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SaturdayMarch 24, 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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10,000 Victims of Violence in Mexico Remain Unidentified

10,000 Victims of Violence in Mexico Remain Unidentified

Photo: 10,000 UnID Victims of Violence, Mexico

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Nearly 10,000 bodies of victims of organized crime-related violence, including Central American and Mexican migrants, remain unidentified in Mexico, activists told the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States.

That figure includes 8,800 victims who had not been identified in Mexico through April 2011 and another 1,200 whose bodies were recovered between 2006 and 2011 in 310 clandestine graves nationwide, according to the Foundation for Justice and the Democratic Rule of Law, a non-governmental organization.

The foundation’s director, Mercedes Doretti, presented those figures Friday to the IACHR in a hearing in Washington, in which several NGOs denounced Mexico’s lack of efficiency in searching for and identifying Central American migrants who went missing in that country while en route to the United States.

The NGOs suspect that many of these missing individuals are among the 1,200 people found over the past six years in the clandestine graves.

The organizations recalled that authorities still have not identified all the bodies of those slain in two massacres in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas: the August 2010 killings of 72 mostly Central American migrants found in a common grave and the mass murder of 193 people found in 47 clandestine graves a year later.

Twelve of the migrants massacred in 2010 and nearly 150 of the victims found in 2011 “still have not been identified,” Doretti told reporters after the hearing, part of the IACHR’s 144th Schedule of Hearings.

The 2010 massacre is blamed on the Los Zetas drug cartel, which apparently killed the migrants after they refused to work for the cartel as couriers or enforcers.

The graves found in April and May of 2011 were discovered following reports that gunmen had forced men off buses headed for Reynosa, a city across the border from McAllen, Texas, between March 19 and March 31 of that year.

The bus passengers were grabbed by suspected Zetas gunmen in an apparent bid to identify possible members” of the rival Gulf cartel.

The organizations also denounced the lack of reparations for family members of the victims, who in some cases “opened the coffins to find remains of someone who wasn’t their loved one, or even remains of non-human flesh,” Rosa Nely Santos - a member of the Committee of Family Members of Missing Migrants of El Progreso, Honduras - said.

The father of one of the missing migrants, Mexican Candelario Castillo, said in the hearing that he no longer trusts his country’s Attorney General’s Office to investigate the whereabouts of the missing.

Castillo spoke on behalf of a group of relatives of 21 migrants who traveled to northern Mexico to try to track down their missing loved ones after they had disappeared in March 2011 in San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato state.

“We didn’t have the government’s support in the search. The authorities close the doors on us. They don’t want to give us information; they’re simply not looking for them,” he said.

Amid these complaints, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, a non-governmental scientific organization, last year coordinated the creation of an independent forensic database in Honduras and El Salvador that thus far has documented at least 316 cases of Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Honduran immigrants who have disappeared while trying to make their way to the United States.

The organizations called on Mexico to create a commission of independent forensic experts, with support from civil society, the IACHR and U.N. experts, to supervise the process of identifying the remains.

They also requested that the Mexican government create a forensic database at the national and regional levels to facilitate access to information on unidentified victims and the missing.

Mexico’s representatives at the hearing recognized the seriousness of the denunciations but denied that the government has been remiss in investigating cases of people who have gone missing on Mexican soil.

Mexico’s deputy secretary of legal affairs and human rights, Max Diener Sala, said the government already is building a comprehensive database and is now in the process of unifying all the regional and local archives.

He said that system will be ready and shared with the families before President Felipe Calderon’s term in office expires in December of this year.

An estimated 140,000 Central Americans enter Mexico each year on their way to the United States, walking part of the way or riding aboard freight trains, buses and cargo trucks.

The trek is fraught with danger, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants, who often pay traffickers as much as $10,000 to get them to the United States.

Mexico is mired in a wave of organized crime-related violence that left 47,515 dead between December 2006 - when Calderon took office and militarized the struggle against the country’s heavily armed, well-funded drug mobs - and Sept. 30, 2011, according to official figures.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico City Takes First Step in Banning Bullfighting

Mexico City Takes First Step in Banning Bullfighting

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A commission of the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City approved a bill that would ban bullfights in the Mexican capital.

Three of the panel’s members endorsed the measure, while two others abstained and a sixth member walked out before the vote.

It will be up to the full assembly to decide whether the proposal becomes law.

