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TuesdayMay 17, 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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48,000 Haitians in U.S. Due to Earthquake Allowed to Stay in US Longer per Homeland Security

48,000 Haitians in U.S. Due to Earthquake Allowed to Stay in US Longer per Homeland Security

Photo: Haitians Here Due to Earthquake Allowed to Stay Longer

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Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti beneficiaries. This extension will be effective July 23, 2011 and is for an additional 18 months. It will allow these TPS beneficiaries to remain in the United States through Jan. 22, 2013. The designation of TPS for eligible Haitian nationals who had continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 12, 2010 was originally announced by Secretary Napolitano on Jan. 15, 2010 and became effective on Jan. 21, 2010.

Currently, approximately 48,000 Haitian nationals with TPS reside in the United States.

This re-designation of TPS applies only to those Haitians who have continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 12, 2011. Haitians who are not currently in the United States will not qualify for TPS under this new TPS announcement and should not attempt to enter the United States illegally to try to take advantage of this benefit. Both the extension and re-designation are effective July 23, 2011. No individual who arrived in the United States after Jan. 12, 2011, will be eligible for TPS.

A person who has been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors in the United States, or is subject to one of the criminal, or security-related bars to admissibility under immigration law, is not eligible for TPS. In addition, an applicant cannot obtain TPS if he or she is subject to one of the mandatory bars to asylum, such as committing a particularly serious crime that makes the person a danger to the U.S. community or persecuting others.

ICE is prepared to aggressively investigate and present for prosecution those who seek to defraud the U.S. government in an attempt to gain TPS or engage in immigration benefit fraud as the result of the expansion of this program. ICE will also pursue human smugglers whose only goals are to profit at the expense of others.

In addition to the extension and re-designation of TPS for Haiti, DHS has taken a number of other actions to provide humanitarian assistance to Haitian nationals in the United States. DHS will soon publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the continued suspension of regulatory requirements related to certain F-1 students who have suffered severe economic hardship as a result of the earthquake in Haiti. Originally announced in September 2010, the continued suspension of these requirements through Jan. 22, 2013, allows eligible F-1 students to obtain employment authorization, to work an increased number of hours during the school term, and if necessary, to reduce their course load while continuing to maintain their F-1 student status. F-1 students granted employment authorization will be deemed to be engaged in a full course of study if they meet the minimum course load requirements.

Read more by HS News Staff →

President of Costa Rica to be Honored for Her Conservation Efforts

President of Costa Rica to be Honored for Her Conservation Efforts

Photo: Coco Island, Costa Rica

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Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, will receive a prize for Excellence in National Stewardship of the Ocean, for expanded protection of the waters around Coco Island.

The recognition is being presented by the Peter Benchley Awards, for the creation of the Seamounts Marine Management Area, a breakthrough effort to reduce illegal fishing in this biological hotspot. This new conservation site is Costa Rica’s first oceanic area, and becomes the second largest in the whole Eastern Tropical Pacific Region. It is the first time the organization awards a prize in this category.

The ceremony will take place Friday in Washington, D.C.

Read more by HS News Staff →

EXTREME TRAFFICKING: 385 Pounds of Mexican Bologna Seized at Border, Setting a Record

EXTREME TRAFFICKING: 385 Pounds of Mexican Bologna Seized at Border, Setting a Record

Photo: 385 lbs of Seized Mexican Bologna

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Santa Teresa port of entry seized 35 rolls of Mexican bologna Friday. The contraband meat weighed a total of 385 pounds.

“This is a prohibited product because it is made from pork and has the potential for introducing foreign animal diseases to the U.S. pork industry,” said Grace Gomez, Santa Teresa Port Director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “This seizure really stands out because when we seize bologna it is usually a small quantity or at most a roll or two.”

The seizure was made just before 7:00 a.m. Friday when a 2003 Dodge Ram pickup arrived at the port from Mexico. CBP officers received a negative declaration for any products from the driver of the truck. CBP officers performed an inspection and located 35 rolls of Mexican pork bologna hidden behind the seat. The driver, a 33-year-old resident of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was assessed a $1,000 civil penalty and was released. The prohibited bologna was seized by CBP.

“Travelers can avoid penalties by declaring all agricultural items they are importing. If the item they declare is prohibited it can be abandoned at the port without consequence,” said Gomez. “Some foods and agricultural products are prohibited because they can introduce disease and pests to the U.S. agricultural industry.”

