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SundayMay 8, 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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President Obama This Week to Deliver Keynote Address at National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast

President Obama This Week to Deliver Keynote Address at National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast

Photo: National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast

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Esperanza, one of the nation’s largest faith-based Hispanic organizations, announced today that President Barack Obama will deliver the keynote address at the Ninth National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, May 12, in Washington, D.C. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will speak at the Prayer Breakfast, as well.

“We are honored to have President Obama, who has a long history of supporting the rights and concerns of Hispanic Americans, to speak at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast,” said Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr., president of Esperanza. “This year, with so much at stake in the United States and around the world, we come together in prayer and to celebrate and advocate for Hispanic Americans.”

The Breakfast will begin at 7 a.m. at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

The 2011 National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference May 10-12 brings clergy of different denominations and leaders of Latino community-based organizations to Washington, D.C. for the Prayer Breakfast, as well as the State of Hispanic Housing Dinner, the Esperanza Partners & Awards Dinner, and for advocacy training and Capitol Hill visits.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pope Names Miami Auxiliary Bishop Estévez as Bishop of St. Augustine, Florida

Pope Names Miami Auxiliary Bishop Estévez as Bishop of St. Augustine, Florida

Photo: Miami Auxillary Bishop Felipe de Jesus Estevez named as bishop of St. Augustine

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Pope Benedict XVI has named Miami Auxiliary Bishop Felipe de Jesús Estévez, 65, as bishop of St. Augustine, Florida, to succeed Bishop Victor Benito Galeone, 75, and accepted Bishop Galeone’s resignation from the pastoral governance of the diocese.
The appointment and resignation acceptance were publicized in Washington, April 27, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Felipe de Jesús Estévez was born on February 5, 1946, in Cuba. He came to the United States through Operation Peter Pan, which brought 14,000 unaccompanied minors from Cuba and finished his high school studies in Indiana.
He holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Montreal University, a Master of Arts degree from Barry University and a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
He was ordained a priest in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1970. He was a member of the Canadian Society of Foreign Missions and was a missionary in Honduras until 1975. He was received into the Miami Archdiocese in 1975, and incardinated there in 1979. He was made a prelate of honor, with the title “Monsignor” in 1981, and named an auxiliary bishop of Miami in 2003.
Assignments in the Miami Archdiocese included faculty member, St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary, 1975-1977; studies at the Institute for Spirituality, Gregorian University, 1977-1980; rector, St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary, 1980-1986; pastor, St. Agatha Parish, Miami, and director of campus ministry at Florida International University, Miami, 1987-2001. He was dean of spiritual formation, St. Vincent De Paul Seminary, 2001-2003.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil Becomes Sixth Latin American Country to Recognize Same Sex Civil Unions

Brazil Becomes Sixth Latin American Country to Recognize Same Sex Civil Unions

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Brazil became the largest country to recognize same sex civil unions this week. On Thursday, the Supreme Court unanimously voted to recognize same sex civil unions in an effort to promote equality and decrease violence against the gay population.

Brazil became the sixth country in Latin America to recognize gay civil unions, joining Colombia, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Argentina and Mexico City.

The Supreme Court Ruling allows for same sex couples to share inheritances, pensions, health plans and have a legal route to divide belongings after a separation.

Read more at UPI →

Napolitano Calls for Federal Immigration Reform- Not State Level Legislation

Napolitano Calls for Federal Immigration Reform- Not State Level Legislation

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In a speech at the Atlanta Press Club Saturday, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the federal government, not states, should write immigration laws.

“This is what (President Barack Obama) has said and I’ve been saying, state by state won’t cut it,” Napolitano said. “It’s got to be a federal reform of immigration laws.”

Napolitano believes that states are drafting their own immigration legislation because an “underlying frustration that this has not yet been dealt with at the national level, which is really where it should be dealt with so that there is national consistency where immigration is concerned.”

Napolitano would not comment on Georgia’s Arizona like anti immigration bill HB 87. Georgia governor Nathan Deal has said he will sign the new bill into law. The bill creates new requirements to ensure workers are eligible to be employed in the US and also gives police authority to investigate the immigration status of some suspects.

