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TuesdayJuly 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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Mexico Awaits Millions of Tourists for Religious Tourism

Mexico Awaits Millions of Tourists for Religious Tourism

Photo: Bascilia of Guadalupe, Mexico City

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The Vatican will have the full support of the Mexican authorities for the realization of the VII World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Tourism to be held from April 23 to 27, 2012, assured the Ambassador of Mexico to the Holy See, Hector Frederick Ling Altamirano. In a statement to Notimex agency, the Ambassador announced that the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Travelers has chosen the city of Cancun, in southeastern Mexico, for this meeting, and defined the announcement made by Congress “excellent news” and will be attended by religious and lay people involved in the pastoral care of tourism throughout the Catholic world.

“It is no doubt an important event, which recognizes the importance of Mexico in this field, particularly in the so-called religious tourism”, the Ambassador continued, insisting on the fact that the organizers (the Holy See, The Mexican Episcopal Conference and the Prelature of Quintana Roo-Chetumal) can rely not only on the support but “on the large sympathy” of the government. “The realization of this event in Cancun confirms the excellent state of bilateral relations between Mexico and the Holy See, also confirming the convergence of views on the issue of tourism and its important human dimension”, he added.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the first religious tourism destination in the world for the Catholic faithful, exceeding the Vatican, Fatima (Portugal) and Lourdes (France). According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), Mexico is the tenth country in the world to receive tourists and the first in Latin America. “Only in 2010 22 million tourists, four and a half million more than in 2009 were welcomed in various places. This is in foreign currency around $ 12 billion, more than five percent compared to the previous year”, concluded the Ambassador.

Read more at Agenzia Fides →

US Immigration Removes Former Guatemalan Army Member Linked to 1980’s Massacre

US Immigration Removes Former Guatemalan Army Member Linked to 1980’s Massacre

Photo: Guatemala Ex-Military Murdered Deported

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A former member of the Guatemalan army whom witnesses say participated in a massacre there three decades ago that claimed at least 162 lives was deported to his native country Tuesday, capping an effort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate the case and win the ex-commando’s removal from the United States.

Pedro Pimentel Rios, 54, arrived in Guatemala on board an ICE Air Operations charter removal flight and was immediately turned over to Guatemalan law enforcement officials. The Santa Ana, Calif., maintenance worker is wanted in his native country on criminal charges for his role in the Dos Erres massacre.

Guatemalan authorities allege Pimentel Rios was among some 20 members of an elite Guatemalan army unit called the Kaibiles who murdered dozens of men, women and children in the village of Las Dos Erres in December 1982. The Kaibiles had gone to the remote Guatemalan settlement seeking to locate left-wing insurgents allegedly responsible for the ambush of an army convoy nearby that resulted in the theft of more than 20 military rifles. After arriving in the village, the Kaibiles began searching for the missing weapons, forcing the residents from their homes and interrogating them about the stolen guns. No rifles were recovered.

The soldiers then proceeded to systematically murder the villagers, beginning with the children. The victims were bludgeoned with sledgehammers and their bodies thrown into the village’s well. Other victims were shot or strangled and many of the local women were raped during the two-day ordeal.

In July 2010, ICE charged Pimentel Rios in immigration court with being deportable for having assisted or otherwise participated in extrajudicial killings during the Dos Erres massacre. In May, an immigration judge in Los Angeles cleared the way for Pimentel Rios’ repatriation to Guatemala, ruling he was deportable based upon his participation in the extrajudicial killings at Las Dos Erres. The judge’s ruling capped an intensive legal effort by ICE to gain Pimentel Rios’ removal from the United States following his arrest by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents in Orange County a year ago.

Pimentel Rios is the fourth former Kaibil living in the United States linked to the massacre to be targeted by ICE for enforcement action.

Read more by HS News Staff →

COPA AMERICA UPDATE: Messi Awake at Last While Maradona Crashes! (VIDEO)

The Argentines beat Costa Rica 3-0 in Copa America and passed to the next round, 2 points behind the group leader, Colombia.

