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SaturdayJanuary 7, 2012

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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Rivera, 39, Released after 20 Years in Prison For Murder He Did Not Commit

Rivera, 39, Released after 20 Years in Prison For Murder He Did Not Commit

Photo: Juan Rivera

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A Hispanic man who spent almost 20 years in jail for a murder he did not commit has been freed after prosecutors decided not to challenge an Illinois appeals court’s ruling.

On Dec. 9, the Illinois Appellate Court overturned Juan Rivera’s third conviction in the case, ruling there was a lack of evidence connecting him to the 1992 rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker in the city of Waukegan.

Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Waller said Friday he had decided not to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court after “carefully reviewing and assessing the appellate court’s opinion, as well as considering the strengths and weaknesses of all the evidence.”

“Therefore, the prosecution of Mr. Rivera comes to a conclusion today.”

The case was resolved with a DNA examination of material taken from the victim’s body in 1992 but was not analyzed until 2004, when it was shown to have come from another person.

Furthermore, at the time the crime occurred, Rivera was under electronic monitoring for another, unrelated crime, which showed that he never left home the night of the murder.

During the almost 20 years that have passed, Rivera was found guilty three times - in 1993, 1998 and 2009 - and each time was sentenced to life in prison.

The only solid evidence linking the Hispanic to the crime was his confession to Waukegan police, which according to appeal court judges had been obtained by force.

Jeffrey Undangen of the Northwestern University Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, which was involved in Rivera’s appeal, was excited about the Hispanic’s release.

Undangen told the press that the corresponding paperwork was done to get the Hispanic out of jail as soon as possible and that Illinois’ Department of Corrections accelerated the procedure so he could be free on Friday.

Rivera, 39, left the Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois, where he was confined, at aproximately 4:30 p.m.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Demi Lovato to perform in Chile at Iquique Festival in February

Demi Lovato to perform in Chile at Iquique Festival in February

Photo: Demi Lovato

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Former Disney Channel actress Demi Lovato will appear this February at the Iquique Festival in northern Chile, where she will share the stage with Colombian pop star Juanes, organization sources said Saturday.

With this performance the 19-year-old singer of Mexican, Irish and Italian descent will make her third appearance in Chile, where in 2009 she sang backup for the Jonas Brothers, an American boy band, and where in May 2010 fans turned out to catch her solo act.

The contest kicks off Feb. 3 with performances by the trio comprising Spain’s Alex Ubago, the Colombian Jorge Villamizar and Lena Burke from Cuba, who will then cede the spotlight to Chilean singer El Gitano and reggaeton star Tito El Bambino.

On Feb. 4, Juanes and Demi Lovato will alternate onstage, while the next day, the last day of the festival, will feature Chilean balladeer Myriam Hernandez and Mexico’s Juan Gabriel.

Lovato starred as Allison “Sonny” Munroe on the Disney Channel children’s sitcom “Sonny with a Chance” in 2009 and 2010, but she announced last year after undergoing treatment for an eating disorder that she would not be returning to the show.

Read more by HS News Staff →

To Win 2012 Presidency the GOP Needs to Think Outside of the Box the same way Jon Huntsman Does

To Win 2012 Presidency the GOP Needs to Think Outside of the Box the same way Jon Huntsman Does

Photo: Jon Huntsman

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What has happened to the party of Lincoln and Reagan? It has lost its way and if does not start thinking strategically, it will become the minority party for many years to come.

Let’s start with the current presidential candidate crop. They are all vying for being the “most conservative” of the lot. However, do they really know the meaning of “conservative”? It is likely that they don’t.

This country was built on compromise, which is another dirty word in present day politics. However, the inability to reach across the aisle and do what is right for America has been lost. Both major parties are to blame. Rhetoric has become poisonous and demagoguery is the order of the day.

We have lacked statesmanship for a long time and the nation knows it. Herein is an opportunity for the GOP if they could only stop trying to see who is the most conservative and who can find scapegoats to fry. Romney picked on undocumented children to attack and that will come back to haunt him and the GOP. The Latino vote does count and in elections every vote counts. Just remember that the Iowa caucuses were won by a mere 8 votes. The GOP needs serious lessons in electoral college mathematics if it allows the noxious rhetoric against unauthorized immigration to continue, particularly the DREAMers.

