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FridayJune 1, 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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Mexican Documentary Filmmaker Awarded For Her Courage By The U.S.

Mexican Documentary Filmmaker Awarded For Her Courage By The U.S.

Photo: Presunto culpable (Presumed Guilty)

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U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne honored a Mexican filmmaker who has been nominated for the U.S. State Department’s International Women of Courage Award.

“The U.S. secretary of state recognizes women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, determination and leadership in promoting human rights, social justice and women’s equality and progress,” the ambassador said in acknowledging Layda Negrete on Wednesday for her contributions to improving Mexico’s justice system.

Negrete and co-director Roberto Hernandez - both lawyers-turned-filmmakers - made the documentary “Presunto culpable” (Presumed Guilty), which premiered in 2010 and tells the dramatic story of Mexican Jose Antonio “Toño” Zuñiga, a young man sentenced to 20 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

He was convicted on the basis of false evidence and testimony.

Zuñiga, who served two years in prison, was released after Negrete and Hernandez took up his case and filed an appeal, documenting acts of corruption in the criminal justice system.

“Presunto culpable” is the highest-grossing documentary in Mexico’s history.

The U.S. Embassy said that with her films “Presunto culpable” and “El tunel” (The Tunnel), an earlier courtroom documentary, Negrete has “provoked public indignation and generated popular support for the important reform approved in 2008 that will made Mexico’s justice system more transparent and efficient.”

For her part, Negrete dedicated the award to the network of civil organizations advocating for oral trials, saying their “continued persistence will not be halted by continued resistance.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Supreme Court To Make Decision On Cassez Case In August

Mexican Supreme Court To Make Decision On Cassez Case In August

Photo: Florence Cassez

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Mexican Supreme Court justice Olga Sanchez Cordero said in a television interview broadcast Thursday that the case of Florence Cassez, a Frenchwoman convicted of kidnapping in Mexico, will be decided in August.

Sanchez Cordero also reiterated in her remarks to French news channel BFMTV that she believes Cassez’s rights were violated by Mexican authorities and that, as a consequence, she should be set free.

“The matter will surely be resolved before the second half of August,” the justice said.

On March 21, she was one of two Supreme Court justices who supported a motion to immediately free Cassez. The other three justices rejected the motion, although the five-judge panel found serious rights violations in her trial and called for the evidence in her case to be reviewed.

Cassez was arrested on Dec. 8, 2005, on the Mexico City-Cuernavaca highway along with her boyfriend, Israel Vallarta, the suspected leader of the Los Zodiaco kidnapping gang.

A day later, agents from the now-defunct AFI, Mexico’s equivalent of the FBI, staged a mock raid so TV cameras could film the arrest of the gang members in a wooded area near Mexico City.

The motion presented to the high court in March stated that the delay in handing Cassez, now 37, over to prosecutors and informing the French Consulate of her arrest violated her rights.

The Frenchwoman has proclaimed her innocence from the beginning, denying that she participated in kidnappings, and the case has sparked tensions between Mexico and France.

Polls in Mexico, which suffers one of the world’s highest kidnapping rates, show most people want Cassez to remain in prison.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Family of Ildelfonso Martinez Sanchez May Sue Border Patrol After he Died in AZ Desert

Family of Ildelfonso Martinez Sanchez May Sue Border Patrol After he Died in AZ Desert

Photo: Family of Ildelfonso Martinez Sanchez May Sue Border Patrol After he Died in AZ Desert

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The family of undocumented immigrant Idelfonso Martinez Sanchez, who died in the Arizona desert trying to cross into the United States after being deported, may sue the U.S. Border Patrol because they consider that the agents’ long delayed search for him contributed to the tragedy.

Martinez Sanchez, 39, had lived in the city of Vista, north of San Diego, for more than 20 years, and before his fatal attempt to return to the United States, he had tried unsuccessfully to reenter from Tijuana.

One of his companions when detained by the Border Patrol told the agents that they had left Martinez behind in the Arizona desert, but they didn’t begin searching for him until five days later.

“They could have saved him. They let him die worse than an animal - because we’re Mexicans and we have no documents they treat us the worst way,” Juana Garcia, widow of the deceased immigrant, told Efe Friday.