Read more at UPI →

UPDATE:  All 14 Bodies Recovered from Mexican Mine

UPDATE:  All 14 Bodies Recovered from Mexican Mine

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UPDATE: Rescue crews have recovered all the bodies from the coal mine in Northern Mexico, putting the final death toll at 14.

Mexican Labor Secretary Javier Lozano says the rescue phase has ended and the government will start a rigorous investigation into mine safety in Mexico.
The last body was found early Sunday and was that of a 38-year-old miner.

Original-Rescuers have discovered 4 bodies from the Mexican coal mine that suffered an explosion this past week bring the number to 11 bodies that have been removed so far.

Javier Lozano says at this point—more than four days after the blast—there is no hope of finding alive the remaining miners trapped inside.

Three miners remain inside the mine.

The mine had been operating for only 20 days and had 25 workers who were not unionized, Lozano said.

He described such small, makeshift coal mines as “unsafe places,” calling them “irregular, deadly traps, as we are seeing.”

Read more at CNN →

Florida’s Anti-immigration Bills Are Dead As Session Ends

Florida’s Anti-immigration Bills Are Dead As Session Ends

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On Florida,  anti-immigration bills, SB 2040 and HB 7098, died as the legislative session winds to an end in Florida.

The Miami Herald has the obituary:

The fierce fight to crack down on illegal immigration ended — for this year — in the Florida Legislature on Friday when House and Senate lawmakers reached the end of the 60-day session without an agreement.

State senators signed off on their more lenient proposal on Wednesday. But by then, it was too late for the House to take up the measure.

SB 2040 and HB 7098 allowed police to act as immigration officials and verify the immigration status of people they take into custody. The bills also required employers to corroborate job applicants’ immigration status through the federal e-verify program. These controversial bills were met with much opposition by different sectors of the community leaving Florida legislators in a very vulnerable position.

Florida legislators have been under tremendous pressure and scrutiny this past week after the Latino community, business and agriculture industries and immigration rights advocates all came out in strong opposition to the bills and demanded the bills be stopped. Florida’s economy can’t afford an immigration law, much less an anti-immigrant law. The unintended consequences to a state that relies heavily on tourism and investment would be devastating. 

On April 20th immigrant rights advocates began running ads against Latino members of the state legislature that supported these immigration bills. The ads aired on several Spanish language radios for over a week.  These ads targeted Senator Anitere Flores, the original sponsor of SB 2040, and Representative Carlos López-Cantera, at the time a strong supporter of HB 7098.

The ads echoed that anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic bills hurt, but they hurt even more when they come from or are supported by one of our own. In response to the ads, Rep. López-Cantera clarified his position and spoke against immigration bills in Florida. He said Florida isn’t Arizona and doesn’t need an Arizona type law. Sen. Anitere Flores eventually withdrew from SB 2040 and explained she was no longer behind SB 2040 and would not support an Arizona style bill for Florida either.

The ads asked Sen. Flores and Rep. López-Cantera whether supporting these immigration bills was worth betraying their communities. Evidently, the response was NO.  The Latino community made it clear, Latino lawmakers won’t be allowed to support a bill that would be harmful to the immigrant population.

The defeat of SB 2040 and HB 7098 is a great victory for immigrant rights advocates, faith, business and agriculture leaders who worked so hard with the Hispanic Community to ensure the anti-immigrant, harmful bills did not pass.

Yesterday, Politico noted the role of the Hispanic community in the defeat of the Arizona-like bills:

A targeted radio campaign by the group Democracia Inc. and its allies may have caused two Hispanic Florida Republicans to back away from their support of a controversial immigration bill.

Sen. Anitere Flores and House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera were both targets of a Spanish-language ad buy against the bill that questioned both their commitments to the Hispanic community — and both quickly backed down in the face of community pressure.

“Sen. Anitere Flores is sponsoring an anti-immigrant law that will affect not only undocumented immigrants, but all of us who are immigrants or refugees and who prefer to speak Spanish. It’s a law like the one in Arizona that has been called “discriminatory” by groups representing us” said the narrator in the ad against Flores. “An anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic law hurts, but it hurts more when it is one of us who is sponsoring it.”

