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ThursdayMay 12, 2011

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

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

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U.S. Hispanics Driving U.S. Food Spending Growth

The food and beverage industry is counting on current research data that shows the dormant U.S. food, beverage and restaurant growth is and will be driven by the U.S. Hispanic consumer.

According to industry research authored by Latinum Nework, the Hispanic consumer accounted for more than 50 percent of real growth of U.S. consumption economy from 2005-2008.  This translated into $52 billion in value and this growth help offset an 84 percent general market decline.

More importantly Hispanics created $ 9 billion worth of new value in the industry during the same time period.  However, this market segments purchasing power should not be taken for granted.

David Wellisch, of Latinum Network noted “In order to win over this important demo, brands must make an authentic appeal to the unique behaviors and tastes of US Hispanics.”

Read more at Fruit Net →

‘The Storm That Swept Mexico’ PBS Special on the Mexican Revolution to Debut

‘The Storm That Swept Mexico’ PBS Special on the Mexican Revolution to Debut

Photo: The Storm that Swept Mexico

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THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO is a vibrant new two-hour PBS special that tells the epic story of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the first major political and social revolution of the 20th century. Fueled by the Mexican people’s growing dissatisfaction with an elitist ruling regime, the revolution produced two of the most intriguing and mythic figures in 20th century history—Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa.

THE STORM THATSWEPT MEXICO also explores how the Mexican Revolution not only changed the course of Mexican history, transforming economic and political power within the nation, but also profoundly impacted the relationships between Mexico, the U.S. and the rest of the world. 

Narrated by actor and playwright Luis Valdez, directed by Raymond Telles and written and produced by Raymond Telles and Archivist Ken Rabin, THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO will air nationally on PBS on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 10 PM (check local listings.)

THE STORM THATSWEPT MEXICO incorporates photographs and motion pictures from these earliest days of cinema, many of which have never before been seen outside of Mexico. The dramatic story of the revolution is told through interviews with a wide range of distinguished scholars from the disciplines of history, economics, literature, political science, women’s studies, and art history, as well as several veterans of the Revolution who were each over 100 years old at the time of filming.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Border Agents Killed Today are Identified by Sec. Janet Napolitano

Border Agents Killed Today are Identified by Sec. Janet Napolitano

Photo: Two Border Agents Killed Today

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Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano addressed the death of two Arizona border agents, killed earlier today in a SUV-train crash.  Reports are attributing the auto accident to the pursuit of several illegal border crossers that might of been drug smugglers.  The names of the agents had not been officially confirmed in earlier reports.

“It is with great sadness that I learned this morning that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agents Eduardo Rojas, Jr., and Hector Clark were killed earlier today in an accident near Gila Bend, Ariz. The agents were based out of CBP’s Yuma Sector and were on duty at the time of the accident. We are working closely with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and other agencies to determine the cause of the accident.

The entire DHS family expresses our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of these agents. We also keep in our thoughts and prayers all of those who put their lives at risk every day, at home and abroad, to defend our country. We honor their service and pray for their continued safety.”

Both agents were assigned to the Yuma Arizona sector and joined the federal agency in 2001 for Clark and 2000 for Rojas.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Pres. Calderon Confirms that Country Has No Plan to Make Pemex Oil Public

Mexican Pres. Calderon Confirms that Country Has No Plan to Make Pemex Oil Public

Photo: Calderon says Pemex will not go public

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Tuesday, the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon clarified that rumors of the government-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) going public are not true, but he does have plans for a second attempt at oil reform before his term ends in 2012.

Calderon stated that while there are no plans to sell shares of the Pemex, he is looking to make the company more like Norway’s Statoil, and Brazil’s Petrobras.

“(Reform) would depend on Congress and the political environment but I would like to do it before the end of my administration,” he said.

Bloomberg had reported Calderon inferred that Pemex would be listed on the stock market and sell shares, but provided no quotes from the Mexican president, leading many to speculate if that was really his plan.

Reuters wrote:

Mexico’s Congress passed a watered-down reform of Calderon’s first Pemex reform proposal in late 2008 that liberalized how the company buys goods and services.

Pemex plans to use the new contracting rules to hire international oil companies to operate some fields on its behalf in return for a fee.