The lawmakers who abstained said that banning bullfights would mean closing down a source of employment for a segment of the population.

They also argued that at the forums held to hear arguments for and against, only critics of bullfighting were present.

Assemblywoman Lizbeth Rosas said that a referendum should be held since the subject of bullfighting has always polarized public opinion.

Civic organizations and defenders of animals expressed their satisfaction at this preliminary approval of the bill that seeks to end this institutionalized cruelty to animals.

For its part, Mexico’s small Green Party cheered the approval of a bill that has been bogged down for more than a year.

The party’s spokesperson for environmental issues, Mariana Boy, said that while the measure must still be debated and approved in the full assembly, this is a “historic” step.

She said that in Mexico there are some 225 bullrings and at least 22 bullfighting schools, many of which accept boys as young as 6.

After praising the legislative progress, the AnimaNaturalis organization said that bullfighting is legal in just eight countries: Spain, France, Portugal, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico, though in almost all of them there are municipalities that have banned these spectacles.

“The Federal District can become the first Mexican jurisdiction to achieve the prohibition of bullfights,” the organization said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dissident Cuban Blogger & HS News Contributor Yoani Sanchez Sees Opportunity in Pope Visit

Dissident Cuban Blogger & HS News Contributor Yoani Sanchez Sees Opportunity in Pope Visit

Photo: Yaoni Sanchez in Cuba

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As Pope Benedict prepares to visit Cuba next week, a dissident blogger says the trip is a good time to showcase the real situation in the island nation.
Even though Yoani Sánchez believes the visit will not have a major political impact, she says it will be a good opportunity because of the increased international attention that comes with a visit by the Pope.

In an exclusive interview with Voice of America, the Cuban blogger said Internet access is still a major problem on the island and explains how she manages to update her blog Generation Y and tweets current events, which has made her famous in the social media world.

VOA: How is the country preparing for Pope Benedict’s visit after several member of the Ladies in White (an opposition movement consisting of wives and female relatives of jailed dissidents) were detained?

Sánchez: For the ‘backyard’ Catholics, the ones on the island, it will be a good moment for them as they meet their pastor, a kind of jubilee for the community as the 400th anniversary of “Our Lady of Charity” approaches. But politically and socially it will not transcend beyond what happened during Pope John Paul’s (II) visit in 1998, which only had an impact on the public awareness. I think Benedict’s trip is more spiritual-focused.”

However, the island will experience days of international scrutiny, where many journalists, pilgrims and people from outside will come for the event. It’s a good opportunity to show them the real Cuba; to report what is actually happening.  We will become a showcase, where activists, bloggers and Twitter users have the responsibility to show the real side of the country and not official one.

: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) will hold an event this Wednesday in Washington to show how the Internet and social networks operate in Cuba. Many believe it is difficult for Cubans to freely access unmonitored web pages. What can you tell us about that?

Sánchez: From my experience, having access to information and technology are fundamental for a free country.  A person who holds a flash memory and has access to at least a minute of internet can change his or her life. That makes that citizen more empowered, more aware of his rights, perhaps more likely to speak up because he doesn’t like what is happening. I think in order to help Cubans is necessary to empower them technologically, so that they can become 21-century internet users. Because without it, we will not become more democratic; we will not be free.

VOA: How do you do your work without economic resources?

Sánchez: I started an online blog five years ago called “Generación Y” (Y Generation) and one of the biggest problems I encounter every week is free internet access to update texts and pictures. It’s my little virtual space. The Cuban government does not allow average citizens to obtain a household internet connection and interact online. That is a privilege destined for foreign residents in our national territory, and for politically reliable people.

In my case, if I want to connect from a hotel the prices are astronomical, a click here and there have to be done fast because every minute that passes harms me economically. I do that once a week or every ten days.

I write several articles from my house and when I manage to get connected, I scheduled the posts to give the impression my blog is alive, although I’m not connected at that moment.

But other Cubans get online access in the early morning hours through accounts they buy in the black market, but that has many risks.

VOA: Reports say the Cuban minimum-wage is very low and you have said it’s expensive to have internet access. How do you do it? Do you receive any funding? What are the medium costs for the average Cuban to get internet access in a hotel and browse for few minutes each week?

Sánchez: In my case, I try to take advantage of the all the time I’m not online to arrange texts and photos correctly, so when I finally get access to look around the web, I do it as quickly as possible.

