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SaturdaySeptember 24, 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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NBA Postpones 2011-2012 Training Camps & Cancels 43 Preseason Games.

The NBA announced today that player training camps for the 2011-12 season have been postponed indefinitely because a new collective bargaining agreement has not been reached with the National Basketball Players Association. Training camps were scheduled to open on October 3.

In addition, the league canceled all preseason games scheduled from October 9 through October 15.

“We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. “We will make further decisions as warranted.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Seniors Continue to Suffer in Silence as Number in Poverty on Rise

Seniors Continue to Suffer in Silence as Number in Poverty on Rise

Photo: National Council on Aging

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Recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the overall number of older adults living in poverty has increased. Even more significant is the number of seniors who have experienced an increase in economic insecurity—or those simply living on the edge.

Seniors with incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) rose from 33.7% (13,023,000) in 2009 to 34.6% (13,549,000), and those living below 100% of the FPL saw a modest, yet significant, increase from 3.4 to 3.5 million. Numbers do indicate that some individuals aged 65 and older have seen a rise in their incomes, mostly due to Social Security, as more and more Boomers reach retirement age.

“What the numbers have shown us is that economic insecurity for older adults has definitely increased,” said Sandra Nathan, senior vice president for Economic Security at the National Council on Aging (NCOA). “We need legislative and policy changes that take into account the needs of all age groups in poverty—while not forgetting those who are living on the edge, struggling every day just to pay for food, medicine, transportation, and a place to live.”

The current official poverty measurement system also needs an update, NCOA believes. Developed in the early 1960s, the Federal Poverty Level measures poverty by comparing a family’s income to a threshold level of need, which is based on food consumption patterns of 1955 and does not reflect current living standards. The measure of income evaluated against this threshold does not reflect tax liabilities, out-of-pocket spending on health care, and other significant costs, nor does it account for important forms of public assistance. As a result, it does not adequately reflect who is poor.

If a more modernized measure of poverty were used, there would likely be an even larger proportion of older individuals living in poverty. This data was reflected in the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance released in 1995.

“The reality is that there is an unseen crisis occurring in this country today,” said Nathan, “and that is rising economic insecurity among older Americans.”

More than 13 million older adults live in or on the edge of poverty, on less than $22,000 each year. These seniors live one bad break, one accident, or one layoff away from economic disaster. And with continued cuts in federal, state, and local programs serving older adults, we can expect to see even more seniors struggling to make ends meet.

Over the past six months, NCOA has collected over 5,000 real stories and videos of older adults who are struggling economically through its One Away campaign for elder economic security. The campaign is now calling on Congress to pledge to Protect and Strengthen the Older Americans Act, which funds many programs that help seniors in need. The stories, videos, and Pledge are available at www.OneAway.org. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Amazon Indian Nomad Beaten Up by Loggers

Amazon Indian Nomad Beaten Up by Loggers

Photo: Awá man. The Awá are being threatened and attacked by loggers who have invaded their land

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A man of the Awá tribe, one of the last nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes remaining in Brazil, has been brutally attacked by loggers who have invaded the Awá’s land.

The man was hunting in the forest when loggers reportedly tied him up, blind-folded him, beat him up and tried to decapitate him. They then fired shots at the man’s wife as she ran for help, but she was not injured.

The Awá have suffered a series of threats from loggers in recent weeks, and have been warned that they will be killed if they go into their forest.

The house of the local team of the NGO CIMI- the Indigenous Missionary Council- has been ransacked as part of the attacks.

The violence follows a government operation to close down sawmills which illegally source their timber on Awá land, during which two loggers were arrested.

The Awá Indians live in officially recognized indigenous territories, but their lives are at risk as loggers are illegally cutting down their forest at a very fast pace.

Settlers and cattle ranchers have also illegally moved in to Awá land, further destroying the forest.

More than 30% of one of the Awá’s territories has already been deforested.

The Awá are finding it increasingly difficult to find game in the forest, when they go hunting.

Pirei Ma’a Awá told Survival, ‘We are all going to go hungry, the children will be hungry, my daughter will be hungry, and I’ll be hungry too. There’ll be nothing in the forest… the loggers come here with their trucks and they take the trees away.’