Any move to make Pemex more like a private company would likely threaten tens of thousands of jobs at a time when Mexico’s electoral calendar is quickly moving towards the presidential elections in 2012.

Read more at Reuters →

Take a Peek Onto “Miss Bala,” Mexican Movie Competing in Cannes (VIDEO)

Take a Peek Onto “Miss Bala,” Mexican Movie Competing in Cannes  (VIDEO)

Photo: Stephanie Sigman in "Miss Bala"

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Take a peek onto “Miss Bala,” Mexican movie competing in Cannes.  The movie is loosely based on the life of Laura Zúñiga, a beauty queen who gets caught up in Mexico’s drug war.

Directed by Gerardo Naranjo, whose film “Drama/Mex” was featured in the critic’s week at 2006 Cannes to great acclaim, “Miss Bala” tells the story of a young woman who dreams of being a beauty queen, in a territory dominated by drug-lords.

“Miss Bala” sheds light on the violence in Mexico “without becoming morbid,” said producer Pablo Cruz. “It’s about creating awareness of what’s happening in Mexico,” he added.

Newcomers Stephanie Sigman and Noe Hernández star,  next to Irene Azuela, James Russo and José Yenque.

“Miss Bala” was filmed over six weeks in Mexico, mainly in the northwestern border city of Tijuana and the central state of Aguascalientes.

The film stars professional model Stephanie Sigman and is produced by Canana Productions – owned by actors Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal – in collaboration with FOX International Productions.

It received support from the Mexican government via the Mexican Film Institute, the National Council for Culture and the Arts and the Investment and Support Fund for the Mexican Film Industry, or Fidecine.

Guanajuato born Naranjo said that despite the fact that certain situations and themes present in the film mirror the life of Laura Zuñiga Huizar, “Miss Bala” is a work of fiction.   

“It mirrors what I feel when I see the news,” Naranjo says. “I don’t know the story of Laura, and that’s why the movie doesn’t contain her personal data. It is simply that the metaphor of a character that becomes a criminal’s pet was more than enough to create a whole story revolving around the ideas I had about fraternity among Mexicans, about how we don’t have this idea of society, and how we are abandoning one another, we don’t help each other, and well, every one it’s on its own” he added.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latinos Economically at Risk with Proposed Social Security Benefit Changes

Latinos Economically at Risk with Proposed Social Security Benefit Changes

Photo: Social Security Benefits and Latinos

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Social Security benefits are particularly important to Latinos because of their lower socioeconomic status, higher rates of disability and longer life expectancy; almost half of all Latino elders would live in poverty without Social Security benefits.

A primer study by the University of Southern California’s Institute on Aging examines the importance of Social Security to Latinos and the potential impact of changes to the Social Security system for Latino beneficiaries and their families.

Many of the current reform options—largely those that aim to reduce benefits—would be detrimental to Latinos. In 2008, 25% of Latino men and 27% of Latina women age 65 or over relied on Social Security for 90% or more of their family income.

Anything that jeopardizes the amount of their check could have devastating consequences. The large Latino working population will reach retirement age in the second half of the century; it is particularly important to Latinos that the Social Security trust funds be balanced in the long term, as a vast
majority of the Latino population will not see any benefits for decades.

Read more at University of Southern California →

Mexico May Have Mass Grave Record After Another Found in Durango

Mexico May Have Mass Grave Record After Another Found in Durango

Photo: Mass graves in Durango may set a Mexican record

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In the last month, officials in Durango, Mexico have been to the sites of a number of mass graves, adding another on Tuesday. In total, 180 bodies have been found in the colonial town.

Tuesday, investigator Jesus Salvador Romero climbed out of the latest grave site to issue a straight-forward announcement. He stated that 11 bodies had been found and “none of them had bullet wounds. None were stabbed. They all seem to have been strangled using a rope tourniquet and a stick.”

The high number of bodies has forced the local morgue to rent a refrigerated truck to store the deceased as they try to identify them.

Last month, in the northeast state of Tamaulipas, mass graves held a total of 183 bodies. Such a high number of mass killing fields has never been found in Mexico in this short a time, or in any other country in the Western Hemisphere. Worse still, is the fact that many of the bodies are likely to go unidentified. In the last month, a Reforma journalist determined that 156 mass graves have been uncovered since President Calderon took office in 2006. Though mass graves are not new, where they only used to hold a dozen or so bodies total, they now hold many times that. Now, there are more graves, and it is not uncommon to find just body parts, making it even more difficult to accurately count the number of deceased, as parts are not bodies.

