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ThursdayJanuary 27, 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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POLL:  50% Oppose President New Spending Proposals from SOTUS

The president’s Tuesday night State of the Union speech had little impact on support for his new spending proposals in areas like education, transportation and technological innovation.

Rasmussen Reports asked voters the same three questions about the president’s economic proposals on the two nights prior to the speech and then again on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

On the first two nights, 39% supported the proposals. On the next two nights, support was 41%.

Fifty percent (50%) of Likely U.S. Voters now oppose the federal government spending more money in areas like education, transportation and technological innovation, up from 45% in the previous survey. Forty-one percent (41%) favor the idea, a two-point increase from before. Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters now say cutting federal spending is better for the economy than increasing federal spending in these targeted areas. But 34% disagree and say increasing spending is better. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.

As for the federal budget deficit, voters remain strongly skeptical that Obama will cut it in half by the end of his first term in office as he vowed in a speech to Congress early in his presidency. Just 22% say it’s at least somewhat likely that he will achieve that goal. That’s virtually identical to the numbers from before the speech.

Read more at Rasmussen Report →

JUST IN: Supreme Court Rules 7-0 for Rahm, He Remains on the Ballot for Chicago Mayor

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Rahm - he Remains on the Ballot for Chicago Mayor. 

The Illinois Supreme Court has rendered a 7-0 unanimous decision on Rahm Emanuel’s ability to be on the Chicago Mayoral ballot for the February 22, 2011. 

The Supreme Court made their decision rather quickly since this Monday early voting starts in the city.  The matter came before them when the Illinois Appeals court reversed the decision by the Chicago Board of elections, which in essence kicked him off the ballot.  The ballot will start printing and the candidate can now use his $11 million dollar campaign funds for the election versus legal fees.

The Supreme Court chose not to meddle in local political issues and looked heavily at the fact that he was a tax payer and always intended to return to the city of his birth. 




Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Singer Shakira Reaches 1 Billion Views on YouTube

She joins a very exclusive list of artists who have reached that number that include Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.

‘A billion views!! Incredible! I’m celebrating!! I’m really happy to hear the news. One billion views around the world is an unthinkable number and more than I could ever have dreamed of.’

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin American Technology Market Expected to Grow Another 10% this Year

Latin American technology executives continue to express confidence in their market as they bask in the 10 percent growth last year.  The Latin American technology market topped $275 billion last year and is expected to grown another 10 percent in 2011.

Continuous investment in software is just one of the reasons why this market segment is so strong in the region.  The market segment is also enjoying growth thanks to investment in new technologies and innovations by technology companies. 

The Latin American wireless market is facing maturing and is looking at introducing proven technologies like 3G and 4G throughout the region.

Read more at Latin Business Chronicle →

Honduran Woman, ACLU Sue Florida Sheriff for Unlawful Detainment

Honduran Woman, ACLU Sue Florida Sheriff for Unlawful Detainment

Photo: Rita Cote

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

With help from the ACLU, a woman in Florida is suing the sheriff’s office that arrested and kept her in custody for days without charge.

Tuesday, Rita Cote, filed a lawsuit against Gary Borders, the Lake County sheriff for detaining her for eight days and not allowing her to speak with her husband in the meantime.

On February 16th of 2009, the now mother of four was arrested after police arrived at her Tavares, Florida home in response to a call about an attack on her sister.

After reportedly being beaten by her ex-boyfriend, Cote’s sister needed Rita to translate for her to the police as she did not speak English. While attempting to tell the officers that her sister wanted to press charged, Cote was questioned about her immigration status.

Cote was brought to Florida by her parents when she was just a child, and when she couldn’t provide documentation to confirm her status, she was arrested in front of her children and taken to the Lake County sheriff’s office.

Rita, then only 23, was released when the ACLU learned of her case and obtained a writ of habeas corpus.

The senior staff attorney of the ACLU of Florida, Glenn Katon stated that “neither the Tavares police nor Lake County had any authority or cause to detain Cote.”

As part of her suit, Cote is demanding the sheriff’s office pay her legal fees along with damages.

