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WednesdayJanuary 12, 2011

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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UN Marks One-Year Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake

On the one-year anniversary of the earthquake which devastated Haiti, the United Nations is today remembering the disaster’s victims in memorial events in Port-au-Prince, New York and elsewhere around the world.

In the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, staff at the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is gathering for memorial events which include a formal ceremony and the unveiling of a monument in honour of UN staff members who were killed in the earthquake. The head of the UN’s peacekeeping operations, Under-Secretary-General Alain Le Roy, is attending these events.

At UN Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony on Wednesday afternoon, timed to coincide with the hour at which the earthquake struck – at 4:53 p.m. on Tuesday. Participants will be asked to solemnly observe silence for a period of 47 seconds, which was the duration of the earthquake.

With a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale, the earthquake killed over 200,000 people, injured more than 300,000 and displaced 2.3 million people – nearly one quarter of the country’s population. It levelled Haiti’s capital, delivered a severe blow to the economy and infrastructure, and impeded nation-building efforts in the country. In addition, 102 UN staff members perished, constituting the highest loss of life from a single event in United Nations history.

At the memorial ceremony in Port-au-Prince today, Mr. Le Roy will deliver a message on behalf of the Secretary-General. In that message, he is expected to call on the world to live up to the solidarity expressed in the wake of the earthquake, including at the Haiti Donors’ Conference last March.

He is also expected to pay particular tribute to the dedication of UN staff in Haiti who survived the earthquake and worked to save lives in the following hours and days, as well as the hundreds of other UN staff from duty stations around the world who responded immediately to the call for volunteers.

At the memorial event in New York, the Secretary-General is expected to pay tribute to UN staff who perished in the disaster as well as reaffirm the UN system’s commitment to assisting the people of Haiti to rebuild their country. In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, the Secretary-General’s spokesperson said that Mr. Ban noted that the UN and international response to “a disaster of unparalleled magnitude” was one of the largest ever mounted and that “these efforts must be redoubled and renewed.”

In the Middle East, peacekeepers at the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today remembered the earthquake’s victims at a wreath-laying ceremony at UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura in southern Lebanon.

In the Balkans, staff at the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo took part in a ceremony observing 47 seconds of silence. Speaking at the event, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Kosovo, Lamberto Zannier, expressed solidarity with the people of Haiti and all those who suffered losses.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentina to Strengthen Electricity Network in Certain Parts of Country

Argentina will improve the reliability and security of electricity services in 18 provinces with a $120 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The program will finance the construction or rehabilitation of 937.3 kilometers of transmission and distribution lines by 2015. The peak load served in the areas covered by the project will be raised from 876.1 MW to 1085.7 MW during the same period.

These works will support the Argentine government’s effort to overhaul the country’s energy sector through its Federal Electricity Transmission Plan. The objective of the project is to restore electricity transmission capacity in the Argentinean provinces and to enhance the efficiency and reliability of the transmission grid.

Argentina’s energy sector was hit hard by the macroeconomic crisis of 2002. The country now has to overhaul its energy sector, while meeting a growing demand at the same time. The electricity transmission grid is saturated in a number of locations, and new interconnections are needed to enhance energy efficiency, serve rural areas far removed from the country’s major cities, and support regional integration.

The Government of Argentina will contribute $120 million equivalent in local counterpart resources. A $84 million loan from the Andean Development Corporation will constitute 70 percent of its counterpart contribution.

Read more by HS News Staff →

POLL:  Most Voters View AZ Shootings as Random Violence, Not Political

POLL:  Most Voters View AZ Shootings as Random Violence, Not Political

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Americans have closely followed news stories about the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six others in Arizona on Saturday, and most don’t feel politics was the cause of it.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 28% of Adults say the shooting in Arizona was the result of political anger in the country. Fifty-eight percent (58%) say instead that it was a random act of violence by an unstable person. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Republicans and 56% of adults not affiliated with either of the major political parties view the shooting as a random act of violence. Even Democrats by a 48% to 37% margin agree, although leading members of their party have attributed the shootings to a climate of anger they say has been generated by opponents of President Obama.