As the ghastly numbers rise, Nik Steinberg, the Mexico researcher for the New York-based advocacy group, Human Rights Watch said, “The fact that we’re seeing all kinds of people turn up in mass graves underscores the need for Mexico to create a national database for people who have disappeared.”

Making it even more difficult to identify those killed is the fact that many of those removed were mangled, not uncommonly by the exhumation methods.

“Exhumation by backhoe is tantamount to tampering; evidence is likely to be irretrievably lost,” said Gordon Housworth, of the Intellectual Capital Group, a consultancy in Franklin, Michigan. “Add to that the tiny number of coroners, especially forensic coroners, lack of sustained site protection . . . limited DNA and genetic testing, high case backlogs and historic reticence of relatives to come forward, and the chances of proper due diligence are diminished.”

But as the violence continues, and coroners struggle to keep up with the surge of death, Mexico is facing a mass grave record.

Read more at McClatchy →

Deadly Crash Kills Two Border Agents in Pursuit of Illegal Border Crossers

Deadly Crash Kills Two Border Agents in Pursuit of Illegal Border Crossers

Photo: Border Agents Die in Pursuit of Illegal Aliens

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Arizona authorities and U.S. Border Patrol are reporting two Border Patrol agents were killed when their SUV was hit by a moving freight train in Arizona.  It is believed that these two agents and other Border Patrol agents were in pursuit of several illegal border crossers when the accident occurred.

The tragedy occurred at Gila Bend, Arizona earlier today and was confirmed by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Gila Bend is approximately 85 miles southwest of Phoenix.

The illegal immigrants that were being pursued escaped capture.  The FBI has been called in to investigate the incident

2 Border Patrol Agents Killed in Train Collision: MyFoxPHOENIX.com

Read more at El Paso Times →

Number of Border Arrests of Undocumented Immigrants Down By More Than 50% Since 2006

Number of Border Arrests of Undocumented Immigrants Down By More Than 50% Since 2006

Photo: Arrests at border drop

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According to federal statistics, the number of arrests of those heading north across the U.S.-Mexico border illegally has dropped by more than half in the last five years.

In 2006, the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants was 1,071,972. Last year, that number was cut by 58 percent when the number of arrests dropped to 447,731.

During his speech in El Paso, Texas on Tuesday, President Obama said that over the last two and a half years, cash confiscations have increased by 75 percent, drug seizures by 31 percent, and weapons seizures by 64 percent, and since 2006, the number of border agents has doubled.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent David Jimenez, of the Tucson Sector, said agents’ biggest challenge now is organized crime and not migrants crossing, trying to find work.

“These smuggling organizations like to operate from dusk till dawn. They like to operate under the cover of darkness because they think they’re not going to be seen,” he said.

And while some suggest the increased border patrol is serving as a deterrent for those thinking about crossing, thereby leading to fewer being arrested, others say the U.S.’s struggling economy is a major factor. As all job seekers are struggling to find work, those thinking about crossing the border in search of it are now hesitating.

Read more at CNN →

Calling all Female Sopranos:  Tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras to Form Another Trio

Calling all Female Sopranos:  Tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras to Form Another Trio

Photo: Domingo and Carreras

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Tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras are set to form another trio.  In contrast with the memorable trio the pair made with the late Pavarotti, the new group would include a soprano.

Spanish tenor José Carreras said that he is considering joining Madrid born Plácido Domingo in a trio with a female singer.

“A possibility I’m looking forward to with a lot of affection, is to sing again with Plácido in a near, almost immediate future,” the tenor said.

Carreras emphasized that “it would be wrong, unethical and illogical” to choose a tenor as the third party, and seemed excited to sing with a female soprano.

Domingo and Carreras have sung with pop stars like Diana Ross and Natalie Cole in the past. Who will the two tenors choose this time?

Read more by HS News Staff →

School District in North Carolina Accused of Discrimination

School District in North Carolina Accused of Discrimination

Photo: School District in North Carolina Accused of Discrimination

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A North Carolina school district has been accused of discriminating against Latino students, and formal complaint has been filed with the U.S. Department of Education.