Spokesman for the sheriff’s office, John Herrell, said they have not yet received a copy of the suit, but did acknowledge in March of 2009 that the arrest was a mistake.

The Lake County sheriff’s office has since tried to portray Cote’s case as an isolated incident, but after a review of the office’s cases, ACLU lawyer Howard Marks said that between 2007 and 2009, hundreds of people were unlawfully detained.

Rita’s husband, Robert Cote, a Gulf War veteran and U.S. citizen, said he hopes the lawsuit will force Sheriff Borders to accept responsibility for his office’s actions, while Marks said this case will hopefully set precedent dissuading from police engaging in “these illegal practices” in the future.

Read more at LAHT →

Swapped at Birth, Brazilian Youngsters Now Live Nearby and As One Large Family

In March of 2009, Brazilian women Queila Fagundes and Elaine Oliveira gave birth to baby boys in the same hospital in Goiania, Brazil. For more than a year, the mothers loved, nurtured and raised the babies they thought were their biological sons.

“We carried on with our lives but a year later the hospital called to say I needed to come in to do some tests,” Mrs. Oliveira said.

“When I got there they told me they were investigating an accidental swap of two babies in the hospital and that my baby could be one of them.

“I did the DNA test and was confident that it wasn’t my child that had been swapped,” she said.

“But when I got the result and saw that Davidson Samuel wasn’t my biological child, for me the world ended. I just couldn’t believe it.”

Mrs. Fagundes was left in a similar state of shock after she learned that her own son,  Lucas Daniel, wasn’t biologically her own.

“They re-did the test four times and each time it came back with the same result, negative,” she revealed. “When I saw the results I was in shock, utter shock.”

The women were ordered to swap the babies back by a court last May.

But after nurturing who they thought to be their own babies for over a year, both women found swapping babies extremely difficult and depressing.

“It was the longest night of my life,” said Queila. “Everywhere I looked everything made me cry.

“I looked at Lucas Daniel’s photo, his first year album, his pram, a little sock that had been left in the corner, his bottle, his dummy - I thought, ‘God please bring me back my little boy’.

“After everything I went through, I lost the thing I loved the most. I gained a son but at the same time I lost one.”

The women appeared on television with their sons only a few weeks after the swap and told their story to the cameras.

Brazilian country music duo Joao Carreiro and Capataz saw the aired show, and were so touched by the story that they offered to buy the women houses within the vicinity of each other in the city of Nilopolis in Rio de Janeiro state.  Now the toddlers will grow up as friends, bound by the unusual bond of having spent their first year living, with each others moms.

“It was an extraordinary thing because I didn’t have a car and Queila lived far away,” Elaine said.

“It was going to be so hard for us to be separated from these boys because it was like we’d both lost a son.

“But then Joao Carreiro and Capataz were so generous, they gave us a house next to each other in the same city so we could all live close together. It was just amazing.”

Now, the toddlers live within three streets of each other and spend most days as one big family.

“Now I know it was the right thing for the children to be brought up by their biological parents,” Mrs. Oliveira said.

“But at that time I had a strong tie to the baby I had brought up. That kind of love will never end.”

“I had always wanted twins and it was the same for Elaine” said Mrs. Queila.

“It turned out that God gave us twins. They just had two different mothers.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pres. Calderon Signs New Law in Mexico for Refugees and Ayslum Seekers

Pres. Calderon Signs New Law in Mexico for Refugees and Ayslum Seekers

Photo: Mex. President Felipe Calderon

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Wednesday, Mexico’s president Felipe Calderon signed into law a measure to ensure those seeking refugee status and political asylum in Mexico are handled in accordance with international agreements.

With input from local and international organizations, the law was created to take into account “the model legislation of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees,” said Calderon.

The law states that Mexico will not send asylum seekers anywhere that may risk the applicants’ life or liberty. During the signing ceremony in Mexico City, Calderon said refugee applications will be considered from anyone with a fear of persecution for their “race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinions,” and added that gender persecution would also be grounds to seek asylum.