Fortunately, many tourists who visit Cuba know our situation, mine and that of other bloggers. After spending a week or two in this country, they usually give us prepaid phone cards to use in a hotel. Our technological poverty doesn’t allow us to sustain those costs.

But thanks to the solidarity of many people in the world, we are able to have internet access. And also people who read our posts in other parts of the world, recharge our phones, which allow us to tweet. This is quite an interesting period on how Cubans have access to social networks.

Read more at Voice of America →

Rosario Bares her Gypsy Rocker Soul in Captivating Quito Concert

Rosario Bares her Gypsy Rocker Soul in Captivating Quito Concert

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In a concert of driving energy in Quito, Spanish singer Rosario Flores bared her Gypsy soul - this time more rocker than ever - and captivated an Ecuadorian audience that sang along and cheered the artist’s songs.

The legendary singer took the stage Friday night 20 minutes late with her new number “Gypsy Funky Love Me Do,” a tribute to the Beatles and their song “Love Me Do,” which has its 50th anniversary this year.

“Good evening, Quito. So many years without visiting you and now to see this auditorium so full, you make me feel great and fill me with love,” the 48-year-old, two-time Latin Grammy winner said in her first words to her audience.

Uninhibited, bursting with rumba energy, the artist sang “Al Son del Tambor” (To the Sound of the Drum), a number dedicated to her late father Antonio Gonzalez, knows as “El Pescadilla” (Little Fish), one of the founders of Catalan rumba.

For Rosario, there are songs that “I’ll always have to sing all my life because they touch people’s hearts and that is the best thing that can happen,” she said before singing “Agua y Sal” (Water and Salt).

All through the concert the artist’s fans accompanied her with applause, singing along with her songs, but during this number they remained silent as the artist’s powerful voice made them catch their breath.

The daughter of the late flamenco singer Lola Flores, known as “La Faroana” after the name given Gypsy chiefs, continued with the song “Con la Rumba del Bongo,” in which “Cuban and Gypsy rhythms in time make an explosive mixture,” as the lyrics of this number say that combines rumba and salsa.

Throughout the concert the sounds of a drummer, percussionist, electric guitar, flamenco guitar, bass and vocalist flowed with the artist’s voice in a river of impeccable harmony.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Caramelos de Cianuro Band Manager Found Slain

Caramelos de Cianuro Band Manager Found Slain

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Venezuelan musical producer Libero Laizzo, manager of the rock group Caramelos de Cianuro (Cyanide Candy), was found dead on a Caracas highway after being kidnapped earlier this week, the private TV channel Globovision said.

The producer, 35, whose body was found Friday, was shot in the chest, apparently because “he might have recognized one of his kidnappers,” the Globovision news anchor said, a speculation later posted to the channel’s online edition.

Spokespersons of the Cicpc investigative agency told Efe that in the next few hours there will be an official statement about the case.

“An unofficial version has it that the entrepreneur (kidnapped Thursday night) told his captors that he had a certain sum of money at home, so the individuals…called an associate, whom he apparently told to get the money” and deliver it, the private channel said.

Payment of the ransom was confirmed by Miguel Angel Gonzalez, guitarist of the Caramelos de Cianuro band on tour in Mexico, who said that despite getting the money “they killed him anyway.”

In a telephone call to Globovision from Mexico, Gonzalez said that the band members are “very affected” and that “the only reflection we all have is that they’re disappearing all of us, we’re all lined up, it will happen to all of us, it’s a way of life, it’s the criminals’ job.”

Venezuela has one of the highest rates of violence in the region with 48 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants.

“We haven’t been able to break through this unyielding minimum of 48 deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants - it’s a very high rate,” Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami said in January.

Here is Caramelos de Cianuro latest video.

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Salvadorans Push to Transform TPS into Permanent Residence Status

Salvadorans Push to Transform TPS into Permanent Residence Status

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Activists here on Friday urged the U.S. government to convert the Temporary Protected Status extended to migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua into legal permanent residence.

The appeal was made during a special session of the Los Angeles City Council to proclaim March 24 as Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero Day.

The Salvadoran prelate was slain on March 24, 1980.

“Every year, since 2005, the Los Angeles Council together with the Committee of Sister Cities Los Angeles-San Salvador honors the memory of Monsignor Romero,” Carlos Vaquerano, director of the Salvadoran American Leadership & Educational Fund, told Efe.