The complaint, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), followed a letter sent to Durham Public Schools from the center. The letter stated that Latino students do not “feel welcome” in DPS, which is around 20 percent Latino. When the center received a “vague” and seemingly uncaring response from DPS it countered by contacting federal officials.

Though based in Montgomery, Alabama, the SPLC filed suit on behalf of Durham school district’s more than 6,000 students and families with limited English proficiency.

SPLC said that in one instance, a teacher at Durham’s Northern High School slammed a Latino student against the wall and told the student, “Go back to your own country.” The center also said another teacher fired a racial slur at a Latino student. The district is also being scolded for having only three Spanish-language interpreters.

Pilar Rocha, director of Durham’s largest immigrant organization, El Centro Hispano, said she is not surprised that the district is under investigation for discrimination, considering the number of complaints she’s heard from the parents of the schools’ students.

Read more at Fox News Latino →

Shooting of Mexican-Americans Believed to Have Been Fueled by Anti-Immigrant Feelings

Shooting of Mexican-Americans Believed to Have Been Fueled by Anti-Immigrant Feelings

Photo: Amidst the illegal immigration hysteria, two U.S citizens were shot, mistaken for undocumented

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A father and son were shot in Hudspeth County, just east of El Paso County in Texas, when they allege a rancher shot them, believing they were undocumented immigrants trespassing on his land.

This incident shows the anti-immigrant hysteria that seems to be running rampant in the U.S., particularly in the states that share a border with Mexico.

Noberto Velez and his son Norangel Velez, both of El Paso and U.S. citizens, say they were driving around looking for land to buy, when they made a wrong turn and got lost. Shortly after, the rancher – who has not yet been named – drove up behind them and began firing without warning.  Norangel told local news Channel 9-KTSM that he believes he and his father were mistaken for undocumented immigrants.

Noberto was reportedly shot three times, and remains hospitalized, while Norangel was shot once, and was treated and released.

Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez of the Mexican Consulate in El Paso confirmed that the men are U.S. citizens, and said, “They were shot during the day and apparently because of racial profiling. It’s worrisome the anti-immigrant climate can provoke such abuses.”

The Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Texas Rangers, is still investigating the shooting, but officials released no new details.

It should be noted that after opening fire on the father and son, the rancher drove them to get medical help more than 20 miles away at a fire station in Fabens, TX.

Read more at El Paso Times →

Peruvian Ancient Treasures Illegally Imported to U.S. Returned

Peruvian Ancient Treasures Illegally Imported to U.S. Returned

Photo: Missing Peruvian Treasures

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Today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) returned a collection of cultural artifacts illegally imported into the United States from Peru. The artifacts were discovered as part of three separate investigations by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York and Denver.

ICE Assistant Director for International Affairs Luis Alvarez and CBP Acting Executive Director for the International Operations Division Abdias Ortiz, repatriated the artifacts to Peruvian Ambassador Luis Miguel Valdivieso Montano at their embassy in Washington.

“The antiquities we are returning today are more than mere objects. They are remarkable treasures of untold historical significance, which provide clues into the lives of our ancestors,” said Alvarez. “Sadly, the theft and trafficking of cultural artifacts is one of the oldest forms of organized cross-border crime.

“I would like to express my appreciation for this restitution, and the high level of cooperation that exists in this field between both countries,” said Ambassador Luis Miguel Valdivieso Montano.

Artifacts being returned include an 18th century Peruvian manuscript discovered by CBP officers after receiving an investigative lead from ICE HSI agents in New York and Peruvian officials. Acting on this lead, a CBP officer identified an individual arriving in Houston who had several previous records for possession of stolen papyrus manuscripts and an extensive travel history to and from Peru. After a baggage inspection, a CBP officer discovered an old book. The book was detained to determine its value and origin. In May 2010, this individual passed away. In June 2010, ICE HSI received confirmation that the manuscript was stolen from the Recoleta Library in Araquipa, Peru. The book was forfeited.

Additional items being returned include:
Inca pottery vessel depicting a man with llama, A.D. 1400-1500;
Pot with a feline on one side and standing feline, A.D. 300-360;
Handmade textile and two headbands, likely excavated from graves along the Pacific coast of Peru, made from locally grown cotton;
Stone jaguar-human sculpture, 1200-1500 years old, likely Chavín or Moche in origin.

