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WednesdayMay 4, 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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Congressional Hispanic Caucus Adds New Members to Advisory Council

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) today announced recent additions to its 2011-12 Advisory Council, adding dedicated national leaders committed to the organization’s mission of developing the next generation of Latino leaders.

CHCI is pleased to welcome its newest 2011-12 Advisory Council members:

Steve Aguilar, State Farm Insurance

Angela Mariana Freyre, The Nielsen Company

Gerald G. Harvey, Lockheed Martin

Cindy Jimenez, United Technologies

Lonnie L. Johnson, ExxonMobil Corporation

Maria Neira, AFT

Marta Perez, AstraZeneca

Jason Rodriguez, Hewlett Packard

Julio F. Suarez, Darden Restaurants

Guillermo Valenzuela, Aliviane

Peter R. Villegas, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“We are very pleased to have such a distinguished and talented group of professionals join our advisory council to help guide CHCI forward,” said Charles A. Gonzalez, CHCI Chair.  “With the Latino population positioned to determine the future success of America, it is critical that leaders from all sectors of society join in our efforts to ensure Latino youth have opportunities to succeed through education.”

The new advisory council members join a dynamic group of Latino leaders who serve on CHCI’s Board of Directors and Advisory Council.  CHCI convened them at its inaugural joint meeting held on May 3, 2011.

The 2011-12 CHCI Executive Board:

Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez
CHCI Chair

Susan Gonzales
CHCI Vice Chair, Comcast

Benjamin Romero
CHCI Secretary

Mike Fernandez
CHCI Treasurer, Cargilll

Esther Aguilera
CHCI President & CEO

Derek E. Leon
CHCI Counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), a nonprofit and nonpartisan 501(c) (3) organization, provides leadership development programs and educational services to students and young emerging leaders.  The CHCI Board of Directors is comprised of Hispanic Members of Congress, nonprofit, union and corporate leaders. 


Read more by HS News Staff →

Men Arrested for ‘Selling’ Prostitutes from Mexico & Central America in U.S.

Men Arrested for ‘Selling’ Prostitutes from Mexico & Central America in U.S.

Photo: Mexican Prostitutes Smuggled to U.S.

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Joseph H. Hogsett, U.S. Attorney, today announced the dismantling of a criminal organization similar to those involved in the illegal importation and distribution of controlled substances—the only difference being that the product being imported and sold by this organization was the services of prostitutes.

The organization, which operated out of Indianapolis over the course of several years, was headed by three brothers who procured prostitutes, some of whom were smuggled into the United States from Mexico and Central America. Another group of individuals acted as managers of the locations where the prostitutes conducted business.

The organization maintained and operated houses of prostitution in multiple states—including Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio—and caused the prostitutes to move between these houses on a near-weekly basis.

The organization operated primarily in the Hispanic community and advertised its services by distributing business cards bearing advertisements and telephone numbers for auto repair or western wear outfitters. These business cards were known within the Hispanic community as contact numbers for arranging appointments with prostitutes. Each such appointment, referred to as a “ticket,” cost between $40 and $50.

The complaint alleges that the criminal organization was primarily controlled by brothers Jose Louis Hernandez-Castilla, Norberto Hernandez-Castilla, and Gregorio Hernandez-Castilla.

The complaint further alleges that the houses of prostitution were managed by Hector Elizalde-Hernandez, Javier Aguilera-Sanchez, Fredy Arnulfo Valle-Soto, Jorge Armando Rodriguez-Sanchez, Jose Mejia, Santos Nunez, and Elvin Herrara.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Understanding the Illinois DREAM Act (SB 2185)

Understanding the Illinois DREAM Act (SB 2185)

Photo: The Illinois DREAM Act currently sits in the Illinois Senate

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For 10 years, universities, business leaders, community groups, and immigrants have urged Congress to pass the DREAM Act. DREAM would enable undocumented students – brought to the US as children – to earn legal status by continuing their education or serving in the military. Roughly 95,000 Illinois youths would have benefited from DREAM. Congress fell short of passing DREAM in December 2010.

While the State of Illinois cannot offer these students legal status, we can and should take small steps to ensure that everyone in our state has an opportunity to learn. That’s why we are proposing the Illinois DREAM Act.