Garcia is also an undocumented immigrant. The couple has five children between ages five and 19.

“We’ll see what happens with the lawsuit. What they did is not right. I don’t work and they left me and my kids without our source of income. What we want is for justice to be done,” Garcia said.

The funeral service was held Thursday afternoon with the casket closed, because of the advanced state of decomposition, at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in the town of Vista, attended by close to 350 mourners.

The wife said that Martinez Sanchez’s body was found on the Tohono O’odham Indian reservation, one of the routes most used by immigrants crossing the desert without documents and where they face scorching temperatures above 100 F.

According to Garcia, Martinez had gone to buy milk at a store in Vista on March 1 when a friend asked him to take charge of the business because he had an emergency.

It was then that a cop who had gone to the store to deliver a letter asked Martinez for identification, and when the immigrant handed over his Mexican ID card, the policeman called the Border Patrol.

“The police officier did it out of pure racism, seeing that he looked Mexican. He had previously gone to other stores without asking anyone to identify themselves,” Juana Garcia said.

After being deported, his last attempt to cross through Arizona began April 20, when he promised a people smuggler close to $3,000 to help him get back into the United States, but after a day of trudging through the desert he felt ill.

One companion on the trip, Isaac Jimenez Hernandez, tried to help him, but despite his plea the people smuggler refused to stop the march, so he took a cell phone from Martinez’s pocket but had to walk another two hours before he could call 911, according to Martinez’s wife.

When the Border Patrol arrived, they arrested Jimenez Hernandez, who offered to take them to where Martinez was, but the agents refused, and it wasn’t until Jimenez Hernandez was freed in Mexicali two days later that he could Martinez’s family, who in turn called the Border Patrol.

Finally, at the insistence of the family and days after Jimenez was released in Mexico, the Border Patrol accepted Jimenez’s offer to help them find the body, which they did on April 26, when they found it in an advanced state of decomposition.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Orlando Looking To Improve Pedestrian Safety With New Campaign Targeting Hispanics

Orlando Looking To Improve Pedestrian Safety With New Campaign Targeting Hispanics

Photo: The campaign is for both pedestrians and drivers

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The central Florida city of Orlando, an international tourist magnet, is also the most dangerous metropolitan zone in the United States for pedestrians, mainly Hispanics, and so a campaign has been launched to try and avoid more traffic accidents involving people on foot.

“We’re going to start today before another person gets hurt,” said Linda Chair, director of Best Foot Forward, a Central Florida coalition that has undertaken the task of raising awareness among and about pedestrians and thus reducing the chances that they could become another statistic.

On the average, one pedestrian a week - and almost all of them of Hispanic origin - dies on the streets of Orlando, while every day two are hit by vehicles while they are trying to cross the street, according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA.

In the Orlando metropolitan area, about 730 pedestrians are injured and 45 die each year in traffic accidents.

Thus, between 2000 and 2009, 557 pedestrians lost their lives tryig to cross local streets, according to the same source.

“It’s important for our Hispanic community to be alert about this effort to teach them to cross the streets safely,” Capt. Angelo Nieves, communications director for the Orlando police force, which is part of the coalition, told Efe.

The campaign seeks not only to teach the community to obey the rules for pedestrian traffic but also to raise awareness among drivers about their responsibilities in helping make the streets safer, Chair said.

According to an NHTSA study, although the reasons why Hispanic pedestrians become victims so frequently is not known - with an annual average of 545 Latinos dying trying to cross U.S. streets and being involved in 16.3 percent of all traffic accidents involving pedestrians - it could be due to the “different cultures,” language problems and a lack of familiarity with the traffic in this country.

Meanwhile, the campaign will concentrate its educational efforts to change ingrained habits, like for example ignoring pedestrian crosswalks, it will also focus on drivers who don’t respect pedestrians’ right of way, Nieves said.

“We’re known as the No. 1 tourist destination,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and “now we also want to be known as the safest city in the country for pedestrians.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chavez May Only Have Months To Live, Says Respected Source

Chavez May Only Have Months To Live, Says Respected Source

Photo: Hugo Chavez

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s cancer is now in the “end stage” and it is “doubtful” he will live to see the results of the Oct. 7 elections, U.S. journalist Dan Rather said.