Wednesday’s game could have seen the Copa América host team eliminated and in the last position of their group, had Costa Rica managed to get the ball more than twice.

It was perhaps knowing this that inspired Leo Messi to play his best game with the Argentine team to date.

Despite not being able to score, it was clear that the phenom was back to his usual self, comfortable, tranquil, and deadly with the ball; every goal though not kicked in by him, hit the net with Messi’s signature embedded in it.

Tremendously generous, Messi fed countless clear goal opportunities to Gonzalo Higuaín who was just not having the best of nights, and where at least 7 scoring opportunities were wasted. But unstoppable and with his usual unbelievable skill, Leo passed the ball to Agüero and Di María so both of them just tapped it in.

Former Argentina #10 and coach Diego Maradona had to watch the game from the hospital, as he was involved in a minor car crash with his partner prior to the game. Apparently the couple collided with a bus and though they weren’t gravely hurt, they went to the hospital just to be safe. 

The Argentina team has to wait for the results of tonight’s game to see who they’ll face in quarter finals, it won’t be an easy game either Perú, Uruguay or Chile.

But if the blue and white striped team and the best soccer player in the world play like they played last night through the rest of the Copa América, they have it in the bag.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: TSA Agent Steals $50,000 Worth of Electronics from Hollywood Airport Luggage

LATINO BLOTTER: TSA Agent Steals $50,000 Worth of Electronics from Hollywood Airport Luggage

Photo: TSA Agent Steals $50,000 Worth of Electronics from Hollywood Fliers

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An agent with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has be arrested for stealing roughly $50,000 worth of electronics from air travelers at a California airport.

ImageNelson Santiago, 30, has been charged with two counts of grand theft after a Continental Airlines employee witnessed him taking an iPad out of a fliers’ luggage and putting it down his pants at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Terminal 1, police say.

Santiago was arrested Monday, and confessed to stealing computers, video cameras, and a number of other electron devices when we was supposed to be screening passengers’ luggage.

He admitted that he would take photos of the goods and upload them to the internet to put them up for sale. Typically, the items would be sold before he ended his shift. Police estimate that Santiago sold more than $50,000 worth of electronics over the past six months.

According to police, Santiago no longer works for the TSA though he had been with the organization since 2009.

Santiago has been released from jail on bond, and police officials say more charges are pending against him.

Officials are still looking for the items’ owners, though they admit the chances of getting the devices back are not high.

Read more at Broward-Palm Beach New Times →

Sheriff Arpaio’s Chain Gang Cancelled for Tonight’s All Star Game

Sheriff Arpaio’s Chain Gang Cancelled for Tonight’s All Star Game

Photo: AZ Sheriff Arpaio's Chain Gang Of Illegal Aliens

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Arizona’s controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio has just announced he has cancelled plans to host a jailed chain gang squad right in front of Chase Field for tonight’s MLB All-Star Game.  Maybe the Sheriff, though doubtful, sensed even he would be pushing the envelope by having a chain gang dressed in pink tops and black striped pants.  It was expected that the chain gang might offend some and bother many as it worked by picking up trash before and after the game. 

In addition, several immigrant advocacy organization had been calling for the boycott of tonights game and had been encouraging the Latino ball players to speak up against the state’s strict anti-immigrant law SB1070.  The sight of the chain gang that was expected to include several immigrant detainees might spark emotions even further.

The sheriff had promised to provide one chain gang made up of all undocumented immigrants jailed for drunk driving offenses. 

Sheriff Arpaio noted that he wanted children to enjoy the event and fans to focus on baseball.  Gracias we say.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Piqué Disses Shakira’s Paddling Skills Via Twitter (VIDEO)

Piqué Disses Shakira’s Paddling Skills Via Twitter (VIDEO)

Photo: Piqué and Shakira on Vacation

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The couple and some friends were rafting, and their raft tumbled. Piqué Blamed it on Shakira.