“And today, the organizations that defend the rights of immigrants announce the launch of a campaign for permanent legal residence for Salvadoran, Honduran and Nicaraguan beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status,” he said.

TPS is a benefit the U.S. extends on a discretionary basis to immigrants from countries experiencing armed conflicts or natural disasters.

Around 204,000 Salvadorans are registered for TPS, granted in their case after El Salvador was struck by two devastating earthquakes in the space of a month in early 2001. TPS has been authorized for 60,000 Hondurans and 3,000 Nicaraguans based on the damage done to their countries in 1998 by Hurricane Mitch.

If Romero were alive today, he would challenge the U.S. government for failing to offer poor immigrants the same opportunities to obtain legal residence that are available to more affluent foreigners, Vaquerano said.

“We’re sure that the monsignor would be together with us demanding that after more than 10 years in which the Central Americans have been working with TPS that that document turn into permanent residence,” he said.

Oscar Romero, 63, was murdered by right-wing gunmen as he was saying Mass in the chapel of San Salvador’s Divina Providencia Hospital.

The assassination, which came a day after the archbishop gave a sermon imploring members of El Salvador’s U.S.-backed military to defy their commanders by refusing to take part in acts of repression, was part of the buildup to a 12-year-long civil war that claimed some 75,000 lives.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog Del Narco: Mexican Cartels Use Minors to Transport Drugs into US

Blog Del Narco: Mexican Cartels Use Minors to Transport Drugs into US

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The number of minors transporting drugs across the Mexico-U.S. border continues to rise, as does the number of “blind mules” who transport dope without their knowledge, activists said.

In 2011 some 190 minors were arrested for trying to bring drugs across the border, an increase of 13 percent over 2010, according to official figures. Some 33 young people have been arrested so far this year.

These youths are “cheap, plentiful and disposable labor for drug traffickers,” Victor Clark Alfaro, a professor at San Diego State University, who also heads the Tijuana-based Binational Human Rights Center, told Efe.

Clark Alfaro said that since the new terminal was built at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the main crossing between Tijuana and San Diego, his organization has observed an increase in attempts to smuggle drugs across the border using different mechanisms.

While mules are mainly pedestrians, traffickers have noted that for vehicular crossings U.S. Customs and Border Protection now have a lower, slower capacity for making secondary searches, making it more difficult to get through, so they’re trying more daring methods.

“We have numerous cases of ‘blind mules’ in cars. These are people who cross the border frequently and traffickers put drugs in their cars without them knowing it. If they get past the border guards successfully, the traffickers follow them to where they’re going to park,” he said.

Clark Alfaro said he testified in court recently in the case of one of his SDSU students who said she had gone through that experience after visited her boyfriend in Tijuana and was arrested when they found 35 kilos (77 pounds) of marijuana in her car.

As for the witting mules who cross on foot, what drug traffickers say to convince them are always the same promises - that nothing will happen to them and at most they’ll be deported after days or weeks in a juvenile detention center.

“The teens traditionally come from dysfunctional families, are paid little money, as in the case of another teenage girl who was stopped on her third trip carrying 4 kilos (8 1/2 pounds) of cocaine taped to her body. For her first two attempts she received $1,000, a tiny amount compared to the drug’s street price,” Clark Alfaro said.

Drug traffickers tend to pick out youths who cross the border to study, many with dual citizenship, or who travel to see their families or to go shopping, the expert said.

“For those who are arrested there’s no second chance, they’re just spent cartridges, they lose the documents they need to cross the border,” he said.

According to Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee, drug traffickers’ favorite places to recruit young smugglers are the high schools of southern San Diego County.

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco Here

Read more by HS News Staff →

Interview with “Musical Chairs” Puerto Rican Actor E.J. Bonilla (VIDEO)

Interview with “Musical Chairs” Puerto Rican Actor E.J. Bonilla (VIDEO)

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E.J. Bonilla is a young actor with a true gift for giving honest and real performances. Best known for his role on CBS’s Guiding Light, Bonilla has stepped away from television to make a name for himself on the silver screen. TheCelebrityCafe.com’s Kristen Maldonado got a chance to speak with the young talent about his new film Musical Chairs, his biggest acting inspirations, and some of the other films he has in the works.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: Could you tell us about your new film Musical Chairs?

