Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

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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SB 1070 Loses its Teeth

On Wednesday, June 28th, at the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Federal Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction in the matter of “United States of America v. Arizona, State of, et al.” Four key provisions of Arizona’s harsh new immigration law, SB 1070, were put on hold:

Latino USA takes you to Phoenix to hear reaction on the ground: from activists, from politicians, and from average folks.


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On the day the injunction was handed down, Maria spoke with Professor Jenny Rivera of the CUNY Law School faculty, and the founder and director of the Center for Latino and Latina Rights and Equality. Here’s that conversation:


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

A note on how we produced this week’s program: A radio program like Latino USA is a collaborative effort. What you hear on the air is the work product of several journalists: reporters, producers, writers, editors, audio producers, web producers, photographers, and Maria, the host. Maria was not in Phoenix this week. But our Production Coordinator Nick Blumberg is, and it is his observations and conversations—his on-the-ground reporting and that of another reporter Valeria Fernandez—that informed what Maria says on the air.

In addition, and as you can see from one of the photos at the top of this page, Nick would find people for Maria to interview by phone, so that their interaction with one another could be part of this broadcast. Nick recorded the Phoenix side of the conversations. Mincho Jacob, another one of our radio producers, recorded Maria’s side of those phone calls. Then, we synchronize the two recordings and pulled sections of the composite interview to use on the air. We call this technique a “tape-sync” — and we use it often, in order to remove the phone line from the broadcast audio stream.

SB1070 and Jenny Rivera

PHOENIX – A Federal judge in Phoenix today blocked three of the most controversial sections of SB 1070, the law aimed at undocumented immigrants in Arizona.

Judge Susan Bolton, who was appointed to the Federal bench by President Clinton, ruled that the State of Arizona could not require law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of persons they stop for other reasons and whom they suspect are in the country illegally. Nor, the judge ordered, can Arizona require that individuals carry papers proving their immigration status. The law also would have made it illegal for undocumented people to seek employment in Arizona: that, too, was invalidated.

The law will go into effect on Thursday, but without three of the measures that most concerned civil libertarians.

Governor Jan Brewer (R) issued a statement saying she would appeal the ruling, adding “The fight is far from over.”

Maria Hinojosa talks with Professor Jenny Rivera of the CUNY Law School and the founder and director of the school’s Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality about today’s decision.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Ester Hernandez

Maria talks to visual artist Ester Hernandez about the work she’s created in protest of SB 1070: including the striking image of La Virgen de Guadalupe as a wanted terrorist. (Click the image to see the full work.)

Hernandez was born and raised in California, on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevadas. She was a member of Las Mujeres Muralistas, the influential muralists working in the 1970s San Francisco Mission District. She has been a pioneer in the Chicana/Chicano civil rights art movement ever since.


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