News Clips March 19, 2010

March 19, 2010

Immigration advocates to gather in Orlando to prepare for D.C. march

“This march is not only for the immigrants, but is also for civil and human rights in our country,” said Yanidsi Velez, a junior organizer in Orlando with Democracia Ahora.

As of Friday afternoon, advocacy groups had booked 14 buses to transport about 800 protesters. Another 30 buses from the Florida Immigrant Coalition are expected to join the caravan, leaving after the Saturday rally and expected to arrive for an interfaith service and the national march Sunday at the National Mall.

Orlando’s immigration advocates are gearing up for a local rally and trip to Washington this weekend, where they expect to join hundreds of thousands calling on the Obama administration and Congress to enact reform that would allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S.

Immigration reform: Stuck on back burner?

Rigoberto Lopez will be one of an expected tens of thousands of people who will descend on Washington on Sunday to press Congress to pass a bill on comprehensive immigration reform.

Lopez, 41, of the Eastwick section of Philadelphia, said he came into this country illegally from Mexico when he was a child after his father was murdered and his mother crossed the border to support him and his siblings.

He is now a U.S. citizen, following a 1986 amnesty that granted legal status to 2.6 million illegal immigrants in the country.

Groups going to D.C. from this area include the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, Juntos and Democracia Ahora.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Calls for Passage of Health Care Reform

WASHINGTON, March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) today called for passage of President Obama’s health care reform proposal, saying that it would greatly improve the quality of life for millions of Latinos. The measure is expected to expand coverage to 8.8 million Latinos, or 60% of the currently uninsured Hispanic community.

“With one in three Latinos lacking a steady source of health care, the current system has been devastating to our families and communities,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY), the Chair of the CHC.  “The legislation before Congress offers a historic opportunity to address these problems and make quality, affordable medical care accessible for millions of Latinos.”

Highlights of health care bill

Some of the key changes that House Democrats made to the Senate health care bill:

CONGRESS: Health care bill heads for showdown
FULL TEXT: Read the proposed bill
TIMELINE: Path to health care legislation
Issue   Context         Senate bill     House change
Accessibility   Both bills aim to increase Americans’ access to health care coverage by expanding Medicaid, providing subsidies to middle-income families and imposing a host of new taxes and fees to pay for it.      Would cost $871 billion in the first 10 years and would provide coverage to 31 million Americans who wouldn’t otherwise have it.        Would cost $940 billion in the first 10 years and would cover 32 million Americans.

Factbox: Details of final healthcare bill

(Reuters) – Congressional Democrats have unveiled the final changes to a sweeping healthcare overhaul they hope will clear the House of Representatives on Sunday.

Democrats are using a two-step process that involves the House approving the Senate-passed version of the bill and passing the proposed final changes. The Senate must act on the changes before President Barack Obama can sign them into law. Here are key provisions of the legislation including the proposed changes.


Arizona sheriff launches immigration sweep

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona has launched a two-day, countywide crime and immigration sweep that authorities say will focus on drop houses, drug violators and human smuggling vehicles.

Four hundred deputies and volunteer posse members are taking part in the patrols. The sweep, which began Thursday, is Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s 14th since early 2008.
During the sweeps, deputies flood an area of a city – in some cases heavily Latino areas – to seek out traffic violators and arrest other alleged lawbreakers

Would Legalizing Illegal Immigrants Help the GOP?

Republicans, who have been under fire in the Latino community for junking immigration reform in the Bush administration
and promoting some policies that appear anti-immigrant, think they can win back Hispanics, in part because President Obama has largely ignored the issue. One way they see to do it is to legalize illegals.

“Conservative leaders see opportunity for the party,” says a Republican immigration reform advocate. “Due to Obama’s lack of action on his promise of immigration reform, we believe Latino voters are open to being wooed by Republicans,” the conservative activist

The wooing began today at an immigration reform forum sponsored by the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles on Capitol Hill. Proponents say they want the plan to suggest that border security isn’t enough to form an immigration bill. They also want to figure out how to deal with current illegals, perhaps through legalization or a guest worker program. But, says one involved, they don’t support “amnesty, per se.”