E.J. Bonilla: It’s a beautiful film. Really, at the heart of it, it’s about this boy getting this girl who he’s in love with to see herself the way that he sees her. To me, that’s what the film is about at its core. But the circumstances that surround them are as follows: this kid who wants to be a ballroom dancer works as a janitor or as a handyman at this dance studio so he can get free dance classes and be around it because he loves it. And he’s infatuated with one of the lead dancers of the company there. To me, what’s interesting about the film is that as far as a love story goes he’s infatuated with this girl before her accident, but he really gets to know her after. The lead dancer, she gets hit by a car and paralyzed from the waist down, and what’s beautiful about the film is that he gets to know her after she’s already in the hospital. So he falls in love with her as is. He doesn’t really see her as anything less. That’s why I say it’s about getting her to see herself to way he sees her.

In an attempt to get her out of her depression he tries to remind her of her love of dancing by dancing with her. Whether you can move your legs or not, you can still dance. One of the key lines of the film is something like: “It’s not about vanity. Dancing is about emotion. It’s about how you feel when you move and how that movement makes you feel.” So that’s part of the foundation of it as well.

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“I Come as a Pilgrim of Faith, of Hope, and of Love.” The Pope Arrives in Mexico

“I Come as a Pilgrim of Faith, of Hope, and of Love.” The Pope Arrives in Mexico

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Yesterday morning, before boarding his flight for Mexico, Benedict XVI was greeted at Rome’s Fiumicino airport by Mario Monti, prime minister of Italy. Later, during the course of the journey, the Holy Father participated in the traditional in-flight press conference with the more than seventy journalists accompanying him on the plane. He answered questions on a wide range of subjects, from drug trafficking and violence in Mexico to the social situation in Cuba and new evangelization on the Latin American continent.

The Pope noted that his journey was taking him in the footsteps of John Paul II, who had made five visits to Mexico and one to Cuba, and that he hoped to continue the work begun by his predecessor. “I share the joys and hopes, but also the suffering and difficulties” of the Mexican people, he said. “I am going to bring encouragement but also to learn, to bring comfort in faith, hope and love; a commitment to goodness and to the struggle against evil. Let us hope that the Lord will help us”.

A Mexican journalist asked the Pope how the Church in Mexico can help to resolve the problem of drug trafficking, which has caused more than 50,000 deaths in the last five years. The Holy Father replied: “we are well aware of the beauty of Mexico, but also of this great problem of drug trafficking and violence. This is certainly a great responsibility for the Catholic Church in a country that is 80 per cent Catholic. We must do everything we can against this evil, which is so destructive of humanity and of our young people. The first thing is to announce God. God the judge. God Who loves us, but Who asks us to abide in goodness and truth, and to reject evil.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Friends of the American Latino Museum Surpasses 100,000 @LatinoMuseum Twitter Account

Friends of the American Latino Museum Surpasses 100,000 @LatinoMuseum Twitter Account

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The Friends of the American Latino Museum (Friends), a 501(c)(3) created to support the American Latino Museum initiative, surpassed 100,000 followers on Twitter and has accumulated 70,000 fans on Facebook and 67,000 supporters through its website, bringing its total reach to over 237,000 supporters. A renewed energy and hope for the museum is increasing rapidly since the introduction of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act earlier this year in the House and Senate. The Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act would designate and hold the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building as the official site for the museum.

“The history of Latinos is woven into American history going back to a time before the first pilgrim ever set foot on this land,” said Emilio Estefan, Commissioner, National Museum of the American Latino Commission and President of Estefan Enterprises. “This is the story we want to tell. These are the gaps in American history that we are trying to fill, so that all Americans have a better understanding of our shared history and legacy. It is wonderful to know, through our social media efforts, that there are thousands that support our telling this story.”

The museum would be devoted to the preservation, presentation, and interpretation of American Latino art, cultural expressions, and experiences. It would take its place among the treasury of museums within the Smithsonian Institution and would establish a new model in its integration of programs, training, research and personnel within the family of Smithsonian museums. The goal of Friends is to create a museum truly national in operational scope as well as prominent in Washington to educate the public and support the Latino community.