Survival has written to the Brazilian authorities, highlighting the danger of the attacks and reiterating the urgent need to remove the invaders and protect the tribe’s land, without which they will not survive.

Read more at survival international →

Renewing the American Dream: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by Helping Hispanic Businesses Grow

Renewing the American Dream: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by Helping Hispanic Businesses Grow

Photo: Jorge Silva-Puras

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As a Hispanic member of the Obama Administration, I am proud to join in the celebration of the Hispanic Heritage month, and hopefully be able to assist Hispanic business owners achieve their dreams of becoming successful entrepreneurs.

I was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but have lived in Connecticut, Texas, Ohio and currently in New York City.  As such, I am one of millions of Puerto Ricans who have embarked on what we have come to call the “guagua aerea”  (or “airbus” in Spanish) which exemplifies the constant flux of Puerto Ricans coming from or moving back to the Island.  Today, more Puerto Ricans live in the Continental US than in Puerto Rico.  But no matter where they live, they exhibit a constant pride of their origin, culture, language and, more relevant to my current role at the SBA, a great sense of entrepreneurship.

To nurture that entrepreneurial spirit, over the course of the past year I have been talking with Hispanic business leaders across New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.  I have also met with various Hispanic Chambers of Commerce throughout the Region.  During those conversations, several recurrent topics have been highlighted to help businesses expand and grow, such as need for more capital, more incentives to small businesses, more opportunities for Hispanic workers, faster permitting processes and the need for immigration reform.  All these topics are being addressed proactively by the White House.

President Obama understands that Hispanic-Americans account for two-thirds of the country’s population growth and are currently experiencing an unacceptably high unemployment rate of 11.3 percent.  He has proposed the American Jobs Act to help the entire Nation, and particularly Americans like the nearly one million Hispanic-Americans who have been out of work for more than six months.

The American Jobs Act reflects a commitment to strengthen the recovery and help increase access to jobs, after all Hispanic-Americans are helping form the backbone of America’s labor force.  President Obama believes that we must take action to support hard working families that drive our nation’s prosperity and growth and is prepared to act on this plan.  For instance, as part of the American Jobs Act, tax cuts will benefit 250,000 Hispanic-owned small businesses.  By proposing tax cuts that will go to every small business nationwide, providing incentives to hire and make new investments.

Extending unemployment insurance will directly benefit 1.1 million Hispanics and their families, while providing targeted support for long-term unemployment.  Also, nearly one million Hispanics who have been out of work for six months or more will be able find a job. The American Jobs Act recognizes that Hispanic youths are unemployed at a staggering 19.3 percent and the President proposed to build on successful programs like the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund to create jobs and provide training for those hardest-hit by the recession.

By extending the payroll tax cut next year, the President’s plan will help increase paychecks of 25 million Hispanic workers by providing more money to spend in our communities and support our families.  And, since the strength of our communities is important we need to make a commitment to rebuilding and revitalizing them across the country, targeting communities hardest-hit by the recession, focusing on infrastructure, school construction with significant commitment to large urban school districts and revitalizing communities that have been devastated by foreclosures.

As you can see, the American Jobs Act is a big plan that invests in America and will help revitalize communities and help you keep more money and find work for the long term unemployed.  Read more about the American Jobs Act and if you have comments or suggestions I encourage you to contact me or go to the www.SBA.gov website for more information.

Jorge Silva-Puras is the Regional Administrator for Region II, (NY, NJ, PR & USVI) at the US Small Business Administration.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Stop Matias’ Deportation- Sign Petition Here

Stop Matias’ Deportation- Sign Petition Here

Photo: Matias Ramos

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Update: Great news! Yesterday evening, Matias received a visit at his home from an agent and was released from the electronic shackle! This could not have been possible without your support. You and many other supporters made calls to ICE, signed the petition and shared it with your friends and family. However, Matias’ deportation has not been canceled yet. Although he has been granted a six month stay, he still faces the uncertainty being deported to Argentina.

In order to cancel his deportation indefinitely, Matias needs your help to continue applying pressure on ICE. Please share this petition with 5 of your friends and family members.

Petition:
After years of fighting for the DREAM Act and an opportunity to gain legal status, Matias Ramos was told by immigration authorities to leave the country in less than 14 days. Last week, during his weekly check-in with ICE, Matias was informed he would be placed in an intensive supervision program which requires him to wear a monitoring bracelet around his ankle at all times, and charge it against a wall for three hours a day.

