Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

Utah’s New Approach to Immigration

The passage of Arizona’s SB 1070 started a dialogue about immigration that prompted some states to start passing their own immigration laws in the absence of comprehensive reform at the federal level. In the red state of Utah the government is hoping to implement a unique approach to immigration. They passed a similar bill to Arizona’s SB1070, but also passed two other bills that create a guest worker program and offer undocumented immigrants legal status. States aren’t allowed to create their own immigration policies, but Utah’s Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is hoping the federal government will grant Utah a special waiver. He initiated the conversation about having a guest worker program, and is hoping the president will consider adopting it as a national strategy. Maria Hinojosa spoke with Mark Shurtleff about the thinking behind Utah’s new approach to immigration.

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Domestica en America

They work in our homes, our gardens, restaurants, and they are our neighbors — but what we don’t realize is they live everyday in fear of being deported. More than 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States and often they are voiceless, invisible, and afraid to stand up to injustice. But despite their immigration status, they are people just like every other American with their own unique stories.

Independent Producer and Latino USA contributor Maria Martin brings us the story of one invisible migrant that will touch your heart.

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Rally On The U.S.-Mexico Border

In the past three years, drug-related violence in the Mexican city of Juarez has taken more than 7,000 lives. About 200 of the victims were Americans, among them students, teachers, nurses, and government employees. Juarez is the deadliest city in Mexico. And only a chain link fence separates it from El Paso, Texas.

Last week, that fence was just a formality as hundreds of people from both sides of the border joined together to raise awareness. Monica Ortiz Uribe reports that’s not an easy task.

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Small Immigrant Businesses Have A Big Impact

You might be tempted to discount the economic impact of immigrant-owned Mom & Pop businesses, but—as we hear in this report from Karina Salazar—the chain of employment they create makes them a significant source of job creation, even in a large market like New York City.


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This report comes to us from the “Beyond the Border” project at the University of Arizona, in association with NAHJ: The National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Monica Ortiz Uribe served as Karina Salazar’s mentor.

Dolores Huerta & DREAM Activist Lucy Martinez

The DREAM Act — the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — received its first-ever vote in the U.S. of House of Representatives: and it passed. The measure faced a Republican filibuster in the Senate, and Democrats tabled it.

Thousands of student activists across the country have been advocating for its passage, often through acts of civil disobedience and non-violent protest. What’s clear, no matter the legislative outcome during this lame duck session of Congress, is that lots of young people have been politicized by this particular struggle.

We wanted to put one of those young activists together with a veteran organizer, someone who has more than her share of victories and defeats under her belt: Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers.

Maria invited the two women to talk about the next steps for the DREAMERS.


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UTSA Students Demand Senator’s Attention

BREAKING: Reports of fifteen DREAM Activists arrested outside Sen. Bailey Hutchison’s office. Read about it at WOAI San Antonio.

UPDATE: Over 40 students at other University of Texas campuses–Austin, Dallas, Brownsville, and Pan Am–are joining in the hunger strike. You can read more here.

In San Antonio this week, students with DREAM Act Now! at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) gathered at the University’s Sombrilla Plaza and vowed to fast until Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson threw her support behind the DREAM Act.

The legislation, a version of which stalled in the Senate earlier this year, would provide a path to citizenship for young undocumented students.

Pamela Resendiz, a political science major at UTSA, spoke with Maria about this week’s action.


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Children of the Exodus

In the debate over immigration, we most often hear about parents who are deported without their children. But what about the opposite–children who are deported without their parents, apprehended while trying to cross the border and sent back to Mexico alone? Melissa del Bosque of the Texas Observer investigated what becomes of these Children of the Exodus, and she shared some of her findings with us.


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Dia de los Muertos Mass

While some might see Dia de los Muertos as a morbid celebration, it’s usually just the opposite. But one Day of the Dead mass at the Mexico-New Mexico border does have a very somber purpose. The service, held in Anapara, New Mexico (near El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico), is a remembrance of those who have died trying to cross illegally into the United States. Reporter Mónica Ortiz Uribe takes us there.


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A High School in Queens Strives to Connect

It’s hard enough being a teenager. Really, it is.

Immigrants coming to the United States, documented or undocumented, face a staggering array of extra obstacles. Discrimination, language barriers, unfamiliar cultural traditions, lack of knowledge about social structures, low wages… all of these things, and more, must be confronted by people who move to the U.S. Now imagine you’re an immigrant high schooler who barely speaks English and (remember this: it’s important) one of your main goals is fitting in.

As if high school isn’t hard enough already?

One high school in Queens has fashioned itself into an environment where Latin American immigrant high school students can continue their education in Spanish while simultaneously learning English. They get to focus on academics in a language that they already understand. And the school also teaches its students about practical things, like how to buy a metro pass. The non-English speaking H.S. population in New York City has a 30% graduation rate. Pan American International High School wants to change all that by giving its students a place to belong.

Maria Hinojosa visited the school to find out more—to hear from educators, administrators, and students. Take a listen.


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Our visit to the Pan American International High School was produced by Xochitl Dorsey and Mincho Jacob, with help from Cecilia Vaisman.

See some of the students at Pan American International High School. Photos by Xochitl Dorsey.

Movement on DREAM Act, Comprehensive Immigration Reform

“A Historic Moment” — “Heroic, Courageous Activism of Young People”

The next few weeks will show whether the grassroots agenda of a group of undocumented young people—many of whom were brought to the United States at a young age by their parents—will gain the political traction it needs to change the laws in a country that continues to struggle with the welcoming of newcomers.

The DREAM Act will be amended to the Senate’s Defense Authorization Bill in the week ahead.

It’s a historic moment, one which Congressman Luis Gutierrez says is not just political theater. Listen as Maria and Gutierrez talk about the developments in Washington this week, which included breathing new life into talk of Comprehensive Immigration Reform for the nation. Then listen as Maria turns to Deepak Bhargava, the Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, who concurs with the Congressman in the view that this historic moment in the life of the nation was made possible by the work of young activists.


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