According to Rather, who cited “a highly respected source close to Chavez who is in a position to know his medical condition and history,” the leftist head of state has metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer that has “entered the end stage.”

“This source says the prognosis is dire and that Chavez is now not expected to live ‘more than a couple of months at most,’” the 80-year-old journalist wrote in an article posted on the Web site for his Dan Rather Reports program, which airs on HDNet.

Chavez is seeking re-election for a third time in the Oct. 7 presidential balloting and has a comfortable lead in the polls, but several sources cited by Rather, including the one who revealed the precise form of cancer, told the reporter “they believe it is doubtful the dictator will live to see the results.”

Chavez spent April 30-May 10 in Cuba for radiation treatment that followed a Feb. 26 operation in Havana to have a second malignant tumor removed.

The first tumor was extracted last June, also in Cuba, where the president’s cancer was first detected when he fell ill during an official visit.

Chavez has not released any details about the nature of the cancer, saying only that it was in his pelvic region.

Rather, a respected journalist known for his long career as the anchor of the nightly CBS Evening News program, noted, however, that the information about the type of cancer and Chavez’s prognosis comes from a single source and that there is “no other immediate confirmation.”

Chavez, first elected in 1998, is a controversial figure both at home and abroad who frequently rails against capitalism and U.S. influence in Latin America and has vowed to install “socialism of the 21st century” in Venezuela.

Despite his fiery rhetoric, Venezuela remains a key oil supplier to the United States.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Costa Rica’s Mysterious Spheres May Soon be Added to World Heritage List

Costa Rica’s Mysterious Spheres May Soon be Added to World Heritage List

Photo: Costa Rica's Mysterious Spheres May Soon be Added to World Heritage List

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The Costa Rican Diquís Spheres, which date back to the pre-Columbian era, are believed to have been carved between 200 BC and 1500 AD and may finally be included on the Wild Heritage List.

The spheres, referred to as Los Bolas by the locals, range in size from a few centimeters to over 2 meters (6.6 ft) in diameter and weigh up to 15 tons.

As workers with the United Fruit Company were clearing the jungles for banana plantations in the 1930s, the spheres were discovered. Many were simply pushed aside by bulldozers, leaving some damaged.

Workers allegedly attempted to break some of them up with dynamite before authorities intervened, as they heard myths the spheres were filled with gold and precious stones.

In 1943, a scientific investigation of the spheres was published in American Antiquity and attracted Samuel Kirkland Lothrop of the Peabody Museum at Harvard. His research of the spheres was later published in Archaeology of the Diquís Delta, Costa Rica 1963.

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla recently met with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to discuss the spheres’ inclusion on the list.

If added to the Wild Heritage List, interest and subsequently tourism to Costa Rica is likely to increase, stimulating the economy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mother Outraged Daughter Given “Award” for Most Excuses for Not Having Homework

Mother Outraged Daughter Given “Award” for Most Excuses for Not Having Homework

Photo: Mother Outraged Daughter Given "Award" for Having Most Excuses for Not Having Homework

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An Arizona student was given an award her mother was not only not proud of, but also angered by.

Cassandra Garcia, 8, was reportedly “humiliated” when her teacher presented her with the “Catastrophe Award” for having the highest number of excuses for not having her homework.

The award was given to Garcia on May 18 at the Desert Springs Academy in Tucson. When she brought it home to show her mother, Christina Valdez, she was not happy.

“I think it’s cruel and no child should be given an award like this, Valdez told UPI sources. “It’s disturbing.”

The recognition, which was signed and dated by the teacher, Ms. Plowman, reads:

You’re Tops!
Catastrophe Award
Awarded to Cassandra Garcia
For Most Excuses for Not Having Homework

When Valdez called to complain, she claims the principal blew her off, saying the award was a joke and that teachers often joke around with students.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Florida U.S. Congressional Candidate Legally Changes Name to VoteforEddie.com

Florida U.S. Congressional Candidate Legally Changes Name to VoteforEddie.com

Photo: VoteforEddie.com seen here with his wife Kallie

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A Florida man has legally changed his name to a website URL while running for Congress.