Also included in the new law is the provision that true refugees and asylum seekers are protected from be prosecuted for unlawful entry into the country. The law ensures the refugees a treatment with dignity and services such as education and health.

The law also protects those people who do not enter Mexico as refugees, but face dangers when returning to their country of origin.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chris Medina Shows True Heart (And Talent) on “American Idol”

Chris Medina Shows True Heart (And Talent) on “American Idol”

Photo: Chris Medina and Fiancé Juliana Ramos

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Though Fox’s “American Idol” is usually full of characters with interesting stories, crazy outfits, and less than stellar voices, Wednesday’s episode brought America heartfelt crooner Chris Medina.

“What kind of guy would I be if I walked out when she needed me the most?” said Medina as he spoke of his fiancé.

The 26-year-old’s fiancé, Juliana Ramos, was in a tragic car accident on October 2nd, 2009, just two months before their wedding. The accident left Ramos in a wheelchair with serious brain damage, but Medina has stood by her side and is now one of her caretakers, along with Ramos’ mother.

ImageAfter singing The Script’s “Breaking Even,” the judges – Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson – asked if they could meet Medina’s fiancé. When Medina wheeled Ramos into the audition room, the judges rose to greet her.

The Aerosmith frontman told Ramos, “I just heard your fiancé sing, and he’s so good. You know, ‘cause he sings to you all the time.” Leaning down and kissing her head, Tyler, in her ear said, “That’s why he sings so good, ‘cause he sings to you.”

With “Yes” votes from all three judges, Medina, with his fiancé now supporting him, moves on to Hollywood.

Ramos never doubted Medina’s talent though. Outside the audition room, Ramos told him, “I knew it.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

NYC Transit Presents: Hey, There’s Another Rat Part 2 (VIDEO)

Brooklyn resident Nelson Gomez caught on camera another instance of a rat at large in the New York City subway, creating a sequel to a rat climbing atop of a sleeping man. 

At least this time people are shown jumping and climbing on the seats of the “R” train, some shrieking, some giggling.

This is the second incident of this nature captured on tape thus far this year but we are sure its not the second time a rat visits the New York subway.  Earlier this month a video labeled Rat Climbs on sleeping Man on Subway also shot in the NYC subway, went viral.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former SC Governor Mark Sanford Cozies Up to his “Soul Mate” in Uruguay

Argentine celebrity magazine “Caras” published an eight page spread on former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, detailing his latest love escapade in Punta del Este with furtive lover María Belén Chapur, only one week after leaving office.  Image

The love-birds spent a cozy holiday together in the same resort where their romance begun back in 2001. They were photographed frolicking on the beach, playing in the sand and snuggling, kissing and doing the honey-moon thing with out the marriage or honeymoon.

This relationship broke the former Governor’s marriage to Jenny Sanford, when in June of 2009, Sanford left the state for five days and told his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he was really in Argentina visiting Chapur. He returned and held a press conference at which he confessed “I have been unfaithful to my wife.” The couple, parents of four children, divorced soon after.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Not the Ideal Marriage – Brazilian Man Charged with Keeping Wife in Cellar for 16 Yrs

Residents of Sorocaba, located in southeastern Brazil, hadn’t seen Joao Batista Groppo’s wife for quit awhile, therefore they weren’t even sure he was still married.

He was and had by any standards a long marriage, 40 years with his wife of which 16 years she spent in a locked cellar.  Groppo, 64, justified keeping his wife locked up because she was mentally ill and aggressive.

Brazilian authorities are very skeptical especially since he had his unidentified wife locked in a “filthy and dark” cellar and had his girlfriend Maria Furquim involved in the matter.  She was arrested as an accomplice. 

Read more at UK News →

“Secure Communities” Fails 8-year-old Rape Victim

“Secure Communities” Fails 8-year-old Rape Victim

Photo: Salvador Portillo-Saravia

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

As many people praise the use of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) data-sharing program “Secure Communities,”  some are now saying it failed to actually secure the community from an alleged rapist.

