politics (147)

Immigrant rights activists said Friday that a White House meeting this week to reaffirm support for immigration reform -- featuring a surprise appearance by President Obama -- had helped mollify growing frustration over what some perceived as backpedaling on reform promises. But many said that action will be needed to keep the faith among immigrants and their supporters, particularly Latinos who turned out in record numbers to help elect Obama last year. "We've heard all of the beautiful oratory about immigration reform, but we have yet to see concrete actions to stop the suffering," said Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. READ FULL STORY
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Defense Latinas praised for distinguished service

Latina role models, including recently confirmed Chief Justice Sonia Sotomayor, are important to Hispanics and women in general, said a Connecticut Air National Guard member, who was lauded for her own accomplishments here Sept. 10, 2009. "She is an inspiration to all of us, especially Hispanic women," said Master Sgt. Lillian Natal. "It doesn't mean that inspiration just started because she took the job. She has been working a long time to get to this point, and finally, she has made the path." Forging their own paths as Latinas, the National Guard's Natal and Army Spc. Lucia Monreal of the Arizona Army Guard, as well as 10 other outstanding active-duty servicemembers and Department of Defense civilians, were awarded the Latina Distinguished Service Award for their service to the nation by Latina Style Magazine and DOD leaders.
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The parameters of a new (and probably soon to be surreal) immigration reform battle were drawn up last week in Washington, D.C. On Thursday, June 25th, President Obama appointed Janet Napolitano as the administration's "point person" to help develop bipartisan, sensible legislation which will overhaul our long-outdated immigration system. Two hours before Obama's announcement, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, admitted the administration does not have the votes in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year. READ FULL STORY
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Museum to Capture Latino Experience in U.S.

Latinos' contributions to the development, welfare and culture of this country have been largely overlooked, and are not properly reflected in our nation's museums. But that could soon change with the creation of a museum dedicated to the diverse contributions of Latinos in America.

"A lot of folks don't realize the incredible stories of how the Hispanic influence is in everything that we experience in the United States today," said Estuardo Rodriguez, director of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, the nonprofit organization leading the effort. "And the Smithsonian, as wonderful as it is, tells an incomplete story."

The National Museum of the American Latino, as it currently referred to, is a long way from breaking ground, but already it's been a hard fought battle. The idea was officially introduced through bi-partisan legislation in 2003. The commission to investigate the viability of the museum was approved by Congress in 2008, and the report affirming the need and feasibility of the museum was delivered to the president and Congress on May 5, 2011.

While the American Latino museum is not yet an official museum, it already has the support of more than 61,000 Facebook fans (more than any individual Smithsonian museum) and more than 70,000 Twitter followers, numbers that offer a glimpse into the community's demand for this museum. But even with the grassroots momentum and a host of celebrities, museum experts, and business, congressional and community leaders supporting the effort, ground won't be broken for at least 8 to 10 years under the most optimistic of timelines. READ MORE
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Latinos to protest Obama's immigration policies


Latino activists said Monday they are planning a national "day of action" to protest President Barack Obama and demand an end to a controversial program involving local officials in immigration enforcement.

Actions are scheduled for Tuesday in 10 U.S. cities, including Atlanta, New York, Houston and San Francisco.

"Since signaling a new course in our immigration policy a few weeks ago, President Obama has continued his aggressive persecution, jailing, and deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who he has labeled 'criminals' and whose lives are being destroyed through traffic violations and similar minor infractions," said Roberto Lovato of Presente.org, a Latino rights organization.

Protesters want an immediate end to Secure Communities, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement program that seeks to find unauthorized immigrants who have criminal records and deport them.

Federal officials have praised the program, arguing it allows authorities to catch criminals who would otherwise fall through the cracks. But critics say it results in the deportations of immigrants who are in the United States illegally but have no criminal arrest records. READ MORE

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New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez made history when she was sworn in New Year's Day as the nation's first Latina governor.

But the rising GOP star's momentous victory for the Hispanic community earned her little recognition in the national media.

Several mainstream news outlets like the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune -- even FoxNews.com -- neglected to mention her Hispanic heritage, while others such as the New York Times failed to cover the events as she took the oath during a chilly outdoor ceremony on the Santa Fe Plaza.

The apparent oversight prompted some media analysts to question why Martinez – as well as a handful of conservative Hispanics – has been left largely out of the national news spotlight.

"The media is not paying sufficient attention to the number of Hispanic conservatives who are elected to statewide offices and to Congress, especially in the western states," said Mike Gonzalez, vice president of communication at the Heritage Foundation and a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

"It goes against the narrative" of the "liberal media," he said, adding that the news industry has long classified Hispanics as "another liberal group."

Martinez’s story is an impressive one. The 51-year-old former district attorney, from middle class roots in El Paso, graduated near the top of her high school class before attending the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Oklahoma College of Law. In 1996, Martinez was elected district attorney of the state’s 3rd Judicial District, which covers heavily-Democratic Doña Ana County. Touting herself as a no-nonsense prosecutor during the 2010 gubernatorial election, Martinez defeated the state’s Democratic lieutenant governor, Diane Denish.