Weekly Diaspora: No sleep ’till march on Washington

This Sunday, tens of thousands of people plan to march on the National Mall in Washington, DC in an effort to persuade Congress and the Obama administration to tackle immigration reform in 2010. More than 700 buses are bringing an estimated 100,000 supporters to the nation’s capital for the March for America. Participants are hoping to show strength in numbers on the ground, and flex muscle on Capitol Hill as well.

Advocacy groups are organizing countless phone banks and Congressional office visits to encourage lawmakers to support a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants who live and work in the United States.

Census Says “Hispanic” Not A Race

Bronx, NY – With millions of US Census forms hitting mailboxes this month, Latin Americans are noticing a confusing quirk in the 10-part questionnaire.

The Census does not consider Hispanic to be a racial category.

Responders have the option to label themselves as White, Black, American Indian, or under one of several Asian / Pacific Islander classifications. The race question offers no check box for Latino or Hispanic.

“For me to see this I feel kind of offended,” said Richard Robles, a Puerto Rican security guard who works in the South Bronx.

The Census form does have a question about Hispanic origins where responders can classify themselves as Puerto Rican, Mexican, Cuban, or one of several other Latino ancestries. Those categories, though, are not considered “races.”

The Census form does consider “Chinese,” “Filipino,” and “Korean” to be racial categories.

Professor Juan Flores, a Latino Studies expert at New York University says designers of the 2010 questionnaire have confused race with nationality, leaving some Hispanic responders frustrated.,0,4163472.story


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 Feb. 9, 2010

February 9, 2010

Latino voters will be a force in midterm elections, report argues

How potent will the immigration issue be for Latino voters in 2010?

Advocacy groups representing the community predict it will remain a “litmus test” in key mid-term races.

In a report out Monday, the immigration reform advocacy group America’s Voice outlined 40 mid-term races where Hispanic voters could have a significant impact on the outcome.

“Most politicians understand the importance of the Latino vote in presidential years, but what we’re saying is that Latino voters will have a huge impact in the mid-term elections,” Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, said on a conference call with reporters Monday. “The number of voters coming of age and registering continues to grow. You have seen growth even when a presidential race isn’t at the top of the ticket.”

Nearly one in five Congressional Districts has a Latino population that is at least a quarter of the district.

Lawyers Back Creating New Immigration Courts

Responding to pleas from immigration judges and lawyers who say the nation’s immigration courts are faltering under a crushing caseload, the American Bar Association called Monday for Congress to scrap the current system and create a new, independent court for immigration cases.

In a vote at its semiannual meeting in Orlando, Fla., the lawyers’ organization endorsed a recommendation for a separate immigration court system that would be similar to federal courts that decide tax cases.

Immigration overhaul called a vital issue

A group that supports an immigration policy overhaul said candidates could lose the Latino vote if they don’t support it.

WASHINGTON — Failing to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, currently a back burner issue for Congress and President Barack Obama, could play a pivotal role in key mid-term election in November, according to a new study on Latino voting patterns.

The report by America’s Voice, which supports comprehensive new immigration policies, says revising the laws is the defining issue for Latino voters. The report says that progress — or the lack thereof — in revamping immigration laws and regulations could affect as many as 40 congressional races in areas with sizable Latino populations, including the reelection bids of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., just two years ago his party’s presidential candidate.

Sheriff: Big Change in Immigration Enforcement

PHOENIX — Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a press conference Monday afternoon to announce some big changes in the way he enforces immigration laws.

The sheriff is under investigation by the Justice Department for racial profiling, and has taken heat for his crime suppression sweeps. But Arpaio still says he won’t back down, despite the fact the government has stripped some of his power from him.

MCSO deputies will undergo training to target illegal immigrants

PHOENIX – When the federal government stripped Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies of their power to enforce federal immigration laws on the streets, the sheriff repeatedly said nothing would change.

Nevertheless, something did change on Monday. The sheriff raised the stakes in his battle against illegal immigration. The sheriff said that starting Monday every one of his deputies will go through training to specifically target illegal immigrants.

Sheriff Joe says, “I have been saying over and over again that my deputies can enforce the illegal immigration laws.”

