National

Funding Needed for LA Free Legal Aid for Immigrants Program  

National January 25, 2019 at 3:51 pm

At a meeting with ethnic media, elected officials and community leaders urged Los Angeles County to refinance and increase funds for a program that provides free legal representation for immigrants facing deportation cases, La Opinión reports. The L.A. Justice Fund started out in 2017 with a $7.4 million budget that was distributed among 17 nonprofit organizations, but now they estimate that they will need more financing by the end of the year. “We are running out of money,” said County Supervisor Hilda Solís.

‘Trying to Traumatize’ Vietnamese Refugees

National January 24, 2019 at 1:54 pm

The Trump administration wants to renegotiate a 2008 repatriation agreement with Vietnam which protects Vietnamese refugees who arrived here before July 12, 1995 from deportation, and a rally against the policy change was held in Seattle’s Hing Hay Park on Jan. 11, reports International Examiner. Some 8,500 people, about a thousand of them in the Seattle area, could be at risk of deportation. My-Linh Thai, representative-elect for Washington’s 41st District and a refugee from Vietnam, said: “These are the people who experienced trauma beyond our imagination. Here we are once again, trying to traumatize them.”

Puerto Rican Federal Employees Resort to Charities to Eat

National January 24, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Due to the partial shutdown, thousands of federal workers in Puerto Rico resort to charity initiatives to survive, El Nuevo Día reports. After applying for welfare benefits, Geneive Llera walked for almost half an hour to the Yummy Dumplings food truck located in front of the federal court in Hato Rey for a free lunch. The truck belongs to Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen organization. “It offers a bit of relief because you don’t have to spend so much on your food,” said the FDA employee, who has two children and is currently depending on her husband’s salary.

Venezuelans in Florida Urge Sanctions and TPS Relief

National January 23, 2019 at 4:33 pm

The day before opposition leader Juan Guaidó was recognized by President Trump as interim president of Venezuela, exiles in Florida urged a U.S. representative to press for economic sanctions against the Nicolás Maduro government, Diario Las Américas reports. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) discussed an initiative to grant TPS for Venezuelan, Nicaraguan and Honduran exiles, noting it might not pass in Congress, and said she supported a package of humanitarian aid and certain sanctions. “It is incongruous to say that there is a dictatorship in Venezuela while Venezuelans are being deported at the same time,” said activist Jose Antonio Colina.

The Shutdown and Complacency About Labor

National January 22, 2019 at 4:10 pm

Political commentator Charles Ellison, host of the daily “Reality Check” on WURD Radio (Philadelphia), writes in the B/E Note that the government’s summoning of federal workers back to their jobs without pay amounts to “slavery by any other name,” and that the steady erosion of worker rights in recent years, coupled with growing underemployment, is fostering a dangerous complacency. We’re moving, warns Ellison, on a “slippery slope towards an is-what-it-is perception that it’s acceptable for people to work and not earn anything.” The now monthlong shutdown, Ellison writes, “rattles and threatens to completely crack a fundamental pillar of civil U.S. society.”

Puerto Ricans Denounce Trump’s ‘Barbaric’ Attempts to Cut Aid

National January 18, 2019 at 2:57 pm

As the White House urged Congress to withhold $600 million in nutrition assistance to Puerto Rico, officials responded angrily that this is only the latest in a series of President Trump’s attempts to stop the flow of federal aid to the island, El Nuevo Día reports. Political analyst Domingo Emanuelli found the Trump government’s actions “barbaric,” and urged Puerto Rican Republicans to reconsider their allegiance. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said: “I shouted against Trump’s abuses from the start while others were chummy with him. Trump is not the plantation owner and we are not his slaves.”

Indigenous Peoples March – A ‘Collective Cry for Help’

National January 17, 2019 at 3:46 pm

The Indigenous Peoples March being held in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18, a day ahead of the Women’s March, will bring together groups from Puerto Rico to South America and Central America, reports Remezcla, to focus attention on issues from voter suppression to human trafficking to police brutality to what is called an “environmental holocaust” by activists. “I think it’s a collective cry for help because we’re in a time of crisis that we have not seen in a very long time,” says Nathalie Farfan, an Ecuadorean Indigenous woman and event organizer.