In a separate survey taken following the weekend shootings, 45% of Likely U.S. Voters said they are at least somewhat concerned that those opposed to the president’s policies will resort to violence, but 52% do not share that concern.

Eighty percent (80%) of Americans say they have followed recent news reports about the shooting of the congresswoman and others in Arizona, including 50% who say they have followed Very Closely.  A plurality (47%) of blacks blame the shootings on political anger in the country, while 60% of whites regard them as a random act by an unstable person.

Government workers are almost evenly divided on the question, while 57% of those who work in the private sector see the incident as a random act of violence.

There’s little difference of opinion between those who don’t own a gun and those who say someone in their household owns one.

Rasmussen Reports exit polling on Election Day last November found that 63% of those who voted were at least somewhat angry at the current policies of the federal government.

Voters continue to feel the Republican agenda in Congress is less extreme than that of congressional Democrats. Republicans hold an 11-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot, the widest gap between the two parties since right before Election Day.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of Americans believe violent video games lead to more violence in society.

In a November 2009 survey, 26% of employed adults said they have seriously thought that someone in their workplace was capable of mass violence.

Read more at Rasmussen Report →

Ron Rivera is the new Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers

Ron Rivera is the new Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers

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Ron Rivera, who was an assistant coach for more than ten years, and was turned down by eight different teams for the head coach position, was named the head coach of the Carolina Panthers – becoming the first Latino to lead a team in 16 years in the league since Tom Flores, who won two Super Bowls. Flores hasn’t coached since 1994.

Rivera, who is 49 years old had been the defense coach for the San Diego Chargers.

Jerry Richardson, the Panthers owner reportedly conducted Rivera’s second interview for the job; he said he that while he was most concerned with his team’s offense (the worst in the league), hiring a defensive-minded coach was a good idea as long as he h counts with a strong offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

“We’re putting a very high priority on the offense and that can be accomplished without having an offensive head coach,” Richardson said.

Rivera, who was a linebacker with the Bears and a member of Chicago’s Super Bowl winning team in 1985, is the son of a Puerto Rican father and a Mexican mother, his ancestry making him the first person of such heritage to play in the NFL.

“Congrats to Ron Rivera for being named Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers,” tweeted Chicago Bears cornerback Jerry Azumah, who played under Rivera, “Long overdue.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Manhattan Losing Its Diversity

Manhattan Losing Its Diversity

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In the latest census, it was revealed that Manhattan, world famous for being ethnically and racially diverse, now seems to be losing that diversity.

Though Manhattan’s population has risen five percent since 2000, the majority of the people causing that increase were white, and it seems the black and Latino populations have decreased in every neighborhood across the island.

The two biggest changes have been in Harlem and the lower East Side. Harlem, considered the heart of the island’s black community, saw its white population jump from 2 percent of the areas people to 9.8 percent in just 10 years, while the black community dropped to 54.4 percent from 61.2 percent. On the lower East Side, the predominately Latino community, the white population now accounts for over a quarter of the area, while Latinos, who made up 44.4 percent on the population in 2000, are now just over a third.

The upside to the census statistics were that they showed an increase in the number of people with bachelor’s degrees among those 25 or older, to 60 percent. However, it is believed all that increased education is from the increased number of educated whites.

Director of NYU’s Rudin Center of Transportation Policy and Management, Mitchell Moss believes that Manhattan’s “job-obsessed environment and high wages account for the influx of educated whites.” He pointed out that the island is safer than it’s ever been, and that areas that were once dangerous and seemingly “unfriendly” are now more attractive to whites.

Moss also noted that suburban life has lost its luster for many, and the rising property taxes and declining property values are causing people to realize “the suburban myth is just a myth.”

Read more at New York Daily News →

Puerto Rican Las Vegas Dancer, Flores-Narvaez, Met Gory Death, Ex-Boyfriend Charged

Puerto Rican Las Vegas Dancer, Flores-Narvaez, Met Gory Death, Ex-Boyfriend Charged

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The gory details of how, 31 year old, Deborah Flores-Narváez met her end are slowly coming out after the arrest of her ex-boyfriend Jason Griffith.