Gerard Pique on WhoSay

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jersey Shore’s Ronnie Ortiz-Magro Avoids Jail Time for 2009 Brawl

Jersey Shore’s Ronnie Ortiz-Magro Avoids Jail Time for 2009 Brawl

Photo: Jersey Shore's Ronnie Ortiz-Magro Avoids Jail Time for 2009 Brawl

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Ronnie Ortiz-Magro has managed to avoid any jail time for the a 2009 brawl, which was captured by the camera’s of MTV’s hit show Jersey Shore of which he is a cast member.

In December, the half-Italian Half-Puerto Rican was indicted for one count of third degree assault for a 2009 fight outside a Seaside Heights nightclub, which had been caught on film while he and the cast were shooting the first season of the MTV series. Ortiz was facing up to five years in jail for the offense, but on Monday, a judge ruled that he would serve no time in jail, and instead sentenced him to community service. He also has to remain in a intervention program for first time offenders. By taking part in the program he is neither guilty nor innocent of the charge.

If the 25-year-old can stay out of trouble for 18 months, the charges will be dropped.

Stephen Izzo, the man Ortiz allegedly attacked still has a pending civil suit against both the Ortiz and MTV.

The cast is currently shooting the fifth season of Jersey Shore in Seaside Heights.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH Maná‘s Brand New Video “Amor Clandestino”

WATCH Maná‘s Brand New Video “Amor Clandestino”

Photo: Amor Clandestino, by Maná

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Watch the new video from the Mexican Band’s latest album “Drama y Luz”

Read more by HS News Staff →

2.1 Million Eligible for DREAM Act, Only 38% of Them Meet Educ/Military Requirements

2.1 Million Eligible for DREAM Act, Only 38% of Them Meet Educ/Military Requirements

Photo: DREAM Act Requirements

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Slightly more than 2.1 million unauthorized immigrant youth and young adults could be eligible to apply for legal status under the DREAM Act legislation pending in Congress, according to a new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis that offers the most recent and detailed estimates of potential beneficiaries by age, education levels, gender, state of residence and likelihood of gaining legalization.

Prepared by MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, DREAM vs. Reality: An Analysis of Potential DREAM Act Beneficiaries, makes clear, however, that far fewer people would likely obtain legal status because of barriers limiting their ability to take advantage of the legislation’s educational and military routes to legalization. In the report, authors Jeanne Batalova and Margie McHugh estimate that only 38 percent — or 825,000 — of the 2.1 million potentially eligible DREAM Act beneficiaries likely would gain permanent legal status.

According to the analysis, enactment of the DREAM Act would :

*  Immediately make 726,000 unauthorized young adults who meet the legislation’s age, duration of U.S. residency and age at arrival requirements eligible for conditional legal status (with roughly 114,000 of them already eligible for permanent legal status after the six-year wait because they have at least an associate’s degree).

*  Allow 934,000 children under 18 to age into conditional-status eligibility in the future, provided they earn a U.S. high school diploma or GED.

*  Extend the possibility of conditional status, provided certain educational milestones are achieved, to another 489,000 unauthorized immigrants between ages 18-34 who meet the legislation’s age and residency requirements but lack a high school diploma or GED.

The report shows DREAM Act implementation would clearly affect some states more than others, given the fact that three-quarters of potential beneficiaries live in just 10 states. Access to educational opportunities for DREAM Act beneficiaries also could vary from state to state because of significant differences in college enrollment practices and tuition policies.

The report also provides analysis of the income levels, labor force participation rates and other characteristics for the potential DREAM Act population.

“All in all, our analysis shows that a significant number of unauthorized immigrant youth would likely be able to meet the law’s tough requirements for permanent legal status,” said MPI. “The investments they would be required to make in their education or military service on the path to permanent legal status would ensure that they are well integrated into U.S. society and bring important skills and training to the U.S. workforce.”