The day after Christmas, an 8-year-old girl confided in her mother that family “friend” Salvador Portillo-Saravia, a MS-13 street gang member, raped her in her Fairfax County home in Virginia before quietly exiting the home. What makes the situation more disturbing is the fact that Portillo should not have been a free man in the first place. In 2003, he was deported to El Salvador by federal officials after it was discovered he was not authorized to be in the country. However, he unlawfully crossed back into the U.S. Then just four weeks before the reported rape, Portillo-Saravia was arrested in Virginia’s Loudoun County for public intoxication. At this point the Secure Communities file-sharing and finger printing program should have identified him as a unauthorized immigrant, and he should have been taken into custody, but that did not happen.

Loudoun authorities did run Portillo-Saravia’s fingerprints through the federal database, but despite the 2003 deportation, nothing came up. Just twelve hours later, he was released.

Immigration and Secure Communities officials say the lack of results when running Portillo-Saravia’s prints was due to a gap in the IDENT electronic fingerprinting system and a lack of understanding of how it works. They pointed out that a number of people deported before 2005 are not included in the database, including Portillo-Saravia.

Spokesman for ICE, Brian P. Hale said that after Loudoun officials received a “no match” from the database, they should have requested a manual records check or contacted ICE if they suspected an immigration violation.

Officials in Maryland and Virginia say they were unaware of the gap, including Loudoun’s Sheriff Stephen Simpson, who said he was frustrated by Hale’s response, and was under the impression that Secure Communities eliminated the need for additional investigation into a person’s status.

“Nobody’s ever heard of calling for a manual check. The point of the program was it replaced the need to do what they now say we should have done, “ adding, “We did everything we were supposed to do.”

Area police are still searching for 29-year-old Portillo-Saravia, of Sterling, Va., with warrants on felony rape and sodomy.

Read more at The Washington Post →

Utah Aims to be 1st State With “State Gun” Semiautomatic First Used Against Pancho Villa

Most States have a State bird, State flower and some even have a State fish but a State Gun???  Utah is aiming (figuratively) to be the first state to have an official ‘State Gun’ and its not any gun but rather a semiautomatic.

Utah’s House just passed the bill making the Browning M1911 semiautomatic the ‘State Gun’ and now the measure goes to the Senate, but not without controversy.  Everyone from state educators to gun control advocates feel this is ill-timed (coming a month after the deadly shooting in Arizona) and a wrong symbol for the state. 

The Browning is the first U.S. made semiautomatic created by Utah-born John Browning and got its first use as the U.S. Army fought Mexico’s Pancho Villa after his attacks in New Mexico in 1916.

Read more at CS Monitor →

US Missionary Falls Victim of Drug Cartel Violence

US Missionary Falls Victim of Drug Cartel Violence

Photo: Nancy Davis, US Missionary to Mexico

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Nancy Davis, 59,  U.S. missionary working in Mexico died in a Texas Hospital Wednesday after being shot in the head by gunmen in Mexico.

Davis’ husband brought his mortally wounded wife to the border and told authorities in the United States that gunmen in a pickup shot her in the head, police in Texas say. Davis was then rushed via ambulance to the hospital but did not survive.

The couple was returning from a mission near San Fernando, about 70 miles south of Reynosa, when they encountered a drug cartel checkpoint police said.

The husband relayed to Texas authorities and U.S. Customs agents a horrific story of the couple being fired upon in Mexico and then flooring their truck at top speed to the border.

Gunmen in a pickup tried to stop the missionaries as they were heading back to the states.  When the Davises refused to stop and sped up, the gunmen fired, wounding Nancy Davis in the head, the statement said.

The area is controlled by the Zeta drug cartel and considered one of the most dangerous in Mexico.

“They’ve been working in Mexico for over 30 years,” Merton Rundell III, the director of finance at Union Bible College in Indiana, told The Associated Press on Thursday. “It was mainly establishing churches — that was their main thrust.”

“They loved the work they were doing in spite of the danger,” Rundell said.