“It is amazing and heartening how much support this museum is getting from across the country. It shows how important it is for us to share all of the important and, many times, untold stories of the history of Latinos in building this great nation,” said Maria Cardona, Friends Board Member and CNN Political Contributor. “The public is excited about the progress of the American Latino Museum initiative, and now that support can be seen in our 100,000 followers on Twitter and over 70,000 on Facebook. All supporters of the museum should join with us in asking Congress to pass the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act now.”

“Latinos are using social media to stay connected to family, friends, and their cultural identity. Through Facebook and Twitter, Friends has immediate access to one of the largest Latino communities online in the country. Friends is redefining what a successful media strategy looks like for a diverse audience,” said Juan Proano, President and Co-Founder, Plus Three.

The Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act was introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and has been co-sponsored by 17 other Senators including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) also introduced the bill in the House. In addition to growing public support through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, celebrities such as Eva Longoria and Emilio Estefan have lead efforts to pass the bill.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Unintended Consequences of U.S. Immigration Policy: the Post 1965 Surge from Latin America

Unintended Consequences of U.S. Immigration Policy: the Post 1965 Surge from Latin America

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A new article by Douglas S. Massey, the Wilson School’s Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, and Karen A. Pren, Project Manager, Mexican Migration Project at Princeton’s Office of Population Research, argues that the post-1965 surge in Mexican, Central American, and to a lesser extent South American immigration was not a direct result of policy reforms enacted in the mid-1960s but rather the unintended consequences that unfolded afterward.

First, prior to 1965 a thriving Bracero Program was in place in which roughly 450,000 persons entered the U.S. from Mexico each year on temporary work visas.  These workers returned to Mexico regularly rather than staying in the U.S., thereby creating a circular flow of legal Mexican migrants.  The program had a lot of problems, however, so immigration reformers with a civil rights agenda successfully shut it down.  But while the program ended in 1965, the business need for this type of labor did not. The result was that Mexican workers continued to enter the country, although now without documentation.  Also in 1965, quantitative limits on immigration from the Western Hemisphere were established. Thus illegal immigration rose after 1965 not because there was a surge in Mexican migration, but because these immigration reforms rebranded legal migrants as undocumented workers and capped the number who could try to enter the country legally.

No longer legal guest workers but illegal immigrants, the number apprehended at the U.S.-Mexican border increased.  This allowed a new narrative to develop: illegal immigration was a crisis and new policies were desperately needed to stem the flow of the “alien invasion.”  The more this narrative was repeated by politicians, the more the populace supported increasingly stringent immigration and enforcement policies, setting off a chain reaction:  increased apprehensions led to increased calls and better tools for enforcement; increased enforcement led to more apprehensions; and increased apprehensions solidified in the public’s mind that illegal immigration was a growing problem that needed drastic reform.  Moreover, increased enforcement did not really deter people from entering the U.S. from Mexico, but it certainly encouraged them to stay; the conversion from legal migrant to illegal immigrant was complete.

Second, the U.S. was involved in several Central American countries during the Cold War, which lead to further destabilization in the region and large scale migration north.  While Nicaraguan émigrés were welcome as refugees (since the U.S. disagreed with the leftist government they were fleeing), others from Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras encountered the same restrictions for legal entry as Mexicans. After the 1990s, the threat of terrorism intensified border enforcement and brought about a sharp rise in deportations from the U.S.  Deportations replaced border apprehensions as “proof” that a Latino threat loomed.

Third, Latin American legal immigration – led by Mexico—was also on the rise after 1965, and particularly after 1986.  Again, this was not a result of a conscious policy effort, but rather an unintended consequence of the various immigration reforms. Due to concerns about terrorism and a growing xenophobia, Congress began in the 1980s to strip civil, social, and economic rights away from legal immigrants.  As it became increasingly problematic to be in the U.S. but not a citizen, the numbers seeking to naturalize increased.  This happened just as millions of former undocumented migrants became eligible to naturalize after receiving permanent residence under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. Adding to the numbers was a separate policy that exempted family members (spouses, minor children and parents) of U.S. citizens from country quotas as part of a family reunification effort.

The authors end the article noting the massive demographic transformation that has resulted from these unintended consequences – a rise in the Hispanic population from 9.6 million to 50.5 million.  They offer a counterfactual scenario, in which the Bracero Program was improved, not abolished, and the U.S. stayed out of Central America; the result might have been a smaller illegal population and a less divided country when the terrorists attacked.  More might have continued to cross the border legally and for temporary stays, resulting in fewer permanent immigrants, less undocumented migration, and slower population growth.  Amazingly – almost despite ourselves—we may actually be headed that way as both illegal and legal entries have fallen while temporary guest worker entry has risen.

