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Posts tagged ‘Hispanic and Latino Americans’

States Buck Public Opinion, Offer Driver’s Licenses to Illegals.

Nevada has become the latest state to allow illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license — even as public opinion polls show that the great majority of Americans oppose such measures.
A national poll conducted in October by Rasmussen Reports found that 68 percent of likely U.S. voters think illegal immigrants should not be allowed to obtain state driver’s licenses. Just 22 percent favor licenses for illegals in their state.
Critics say the laws encourage illegal immigration by legitimizing the status of those who come to the United States illegally.

“It is a kind of amnesty. It doesn’t given them any legal status, but by giving them a government-issued ID, it helps them imbed in society,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C.,  said in an interview with Newsmax.

“This is a way of protecting illegals from coming to the attention of immigration authorities,” Krikorian said. “It’s a way of documenting the undocumented.”
In Nevada, Democratic-led lawmakers approved a driver’s license law in 2013. It was signed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, the state’s first Hispanic governor, who considers it a public safety measure, and went into effect at the beginning of this month.

“Allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s privilege card will increase the number of drivers on Nevada’s roads that are insured and aware of traffic rules and regulations,” Sandoval said in a statement after signing the bill.

When Nevada began issuing licenses on Jan. 2, long lines formed at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Las Vegas, waiting for the 8 a.m. opening of the office. The Associated Press reported that “thousands of Nevada immigrants” sought to obtain licenses on the first day.

Those applying for the driving privilege cards must show some proof of their identity as well as evidence of Nevada residency and insurance. New drivers must pass a driving test, and pay to retake the test if they fail.

The information provided for the licenses, however, may not be used against them for purposes of enforcing immigration laws, a key provision in a state like Nevada where about a fourth of all residents are Latino.

Other states that have approved similar laws include Utah, Washington, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, California, New Mexico, and Illinois, along with the District of Columbia.
Said California’s Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, in signing his state’s law last year: “No longer are undocumented people in the shadows. They are alive and well and respected in the State of California.”

The climate of permissiveness licenses for illegals follows a crackdown period after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacksthat came in response to widespread fears of foreign-born terrorists entering the country.

“After 9-11, things were tightening up. Now those states that are mainly run by Democrats are backtracking,” said Krikorian, noting that Congress has given leeway through the REAL ID law to states to issue immigrant driver’s cards, but those cannot be used for federal identification purposes like boarding planes.
New Mexico, with the nation’s largest Hispanic population, is one state attempting to buck the trend. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is hoping to convince the Democratic-led state legislature to repeal the state’s current law, which offers licenses to illegals.She has tried before and failed, but vows to continue.
Polling shows that Martinez has support for her position, said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc., a New Mexico firm that has polled for the Albuquerque Journal twice on the issue.

“Both times, the polls that we did for the Journal showed approximately 70 percent of registered voters opposed granting licenses to undocumented workers,” Sanderoff told Newsmax.

“I think it’s a significant issue to the extent that the governor is once again latching onto it,” he said.

New Mexico differs from its heavily Hispanic neighbor Arizona, where its governor, Republican Jan Brewer, has taken an aggressive stance against illegals in her state. In New Mexico, most Hispanic residents are natives, tracing their lineage back to Spain, said Sanderoff.

“Most New Mexicans are Americans, born and raised here, more so than the average state,” he said, which likely explains why voters there oppose the law by a wide margin.

The trend could continue as Congress renews its debate on immigration reform this year and proponents continue to push for the measure in more states.

“The push for it is nationally coordinated,” Krikorian said. “There is a broader push by national groups to have more say in the issue. They see it in two ways. First, as a practical matter, it helps to imbed the illegal immigrants in the U.S., making it less likely they will leave. Also, it will be presented as evidence of nationwide momentum for immigration ‘reform.'”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Andrea Billups

American Bible Society’s Latino Advisory Council Appoints First Chairwoman.

Tessie DeVore
The Latino Advisory Council of American Bible Society recently elected its first chairwoman, Tessie DeVore. (Facebook)

The Latino Advisory Council (LAC) of American Bible Society has announced the election of its first chairwoman, seasoned publishing executive, Tessie DeVore.

Only a few years after its founding in 1816, American Bible Society began its historic ministry to the Spanish-speaking community. To continue this great legacy, the LAC was formed in 2002 in order to maintain an active dialogue with the Spanish-speaking community and as a way to advise the American Bible Society in the development of relevant Latino programs, projects and resources. Today, they review existing and explore new programs, projects and Scripture solutions that meet the needs of the diverse Latino community in the US.