No immigration bill will pass in the state of Florida, at least not for now. However, we’re not out of the woods forever. Florida doesn’t need an immigration bill and the mere possibility of one tarnishes the appeal of the state for both tourism and business investments.

The question Florida legislators should ask themselves next time they think of introducing an immigration bill should be: Is passing an immigration bill in Florida worth ruining the states’ economy and reputation? Is it worth throwing the Latino community on your back? – Think about it.

We did, the answer was NO.

Read more at Americas Voice →

Brazilian Police Arrest Serbian Gang Operating Throughout Country

Brazilian Police Arrest Serbian Gang Operating Throughout Country

Photo: Brazil Drug Bust

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A growing problem in South America has been the infiltration of foreign cartels moving into the region and using it as a corridor to move the continents cocaine to Europe and elsewhere. Sixteen members of a Serbian gang were arrested earlier this week police confirmed on Friday. They were arrested near Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina and Sao Paulo.

Serbia’s justice minister has confirmed that two of those arrested are on their countries most wanted list.

“Brazil is used as a two-way corridor by drug traffickers who receive export-quality drugs from Colombia and Peru and ship it out to Africa for transshipment to Europe and Asia,” Walter Maierovitch, Brazil’s former drug czar said. “Brazil is also the only country in Latin America that produces the chemicals needed to convert coca leaves into paste.”

Read more at msnbc →

Arpaio Denies Being “Asleep at the Wheel” as Charges Mount

Arpaio Denies Being “Asleep at the Wheel” as Charges Mount

Photo: Joe Arpaio

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It has not been a easy couple weeks for the counties “Meanest Sheriff.” In the last couple of weeks, Maricopa County’s Joe Arpaio has had the following accusations made:

1.) An internal affairs investigation revealed abuse and mismanagement.
2.) Arizona’s Attorney General exposed potentially illegal campaign activity.
3.) A county budget probe determined that the sheriff’s office misspent $99 million in taxpayer money.

The internal affairs report has led to the firing or resignation of three members of Arpaios command staff, including his longtime chief deputy, David Hendershott.

Hendershott started working for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in 1978. He retired in 1999 but was soon rehired as Arpaio’s number two—allowing him to collect a salary as a civilian employee as well as his county retirement benefits.

Arpaios defense is that he was “unaware” of the legal activity happening during his watch. How much did the head of the 3,400-person sheriff’s department know about wrongdoing by his employees and how directly was he involved? The probes are hoping to clarify this.

“It defies common sense that Joe did not know,” said former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, a Republican and long-time critic of Arpaio. “It’s almost comical—the public ultimately should not stand for it.”

Romley said he was surprised there hasn’t been more of a public uproar over the recent findings about the apparent misuse of taxpayer dollars, abuse of power and possible illegal campaign activities.

“He [Hendershott] let me down and the entire sheriff’s office,” Arpaio said during Tuesday’s press conference. “I heard some critics say that either I have been asleep at the wheel or I’m simply incompetent. I assure you that I’m neither. No one is beyond being fooled by people placed in a position of trust,” he said, adding that Hendershott was solely responsible for his unethical behavior.

Read more at New America Media →

Join us This and Every Sunday At HS-News Open Mic

Join us This and Every Sunday At HS-News Open Mic

Photo: Introducing This Week FueraDeQuicio

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Juan Laverde, Open Mic, fuera de quicio


Artist: Fuera De Quicio
Song: Candelita
Band Members: Carlos Miguel Varona: Vocals
Luís Fernando Montenegro: Bass
Freddy Marín: Guitar
Damián Chávez: Drums.
Juan Pablo Bonilla: Percussion.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Calls for Moratorium on “Secure Communities” Deportation Program

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Calls for Moratorium on “Secure Communities” Deportation Program

Photo: Say No to Secure Communities Program

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Following a chorus of growing criticism over the President’s Secure Communities (S-Comm) policy, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus delivered a letter to the White House calling on the Administration to place a moratorium on the program that “is not living up to its name,” according to the Caucus.