The GOP should look at finding a nominee who can be a unifying force. Someone who will do what is best for America and not just a party. Someone who understands the precepts of justice and compassion – a person who has business acumen and can lead this country with its best foot forward.

That candidate is not Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich. The one that fits this profile is Jon Huntsman. He is an out of the box Republican and that is who is needed to successfully defeat Obama.

Like Romney, Huntsman is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Unlike Romney, Huntsman has diplomatic experience and has championed instate tuition for undocumented students during his tenure as Utah Governor. Huntsman is most definitely the Republican candidate who is most outside of the box and that is what Republicans will need to beat President Obama on November 2012.

Somos Republicans

Read more at somos republicans →

El Paso Native Starts First Magazine For Hispanic GLBT Community

El Paso Native Starts First Magazine For Hispanic GLBT Community

Photo: Fuerte Men

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An online magazine dedicated to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual Hispanic community is growing in popularity. The publisher of the magazine is an El Paso native who says this magazine is the only of its kind in the nation and one that was needed.

“Fuerte Men” has been around for three months but its publisher, Sidney Alvarez, says it already gets 10,000 to 15,000 hits a day. And he expects the numbers to grow once he adds an iPhone app.

The word “fuerte” means strong in Spanish and Alvarez believes it takes a “strong” individual to overcome adversity. “I established this because I thought there was a void out there in the community. There’s not a whole lot of publications or online mediums that address the Hispanic GLBT community,” said Alvarez.

Read more at KTSM NewsChannel →

Companions Chain 71-Year-Old Man to Bed to Get Him to Stop Drinking

Municipal police freed a 71-year-old man, apparently an alcoholic, who had been chained to his bed in Mexicali, capital of the northwestern Mexican state of Baja California.

Local media said Friday that the man had been drinking alcoholic beverages since Dec. 22 and refused to stop, so his companion chained him up to stop the boozing.

According to reports, agents of the Mexicali police force’s Domestic Violence Unit, or UVI, rushed to the scene at the urging of the septuagenarian’s son.

Neighbors tipped off the son that his father needed help, and when he went into the house he found his dad chained up like someone “in the brig of a pirate ship,” the report said.

Police notified the state Attorney General’s Office to continue the investigation, while the elderly man was sent to a public hospital to have the state of his health examined.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez Home from Hospital with Good News: No Cancer

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez  Home from Hospital with Good News: No Cancer

Photo: Cristina Fernandez

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Argentine President Cristina Fernandez left hospital Saturday and returned to her official residence in Buenos Aires with wonderful news - following her thyroid operation, doctors reversed her diagnosis for cancer.

“The histopathological examination definitively shows the presence of nodules in both lobes of the president’s thyroid gland, but dismisses the presence of carcinogenic cells, modifying the original diagnosis,” according to the medical report read by presidential spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro.

Cristina Fernandez, 58, was admitted Wednesday to the prestigious Austral Hospital to undergo a total removal of the thyroid gland because of cancerous cells detected in the right lobe of her thyroid.

Biopsies found, however, only a benign thyroid tumor, which means, according to the medical report, that Fernandez will not require treatment with radioactive iodine as previously announced.

Just a few minutes after the spokesman read the medical report, Cristina Fernandez boarded the presidential helicopter waiting for her on the hospital premises and returned to her official residence of Olivos outside Buenos Aires, accompanied by her son Maximo and daughter Florencia.

Fernandez was operated by the surgeon Pedro Saco, among the most highly regarded in the country, under the supervision of the presidential medical team.

A mistaken diagnosis in this kind of illness “is something that I won’t say is usual, but that can happen, it can happen in the best medical teams,” Ernesto Puentes, a specialist in head and neck surgery, said Saturday in a statement on a local television channel.

The news was greeted with applause and cries of joy by the hundreds of supporters from her party camped outside the entrance to Austral Hospital, one of the most advanced in Argentina.

A sea of flags, banners, photos of Fernandez and her husband, the late ex-President Nestor Kirchner, and even improvised altars with Our Ladys and Christs have been features of this “campground of endurance” in support of the president.