These items were also forfeited by the sellers. The repatriated artifacts are valued at more than $43,000.

A 1997 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United Stated and Peru enables both countries to work closely together to prevent the illicit trafficking of archaeological objects. The MOU places import restrictions on pre-Columbian archaeological artifacts and colonial ethnological materials from all areas of Peru.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ronaldo Kicks Ball Into Fan’s Face, Offers Him Sweaty Shirt (VIDEO)

Ronaldo Kicks Ball Into Fan’s Face, Offers Him Sweaty Shirt (VIDEO)

Photo: Ronaldo Breaks Fan's Nose

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Watch the sweet gesture from the Real Madrid star, who was handed a fresher, brand new shirt just in the nick of time.

An unlucky fan took Ronaldo’s ill-aimed soccer ball to the nose, during the first quarter of the match.

Despite intense pain and blood streaming down his nose, the fan stuck around to watch the end of the game. He even received assistance from court side medics.

When the match ended, Christiano took his sweat soaked shirt off, and walked toward the front row with the intention of giving it to the hurt man.

At the last minute, someone hands the futboler a brand new shirt, which the star hands to the man he hurt, before posing for a memorable photo.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Perú President García Credits Pope John Paul II For Bin Laden’s Death (VIDEO)

Perú President García Credits Pope John Paul II For Bin Laden’s Death (VIDEO)

Photo: Alan García says Pope John Paul II Killed Bin Laden

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Garcia made the comments during the inauguration of a hydroelectric power station in Cusco.

Little over a week ago, pope John Paul II was beatified; the same day, Osama Bin Laden was taken down in Pakistan. Peruvian president Alan García found a somewhat expedient connection between the two events:

“His [The late Pope’s] first miracle was to remove from the world this incarnation of evil, this demonic incarnation of crime and hatred, giving us the news that the person who blew up towers and buildings is no longer.”

Watch funnyman Stephen Colbert poke a little fun at the comment below.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Obama at Hispanic Prayer Breakfast:“Keep Preaching, Keep Persuading” for Reform

Obama at Hispanic Prayer Breakfast:“Keep Preaching, Keep Persuading” for Reform

Photo: Obama at Hispanic Prayer Breakfast

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President Barack Obama continues his outreach to the Hispanic community or better said the Hispanic vote by keynoting today’s National Hispanic Prayer breakfast.

Esperanza, one of the nation’s largest faith-based Hispanic organizations, welcomed the President as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev). 

The President is aware that a large majority of Hispanics are religious with 68 percent being Roman Catholic and receptive to an immigration reform effort.

During his speech the President reaffirmed his commitment to passing comprehensive immigration reform identifying the passage as ‘a moral imperative.’  He highlighted some of the aspects of his ‘blueprint’ for passage from his El Paso, Texas speech last week.  When actually comprehensive reform would occur is unclear since the President did not provide a timeline. 

In closing he urged Hispanic religious leaders to “ keep preaching, keep persuading” the community and elected leaders to mandate that reform to the current immigration laws happen

Read more at Washington Post →

U.S. Catholic Bishops Urge Congress to Pass Immigration Reform

U.S. Catholic Bishops Urge Congress to Pass Immigration Reform

Photo: U.S. Conference of Bishops Support Immigration Reform

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Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, today urged the President and the Congress to work together to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation. 
Archbishop Gomez made his remarks following an address on immigration reform delivered this afternoon in El Paso, Texas, by President Obama on immigration reform.

“The president and Congress can no longer wait to address this important issue,” Archbishop Gomez said. “In the absence of comprehensive reform, many states and localities are taking the responsibility of enforcing immigration law into their own hands. This has led to abuses and injustices for many U.S. families and immigrant communities.”

The USCCB has consistently advocated for comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policies that secures U.S. borders and gives undocumented immigrants the chance to earn permanent residency and eventual citizenship.
Archbishop Gomez said that any comprehensive reform must include a path for currently undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship. He repeated the bishops’ call for an end to federal enforcement policies that are harmful to families.

“Our current policies are breaking up families in the name of enforcing our laws. That should not be. We should be reuniting and strengthening families — not separating wives from husbands and children from their parents.”