Secure Communities (SCOMM) was initially described as a program to identify and deport immigrants found guilty of serious crimes.  The program enlists local police into federal immigration enforcement by screening all fingerprints of those booked in local jails through the federal ICE database.  Data revealed through a federal lawsuit filed by civil rights groups shows the program fails to live up to its stated intention, as the program deports large groups of people without any convictions or convicted of only minor offenses.  According to the CHC letter,  “Evidence reveals not only a striking dissonance between the program’s stated purpose of removing dangerous criminals and it’s actual effect; it also suggests that S-Comm may endager the public, particularly among communities of color…”

Lawmakers in Congress and in states throughout the country say ICE officials lied about program details and requirements at its early stages.  Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California has described the implementation of the program as “dissembling and deceiving” and has called for an Inspector General (IG)  investigation with the support of Senator Menendez.  The call is reminiscent of another IG report on SCOMM’s predecessor, the 287(g) program made famous by Joe Arpaio in Arizona, which showed a program riddled with flaws that was too broken to be fixed. 

On May 4th, the Governor of Illinois terminated his state’s participation in the program.  In California, Assemblyman Ammiano introduced the TRUST Act to reform and regulate the program.  In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, large scale rallies have taken place in opposition to the program. 

Thus the Caucus states, “We appreciate and steadfastly support your efforts to reform broken immigration laws and to strengthen national security and public safety.  Unfortunately, neither of these goals are served or advanced by the S-Comm policy in its current form…

We are not convinced the program is achieving its stated goals, and we see nothing in the management and oversight of S-Comm that convinces us that these risks have been adequately addressed in the latest incarnation of local police immigration enforcement…

For these reasons, we request an immediate freeze of S-Comm pending a thorough review.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Glenn Beck Utterly Clueless About Tucson Ethnic Studies Program

Glenn Beck Utterly Clueless About Tucson Ethnic Studies Program

Photo: Glen Beck

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While once again demonizing a Mexican-American studies program in Tucson, Arizona, Glenn Beck falsely claimed that the program is “mandatory.” Enrollment in the class has always been voluntary.

Beck Falsely Claims Ethnic Studies Is “Mandatory” In Tucson

Beck: Tucson Ethnic Studies Program Is Currently “Mandatory.” From the May 5 edition of Glenn Beck:

If you remember, I told you the story last week after a Tucson school board meeting got a little out of hand before it ever got underway. School officials had the nerve to suggest that teaching children to try to reclaim American land from Mexico is a kind of a questionable concept. Not of course questionable enough to cancel the class. No, no, no. Just questionable enough to make sure the class is an elective rather than mandatory. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 5/5/11, ]

Fact: Enrollment In The Ethnic Studies Program Is Voluntary

Christian Science Monitor: “Students Don’t Have To Take” Ethnic Studies Courses. The Christian Science Monitor reported:

In the meantime, the Tucson district has proposed changing the program. Currently, Mexican-American courses can help satisfy the social-studies requirement for graduation (although students don’t have to take the courses to fulfill the requirement). Under the proposal, the Mexican-American classes would not count toward the social-studies requirement and would instead be electives. Six-and-a-half elective credits are needed for graduation. [The Christian Science Monitor, 5/4/11]

Students: Classes Are “Voluntary,” Not “Forced On Us.” The Arizona Daily Star reported:

During the press conference, Horne said students in the class had been indoctrinated, something students said was offensive. They said the critical thinking encouraged in class gave a name to the racism and sexism they say they already experience daily. The classes are voluntary and open to all students, they said.

“They weren’t forced on us,” said Jose Estrella, 18, a graduate of Rincon High School who made the “Tom Horne needs a hug” sign. “We wanted them.” [The Arizona Daily Star, 6/13/08, via Nexis]

Education Week: Students “Sig[n] Up” For Mexican-American Studies Class. Education Week reported:

In the midst of an attempt by Arizona’s legislature and top education official to shut down ethnic-studies courses in the Tucson Unified School District, students here at Tucson High Magnet School are flocking to the courses this school year.