One of the few people who had brief access to Fernandez in the hospital, according to local media, was Vice President Amado Boudou, acting head of government while the president is on medical leave.

Boudou has kept a low profile this week, focusing his agenda on the economic matters he well understands, having been economy minister during Fernandez’s first term.

The president’s office has not yet confirmed whether, in light of this new diagnosis, Cristina Fernandez will continue with the leave of absence scheduled to end Jan. 24.

Nor has it said if the president will travel in the coming days to her home in the Patagonian town of El Calafate, her “place in the world,” as she has referred to it more than once, and where Nestor Kirchner died in October 2010.

Read more by HS News Staff →

USCIS to Propose Changing the Process for Certain Waivers that Will Unify Families

On Jan. 6, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted a notice of intent in the Federal Register outlining its plan to reduce the time that U.S. citizens are separated from their spouses and children under certain circumstances while those family members go through the process of becoming legal immigrants to the United States.  Currently, spouses and sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who have accrued a certain period of unlawful presence in the United States, and have to leave the country as part of the legal immigration process, are barred from returning to their families for as long as 3 or 10 years.  They can receive a waiver to allow them to return to their families by showing that their U.S. citizen family member would face extreme hardship as a result of the separation.  This proposal would streamline the processing of these individuals’ waiver applications based on unlawful presence; USCIS proposes to process their waiver applications in the United States before any American family faces separation.  The process would only apply to immigrants who are eligible for a visa.

Under the proposed process, the spouses and children of U.S. citizens who are eligible for a visa to immigrate legally to the United States, but who need a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence in order to obtain that visa expeditiously, would apply for a provisional waiver before leaving the United States to have their immigrant visa application processed at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad (as they must pursuant to law).  The notice limits the streamlined process to those individuals who are inadmissible based solely on having accrued a period of unlawful presence and – pursuant to statutory requirements – who can demonstrate extreme hardship to their U.S. citizen relative.  All individuals affected by this streamlined process would need to meet all legal requirements for admission to the United States, including the requirement that they process their visa application at a U.S. consulate abroad.

With the change outlined in the notice, individuals who currently qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility under the existing eligibility standards, and who can demonstrate that separation from their U.S. citizen spouse or parent would cause extreme hardship to that relative, would be allowed to apply for a waiver while still in the U.S.

By allowing these individuals to apply for waivers in the U.S. and making a provisional determination of waiver eligibility before the individuals must depart the country for visa processing, USCIS would provide a more predictable and transparent process and improved processing times, minimizing the separation of U.S. citizens from their families. The change would also streamline the process for both USCIS and the Department of State (DOS) when handling requests for these waivers.  As a result, this change would encourage individuals who may be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility to seek lawful readmission to the United States by limiting the amount of time they would need to spend away from their U.S. citizen spouse or parent.

Following publication of this notice, USCIS will undertake further analysis and collaborate with the Department of State to develop the streamlined process in greater detail.  USCIS plans to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the coming months that will provide additional details and allow the opportunity for public comment.  A final rule will then be published to implement the streamlined process.  The rule will not modify the underlying standard for assessing whether denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen spouse or parent of such individuals.  It would modify only the process by which these applications may be filed and accepted by USCIS for processing.

Questions and Answers

Q. Why is USCIS proposing the change?

A. This proposed change will reduce the time that U.S. citizens are separated from their spouses and children under certain circumstances while those family members are going through the process of obtaining visas to become legal immigrants to the United States.  Under current policy, individuals who wish to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence must leave the U.S. and apply for a waiver at a U.S. consular office outside the United States.  This process can be lengthy and discourages individuals who may be eligible for this waiver from applying, which delays their ability to lawfully reenter the U.S.  The proposed change would reduce the amount of time that U.S. citizens would be separated from their spouses and children while the process to obtain a visa to immigrate takes place.  This reflects the Administration’s strong commitment to efficiency in the administration of immigration law and facilitation of legal immigration. 