The massive seizure is the largest bologna bust ever recorded at the Santa Teresa crossing and the largest in the El Paso since 81 rolls of bologna weighing 756 pounds was made at the El Paso port of entry in November of 2003.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rico Residents Angry Over Pipeline Project Proposal

Puerto Rico Residents Angry Over Pipeline Project Proposal

Photo: Puerto Rico pipeline angers residents that say ecosystems would be destroyed

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Over the weekend, protesters demonstrated against a massive natural gas pipeline proposal in Puerto Rico worth around $450 million. The pipeline, dubbed “The Green Way” by the Governor Luis Fortuno is an attempt to solve the island’s soaring energy prices.

One of the issues that many have with the project is the fact that it will destroy some of Puerto Rico’s most fragile ecosystems and expose local communities to the possibility of dangerous explosions. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the pipeline would cross 235 rivers and wetlands, impacting on up to 32 endangered species. Archaeologists also say the project could also destroy historic sugar mill ruins and petroglyphs carved centuries ago by Taino Indians.

Corruption is also an issue with the project, as many say the governor has played favorites in awarding a childhood friend the largest contract ($9.6 million) for preliminary studies. The outrage comes from the fact that the friend, Pedro Ray Chacon’s firm Ray Engineers PSC has no experience in pipeline construction.

The Associated Press is reporting that the government is saying that the cheaper natural gas would save the island about $1 billion a year, and argue that the project would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 64 percent.

Read more at ABC News via AP →

Osama Bin Laden Fan Hacks and Defaces Ronaldinho’s Website

Osama Bin Laden Fan Hacks and Defaces Ronaldinho’s Website

Photo: Weird Hacker Attacks Ronaldinho

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An apparent Osama Bin Laden fan hacked and defaced Ronaldinho’s personal website, in one of the most ridiculous hack-attacks we’ve seen.  The cyber-bandido started by comparing the futboler to Jar Jar Binks.

This past Friday, the website of brazilian futbol star Ronaldinho was attacked by a cyber-bandido with a very weird sense of humor.

Below some undecipherable copy in Arab, the bizarre hacker made appear a picture of Star Wars’ Jar Jar Binks, flanked by Osama Bin Laden, and a wide eyed Ronaldinho. What the…

The cyberpunk referred to himself as “Terrorist MC,” and specified that he’s “Muslim Forever” and “will not stop the hacking.” Soccer stars beware. You could appear next to C3PO and Joseph Stalin next time.

The virtual douche bag also included some f-bombs for president Barack Obama, and America in general.

The site was back to normal Saturday.  Ronaldinho has not made a public comment on the matter.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

First Conviction Under ‘Hate Crime Prevention Act’ is For Hate Crime Against Latinos

First Conviction Under ‘Hate Crime Prevention Act’ is For Hate Crime Against Latinos

Photo: Hispanic Hate

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The Department of Justice has convicted the first person under the new federal ‘Hate Crimes Prevention Act’ for attacks made on a group of Latinos in Arkansas.  The federal law is named after Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd, Jr. and has been on the books since 2009.

Sean Popejoy, 19, of Green Forest, Ark., pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of committing a federal hate crime and one count of conspiring to commit a federal hate crime. 

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nformation presented during the plea hearing established that in the early morning hours of June 20, 2010, Popejoy admitted that he was part of a conspiracy to threaten and injure five Hispanic men who had pulled into a gas station parking lot.  The co-conspirators pursued the victims in a truck.  When the co-conspirators caught up to the victims, Popejoy leaned outside of the front passenger window and waived a tire wrench at the victims and continued to threaten and hurl racial epithets at the victims. 

The co-conspirator rammed into the victims’ car, which caused the victims’ car to cross the opposite lane of traffic, go off the road, crash into a tree and ignite.  As a result of the co-conspirators’ actions, the victims suffered bodily injury, including one victim who sustained life-threatening injuries.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Diego Maradona to Coach Dubai Soccer Team

Diego Maradona to Coach Dubai Soccer Team

Photo: Diego Maradona To Coach in Dubai

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The former Argentina National Coach will lead the Dubai Al Wasl for the next 2 years.

Al Wasl executive director Mr. Ashraf Ahmad Mohamad has revealed to local news paper “Sport360” that “Maradona signed a 2 year contract with the club.”

The argentine would tentatively start coaching next July; he was reportedly very excited and signed right after seeing the club’s facilities.