DeVore, a Cuban-Puerto Rican, is a 25-year veteran in both the English and Spanish Christian publishing world. She is the executive vice president of Charisma House, the book group of Charisma Media. In that role she is responsible for spearheading the growth and development of all book imprints. Under her leadership, Charisma House has published 11 New York Times best-sellers.

Completely bilingual and fluent in English and Spanish, DeVore was named in 2002 as one of the Top 100 Hispanic Journalists and Media Personalities in the U.S. by PR Newswire. In 2005, Charisma magazine recognized her as one of “30 Emerging Voices Who Will Lead the Church in the Next Decade.” DeVore was the first female president of the Spanish Evangelical Publishers Association (SEPA). She is also the first Latino woman to serve on the Oral Roberts University Board of Trustees.

The Rev. Emilio Reyes, executive director of Multi Language Ministries for American Bible Society notes, “Recent studies show that only 8 percent of the Latino community engaging with the Bible regularly. ABS has an unprecedented opportunity to impact this growing segment of the population and are very pleased that Tessie will help lead this charge as chairwoman of the Latino Advisory Council. After all, today’s Spanish-speaking immigrants are tomorrow’s Bible-reading Americans!”

DeVore adds: “I believe the future of the United States will be directly impacted by the Latino Community. We have already seen this and the influence is only going to increase. The Latino Advisory Council is critical to the mission and vision of the American Bible Society, as Spanish-speaking people are a key component of ABS fulfilling and sustaining its mission and goals.”


Latinos take on bigger role in Obama inauguration.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Latinos are taking a more prominent role inPresident Barack Obama’s second inauguration, from the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice swearing in the vice president to a star-studded concert celebrating Latino culture.

Eva Longoria, a co-chairwoman for Obama’s campaign, hosted “Latino Inaugural 2013: In Performance at the Kennedy Center” as a salute to the president Sunday evening ahead of his public swearing-in Monday. Jose Feliciano, Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno and Latin pop star Prince Royce all performed. The lineup also included Mario Lopez and Wilmer Valderrama.

Vice President Joe Biden and his family appeared onstage, drawing big cheers, to help open the show. He said he wanted to thankLatinos for their support in last year’s election.

Biden said something profound happened with the enormous Latino support for Obama, and he said the Latino community underestimates its power.

“One thing that happened in this election, you spoke. You spoke in a way that the world, and I mean the world, as well as the United States, could not fail to hear,” Biden said, calling the Latino vote decisive. “This is your moment. America owes you.”

Feliciano opened the show by singing the national anthem.

Marc Anthony later drew big cheers when he applauded Latinos’ growing political influence.

“Our united voice got us all here tonight and got the best man for the job in the White House,” Anthony said.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who gave the keynote speech at last year’s Democratic National Convention, recalled the admiration Latinos held for another president more than 50 years ago. Portraits of President John F. Kennedy still hang in many homes, he said.

“As we said ‘Viva Kennedy’ 50 years ago, today we say ‘Viva Obama,'” Castro said.

A children’s choir from San Juan, Puerto Rico, closed out the show, singing “This Land is Your Land.” They were joined by a larger Latino choir, including Hispanic members of the U.S. military, in singing “America the Beautiful.”

Earlier Sunday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, an Obama appointee who is the first Hispanic justice on the highest court, administered the oath of office to Biden. And Richard Blanco, a son of Cuban exiles, is Obama’s inauguration poet.

Latinos have a distinct presence at this inauguration after raising funds and turning out the vote for Obama in the 2012 election. Hispanics voted 7 to 1 for Obama over his challenger, Republican Mitt Romney, whose Hispanic support was less than any other presidential candidate in 16 years. Analysts said Romney’s hardline stance on immigration was a factor.

San Antonio philanthropist and business leader Henry Munoz III, who coordinated the Latino inauguration event with Longoria and other Obama supporters, said this is a special moment when the Latino community is positioned to take an expanded role in shaping the country’s future.

“Without question, the presidential election of 2012 proves that Latinos are perhaps the most important influence from this point forward in the election of the president of the United States,” Munoz said. “It’s important that the leadership in Washington view us not as a narrow interest group but as a vibrant political force” that carries not just votes, but influence and financial resources.

Organizers planned a series of symposiums, dinners and events ahead of the inauguration to keep people talking about issues that matter to Latinos, from immigration reform to building a Latino history museum on the National Mall. Munoz led a presidential commission that called on Congress in 2011 to authorize such a museum within the Smithsonian Institution, but Congress has not yet passed such a bill.

Munoz said it’s important to keep Latinos engaged through the inauguration and beyond.

