Pushing for a Better Census Count in Indian Country

National April 10, 2019 at 3:45 pm

With less than a year to go until the 2020 Census is underway – and nine months for the Native village of Toksook Bay, Alaska – Native leaders hope to improve the numbers for the historically undercounted American Indian and Alaska Native populations living on reservations, reports Indian Country Today. Due to “logistical obstacles,” they had an undercount rate of 4.9 percent, Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said at a recent Census Bureau press briefing. He believes new efforts by the Census Bureau will produce a better count next year, including technological improvements, increased tribal consultations and the expansion of tribal names on the questionnaire.

Concerns Over Economic Impact of Cockfighting Ban in Puerto Rico

National April 9, 2019 at 3:43 pm

The federal cockfighting ban will eliminate a $65 million per year industry in Puerto Rico, raising worries of its economic impact, El Nuevo Día reports. According to a report commissioned by Puerto Rico’s Club Gallístico, nearly 3,500 people are directly employed by the venues and farms, while another 3,827 jobs will be indirectly affected. According to advocates, the ban will also prevent the government from raising license fees, construction permits and taxes. Puerto Rico currently has 70 cockfighting rings licensed in 45 municipalities, where 88,299 cockfights took place between 2016 and 2017, drawing 330,000 attendees.

On César Chávez Day, Immigrant Farm Workers Call for ‘Blue Card’

National April 1, 2019 at 4:25 pm

California immigrant workers celebrated César Chávez Day by marching in support of the Blue Card Bill, which would allow farmworkers and their families to remain in the U.S. legally, La Opinión reports. The three marches in the state celebrated the Mexican-American union leader who would have turned 92 this past Sunday, as well as some recent labor victories such as a law requiring overtime pay for farmworkers. Unlike the current seasonal workers program (H-2A visa), the Blue Card system would allow workers to change their employer, and offer a path to citizenship.

Puerto Rican Officials Blast Trump for Funding Complaints

National April 1, 2019 at 11:53 am

Puerto Rican officials are blasting President Trump for his recent complaints that Puerto Rico is getting too much federal aid, El Nuevo Día reports. Government officials promptly rejected the idea that Hurricane María relief funds were being used to “correct” the island’s debt crisis. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares said that Trump’s statements are beneath the dignity of a president. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who is preparing a run for Puerto Rico governor, said that with those words the president is just reaffirming his racism.

Anti-Immigrant Bill Advances In North Carolina

National March 28, 2019 at 4:30 pm

A bill that would force county sheriffs to work with ICE, and which pro-immigrant activists deem unconstitutional, is advancing in the North Carolina legislature, Qué Pasa reports. The bill still has a long way to go, but it has increased anxiety among the local Hispanic community. Mexican activist and president of the organization El Colectivo NC, Yolanda Zavala, said that those laws are “hurting families,” citing the case of her son, who was deported in spite of not having a criminal record, and a daughter who was brutally beaten but was not helped by witnesses because they “didn’t want to get in trouble.”

 Meet Aura Vasquez, LA’s First Immigrant Water Commissioner

National March 22, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Environmental activist Aura Vasquez is the first immigrant ever to be a Los Angeles Board of Water and Power commissioner, La Opinión reports. Vasquez, 40, was appointed in May 2017, and is also the only Latina on the five-member panel. She moved to the U.S. in 1996, fleeing violence in her native Colombia. She lived and studied in New York where she worked as a community organizer for United Way. In California, she worked for the organizations PICO and Sierra Club before Mayor Eric Garcetti invited her to join the Department of Water and Power.

Los Angeles Cultural Festival Celebrates Octavio Paz

National March 18, 2019 at 4:03 pm

A festival in memory of Mexican poet Octavio Paz celebrated Hispanic culture in Los Angeles last weekend, La Opinión reports. “Octavio Paz and the Postpachucos” was organized by the Mexican Consulate and featured literary events, music and exhibitions. Most events focused on how the Nobel prize-winning poet’s stay in California in the 1920s shaped his views on Mexican identity, which he expressed in his groundbreaking essay “The Labyrinth of Solitude.” Said Enrique Márquez, of Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Office: “This is a pretext to promote Spanish literature and language; indigenous languages and the migrant’s culture.”