The Al Wasl, founded in 1960, was the champion of the Arab Emirates league 2006-07 and of the President’s cup in 2007.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

E-2 Visas Allow Immigrants to Come to U.S. Legally to Start Businesses

E-2 Visas Allow Immigrants to Come to U.S. Legally to Start Businesses

Photo: E-2 visas allow immigrants looking to start a business in the U.S., a way to do it

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With $50,000 and business plan, noncitizens can come to the U.S. legally under what is known as an E-2 treaty investor visa. That business owner, along with their family, can live in the country legally as long as the business does well enough.

However, the requirements can be difficult to meet, and the pressure of maintaining a flourishing business can be great.

To begin with, the applicant must make a “substantial” investment in the business that is “sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.”

Mia Pederson, a business owner in California who is in the country on an E-2, said, “You have to have your business almost 80% ready to go before you can apply.”

It also has to be proven that the proposed business can provide some benefit to the local economy by creating jobs or by other means.

“The U.S. government is not interested in what they call marginal investments — businesses that are too small to make any meaningful contribution to the American economy,” said Bobby C. Chung, an immigration attorney who specializes in E-2 visa law.

The E-2 is available to be renewed every 2 to 5 years, but at each renewal period, the owner must be able to prove that his or her business provides benefits to the economy.

Though the E-2 is not the only visa a person can get to start a business in the U.S., it is the least expensive.

In fiscal 2010, 25,500 E-2 visas were issued, making the business owners “temporary visitors.” Children of these business owners are not permitted to stay in the country once they turn 21 unless there acquire a different kind of visas.

Read more at LA Times →

The Horror Filled Journey of an 8-yr Old Attempting to Reunite with U.S.-based Parents

The Horror Filled Journey of an 8-yr Old Attempting to Reunite with U.S.-based Parents

Photo: Veronica and Her Grandmother

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8-year old Salvadoran Veronica Giron has been reunited with her U.S. based grandmother after surviving a harrowing journey to be reunited with family and falling into the hands of vicious human traffickers.

Her parents left her in El Salvador in the care of her maternal grandparents so they could migrate, albeit illegally, to the U.S.  In El Salvador the family was threatened by vicious gangs that wanted money from the parents in the U.S.

Veronica parent’s then made the desperate and ill-fated decision to pay smugglers $7,000 to bring the little girl to them in the U.S.  Along the way the El Salvadoran smugglers handed her to Mexican human smuggler’s who proceeded to molest and rape the little girl.

To add to the little girls plight, who managed to escape her captors and get into the hands of Mexican authorities, Mexican officials wanted to deport her back to El Salvador and not allow her paternal grandmother, a U.S. citizen to be with her.  She remained isolated in the hands of Mexican officials for several weeks.

At last with the help of international organizations and diplomatic intervention, Veronica has been reunited with her grandmother and staying in the U.S. under unclear legal circumstances. 

Read more at El Paso Times →

HSBC Accused of Laundering Money for Mexico Drug Cartels

HSBC Accused of Laundering Money for Mexico Drug Cartels

Photo: HSBC being investigated for money laundering related to Mexican drug cartels

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The U.S. Justice Departments is reportedly working on a case against HSBC bankers they say have laundered money from Mexican drug gangs.

Still at the beginning of the investigation, the Justice Department is building its case against the bank. The investigation began in August of 2010, when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency criticized the bank for “highly suspicious activity.”

Some believe that if the bank is found to have laundered dirty money, HSBC could pay a record $500 million fine, as the Justice Department may look to make an example of the bank.

Banks seem to have gotten away with money laundering with little more than a slap on the wrist. The perfect example is that of the bank Wachovia, which managed to avoid prosecution entirely after they were accused of “serious and systematic” violations of banking regulations. This resulted in $420 billion passing through its accounts unmonitored. It was found to have laundered funds for the Sinaloa Cartel, which used the money to buy planes to smuggle drugs. In the end, the bank got away with just paying $110 million in forfeitures and another $50 million fine. While $160 million is a substantial amount of money to most, for the bank – which has since been taken over by Wells Fargo – it is a measly amount compared to its total earnings.

Insight wrote:

At the heart of the money laundering investigations are Mexico’s “casas de cambio,” exchange houses which are often used by Mexican criminal groups to launder funds. One common practice is for drug trafficking organizations to smuggle large amounts of hard currency, collected from U.S. sales, back over the Mexican border, then deposit it into these exchange houses. The funds are then wired by these institutions into U.S. bank accounts. In the case of Wachovia, one exchange house, Casa de Cambio Puebla, used these funds to purchase a number of airplanes on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel.