SCHUMACHER-MATOS: Obama can’t duck immigration


WASHINGTON —- The Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita has long served as a backlot for Hollywood films, but for the last three weeks it has been a live stand-in for America.

Bob Kellar, a city councilman and former mayor, spoke at a rally against unauthorized immigrants where he repeated Theodore Roosevelt’s admonition that the United States has a place for only one flag and one language. After some accused Kellar of being racist, he responded that if believing in America causes people to think he is one, then “I’m a proud racist.”

His remarks were posted on YouTube and provoked a firestorm on the Web and in Santa Clarita, where a tumultuous town hall meeting last week was marked by opposing protesters, angry speeches and tears. But no apology from Kellar.

Managing the 2010 Census and planning for 2020

The 2010 decennial census is just getting underway, but Daniel Weinberg is already thinking about 2020 and how the Internet might be used to collect the nation’s population data.

Weinberg, the assistant director for the Decennial Census and American Community Survey, spends his time in two primary areas: helping make sure everything is in order for the 2010 census and coming up with ways to improve the massive undertaking 10 years from now.

Census Bureau Super Bowl Ad: “Spot On” Or “Waste Of Money”?

Buffalo, NY- Should the US Census Bureau have spent $2.5 million taxpayer dollars on a thirty second commercial which aired during the Super Bowl?

It’s a debate which may continue well after the excitement over the big game ebbs.

Although he had nothing to do with creating or placing the ad, the Regional Office Manager for the Census Bureau in Buffalo believes it was a wise use of taxpayer money because the Census Bureau was able to convey a message to 100 million people at an average cost of 25 cents per viewer — which is far less than the cost of a postage stamp.

Daniel Weinberg, the man behind the nation’s census

American Community Survey and Decennial Census, U.S. Census Bureau

Best known for: Playing a key management role in 2010 Census count while also planning for the 2020 Census, which will make greater use of the Internet in collecting the nation’s population and household data. Weinberg also supervises the American Community Survey Office, which collects and produces population and housing information every year, and has gained recognition for improving the measurements of poverty to help policymakers make more informed decisions.

Immigration activists concerned about anti-Latino sentiment at Tea Party Convention

This weekend’s Tea Party Convention in Nashville featured a speech by former Congressman Tom Tancredo. He suggested President Obama was elected by folks who couldn’t spell “vote” or say it in English. Immigration activists say they’re watching the growth of the Tea Party movement closely.
Immigration reform advocates say they are concerned that an anti-Latino sentiment could grow within the Tea Party crowd.

News Clips Feb. 1, 2010

February 1, 2010

Latino Leaders Grade Obama

FRESNO, Calif.–Latino voters helped Barack Obama make history and become the first black president by handing him more than seven out of 10 votes in the November 2008 election.

Obama — while not delivering on a campaign promise to overhaul the country’s immigration system — remains popular among Latinos, with a recent poll showing him with a 67 percent approval rate from Latinos.

The president, who marked his first year in office last week, has been praised for naming Latinos to top positions at a record rate. He has appointed 48 Latinos to posts that require Senate confirmation. Obama’s most visible appointees are U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Labor Secretary Hilda Solís and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

GOP sends out ‘census’ forms; Democrats, Latino groups cry foul

A national Republican fundraising campaign that invokes the word “census” and claims to be an “official document” is raising the blood pressure of Democrats and Latino advocacy groups.

Critics say the mailing is designed to confuse people and garner responses from individuals who think they’re participating in the decennial Census, which begins in March for most of the nation.

The mailing, with its letter from Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, questionnaire on political attitudes, and plea for donations, is emblazoned with the phrase “2010 Congressional District Census.”

The envelope is marked with the words, “Do Not Destroy, Official Document.”

Democrats say they’re disgusted but unsurprised by the mailing, a version of which was circulated before the last Census, in 2000.

Read more:

U.S. Jews and Latinos form unlikely bond over immigration policy

Even as health care reform twists in the wind, immigration policy looms as the next big political debate, and Hispanics and Jews are moving to the forefront in a burgeoning political alliance.

The next three months are seen as critical in the fight for immigration reform, but the weakening of the Democrats, grip on Congress with the recent loss of a key Massachusetts Senate seat does not bode well for the passage of reform legislation.