Archbishop Gomez said that immigration reform is long overdue and requires bipartisan cooperation and leadership.
“Congress and the President have a responsibility to come together to enact reform that corrects this humanitarian problem, respects the dignity and hard work of our immigrant brothers and sisters, and reflects America’s proud history as a hospitable society and a welcoming culture.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

President Obama on Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: “E Pluribus, Unum”

In a debate where the participants on all sides are too often portrayed as caricatures, the President sought to break through the stalemate by reminding us all that it is a debate about real people.  Speaking in El Paso, Texas, he talked about the graduates from 181 countries at Miami Dade Community College, who erupted with applause as the American flag came out before the President’s commencement address there recently.  He talked about a Marine who came from Papua New Guinea and deployed to Iraq three times – when asked about becoming an American citizen, he said, “I might as well.  I love this country already.”

He was also up front about the legitimate frustrations that American citizens, including those who immigrated legally, can feel:

Others avoid immigration laws by overstaying their visas.  Regardless of how they came, the overwhelming majority of these folks are just trying to earn a living and provide for their families.  (Applause.)  But we have to acknowledge they’ve broken the rules.  They’ve cut in front of the line.  And what is also true is that the presence of so many illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are trying to immigrate legally.

President Barack Obama shakes hands with people in the crowd following remarks on immigration reform at Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso, Texas, May 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Perhaps his central argument for fixing an immigration system that we all know is broken, however, was that it’s an integral part of America winning the future and creating a stronger economy for our kids:

So one way to strengthen the middle class in America is to reform the immigration system so that there is no longer a massive underground economy that exploits a cheap source of labor while depressing wages for everybody else.  I want incomes for middle-class families to rise again.  (Applause.)  I want prosperity in this country to be widely shared.  (Applause.)  I want everybody to be able to reach that American dream.  And that’s why immigration reform is an economic imperative.  It’s an economic imperative.  (Applause.)

And reform will also help to make America more competitive in the global economy.  Today, we provide students from around the world with visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities.  (Applause.)

But then our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or a new industry here in the United States.  Instead of training entrepreneurs to stay here, we train them to create jobs for our competition.  That makes no sense.  In a global marketplace, we need all the talent we can attract, all the talent we can get to stay here to start businesses—not just to benefit those individuals, but because their contribution will benefit all Americans.

Look at Intel, look at Google, look at Yahoo, look at eBay.  All those great American companies, all the jobs they’ve created, everything that has helped us take leadership in the high-tech industry, every one of those was founded by, guess who, an immigrant.  (Applause.)

So we don’t want the next Intel or the next Google to be created in China or India.  We want those companies and jobs to take root here.  (Applause.)  Bill Gates gets this.  He knows a little something about the high-tech industry.  He said, “The United States will find it far more difficult to maintain its competitive edge if it excludes those who are able and willing to help us compete.”

So immigration is not just the right thing to do.  It’s smart for our economy.  It’s smart for our economy.  (Applause.)  And it’s for this reason that businesses all across America are demanding that Washington finally meet its responsibilities to solve the immigration problem.  Everybody recognizes the system is broken.  The question is, will we finally summon the political will to do something about it?  And that’s why we’re here at the border today.
The President also spoke about another piece of legislation that has been stalled in the stalemate over all things immigration-related—the DREAM Act: 

And we should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents.  (Applause.)  We should stop denying them the chance to earn an education or serve in the military.  And that’s why we need to pass the DREAM Act.  (Applause.)  Now, we passed the DREAM Act through the House last year when Democrats were in control.  But even though it received a majority of votes in the Senate, it was blocked when several Republicans who had previously supported the DREAM Act voted no.

That was a tremendous disappointment to get so close and then see politics get in the way.  And as I gave that commencement at Miami Dade, it broke my heart knowing that a number of those promising, bright students—young people who worked so hard and who speak about what’s best in America—are at risk of facing the agony of deportation.  These are kids who grew up in this country.  They love this country.  They know no other place to call home.  The idea that we’d punish them is cruel.  It makes no sense.  We’re a better nation than that.  (Applause.)

So we’re going to keep fighting for the DREAM Act. We’re going to keep up the fight for reform.  (Applause.)  And that’s where you come in.  I’m going to do my part to lead a constructive and civil debate on these issues.  And we’ve already had a series of meetings about this at the White House in recent weeks.  We’ve got leaders here and around the country helping to move the debate forward.