Read more at The Monitor →

BREAKING NEWS Kalimba is Freed! (VIDEO)

After spending 6 days in the Chetumal jail in Quintana Roo, Mexico, popular Singer Kalimba has been freed.

Judge Daniel Farah Godoy ordered the release of the entertainer accused of raping a teenager, on the grounds that the evidence presented wasn’t sufficient, and incriminatory evidence against the singer had been planted on the scene.

The Attorney General of Quintana Roo, Mr. Francisco Alor, criticized the decision calling it “incomprehensible” but said he won’t appeal. 

Alor also said he will be dropping the charges and arrest warrant against the entrepreneur Gerard Michel Manel, the promoter also involved in the case.

Kalimba allegedly cried and thanked God when he heard the news.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Large Scale Catapult - Newest Mexican Drug Cartel Tool (VIDEO)

It appears Mexican drug cartels are getting even more creative in ways to get illegal drugs across the border and don’t appear to be too discrete about it.  Case in point, a recently found large scale catapult, like in the times of King Arthur, was found at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“It looks like a medieval catapult that was used back in the day,” Tucson sector Border Patrol spokesman David Jimarez said.

The catapult, 9 feet high, was capable of slinging 4.4 lbs. of marijuana at a time. The contraption was mounted on a trailer and was hauled right up to a metal fence on the U.S. border.

The men who had been spotted testing the device managed to run off before Mexican soldiers acting on a tip from the U.S. Border Patrol arrived to the scene.

Military police confiscated 45 pounds of marijuana, an SUV and the trailer with the catapult.  It is not known how many of these catapults are in operation throughout the border. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

United States Council on Latino Affairs to Convene, Fighting Against Anti-Immigrant Initiatives

The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute is convening the U.S. Council on Latino Affairs (USCLA), considered one of the most effective advocacy coalition at the state level on behalf of the Latino community. 

USCLA members tend to be on the front lines at the local and state level fighting for in-state tuition for immigrants, driver licenses for undocumented workers, and access to education, health and human services.  They have also been on the front lines mobilizing the community in the fight against anti-Latino and anti-immigrant legislative proposals and local ordinances.

Over the last five years USHLI has been bringing together state commissions and state advisory councils in conjunction with their national conference and annual dinner.  Over 20 states have been represented at these meetings.

These state commissions and advisory councils represent an integral part of the Latino leadership community on critical issues of public policy at the local and state level and are becoming a strong voice on major issues at the national level. 

During the last 40 years state commissions have been created by legislative mandate to advise a governor and legislative leaders on issues as they may affect the Latino community in their respective states, and to help make state agencies more accessible and responsive to the needs of the Latino community. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Kmart and Sofia Vergara Launching New Lifestyle Clothing Line Arriving Fall 2011

Kmart and Latin World Entertainment Licensing today announced the launch of a new lifestyle collection by renowned actress Sofia Vergara. Sold exclusively through Kmart, the collection will embody the “Modern Family” star’s signature style of glamour and sexiness with an air of approachability.

The collection, which will include sportswear, dresses, handbags, jewelry, and footwear. Reflecting Sofia’s fashion sensibilities, the brand plans to be a modern and fresh approach to everyday style. Kmart will be the exclusive provider and marketer in the United States for all Sofia Vergara apparel, accessories and other merchandise, available at over 800 Kmart stores nationwide and Kmart.com beginning fall 2011.

Named as one of the most talented and powerful women in Hispanic entertainment today by The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, Sofia Vergara is the only Hispanic actress to begin her career on a U.S. Hispanic network and successfully cross over to the general market.

She can currently be seen every week on ABC’s six-time Emmy award-winning series, “Modern Family” and will participate in some of the most anticipated films of 2011, Columbia Picture’s “The Smurfs,” Warner Bros’ “Happy Feet,” and New Line Cinema’s “New Year’s Eve.” Recently selected by The New York Times as one of this year’s “Faces to Watch”,
Sofia was nominated this year for a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a Screen Actors Guild award for her role in “Modern Family.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Weekly Mass at Univ. of Barcelona Cancelled Due to Intimidation by Anti-Christian Protesters

Officials from the University of Barcelona, Spain have announced that its weekly Wednesday Mass will be suspended due to protests by a group of self-proclaimed “secular progressive” students.