Born Eddie Gonzalez, the man now legally named VoteforEddie.com, had the change made in January and Florida has now agreed to change his name on the upcoming ballot.

VoteforEddie.com is currently running as an Independent congressional candidate, and says he made the change as a way to get his message across.

“Since I’m not under the wings or good graces of both political parties, I had to find a different way to get my message out there,” he recently told the Huffington Post.

He has reportedly raised about $2,400 for “Eddie for Congress” while his competitor, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami) has raised roughly $608,400.

(Former) Eddie was born to Cuban immigrant parents in 1980 and says he is studying for a degree in business.

The ballot, which will likely include VoteforEddie.com’s name, was scheduled to be finalized this week.

Read more at Eddie for Congress →

The “Yo Soy 132” Student Movement Gathered to Draft a Platform in Mexico City

The “Yo Soy 132” Student Movement Gathered to Draft a Platform in Mexico City

Photo: Twitter @KEI_PAU

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Members the “Yo soy 132” student protest movement drafted a platform aimed at influencing Mexico’s July 1 presidential election and countering perceived media bias, declaring their opposition to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, the frontrunner in the polls.

“The 132 movement opposes media imposition of any candidate,” the student group said in a manifesto released Wednesday at the movement’s first assembly.

The goal of the gathering was to stake out the protest movement’s political position, which still must be put to a vote in a plenary session.

“We’re against the manipulation” by the large television networks and the “contaminated electoral process that aims at restoring the old regime,” the document said.

The “Yo soy 132” movement said it rejects voter “coercion and repression and other anti-democratic practices,” adding that “there is sufficient evidence that the current face of that regime is Enrique Peña Nieto.”

The protest movement started on May 11, when Peña Nieto visited the Universidad Iberoamericana and was jeered by students.

Those in Peña Nieto’s inner circle and some members of the media downplayed the incident, accusing the students of being agitators and prompting them to counterattack by making a video that was posted on YouTube.

The criticism led to the birth of the “Somos mas de 131” (We Are More Than 131) movement, which took its name from the number of students who appeared in the video and later evolved into the “Yo soy 132” (I Am 132) movement when students from other universities joined the protests.

The young people also created the Twitter hash tag #LaMarchaYoSoy132 to get their message out to supporters and the public.

The students agreed Wednesday not to encourage the casting of blank ballots, saying that would benefit Peña Nieto, and urged young people to vote “freely and critically.”

As they had when the movement was launched earlier this month, the students reiterated that they do not support any political party in particular.

According to organizers, some 6,500 young people gathered at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, for the first “Yo soy 132” assembly to decide upon the content of the manifesto and come up with an action plan for both before and after the presidential and legislative elections.

The PRI governed Mexico without interruption from 1929-2000, a regime described by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa as “the perfect dictatorship.”

That era ended with the election in 2000 of the conservative National Action Party’s Vicente Fox, who was succeeded six years later by party colleague Felipe Calderon after the closest contest in Mexican history - which the runner-up, leftist PRD party candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, maintains was marred by fraud.

Peña Nieto’s frontrunner status in the presidential race is due in part to Mexicans’ frustration over persistently high levels of drug-related violence throughout Calderon’s term.

Calderon militarized the struggle against Mexico’s heavily armed, well-funded drug mobs shortly after taking office in December 2006, deploying tens of thousands of troops across the country.

The strategy has led to headline-grabbing captures of cartel kingpins, but drug violence has skyrocketed and claimed more than 50,000 lives.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Fake Doc, Edgar Orozco-Abundis, Pleads Guilty to Practicing Medicine Without License

LATINO BLOTTER: Fake Doc, Edgar Orozco-Abundis, Pleads Guilty to Practicing Medicine Without License

Photo: Fake Doc, Edgar Orozco-Abundis, Pleads Guilty to Practicing Medicine Without License

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A fake doctor in Sparks, Neveda has pled guilty to performing cosmetic surgery without a license.

Edgar Orozco-Abundis, 40, is reportedly a licensed medical doctor in Mexico. However, he is not licensed in the U.S. where he has been performing various surgeries on people.