After the probe into Wachovia began, Puebla simply shifted its accounts to HSBC, according to Mexican prosecutors. Puebla was headed by Pedro Alfonso Alatorre Damy, who is accused of handling the finances of the Sinaloa Cartel.


The Justice Department has said determination to prosecute individuals who handle Mexican drug money is a good step forward

Read more at Insight →

44 Lawmakers Ask Obama Administration Not to Reinstate Cross-Border Trucking Program

44 Lawmakers Ask Obama Administration Not to Reinstate Cross-Border Trucking Program

Photo: Cross-border trucking across U.S.-Mexico border

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers has sent a letter to the Obama administration urging it to not reinstate a cross-border program that would once again allow Mexican trucks to deliver goods inside the United States.

Citing safety, costs, and security concerns, the group of 44 lawmakers’ letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, stated, “We have concerns that this proposed program could impact the safety and may create a security breach along our southern border.”

“With the recent rise in and the changing tactics of the Mexican drug cartels, we are also concerned that moving forward with this cross-border trucking program at this time is not in the best interests for security along our border,” added the letter. “The El Paso Intelligence Center reports that commercial vehicles are widely-used by Mexican drug trafficking organizations.”

Currently, truckers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border are only allowed to travel within a 20- to 25-mile radius of a trade port.

The letter, sent May 4th, also stated, “The current system of Mexican carriers operating within a defined commercial zone is working well for both safety and border security. We strongly oppose the Administration’s cross-border trucking proposal.”

Initially, the program was established under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994, but due to safety and environmental concerns the U.S. halted the program. Congress completely stopped it in 2009.

In response, Mexico’s government places tariffs on $2.4 billion of U.S. goods, which are still in place today.

The lawmakers are staunchly opposed to the taxpayer funds being used to pay for the on-board electronic monitors that Mexican trucks would need to have, while the American truckers would have to buy the monitors with their own money.

“Simply put, the cross-border trucking program is a straight handout to Mexico at the expense of American jobs, taxpayer dollars and security,” Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said.  He pointed out that the program being proposed would give Mexican truckers “unrestricted access to U.S. roadways, leaving their American counterparts at a serious disadvantage.” It is this that has unions opposed to the proposal as well.

In March of this year, President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon met and agreed to re-start the program. Calderon has agreed to lift the agricultural tariffs.

Read more at CNS News →

Brazil Painter Makes More Money than Angel Gisele Bundchen and Soccer Legends

Brazil Painter Makes More Money than Angel Gisele Bundchen and Soccer Legends

Photo: Romero Britto

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ImageMeet Romero Britto, the Brazilian painter who brings in more moolah than the best Brazilian soccer players and Brazilian beauty Gisele!

Romero Britto is a Brazilian neo-pop wall decorator, painter, serigrapher, and sculptor. He combines stereotyped elements of cubism, pop art and graffiti painting in his boldly colored work. Image

In 1989, Absolut Vodka selected Britto to design an artwork with their famous logo, effectively launching a career that today, is represented in galleries and museums across five continents. Britto, who has been working out of his Miami area studios for over a decade, received 30 million dollars for his art last year, while the average soccer player brings in 10, and a supermodel like Giselle Bundchen, 25.


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Read more by HS News Staff →

Cristiano Ronaldo Ties the Spanish League Goal Record

Cristiano Ronaldo Ties the Spanish League Goal Record

Photo: Ronaldo Ties Goal Record at 38

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After scoring twice against Villarreal on Sunday, Ronaldo brought his goal tally to 38 scores!  And that ties the Spanish league goal record.

Watch all 38 goals scored by the Real Madrid star who has tied the 1951 record set by Athletic Bilbao’s Telmo Zarra and matched in 1990 by Real Madrid’s Mexican striker Hugo Sanchez.

He could beat the 38 goal record next weekend, in Real Madrid’s season final clash against Almería.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

California: Latino, Asian Populations Grow, White Pop. Drops

California: Latino, Asian Populations Grow, White Pop. Drops

Photo: California Latino population increases as whites' decrease.

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Over the last decade, the ethnic makeup of California has begun to change. As the number of Latinos and Asians rise, the number of non-Hispanic whites has dropped.

Since 2000, the number of non-Hispanic whites in the state has dropped by about 850,000, while Latinos have increased by 3 million and Asians by 1.1 million people.

