprofit group here called La Mesa Verde, or The Green Table, which makes house calls to help residents of the city’s low-income, predominantly Latino neighborhoods grow their own organic produce.

Sundance Festival is also a Latino showcase

Latino filmmakers will be showing their latest works at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
his time around, Mexican-born actor Diego Luna makes his feature film directorial debut with “Abel,” the story of a young boy who becomes the head of his family after his father’s unexpected absence. The film, a production of Luna’s Canana Films, is premiering at Sundance and is set for a Mexican release later this year. Jose Maria Yazpik, Karina Gidi and Carlos Aragon star in “Abel,” which was written by Luna and Agusto Mendoza.,0,1437303.story

NFL to Blitz Latinos at Super Bowl

Major Push Centered Around Big Game in Miami

Not content with its place as the biggest U.S. sporting event of the year, the National Football League wants to make the Super Bowl the most-watched sports event among Hispanics.
The NFL is gearing up to launch a series of Latino-targeted marketing efforts around Feb. 7’s Super Bowl XLIV with music and sports events featuring Latin celebrities, and educational and informative programs at the grass-roots level. CBS will televise this year’s game from Miami’s Dolphin Stadium.

Emilio Estefan seeks to inspire Latinos with book

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — At a Miami Dolphins team banquet last year, CEO Mike Dee turned to the team’s newest minority owner, music producer and mogul Emilio Estefan, and asked what he thought of the event.

Estefan didn’t miss a beat as he rattled off his critique: There was no Spanish-language media there. How could the team reach out to the community without ensuring the presence of some of South Florida’s most popular and powerful networks?

Within days, Estefan reached out to the Spanish-language media and had the Dolphins franchise producing bilingual press releases, Dee recalls.

News Clips Jan. 20, 2010

January 20, 2010

Officials Hid Truth of Immigrant Deaths in Jail

Silence has long shrouded the men and women who die in the nation’s immigration jails. For years, they went uncounted and unnamed in the public record. Even in 2008, when The New York Times obtained and published a federal government list of such deaths, few facts were available about who these people were and how they died.

Lamm: Get tough on immigration

Wants proof of citizenship to board planes, get job, open bank account

Requiring people to prove their U.S. citizenship when getting a job, boarding an airplane or opening a bank account would drastically cut back on illegal immigration in the country, former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm said yesterday.

“I really think in a time of terrorism, that makes a lot of sense,” he said.

But not everyone is on board. Chandra Russo of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, for one, thinks that the government should instead broadly legalize all undocumented immigrants in the country. A broad legalization would create more jobs and bring more revenue into the tax system and economy Ń approximately $1.5 trillion over several years Ń she said.

“When we ramp up enforcement, we don’t curb immigration; we just make it more dangerous,” she said.

Analysis: GOP sees Mass. win as stop sign for Dems

WASHINGTON — Reeling from the loss of a long-held Massachusetts Senate seat, Democrats are rethinking the lessons of Barack Obama’s 2008 election, with the GOP cheerfully suggesting they scale back their ambitions and agenda.

Republican Scott Brown’s win in a liberal state will do more than vastly complicate Obama’s bid to overhaul the U.S. health care system. It will send his party into a painful re-examination of voters’ anger and desires ahead of the November elections for Congress, governorships and state legislatures.

Advocacy Groups Clash Over Future of Health Bill

Liberal advocacy groups are insisting that Democrats must press forward with efforts to overhaul the nation’s health care system despite the election results in Massachusetts on Tuesday night, while conservative groups are arguing that Scott Brown’s victory is proof that the Democrats’ health care bill is flawed and should be scuttled.

Immigration rally on the Capitol steps

MADISON (WKOW) — Dozens of Madison-area high school and college students held an immigration rally on the steps of the state capitol Tuesday night.

The students started with a march down State Street chanting in support of immigration reform.

Public Opinion Snapshot: Public Continues to Back Comprehensive Immigration Reform

There’s no doubt the politics of immigration reform are very complicated and that getting a bill through Congress will not be easy. But it’s important to be clear that the public is quite supportive of immigration reform, especially reform that is comprehensive and does not simply focus on punitive measures. This has been true of the public for some time and a new Benenson Strategy Group poll for America’s Voice demonstrates that it is still true today.

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. 14,2010

January 14, 2010

Obama to speak on Haiti relief efforts this morning

President Obama will speak again this morning on Haitian earthquake relief efforts, the White House announced.

Obama received an extensive briefing last night from U.S. military and civilian officials who are coordinating massive rescue and re-building missions, the White House said in a statement.

Clinton: Too soon to estimate casualties in Haiti

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday the United States and the world must do everything possible to help Haiti surmount its “cycle of hope and despair.”

Appearing on morning network news shows after cutting short an overseas trip, Clinton said it’s still too early to make a firm estimate of the number of deaths in the wake of Tuesday’s devastating, 7.0 magnitude earthquake. But she said officials know that approximately 3 million people, including 45,000 Americans, have been affected and that “tens of thousands, we fear, are dead.”

Immigration reform advocates see inspiration in work of MLK, honored at naturalization events

NEW YORK (AP) — After almost nine years, Nigerian immigrant Emakoji Ayikoye is on the brink of becoming an American, just waiting to say the words of the citizenship oath.

But Thursday’s ceremony is weighted with more symbolism than usual for the 32-year-old college math teacher. It’s one of several being held nationwide in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Another, on Friday in Atlanta, will feature a speech from his daughter Bernice King.,0,4209814.story

Rally urges reforms on immigration

Detroit — Immigrants from around the world poured into a church on the city’s southwest side Wednesday to rally for immigration reform.

They came with stories of battling government red tape and separation from loved ones because of the nation’s immigration laws.

The crowd, estimated at more than 600 by organizers, filled the sanctuary of St. Anne’s Church, many waving red, white and blue signs that read “Reform Immigration for America.”

Large crowd in Denver demands immigration reform in U.S.

DENVER – Some Coloradans are joining the rest of the nation in coming together to push for comprehensive immigration reform.

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet got an earful at one of four town hall meetings. He spoke at the largest event at Manual High School in Denver Wednesday.

About 1,000 people turned out to ask lawmakers to fix America’s immigration system, including an anonymous 17-year-old high school student.,0,4343759.story

Democrats’ Rocky Mountain high takes a tumble in Colorado

A year or so ago, the state looked like the party’s new base. Now Obama’s and other Democrats’ popularity is down, and Republicans are poised to regain what they lost.Reporting from Denver – It was less than 18 months ago that the Democratic Party declared this region its new base.

Barack Obama claimed the party’s presidential nomination at a football stadium here, in a state where Democrats had won the governorship, both houses of the state Legislature, and were about to pick up both U.S. Senate seats.,0,7631063.story

Hilda Solis: $150 Million Federal Grant for Green Jobs will Benefit Hispanics

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis today announced a $150 million “Pathways out of Poverty” grant dedicated to providing green jobs and training to the disaffected and unemployed, such as the poor, high school dropouts and ex-criminal offenders.

The grants will help people learn skills such as creating parts for enormous wind turbines and installing solar panels.

Multiple media carry Census message to be counted

First, they’ll tell you the Census is coming. Then, they’ll tell you why filling out and mailing back the forms is a good thing. Finally, if you’ve ignored the first two, they’ll tell you to open your door to Census workers.

Today, the Census Bureau unveils a $133 million national advertising campaign that will debut at 9:15 p.m. ET Sunday during the Golden Globe Awards on NBC.