Orozco-Abundis is said to have performed nose jobs and stomach stapling. He would prey on fellow undocumented immigrants looking to lose weight or change their appearance.

He was reported to authorities after a woman he had performed a nose job on discovered the state health division had told him to stop procedures immediately because he did not have a license.

Another woman is said to have had her stomach stapled in her apartment in front of her husband. She was also going to have Orozco-Abundis augment both her breasts and buttocks.

On Monday, Orozco-Abundis pled guilty to one felony count of practicing medicine without a license. He will be sentenced on July 17 and will likely receive a suspended prison term and be ordered to probation. Being an illegal immigrant, Orozco-Abundis will also likely have a deportation order filed against and be sent back to Mexico.

Read more by HS News Staff →

After Accident in MX, Critically Injured Child Handed to Agents Over Border Fence

After Accident in MX, Critically Injured Child Handed to Agents Over Border Fence

Photo: After Accident in MX, Critically Injured Child Handed to CBP Agents Over Border Fence

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A 4-year-old boy was lifted over U.S.-Mexico border fence from the Mexico side after he was critically injured after being hit by a car.

On Monday, the boy and his 18-year-old cousin, both American citizens, were lifted over a fence near Jacume, Mexico after the younger boy was injured while visiting family in Mexico.

The older cousin was lifted over to assume responsibility for the boy.

An international Border Patrol liaison unit in Mexico reportedly called agents on the U.S. side to ask for help in getting the boy over the fence and to a hospital. At around 8:30 p.m., agents on both sides worked to get him over the fence. A spokesman for the agency says the agents then performed life-saving measures for about 40 minutes until paramedics arrived.

The 4-year-old’s father said he wants the agents who helped his family to know he is “extremely appreciative” and says he is “thankful for … the Border Patrol as a whole.”

The boy was airlifted to a hospital and on Wednesday was listed in stable condition.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Trayvon Martin Shooter George Zimmerman Mislead Court, Has 48 Hours to Surrender

Trayvon Martin Shooter George Zimmerman Mislead Court, Has 48 Hours to Surrender

Photo: George Zimmerman

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The judge in George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial revoked his bond and ordered him to surrender within 48 hours because he misled the court about his finances.

Zimmerman’s wife testified during his original bond hearing that the Zimmermans had limited funds, and failed to disclose that more than $200,000 had been donated to Zimmerman through a website.

Prosecutors argued that the Zimmermans conspired to lie about money. Zimmerman also failed to disclose the fact that he had a second passport, which he did not surrender to the court.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Drunk and Pregnant Stephanie Santana Leaves Baby in Car, Goes to Get Piercing

LATINO BLOTTER: Drunk and Pregnant Stephanie Santana Leaves Baby in Car, Goes to Get Piercing

Photo: Drunk and Pregnant Stephanie Santana Leaves Baby in Car, Goes to Get Piercing

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A pregnant Texas mother was arrested early Wednesday morning after it was discovered she left a baby in the car while she went into a tattoo shop looking to get a piercing.

An employee of Dagos Tattoo Shop says 20-year-old Stephanie Irene Santana walked into the nearly empty shop at about 4:30 a.m. asking how long the wait for a piercing would be.

Confused, the employee, who identified himself as Yogi, asked Santana why she would ask considering it was obvious that she was the only customer in the shop.

ImageWhen she asked how long the piercing would take he asked why it was important, to which she replied, “Because I have a baby in the car.”

Yogi asked who was watching the baby and Santana told him no one, “the baby is asleep.”

Worried for the baby in the car, Santana was asked to leave and return to her child. Shop workers then watched her stumble back to the car before falling asleep behind the wheel. The car was still running and her 10-month-old daughter vehicle unrestrained.

Houston police were then called and upon arrival found Santana, who is seven months pregnant, still asleep with her daughter in the passenger seat. Empty beer bottles and Xanax were found in the vehicle.

Santana was arrested on charges of DWI, child endangerment, and possession of a controlled substance.