The Jewish-Latino alliance on immigration issues builds on the heritage and experience of the Jewish community and on the enthusiasm and urgent needs of the Hispanic community, which has a strong interest in issues of family unification and the status of the some 12 million illegal immigrants, most of them from Latin America.

Gaps emerging in US census outreach to immigrants

WASHINGTON — The government is fumbling some efforts to assure immigrants that U.S. census data won’t be used against them, including gaps in outreach and foreign language guides that refer to the decennial count as an investigation.

With the launch of the head count weeks away, the Census Bureau’s outreach has been falling short in at least a dozen major cities, such as Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Jose, Calif., and Seattle, according to a report being released Monday by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Many of their states are on the cusp of gaining or losing U.S. House seats and face a redrawing of legislative boundaries that may tilt the balance of political power.

California’s independent streak

‘Decline to State’ voters here don’t quite fit the national mold, but they do call most of the shots.

From Sacramento
Democrats and Republicans will make all the noise, but nonpartisan independents will decide the winners of California’s competitive statewide elections in November.

That has increasingly become the case in recent years.

California may be a Democratic state, but it’s not true blue. And the best barometer of how it will vote in any general election is the fast-growing faction of independents.

They’re officially registered as “Decline to State” — as in “a pox on both your parties.”

At last count, they make up 20% of registered voters, and the number keeps rising. In 1990 it was less than half that, 9%; in 2002 it was 15%.

Democrats represent about 45% of registered voters, down from 50% in 1990 but roughly the same as in 2002. Republicans have suffered a steady slide from 39% in 1990 to 31% last year.,0,3357043.column

Head of Mass. Latino political group to step down

BOSTON — The head of a Latino political group credited with helping elect dozens of Latinos to offices around the state has announced she is stepping down.

Giovanna Negretti, executive director of Oiste, said she is leaving the group in September to pursue other “professional opportunities.”

The Puerto Rican-born 38-year-old helped found the group in 1999 when only a handful of Latinos in Massachusetts held any public offices. The nonprofit group has since trained and supported Latino candidates who have won offices in Lawrence, Springfield, and Boston.

Hispanic Media Outreach for Haiti Unprecedented

With Haiti outreach, Hispanic media take up mantle of advocate, long an English-only role

As horrific images of Haiti flashed across the screens, murmurs of recognition floated through the audience at Univision Network’s live celebrity telethon, many people nodding as they recalled disasters in their native countries.

To drive the connection home, host Mario Kreutzberger, aka “Don Francisco,” brought out a recent earthquake survivor from Peru, reuniting him by video with his hospitalized daughter.

“The world has helped us many times. Now it is time for us to return that help to Haiti,” Kreutzberger told the millions of Latinos in the U.S. and across the Western Hemisphere who watched the special edition of his weekly “Sabado Gigante” variety program.

Mirror, mirror: AZGOP launches Hispanic website

The State’s Republican Party launched a website last month to address “the issues and concerns of one of the state’s most dynamic and diverse communities.”

The State’s Republican Party launched a website last month to address “the issues and concerns of one of the state’s most dynamic and diverse communities.” Party Chairman Randy Pullen is optimistic about the effort, “Democrats have consistently taken [Hispanics’] votes for granted, and we share their feeling that our government has gotten seriously off track. Combined with our message of traditional family values, I believe that our principles mirror those of Arizona’s Hispanic population.”

Library officials work to keep up as Hispanic population grows

The Montgomery County Memorial Library System hopes to stay on top of population trends and books residents want to read.

That’s why a donation of 150 Spanish-language books from Consul General of Mexico in Houston Carlos Gonzalez Magallon received praise from library officials during a reception Wednesday night.

Running for the hills on immigration

San Diego, California (CNN) — Thirty-seven words. In this week’s State of the Union address — which was more than 7,000 words long and lasted longer than an hour — all President Obama devoted to the issue of immigration reform was 37 measly words.

Here they are: “And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system — to secure our borders, enforce our laws and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation.”

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. 28, 2010

January 28, 2010

Text of Obama’s State of the Union Address

Text of President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union speech on Wednesday, as provided by the White House:


OBAMA: Madam Speaker, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the president shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For 220 years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They’ve done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they’ve done so in the midst of war and depression, at moments of great strife and great struggle.