NOTE: NO NEW STATE DOLLARS WILL BE USED by this bill. The Scholarship is private dollars; drivers certificates funded by fees; volunteer commission will handle educating counselors.

Here’s what the Illinois DREAM Act Would Do:

  * Good information. DREAM youths too often get incorrect information from high school counselors and college admissions officers regarding their college options. This bill would encourage these counselors and officers receive regular training regarding educational opportunities for immigrant youths. Having accurate information would give DREAM youths the hope they need to continue their educations and help reduce the rates of high school dropouts.

  * Education Access. Many qualified DREAM students do not have the financial resources to pursue college—and as a result their talents are wasted. An estimated 65% of DREAM youths come from households that earn below 200% of the poverty line. The Illinois DREAM Act would establish a privately-funded Illinois DREAM Fund, administered by a volunteer state commission, to make scholarships available to undocumented students at no cost to taxpayers. The bill would also open up college savings programs and prepaid tuition programs to all Illinois residents, so that the families of DREAM students will be better able to pay for tuition.

  * Driver’s Certificates. To enable DREAM students to get to and from school, the Illinois DREAM Act would enable them to get driver’s certificates. These certificates would have the added benefit of getting these youths tested and insured, reducing the number of uninsured drivers and reducing insurance rates for other drivers.

  * Illinois DREAM Commission. In addition to administering and fundraising for the Illinois DREAM Fund, this commission would monitor implementation of other parts of this law and research the needs of DREAM youths as they make their way through college.

“It is our duty to prepare the next generation for lives of service and achievement… When one segment of our community is cut off from educational and career opportunities, it is our duty to act… We call upon our state legislators and Governor Quinn to join with us to advance an Illinois DREAM Act during this legislative session.” - - Excerpt from a joint statement issued by 9 Illinois University Presidents in favor of the Illinois DREAM Act

Read more at Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights →

Spain’s El Hierro Island is Looking to Become the Greenest Place on Earth

The Easternmost of the Canary Islands is launching an innovative wind-power system that will make the island fully energy self-sufficient.

El Hierro, located some 750 miles from the Spanish mainland, is a volcanic island with little to none access to fresh water, coal or fossil fuels; for almost three decades, the 10k islanders living in El Hierro have relied on diesel fuel to power their generators.

Image This is why for several years, the island has been thinking about how to move away from fossil fuels, and build a hydro-eolic plant, to produce energy out of wind, and ocean water.

“At first, it was simply an issue of becoming more self-sufficient,” said Tomás Padrón, president of the Island Council “we were completely dependent on outside deliveries and could be cut off at a moment’s notice. But then with the global-energy crisis, and climate change, and everything else that’s happened, we’ve realized it has a lot more value.”

ImageFive windmills constructed on the northeast side of the island will power a pumping station, which pumps water from a reservoir on the lower side of the island, to a much larger one burrowed in one of El Hierro’s volcanic craters.

When the wind is not blowing, the top reservoir will release water onto the lower reservoir, and the pressure of that falling water, will power six hydraulic turbines, so in any kind of weather, the plant will be expected to provide the island with 48 GW/h (gigawatt hours) of energy, enabling the island to dsave a yearly 6,000 tons of diesel.

This project alone will enable the island to meet 100% of its energy needs by 2015, but well before that date, El Hierro will have cemented several other sustainability projects; the island is largely agricultural, and a leader in converting to organic farming, as well as creating “biodigesting” projects, which aims to convert sewage into methane and fertilizers. The island is also planning to make most of their vehicles electric (powered by excess energy from the plant).

“The whole system will be integrated,” says Javier Morales, El Hierro’s councilman for sustainability. “It’s beyond green. When the power plant and the car system interact, it will be like galaxies colliding.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

UPDATE:  Mexican Mine Explosion Leaves 5 Dead, Little Hope for 9 Missing

UPDATE:  Mexican Mine Explosion Leaves 5 Dead, Little Hope for 9 Missing

Photo: Mexico Explosion in Sabinas

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UPDATE:  The gas explosion in Sabinas, Mexico has left five dead and little hope to find the remaining nine miners alive.  The first team of rescuers sent into the mine on Tuesday quickly found three miners dead and a later search found two more bodies.  A rescue team member attempt to scale down the 197 foot deep shaft and observed that the shaft was mostly collapsed leaving little hope for the missing.