Demographers say the state’s struggling economy is behind the shift, as California’s unemployment rate is at 12 percent. The birthrate is key as well. Since 2000, in contrast to previous generations, whites are having fewer children, which is resulting is white Californians dying off quicker than they are being born.

Amongst Latinos and Asians, the population jumped, fueled by immigration and higher birthrate. In fact, Latinos are expected to be the majority by 2025.

With the change in demographics, California is also seeing the political winds change, as minorities overall, tend to vote Democratic. Though whites still make up 64 percent of voters, they are pretty evenly split, with 40 percent Republican, 37 percent Democrat, and 23 percent nonpartisan.

“The Republican Party can no longer count on non-Hispanic whites to give them the pluralities they need,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll. “The GOP really needs to do outreach to ethnic populations and younger voters in a very strategic way.”

However, the change in population numbers could have something to do with more people overall acknowledging that they are mixed.

“Racial identity is much more flexible now,” Howard Winant, director of the UC Center for New Racial Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “In many cases appearance is a poor guide to racial identity.”

Though Winant said some whites feel they are being displaced by minorities, there is no evidence that whites are being discriminated against.

Read more at Sacramento Bee →

Texas Wants Legal Immigrants to Provide Addl Proof of Poverty If Applying for Benefits

The Texas house yesterday passed in a 100-to-37 vote a bill that would require legal immigrants, who apply for state benefits, to provide additional proof of their ‘poorness’.

The bill, which is now goes to Republican Governor Rick Perry for signature, would require the financial status of the immigrants sponsor to be taken into consideration.  If the person, who sponsored the immigrant’s application for U.S. permanent residency, were financially sound the indigent immigrant would be denied state benefits.

The law when passed basically reasserts what federal law says but now Texas can enforce at a local level, many critics see this is another attempt to separate and denigrate immigrants. 

Read more at KVUE →

Carlos Santana Tells Georgia and Arizona ‘Stop Shucking and Jiving’ about Immigration

Carlos Santana Tells Georgia and Arizona ‘Stop Shucking and Jiving’ about Immigration

Photo: Carlos Santana

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Guitar virtuoso Carlos Santana had a few things to say at the Atlanta Braves “Civil Rights” Game in Georgia, held only two days after the state passed a bill, allowing law enforcement to demand immigration papers from any person they suspect of being illegally in the country, same as in Arizona SB 1070.

“This law is not correct. It’s a cruel law, actually, This is about fear. Stop shucking and jiving. People are afraid we’re going to steal your job. No we aren’t. You’re not going to change sheets and clean toilets. I would invite all Latin people to do nothing for about two weeks so you can see who really, really is running the economy. Who cleans the sheets? Who cleans the toilets? Who babysits? I am here to give voice to the invisible,” Said Santana in a press conference held after the game.

He had been booed off stage for saying “The people of Arizona and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Come visit our Amigo ó Enemigo section as we analyze and dissect what is said by and about Hispanics. 

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Read more by HS News Staff →

DOJ Settles with Arizona on Allegations of Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination

DOJ Settles with Arizona on Allegations of Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination

Photo: Maricopa County Community College Immigrant Discrimination

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The Justice Department today reached a settlement agreement with the Maricopa County Community College District in Arizona, resolving allegations that the district engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against non-citizens in the hiring and employment-eligibility verification process.  The district, which consists of 10 community colleges and two skill centers, has agreed to pay $45,760 in civil penalties and $22,123 in back pay to settle a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department on Aug. 30, 2010.

According to the department’s findings, the district had a policy of requiring newly hired workers who are not U.S. citizens but are authorized to work to present specific documentation that is not required by federal law.  In accordance with that policy, at least two individuals were denied the opportunity to begin their employment despite having produced documentation sufficient to establish their employment eligibility.  Specifically, a lawful permanent resident who accepted an adjunct mathematics faculty appointment and an honor student who was to begin a federal work-study position were not permitted to work when they did not comply with the district’s excessive and discriminatory documentary requirements.  Both individuals will receive full back pay.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the district will alter its practices to ensure that citizens and non-citizens are treated equally in the employment eligibility verification process.  The district has also agreed to train its human resources personnel about employers’ non-discrimination responsibilities in the employment eligibility verification process, to produce Forms I-9 for inspection, and to provide periodic reports to the department for three years.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) includes a provision designed to protect lawful workers who may look or sound foreign by prohibiting employers from treating non-citizens differently than U.S. citizens in the I-9 process.  When Congress enacted this provision as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, it sought to strike a balance between immigration worksite enforcement and the civil rights of workers.  While employers are banned from hiring unauthorized workers, they must also treat all work-authorized individuals the same regardless of citizenship status or national origin. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

The Machista Threat to Latino Males

When I tell Latinas that I plan on publishing a book on the conditions related to being a Latino male in today’s American society, I’m invariably asked, “why don’t you just do it on Latinos in general?” And when I try to explain how the Latino male is at greater risk in American society than the Latina, I’m usually confronted with an expression of utter bewilderment. Most Latinos, male and female, simply cannot see how the women in a machismo-driven community could be any less vulnerable than the men in that same community?