Matias was arrested in an airport and released by immigration in February of 2010 after attending a national gathering of immigrant youth. For the past year and a half, he has been on an order of supervision that requires him to report regularly in Fairfax, Virginia - about forty five minutes away from his home in Washington, DC. This is usually a difficult trip, as he is confronted not only with the uncertainty of his situation, but also with the stories of some of the thousands of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters currently caught up on an increasing deportation dragnet.

When Obama announced that ICE would be exercising more discretion in its practices, nobody thought he meant electronic shackles. These developments show that despite the best marketing efforts of the impending Obama campaign, the current administration has enacted cosmetic reforms that do not go far enough in protecting people from family separation and harassment. We must continue to hold the Obama administration accountable for the injustices our communities are facing. 

Sign this petition to ask the Fairfax ICE Field Officer, Francisco Madrigal, to release Matias from his electronic detention and cancel his deportation.

Read more at wired for change →

Diana Nyad Makes Another Attempt to Swim From Cuba to Florida

Diana Nyad Makes Another Attempt to Swim From Cuba to Florida

Photo: Diana Nyad

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62-year-old Diana Nyad is once again trying to swim from Cuba to Florida. She set out yesterday, a month after she had to abandon her previous attempt in part because of a severe asthma attack, reports AP. This time around, the jelly fish are out to get her. “Diana has been stung by what we believe is a moon jelly,” an assistant tweeted. “She is trying to clear herself of tentacles and continue the swim.”

If all goes well, she will arrive in Florida Monday morning—probably 15 pounds lighter. Nyad’s 103-mile swim would set the mark for open-water swimming outside of a shark cage. The previous record-holder? The same Diana Nyad, who swam 102.5 miles from the Bahamas to Florida in 1979. Follow updates on her Twitter feed here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mike Stauffer for Maricopa Sheriff blasts Paul Babeu and Joe Arpaio

Mike Stauffer for Maricopa Sheriff blasts Paul Babeu and Joe Arpaio

Photo: Mericopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio

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Just in from Mike Stauffer’s facebook page.  He gets it, and I’m glad he has more common sense than Paul Babeu and Joe Arpaio (the newest tweedle dee and tweedle dumb of Arizona).

Thanks Mike!  Keep up the good work and restore common sense to law enforcement work!
Image

Read more at somos republicans →

Famous Transexual Identified Amongst Bodies Dumped in Veracruz- HS News Narco Blog

Famous Transexual Identified Amongst Bodies Dumped in Veracruz- HS News Narco Blog

Photo: Brigitte-Veracruz Transexual

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Veracruz was the scene of a gruesome occurrence this week when 40 bodies were dumped on the highway during rush hour traffic. The most famous transexual sex worker in the port - Brigitte was identified amongst the bodies.

The authorities confirmed that a corpse abandoned on Tuesday in Boca del Rio, Veracruz, was that of Brigitte, who was popular at his corner for arriving at work aboard his red Mini Cooper.

The Attorney General of the State of Veracruz, said that the body remains in the forensic medical service facilities.

So far no arrests over the situation, where 40 people were found dead and abandoned on a busy avenue in Boca del Rio.

Read in Spanish HereImageImage

Read more by HS News Staff →

UN Hears:Drug Trafficking Greatest Threat to Latin American Countries Today

UN Hears:Drug Trafficking Greatest Threat to Latin American Countries Today

Photo: Laura Chinchilla Miranda, President of Costa Rica

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Costa Rica and El Salvador, two countries highly affected by drug-related violence in recent years, have urged the United Nations to help fight drug cartels and organized crime, and called on Member States with high numbers of drug consumers to take the lead on the issue.

“Our region has become prey to malevolent geopolitics,” Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Miranda told the General Assembly’s annual general debate last night.

“As a result of our location between the largest centres of production and demand in the world, we have become a target to the dynamic of death that they both create, and we must bear the burden of extraordinary material, institutional and human costs What for the main perpetrators of these atrocities are mere ‘collateral damages,’ for Central Americans represent extreme challenges and deep wounds.”

Ms. Chinchilla added: “From here stems our greatest frustration. Thus we demand that the international community, in particular the greatest consumers of drugs and suppliers of arms that materialize the violence, assume completely and without further delay, the responsibility of their actions.”