But this change ultimately has to be driven by you, the American people.  You’ve got to help push for comprehensive reform, and you’ve got to identify what steps we can take right now—like the DREAM Act, like visa reform—areas where we can find common ground among Democrats and Republicans and begin to fix what’s broken.

Again turning to the real people affected by this issue, he told the story of José Hernández, who went from picking cucumbers and strawberries with his parents as a child to flying 100 miles above the surface of the Earth on the shuttle Discovery:

Think about that, El Paso.  That’s the American Dream right there.  (Applause.)  That’s what we’re fighting for.  We are fighting for every boy and every girl like José with a dream and potential that’s just waiting to be tapped.  We are fighting to unlock that promise, and all that holds not just for their futures, but for America’s future.  That’s why we’re going to get this done.  And that’s why I’m going to need your help.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sen. Schumer: There is a Chance for Immigration Reform

Sen. Schumer: There is a Chance for Immigration Reform

Photo: Sen. Charles Schumer

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Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that there is a chance reform could happen.

“I think there’s a chance. I don’t put it at a majority chance, but there’s a chance. We’re still talking — I’m talking to both business and labor about this bill,” Schumer said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “I’m talking to my Republican colleagues, and I think the Republican Party realizes that the position of doing nothing on immigration doesn’t help them. Furthermore, there’s becoming an economic imperative.”

“More and more people are realizing that our broken immigration system is an economic drag on the country, and I think there’s a chance we could get a bill,” Schumer said. 

On Wednesday, Democratic senators reintroduced the DREAM Act, which offers undocumented immigrants who came to the US before the age of 16 a potential path to citizenship.

If the bill could make it through the Senate, many believe it is unlikely it would make it through the newly Republican controlled House.

Read more at The Hill →

Several Drug Smuggling Attempts Disrupted by Arizona Border Patrol

Several Drug Smuggling Attempts Disrupted by Arizona Border Patrol

Photo: Bundles of Marijuana Seized at border

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In three separate incidents over the weekend, Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents interdicted three firearms, 14 rounds of ammunition, 3.3 pounds of heroin, 225 pounds of methamphetamine and a total of 4,265 pounds of marijuana.

On Friday, May 6, a canine team assigned to the Ajo Station assisted the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) with a vehicle search. The vehicle was transported to State Route 85 Checkpoint for further inspection after the canine alerted to possible hidden narcotics. At the checkpoint, agents using Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technology detected anomalies within the conveyance. Further inspection led agents and officers to discover 197 packages containing more than 225 pounds of methamphetamine along with two packages of heroin, weighing 3.3 pounds. The driver, vehicle and narcotics were taken into custody by DPS for processing.

In a separate incident on Friday, Ajo Station agents using Mobile Surveillance System (MSS) technology detected a group of smugglers backpacking possible marijuana through the West Desert. All Terrain Unit (ATU) agents, along with CBP air assets, responded to interdict. Agents apprehended 10 smugglers with 92 bundles of marijuana, weighing approximately 3,589 pounds. The smugglers and marijuana were transported to the Ajo Station for processing.

On Sunday morning, May 8, Casa Grande Station agents apprehended five illegal aliens suspected of drug smuggling near Stanfield, Arizona. With the assistance of a canine team, agents conducted an extensive search in the area of the apprehension and discovered 63 bundles of marijuana and a backpack that had been buried in the sand. The backpack contained a rifle, two pistols and 14 rounds of ammunition. The marijuana, weighing approximately 676 pounds, the five subjects and weapons were seized and transported to the Casa Grande Station for processing.

The above incidents demonstrate the Tucson Sector Border Patrol’s ability to quickly adapt and shift resources to mitigate smuggling activity and counter threats posed by transnational criminal organizations to deny and disrupt their efforts.

Since launching the Southwest Border Initiative in March 2009, the Department of Homeland Security has made significant investments towards establishing a secure and safe border environment and improving the quality of life throughout the communities in the state of Arizona.

The Border Patrol welcomes assistance from the community. Report suspicious activity by calling toll free 1-877-872-7435. All calls will be answered and will remain anonymous.

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ThursdayMay 12, 2011