The Mexican government and officials from the mine had already sent out inquiries to Chile hoping for their own ‘rescue miracle’.  The mine is located in the coal mining region of the country and 85 miles southwest from Eagle Pass, Texas. 

The mine had just opened a little over a month ago when the tragedy happened.  Critics are already vocal criticizing the fact that the mine was not unionized and minors were found to be worker there.  A 15-year old was seriously injured when the blast happened Tuesday, he was working at a nearby conveyor belt.

ORIGINAL:  The Mayor of Sabinas, Mexico in the state of Coahuila has announced that a mine explosion that occurred earlier in the day has left 14 miners trapped inside.

The mine, which is 197 deep, is located in the heart of Mexico’s coal mining region which is 80 miles from the U.S. border.  Officials are hopeful that the miners are still alive.

Currently mining officials and Coahuila state civil officials are at the site with a 16 person rescue crew and a back up of 20 others.  Apparently methane gas remains in the mining shaft making any rescue more difficult.

The most recent mining tragedy in the region was in 2006 when 65 miners died after an explosion at the Pasta de Conchos mine.

Read more at Fox News →

Chipotle Investigation Continues With Another 30 Locations Visited by Immigration Officials

Chipotle Investigation Continues With Another 30 Locations Visited by Immigration Officials

Photo: ICE continues its investigation of Chipotle hiring practices

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Roughly 30 Chipotle Mexican Grill locations were visited by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on Tuesday, as part of a nationwide investigation into the hiring practices of the restaurant.

Restaurants in California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Minnesota were visited, as well as elsewhere.

Robert Luskin, attorney for the Denver-based restaurant group, said, “They (ICE) spoke to employees and managers and in some cases served subpoenas.”

And though ICE spokesperson Cori Bassett said that ICE does not comment on ongoing investigations, she did say that “ICE’s comprehensive worksite enforcement strategy targets criminal aliens and employers who cultivate workplaces by breaking the country’s laws and knowingly hiring illegal workers,” adding, “ICE uses all available criminal and civil tools at its disposal, including civil fines and debarment to penalize employers who knowingly break the law and deter others from doing so.”

Luskin said that Chipotle was informed of the intended visits on Monday, and said they assured that “they would do their best no to disrupt. It was not in any sense a blitz. It was an effort to collect information which we are willing to provide.”

He added that he was expecting the investigation to end favorably for Chipotle.

Read more at The Denver Post →

National Tequila Party Tour Will Kick Off in Arizona

National Tequila Party Tour Will Kick Off in Arizona

Photo: National Tequila Party

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The Tequila Party (TTP), an non-partisan movement,  will be launched in the State of Arizona which is also known as immigration ground zero to Hispanics.  The purpose of the Tequila Party tour is to encourage Latinos across the nation to participate in the upcoming 2012 elections. 

As result of millions of Latinos not coming out to the polls for elections, TTP believe’s the national tour is imperative because Latinos should be encouraged to participate in the early ballot system, and need to be consistent and better primary election voters, as well as better general election voters.

More recently, Latinos have witnessed a culture clash in Tucson, Arizona over the ethnic studies debate.  Increased hate crimes towards Latinos have elevated within the last year all over the nation.  Therefore, one of the goals of the Tequila Party Tour is to counter negative views with positive ones as Latinos celebrate their culture with festivities all over the nation thru November 2nd, 2012.

The Tequila Party will have events free and open to the public, concerts, VIP dinners with special guest speakers.  Lionel Sosa, former Hispanic advisor to Ronald Reagan will be the featured guest speaker in the State of Texas.  Lionel Sosa produced “The Children of the Revolución” which is a series airing on PBS painting immigrants in a positive light.  Many more guest speakers will be featured, and an invitation has been sent to Representative Luis Gutierrez to be the featured speaker in the State of Illinois as TTP tours Chicago. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

American Food Making Immigrants Fat as They Try to Fit In

American Food Making Immigrants Fat as They Try to Fit In

Photo: Food in America

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Immigrants to the United States and their U.S.-born children gain more than a new life and new citizenship. They gain weight. The wide availability of cheap, convenient, fatty American foods and large meal portions have been blamed for immigrants packing on pounds, approaching U.S. levels of obesity within 15 years of their move.