El Salvador’s President Mauricio Funes echoed his Costa Rican counterpart’s call for international support and stressed that drug trafficking affects not just Latin America but every country where drugs are obtained illegally.

“The international community must understand that it also suffers from this problem,” he said in his address today. “There is no nation in the world where there hasn’t been a drug consumer that has obtained drugs from the hand of criminal drug networks.”

He also said that Central American countries will continue to combat drug trafficking by strengthening their institutions, seeking transparency in their security bodies, and helping young people stay away from gangs. But he stressed that there would be no progress without the leadership of consumer countries, and called on the United States to take immediate measures.

“El Salvador and Central America are making great efforts to face this reality but the numbers are not on our side,” he said.

“We are talking about a drug trade route that moves about $100,000 million per year, and that culminates in the biggest market in the world and the main consumer of these substances: the United States. Not even a big country like Mexico can take a step on its own and have any possibilities of success in this battle in the face of such a terrorist threat.

“The battle against organized crime is everyone’s fight and in this sense, I would like to make a special appeal to the United Sates so that it assumes a resolute and concrete leadership in this battle against drug trafficking and organized crime.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘Modern Family’ Star Sofia Vergara Launches her Own Line at Kmart

‘Modern Family’ Star Sofia Vergara Launches her Own Line at Kmart

Photo: Sofia Vergara at KMart

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Modern Family star, Sofia Vergara, launched her own clothing line for Kmart, revealing that it’s always been a dream of hers to set out on this sort of venture.

Vergara believes that having a clothing line will allow her to connect more with her fans, as she told Robert Roberts on Good Morning America that “it’s a great idea to have a little side business and to be in touch with my fans.”

USA Today reports that the line ranges from sequined animal-print T-shirts to faux leather jackets, and is now in Kmart stores.

Furthermore, Vergara appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman to promote her line and made the talk show host “a good kind of nervous,” OK! Magazine reports.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Latino Leaders to Make Voice Heard at Vatican City

Latino Leaders to Make Voice Heard at Vatican City

Photo: Catholic Association of Latino Leaders

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As Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off in the United States, U.S. Catholic Latino leaders will complete a major step in achieving more open communication with the Vatican. The Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL) will hand deliver a formal response to Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate – Charity in Truth this week. As far as it is known, there has never been a formal response to a papal encyclical by the laity, so this is a historic first. 

On Thursday, September 22, Robert Aguirre, president and CEO of CALL and principal author of the response, and a delegation of CALL members met with Peter Cardinal Turkson, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Turkson will be presented with Pope Benedict’s special edition and after review of the document, the cardinal will then present the response to the Holy Father.  The response, entitled Caritas in Veritate – Charity in Truth: Our Response in Faith, is a prayer from the organization reflecting on the importance of Pope Benedict’s words and CALL’s vow to act as faithful disciples, trusting the Holy Father as their pastor and shepherd. Each member of CALL reflects on the relevance of their heritage as the first American Catholics as they realize the influence of their voice as current Latino leaders. 

“As Catholic Latino leaders in our country it is our responsibility to demonstrate that our Catholic identity is defined by what we do. Members of CALL look to Blessed John XXIII’s words stating that we need to seek to align our ‘professional activity into conformity with the Church’s social teaching.’ Our Response in Faith is our prayer to carry out the mission of the Church in every aspect of our lives,” said Aguirre.

CALL (Catholic Association of Latino Leaders) is a national organization comprised of lay people dedicated to promoting the common good of the Catholic Church and of the nation.  Established on the premise that it is the particular vocation of the laity to transform the world through “faithful citizenship,” CALL members do so by finding new and culturally relevant ways to preserve and promote the values of their faith–especially within the historical context that Hispanics were the first American Catholics.  Internally, CALL provides a forum for members to strengthen their faith in community through prayer, education and service.  Externally, CALL provides programs, services and events for the benefit of their faith, the community and the country.  CALL has chapters established in Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, Miami, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and San Antonio with new groups currently under formation in New York and Washington, DC.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Now Instantly Play Music from Rdio Straight from Your Facebook Profile

Now Instantly Play Music from Rdio Straight from Your Facebook Profile

Photo: Music on Facebook

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Rdio Becomes One of the First Music Services to Launch on Facebook Open Graph

Rdio (www.rdio.com), the unlimited, on-demand social music service from the creators of Skype, today announced it is one of the first music services to launch on Facebook’s new music platform. With the integration of Rdio on Facebook, Facebook users now have an additional and established platform to share their musical tastes with their friends, regardless of whether or not those friends have an Rdio account. The announcement took place today in San Francisco at f8, Facebook’s annual developer conference, during the unveiling of the company’s much anticipated music platform.