The report analyzes the DREAM Act legislation which was introduced in 2009 and could be considered by the Senate as early as this month. The bill, formally known as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act would allow unauthorized immigrants to apply for legal permanent resident status on a conditional basis if, upon enactment of the law, they are: under the age of 35, arrived in the United States before the age of 16, have lived in the United States for at least the last five years and have obtained a U.S. high school diploma or GED. The conditional basis of their status would be removed in six years if they successfully complete at least two years of post-secondary education or military service and if they maintain good moral character during that period.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona’s Maricopa County - of Sheriff Arpaio Fame - to Pay Two Hispanic Men for Unlawful Detention

Arizona’s Maricopa County - of Sheriff Arpaio Fame - to Pay Two Hispanic Men for Unlawful Detention

Photo: Arizona's Maricopa County - of Sheriff Arpaio Fame - to Pay Two Hispanic Men for Unlawful Detention

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio likes to call himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” as he is constantly in the spotlight for his controversial stance on how to handle undocumented immigrants. Now, his office has been told to pay $200,000 to two Hispanic men who were unlawfully detained when they were swept up in a raid.

The Arizona sheriff of Maricopa County has made himself quite the spectacle with his antics and methods of punishing those he and his deputies see as criminals.

In February 2009, Julian and Julio Mora were on their way to work when Maricopa a team of dozens of deputies and volunteers with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office raided the Mora’s employer, Handyman Maintenance Inc., a landscaping business. The father and son were just outside of the company’s grounds when they were stopped, handcuffed with zip-ties, and detained for being suspected of being in the country illegally.

The two men spent hours in jail though one is a legal resident and the other a U.S. citizen. They were finally released when deputies established that they were in the U.S. legally and had committed no crime.

The men sued to the sheriff’s office, and in April, a judge ruled that the Mora’s constitutional rights had been violated, as they are constitutionally protected from unreasonable search and seizure, and the deputies had no lawful reason to detain them.

Thursday, a settlement was reached, and Arpaio’s office will pay the Mora’s $200,000.

In a statement, their lawyer, Annie Lai, of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said, “Sheriff Arpaio’s deputies are not free to ignore the constitution when they are enforcing immigration laws.”

Read more at BBC News →

Hey México, Look Up! The Last Spacewalk is Happening Over Your Heads!

Hey México, Look Up! The Last Spacewalk is Happening Over Your Heads!

Photo: Last Spacewalk is Happening over the Yucatán Peninsula

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245 miles over the Yucatán Peninsula, NASA engineers Michael Fossum and Ronald Garan walk space one last time.

While on the last spacewalk of the shuttle era, the pair were expected to retrieve a faulty pump, retrieve an experiment from the cargo bay and then mount it outside the space station.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Adios Amigos - Creator of ‘Brady Bunch’ and ‘Gilligan Island’, Sherwood Schwartz Dies

Television fans and fans (of a certain age) of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ and the ‘Brady Bunch’ are mourning the loss of these shows creator Sherwood Schwartz. 

Schwartz, who worked with his son Lloyd J. Schwartz, was working on a film adaption of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ when he died from natural causes.

Schwartz passed away at age 94 and not only created iconic shows in the ‘‘60s’, ‘70s and ‘80s he also worked on “My Favorite Martian,” “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” and “The Red Skelton Show.” 

Who can forget when Desi Arnaz Jr. appeared as Marcia’s dream date.  Many of Schwartz shows were dubbed in Spanish and have a large Latin American following.  There was even the spanish cartoon called ‘Los Chicos Brady’. 

Adios Amigo and Gracias for all the TV entertainment. 


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Read more by HS News Staff →

LISTEN: Demi Lovato’s Latest Single “Skyscraper”

LISTEN: Demi Lovato’s Latest Single “Skyscraper”

Photo: LISTEN: Demi Lovato's Latest Single "Skyscraper"

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The once-Disney songstress and actress Demi Lovato has just released her latest single “Skyscraper.

“Skyscraper” is Lovato’s first release since entering and completing rehab and since it was announced that she would no longer be playing Sonny Monroe on the Disney show “Sonny With a Chance”, which was renamed “So Random.”

The video for the single is expected to be released Wednesday.