“Our work is not done. It doesn’t end,” he said. “We have a tendency to look at this phenomenon as ending on Election Day, when the reality is now it’s time to get to work.”

Longoria said this is her first inauguration. She has taken on a new role as political advocate since her days on “Desperate Housewives,” pushing for a Latino history museum in Washington and raising funds for Obama’s re-election.

Even though this is Obama’s second inauguration, Longoria said there is still much to celebrate, including Sotomayor’s role swearing in the vice president.

“There’s something special about seeing a president recommit himself to the people of this great nation,” she said before the show.

Longoria said she hopes to help influence policies, including immigration reform, and hopes Obama will make that his top priority as an economic issue. She called the Latino fundraising effort for the president a historic turning point.

“I think we have a permanent seat at the table, and now we’re going to be able to have influence on what affects our communities,” Longoria said. “I take civic responsibility very seriously, and I want to do what I can to help my country.”


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By BRETT ZONGKER | Associated Press

Voting laws may disenfranchise 10 million Hispanic U.S. citizens: study.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New voting laws in 23 of the 50 states could keep more than 10 million Hispanic U.S. citizens from registering and voting, a new study said on Sunday, a number so large it could affect the outcome of the November 6 election.

The Latino community accounts for more than 10 percent of eligible voters nationally. But the share in some states is high enough that keeping Hispanic voters away from the polls could shift some hard-fought states from support for Democratic President Barack Obama and help his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.

The new laws include purges of people suspected of not being citizens in 16 states that unfairly target Latinos, the civil rights group Advancement Project said in the study to be formally released on Monday.

Laws in effect in one state and pending in two others require proof of citizenship for voter registration. That imposes onerous and sometimes expensive documentation requirements on voters, especially targeting naturalized American citizens, many of whom are Latino, the liberal group said.

Nine states have passed restrictive photo identification laws that impose costs in time and money for millions of Latinos who are citizens but do not yet have the required identification, it said.

Republican-led state legislatures have passed most of the new laws since the party won sweeping victories in state and local elections in 2010. They say the laws are meant to prevent voter fraud; critics say they are designed to reduce turnout among groups that typically back Democrats.

Decades of study have found virtually no use of false identification in U.S. elections or voting by non-citizens. Activists say the bigger problem in the United States, where most elections see turnout of well under 60 percent, is that eligible Americans do not bother to vote.

Nationwide, polls show Obama leading Romney among Hispanic voters by 70 percent to 30 percent or more, and winning that voting bloc by a large margin is seen as an important key to Obama winning re-election.

The Hispanic vote could be crucial in some of the battleground states where the election is especially close, such as Nevada, Colorado and Florida.

For example, in Florida, 27 percent of eligible voters are Hispanic. With polls showing Obama’s re-election race against Romney very tight in the state, a smaller turnout by Hispanic groups that favor Obama could tilt the vote toward the Republican.

(Editing by Christopher Wilson)


By Patricia Zengerle | Reuters

Broken and Obsolete.


Sorry…We’re Closed

Illustration by Oliver Munday for TIME.

As the American economy sags, the race for the presidency gets tighter–except in one dimension. Hispanic Americans continue to support Barack Obama by an astonishing 61%-to-27% margin. Were Obama to win, it might well be because of his attitudes on one issue: immigration. But it is an issue on which he will be unable to enact any of his preferences, let alone those policies that many Latinos support. The Republican Party has taken a tough stand on the topic. Democrats have their own bright lines. That means America’s immigration system is likely to stay as it is right now–utterly broken.

We think of ourselves as the world’s great immigrant society, and of course, for most of the country’s history, that has been true. But something fascinating has happened over the past two decades. Other countries have been transforming themselves into immigrant societies, adopting many of America’s best ideas and even improving on them. The result: the U.S. is not as exceptional as it once was, and its immigration advantage is lessening.

(PHOTOS: Election 2012: Faces of the Latino Vote by Marco Grob)

Would you have guessed that Canada and Australia both have a higher percentage of foreign-born citizens than the U.S.? In fact, in this respect, America–which once led the world–increasingly looks like many other Western countries. France, Germany and the U.K. have only slightly fewer foreign-born residents than America (as a percentage of the population). And some of these countries have managed to take in immigrants mostly based on their skills, giving a big boost to their economies.

Canadian immigration policy is now centered on recruiting talented immigrants with abilities the country needs. Those individuals can apply for work visas themselves; they don’t even need to have an employer. The Canadian government awards points toward the visa, with extra points for science education, technical skills and work experience.