“Rdio, like Facebook, was built from the ground up as a social service so this integration is a natural fit for us,” said Drew Larner, Rdio CEO. “Music has always been a social experience and Rdio has built the best social music discovery service. By combining our social DNA with the expansive reach of the world’s largest social network, we’ve made it even easier for consumers to use Rdio to discover music and share it instantly with their Facebook friends.”

Each time an Rdio user plays a song, it shows up in their News Feed, Ticker, and Timeline, giving their friends instant access to what they are listening to. By simply connecting their Facebook account with Rdio, existing Rdio users can instantly play or pause a song on Rdio without ever leaving Facebook. For a Facebook user that is not an Rdio subscriber, clicking on a song automatically creates an Rdio account, but only after permission to connect Facebook and Rdio is given. The newly created account includes a free trial to Rdio Unlimited and doesn’t require any downloads or a credit card.

Building on today’s integration, Rdio will soon be launching free access to its music catalog without advertising. With Rdio’s free access, users will be able to listen to all of Rdio’s content (over 11 million songs and growing), including exclusives on the web. Importantly, it will further enhance the music experience on Facebook by making discovering and listening to music shared by your friends through Rdio completely frictionless.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration Summit Takes Place in Arizona Presented by Hispanic Evangelical Leaders

Immigration Summit Takes Place in Arizona Presented by Hispanic Evangelical Leaders

Photo: Sam Rodriguez

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A historic Immigration Summit hosted by Hispanic Evangelical leaders with delegates from across the nation including representatives from President Obama’s administration, denominational leaders, pastors, local community leaders and pro-immigrant activists filled New Life Church of God, a mega-church in Tucson, Ariz., to capacity to discuss Biblical solutions for the immigration crisis in America.


“Last night our church was filled to capacity with people committed, not to a political solution but to a Biblical and prophetic solution, to immigration reform,” said, Dr. Luis Rodriguez, Sr. Pastor of New Life Church of God. “We believe that Arizona will be healed by a church, by the Church, who stands up for righteousness. We celebrate what was accomplished last night through the united voices of those in attendance at this historic Immigration Summit.”


Joshua DuBois, Assistant to the President and Executive Director to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, said, “On behalf of President Obama, the President says ‘I am with you and am committed to a just and merciful Comprehensive Immigration Reform.’”

Another summit panelist, Robert Gittleson, Co-Founder of Conservatives For Comprehensive Immigration Reform, said, “The discussion of Comprehensive Immigration Reform must be brought about logically, clearly and fairly. Within the Conservative Evangelicals there has been a vocal minority whose voice has been made loud to intimidate against immigration issues.”

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (http://www.nhclc.org), also known as the Hispanic Evangelical Association, the nation’s largest Christian Hispanic organization, hosted The National Hispanic Evangelical Immigration Summit in Tucson on Wednesday, September 21, 2011—as a platform for a civil exchange of ideas around the issue of immigration reform.

“The focus of this immigration issue,” said, Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr. Pastor of First Institutional Baptist Church of Phoenix, “is to move from chaos to community by messaging and mobilizing ‘Biblical Unity’ — that blacks and Hispanics come together as the ‘Peter and John’ of today.”

Rev. Jim Tolle, Sr. Pastor of Iglesia En EL Camino, presented seven key points regarding the immigration reform issue during his panel discussion time: Love thy neighbor as thyself, need for a bi-partisan commission made up of the various realms of societal influence…business, religious, educational, evangelize the evangelicals, agree on getting dialogue in the media about this issue, constant prayer brings for change, keep dialogue alive to educate the community and take the initiative to love those who oppose us.

Administrative Bishop, Church of God Southwest Region, Bishop Samuel Santana, said, “The main, simple yet logical, question facing Christians, all Christians, is ‘What would Jesus say and do concerning the immigrants?’”