Obama will invest billions in high-speed rail projects

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s State of the Union shout-out for high-speed rail will pump more than $8 billion into dozens of states that include California, Washington, North Carolina and Florida.

Smaller awards also will be made for improvements to existing rail lines. Overall, 31 states will receive funding.

California is one of the big winners, receiving $2.25 billion to help build a high-speed rail system, as well as additional money for other rail projects.

Obama to Hold Fla. Town Hall on the Economy

Fla. provides background for part of Obama’s economic agenda

President Barack Obama brings his efforts to shape a brighter economic future to the Sunshine State on Thursday.In the morning, Obama will fly out to Tampa, Fla., where he’ll tour a maintenance hangar and greet crew members who work on aircraft that refuel other planes midair. The KC-135 Stratotankers have been involved in refueling planes flying aid into Haiti.After that, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden hold a town hall meeting at the University of Tampa. There, they’ll announce $8 billion in funding for a national high-speed rail system, an initiative the White House says will create jobs.

A modern tale of meatpacking and immigrants

Grand Island, Neb., has long been a revolving door of immigrants, from Vietnamese and Bosnians to Latinos and Sudanese. But with Somali Muslims came a whole new set of conflicts.,0,6078807.story

Broke or homeless migrants heading for home

Hard times send Latinos home

Felipe Galvez left his wife and three children in Guatemala three years ago, working as a gardener and landscaper in Jamesport and hoping to provide a better life — and to someday build a house — for his family back home. That dream was cut short four months ago when he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. When Mr. Galvez came to he found himself in a hospital bed, where he would stay for the next three months.

GOP Makes Pitch to Latinos, Forgets to Add Ideas, Says Democratic National Committee

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — DNC Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Iris Y. Martinez issued the following statement following Rep. Mario Diaz Balart’s (R-FL) Spanish-language response to President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“Going back to old, tired tricks, Rep. Diaz Balart tried to sell Latinos a Republican Party without a record. I know many of my constituents in Chicago would be thrilled to see real, meaningful gestures from Republicans to tackle our nation’s problems. When President Obama came to office, he took aggressive steps to bring this nation back from the brink of depression. And it hasn’t been easy. Even to this day, as the worst of the economic crisis has passed, too many Americans endure difficulties and other problems persist.

Denver’s TV market to get new Latino station

Denver, the nation’s 15th-largest Latino television market, is about to get another Spanish-language TV network.

The impending sale of Channel 53 to Liberman Broadcasting is likely to mean fierce competition for the area’s more than 234,000 Latino TV households, who comprise 15 percent of the market.

Channel 53, or KWHD, is currently owned by LeSea Broadcasting, which has carried a Christian religious format since its debut in 1992. Pending regulatory approval, Burbank, Calif.-based Liberman will program its new station with its Estrella TV, a Spanish-language TV network now in 24 markets nationally.

Read more:

Conference Seeks Latino Solidarity on Iimmigration Reform, Economy

About 400 participants will descend on El Paso to discuss immigration reform, climate change and the economy when the fourth annual National Latino Congresso begins Friday.

Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute, said immigration reform would be the most hotly debated of the topics. However, he said, the economy is what is on the minds of many Latinos.

Expanding U.S. economy through immigration beats shrinking

In an economy as bad as this one, it may take nothing short of disaster to bring about even a little immigration reform.

Responding to Haiti’s devastating earthquake, the Obama administration is providing Temporary Protected Status to undocumented Haitians living in the U.S. As many as 200,000 people will be invited to stay legally for 18 months, receiving work permits to find jobs.

Even that modest humanitarian gesture has rekindled an emotionally charged debate about whether immigrants hurt the economic prospects of Americans.

Telemundo: Hispanics Aware Of Census Process

As Telemundo counts on this year’s census to show growth among the Hispanic population — which could allow it to attract more advertising dollars — it has joined with Ipsos on a poll about Hispanics’ attitudes toward the counting process.

The Census Bureau is spending heavily on advertising that targets Hispanics, including on Telemundo, seeking to convince the population to fill out forms and participate in the process. Telemundo is also running its own campaign.

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.

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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.