Flores-Narváez went missing on December 14th when she didn’t show up to work as a burlesque dancer at the Luxor Casino hotel.  The Puerto-Rican born beauty had a law degree but wanted to pursue her love of dance so moved to Nevada.

Police reports show that she was choked to death, then her legs cut off and her naked remains encased in concrete, she was believed to be pregnant.  Griffith has confessed to the crime which he said was the result of a heated argument. 

Griffith was arrested Friday when her body was found in an unidentified home in downtown Las Vegas.  Deborah will be buried in Puerto Rico. 

Read more at Daily Mail →

40th Colombian Coffee Queen Crowned, but She’s Not Colombian?

Sofinel Báez Santos, the contestant from the Dominican Republic, was crowned International Colombian Coffee Queen January 10th, this was the 40th year the pageant was held in Manizales, Colombia. Image

It is the third time that a Dominican Republic contestant is crowned queen; Milagros Germán was queen in 1981, and Cándida Lara became the second in 1996. This distinction is considered an honor in Latin America where coffee production is the source of enormous pride and revenue.  Colombians have long been proud of their coffee production roots and considers it the best in the world.  So are they pissed they lost out, especially when Miss Colombia came in third place. 

Miss Venezuela, Angela Julieta Ruiz Pérez was crowned first runner up. Second, third and fourth runner up awards were given to Miss Colombia, Miss Spain and Miss Bolivia, in that order.

The Reinado del Café started in 1952, as one of the main attractions of the Manizales Fair, which feature a great variety of events including concerts, parades and much more.

Unlike other competitions where the contestants are judged solely on stage performance, the international Queen of Coffee must possess knowledge of the origins of coffee, the different kinds there are, the preparation and distribution in her country and all other pertinent facts about cafe.

“I didn’t expect it. I’m very happy to be the ambassador of Colombian Coffee to the world,” said the 20 year old queen.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drunk Driving in Mexico City is Down

Drunk Driving in Mexico City is Down

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In Mexico City, officers are changing the perceptions of policing and public safety as they crack down on drunk driving.

Until relatively recently, getting out of trouble for drunk driving after registering over the legal limit on the “alcoholímetro” (breathalyzer), required little more than paying of a police officer, or perhaps even shouting, “Do you know who I am?” but not anymore, and the public has taken noticed.

According to a survey by Grupo Reforma newspapers, 50 percent of survey takers said the officers working the alcoholímetro “do honest work”, and 86 percent were happy to see the occurrence of drunk driving going down.

The program named Driving Without Alcohol employs 300 police officers and medical personnel at moving sobriety check locations across Mexico City. Since it began in 2003, the local Public Security Secretariat says alcohol-related fatalities have gone down 60 percent.

Still, for those who drink and drive, once they are inspected by medical personnel, if they are determined to be too drunk to drive, they’ll spend anywhere from 20 to 36 hours in detention while they sober up.

Though it has become somewhat of a game to evade the checkpoints, there are many who have gotten caught, including artists, politicians, priests, businessmen, Lucha Libre wrestlers, and yes, even a number of honeymooners on their way to Acapulco.

Read more at USA Today →

Job-Based Discrimination Hits All-Time High

Job based discrimination has hit an all time high according to a report released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) yesterday.

Discrimination across all categories, that include race, sex and age, were up with race-based discrimination accounting for 35.9 percent of all complaints filed.

Private workplace job discrimination filings increased by 7.1 percent to a record of 99,922.  The EEOC collected over $400 million in monetary fines from employers for discrimination cases.

EEOC officials believes that discrimination is on the rise due to current economic conditions and the growing diversity of the U.S. labor force. 

Read more at Suntimes →

American CEO’s say Immigration is Key to Business Innovation

On Friday, during a panel discussion at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, executives from some of the top American corporations stated that if the U.S. is looking to be more innovative and wants to “compete on a global stage,” then they recommend allowing talent to enter by adjusting current immigration policies.