At the beginning of November, shortly before Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Barcelona, a group of “secular progressive” students tried to boycott one of the university Masses, reported the Spanish newspaper ABC. Police then began providing security at the chapel.

On Dec. 15, some 40 students interrupted Mass at the chapel. Fr. Mosen Lluis Ramos, one of the university chaplains said, “It is sad that these kinds of boycotts” are taking place because they “prevent people from freely expressing their beliefs, and this must not be allowed.” 

Officials have decided to build a direct entrance to the campus chapel as a security measure for Catholics who wish to attend Mass without being berated and assaulted by anti-Christian groups on their way.

The university has maintained an agreement with the Archdiocese of Barcelona since 1988. The agreement ensures that an area on campus can be used for Catholic liturgies.

In the wake of the decision to suspend Mass, the university now screens those who wish to enter the chapel. Catholics must identify themselves and ask permission from university administrators. Despite these measures, some professors say they have not been allowed access to the chapel.

The anti-Catholic group on campus is made up of some 40 students and a handful of professors. “They have gotten the administration to do whatever they want so far. First they got the chapel closed and then they made it difficult to go there to pray.  It’s intolerable,” said one professor who asked not to be named.

Read more at CNA →

Arizona Declares Judicial Emergency

Arizona Declares Judicial Emergency

Photo: U.S. District Judge John M. Roll

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

This Tuesday, Arizona judges declared a judicial emergency, which allows courts to delay criminal trials up to six months due to a shortage of judges the state is currently suffering from.  The Arizona shooting that two weeks ago in Tucson that resulted in the state’s chief jurist only worsened the state’s already bad state. 

In the past two year, Arizona federal courts have seen a 65% increase in criminal cases, as well as two empty judicial spots, one of which belonged to U.S. District Judge John M. Roll who was killed in the January 8th attack in which Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was injured. 

This emergency declaration may cause a temporary delay in the case of Jared Lee Loughner, the man guilty of the aforementioned attack on Giffords and Roll. 

Judicial emergency is a tool used to allow judges to work beyond the bounds of the Speedy Trial Act for 30 days.  The last time it was used in New York City after 9/11. 

“The need to suspend the time limits is of great urgency due to a heavy criminal case load, a lack of adequate resources, and the tragic death of Chief Judge John Roll,” said Judge Roslyn O. Silver, Roll’s successor as chief judge. 

Read more at Judicial emergency declared in Arizona →

NCLR’s Thoughts on the State of the Union

What Is the State of Your Union?

Last night, NCLR watched with the rest of the country as President Obama delivered his State of the Union address.  For the second year, the president focused on our economic future, stressing the need for job creation and a strengthened economy that will restore the nation’s competitiveness. 

NCLR agrees with President Obama’s call for responsible investments by Congress that repair our economy and put the nation and future generations of Americans on sustainable economic footing.  But decisions made by the Congress and the administration should not come at the cost of strong investments in the Latino community. 

We urge President Obama to pursue a legislative agenda that provides real solutions to the challenges that plague our nation.  Tell us what you think about the president’s address.  What is the State of YOUR Union? 

Text UNION + your name + your comments to 62571.  We’ll post as many responses as we can to the NCLR website.

Our thoughts on…

Jobs and the Economy
We applaud the president’s call to invest in science, education, and technology to jump-start economic growth, but innovation relies on more than a few inventors.  True American competitiveness depends on fair access to quality workforce preparation and jobs.  Directing investments in transportation to the communities that need them most is a smart way to tackle unemployment in the short term and sow the seeds for a stronger economy in the long term.