The next step is for the U.S. to find a way to deal with the remaining legacy of failed policies – undocumented residents who number 11 million.  Of those, 3 million entered as children.  The authors argue that they should receive amnesty – such as that would have been granted in the Dream Act—while the adults should be able to participate in an earned legalization program.  As the Massey/Pren paper shows, a large number of permanent undocumented people is not a good situation for the country—and the next policy solution should aim to solve not create more problems.

Read more by HS News Staff →

HBO Latino Presents Exciting New Lineup of Original Entertainment for Spring 2012

HBO Latino Presents Exciting New Lineup of Original Entertainment for Spring 2012

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This spring, HBO Latino, Home Box Office’s dedicated Spanish-language premium channel, will present an incredible lineup of programs certain to appeal to today’s multigenerational and bilingual Hispanic households. Two new and exciting original series from HBO Latin America, Destino Deporteand Mujer de Fases, will make their U.S. television premieres on the channel along with three new Spanish-language films under the Estrenos Latinos banner. The HBO Latino lineup will also include Spanish presentations of HBO original programs including the return of Game of Thrones, the new series Girls and Veep, HBO Films’ Hemingway & Gellhorn, the HBO Documentary Films presentation of TheWeight of the Nation and HBO Sports events.

Series (exclusive to HBO Latino)
Destino Deporte (“Sports Destination”) (Mexico) This international journalistic documentary series goes beyond the scores and statistics to cover the unexplored side of sports. Stories include the triumphs and tragedy of “lucha libre” in Mexico City, Brazil’s preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games, the excessive competitiveness and persistent cases of drug use in sports, and the looming fear of retirement that is a reality for many athletes. Meet the cliff divers of Acapulco, female bullfighter Lupita Lopez, former Uruguayan soccer idol Dario Silva, Patrick, who sees soccer as the only way out of the “City of God” favela in Rio de Janeiro, and more. Via in-depth investigations, Destino Deporte delves below the surface to reveal the incredible diversity and the unexpected facets of what is defined as sports. Starring: Interviews by Julieta Camargo, Matias Canillan, Ricardo Puig, and Ruben Espejel. Premiere: Monday, April 9, 8:00 p.m. ET.

Mujer de Fases (“States of Grace”) (Brazil)  An all-new, 13-part comedy series from Brazil, Mujer de Fases is a modern chronicle on romantic relationships and the search for love. Based on the book Louca por Homen (Crazy for Men) by Brazilian author Claudia Tajes, the series follows the adventures of Grace, a recently divorced 30-something woman who is anxious to restart her life. Along her journey, Grace becomes involved with a number of men, but soon realizes that finding a mate is not an easy task, and unlike a fairy tale, in most cases the prince turns into a frog not the other way around. Cast includes Elisa Volpatto, Rodrigo Pando, Antoniela Canto, Mira Haar and Julia Assis Brazil. Premiere: Friday, April 13 at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Estrenos Latinos (exclusive to HBO Latino)
Cutting edge and critically acclaimed Spanish-language films from Latin America, Spain and the Caribbean take center stage on Friday nights, with a new film making its U.S. television debut on the first or second Friday of every month:

La Isla Interior (Spain) The imminent death of their father brings together three siblings struggling with a genetic legacy of mental illness. Martin wants to leave his job as a teacher and become a writer in Paris. Gracia, an actress, wants to put some reality back into the fictional world her life has become. And Coral seeks love, hiding a dark secret that keeps her from forming healthy relationships. Brought together by their father’s illness, they must confront their inner conflicts to avoid following in his footsteps. Staring Candela Pena, Alberto San Juan and Cristina Marcos. Premiere: Friday, April 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

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On World Water Day, Greenpeace Denounces Mexican Water Pollution

On World Water Day, Greenpeace Denounces Mexican Water Pollution

Photo: On World Water Day, Greenpeace Denounces Mexican Water Pollution

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Environmental watchdog Greenpeace denounced on World Water Day the pollution of rivers and other surface waters in Mexico and asked the government to establish a policy of zero dumping of toxic substances by 2020.