The results of the system are evident in Vancouver, where American high-technology companies like Microsoft have large research laboratories and offices. The people working in these offices are almost all foreign graduates of American universities who could not get work visas in the U.S. They moved a few hours north to Vancouver, where they live in a city much like those on the American West Coast. Except, of course, that they will pay taxes, file patents, make inventions and hire people in Canada.

Sixty-two percent of permanent-resident visas in Canada are based on skills, while the remainder are for family unification. In the U.S., the situation is almost exactly the reverse: two-thirds of America’s immigrants enter through family unification, while only 13% of green cards are granted because of talent, merit and work. And it’s actually gotten worse over time. The cap on applications for H1-B visas (for highly skilled immigrants) has dropped in half over the past decade.

MORE: 5 Most Surprising Findings From the 2010 Census

It’s not as if America doesn’t need these people. American companies are struggling to fill 3.7 million job openings, many of them in science-related fields. Meanwhile, foreign students receive half of all doctorates in such fields, and almost all of them will head home after graduation. (In recent years, the H1-B visa limit was reached within the first few days of filing!) New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls America’s immigration policy the single biggest problem facing the economy and argues that our current approach is “national suicide.”

It isn’t just Canada to which America is losing the best and brightest. Australia, Britain and Singapore are all wooing the world’s most talented graduates. And then there are China and India, where many of these graduates come from. As those countries develop economically, new opportunities grow there, and lots of Indians and Chinese decide to go back home. The Beijing government makes a serious effort to recruit many of these people, from recent college graduates to tenured professors at the world’s best universities. The evidence is that increasingly it is succeeding.

But none of these broad arguments to reform America’s immigration system will make much difference while the partisan standoff remains. Those who have hard-line views on this topic believe that immigration reform must start with taking control of the border through more stringent patrols, more effective fences and wider deportations like those that have been under way for years.

(PHOTOS: Immigration Detention in Arizona)

While the ideological battles over immigration persist, something strange has happened on the ground: Mexican immigration to America is slowing to a standstill. The Pew Hispanic Center released a report in April showing that net Mexican migration into the U.S.–those entering minus those going back to Mexico–is now zero and that the number of Mexicans going back might actually now be higher than the number entering. This trend might be partly a product of tougher enforcement, but it is most likely caused by economic weakness in the U.S. coupled with a striking decline in Mexican fertility rates (which is itself caused by more education and opportunities in Mexico).

Whether or not this trend holds, the U.S. has to deal with the workers who are already here. The most sensible solution would be to craft legislation that would deport those who have criminal records and give some kind of legal status to the others. The path to citizenship for these workers should properly be long, placing them behind regular applicants and visa holders, and could take 15 years, during which they would have to pay all their taxes and abide by all laws.

That would allow a real reform of the system. We should sharply reduce the number of legal immigrants who arrive because they are sponsored by a family member. We should expand massively the number who come in because they have skills we need. We should recognize that certain industries do need temporary workers–farms in California, for example–and those industries could set up temporary-worker programs so crops can get picked during harvesting season. Ideally, such a bill would be bipartisan, sponsored by a prominent Democrat and an equally prominent Republican. Naturally, it should have the strong support of the President.

MORE: Why States Shouldn’t Control Immigration

The tragedy, of course, is that we had such a bill. It was sponsored in 2005 by Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy and strongly supported by then President George W. Bush. It did not even get to the floor of the Senate or House for a vote. The right hated it because it provided a legal path for undocumented workers, the left because it reduced family unification. And the unions opposed the temporary-worker provisions.

In an earlier era, the fact that the more extreme wings of the parties disliked the bill might actually have made passage easier, because that meant it was supported at the center, where the action lay. Today all the power has shifted to the wings of the two parties, who control their agendas. The failure of immigration reform is a metaphor for the breakdown of the political process. The simple fact is that in a country of more than 300 million people, any policy is going to have opponents–not everyone agrees with you–but the opponents can now paralyze the process. So nothing gets done.

It’s a sad state, because the U.S. remains a model for the world. It is the global melting pot, the place where a universal nation is being created. We may not do immigration better than everyone else anymore, but we do assimilation better than anyone else. People from all over the world come to this country and, almost magically, become Americans.

They–I should say we–come to the country with drive and dedication and over time develop a fierce love for America. This infusion of talent, hard work and patriotism has kept the country vital for the past two centuries. And if we can renew it, it will keep America vital in the 21st century as well.

MORE: Why the Latino Vote in Arizona Could Be Decisive in 2012

Source. Time Magazine U.S.
By                Fareed Zakaria

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