Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

Ethical Issues Around Healthcare

When South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson interrupted President Barack Obama’s speech with his now famous “you lie” outburst, the actual statement by the President that prompted that incident was how federal healthcare legislation would not mandate coverage for undocumented immigrants. In fact, the bills touted by Congress in the days that followed excluded undocumented immigrants, even if they wanted to buy into the system voluntarily with their own money.

Dr. James J. Walter

For his part, Congressman Wilson later apologized to the President, who accepted. But speculation on whether racism was a factor filled the national media this week. And few in the media even examined the wisdom of a policy that would literally leave millions of people who live in this country out of the healthcare system.

Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa speaks with Dr. James J. Walter, Professor of Bioethics at Loyala Marymount University, about the ethical issues surrounding the issue.


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Toughing It Out

Opportunity is what brought many immigrants to seek work in the U.S. So what happens when opportunities are bleaker thanks to a recession? Some studies indicated that a few immigrants have returned home, and many others have chosen not to migrate at this time. But the majority of immigrants here have decided to “tough it out.”

For immigrant workers, tough economic times are nothing new. Many grew up with little opportunities and poor paying jobs, if they could even find them. So surviving a U.S. recession is often a matter of adjustment. As contributor Eliza Barclay reports, some immigrants try to pick up “odd jobs” while others create their own small businesses.


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Identification in New Haven

Fr. James Winship. (Photo courtesy of New Haven Independent. Used with permission.)

New Haven, Connecticut is a sanctuary city. In 2007, the town voted to allow municipal IDs for all its residents regardless of immigration status. This caught the attention of anti-immigrant activists, who decried this de-facto legalization that allowed undocumented persons to open bank accounts and get access to city services. And yet not all is peaceful in New Haven.

For some time, the town’s Latino immigrants have claimed harassment by local police. And recently, a catholic priest was arrested and charged with interfering with an officer in the performance of his duties. And what was the priest doing? He was videotaping police officers as they hassled a Latino small business owner.

Aswini Anburajan, a reporter with the Feet in Two Worlds Project, has a profile of this activist priest: Fr. James Manship.


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See Aswini Anburajan’s reporters notebook on her profile of Fr. James Manship from the Feet in Two Worlds website.

Click HERE.

Immigrants and Community College

Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocates, a program of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina, combine families and mentors

August is the congressional recess and a time when Democratic leaders in Washington wanted to have a series of townhall meetings on healthcare reform. But the townhall idea quickly turned into political theatre that seems to have usurped many of the headlines.

Also missing from many headlines is the fact that it’s back-to-school time in many parts of the country. And for children of immigrants still waiting for immigration reform, the prospects of continuing their education are less clear than even healthcare reform.

Take the example of North Carolina, where two years ago, the state allowed children of undocumented immigrants to enroll in the state’s community colleges with in-state tuition rates, only to ban them from campus a few months later.

Producer Lygia Navarro reports.


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From Trauma to Art

While there are millions of economic refugees who have migrated to this country, there are also thousands of others who come escaping more traumatic things than just poverty. New York is home to many immigrant students whose families have experienced war and violence and are otherwise displaced from their ancestral ties.

NPR contributor Jeff Lunden now brings us a story from the International High School in Queens, New York. That’s a special college preparatory school for kids with limited English skills that have been in the U.S. for less than four years. It’s in theatre class where kids from disparate regions of the world find commonality in going from trauma to art.


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Children Sue the Government for Deporting Parents

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that some 4 million American citizen children live with at least one parent who is undocumented in this country. And since the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, having an American citizen child no longer held sway with immigration judges.U.S. Immigration authorities estimate that some 100,000 undocumented parents with citizen children have been deported over the last decade.

Maricela's children went on a three-day hunger strike to try and prevent their mother's deportation.

But critics of this policy say it is an unfair burden on American-born children, pulling apart families. Supporters of the policy counter that American policy isn’t unfair, but rather put the blame on the immigrants who broke the law by migrating illegally.

Reporter Marine Olivesi brings the story of some American citizen children whose parents were deported, and are fighting back with a class action lawsuit.


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Littleton Integration Initiative

The town of Littleton, Colorado is predominantly known as a small community in the Denver suburbs. According to 2000 Census data, the number of immigrant residents in this small town doubled at the end of last Century. For many, this growth opened the eyes of local residents about the complexities of integrating into local communities, especially for foreigners.

Believing that immigrants brought in diversity to the area, Littleton fretted about the culture clashes immigrants experienced in other parts of the country. Seeking to avoid that, the town created the Littleton Integration Initiative, to help immigrants make the transition to full members of the community.

Reporter Sarah Hughes reports.


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Immigrant Lending Circles

The concept of a lending circle is not unusual among immigrant communities in this country. In the past, groups of immigrants have pooled resources for many projects, often with the goal of providing important, costly improvements in their home communities. Other times, immigrants have pooled resources to start their own businesses, or create jobs in their home countries through micro-lending.

In San Francisco, contributor Emily Wilson brings this story of a local bank that’s helping immigrants with credit using the lending circle concept.


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Reverse Foreign Investment

While the economy has waned in the U.S., the problem of drug violence in Mexico has only gotten worse. On the streets of some Mexican cities, gangs fight each other as well as police and the military for control of the lucrative drug routes. And it’s getting so that it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad, as the spillover affects the population. Those who can, get out. Sometimes they travel to safer locations in Mexico. Sometime, they simply come here.

It’s been reported that one out of every 10 people born in Mexico today now lives in the United States. When most people see this statistic, they often think illegal Mexican immigration of poor workers. But legal Mexican immigration, particularly from that of business elites, is helping a thriving housing market in places like San Antonio, Texas. Ruxandra Guidi has the story.

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Latino Victimization

Patchogue, Long Island, New York is not unlike many changing communities today. An influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants has caused friction. But in recent years, Latino immigrants say they have been harassed, beaten, stalked, and even robbed, mainly by white teenagers on Long Island. While the local police believe that the recent stabbing and murder of Ecuadoran immigrant Marcello Lucero was an isolated incident, they nonetheless are increasing their outreach to the Spanish-speaking community. The immigrants not only welcome the gesture but wonder why hadn’t this been done years ago? WSHU Reporter Charles Lane investigates as part of Latino USA’s New American Voices series.

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