Psychologists show that it’s not simply the abundance of high-calorie American junk food that causes weight gain. Instead, members of U.S. immigrant groups choose typical American dishes as a way to show that they belong and to prove their American-ness.

“People who feel like they need to prove they belong in a culture will change their habits in an attempt to fit in,” said Sapna Cheryan, corresponding author and an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Washington. “If immigrants and their children choose unhealthy American foods over healthier traditional foods across their lives, this process of fitting in could lead to poorer health,” she said.

The results are published in the June issue of Psychological Science.

Public health studies show that diets of immigrants, including those from Asia, Africa and Central and South America, worsen the longer they stay in the United States.

Remembering her own self-consciousness about the healthy school lunches her mother packed for her during her childhood in Berkeley, Calif., co-author Maya Guendelman suspected that immigrants might use food as a way to appear more American. “I remember wanting lunches that would make me feel more mainstream,” said Guendelman, whose parents immigrated from Chile.

Guendelman is a psychology graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley. Benoît Monin, an associate professor of psychology at Stanford University, is also a co-author.

The researchers surveyed Asian-American and white college students to learn about embarrassing childhood food memories. Sixty-eight percent of the Asian-American respondents recalled food-related insecurities around white peers while growing up, like awkwardness about using chopsticks and the custom of eating all parts of the animal – chicken feet, fish eyes and pork head. Only 27 percent of white respondents remembered embarrassing food practices from childhood.

Then, the researchers measured whether the threat of not being identified as American had an influence on food preferences. To trigger this threat, a white experimenter asked half of the participants, “Do you speak English?” before beginning the experiment. Then the 53 participants – all English-speakers and a mix of whites and Asian-Americans – wrote down their favorite foods.

Inquiring about English skills prompted 75 percent of Asian-Americans to mention a typical American food as their favorite compared with 25 percent of Asian-Americans who had not been asked if they spoke English. White participants’ lists of favorite foods did not differ whether the experimenter asked if they spoke English or not.

Actual eating habits were affected, too. In a follow-up study, 55 Asian-Americans were asked to select a dish to eat from local Asian and American restaurants. Before making this selection, researchers told some participants: “Actually, you have to be an American to be in this study,” as a way of threatening the participants’ American identity.

The participants whose American identity was threatened chose more American dishes, such as hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches, than Asian-American participants who were not asked if they were American. Because the sampled American dishes tended to be fattier, threatened participants ended up consuming an extra 182 calories, 12 grams of fat and seven grams of saturated fat – roughly equivalent to a four-piece order of McDonald’s chicken nuggets – than participants who were not asked if they were American.

The root of the problem is social pressures, not that immigrants lack self-control when eating, Cheryan said. “In American society today, being American is associated with being white. Americans who don’t fit this image – even if they were born here and speak English – feel that pressure to prove that they’re American.”

The research was funded by the UW’s Institute for Ethnic Studies in the United States grant awarded to Cheryan and a Stanford University undergraduate major grant awarded to Guendelman.

Read more at University of Washington →

Brazilian Phenom Ronaldo Now a Hollywood Villain

Brazilian Phenom Ronaldo Now a Hollywood Villain

Photo: Ronaldo Luiz, The Phenom

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The top World Cop goal scorer will be playing a villain, opposite Juliette Lewis and Andy García.

Former Brazilian soccer player Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima will be the villain in Marcio García’s “Open Road,” as confirmed by the director himself.

After García confirmed via Twitter that Juliette Lewis was going to be the film’s lead female, the Brazilian director hinted that a “phenom” would be playing the villain.

Hours later, the director confirmed it: Ronaldo will play a villain.

García, a face dear to Brazilians for having portrayed some of the most recognizable lead male roles on TV, will begin production in Los Angeles this coming June.


Read more by HS News Staff →

“Sham University” President Indicted on 33 Counts, Including Falsifying Visa-Related Documents

“Sham University” President Indicted on 33 Counts, Including Falsifying Visa-Related Documents

Photo: Dr. Susan Xiao-Ping Su, founder and president of Tri-Valley University

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Monday, a federal grand jury has indicted a California woman on charges that she ran a fraudulent university as a front for international students looking for legal U.S. immigration status.

Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton was the front by which Dr. Susan Xiao-Ping Su, 41, charged a number of immigrant students $2,700 a semester for visa-related documents which allowed them to live and work in the U.S. with student immigrant statuses.

Authorities said Su, illegally obtained visa documents “without regard to the students’ academic qualifications or intent to pursue a course of study required to maintain a lawful immigration status.”

She was indicted on 33 counts of visa fraud, alien harboring, and number of other crimes.


Original Story:

A California university, mostly utilized by online students, is being called-out as a bogus school by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

A complaint was filed against Tri-Valley University, alleging the school’s founder and president, Dr. Susan Xiao-Ping Su was using TVU to issue visa-related documents to foreign nationals. It is alleged that Su and the sham university made millions selling student visas to anyone willing to pay

Wednesday, ICE officials raided the Silicon Valley school and also executed search warrants for three properties under Su’s name.

The ICE complaint states:

“Since its inception ... Tri-Valley University has been a sham university, which Su, and others, have used to facilitate foreign nationals in illegally acquiring student immigration status that authorizes them to remain in the United States.”

ICE’s investigation began in May of 2010, when it noticed TVU had substantially increased its number of student visas in the last year. In February 2009, TVU was approved to issue visas, and by May of that year, 11 active students had received F-1 visas. ICE became extremely suspicious though when, by May 2010, 939 students had the visas.

The complaint states that over 95 percent of the “students” were from India, and that the school gave the same apartment’s address for over half of them.

The apartment manager reportedly told ICE officials he had only ever had four university students live there and that was only from June 2007 to August 2009. He said he has had none since.

Classes were scheduled to start up again on January 10th, once the winter break was over, but that has not happened.

A current professor at TVU wishing to remain anonymous, said he was shocked to learn of the investigation, and recently received an e-mail from Su saying classes would begin again soon.

Read more at San Francisco →

Dominican Pitcher Francisco Liriano Throws First No-Hitter of the Season

Dominican Pitcher Francisco Liriano Throws First No-Hitter of the Season

Photo: Left Handed Francisco Liriano

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The Dominican Republic pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, prevented the White Sox from scoring at home, in the U.S. Cellular Field by pitching the first no-hitter of the baseball season.

Francisco Liriano y Casillas was born October 26 1983, in Juan Barón, San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic.  Liriano is basking in the glow of alot of first’s. 

Tuesday night’s was Liriano’s first complete game in 94 Major League starts; it was the first no-hitter for the Twins organization since Eric Milton accomplished the feat on September 11, 1999, against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and the seventh official no-hitter for the franchise.  And of course the first no-hitter of the new 2011 baseball season.



Read more by HS News Staff →

Lorenzo Lamas Asks Daughter, 25, For Blessing to Marry Wife #5, Shawna Craig, 24

Lorenzo Lamas Asks Daughter, 25, For Blessing to Marry Wife #5, Shawna Craig, 24

Photo: Lorenzo Lamas (-Craig) and his now-5th wife Shawna Craig

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Actor Lorenzo Lamas took the wedding plunge for the 5th time on April 30. The wedding took place on a beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Lamas wore a black shirt and white pants, while the bride was married in a traditional white gown.

Though, before he traded vows with his 24-year-old bride, Lamas, 53, reportedly asked his daughter Shayne Lamas, 25, for her blessing.

“They are both really excited and seem very much in love,” Shayne said, “so they of course have my blessing.”

Shayne is Lamas’ daughter with Michele Cathy Smith. Shayne was previously engaged to Matt Grant after being chosen during ABC’s 12th season of The Bachelor, but after just a few months, the couple split. She is now married and having a baby with TheDirty.com’s creator Nik Richie. The two met in Las Vegas, and less than 12 hours later were married.

Lorenzo proposed to the 24-year-old just three months into the relationship, and is even taking her name. While he claimed he’s just looking for afresh start, others point to a more practical reason.

His fourth wife, Playboy Playmate Shauna Sands, had legally changed her name to Shauna Lamas when they wed, and even after the divorce, she kept the name.