NCLR agrees with President Obama that to be globally competitive, we must adequately prepare all American children to contribute to our economy.  Latinos are a growing proportion of the future workforce, thus federal education reform must incentivize states to improve the quality of education for Hispanic students.  Achieving this goal requires that schools be held accountable for holding all children to high academic standards and preparing them for success in college and the increasingly global economy.  However, these reforms cannot stand alone.  Congress and the Obama administration must support these efforts with strong investments in programs that support Latino student achievement.  Without these reforms, the United States will continue to shortchange children and put American competiveness at risk.

We agree with President Obama:  Congress should not repeal the health care reform legislation that passed last year, but rather improve upon it.  While not perfect, the law has already expanded health coverage for many Hispanics and contains other important provisions that stand to improve Latino health outcomes, including funding for community health centers, investment in community-based prevention efforts, and diversification of the health care workforce.  What can we do to make health care reform work for Latinos?  Fully fund the programs that will make a difference for the community.  Click here for a list of priorities that NCLR will be monitoring when the president releases his budget on February 14.

As the 112th Congress gets started, we need to continue urging members of Congress to reject the politics of division that have dominated the immigration debate and work together to find real solutions to fix our broken immigration system.  We must stand together to reject federal and state proposals that further marginalize the immigrant community and instead work toward a fair and workable immigration system that restores the rule of law.

Juvenile Justice
Latino youth need fair and equal treatment in the juvenile justice system.  The president should give attention to and stand firmly
behind polices that reduce the disproportionate contact of Latino youth with the juvenile justice system and that provide support for culturally and linguistically competent community-based prevention services and alternatives to detention.  The president and Congress should oppose overly punitive anti-gang policies and instead support policies that dissuade gang involvement by using supportive prevention programs that take into account youth’s environments.

Families have not recovered from mass foreclosures.  Troubled borrowers continue to be shuffled into a dual-track system that processes loan modification papers while their foreclosure forms are signed off at a quicker pace.  The Latino community, along with all Americans, still seeks relief from unsustainable loans, a market rife with fraud, and blatant discrepancies.  We have run out of time, and we hope that 2011 brings opportunities for creditworthy families to buy a home, better accountability measures for loan servicers, and a more effective foreclosure prevention strategy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

National Hispanic Medical Assocation Expands Efforts to Encourage Flu Shots with Key Partners

The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) will join the National Medical Association (NMA) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) in Houston, Texas, Monday, January 31st to kick off a series of Invitational Leadership Forums to be held across the country to support the “Protecting All From Flu” campaign. 

The “Protecting All From Flu Campaign,” is an effort to improve influenza vaccination rates among African Americans and Hispanics in targeted cities.  Houston was selected as one of the eight cities based on historical evidence of vaccination disparities and availability of provider networks.  “It is imperative that we join forces with the NHMA and the NMA to promote health care provider awareness regarding low vaccination rates among racial and ethnic minorities and to facilitate health care provider strategies needed to increase seasonal influenza vaccinations in targeted populations,” commented Sheila Jackson Lee.  “I am committed to working with the NHMA and NMA as well as their partners to better educate Houstonians about how they can better protect themselves and their families from the flu.”

The campaign is a public-private partnership of national, local public health, in conjunction with pharmacies, providers, community and faith-based organizations.  “Minority physicians are respected in our communities and have the trust and ability to help change behavior of their patients, in this case to obtain the flu vaccine,” stated NHMA’s President and CEO Dr. Elena Rios.

The goal of the forum is to bring national attention to this issue and to begin to promote health care provider education and strategies needed to increase seasonal influenza vaccination in minority communities.  Participants also will receive information on availability of free flu vaccination vouchers for the uninsured and underserved made possible through a partnership with Walgreens.

Key participants will include Associate Director for Research and Policy, HHS Office of Minority Health, Dr. Jamila Rashid, Regional Health Administrator, Dr. Epi Elizondo, Founding Dean of Texas A&M University, Rural School of Public Health, Ciro Sumaya, MD, MPHTM, Decrecia Robinson and Porfirio Villareal representing the Houston Department of Health & Human Services, Roy Armstrong representing Walgreens, Dr. Lovell Jones, MD representing MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Read more by HS News Staff →

ThursdayJanuary 27, 2011