At least one class in two of the courses taught from a Mexican-American perspective at this school have more than 45 students, although the union contract calls for no more than 35 students in a class. School district officials say enrollment in Mexican-American studies in Tucson Unified’s 14 high schools has nearly doubled since last school year, from 781 to 1,400 students.

“Ethnic studies allow me to read and view and analyze different forms of literature and learning from another perspective,” said Krysta Diaz, 17, one of 386 students taking an ethnic-studies course at the school this year. The courses attract primarily students like Ms. Diaz, who are of Mexican-American heritage, but also draw in the occasional African-American, Anglo, or immigrant from a country other than Mexico.

Some students say the controversy over ethnic studies caused them to want to check out the courses for themselves. But others say they signed up to learn more about social justice generally or Mexican-American culture and history specifically.


In a recent discussion in Mr. Acosta’s class, Mr. Figueroa said a more diverse group of students should be recruited to ethnic studies. He took a step toward that goal himself by persuading his best friend, Nasrat Malekzai, 18, to enroll in Latino literature. Mr. Malekzai is an immigrant from Russia and a member of Afghanistan’s Pashtun minority.

For his part, Mr. Malekzai said, he chose to enroll in Latino literature rather than regular senior English because he wanted to learn more about Mexican-American culture. After all, he said, he’s “surrounded” by Mexican-Americans at school. “The class has opened my eyes,” he said. [Education Week, 9/22/10, via Nexis]
Beck Previously Claimed Tucson Class “Separated People” By Race

Beck: “This Is A Class That Separated People. ... If You Were Mexican, You’d Go Into That Class.” From Glenn Beck’s radio show:

BECK: These students are angry, and they are pounding on the—they’ve taking over the council chambers. And they’re sitting where the council sits. And they are protesting that the class is being reconsidered. It’s Mexican studies or whatever, and they want to restore it. This is a class that separated people, so you would be—if you were Mexican, you’d go into that class. If you weren’t, you would stay in the other. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 4/28/11]

But Classes Are Open To All Students

NY Times: Classes Are “Open To Any Student” At Tucson School. The New York Times reported:

Although open to any student at Tucson High Magnet School, nearly all of those attending Curtis Acosta’s Latino literature class on a recent morning were Mexican-American.

For all of that and more, Mr. Acosta’s class and others in the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American program have been declared illegal by the State of Arizona—even while similar programs for black, Asian and American Indian students have been left untouched. [The New York Times, 1/7/11]

Even A Critic Acknowledged That “The Mexican American Studies Program Is Not Populated Exclusively By Students Of Hispanic Background.” Tom Horne, then the Arizona superintendent of public instruction, who has said that the program is illegal, wrote:

The Mexican American Studies program is not populated exclusively by students of Hispanic background. Other students attend the course. However, the percentage of students in the course that are of Hispanic background greatly exceeds their overall percentage in the relevant schools. [Finding by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction of Violation by Tucson Unified School District Pursuant to A.R.S. 15-112(B), 12/30/10]

And Education Experts Oppose Efforts To Shut Down Ethnic Studies Programs

La Prensa: Education Experts Oppose Legislative Efforts To Shut Down Tucson Program. La Prensa San Diego reported that educators “across the state” opposed the law targeting the Tucson ethnic studies program and that backers of the program say that students participating in the program “have a 100 percent graduation rate and go on to college.” La Prensa also reported, “The Anti-Defamation League of Arizona threw its weight in support of the Tucson program in a statement issued last week.”

[La Prensa San Diego, 5/28/10, via Nexis]

NY Times: Officials “Say Those Enrolled In The Program Do Better On State Tests.” The New York Times reported that Tucson officials “say those enrolled in the program do better on state tests than those of the same ethnicity who are not enrolled.” [The New York Times, 1/7/11]

Read more at Media Matters →

Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) Recognizes Pres. Calderon and C. Conde

Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) Recognizes Pres. Calderon and C. Conde

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The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) announced today that it will be presenting its International Leadership Award to the President of Mexico, His Excellency Felipe Calderón and its Corporate Leadership Award to Cesar Conde, President of Univision Networks. These awards are in recognition of their respective contributions to the positive advancement of the U.S. Hispanic Community, which is now the nation’s second largest demographic group, the largest minority according to 2010 Census results, and the second largest economic market with an estimated purchasing power of more than $1 trillion.

