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SaturdayMarch 31, 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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Man Jailed for 6 Years for “Shoot Some Mexicans” Spree in New Orleans

Man Jailed for 6 Years for “Shoot Some Mexicans” Spree in New Orleans

Photo: Hispanic Hate in New Orleans by Mark Gautreau

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Mark Gautreau, 50, was sentenced this week in federal court in New Orleans to 72 months in prison for shooting two Hispanic men on the Bonnet Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish, La., on Aug. 20, 2006.

In November 2011, Gautreau pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a dangerous weapon within the maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

In the factual basis supporting his plea, Gautreau admitted he was in a parking lot in the spillway when he told a bystander that he intended to “shoot some Mexicans.”  Gautreau admitted that he then loaded ammunition into his 12-gauge shotgun and drove off toward the area where four Hispanic men were fishing.  Once he reached them, Gautreau got out of his truck and fired his shotgun one time.  The shotgun blast hit two of the Hispanic men, who suffered injuries that required hospitalization.  Gautreau admitted that the four Hispanic men did not shoot at him or threaten him in any way that would require him to defend himself.

“Together with our partners in the Civil Rights Division, who led this important prosecution, and the FBI, we will remain true to our commitment to fiercely protect the rights of all within our borders to be free from abuse and violence,” said James Letten, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

This case was investigated by the New Orleans office of the FBI.

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Bipartisan Former State & Defense Dept Officials Warn Justices That SB 1070 Harms Foreign Policy

Bipartisan Former State & Defense Dept Officials Warn Justices That SB 1070 Harms Foreign Policy

Photo: Repeal SB1070

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For decades, the Supreme Court has understood that our Constitution does not allow the fifty different states to set their own immigration policy, and for good reason. As the Court explained nearly 70 years ago, foreign nations do not take kindly to mistreatment of their citizens within the United States, and such mistreatment can have catastrophic consequences. “Experience has shown that international controversies of the gravest moment, sometimes even leading to war, may arise from real or imagined wrongs to another’s subjects inflicted, or permitted, by a government.”

Which explains why a bipartisan team of former foreign policy and national security officials, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, and former Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court earlier this week warning the Court not to allow Arizona’ anti-immigrant SB 1070 law to stand. As the brief warns, Arizona’s actions “risk of embroiling the national government in disputes not of its making” — forcing the entire nation to live with the consequences of just one rogue state’s actions.

Moreover, the brief explains, these consequences have already begun:

S.B. 1070 rapidly generated significant friction between the U.S. and other countries and made them less willing to cooperate with the United States. Only a month after the law took effect, the President of Mexico expressed his country’s concern in a speech to the U.S. Congress,11 raised the issue in bilateral talks with President Obama, and addressed it in a joint press conference following their meeting. In June 2010, six Mexican governors cancelled their trips to Phoenix for an annual conference of U.S. and Mexican governors on border issues, leading Texas and Arizona to boycott the rescheduled conference venue in New Mexico. And unfavorable public attitudes in Mexico towards the United States jumped from only 27 percent to 48 percent shortly following enactment of the Arizona law—no minor consequence for the millions of Americans who travel to and conduct business with Mexico each year.

Arizona’s law has also produced ripple effects throughout Central and South America. It has damaged U.S. relations with Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, whose presidents and parliaments have issued statements criticizing the law. Both El Salvador and Mexico have also issued travel warnings or alerts to their citizens traveling to the U.S.

State immigration laws like S.B. 1070 also create a risk of retaliation against U.S. citizens residing or conducting business abroad. Indeed, in immigration matters, countries frequently respond to restrictions on their citizens by enacting reciprocal measures. For example, in 2004 Brazil singled out U.S. nationals for fingerprinting and photographing upon entry into Brazil to respond in equal measure to the U.S. fingerprinting of foreign nationals under the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.