“We’ve made it important to protect our borders,” said Xerox CEO Ursula Burns speaking from a business standpoint. “The last thing we need to do is that.”

Executives pointed out that, if the U.S. cannot keep the foreign students it educates in the U.S., it’s “doomed to fail.”

“Today we are hanging up a sign that says, ‘You’re not welcome in this country.’ ” said Cisco CEO John Chambers. “We have got to change that.”

“We’ve got to get back to one of our key advantages — our immigration policy used to get the best and brightest to come here and stay here,” added Chambers. ”Make them American citizens, not just a green card.”

Immelt says it’s now the corporations’ responsibility to take action and see that lawmakers understand the importance of changing immigration policies.

“Business can no longer sit on the sidelines. We’ve got to fight for our future,” he said. “This is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

He added that protectionism is hurting the innovation process. With all the well educating foreign students leaving the U.S. once they graduate, all that knowledge and innovation is going elsewhere.

The three executives admit that Americans have the ability and strength to compete on a global level, but it’s going to take some changes to immigration and tax policies, and the red-tape process often holds everything up.

“The speed of innovation does not match our decision process in government or business,” said Chambers. “We’re falling behind on speed. The U.S. has the cards to be here, but we’ve got to start measuring it.”

Read more at Smart Planet →

Futballer Wife Murdered on Her Honeymoon, Three Hotel Employees Charged

The brutal and tragic killing of Michaela Harte McAreavey in Mauritius has been solved when three hotel workers were charged, thereby removing any suspicion that might have been cast on her futballer husband.

The 27-year old beauty was honeymooning in Mauritius with her husband, futball star John McAreavey, when she was found strangled in a bathtub in her luxurious honeymoon suite.  The couple was married in Ireland on December 30th.

Police are speculating that Michaela returned to her room leaving her husband in the Legend Hotel restaurant and surprised the three suspects who were robbing the room. 

It is believed she died from asphyxiation and then placed in a bathtub full of water to make it look like she drowned, which is the way her husband found her.

Read more at CNN Edition →

Border Patrol Agent Arrested for Harboring His Undocumented Father

Border Patrol Agent Arrested for Harboring His Undocumented Father

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Tuesday, a U.S. Border Patrol agent was charged with harboring a twice-removed undocumented immigrant, and lying to federal investigators. The immigrant he was harboring? His father.

In the working-class neighborhood of San Ysidro, California, Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr. allegedly told his father that officers were looking for him, and agreed to let him stay at his home.

Last month, when federal investigators reportedly asked the 26-year-old if he knew where his father was, he said he did not, but admitted he knew his father was a deported felon.

In October of 2006, the father, Marcos Gerardo Manzano Sr, 46, was convicted of a marijuana offense. A few months later, he was deported to Mexico.

According to the complaint against Manzano Jr., his father was seen leaving and arriving at his son’s Southern California home beginning in September 2009.  On Monday night, Manzano Jr. was arrested at the Border Patrol station in Imperial Beach. However, Manzano Sr. was not found when a FBI SWAT team raided the Manzano home Tuesday morning. Manzano Sr. is considered a fugitive by the FBI.

Though Manzano Sr. was not in the house when SWAT raided it, another undocumented immigrant staying at the house, Jose Alfredo Garrido-Morena, was found and arrested.  Manzano Jr. and Garrido-Morena were being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown San Diego pending their initial appearances in federal court, scheduled for Wednesday.

The Border Corruption Task Force, being led by the FBI, headed the overall investigation, but declined to reveal why they felt it necessary to send a heavily armed SWAT team to the house to serve the warrant.

It has also been reported that during the raid, agents detained another two men, a one-year-old boy, and three women of unknown relation to the defendants.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Intern Daniel Hernández Recieves Standing Ovation at AZ State House (VIDEO)

On January 10, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer gave a State of the State Address where, in addition to remembering those who died in January 8th’s massacre, she honored the courage of Daniel Hernandez, the 20 year old Mexican-American intern of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ who in the face of a deadly shooting kept himself collected and attended to Giffords—likely saving her life, while instructing others on how to attend to the other wounded people. 