But the Republican’s rise to statewide office garnered little attention in the national spotlight overall.

The Associated Press made note of Martinez's historic inauguration in a news wire Jan. 1, acknowledging her as the first female governor of the state, while omitting her Hispanic heritage. That story was picked up by several media outlets including the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune websites. FoxNews.com also ran the AP story that day, but Fox News Latino had covered Martinez's candidacy and victory in a series of election articles beginning in October. READ MORE

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Unemployment in California hits post-World War II high

California's jobless rate reached a fresh post-World War II high in July, climbing to 11.9%, a sobering reminder that though the nation's deep downturn may be nearing its end, the state's employment woes are far from over. Golden State employers cut their payrolls by 35,800 jobs in July, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. That's a significant improvement over monthly losses that averaged 76,000 over the first half of the year. READ FULL STORY
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What Health Care Reform Means for Latinos

Health care reform plans don’t include any kind of public coverage for undocumented immigrants. President Barack Obama has even said that including the undocumented would create "a lot of resistance." But this hasn’t stopped opponents, including anti-immigrant lobbyist groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), from denouncing supposed "loop holes" in the proposals that they say would benefit the undocumented. "Many Americans have used town hall meetings to express their opposition to illegal aliens covered under the proposed health reform," FAIR announced in a statement. A few days ago in New Hampshire, a group of opponents of health care reform in one of the famous "town halls" expressed the sentiment more openly: "We do not need illegal immigrants. Deport them to their countries, and the second time they’ll get shot in the head." But it’s not only undocumented immigrants who would be excluded. Activists are struggling to expand coverage for another particularly vulnerable group that does not qualify for public assistance: legal immigrants in their first five years of residence in the United States. READ FULL STORY
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The flow of immigrants from Mexico to the U.S. declined to the lowest level in a decade during the past year, a sign that the recession is deterring economic migrants from heading north in search of jobs. However, there is no evidence of an increase between March 2008 and March 2009 in the number of Mexicans returning home from the U.S., according to an analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center, an independent research group in Washington. The slowing of Mexican immigration to the U.S. is part of a broader trend, as migration flows around the world have also ebbed due to the global economic slowdown. READ FULL STORY
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WH Tailors Health Reform Message for Hispanics

The White House is expanding its push for health care reform to Hispanics with a Spanish-language version of its "Reality Check" health care Web site. The site provides all of the videos featured on the English version, with the option of adding Spanish subtitles. There is one more video from Luis Miranda, the director of Hispanic media for the White House, who in Spanish introduces the site and lays out President Obama's arguments for comprehensive reform. Earlier this month, the White House invited 10 Latino news media outlets to a roundtable discussion with the president according to New America Media, to talk about health care as well as other subjects including immingration, the economy and education. "Latinos are by far the largest group of uninsured," Mr. Obama reportedly said. "Passing reform that addresses the vulnerability of this community is a critical pillar for a new economy." According to the White House, 34 percent of the Latino population lacks health care insurance. Latinos are also one of the fastest-growing groups of voters in the country. The Obama White House has engaged in aggressive outreach to the Hispanic community and has held at least one bilingual press conference, the White House points out. READ FULL STORY
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Hispanic liaison bridging culture gap

There are more than 18,000 Hispanics living in Chesterfield County, and that number is expected to rise in the next few years. The county is taking notice. He's a hot commodity. Juan Santacoloma rushes between county departments and his office working to meet the needs of local Latinos. "I try to solve all the different problems or concerns that Latinos have," he said. RED FULL STORY
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Improving the participation of Oklahoma’s Hispanics in next year’s census is essential in getting an accurate count of the population, a census worker said Monday. Oklahoma’s Hispanic population has grown by 55 percent since 2000, Jeronimo Gallegos, a U.S. Census Bureau partnership specialist, told members of the Governors’ Advisory Council on Latin American and Hispanic Affairs. He asked for their help and will be seeking assistance from other groups to get Hispanics to complete and return census questionnaires. READ FULL STORY
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Sotomayor is Sworn in: Latina Wisdom Personified

Today, September 8, 2009, Sonia Sotomayor is being sworn into the Supreme Court for a second time, officially welcoming her as a justice. The first Hispanic, the third woman, and the first woman of color to serve the court, her investiture is a truly historical moment. And yet it is buried in the news. It is a moment that I, as a Latina born and raised in the United States, could not even imagine happening as a young child in this country. There were no women of color and no Hispanics taught in my textbooks as political leaders, as intellectual resources, as sources of reason. The Hispanics in my midst were wise; yet they were wise about culture, identity, and religion. Wisdom, especially about matters of faith, was the realm of our grandparents, particularly our grandmothers. READ FULL STORY
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A nationwide freight management company violated federal law by refusing to hire non-Hispanics, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed this week. According to EEOC, from around Oct. 1, 2002, through June 30, 2004, Fort Smith, Ark.-based Propak Logistics Inc. engaged in unlawful employment practices by refusing to hire an entire class of people for non-management positions at its Shelby, N.C., facility because of their non-Hispanic national origin. The complaint says that the company hired predominantly Latinos to the exclusion of equally or more qualified non-Latinos. "Discrimination based on national origin is simply illegal, regardless of the background of the victims or the beneficiaries of that misconduct," said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. "The EEOC is here to fight such unlawful behavior." READ FULL STORY
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Latinos big players in Senate-seat primaries