In light of this week’s Affordable Care Act arguments, it remains an open question whether the Constitution and precedent still apply at all in the Supreme Court of the United States. If they still do — or if the justices care one bit about America’s ability to conduct responsible foreign relations — the justices need to heed these officials’ brief and strike down SB 1070.

Read more about SB1070 at Think Progress Here

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There are 4 Fundamental Topics that Interest Latinos: Immigration, Education, Health and Jobs

There are 4 Fundamental Topics that Interest Latinos: Immigration, Education, Health and Jobs

Photo: Latino Flags

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Hispanic Group, an independent, minority-owned agency that specializes in customized communications solutions across all disciplines of advertising, traditional, digital and social media, branded content, direct response services and experiential marketing to the varied and fast-growing segments of the Hispanic population, today sought to shed light on the six types of Latinos living in the U.S., based on the widely-popular Ipsos U.S. Diversity Markets Report, which released the latest edition last week. Understanding the six segments within the vast Hispanic population in the U.S. can be crucial in marketing and advertising, but can also help create a clearer picture of who may ultimately swing the vote in November.

With a dragged out GOP primary and presidential elections on the horizon, the Latino vote is on everyone’s agenda, but classifying all Latinos as one cohesive group is shortsighted. That Latinos in the U.S. carry so much clout is unquestionable: Hispanics represent 16.5% of the population and account for 56% of the population growth of the last decade.  However, it’s not so much a matter of language, as it is level of acculturation—how long they’ve lived in the U.S. and embrace American values—that might predict political agenda. 

“There are four fundamental topics that are of interest to Latinos: immigration, education, health and employment,” said Jose Luis Valderrama, President and Founder of Hispanic Group.  “But how those are ranked in order of importance varies from one ethnic group to another and ultimately how they have assimilated in the U.S.”

Latino groups in the U.S. run the gamut and can be crucial for a brand to recognize whether they are targeting a Latino consumer who has lived in the U.S. for more than a decade, speaks mainly English and loves to tweet or one who arrived in the U.S. last week, speaks only Spanish and doesn’t text. 

The model of acculturation created by Ipsos is outlined in the U.S. Market Diversity Report, which is now in its 15th edition.  The report is published every other year and covers demographics and market characteristics for the rapidly growing Hispanic market.  The acclaimed report breaks down Hispanic populations into segments from mostly acculturated (no distinction from a native born) to unacculturated traditional Latinos (who resist the American way of life).  The six distinct segments have far-reaching marketing and advertising implications, which can be vital in deciding a target audience. 

The key difference between the segments is cultural tension, which explains why people acculturate at all and to what extent, according to Ipsos. Partially acculturated Latinos comprise 63% of the Hispanic adults.  The majority of those are foreign-born, have lived in the U.S. on average 18 years and are half consider themselves Spanish-dominant.

Products and services that emphasize life in the U.S. from a Hispanic perspective will be most attractive to the median group.  But a one-size fits all approach just won’t cut it across the spectrum.

Hispanic Group has been working with Latino consumers and brands for more than a decade and has expert knowledge of how to craft meaningful messages to reach Latinos centered on the concept of ultrasegmentation, a term they coined.  The theory of ultrasegmentation consists on filtering demographic information on Hispanics in the U.S. to offer customized advertising solutions that garner maximum reach and frequency.

“In previous elections candidates from all party lines have talked about immigration reform, but it has proven too divisive and polarizing for either party to resolve.  The deciding factor to win the Latino vote in the upcoming elections won’t be based on language, but rather the platform that is most aligned with a group’s stand on the issues that matter most,” added Valderrama.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration Reform- Bill to Bar Undocumented From College Dies in Georgia Legislature

Immigration Reform- Bill to Bar Undocumented From College Dies in Georgia Legislature

Photo: Georgia Immigration Law Fails

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Activists hailed Friday the death of SB 458, a state Senate bill that sought to bar undocumented immigrants from Georgia’s public universities.

The bill also aimed to invalidate foreign passports as ID for obtaining public services.