But it’s machismo that puts the Latino male in danger.

Machismo, loosely defined, is the popular perception in most Latino communities that men are superior to women, and hence, masculinity is superior to femininity. Lately there have been widespread revisionist attempts to remake the image of machismo into something more closely resembling Anglo-Franco chivalric romance, the Western ideal defining a woman’s affection as something to be earned through loving gentleness, rather than through brute conquest. People have tried to connect machismo to romantic paintings depicting a well-dressed suitor greeting his chaste lady with a rose at her window; in actuality, machismo is better represented by the image of an Aztec warrior carrying the seemingly lifeless body of his prize. To be fair, Latino culture’s relentless vein of male chauvinism is not solely the legacy of the community’s indigenous past. Patriarchies are as old as recorded history, and the Latino community’s own brand of male dominance can partly trace its roots back to the progenitors of our linguistic and religious traditions, the Romans. (Ancient Rome was a patriarchal place, and it’s no coincidence that the Roman Catholic Church continues to be intensely patriarchal to this day.)

Most Latinos refuse to believe that machismo is more detrimental to the male than to the female, but their refusal is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of machista power. As the English historian Lord Acton wrote in a 1887 letter, “power tends to corrupt,” and there is no power on the planet – other than kingly power – which corrupts more quickly and thoroughly than machista power. If power inevitably corrupts the powerful, then it follows that the powerless remain uncorrupted by the form of power that the powerful possess. Because nothing corrupted is said to be truly powerful, machismo guarantees that the machista eventually reverts to state of sheer powerlessness. The machista, it seems, is a prisoner of his own gender’s perceived power.

The Latina – far from the corruptive forces of machista power and entirely aware of her own captivity under marianismo – is, ironically, empowered by her role as the powerless within the Latino community. But to understand the simultaneous incapacitation of the Latino male on the one hand and the empowerment of the Latina on the other, it’s important to take a closer look at how machismo corrupts the machista in the first place.

Machismo puts the Latino male at risk physically by making it imperative that he be physically strong and constantly ready to prove so. He must be ever willing to impose his superiority by way of physical violence, whether that violence is directed toward other men or even women. The machista has no qualms with violently dominating another man, who he feels can and should accept violence as a primary means of competition among all Latino men. He is equally indifferent to beating on a woman, who he’s taught to view as beneath him, because seeing something as subhuman makes it easier for someone to mistreat such a creature (save for animal rights advocates). Gender equality still would not save the Latino woman from violent oppression, however, since violence is the machista modus operandi even when dealing with those who he perceives as his equals. (Machista veneration of violence makes Latino male homicide rates some of the highest in the nation and around the world.)

The Latino male is diminished emotionally when he’s pressured to focus on the outward and ignore the inward. Machistas are conditioned to be loveless toward themselves, their lovers and those around them. Even the most enlightened societies must contend with the prevalent chauvinistic notion which teaches that emotions are feminine and actions are masculine. The Latino male is encouraged to be superficial, while the Latina is instructed to be much more, if not entirely, inward. This means that not only does the machista not take time to understand his lover, he scarcely takes the time to understand himself. There’s no apparent incentive for him to study something that’s supposed to be immediately buried, i.e., his feelings. Emotions are viewed as a human weakness and the antithesis of physical potency; in fact, machismo teaches that all things inwardly are either effeminate, impractical or both, and what a man can do physically – with his hands and with his body – are to be his true merits. In comparison, since a woman – Latina or otherwise – is traditionally expected to be inward, her emotionality is generally left unrestricted, allowing her emotional intelligence to develop unperturbed.

This introduces the first machista axiom: the ideal man is neither inwardly nor averse to physical contests.

That’s not to say that the machista is unfeeling; on the contrary, he either feels too much or is overcome too quickly by his emotions. Like an untrained swimmer, he drowns in every feeling, while a woman’s emotional experience leaves her much more suited to stay afloat. Not so for the machista, whose every pleasure and pain burns uncontrolled, further fueling his aggression.