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MLB Home Run Derby: A Latino Affair (VIDEO)

MLB Home Run Derby: A Latino Affair (VIDEO)

Photo: Dominicans Robinson Cano and Father

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Dominican Robinson Cano out-slugged Venezuelan Adrián González 12-11 in the MLB Home Run Derby after both hit 20 homers in the first two rounds.

It was yet another Boston Red Sox VS. New York Yankees Night at Chase field.

After Red Sox González batted 11 balls into the bleachers, Cano stepped up to the plate and being pitched by his own dad, Jose, he sent one more ball outside the diamond bounds.  Cano has become the 5th Dominican Home Run Derby winner in Major League baseball history. 

Gonzalez and Cano were the most impressive, eliminating defending champion David Ortiz of the Red Sox and Milwaukee’s Fielder in the second round.  Players are allowed to select who they want pitching to them in the Derby. 

When participant players had one out left, they were thrown balls with one infused with 24-carat gold leather, a retail value of $150.

For each homer with a gold ball, Major League Baseball and State Farm Insurance joined to donate $18,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Let’s remember that ‘beisbol bean very very good’ to us. 

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Glow in the Dark Mushroom Reappears After 170 Years!

Brazilian Glow in the Dark Mushroom Reappears After 170 Years!

Photo: Brazilian Foxfire

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Not seen since 1840 has the glowing mushroom has been seen, now it has been rediscovered in the Brazilian blossoming forests.

The Brazilian fungus bioluminescence is so great that you could read a book by it.

Scientists are not entirely sure why these mushrooms glow, but they reckon that the glowing foxfire is these fungi’s way to attract nocturnal animals to aid in spreading the fungi’s spores that will grow into new mushrooms.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Jose Vargas’ “Define American” Pushing for Immigration Reform

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Jose Vargas’ “Define American” Pushing for Immigration Reform

Photo: Award-winning journalist and undocumented immigrant Jose Vargas starts "Define American"

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Pulitzer prize-winning writer Jose Vargas made headlines when he revealed he was living in the United States as an undocumented immigrant. Now, he’s standing up for immigration reform and openly campaigning to see it happen with a new organization.

When he was 12, Vargas was brought to and raised in the U.S. He went on to work for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post and The New York Times. In June 2008, he was a member of the Washington Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for their coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Recently, in a New York Times Sunday Magazine article, Vargas wrote a very personal piece revealing his “illegal” status and sharing his life as an undocumented immigrant.

Vargas became a notable name among the estimated 11 million undocumented workers in the United States, and is now using that notoriety to speak out for immigration reform and pushing for the passing of the DREAM Act by setting up Define American, an organization to fight prejudice against the people that make up the those labeled “illegal immigrants.”

Many campaigners support what Define American stands for, like Tyler Moran, policy director of the National Immigration Law Centre, who told The Guardian, “Jose is just one of many people who were brought here as children and who now want to legalize their status. He puts a face on a story and counters some of the ugly arguments made by anti-immigrant groups.”

On the front page of the Define American website, visitors are greeted with a video of Jose’s story, accompanied by the article he wrote for The New York Times, and the words “Define American: It’s Time to Have a Real Conversation About Immigration in Our Country.”


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Read more at The Guardian →

One of a Kind: Lucha Libre Bolivian Wrestlers in Traditional Grab (VIDEO)

One of a Kind: Lucha Libre Bolivian Wrestlers in Traditional Grab (VIDEO)

Photo: Fighting Cholitas of Bolivia

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Where except in Bolivia would you except to see wrestlers, or better said Lucha Libre fighters, in colorful twirling skirts. 

These ‘cholitas’ as they are known not only beat up their opponent but wreak havoc on the audience.  A recent observer noted chairs were thrown at the audience along with spraying them with sticky soda.

What makes these Lucha Libre fighters unique is not that they are women but rather that they wrestle in the traditional “pollera” skirt and each skirt is different depending on the region the fighters comes from.

The woman vs woman or cholita vs cholita fights have become so popular it’s now common to see the fights promoted on travel guides to Bolivia and at $7 a ticket you can’t beat it. 

Enjoy the Cholitas take on the evil ‘men’ and do some good slapping. 