The 10-month-old is with CPS workers while a suitable family member is found to take her.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Friday” Singer Rebecca Black Endorses Mexican Presidential Candidate (VIDEO)

“Friday” Singer Rebecca Black Endorses Mexican Presidential Candidate (VIDEO)

Photo: Born of Mexican Mother, "Friday" Singer Rebecca Black Endorses Mexican Pres. Candidate Peña Nieto

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Which seat will she take? Apparently the one next to Mexican Presidential Candidate Enrique Peña Nieto.

Just when we thought she might finally be fading into obscurity, “singer” Rebecca Black is once again making headlines, but not for a much-hated (and loved) song.

The “Friday” singer has apparently announced her support of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), a man she says is doing “a fantastic job.” even traveling to Morelos, MX to do so.

Black’s mother was born in Mexico, thereby making Mexico’s presidential election a point of interest for her family.

Though some may love her, it remains unclear why she has chosen to use her “fame” in this way. It could have something to do with the fact that her uncle, Gustavo Petricioli, is a city council member for PRI in Morelos’ state capital.


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Elizabeth Olivas Back in U.S. for Graduation After Being Stuck in Immigration Web in Mexico

Elizabeth Olivas Back in U.S. for Graduation After Being Stuck in Immigration Web in Mexico

Photo: Elizabeth Olivas Back in U.S. for Graduation After Being Stuck in Immigration Web in Mexico

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Elizabeth Olivas was looking forward to graduated high school and going on to college and until Friday morning see saw the experience slipping away.

When she was just 4 years old, Elizabeth was brought to the U.S. (Indiana) from Chihuahua, Mexico. Since arriving, she performed well in school, was a start athlete as part of Frankfort High School’s soccer and track teams, and was even the winter homecoming queen. With a 3.96 grade-point average, Elizabeth was planning for life after graduation, she just had one thing to do.

By law, Elizabeth was required to travel back to Mexico within 6 months (180 days) of her 18th birthday and apply for a visa or green card. Seven weeks ago, Elizabeth and her father, a naturalized U.S. citizen, traveled back to Mexico.

However, when they arrived on April 17, the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez informed her she was too late, she had arrived on day 181. Under the law, she would have to spend three years in Mexico unless she received a waiver, something that can take months to obtain.

Elizabeth called her Indianapolis lawyer, Sarah Moshe, asking how this could have happened. Moshe said they waited as long as possible to take her to Mexico to ensure she would miss as little school as possible. Moshe said her firm uses a legal-calendar company to keep track of key dates. However, the company did not take into account that this is a leap year, with an extra day in February, making Elizabeth’s trip to Mexico one day too late.

With graduation just around the corner, Elizabeth and her family began their pleas for her return in time for graduation. The visa she was seeking would grant her permanent residency, but would not give her the right to vote.

As days passed and graduation grew closer, Elizabeth waited in Juarez, hoping for help.

Thursday, that help would arrive.

After Indiana lawmakers received word of Elizabeth’s predicament, they helped grant an expedited waiver.

After a seven-hour meeting in Juarez, Elizabeth left the consulate with proper travel documents and within hours was on a flight back to Indiana.

Though she missed a seniors award ceremony and prom, Elizabeth has made it back to the Indiana just in time for her graduation.

This weekend, Elizabeth was greet her graduating class as she gives the salutatorian address, a speech she had continued to prepare while still in Juarez.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drug-related Violence Has Not Affected Preparations for Mexican Elections

Drug-related Violence Has Not Affected Preparations for Mexican Elections

Photo: The Mexican Presidential Candidates

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Preparations are on track for Mexico’s July 1 presidential election and the drug-related violence in the country has not affected the process, the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, said.

Nearly 2,400 of the country’s 66,000 total geographic districts have received “special attention” due to the violence, IFE chairman Leonardo Valdes said in a press conference with foreign correspondents on Wednesday.

No homicides have been reported among the thousands of people being trained as poll workers for the 143,190 election precincts across Mexico, the IFE chief said.

“Fortunately, there have been no (serious) incidents involving the trainers or the trainees,” Valdes said.

The July 1 elections will be the “biggest and most complex” in Mexican history, the IFE said.

The general elections will feature an all-time high of 79.4 million voters eligible to cast ballots, as well as a record 2,127 public posts up for grabs, ranging from the presidency to municipal council seats.