“We’re very happy. It’s a victory for all Georgia residents who are fighting hard to make sure that all the students in the state, whatever their status, can go to college without leaving the state,” Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU of Georgia, told Efe.

In a last-ditch effort to pass the measure, lawmakers eliminated the provision denying access to all universities and centers of higher public education to undocumented students.

Efforts that critics of the measure described as too late in coming since they considered the damage already done.

“Georgia has already been hurt by the measure and many talented students have left the state, and if the bill had passed many more students would have left the state, which would have caused even more harm to Georgia,” the ACLU attorney said.

Shahshahani said that now the bill has been defeated “we hope the legislature does not revive it or any other anti-immigrant measures.”

Georgia has had a restriction in force since last year that limits undocumented students’ access to the five most-selective state universities in order to give priority to legal residents and citizens.

Before that measure was enacted, the state allowed undocumented students to enroll in any of Georgia’s state universities, though they could not receive federal or state aid and had to pay their tuition at the much higher out-of-state rate.

SB 458 established new requirements with regard to the documents considered valid in applications for certain services and permits at local and state agencies, such as connection to water services and marriage licenses.

The provision would have criminalized the acceptance of foreign passports as identity documents for obtaining certain public services.

“It’s unfortunate that lawmakers would try to refuse basic services such as the fundamental right to get married or letting foreigners use their passports as identity documents,” Shahshahani said.

The banning of foreign passports as ID in the state contradicts a ruling of the Georgia Attorney General’s Office, which last year issued a list of identity documents accepted as “secure and verifiable” that included foreign passports.

Another measure that would have required the 35 state universities to verify applicants’ immigration status was previously defeated in the legislature by strong opposition.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rican Rocker Kingnaldo to Debut New Disc-Combustible ( AUDIO)

Puerto Rican Rocker Kingnaldo to Debut New Disc-Combustible ( AUDIO)

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Puerto Rican rocker Kingnaldo, who made his name in 2009 with his first album, is launching his latest production under the title “Combustible.”

Reynaldo Serrano Lima, known as Kingnaldo, told Efe in an interview Friday that his new disc “goes more directly to things that get to me” like social and human injustices, including the ones imposed by systems of government.

Kingnaldo, born and raised in the western village of San Sebastian but currently living in Atlanta, said that one thing his work slams is the ban on marijuana.

“Why this injustice of jailing any kid for having a pocketful of marijuana?” asked the singer of songs like “Antidoto Organico” (Organic Antidote), “Mujer Organica” (Organic Woman), “Lost Soul” and “Viaje Toxico” (Toxic Trip).

Among the musicians taking part in Kingnaldo’s new album are Harold Hopkins on bass and drummer Kirk Marshall, who has accompanied Snoop Dog, Nass and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Part of the launch of his new disc will be held Saturday in a show dedicated to the 31st anniversary of the death of Puerto Rican inmates rights activist Carlos Torres Irriarte.

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Selena Quintanilla Family Talks Exclusively With Cristina 6C/7P April 1

Selena Quintanilla Family Talks Exclusively With Cristina 6C/7P April 1

Photo: Cristina with Selena Quintanilla Family

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The Quintanilla family talks exclusively with Cristina on the new project will continue the musical history of Selena. “Love with You”, an album of duets with Selena’s voice singing with big names in music today.

AB Quintanilla, Selena’s brother tells us, their sorrows and joys, “I went through a stage where I was quite lost ... I was blaming me for what happened to my sister.”
Do not miss Selena’s family - Abraham, Marcela, Suzette and AB “with Cristina Pa’lante” this Sunday on Telemundo.

Selena released her first album, Selena y Los Dinos, at the age of twelve. She won Female Vocalist of the Year at the 1987 Tejano Music Awards and landed a recording contract with EMI a few years later. Her fame grew throughout the early 1990s, especially in Spanish-speaking countries.
Selena was murdered at the age of 23 by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club.