So if wife #5, Shawna Craig, takes the Lamas surname, she would become the second Shawna Lamas, only differentiated the names by spelling.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shakira Caught at a Strip-School in Spain (VIDEO)

Shakira Caught at a Strip-School in Spain (VIDEO)

Photo: Shakira in Stripping Classes?

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Is this how she prepares her choreography, or is she planning something naughty reward for Piqué for making it to the Champions Final?

Paparazzi in Spain caught the Colombian singer as she entered Barcelona’s “Strip-Art” dance studio owned by Chiqui Marti, a known stripper.

Shakira went into the establishment accompanied by her brother and manager Tonino, who, in his effort to conceal his sister’s identity, made a fool of himself several times; He drove onto the sidewalk twice (in Piqué’s SUV), shattering the tile both times, then using an umbrella to shield his sister for the 4 feet walk, and finally pushed a camera girl, who reprimanded him.

Shakira didn’t say a word, and nobody is sure if this is where the Colombian star learned her moves, or if she was just brushing up a few skills to treat Piqué to a Champions boogie-woogie-waka-waka-eh-eh-oh.


Read more by HS News Staff →

India Seeks to Expand Trade with Latin America, Special Focus on Uruguay’s Agri-Business

India Seeks to Expand Trade with Latin America, Special Focus on Uruguay’s Agri-Business

Photo: Agriculture in Uruguay

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India’s Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Shri Jyotiraditya M Scindia emphasized the need to deepen engagement with Latin America by expanding the existing trade agreement with MERCOSUR.  Mercosur is a trade and political agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Since Uruguay will be the next President of the MERCOSUR bloc. “It is important that the leaders on both sides proactively take steps to expedite completion of the process for expansion of the PTA agreement”, Shri Scindia said.

Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia who chairs a committee to promote trade and investment with Latin America, reached Uruguay in the second leg of his Latin American Tour after successful visit to Brazil.

The Minister highlighted the complementarities and similarities between India and Uruguay. He elaborated upon India’s growth story, especially in the sectors of Telecom, Human skills, India´s demographic dividend and trade. He invited businessmen and entrepreneurs from Uruguay to come to India and explore the opportunities available there, especially in the agricultural sector.

During his meeting with the Uruguay Foreign Minister Mr Luis Leonardo Almagro Lemas, Shri Scindia said that the trade between the two countries needs to touch the USD 1 billion mark from Current levels of USD 110 million.)

Read more at Public Ministry of India →

ACLU Challenges Utah’s Immigration “Show Me Your Papers” Law

ACLU Challenges Utah’s Immigration “Show Me Your Papers” Law

Photo: Utah Sued for Immigration Law

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The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Utah, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olsen filed a class action lawsuit today charging that Utah’s recently passed law, HB 497, like Arizona’s notorious SB 1070, authorizes police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops, invites racial profiling of Latinos and others who appear “foreign” to an officer and interferes with federal law.

“America is not a ‘show me your papers’ country. No one should be subject to investigation, detention and arrest without any suspicion of criminal activity,” said Cecillia Wang, managing attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Utah’s law violates the Constitution and we are confident that we will prevent it from taking effect.”

The lawsuit charges that the Utah law is unconstitutional in that it unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution; authorizes and requires unreasonable seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment; restricts the constitutional right to travel freely throughout the United States; violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by unlawfully discriminating against certain lawful immigrants as well as people in Utah without approved identify documents; and violates the Utah state constitutional guarantee of uniform operation of the laws.

Several prominent law enforcement officials, including Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank, oppose the law because it undermines trust and cooperation between local police and immigrant communities. Burbank and other officers have expressed concerns that the law diverts limited resources away from law enforcement’s primary responsibility to provide protection and promote public safety in the community.

The lawsuit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah on behalf of civil rights, labor, social justice and business organizations, including Utah Coalition of La Raza, Service Employees International Union, Latin American Chamber of Commerce, Workers’ United Rocky Mountain Joint Board, Centro Civico Mexicano, Coalition of Utah Progressives, individually named plaintiffs who would be subject to harassment or arrest under the law and a class of similarly situated people.

Read more at ACLU Utah →

San Ysidro Border Crossing to Expand Under Presidential Permit, Is Busiest in U.S.

San Ysidro Border Crossing to Expand Under Presidential Permit, Is Busiest in U.S.