The election is taking place at a time when Mexico is dealing with a wave of drug-related violence that has left more than 50,000 people dead since 2006.

About 1 million people will work on the election, with each precinct manned by seven poll workers, the IFE said.

The Organization of American States, meanwhile, said it planned to send election observers to Mexico for the first time.

OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza made the announcement on Wednesday, noting that the hemispheric organization had sent observers to Mexico in the past for lower-level elections, such as gubernatorial contests, but never for a presidential contest.

“The Mexican electoral system has been strengthened significantly in recent years, and much progress has also been made in the framework of foreign relations,” Insulza said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Activists Push Gov’t to Implement Proposal Allowing Spouses, Children of Citizens to Stay in U.S.

Photo: Activists Push Gov't to Implement Proposal Allowing Spouses, Children of Citizens to Stay in U.S.

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Several pro-immigrant organizations demanded on Thursday that the Obama administration implement the proposal for a new procedure that would allow the spouses and children of U.S. citizens to remain in the country while their immigration situation is regularized.

On Jan. 6, the president and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, announced their intention to change the policy obligating undocumented immigrants without papers requested by relatives to leave the country to adjust their status, a process that could take between 3 and 10 years.

The new procedure is designed to alleviate the extreme hardship that U.S. citizens experience due to the prolonged separation from their family members, USCIS chief Alejandro Mayorkas said during the announcement.

Although in some cases the federal government can authorize a pardon, which takes many years to process and allows immigrants to return to the United States to reunite with their family, they have to prove that the separation caused hardship.

Under the new proposal, which still has not entered into force, it would be easier for families to avoid these punishments by requesting “family unity protection” with the aim of not having to leave the country while their papers are being processed.

“What we’re seeking is the rapid implementation of the exemption and above all that it be broadened, because many families will remain outside (its scope). There’s still time until tomorrow (Friday) to comment on the changes we consider necessary,” Javier Valdez, a representative from the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), said Thursday in a telephone press conference.

FIRM and the Alliance for a Just Society also released on Thursday the report entitled “Promesas que Mantener” (Promises to Keep), which gathers 19 stories of immigrants and their families who are facing separation and which shows the importance of changing the process.

About 400,000 people are deported from the United States every year and since 2008 1.2 million immigrants have been forced to leave the country.

According to a report by the Applied Research Center, at least 5,100 U.S. children in the country have been placed with the social services because their parents have been detained or deported.

Also, about 5.5 million minors, of whom 80 were born in the country, have at least one parent who is undocumented.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Men Suspected of Human Smuggling Were Acquitted of Charges in El Salvador

Mexican Men Suspected of Human Smuggling Were Acquitted of Charges in El Salvador

Photo: The case was acquitted due to lack of evidence

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A court in El Salvador released two suspected people traffickers who abandoned 14 Salvadorans in Mexico who were among the 72 migrants massacred at a ranch in Tamaulipas state in 2010, judicial officials said.

Carlos Ernesto Teos Parada and Erick Francis Escobar Ramirez, who had been arrested last year, were “acquitted during a public hearing due to lack of evidence against them,” a court spokesman told Efe.

The hearing took place last Friday at a special court in San Salvador, the court spokesman said.

An appeal is planned in the case, the prosecutor in charge of the unit that handles people trafficking cases, Smirna Salazar, told reporters.

Escobar Ramirez was in charge of transporting the 14 migrants who died in Tamaulipas and took his orders from Teos Parada, the suspected leader of the smuggling ring, prosecutors allege.

Four other Salvadorans were arrested in the case, but charges were later dropped following completion of the investigation.

Mexican marines found the bodies of the 58 men and 14 women on Aug. 24, 2010, after a shootout with gunmen that left a marine and three criminals dead.

The massacre victims came from Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Brazil, but the majority were Hondurans.

Two migrants - one from Ecuador and another from Honduras - survived the massacre.

An estimated 300,000 Central Americans and 400,000 Mexicans undertake the dangerours journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States.

Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel, is suspected of murdering the migrants.

Read more by HS News Staff →



FridayJune 1, 2012