Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Ballot Voices: Latinos and the 2012 Elections’ Category

If You Have the Opportunity and Means to Become a U.S. Citizen, Take It

On July 4, President Obama delivered remarks at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members, immigrants from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The President was right in saying that these ceremonies – held from Monticello in Virginia to the Seattle Center in Washington – are “a perfect way to celebrate America’s birthday.”

“With this ceremony today — and ceremonies like it across our country — we affirm another truth:  Our American journey, our success, would simply not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have come to our shores from every corner of the globe,” Mr. Obama said. “We say it so often, we sometimes forget what it means — we are a nation of immigrants.  Unless you are one of the first Americans, a Native American, we are all descended from folks who came from someplace else — whether they arrived on the Mayflower or on a slave ship, whether they came through Ellis Island or crossed the Rio Grande.”

The Office of Immigration Statistics reports that last year 694,193 individuals became citizens. While that might seem like an impressive number, 8.1 million legal permanent residents were eligible to naturalize in 2010. Why didn’t more immigrants naturalize? Why do so many choose not to become U.S. citizens?

For one thing, the $680.00 total cost for fees is prohibitive and the entire process intimidating. Some experts also cite limited English skills, lower education levels and lower income levels as barriers to naturalization.

But there are others who face no such barriers and have opted not to naturalize, dodging any responsibilities to a country they are reaping from. I personally know of a few who simply could not be bothered. These are folks who have been here for many years, with no intent of returning to their homelands any time soon.

On the flip side of the coin, there are millions of immigrants who want nothing more than to become full-fledged members of our society, particularly the undocumented youth and other unauthorized immigrants who consider America their home but are not eligible thanks to our broken immigration system.

The act of naturalization not only confers the rights and benefits of citizenship, it is also a ceremony in which immigrants commit to the responsibilities that come with the privilege of being an American. Choosing to become a U.S. citizen brings obligations such as voting, paying taxes, and when necessary, fighting for our country. The President saluted the new Americans for being “willing to work hard, play by the rules, and meet their responsibilities,” just like generations of immigrants before them.

If you have the opportunity and means to become a U.S. citizen, take it. It’s your responsibility as an individual to join generations of other immigrants who have committed to their adopted homeland and made it great.

You can follow Erwin de Leon on Twitter or read his blog.

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund. Photo courtesy of Flickr

Erwin de Leon is a Policy Researcher and writer based in Washington, DC. He writes on immigration, LGBT, and nonprofit issues. You can follow him on Twitter at @ErwindeLeon.

Noticiando

Rep. Charles Rangel’s congressional seat is up for grabs in one New York’s historically African American districts. The main challenger: Dominican-American State Senator Adriano Espaillat. But could the district’s predominantly Latino voters actually swing the election? We speak to Roberto Perez, host of The Perez Notes, a blog that focuses on New York State and city politics.


Click here to download this week’s show.

Roberto Perez is the host of a NY based political blog called “The Perez Notes.” The blog focuses on NY state and city politics. Roberto was born and raised, in the city of New York and is of Dominican descent. In addition to producing The Perez Notes blog, Roberto is also a weekly political columnist for El Diario La Prensa. You can listen to, and view some of Roberto’s work by going to www.thepereznotes.com

 

Rising Republican Star

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has said repeatedly that she would not accept an offer from Mitt Romney if he asked her to be on the ticket with him in November.  Still, she could influence the GOP to moderate their immigration policies.  Sarah Gustavus has this profile of a rising political star, part of new generation of Latino leaders.


Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of The Hispanic Blog.

Sarah Gustavus reports on topics like government, immigration and poverty for public radio and television, most recently as a reporter and host at KUNM in Albuquerque. Her work has aired nationally on All Things Considered, Weekend America, Making Contact, and Tell Me More. She grew up on a cattle ranch in Texas and spent several years developing her broadcasting skills in Seattle. She is currently studying for a master’s in media at City University in London, where her research focuses on news coverage of immigration.

The Viva Factor: Arizona and Maná

Listeners of a Spanish-language radio station in Phoenix heard ads in early May asking them to text their political opinion… and maybe win concert tickets. Is this data mining or a clever new strategy? Fernanda Echavarri walks us through the ads and Matt Barreto analyzes it, looking for the “Viva Factor.”

Since the 1952 presidential campaign, when candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower used the slogan “Viva Eisenhower” in an initiative to attract Mexican-American voters, whenever political candidates have wanted to signal to Latinos, they place the word “Viva” in front of their names. Our new series looks for the “Viva Factor,” the ways in which candidates and both parties aim to draw in the Latino vote.

Click here to download this week’s show. To hear the actual radio ad in Spanish, click here. To hear it in English, click here.

Explaining Comemierrrrr… coles

This week’s segment rates an ad giving it a “comemierrr… coles” rating to test pandering to Latinos. The expression “comemiércoles” substitutes the naughty half of a Cuban expression for “B.S.” with the Spanish word for “Wednesday.” Consider it your Spanish lesson for the day.

 Fernanda Echávarri is a reporter for Arizona Public Media in Tucson, Arizona. Echávarri, a graduate of the University of Arizona School of Journalism, contributes stories to radio and online. She started her career in print journalism as a reporter for the Tucson Citizen. She then went on to work for the Arizona Daily Star, where she focused on public safety and investigative reporting. Echávarri received a Freedom of Information Award from the Arizona Newspaper Association in 2011 for her work in a series published in the Arizona Daily Star.
Matt A. Barreto is an Associate Professor in political science at the University of Washington, Seattle and the director of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (WISER). He is also the director of the annual Washington Poll. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Irvine in 2005. His research examines the political participation of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States and his work has been published in the American Political Science Review, Political Research Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, Public Opinion Quarterly, and other peer reviewed journals.

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