Cubans in Atlanta ICE Jail on Hunger Strike to Fight Deportation

National March 8, 2019 at 12:15 pm

At least six Cuban immigrants, ages 25 to 35, in process of being deported started a hunger strike in Atlanta’s Stewart Detention Center, Mundo Hispánico reports. According to family members, they have been held for more than six months without getting any information about their case by ICE, and complain of lack of medical assistance. “They say that if they are going to be sent to Cuba, they will have to be carried out feet first,” said Yamilé Echemendía, mother of Randy Yahir Torres Echemendía, who applied for political asylum in the U.S. in January 2018.

Study: Young Puerto Ricans Show Higher Cancer Rates

National March 7, 2019 at 3:45 pm

According to a new study, young Puerto Ricans have higher cancer rates than other ethnic groups in the U.S., El Nuevo Día reports. The report, by the University of Puerto Rico’s Central Cancer Registry, found that from 2000 to 2015 there were 4,327 new cancer diagnoses in people between 15 and 39 years of age on the island, affecting many more women (67.6 percent) than men (32.4 percent). This higher incidence of cancer among young people – although no comparative numbers are provided – is mainly associated to lifestyle (obesity in particular), genetics, inequality and environmental factors.

Florida Activists Urge Closing of Private Jail for Minor Migrants

National March 6, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Florida Democratic congressional representatives and pro-immigrant activists are urging the closing of a Miami-Dade County detention center that houses undocumented minors indefinitely, Diario Las Américas reports. The Homestead center, a private facility with a $220 million contract with the federal government, is currently housing some 1,600 minors who either crossed the border unaccompanied or were separated from their families by U.S. authorities. “The problem with this center is that it’s a for-profit business,” said Tomas Kennedy, of the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC). “Lodging each child costs about $750 per day.”

Mexican Dreamer Paints Pro-Immigrant Murals in Atlanta

National March 1, 2019 at 4:33 pm

A Mexican ‘Dreamer’ artist was selected as part of “Off the Wall,” a project of 30 street murals recognizing the civil rights struggle in Atlanta, Mundo Hispanico reports. Yehimi Cambrón, born in Morelia, Mexico, produced two of the murals, both dedicated to the immigrant struggle. “I painted the faces ofRead More

Puerto Ricans Will Decide Again on Political Status in 2020

National February 28, 2019 at 3:37 pm

The governor of Puerto Rico announced that another referendum on the island’s political status in relation to the U.S. will take place in 2020, El Vocero reports. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said that the referendum will happen “before, during or after” November. “We have a commitment to work in a binding, decisive process to put an end to the island’s colonial status,” he said. The latest Puerto Rican referendum took place in 2017 and the statehood option won overwhelmingly, but was boycotted by the pro-status quo party and had a historically low 23 percent turnout.

Border Shelter Receiving Immigrants in Record Numbers

National February 26, 2019 at 3:11 pm

The nonprofit Casa Anunciación, which gives shelter to immigrants released by ICE in El Paso, Texas, has shattered its record attendance for the season in its 43rd year of existence, El Diario de El Paso reports. According to founder and director Rubén García, from Feb. 17 to 23, the organization sheltered 3,637 people. “We expect the numbers to go up as the weather improves,” said García. Casa Anunciación operates 15 shelters hosting people in need of a place to sleep, bathe and eat as they prepare to join their relatives in the U.S. and continue their political asylum process.

First LGBTQ Mariachi Band in LA Turns 5

National February 21, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Ángeles, the first mariachi band formed by LGBTQ musicians in Los Angeles, is celebrating its 5th anniversary, La Opinión reports. Founded by director Carlos Samaniego, the band soon became a big success, as this type of traditional Mexican music is usually associated with macho attitudes. Among its 11 members are two women, including Natalia Melendez, considered the first transgender person in the mariachi world. All the band members are Mexican or Mexican­ Americans, but three are not part of the LGBTQ community. “They are our allies in our mission,” said band member Allan Vazquez López.

Protesters Occupy Border Patrol Museum

National February 20, 2019 at 3:53 pm

Around 40 pro-immigrant protesters took their anti-Trump message to El Paso’s Border Patrol Museum, El Diario de El Paso reports. The action was part of a “Weekend for Immigration Justice” that called for the release of migrant minors detained by the federal administration, and for family reunification. “This museum doesn’t tell the real history of the Border Patrol, and the crimes committed against immigrants,” said activist Hope Alvarado with a loudspeaker, to the surprise of visitors and employees. The 15-minute protest was peaceful and, although protesters were questioned by the police, there were no arrests.