At this point, I realize that some people still might fail to see fault in a man’s lack of emotional intelligence. The inherent weakness in lacking any kind of intelligence, especially one as fundamental to human nature as emotional intelligence, should be apparent to everyone. But to explain it concisely, as social creatures, part of what it means to be a human being should be the perpetual endeavor to understand what we feel and what others feel.

Pressured to be outward, Latino males are not only more at risk of neglecting their emotions than their female counterparts, they’re also more at risk of neglecting their own intellects. So much emphasis is placed on the Latino male’s physical capabilities and his willingness to act unflinchingly, there’s little pressure placed upon him to contemplate and understand the world around him and within him. In the machista mind, thoughts are too closely related to emotions, and aspiring to be a self-actualized individual seems awfully inward to be definitively masculine.

And even when he is encouraged to pursue an advanced degree, the culture that envelops him illuminates only a limited number of career paths – lawyer, doctor or businessman – professions traditionally considered “safe” (prestigious and high paying). Yet, even a Latino male’s job title is not the be all and end all in terms of how he makes a living. A Latino lawyer, for example, is usually lauded by his family and community members, but not if he earns little money for his services or volunteers them out for free; the same can be said of the Latino doctor. Similarly, as part of the machista mindset, the Latino businessman should only be idolized if he actually earns a good living from his ventures. Again, Latino culture demands that its men be practical, constantly focused on the end of each pursuit rather than the pursuit in and of itself. Perhaps for this very reason, Latino men are rarely encouraged to pursue careers in academia or the arts, careers deemed by Latino elders as impractical and financially uncertain. The acquisition of knowledge is viewed as a cul-de-sac, and therefore, the pursuit of knowledge is seen as a fruitless appropriation of his time.

And thus, the second machista axiom: the ideal man garners as much money and recognition as he can.

The machista’s lack of understanding, of himself and of the world he inhabits, allows him to become a slave to machismo, just as any doctrine is likely to ensnare a number of ignorant adherents. Machismo becomes the only lens through which he experiences the world around him, living untempered by principles like equality and justice. The machista male borders on beastly, a creature conditioned to react before any real contemplation can occur. This conditioning makes him further dangerous, since he cannot see the senselessness in validating his superiority through violence. Anyone is potentially dangerous when they cannot be reasoned with.

As I said above, that a Latina is free from the corruptive forces contained within machismo makes her essentially more powerful than a machista. And although both man and woman in Latino culture are social prisoners of machismo and marianismo, respectively, a Latina’s ability to contemplate and understand – and therefore, to acquire knowledge and realize her status as a prisoner – will be the guiding light in her escape from that prison. A slave’s first steps toward freedom are his realization that he lives in bondage. But the machista’s self-imposed ignorance does not allow him to recognize the prison bars around him, and until he does, he is doomed to remain powerless.

And speaking of slaves, the idea that corruptive power does at least as much harm to the powerful as it does the powerless is neither original nor new; it was the same truth some abolitionists used against slavery in antebellum America, arguing that slavery did as much damage to the slave master as it did the slave. And the notion that men themselves are held captive within a patriarchal society is a position put forth by many gender studies scholars around the world.

As a Latino male myself, I have always viewed machismo as the curse that it is. I feel the constant pressure to pass through its prescribed pinhole, whether I’m destroyed in the process or not. Machismo strips the Latino male of his rightful individuality and compels him to be nothing more than a man.

But there are some of us who still aspire to be something more.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Gingrich Clarifies (Confuses) His Position on America’s Undocumented

Gingrich Clarifies (Confuses) His Position on America’s Undocumented

Photo: Newt Gingrich

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Newt Gingrich told a Univision interviewer that he believes a “citizen board” could be a better way to deal with the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

Gingrich was on the show “Al Punto” which will air on Sunday morning with his idea of the “citizen board”.  During WWII local selective service boards (citizen boards) were created so that each community could review cases on an individual basis and the draft could be applied upon review.

“We may want to think about a citizen board that can actually look at things and decide, is this a person that came in two months ago and doesn’t nearly have any ties here? Or is this a person who clearly is integrated into the society but unfortunately has been undocumented, therefore, we have to rethink how we are approaching them,” he said.

Gingrich then goes on to say he is opposed to creating a pathway for people who entered the country illegally, but he does not believe in mass deportation.