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Emotional Moment: Havana Seminarians had Chance to Meet Pope

Emotional Moment: Havana Seminarians had Chance to Meet Pope

Photo: The Pope in Cuba

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Kenny Fernandez Delgado was 13 when Blessed John Paul II came to the tropical Cuban capital. He remembers little about the 1998 event other than arriving late for the Mass at Revolution Square with his mother and a brother. Today, Fernandez is in his first year of theology studies at the new San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary. He called the chance to see Pope Benedict XVI March 28 an exhausting, emotional and unique opportunity.

That morning, the seminarians rose at 4 a.m., about an hour earlier than their normal wake-up call. When the pope arrived at the morning Mass in Revolution Square, the seminarians were seated in a section close to the papal stage. “We shouted and clapped; we were very motivated to see the pope, especially because we were promised to have a group photo with him,” Fernandez said.

“Some of us could touch the pope and kiss the fisherman’s ring.” Fernandez was informed by an Italian-speaking security official that he was not among those who would be shaking hands with the pope. However, Pope Benedict addressed the group and told the seminarians they were in his thoughts and prayers. “It was a very emotional moment; he said he wished us well and will pray for us,” he said. “He is a very kind person, and a little shy. We also felt he was a little tired.”

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Mega Millions Lottery: Three Winning Tickets- Check Here

Mega Millions Lottery: Three Winning Tickets- Check Here

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The holders of three very lucky Mega Millions tickets will share the $640 million jackpot, lottery officials have revealed.

In the last hours before the drawing, sales were so explosive, the jackpot went from the initial estimate of $500 million to the final $640 million.

Tickets with the winning numbers were sold in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.

Illinois’ winning ticket was sold in the small town of Red Bud, near St. Louis, by someone using Quick Pick to select his or her numbers. Another winner was purchased at a store in Baltimore County, Maryland.

Each winning ticket is worth approximately $213 million before taxes. The winning numbers in Friday night’s drawing were 02-04-23-38-46, and the Mega Ball 23.

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Sean Paul Ft. Pitbull - She Doesn’t Mind (Remix) (New 2012 + Download Link)

Sean Paul Ft. Pitbull - She Doesn’t Mind (Remix) (New 2012 + Download Link)

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LATIN star Pitbull has put his spin on Sean Paul’s latest hit song, She Doesn’t Mind. It is the first collaboration between the Cuba-born, American rapper and the dancehall artiste.

The official remix drops just in time for the summer and follows the original version, which was released on Sean Paul’s fifth album Tomahawk Technique, in January.

Download the song here> Pitbull and Sean Paul’s She Doesn’t Mind.

Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull have teamed up again for Ms. Lopez’s new single “Dance Again.” The song is a fun dance pop track with a great beat, very much along the lines of their 2011 collaborative effort “On the Floor.” The formats of the two songs are very similar; Pitbull opens with a quick line, followed by two repetitive verses and choruses by J. Lo. Then Pitbull raps a verse and the track finishes wraps up with the chorus again.

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ICE Reports Deporting Nearly 47,000 Parents of U.S. Citizen Children

ICE Reports Deporting Nearly 47,000 Parents of U.S. Citizen Children

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Troubling New Report Revealing Deportations Data for First Half of 2011

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the first half of 2011 deported 46,686 parents who had at least one U.S. citizen child, says an ICE report made public on Monday.

“If deportations continued at that rate for the rest of 2011, we can assume that over 100,000 kids who are U.S. citizens saw parents deported,” said Stacy Martin, vice president for external relations of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS).

“LIRS, the national organization established by Lutheran churches in the United States to serve uprooted people, is deeply troubled by this report,” said Martin. “It shows that the U.S. immigration system is tearing apart so many families.”

“The United States prides itself on being a country that honors and upholds family values, yet the U.S. immigration system is absolutely failing American families,” Martin said.