“My main goal was to try to make sure the congresswoman and everyone was ok,” the University of Arizona junior said. “I look at the true heroism of Congresswoman Giffords, [District Manager] Ron Barber, [Community Outreach Coordinator] Gabe Zimmerman, who lost his life. and Pam Simon who was wounded,” he said. “Those are the real heroes. True public servants, who spent their whole lives helping others.”

Hernandez received a standing ovation. Video is below.

Original Video- More videos at TinyPic

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba and US Meet to Discuss Immigration and Likely US Citizen being Held in Cuba

Cuba and US Meet to Discuss Immigration and Likely US Citizen being Held in Cuba

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The talks primary focus if the 17 year old agreement which allows the US to issue 20,000 visas to Cuban residents. Over the years however, the bi-annual meeting has been the forum for both countries to express their grievances. This weeks meeting is sure to see the discussion of the detention of an American in Cuba currently being held for spying.

Hopes had been raised that the five-decade embargo of Cuba would end when Obama said he would seek warmer relations with the island nation. Hopes for better relations stalled Dec. 3, 2009, when contractor Alan Gross was arrested at a Havana hotel.

Gross was working under a U.S. Agency for International Development contract to install Internet equipment in Cuba. The program is part of a State Department effort to promote economic and social development in underdeveloped countries.

The Cuban government said Gross was engaging in espionage intended to overthrow the communist government that took power in the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro.

Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela called the arrest of Gross “a major concern” in U.S. relations with Cuba.

Roberta Jacobsen, America’s principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, leads the U.S. side. At this time it is not clear who was representing the Cuban delegation.

Read more at Yahoo News →

Ladies, the World’s Best Soccer Player is on the Market. Leo Messi and Long Time Girlfriend Break Up

Ladies, the World’s Best Soccer Player is on the Market. Leo Messi and Long Time Girlfriend Break Up

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Ballon d’or winner Lionel Messi is now a bachelor.  According to his maternal grandfather Antonio Cuchitini, Leo and Antonella Roccuzzo, met when they were both five in Argentina and she is the woman he has dated since high school and now apparently they have broken up.  Both are 23 years old. 

“He doesn’t have a girlfriend now” said Cuchitini to interviewers at Rosario’s Radio 2 Station. “Better that way, it’s too early, he’s too young, he’s too young. I always tell him to have healthy fun, enjoy himself, go out for a drive with the guys.”

Messi met Roccuzzo when they were both toddlers, as she is the cousin of one of the soccer player’s best childhood friends, and both families have been traditionally close.

Antonella went to South Africa with Messi, and after the World Cup the couple went on holiday to the beaches of Brazil first, and then onto Cancún, where the couple swam with the dolphins.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Prominent Womens Activist found Killed and Mutilated in Ciudad Juarez

Susana Chavez had led protests through Ciudad Juarez against the unsolved killings of women in the border city.  Her struggle and that of other activists was against the ‘femicides” of over 400 local female residents from 1993 to 2005 – most of the killings remain unsolved and were not related to the surging drug violence.

Numerous movies, art exhibits, conferences, and songs have been produced around the topic of the Dead Women of Juarez. 
Chavez was a well known local poet that wrote “Not One More Death” in response to the killings.

Now one of those activists, Chavez, that kept police attention on the crimes was brutally murdered sometime on January 6 and with her body being identified today.  Her body was found strangled with her left hand cut off. 

Chihuahua state police do not believe her activism had anything to do with death but rather a party she attended with three teenagers, that appear to be the main suspects. 

Read more at Yahoo News →

Chávez: Pay Past Due Electricity Bills, or be Left in the Dark

Chávez: Pay Past Due Electricity Bills, or be Left in the Dark

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The government of Venezuela gave an ultimate to mayors, governors and every state-run company in the nation to pay past-due electricity bills, before being shut down and left in the dark, in a move to decrease waste and balance government accounts.