“Somebody who’s been here 20 years and is married and has three kids and has been paying taxes and lived a totally peaceful life” but is an undocumented alien might deserve a second chance, he said.

“We got to find the way to routinize and get them in the law without necessarily getting them on a path to citizenship. Now there ought to be a way to do that.”

Read more at Politico →

Hispanic Leadership in NY Urging Governor to Withdraw from Secure Communities

Hispanic Leadership in NY Urging Governor to Withdraw from Secure Communities

Photo: Secure Communities Program in NYC

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Congressman José E. Serrano and Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, both of New York, wrote New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging that the state withdraw from the federal ‘Secure Communities’ program.  Joining a growing, statewide chorus calling for New York to exit the program, the lawmakers said ‘Secure Communities’ is needlessly harsh and does not reflect New York’s history of welcoming immigrants. 

Below is the full text of Serrano and Velázquez’s letter:

Honorable Andrew Cuomo
Governor of New York

State Capitol

Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

We are writing to urge you to rescind New York’s Memorandum of Agreement and withdraw from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Secure Communities program.  Our concern with New York’s ongoing involvement in the Secure Communities program comes from the damage that it is causing in our city and communities.  New York City and New York State have a proud history as a welcoming place for people from all over the world to live; voluntarily participating in ICE’s Secure Communities program tarnishes that heritage.

Last year, New York joined Secure Communities without a thorough investigation or public review of the possible consequences for the state, including decreased public safety, increased legal and fiscal liabilities and potential violations of New Yorkers’ civil rights.  Even then, groups such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) indicated that there were questions that needed to be asked and pointed out that ICE had identified more than 111,000 criminal aliens in local custody, of whom only about 11,000 (10%) were charged with or convicted of crimes.

As recent press articles in the New York Times and El Diario illustrate, evidence of the fundamental flaws of the Secure Communities program continues to mount.  Illinois, which has witnessed the effects of the program first hand for almost two years, has decided to withdraw from Secure Communities. In his letter to ICE, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn pointed to “the conflict between the stated purpose of Secure Communities and the implementation of the program.” In Illinois, less than 20% of the people ICE deported due to Secure Communities were convicted of a serious crime. The Secure Communities program was advertised as a way to remove alien violent criminals from our country; however, it has been used as a mass deportation immigration enforcement tool.

There is now nationwide condemnation of Secure Communities and of ICE’s administration of the program. It has become clear that, during its rollout of the program, ICE made contradictory statements to the public and to government officials about Secure Communities and misled them about the agency’s policy on opting-out of the initiative. Representative Lofgren, joined later by Senator Menendez, has called for “thorough investigations into any misconduct, including possible violations of criminal law,” relating to the agencies’ deployment of the program.

We also want to bring to your attention that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) has urged President Obama to issue an immediate national moratorium on the program until a review is completed. CHC’s letter to the President, noted that “[s]ince its inception in October 2008, S-Comm [Secure Communities] has been deployed at a breathtaking pace with apparently little forethought or oversight.” As members of the CHC, we fully support these requests for a nationwide freeze.

New York must withdraw from the Secure Communities program: First, ICE promotes Secure Communities as a mechanism to identify and target the most dangerous, violent individuals. However, the numbers show that the program operates as an overbroad immigration dragnet.

Second, the program makes New Yorkers less safe. When immigrant communities perceive that police are running immigration checks, they are less likely to report crimes or cooperate as victims and witnesses in serious criminal investigations.

Third, Secure Communities undermines the critical work New Yorkers have undertaken for so long to protect due process, end racial profiling and restore trust in the police and our criminal justice system.  Under the program, ICE identifies individuals for deportation, before the underlying arrest has been reviewed by the criminal justice system. Because people are placed in immigration detention directly from the criminal justice system, victims of racial profiling or manufactured arrests have little ability to assert their civil rights.

Lastly, the immigration system does not offer due process protections comparable to our criminal justice system.  New York cannot participate in a program where immigrants do not have a right to counsel and where detainees are transferred to remote detention centers, severely limiting their access to family and legal counsel. By participating in such a program, New York State is undermining the work it has undertaken to protect the rights of all of its residents.

As a state that upholds and protects civil, immigrant, and human rights, we expect that, with your guidance and leadership, New York will join Illinois in withdrawing from Secure Communities.

Sincerely,

s/José E. Serrano                       s/Nydia M. Velázquez
Member of Congress                   Member of Congress

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TuesdayMay 17, 2011