The period covered by the data in the new report by ICE, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, is January 1, 2011 – June 30, 2011.

In January 2012, the Applied Research Center released “Shattered Families,” a report showing that over 5,100 children of immigrants have ended up in foster care because U.S. immigration authorities had either detained or deported their parents. The report also predicted that at least 15,000 more children would end up in foster care over the next five years.

In 2011, ICE issued prosecutorial discretion guidance to U.S. immigration officers and announced a nationwide review of cases pending before immigration courts to determine which cases are considered low-priority for removal. For a parent of a U.S. citizen child to qualify for relief under this guidance, a parent would need to have long-time presence in the United States and have established compelling ties and made compelling contributions to the United States.

“Despite recent efforts to provide more discretion to U.S. immigration officers, our laws and policies are still too rigid,” said Eric B. Sigmon, LIRS Director for Advocacy. “U.S. immigration officials should have more flexibility to consider the best interests of children when making decisions about the detention and deportation of parents with children.”

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Chavez Health Uncertain for Upcoming Venezuelan Presidential Election Oct 7 (VIDEO)

Chavez Health Uncertain for Upcoming Venezuelan Presidential Election Oct 7 (VIDEO)

Photo: Hugo Chavez in Recovery

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is battling what is believed to be an aggressive cancer, but he has vowed to continue running for a third term in office.  The election is set for October 7.  Chavez has endured two surgeries since being diagnosed last year and traveled to Cuba again last week for a series of radiation treatments.

As Hugo Chavez arrived in Cuba for a third round of cancer treatment, his health has become the main factor in his re-election effort. 

Michael Shifter is president of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.

“f we have learned anything from Chavez over 13 years, it is that we shouldn’t rule him out,” said Shifter.

Political analysts believe this could be his toughest election.  Chavez is accused of mismanaging Venezuela’s oil wealth and devastating the rest of the economy with his firebrand left-wing politics.  Many of the business elite have left the country. 

But Chavez has won strong support among Venezuela’s poor by using oil revenue to boost social programs.  Again, Michael Shifter:

“Chavez, despite the dismal results and terrible governance, still has a powerful and emotional connection with a lot of Venezuelans,” he said. “Many Venezuelans, poor Venezuelans especially, think, believe, that he cares about them.  And he is trying to do the best he can.”

Chavez faces his toughest opponent yet in Henrique Capriles, who vows to continue the social programs that Chavez started while moving the country toward a more market-oriented economy.

But many believe the outcome of the election will hinge on the president’s health.  Some question why he has refused to step aside while undergoing cancer treatment.  He has never disclosed the details of his illness.

Political psychologist and psychiatrist Jerrold Post says Chavez is the quintessential narcissist who can’t come to terms with his mortality.

“He has increasingly come to see himself as the very essence of Venezuela,” said Post. “Just as Castro is Cuba, Cuba, Castro.  Chavez is Venezuela, Venezuela is Chavez in his mind.  And it is inconceivable to have a Venezuela without him at its head.”

Dr. Post says Venezuela is entering a dangerous period.  He believes Chavez has imposed his timetable on the nation and wants to secure his legacy in both Venezuelan and Latin American history.

“Were his opponent to be moving ahead in the polls, I think it is quite possible he could take violent action against his opponent,” he said. “But what I think is most important, and I can’t predict exactly how he will act, is that this is a man under immense stress.”

Chavez’ current round of radiation therapy is expected to take 4 to 5 weeks.  He has refused to relinquish any authority to his subordinates and will travel back and forth to Cuba for treatment.

Read more about Hugo Chavez at VOA

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Zimmerman’s Brother Defends his Actions, Claims Kill-or-Be-Killed Scenario

Zimmerman’s Brother Defends his Actions, Claims Kill-or-Be-Killed Scenario

Photo: George Zimmermans Brother on CNN

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George Zimmerman’s brother Robert Zimmerman Jr. explained to Piers Morgan that his brother was confronted with a kill-or-be-killed scenario the night he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

A night after his father Robert Zimmerman, an ex-judge and Vietnam veteran, told Fox, “It’s my understanding that Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him,” his other son also spoke out in defense of his brother’s actions.