Q. How is the proposed process different from the current process?

A.Currently, U.S. citizens who petition for their spouses and children to become legal immigrants to the United States must petition for a visa, and in some circumstances, if the spouse or child has accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the U.S., that spouse or child must also petition for a waiver of a ground of inadmissibility in order to have his or her visa application processed.  The proposed process does not change the requirements for obtaining a visa or the standards for obtaining a waiver.  Nor does it change the requirement that the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen ultimately depart the United States to have his or her visa application processed at a consulate abroad.  The only change contemplated by this proposal is that the spouse or child would be able to apply for a waiver with USCIS in the U.S. and receive a provisional decision on that waiver before departing the U.S. for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications.  Currently, applicants can only file for a waiver after having been determined inadmissible by the U.S. consular officer and must wait abroad for a decision, which significantly adds to the processing time for their case.  The proposal limits the extent to which the process forces the lengthy separation of families.   

Q. When will this streamlined process be implemented?

A. The process will be implemented only after USCIS issues a final rule.  In the coming months, USCIS plans to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking and will consider the comments received as part of that process before publishing a final rule.  The current process will remain in place until a final rule goes into effect.  No one should file an application with USCIS based on this proposed change in process.  Any applications filed with USCIS based on this notice will be rejected and the application package returned to the applicant, including any fees until the final rule is issued and the change becomes effective.

Q. Who would be eligible for a provisional waiver?

A.Spouses and children of a U.S. citizen (1) who are seeking lawful permanent residence through an immigrant visa, (2) who are found inadmissible based on unlawful presence in the United States for more than 180 days, and (3) who meet the existing extreme hardship standard.  Children under the age of 18 do not accrue unlawful presence and, as a result, are not required to obtain a waiver.

Q. Why is this proposed streamlined process limited to the spouses and children of U.S. citizens?

A.The policy objective of this proposed process change is to alleviate extreme hardship suffered by U.S. citizens.  USCIS has thus identified immediate relatives of U.S. citizens as the class of aliens to consider for this procedural change.  In addition, their immigrant visas, which are not subject to annual limitations, are always immediately available.  The focus on U.S. citizens and their immediate relatives is consistent with Congress’ prioritization in the immigration laws of family unification.  This proposal meets the goals of both improving efficiency and reducing the length of time that American families are unnecessarily separated.

Q. How would the proposed process affect existing standards related to unlawful presence and the extreme hardship standard?

A.It would not.  The proposed process retains all of the legal standards and policies related to unlawful presence determinations and establishing extreme hardship.  It would simply provide for the processing of these waivers in the United States instead of abroad.

Q. Will individuals who recieve the waiver be able to adjust their status without leaving the United States?

A. No.  The visa process itself is not changing.  Individuals who receive a provisional wavier would still be required to depart the United States to apply for their immigrant visa.

Q. Is everyone who has accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence subject to a three- or 10-year bar from entering the U.S.?

A.Yes; however, some aliens do not accrue unlawful presence if they fall into certain categories.  For example, children under the age of 18 do not accrue unlawful presence for any period of time before their 18th birthday.  Similarly, under current law, certain victims of crime and aliens with pending asylum applications do not accrue unlawful presence while their application is pending.

Q. If an individual already filed a Form I-601 from outside the U.S., would the proposed process affect him or her?

A.No.  It would only affect individuals who have not yet filed a Form I-601 and who will file a waiver request after a final rule is published.

Q. Would USCIS collect biometrics as part of the streamlined process?

A.Yes.  It is contemplated that applicants in the United States would be scheduled for biometrics collection at a USCIS Application Support Center.

Q. Why does USCIS refer to the waiver as “provisional?”

A.In the proposed process, USCIS would grant the provisional waiver before the applicant departs the U.S. for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications.  The provisional waiver, however, would not take effect until the individual departs from the United States and triggers the covered ground of inadmissibility.  Moreover, the provisional waiver covers only the unlawful presence grounds of inadmissibility.  If the consular officer finds during the immigrant visa interview that the individual is subject to another ground of inadmissibility, the individual would need to file another waiver application with USCIS.

Q. What would happen at the consular interview?

A.If DOS found the individual otherwise eligible for the immigrant visa, the consular officer would then issue the visa, allowing the individual to immigrate to the U.S.

Q. What would happen to individuals who are not eligible to file a waiver under the proposed process?

A.They would continue to follow current agency processes for filing waiver requests after a determination of inadmissibility is made by a U.S. consular officer overseas.