Electricity Minister Ali Rodriguez said that funds collected last year by the state run utility company Corpolec covered only half the company’s payroll.

“The debt these organizations have is close to 4 billion bolivars ($930 million),” Rodríguez said. “We are toughening up bill collecting, and have ordered to cut off those institutions that don’t catch up on their payments.”

The government of Hugo Chavez nationalized the electricity sector in 2007, along with hundreds of companies also taken over as part of Chávez’s way to fund a socialist economy.

“One of the objectives is to raise collection to cover the operational costs of the national electricity system, not only the payroll,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said Venezuela, the continent’s top oil exporter, is also the South America’s highest per capita energy consumer, even above more industrially developed countries such as Argentina, Chile and Brazil, and that low prices and weak enforcement encourage wasteful usage and theft of power supplies.

“This shows a high level of energy wastage. There have been achievements, a good part of the population is now saving energy but more is needed,” he said.

Some Venezuelan political analysts believe the government might be considering to further devaluate its currency, the bolivar, and to raise electricity prices to help balance its accounts.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Did Jamaica’s Military Kill Honduran Fishermen?  Honduras Thinks So.

On January 10, Jamaica rejected allegations that its coastguard used excessive force when attempting to stop a Honduran fishing boat January 7.

The incident took place close to Jamaica, in lobster- and conch-rich waters. The captain was fatally shot and two crew members were wounded.

The Security minister of Jamaica, Dwight Nelson said the coastguard patrol spotted the Honduran fishing ship near the Pedro Cays, a distant area South of Jamaica.

Nelson said the vessel took off at full speed when the Jamaican boat approached, so coastguards chased the fishermen, who ignored several pleas to stop the vessel. A warning shot was fired across the bow, Nelson said.

Then the Honduran ship appeared to be trying to ram the patrol boat, forcing officers to shoot at the engine room, Nelson said.  Rear Adm. Juan Pablo Rodriguez of the Honduran Navy claimed that the Jamaican military used excessive force and unjustifiably attacked fishermen from Honduras, who didn’t fire a single shot on Friday night.

Nelson disputed those accusations during a radio interview and said coast guard officers had enough grounds to shoot “disabling fire” at the engine room of the fishing ship, since it appeared to be on course to collide into the smaller patrol boat in Jamaican waters.

“We will reject any notion that extraordinary force was used in this situation,” Nelson said. “We will not concede that we did anything wrong at all.”

Honduran Deputy Foreign Minister Mireya Agüero said officials from both nations are expected to meet in Miami in the next few days to try to resolve their differences.

Read more by HS News Staff →

TX Gov. Rick Perry Makes Eliminating Sanctuary Cities Priority–$27 Billion Deficit Overlooked

TX Gov. Rick Perry Makes Eliminating Sanctuary Cities Priority–$27 Billion Deficit Overlooked

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Yesterday the legislative session started in Texas, and Republican Governor Rick Perry identified the two issues he considers his priorities and wants fast tracked: abolishing sanctuary cities and protecting private rights.

Texas legislators are not surprised by the private property rights but are shocked at Perry’s other choice, sanctuary cities.  Others are wondering where tackling the $27 billion deficit fits in.

Nonetheless, Hispanic legislators are not only shocked but also angry, since abolishing sanctuary cities is viewed as a clear anti-immigrant stance.  Sanctuary cities are muncipalities where law enforcement and public officials do not question someone on their legal status.

Some are wondering if dealing with an immigration issue is a popular distraction from the dirty work of closing schools and cutting public services. 

As Rep. Mike Villarreal of San Antonio commented:  “Doesn’t he know the election is over?  He won.  Not it’s time for him to take responsibility for our schools, our jobs, and the financial crisis he helped create.”

Or maybe Governor Perry is acutely aware that Texas has added four congressional seats due in great part to the growing Hispanic population, and that 25 percent of eligible voters in Texas are Latinos, of which the overall majority voted Democrat.

Read more at Houston Chronicle →

Monday After Shootings in Tucson Gun Sales Increase by 60% in AZ and 5 % throughout U.S.