“He prevented his firearm from being taken from him and used against him—and that’s called saving your life,” Zimmerman Jr. told Morgan.

Though surveillance footage appeared to capture an unharmed Zimmerman exiting the police cruiser, his brother insists that there was definitely a scuffle between Martin and Zimmerman.

“What Trayvon said was, either to the effect of, I believe, ‘This is going to be easy, you die tonight or you have a piece, you die tonight.’ And then attempted to disarm him,” Zimmerman Jr. said. “So when [you say] he had a bag of Skittles and an iced tea . . . nobody just stood there with a bag of Skittles and iced tea . . . You return force with force when somebody assaults you.”

He even goes as far as to claim that his brother was on the brink of unconsciousness when he pulled the trigger and released the fatal bullet, reports RadarOnline.

The Zimmerman family has received thousands of death threats after the shooting, in a case that has sparked a nationwide debate on racial profiling and law enforcement.

George’s father and brother, however, remain confident that medical records will reveal the truth of the story.

“I want in the end, not for [Trayvon’s] memory to be seen as how we degraded our system and turned it into mob rule and went into hate speech,” Zimmerman Jr. said. “Ultimately, we all wish that this was a different situation.”

Read more about the Trayvon Martin Killing at The Celebrity Cafe

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Menendez Introduces Resolution to Honor César Estrada Chavez on the 85th Anniv of His Birthday

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With Saturday, March 31st marking the 85th anniversary of Cesar Estrada Chavez’s birthday, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today introduced a resolution to commemorate his life and legacy, a recognition that has become an annual tradition. For the sixth year in a row, Republicans in the Senate prevented an official honor of the civil rights leader, objecting to Unanimous Consent passage of the resolution.

“Every year we introduce a resolution to honor Cesar Estrada Chavez, and every year Republicans object to Unanimous Consent passage. One of the most important civil rights heroes of his time, Chavez spent his life fighting for American farm workers to ensure they had the respect, benefits and dignity they deserve. It’s time to give him the recognition he deserves here in the United States Senate.

Born on March 31, 1927 in Arizona, Cesar Estrada Chavez was a Mexican American farm worker whose life circumstances showed him firsthand the injustices and hardships of farm workers and led him to dedicate his life to helping those who spent their lives picking the food that Americans eat, ensuring they received the respect and benefits they deserved. His efforts led to equality, justice, and dignity not only for Hispanic farm workers, but for all workers in the United States.  His success can be measured by the lasting impact he made toward ending workplace discrimination, unsafe and unfair working conditions, low wages, and child labor.

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Ciudad Juarez Mayor Says His City is Not the World’s Deadliest

Ciudad Juarez Mayor Says His City is Not the World’s Deadliest

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The mayor of this Mexican border metropolis rejected a U.S. official’s suggestion that Ciudad Juarez is the world’s most dangerous large city.

“We’re not the world’s most dangerous city by a long way, nor Mexico’s, and we can prove it,” Hector Murguia said at a press conference.

Ciudad Juarez, home to approximately 1.3 million people, “is today the most dangerous city in Mexico and I think it’s the most dangerous city in the hemisphere, if not the world,” William Brownfield, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, told a U.S. congressional panel on Thursday.

His comment came in response to a question from a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs concerning the shooting deaths of five police officers Wednesday in Juarez.

Murguia said his administration’s records indicate that 116 homicides were committed in the city in January of this year, 69 in February and 69 in March, down from 269, 173 and 268 murders, respectively, in those same three months of 2011.

The mayor said the U.S. official’s remarks were “irresponsible” because they “drive away tourism and (adversely) affect the advances achieved to date in terms of security.”