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Read more at Bolivia for 91 Days →

U.S. &  MX Govts Resume Program Providing Safe & Voluntarily Return to Mexico for the Undocumented

U.S. &  MX Govts Resume Program Providing Safe & Voluntarily Return to Mexico for the Undocumented

Photo: US-Mexico Repatriation Program Resumes

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mexican Ministry of the Interior announced Monday that the Mexican Interior Repatriation Program (MIRP) - a bilateral, voluntary program that ensures the safe return of Mexican nationals found to be unlawfully in the Sonora Arizona desert region of the United States to their places of residence in the Mexican interior - has resumed for the eighth consecutive summer.

First initiated in 2004, MIRP was designed as a bilateral effort between the United States and Mexico to reduce the loss of human life and to break the cycle of organized crime linked to the smuggling, trafficking and exploitation of migrants along the Arizona/Mexico border. Under MIRP, Mexican nationals apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in the Yuma and Tucson sectors are taken to DHS facilities in Nogales and Yuma, Ariz., where candidates are medically screened, meet with Mexican Consulate officials and are offered the opportunity to voluntarily participate in the program.

“The Mexican Interior Repatriation program offers illegal aliens an opportunity to voluntarily return to their homes, away from the dangers of the Sonoran Desert, and demonstrates how the governments of Mexico and the United States are working together to save lives,” said Randy Hill, chief patrol agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector.

As a humanitarian program, candidates for MIRP also include those who are identified as “at risk” due to criteria like age, physical condition or distance from their hometowns, as these populations are particularly vulnerable to heat or risk of victimization by criminals operating in border regions. Aliens who have been convicted of violent crimes are ineligible to participate in MIRP.

Individuals who volunteer to participate in the program are flown from Tucson International Airport to Mexico City via daily flights coordinated by ICE ERO and Mexican authorities. Upon arriving in Mexico City, participants are provided bus transportation to their hometowns in Mexico’s interior.

This year’s first repatriation flight departed Tucson International Airport Monday, and flights are scheduled to continue this year through Sept. 28.

More than 102,000 Mexican nationals have been safely returned under MIRP since it started in 2004.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Court Mandates Govt Release Documents on ‘Secure Communities’ Deportation Program

Court Mandates Govt Release Documents on ‘Secure Communities’ Deportation Program

Photo: Call to Stop Secure Communities Program

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In a victory for plaintiffs the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic in their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York ordered the agencies to produce further information concerning whether and how localities may “opt-out” or limit participation participation in Secure Communities.

Secure Communities functions as a deportation dragnet to funnel non-citizens into the ICE detention and removal system. The program automatically runs fingerprints through immigration databases for all people arrested and targets them for detention and deportation. The program currently operates in almost 1,400 jurisdictions in 43 states. Set for expansion nationwide, Massachusetts, Illinois, New York and several local jurisdictions have informed immigration authorities they do not want to participate in the program.

In a strongly worded opinion, the court rejected the agencies’ efforts to withhold documents that would reveal embarrassing or misleading information about Secure Communities.  Timely disclosure of these records is especially critical in light of the ongoing public scrutiny of Secure Communities.  As a result of the disclosures in this case, public pressure and mounting concerns by public officials, the Office of Inspector General is beginning an investigation today into the agency’s misrepresentations of the Secure Communities opt-out policy and the program’s failure to fulfill its stated mandate.

Simultaneously, DHS has initiated an advisory commission to examine the limited issue of individuals targeted through Secure Communities after being arrested for minor traffic offenses. Today’s order makes clear that the OIG’s review is needed and that the problems with the program run much deeper than the traffic offense-related issues that the DHS-appointed commission is considering.

Said Bridget Kessler, an attorney at the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic, “Today, the court has sent a strong message that the public’s interest in government transparency outweighs the government’s desire to save face. Our government officials cannot use laws meant to ensure transparency to withhold information from the public, especially if the only conceivable reason for preventing the release of the information is that it might be embarrassing or provide evidence of government misconduct.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Undocumented Immigrants Steer Clear of Arizona

Undocumented Immigrants Steer Clear of Arizona

Photo: Undocumented in Arizona are Fleeing

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People on both sides of the immigration debate in Arizona are skeptical of new research that shows a national decrease in the flow of illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States. But there is one thing they are certain of: undocumented immigrants are steering clear of the border state.