A group of activists on Thursday displayed at Juanacatlan Falls, in the western state of Jalisco, banners with the message “Mexican rivers, toxic rivers,” on grounds that more than 70 percent of the nation’s surface waters are highly contaminated.

Greenpeace activists paddled kayaks to Juanacatlan Falls on the Santiago River, protected by special overalls and wearing masks to keep from inhaling toxic gases in waters reputed for their pollution.

Greenpeace Mexico said in a communique that “dirty industries are among the main sources of river pollution in Mexico and the world.”

Measured in biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), one of the indicators of quality established by Mexico’s National Water Commission, or Conagua, industrial dumping generated 340 percent more contamination than municipal sewage.

“Water pollution directly harms communities living near lakes, rivers and tributaries because it damages health and infects food sources,” the campaign director for Greenpeace Mexico, Gustavo Ampugnani, said.

The group demanded that the government establish a policy of clean rivers by 2020 that includes the elimination of toxic dumping, greater control of industrial waste, and sanctions imposed for damage caused by pollution, among other measures.

In Jalisco more than 30 civil organizations announced Thursday the creation of the Broad Front in Defense of Water, to demand public, community and sustainable management of this resource.

In a communique they asked for the Santiago River to be cleaned up and that urgent care be provided for affected populations, as well as equitable access to water and health services. They also demanded that the privatization of water services be abolished.

Meanwhile, the head of Conagua, Jose Luis Luege, delivered Thursday the specific programs for the country’s 13 water regions, through which the government hopes to fulfill its commitment to administer the water supply in a sustainable way.

According to Conagua figures, national demand for water amounts to some 78.4 million cubic meters a year. To meet the demand, a sustainable volume of 66.9 billion cubic meters is taken from surface and underground sources, while approximately 11.5 billion cubic meters are obtained from non-sustainable sources such as over-exploited aquifers.

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DREAM Advocates Begin a 3,000-mile March from California to Washington

DREAM Advocates Begin a 3,000-mile March from California to Washington

Photo: Dreamers March from CA to DC

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Jose Gonzalez was born in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1987, but he has called California home for almost all of his 25 years.  A community college graduate, as well as a youth minister in his church, Jose wants to attend a four-year university, but his family cannot afford tuition, and he cannot work to pay his own way.  Like many others in his situation, Jose grew up as an American—speaking English, attending school, thinking about college and careers—only to learn one day that his presence here is not legal.

Jose has joined up with five other DREAMers, as they are known, in a walk across America to raise awareness and support for the DREAM Act, a bill that would provide a pathway to legal residency for immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, who have graduated from high school, and who are pursuing higher education or a career in the military.  Currently, they have no pathway to regular status, and must either live in the shadows or face deportation to country of which they often have little or no memory.

That is precisely Jose’s situation.  Though he set out earlier this month from San Francisco with five other marchers, he recently left the group to prepare for an immigration hearing on his removal proceedings on March 27th.

The remaining marchers are Nico Gonzalez, who grew up in Chicago; Alex Aldana, who grew up in southern California; Lucas da Silva, who grew up in New York City and Florida; Raymi Gutierrez, a U.S. citizen marching in support of friends and family who aren’t; and Jonatan Martinez, who grew up in Georgia.  Jonatan, whose dream is to become a U.S. Coast Guard search-and-rescue diver, learned of his immigration status from a Coast Guard recruiter when he was 17.
The five marchers recently left Sacramento, where they received official recognition on the California Senate floor.

Potential DREAM Act beneficiaries have become more vocal in the last few years, often risking their entire livelihoods by going public about their immigration status.  When journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who was on hand in Berkeley to help the walkers kick off their march, confessed in a New York Times Magazine article last year that he is an undocumented Filipino immigrant (he was sent to the U.S. by his parents when he was 12), he wrote of others’ courage in speaking out.  “Last year I read about four students who walked from Miami to Washington to lobby for the Dream Act,” he wrote.  “Their courage has inspired me.”

This time, the trek is much longer, nearly 3,000 miles.  Walking approximately 16 miles a day, six days a week, they hope to reach Washington, DC just before the presidential election in November.

They have gathered a flurry of local media attention along the way, and their progress is being documented via a Twitter hash tag (#CADWalk2012).  You can also follow their blogs, and find out how you can assist them in their journey, on the Campaign for An American Dream website.

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SaturdayMarch 24, 2012