He also invited Brownfield to visit Ciudad Juarez “so he can see for himself that this is a community that’s trying to move forward, in spite of his comments.”

On Thursday night, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico issued a statement applauding and expressing support for the efforts of President Felipe Calderon’s administration, the state government of Chihuahua and Murguia’s administration to tackle drug-related violence.

“The impact of these efforts can be seen in (Juarez’s) crime statistics, which show a significant reduction in homicides,” the embassy said.

“U.S. assistance, in coordination with our Mexican counterparts, has focused on training and equipping police to give them greater capacity to combat the threat posed by transnational criminal organizations to local communities,” the statement said.

The embassy said that as bilateral efforts under the Merida Initiative - a U.S.-funded regional plan to battle drug cartels and organized crime - “shift in focus from federal to state police forces, Chihuahua state and the city of Juarez have become key priorities.”

“We will continue to provide support, particularly in areas most affected by crime and violence, in partnership with the government of Mexico, its security agencies and its citizens.”

Ciudad Juarez remained Mexico’s deadliest major city in 2011 with nearly 2,000 homicides, or roughly 148 murders for every 100,000 residents, although that figure was down from the previous year, when 3,100 people were murdered.

Authorities attribute most of the violence in the gritty metropolis just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, to a territorial conflict between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels.

According to a recent report from the Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice, a non-governmental organization, the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula has surpassed Ciudad Juarez as the world’s most violent metropolis.

Mexico’s government said 12,903 people died in drug-related violence between January and September 2011, bringing the drug war death toll since December 2006, when Calderon took office, to 47,515.

The country’s murder total has grown every year of the federal government’s military offensive against the well-funded, heavily armed drug gangs.

Unofficial tallies published late last year by independent daily La Jornada put the drug-war death toll at more than 50,000.

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Activists Prepare for Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona’s SB 1070 Immigration Law

Activists Prepare for Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona’s SB 1070 Immigration Law

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Defenders of immigrants’ rights on the national level are preparing to respond immediately to the Supreme Court ruling on the future of Arizona’s harsh immigration law.

The high court will hear arguments on April 25 on the lawsuit filed by the federal government against law SB 1070, the first in the country to criminalize the presence of undocumented immigrants.

The court’s decision will be issued by the end of June.

Karen Tumlin, an attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, said Thursday that there are three possible scenarios: that the justices will uphold lower-court rulings blocking certain clauses in the law; that they will rule in favor of the state of Arizona; of that a split decision will result.

Tumlin participated on Thursday along with religious leaders, representatives of law enforcement and politicians in a telephone conference call in which they expressed their disagreement with SB 1070.

She said that if the Supreme Court maintains the restrictions on SB 1070, they will immediately ask the courts in other states where similar laws have been approved such as Utah, Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama to do the same.

If there is a split decision, the activists will analyze the legal options before them.

Among the sections of SB 1070 that was suspended by order of U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton is one that would allow law enforcement agencies to question the immigration status of people “they suspect” of being undocumented.

But all the participants in Thursday’s call, including Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and former Phoenix police chief Jack Harris, agreed that if the high court rules in favor of SB 1070 it will have serious consequences for the immigrant community in the United States.

Gutierrez, along with 68 other congressmen, on Wednesday presented a friend-of-the-court brief in which they expressed to Supreme Court their opposition to SB 1070.

“We believe that the way a person looks or the shoes they wear are not probable cause to be questioned or arrested,” he said Thursday, adding that such racial profiling can have “deadly consequences.”

Harris said that many police and sheriff’s departments oppose SB 1070 because amid serious budget cutbacks this type of legislation diverts resources to focus on people whose only “crime” is living and working illegally in the United States.

“These resources could be used to fight the cartels, drug trafficking, rapists,” he emphasized.

The participants in Thursday’s call concluded that the battle for immigration reform on the federal level must continue, although they acknowledged that the options for achieving it are minimal this year.

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SaturdayMarch 31, 2012