While there is talk of who should be allowed to buy a gun and possibly putting restrictions on gun ownership there was a huge surge in gun sales after the Tucson tragedy.

The shooting of 12 people that left 6 dead doesn’t appear to be frightening anyone away from guns.  In Arizona gun sales increased by 60 percent the Monday after the shootings occurred, in Ohio sales soared by 65 percent and across the nation sales were 5 percent higher on that Monday.

Some speculate that the very talk of limiting gun rights makes people want to get a gun before they can’t buy one.  Others believe the purchase is driven by fear and a desire to protect ones self.  These spike in gun sales were also seen right after the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. 

So while many pundits and politicians are blaming the rhetoric of hate as a possible cause no one wants to make a statement against gun violence by staying away from them all together.

Read more at Politico →

NARCO BLOG: Last Night 8 and 12-year old Sisters Gunned Down in Guadalajara

Yesterday in the early evening two young sisters lost their lives when they were caught in crossfire in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The two sisters were leaving a grocery store in the Colonia Del Fresno located in Guadalajara, carrying soft drinks in their hands when armed commando fired at the store directing the fire at two men that ended up being the store owners. 

The two youngsters were killed instantly and their bodies left lying on the sidewalk in front of the store. 

Relatives later identified the sisters as Betzabet Sarahi Hernandez Garcia, 8 years old and Yosafat Evelyn Hernández García, 12 years old.

The owners of the grocery store were slightly wounded and were identified as Gustavo Diaz, 25 years old, and Javier Diaz, 40 years old.  Also injured at the site were Luis Javier Gonzalez Suarez, and Yanet Elvia Aviña Carla, who are both 18 years old.

Police investigators found 45 caliber bullet casings, a total of 32 were found at the scene.  Authorities have not found those responsible for the execution of these two innocent girls or why the owners were being targeted. 

To read more in Spanish click here. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nations Largest Farm Lobbying Group Cautions States on Immigration

Nations Largest Farm Lobbying Group Cautions States on Immigration

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During the annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a policy was approved that retains the Farm Bureau’s long-held view that immigration policy should be set by the federal government.

“So far, all of these state programs have been on enforcement only,” said David Winkles, president of the South Carolina Farm Bureau, whose members proposed the policy. “They don’t address the fact that we don’t have an adequate labor supply in agriculture.”

Farmers rely heavily on seasonal laborers, including many illegal immigrants, to harvest labor-intensive crops such as strawberries, onions, peaches and tobacco. The agriculture-lobbying group says Americans refuse to take the difficult, low-paying jobs.

The federal government has a guest-worker program for agriculture workers, but farmers say it’s expensive to use and inflexible.

The policy approved by the nations largest farm lobbying group at their annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation also included the following:  If Congress does not overhaul immigration, farmers will assist the federal government in helping states create programs that give growers access to enough legal labor.

Read more by HS News Staff →

All Wisconsin counties to utilize ICE strategy of biometrics to identify and remove Criminals

All Wisconsin counties to utilize ICE strategy of biometrics to identify and remove Criminals

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On Tuesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began using a federal information-sharing capability in all Wisconsin counties that helps federal immigration officials use biometrics to identify aliens, both lawfully and unlawfully present in the United States, who are booked into local law enforcement’s custody for a crime. This capability is part of Secure Communities-ICE’s comprehensive strategy to improve and modernize the identification and removal of aliens convicted of a crime from the United States.

Previously, biometrics - fingerprints - taken of individuals charged with a crime and booked into custody were checked for criminal history information against the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). Now, through enhanced information sharing between DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), biometrics submitted through the state to the FBI will be automatically checked against both the FBI criminal history records in IAFIS and the biometrics-based immigration records in DHS’s Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT).
If fingerprints match those of someone in DHS’ biometric system, the new automated process notifies ICE. ICE evaluates each case to determine the individual’s immigration status and takes appropriate enforcement action. This includes aliens who are in lawful status and those who are present without lawful authority. Once identified through fingerprint matching, ICE will respond with a priority placed on aliens convicted of the most serious crimes first - such as those with convictions for major drug offenses, murder, rape and kidnapping.