Q. What would happen to individuals who are denied waivers under the proposed process?

A.They would be subject to USCIS guidance and law enforcement priorities for issuing Notices to Appear (NTA).  For example, convicted criminals, public safety threats, and those suspected of fraud will receive NTAs.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lori Berenson returns to Peru After Spending Holiday with Family in US

Lori Berenson returns to Peru After Spending Holiday with Family in US

Photo: Lori Berenson Arrives in Peru

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American Lori Berenson, on parole after serving most of a 20-year prison sentence for aiding leftist rebels in Peru, returned to the Andean nation from the United States after spending the holidays with her family.

A crowd of reporters was waiting for Berenson and her young son when they disembarked Thursday at Lima’s international airport, but she left the terminal without making any statements.

The U.S. citizen was granted parole in 2010 after serving 15 years of a 20-year sentence and was required to stay in Peru for five more years.

Her first visit to the United States since 1995 was made possible by a judge’s order, but the ensuing uproar in Peru prompted President Ollanta Humala’s government to propose a bill banning travel abroad by parolees with convictions for terrorism.

Congress approved the proposal on Wednesday.

Berenson, now 42, was arrested in December 1995 as she was leaving the Peruvian Congress.

Prosecutors alleged that she entered the premises with false press credentials to obtain information on the building’s security systems for use in planning an attack by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA, guerrilla group.

A day after her arrest, police foiled an MRTA plot to storm Congress, take lawmakers hostage and exchange them for jailed leaders of the now-defunct rebel group.

One of the special military courts established by then-President Alberto Fujimori - now serving time for massacres committed during his administration - sentenced Berenson to life behind bars for treason.

The sentence was reduced to 20 years by a civilian court that retried the U.S. activist after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled invalid the verdicts handed down by the Fujimori-era panels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Attempt To Stop California DREAM Act Fails

Attempt To Stop California DREAM Act Fails

Photo: Stop California Dream Act

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This is wonderful news!  The attempt to stop the California DREAM Act has failed miserably!  Compassion for children and youth who have pledged their allegiance to our flag prevailed!

Congratulations to the children and our youth.

Email below that was forwarded from the Stop the CA DREAM Act heartless people who have no compassion in their hearts whatsoever. 

Fellow Patriots,
Despite an incredible effort by so many of you and tens of thousands of volunteer circulators working alongside paid petition-gatherers, I regret to inform you that we fell short. 504,760 valid signatures were needed to qualify the referendum for the November 2012 ballot. Although we put in a herculean effort the count as of late last night was 447,514 signatures, which precludes us from submitting the signatures today to the registrar of voters at each of the 58 counties.

This is disappointing news, but it is no less of a warning to Governor Brown, and every Democrat legislator who voted to create a new entitlement program for illegals while the state still has a budget deficit over $9 billion, and cannot even meet it’s obligation to legal California students.
Thank you for joining us in this historic effort as Californians of every age, race, religion, income and political party came together to fight to restore sanity to the Golden State. We may have failed in this first battle, but we will not give up in the war to save California from the reckless politicians who want to raise our taxes to put the college dreams of illegals ahead of our own children.
Your efforts have not been in vain.  We have alerted our fellow citizens to this fiscal nightmare. Today only marks the end of one battle in a war to reclaim our voice in our legislature.This one loss will not dampen our resolve.
It is an honor fighting alongside you in this great cause.


Assemblyman Tim Donnelly

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Warlock’s Cards Predicts 2 more LatAm Presidents will get Cancer

Mexican Warlock’s Cards Predicts 2 more LatAm Presidents will get Cancer

Photo: Mexican Grand Warlock

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Mexico’s chief warlock said the fact that six former or current presidents have or have had cancer shows that Latin America was the victim of “evil eye” and prophesied that two more leaders would get the disease.

Antonio Vazquez, who has a wide following in Mexico and is considered an authority on “white magic,” predicted Tuesday that the new cases would occur in South America, but he did not identify the leaders.

Latin American leaders should “do a ‘cleansing’ to rid themselves of evil eye,” Vazquez said.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez is undergoing surgery on Wednesday to remove a tumor found on her thyroid gland last month.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff and former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have suffered from cancer.