“We are honored to salute and recognize President Felipe Calderon of Mexico for his courageous fight for the rule of law in his country.  President Calderon has earned the admiration of all Hispanics,” said Lincoln Díaz-Balart (FL), CHLI Board Chairman and former member of Congress.

Previous CHLI leadership award recipients include President Ma Ying-jeou of the Republic of China (Taiwan), former Prime Minister of Spain Jose María Aznar, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert, Senator Robert Menéndez (NJ), former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez, Senator Lindsey Graham (SC), and U.S. Congressman Mike Pence.  CHLI’s annual gala will take place on May 11, 2011 in Washington, D.C., and will include the presence of numerous Members of Congress from both political parties.

“The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute is bestowing its 2011 CHLI Corporate Leadership Award to Cesar Conde, for his exemplary leadership on critical issues to the Hispanic community, the largest minority group in the United States.  Cesar Conde is a role model for all Hispanics,” said Lincoln Díaz-Balart (FL), CHLI Board Chairman and former member of Congress.

Sponsors for the event include: Comcast/Telemundo; General Electric, Heineken USA; Altria; AT&T; Carnival Foundation; Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation; Dell; Azteca America, Banco Popular; Coca-Cola Company; Computer Science Corporation; Ford Motor Company; Kraft; National Association of Broadcasters; Oracle; PepsiCo; Pfizer; PG&E; Toyota North America; Wal-Mart; and Western Union.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Luis Fonsi Honored by St. Judes Hospital

Luis Fonsi Honored by St. Judes Hospital

Photo: Luis Fonsi

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Latin Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Luis Fonsi has been giving back to his community for many years, and next week he’ll receive a distinguished honor from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® for his efforts. The 9th annual FedEx/St. Jude Angels & Stars Gala, presented by Trafalgar Capital Advisors, will honor Fonsi on Saturday, May 14, 2011, at 7:00 PM at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami, FL, with the 2011 “Al-Rashid Hope Award.” The award will commemorate his commitment to the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, as well as his contributions to the entertainment industry.

Since 2006, Fonsi has lent his voice and image to help the children of St. Jude. He was one of the first Latin celebrities, along with Daisy Fuentes, to adopt the mission of St. Jude as his own. In 2009, he became an official spokesperson of the Thanks and Giving® campaign, a national initiative that asks the community to ‘give thanks for the healthy kids in their lives and give to those who are not.’ In 2010, Fonsi took part in a 30-minute program for St. Jude’s “Partners in Hope” program, through which donors have the opportunity to support St. Jude throughout the year. After Fonsi visited the hospital to perform for patients, one of his greatest hits “No Me Doy Por Vencido” (I Will Not Give Up) quickly became an anthem for the children and families at St. Jude.

Professionally, Luis Fonsi has been the recipient of multiple awards at Premios lo Nuestro and Premios Juventud. In 2009, he won the Latin Grammy for Latin Artist of the Year and Billboard’s Latin Pop Airplay Song of the Year for 2010. On December 11, 2009, Fonsi was selected to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway honoring laureate President Barack Obama.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Paradox: Hispanics Live Longer—But Sicker

Latino Paradox: Hispanics Live Longer—But Sicker

Photo: Senior Hispanics

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One of the mixed blessings of our modern society is an ever-increasing life expectancy.

For people with the advantages of good health and adequate income, those extra years are a gift. But for those facing a long period of disability and poverty, old age can be more daunting than rewarding—not only for elders but for their families.

For the growing population of elderly Latinos, of whom Mexican Americans are the largest subgroup, the future is particularly uncertain. That population is projected to increase dramatically in the years to come, rising from the current 1.3 million to 14.7 million by 2050. The number of these individuals who are 85 and older—the so-called “oldest-old”—will also continue to grow.