“The Secure Communities strategy provides ICE with an effective tool to identify criminal aliens in local custody,” said Secure Communities Assistant Director David Venturella. “Enhancing public safety is at the core of ICE’s mission. Our goal is to use biometric information sharing to remove criminal aliens, preventing them from being released back into the community, with little or no additional burden on our law enforcement partners.”

With the expansion of the biometric information-sharing capability statewide in Wisconsin’s 72 jurisdictions, ICE is using this capability in 969 jurisdictions in 37 states. By 2013, ICE plans to be able to respond nationwide to all fingerprint matches generated through IDENT/IAFIS interoperability.

“Brown County is fortunate to partner with ICE in an effort to accurately identify criminal illegal aliens in our community,” said Brown County Sheriff John Gossage. “Enhanced information sharing and increased communications with ICE will greatly aid in our effort to identify, apprehend and reduce the number of criminal illegal aliens within Brown County.”

Since ICE began using this enhanced information-sharing capability in October 2008, immigration officers have removed from the United States more than 54,500 aliens convicted of a crime. ICE does not regard aliens charged with, but not yet convicted of crimes, as “criminal aliens.” Instead, a “criminal alien” is an alien convicted of a crime. In accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, ICE continues to take action on aliens subject to removal as resources permit.

The IDENT system is maintained by DHS’s US-VISIT program and IAFIS is maintained by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS).

“US-VISIT is proud to support ICE, helping provide decision makers with comprehensive, reliable information when and where they need it,” said US-VISIT Director Robert Mocny. “By enhancing the interoperability of DHS’s and the FBI’s biometric systems, we are able to give federal, state and local decision makers information that helps them better protect our communities and our nation.”

“Under this plan, ICE will be utilizing FBI system enhancements that allow improved information sharing at the state and local law enforcement level based on positive identification of incarcerated criminal aliens,” said Daniel D. Roberts, assistant director of the FBI’s CJIS Division. “Additionally, ICE and the FBI are working together to take advantage of the strong relationships already forged between the FBI and state and local law enforcement necessary to assist ICE in achieving its goals.”

For more information about how ICE is using biometrics to identify aliens convicted of a crime, visit www.ice.gov/secure_communities/.

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Cocaine and Heroin Found During Routine Inspection of Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Ship

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) K-9, during a joint CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations inspection, discovered more than two pounds of cocaine and heroin stored in a locker aboard the cruise ship Enchantment of the Seas in Baltimore on Saturday.

Bak, a narcotics detector dog, sniffed out two packages of heroin that weighed a combined one pound, eight ounces and a third package that contained more than 14 ounces of cocaine. Combined street value is estimated at about $94,000.

he narcotics were discovered in an equipment locker. No arrests were made.

“The recent drug arrests of cruise ship crewmen illustrate the measures nefarious narcotics networks will take to transport their deadly poison into the United States,” said CBP Baltimore Port Director Ricardo Scheller. “International passenger vessels are a prime target of opportunity. CBP remains committed to working with ICE and our other law enforcement partners to sniff out potential narcotics highways and to keep Americans safe.”

CBP routinely conducts K-9 enforcement inspections aboard passenger cruise ships as one deterrent to narcotics smuggling.

“CBP continues to work with cruise line security officers to implement security measures and to help identify high-risk crewmen and passengers,” Scheller said.

CBP identifies high-risk passengers and crewman similarly to how the agency identifies high-risk international airline passengers and crew. CBP conducts arrivals inspections of all landed citizens and non-citizens arriving from international destinations to enforce customs, immigration and agriculture laws.

Sometimes CBP discovers a passenger with an outstanding arrest warrant or who possesses illegal narcotics.

On Sunday, CBP officers fined a cruise ship Carnival Pride passenger a $500 Zero Tolerance penalty for possessing marijuana. The passenger paid the fine and was released.

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WednesdayJanuary 12, 2011