“I think they are just avoiding Arizona,” said Jesse Hernández, a real estate agent who works in the Maryvale neighborhood where the exodus of immigrants, due to the crackdown on illegal immigration and the implosion of the housing market, is especially visible. “They are going to California and other places. No matter how much worse things are in the U.S., they are still coming over here. It’s a human interest to look for a better opportunity.”

The survey, conducted by Douglas S. Massey, co-director of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton University, showed that interest in migrating to the United States from Mexico has dropped and the net flow has gone to zero for the first time in 60 years. Apprehensions of Mexicans along the border have also fallen by 70 percent in the last 10 years.

Mark Krikorian, director for the Center of Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington, D.C.-based conservative think-thank that advocates for less immigration, is also skeptical that the trend of migration could be changing.

“I think it’s clearly false. I don’t think there is any likelihood that we should see a significant end to Mexican immigration, without a change in U.S policy,” he said.

But he believes Arizona is a good example of how local state policies could be used to stem the flow of illegal immigration successfully.

“There’s no question that Arizona’s immigration laws have reduced the illegal population more than it would have happened without those laws,” he said.

Thousands of people left Arizona before the anti-immigration law SB 1070 went into effect last year. The law, considered the toughest in the nation at the time, made it a state crime for undocumented immigrants to live in Arizona and made them subject them to incarceration. Before it could be completely implemented, federal courts blocked key provisions of the law, leaving in effect aspects that prohibit cities and police departments from limiting immigration enforcement.

A study released last year by BBVA Bancomer Research, a financial institution in Mexico, found that 100,000 Latinos had fled the state in 2010. Based on remittance information, the study estimated that about 23,000 of them were Mexican nationals who returned to Mexico from June through September 2010.

Beyond SB 1070, says Krikorian, Arizona’s experience with another immigration law pushed immigrants away. That was an employer sanctions law passed in 2007 that made it mandatory for businesses to use a federal database known as E-Verify to check the immigration status of their new hires and also made them subject to penalties if they knowingly hired unauthorized workers.

It was Arizona’s success stemming the flow of illegal immigration that inspired other states to enact legislation similar to SB 1070, according to Krikorian. But he believes is too early to tell what will happen in places like Georgia that recently enacted legislation even tougher than the Arizona law.

Hernández, a former president of the Arizona Latino Republican Association (ALRA) who supported SB 1070 and employer sanctions, recognized that a lot of businesses had to close their doors when they lost Latino customers as well as workers. But he argues it is the underpaying of these undocumented workers that hurts the Arizona economy.

While the absence of undocumented immigrants in places like Maryvale left behind shuttered houses and closed businesses, Hernández believes it has also opened the door for reinvestment in properties by people from Texas and Canada.

Al Preciado, another real state agent and member of the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has a different perspective.

“(The immigrants that left) didn’t cause the blight, it was the state legislators that caused the blight by enacting SB 1070,” said Preciado. “The same thing would be nationwide if we continue this trend.”

Preciado argues that the exodus of immigrants leaving Arizona has hurt the overall housing market by causing a decrease in the population that drives demand for homes.

“Real estate is really simple; demand drives real estate; what drives the value of a home is population. If you have no population, you have no demand,” he said.

A study released in March by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C., contrasts the economic effects of massive deportation with the effects of legalization of Arizona’s estimated half a million undocumented immigrants.

An enforcement-only approach could lead to a loss of 17.2 percent of total employment in the state and shrink the state’s economy by $48.8 billion, according to the report. Legalizing undocumented immigrants in the state, meanwhile, could increase employment by close to 8 percent and increase state tax revenues by $1.68 billion.

Read more at New America Media →



TuesdayJuly 12, 2011