A year ago during a heated congressional race, former state Sen. Polly Baca said she couldn't support Joan Fitz-Gerald in the Democratic primary because of her role in a special session on illegal immigration. Fitz-Gerald was the state Senate president during that 2006 session, where lawmakers enacted what were touted as the toughest immigration laws in the nation. Baca said the measures hurt Latinos. But a year later, Baca showed up in Pueblo to support Andrew Romanoff's kickoff for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate. He is challenging U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. Romanoff was the House speaker during that same special session, and Baca was asked about what seemed to be a contradiction. "It was Fitz-Gerald who pushed for it, and Andrew just went along for party unity," Baca said. READ FULL STORY
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Latinos make a place for themselves in Muslim America

Ponce de Leon Federal Bank, Pan Con Todo restaurant, and the Made In Colombia boutique line the sidewalk on Bergenline Avenue, which runs through the center of Union City, New Jersey. Flags from Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic hang proudly in storefronts. Miniature Honduran flags dangle from the rear view mirrors of cars parked on the thoroughfare. More than 60 percent of Union City’s population is Latino. You don’t have to speak English to live here. Just off Bergenline, there is a stately columned building that used to house the city’s Cuban community center, once a popular venue for traditional Hispanic celebrations like quinceañeras, the 15th birthday parties of Latina girls. Late one Sunday afternoon, three young women wearing traditional Muslim hijabs, or headscarves, stand on the steps of what for the past 17 years has been the Islamic Educational Center of North Hudson. READ FULL STORY
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Hispanics trail in earning U.S. college degrees


The proportion of U.S. Hispanics with college degrees in 2009 was 19.2 percent, far lower than the 41.1 percent figure for the population as a whole, which indicates an alarming lack of progress.

The situation is shown in detail by The College Completion Agenda Progress Report 2011: Latino Edition, released Friday in Miami by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center.

The report shows that a very limited proportion of Latinos go to college and even fewer earn degrees.

All that in spite of the fact that young Hispanics make up the largest minority group in K-12 schools and is the fastest-growing student segment, according to the College Board, which represents more than 5,000 universities in the United States.

"It's a very worrying situation, very serious, but it can be fixed" because the reason for it all is the lack of information among Hispanic families, Dr. Eduardo J. Padron, president of Miami-Dade College where the report was presented, told Efe.

"College completion is a national imperative," he said. "It is the key to improving our nation's economy. Each additional person with a college credential has a significant multiplier effect on the economy."

Latino families "have to make getting a college education for their children a priority, not buying a new car or making a trip to Africa," he said.

But the way things stand, he said, only a small number of Hispanic high school graduates go to college, and a large number of those "often drop out for a lack of funds and their need to get a job." READ MORE

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Meet the New Elite, Not Like the Old

They are the children of 1969 — the year that America’s most prestigious universities began aggressively recruiting blacks and Latinos to their nearly all-white campuses. No longer would Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia be the domain of the privileged. Instead, in response to the national soul-searching prompted by the civil rights movement, America’s premier colleges would try to become more representative of the population as a whole. READ FULL STORY
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President Barack Obama’s signature battle to overhaul the United States’ $2.5 trillion healthcare industry to extend coverage and lower costs for Americans has met fierce opposition from Republicans. But a move by Democrat backers to exclude 12 million illegal immigrants from buying health coverage and restrict the participation of authorized migrants has drawn the ire of U.S. Hispanics — a bloc that overwhelmingly turned out to vote for Obama in last year’s election. Hispanic lawmakers and activists are riled by the bill pushed in the U.S. Senate by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, which denies illegal immigrants the option to buy health insurance and places a five-year wait period on legal immigrants before they can access health benefits. READ FULL STORY
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Lawrence mayoral race draws field of 10

Who should lead the city over the next four years has become a central question in Lawrence as 10 candidates are battling to succeed incumbent two-term mayor Michael J. Sullivan. Sullivan is prohibited from running again by a city term-limits rule. A Sept. 22 preliminary will cull the field to two for the Nov. 3 city election. The size of the field, the open seat, and the prospect that Lawrence could become the first Massachusetts community to elect a Latino mayor are all drawing a spotlight to the race. Six of the contenders are Latino, and for the first time in a city election in Lawrence, Latinos will make up a majority of voters - 57.4 percent. READ FULL STORY
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