Photo: San Ysidro border crossing

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In order to help develop a modernized U.S.-Mexico border that promotes both economic competitiveness and enhanced security, the Department of State has issued a Presidential permit for the expansion and reconfiguration of the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego, California.

Under Executive Order 11423, as amended, the Secretary of State may issue Presidential permits for international border crossings after finding that they will be in the national interest. This particular permit grants the General Services Administration (GSA) authorization to expand, renovate, and maintain the San Ysidro vehicle and pedestrian border crossing.

The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, established over 35 years ago, is the busiest in the Western Hemisphere. However, its configuration is insufficient for current needs. The Presidential permit authorizes a three phase project that will build new lanes and inspection booths for vehicles and additional space for processing pedestrian traffic. The project will expedite vehicle inspections while simultaneously reducing traffic congestion and pollution in communities on both sides of the border.

Issuing the San Ysidro Presidential permit is just one of many steps the Department of State has taken, in concert with other U.S. government agencies and the government of Mexico, to develop needed infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico border. In January 2010, for example, the United States and Mexico inaugurated the Anzalduas International Bridge at McAllen, Texas, and Reynosa, Mexico, the first new U.S.-Mexico border crossing in over a decade.

In November 2010 the United States and Mexico opened a new commercial border crossing at San Luis, Arizona, and in December the two countries inaugurated a new bridge between Donna, Texas, and Rio Bravo, Mexico. In January, the State Department issued a Presidential permit authorizing GSA to expand and reconfigure the Mariposa commercial crossing in Nogales, Arizona. These and other ongoing improvements to border infrastructure will expedite trade and enhance the safety and security of our border with Mexico.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Boat on San Diego Beach Leads to Seizure of Large-Scale Human Smuggling Operation

Boat on San Diego Beach Leads to Seizure of Large-Scale Human Smuggling Operation

Photo: Human Smuggling Operation in San Diego Beach

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A key figure in a large-scale maritime human smuggling organization and three alleged are facing charges, that began with the discovery of an abandoned vessel on a San Diego County beach and culminated six hours later with the arrest of the boat’s illegal alien passengers in Anaheim, Calif.

The smuggling investigation, leading to the arrests, shifted into high gear about 7 a.m. Friday, after the Carlsbad Police Department located an abandoned panga-style boat near Ponto Beach in Carlsbad, Calif. Local authorities alerted federal agents from the Los Angeles Border Enforcement Security Task Force (LA BEST) and U.S. Border Patrol, who had been tracking the movements of this smuggling organization for several weeks.

According to investigators, a van believed to belong to the organization, was parked in a coastal neighborhood in Rancho Palos Verdes, Thursday night, but agents suspended surveillance when the vehicle left at sunrise without picking up any passengers. Investigators say the Ensenada-based vessel which came ashore in Carlsbad was originally supposed to make landfall farther north. However, the smugglers had to abort the plan after the boat developed engine trouble.

Upon receiving information about the boat landing in Carlsbad, agents with the LA BEST and Border Patrol resumed surveillance on the cargo van, ultimately tracking it to an apartment building in Anaheim, Calif. When investigators entered the residence, they encountered nine illegal aliens from Mexico whose clothes were still wet and caked with sand from the morning’s boat landing. Agents also detained four alleged members of the smuggling ring, including one of the organization’s suspected leaders.

Those charged in the case are:

  * Mario Echeverria, 24, a naturalized U.S. citizen residing in Tijuana, Mexico. Echeverria is suspected of being one of the ringleaders of the maritime smuggling organization;
  * Javier Gomez-Dominguez, 30, of Mexico, the alleged caretaker of the Anaheim drop house;
  * Jose Sevilla, 26, of Mexico, the suspected captain of the smuggling boat; and
  * Fernando Medina-Gonzalez, 43, of Mexico, the alleged smuggling-boat navigator and fuel man.

The defendants are charged with the criminal complaint of conspiring to bring, transport and harbor illegal aliens. The violation carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Officials with the Department of Homeland Security say Friday’s events offer further evidence that maritime human smuggling has expanded from the San Diego area into Orange and Los Angeles counties. In recent months, suspected human smuggling boats have come ashore as far north as Malibu.


Read more by HS News Staff →

WednesdayMay 4, 2011