Lula, however, was diagnosed with cancer after leaving office and Rousseff was successfully treated for lymphoma before taking office.

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has precancerous keratosis, the first stage in the development of skin cancer.

Fernandez will be “completely” cured, but she “will have a tough year because Argentina will not have growth like in the past,” Vazquez said.

Chavez “has not been cured of the disease, but he has not been cured of arrogance either,” the warlock said.

“Power is strong and he is going to keep fighting, but I don’t believe he will go ahead with the 2012 elections because he is going to have a relapse in the end,” Vazquez said.

Mexico will have “much prosperity, money and lots of jobs” in 2012, and women will stand out in the political, economic and social arenas, but not enough to win the presidency on July 1, the warlock said.

The cards revealed that Enrique Peña Nieto, the candidate of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, will be Mexico’s next president, Vazquez said, agreeing with most public opinion polls.

Read more by HS News Staff →

The Search is On! Officials Look For Meteorite That Fell in Rural NW Mexico

The Search is On! Officials Look For Meteorite That Fell in Rural NW Mexico

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Mexican authorities are searching for a meteorite that fell to earth in a rural area in the northwestern part of the country, which was sighted in the region but about which there are as yet few details, officials said Friday.

The alarm sounded when inhabitants of a mountainous region of Sinaloa state near the border with Chihuahua were startled by the approach of a luminous object in the night sky.

NASA and Mexican emergency services agencies confirmed that the object was a meteorite, whose dimensions and exact place of impact are unknown.

Some witnesses believed it could have crashed to earth between the Gustavo Diaz Ordaz Dam and the town of San Jose de Gracia.

After hours of searching by air and land, an official of the Sinaloa municipality of Sinaloa, Marcial Alvarez, told Efe that the meteorite is believed to have impacted next door in Chihuahua state.

This Saturday observers will fly over the area in search of the meteorite.

It would not be the first time Sinaloa has seen a phenomenon like this. In 1871 a meteorite fell on the settlement of Bacubirito, which with a weight of 22 tons is considered one of the biggest in the world.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tennessee Begins Using E-Verify for New Hiring January 1

The Tennessee Labor Department is asking employers in the state to begin complying with the new rules for using the federal E-Verify program to ensure that they hire workers who are in the United States legally.

Under the Lawful Employment Act, signed by Gov. Bill Haslam in June, starting on Jan. 1 companies must verify the legality of their new employees using federal online databases or by requesting that certain documents be presented.

Such documents include a Tennessee driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, U.S. naturalization certificate, residence card or other I.D. issued by the federal government.

The approval of the measure in 2011 came amid a heated debate among lawmakers pushing for measures against illegal immigration and businesses concerned because the bill could affect economic development.

The labor commissioner, Karla Davis, told the media that E-Verify is “quick and convenient” for employers to use and said that her department can offer assistance to companies that do not have access to the Internet.

According to statistics from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as of Nov. 16, some 302,529 employers on the national level had used E-Verify, a voluntary program.

The E-Verify program’s detractors say that technical errors occur frequently that hurt U.S. citizens and legal residents when they are applying for a job.

The new Tennessee law will be implemented in phases, starting with companies that have 500 or more employees. By June 2013, the measure will apply to all firms with at least six workers.

According to Mauricio Calvo, executive director of Latino Memphis, confusion exists and is causing “panic” in the working immigrant community due to the lack of information about the law and how it has begun to be used.

“A number of small business owners have called us because they think they must review their workers when it’s not like that. This only applies to new employees, in part, and depending on the size of the firm,” Calvo told Efe.

“This program is going to be a burden and one more thing that businessmen have to do, and so it created a lot of resistance,” the community leader emphasized.

The state labor department will have the authority to impose penalties on companies that fail to comply with the law, including fines ranging from $500 to $2,500 for each employee not subjected to verification by E-Verify.

Any Tennessee resident or employee of a federal agency may file a complaint alleging noncompliance with the law and, if sufficient evidence is found to corroborate that claim, the Labor Department will launch an investigation.

Figures from the 2010 Census revealed that the number of Hispanics in Tennessee grew over the previous decade by 134.2 percent to 291,920, or 4.6 percent of the state’s total population.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SaturdayJanuary 7, 2012