Interestingly, despite its socioeconomic disadvantage, the Latino population as a whole actually has a higher life expectancy than its non-Latino counterparts, a phenomenon known as the “Latino paradox.” But this longevity has trade-offs: Latinos—Mexican Americans in particular—tend to spend a larger number of years with chronic health problems than their non-Latino counterparts.

Experts are still trying to solve the puzzle, but the evidence suggests a strong link between poverty, lack of education and the loss of the immigrant advantage through selective health-risk behaviors, such as smoking and fast-food diets.

A longer period of incapacitation means a greater need for assistance. Therein lies a problem that has both economic and cultural aspects.

On the economic side, many Latinos spend their working lives in low-paying jobs that preclude saving for retirement. Even those who are eligible for Social Security often receive low benefits and rely heavily on publicly funded programs, such as Medicaid, which are at risk of continuing cutbacks and restructuring.

The tight economy also affects younger Latinos with the escalating cost of living often making it difficult to support themselves and their children, much less their aging parents. The high unemployment rate for Latinos—11.3 percent in March 2011—further exacerbates the problem.

Culturally, although Latinos as a group are strongly tied to their families and place high value on intergenerational bonds, both economic realities and societal pressures are taking their toll. At a crossroads today is the time-honored tradition—and expectation—of caring for older parents at home, as opposed to placing them in a nursing home.

Who, then, will care for the booming population of elderly Latinos, particularly that large number with serious disabilities? As a sociologist who has spent many years studying the health and long-term care needs of this vulnerable population, I believe that the answer depends on how American society addresses a number of other important questions.
• Over the 15 years since our first study of the living arrangements and long-term care expectations of older Mexican Americans, the evidence that cultural tradition dictates the reliance on family for long-term care has not significantly altered. However, a larger proportion of the same group of Mexican-born and U.S.-born older adults now also cite economic and health constraints as reasons for living with family.

• Research has also shown that among those of Mexican origin, individuals who migrated to the United States as older adults have a higher life expectancy than individuals who migrated in childhood or midlife.

• As noted earlier, however, living longer does not necessarily mean living well. Balancing quality-of-life issues—including cultural preferences—with harsh economic realities will become increasingly difficult, both for families and for those who fund and carry out public assistance programs.
Returning then to the question of who will take care of Latino elders when they are no longer able to take care of themselves, I suggest that many share at least some responsibility.

One key to effective planning for the future is obtaining sound information. That knowledge may come from people ranging from family members gathering facts about available assistance to policy researchers gathering data about demographic trends to public officials gathering forecasts on the economy.

Although it is difficult to predict how current reforms in the health care and public assistance systems will affect various subgroups in the U.S. population, including the growing Mexican-American contingent, those reforms are not static. Changes will continue to be made in response to new circumstances and new information.

Jacqueline Angel is a professor of sociology and public policy at the University of Texas, Austin. She and colleagues—with the support from the National Institute on Aging—are undertaking research to develop models for reducing disparities in providing long-term care services.

Read more at New America Media →

Border Patrol Uncovers Unique Method to Smuggle Illegal Aliens into U.S.

Border Patrol Uncovers Unique Method to Smuggle Illegal Aliens into U.S.

Photo: Ilegal Alien Smuggling Inside Vehicle

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U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested two male United States citizens in Jacumba on Tuesday for smuggling four undocumented Mexican nationals in a uniquely constructed compartment in the bed of a 1997 black Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck.

At approximately 2 p.m., agents on patrol stopped the 43-year-old driver and 39-year-old passenger in a pickup truck on Old Highway 80. During questioning, agents became suspicious of the men’s nervous demeanor. A search of the vehicle revealed an opening cut into the metal wall between the passenger compartment and the bed of the truck. Subsequently, agents observed an individual attempting to conceal himself in a modified compartment. The compartment consisted of a hidden cavity built inside hollowed-out wooden construction materials lying in the bed of the truck. Agents discovered four undocumented male Mexican nationals hidden inside the compartment.

The suspected human smugglers and illegal aliens were taken into custody and transported to a local Border Patrol station for processing and further investigation. The two suspected smugglers are being held in Department of Homeland Security custody on alien smuggling charges. The vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SundayMay 8, 2011