The Summit Panel included U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Joshua DuBois, Assistant to the president and Executive Director to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Robert Gittleson, Co-Founder of Conservatives For Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr. Pastor of First Institutional Baptist Church of Phoenix, Dr. M. Daniel Carroll R., Professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary, Bishop Samuel Santana, Administrative Bishop, Church of God Southwest Region, Rev. Jim Tolle, Sr. Pastor of Iglesia En EL Camino, Dr. Luis Rodriguez, Sr. Pastor of New Life Church of God, and Rev. Eve Nunez, National Immigration Spokesperson, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

The evening summit began with a time of praise and worship followed by a welcome and prayer. There was a student presentation on the Dream Act that led into the presenter’s and panelist’s time on Immigration and Just Integration Solution which was facilitated by Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and followed by a question and answer time. The evening event was closed with intercessory prayer and a prophetic call to action.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the NHCLC and the NHCLC, which represents over 20 million Hispanic Evangelicals, stand committed to a Just Integration Solution in addressing the current immigration crisis in America. Rodriguez said, “This historic summit in Tucson, Ariz. is sure to be the catalyst for many more National Hispanic Evangelical Immigration Summits. We are grateful for all those who came from across the nation, including delegates from the White House and pastors, to unite for the purpose of a just integration solution for immigration reform.”

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is the Hispanic Evangelical Association unifying, serving and representing the Hispanic Born Again Community via 34,200 member churches and 20 million constituents by reconciling the vertical and horizontal of the Christian message through the 7 Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.

Read more by HS News Staff →

RELAX this weekend with a Latin American Natural Wonder

RELAX this weekend with a Latin American natural wonder.  Guess What and Where this is?

Juan Laverde, Latin American Natural Wonder

Read more by HS News Staff →

Next Stop, Napolitano: DHS Committee Approves Task Force Recommendations on Secure Communities

Next Stop, Napolitano: DHS Committee Approves Task Force Recommendations on Secure Communities

Photo: Photo by Antonio Villaraigosa.

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Last week, a task force created to study DHS’ controversial “Secure Communities” initiative issued a report listing a series of recommendations to improve the program. Among other proposals, the task force recommended that federal authorities standardize the use of prosecutorial discretion around the country, make the program more transparent, and decline to initiate deportation proceedings against immigrants who have not been convicted of serious crimes or otherwise pose a threat to public safety. As of yesterday, those recommendations are one step closer actual implementation as the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) voted to approve the task force’s findings and submit them for further consideration to DHS leadership, including Secretary Janet Napolitano. While HSAC agreed (almost) unanimously to submit the recommendations to DHS, the committee was careful to characterize the findings as a good first step rather than a cure to problems with Secure Communities.

The vote, in which only one advisory council member dissented, followed a series of endorsements from some of the most recognizable names in law enforcement. William Bratton, who previously served as New York City Police Commissioner and Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, said he fully supported the task force’s recommendations and that the consistent exercise of prosecutorial discretion represented “the heart of the issue.” His remarks were echoed by Leroy Baca, the Sheriff of Los Angeles County.

John Magaw, a former director of the ATF and the Secret Service, called the report a “huge step forward.” And Judge William Webster, a former director of both the FBI and CIA, said the report contained well-though out recommendations that should make the problems with Secure Communities clear to Secretary Napolitano.
The creation of the task force was announced last June, along with the release of a two separate memoranda on prosecutorial discretion by ICE Director John Morton. Originally, the task force’s only assignment was to propose recommendations for cases of immigrants arrested for minor traffic offenses. However, task force members largely agreed that its report should address the program’s structural problems—including the misleading manner in which federal authorities rolled out the program, and the corresponding confusion in immigrant communities over the way its operates.

The only member of the advisory council who dissented from Thursday’s vote—Manny Diaz, the former Mayor of Miami—said the task force’s recommendations did not go far enough. Diaz said immigration officials will never be able to consistently exercise prosecutorial discretion in different parts of the country, and that the program should be suspended entirely against all immigrants save those who are truly dangerous or pose a threat to public safety. His comments reflected the concerns of task force members who resigned in the days before the report’s release, arguing that Secure Communities should be suspended outright until it is fixed.

Read more at Immigration Impact →



SaturdaySeptember 24, 2011