Durham Public Schools Launch Translation Department

National January 17, 2019 at 2:30 pm

After vowing to create a more inclusive school system in North Carolina, the Durham Board of Education introduced a new department of second language services to serve newly-arrived immigrants who don’t speak English as a first language, Qué Pasa Noticias reports. One of the main goals of the initiative will be to coordinate a translation and interpretation system to help families participate in their children’s education. “As our Latinx population keeps growing we keep opening our schools’ doors to those arriving from all over the world,” said Superintendent Pascal Mubenga.

Indian Americans on Possible Kamala Harris Run

National January 16, 2019 at 4:38 pm

With Sen. Kamala Harris expected to announce her decision on a presidential run, The American Bazaar asks members of the Indian-American community about the potential candidacy of the California native. While some celebrated the possibility of Harris, who is of Jamaican-Indian descent, running amid the current political atmosphere, others say the country is “still not ready for a female president and certainly not a non-white.”

Cuban Forbidden to Enter His Own Country to Protest

National January 14, 2019 at 5:06 pm

Cuban exile Amaury Almaguer is leading an international protest against the Cuban government after claiming that he was banned from entering the island because he met with a political dissident, Diario las Américas reports. Almaguer, owner of an exterior design company in South Florida who moved to the U.S. in 1972, says that at least 12 Cubans are denied entry to their country each month. He will protest on Jan. 26 in front of the Cuban embassy in Washington along with other “forbidden Cubans.” Similar protests are planned at Cuban embassies in such countries as Switzerland, England, Canada, Ecuador, Uruguay and Chile.

St. Louis Prosecutor Moves Swiftly

National January 11, 2019 at 1:18 pm

Wesley Bell, the new prosecuting attorney of St. Louis County, on Jan. 8 offered a plan to expand the the county’s diversion programs and alternative courts in order to reduce criminal activity by addressing addiction and mental illness, and he’s getting medical facilities, community organizations and businesses on board as well. The St. Louis American notes in an editorial that Bell, who won against incumbent Bob McCulloch by a 14 percent margin, is moving quickly to make communities safer, but that some police officers are spreading lies about his plans, “in fear of reform and (we believe) black leadership.”

What Should a ‘Diaspora Ministry’ Do?

National January 10, 2019 at 12:15 pm

An op-ed piece in Asbarez discusses the Armenian government’s decision to dissolve its Diaspora Ministry, arguing that the ministry’s mission was never clear, and that its interactions with representatives of 8 million or so Armenians in the diaspora were often troubling – for instance, “an astute Diaspora minister would never tell Armenians who did not speak Armenian that they weren’t true Armenians.” With or without such a ministry, it might be helpful to study the experiences of other countries with large diasporas such as Israel, Italy and Ireland, and perhaps educate people in Armenia about the diaspora and the struggles to remain Armenian in foreign lands.

Historic Day for El Paso City Council

National January 10, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Jan. 8 was a historic day in the border town of El Paso, as for the first time a majority of the city council representatives (5 of 8) sworn in were women, most of them Latinas, El Diario de El Paso reports. Council members Alexsandra Annello, Cassandra Hernández-Brown, Claudia Ordaz Perez, Cissy Lizarraga and Isabel Salcido are part of an unprecedented number of women entering office at the local, state and national level. Texas also sent its two first Latinas to the U.S. House of Representatives: Verónica Escobar – also from El Paso – and Sylvia García from Houston.

Website Gives Voice to Puerto Ricans after María

National January 8, 2019 at 1:59 pm

A Guánica fisherman, a coffee grower in Yauco, small business owners in Santurce, and dozens of other Puerto Ricans narrate the destruction and recovery of the island after Hurricane María in Listening to Puerto Rico (listeningtopr.wpengine.com), a website launched by the universities of Michigan and Notre Dame. According to El Nuevo Día, the platform has also allowed for the creation of alliances between local and U.S. organizations and facilitated the arrival of aid to the island. “What we wanted to do was change the narrative. We did not want it to be the professors talking, but to allow the people to tell their own stories,” said the University of Notre Dame’s Thomas Anderson.

In 2018 Gains, and Setbacks, for Latinos in NC

National January 7, 2019 at 11:58 am

While the number of immigrant detainees in North Carolina increased, there were gains for Durham’s Hispanic community (13 percent of the city’s population), Qué Pasa Noticias reports. The city elected its first Latina council member, Javiera Caballero, who spearheaded the creation of a language access program to better serve the Spanish-speaking population. Community-police relations improved with an extension for applicants of the U visa, which protects undocumented immigrants who have been victims of crime or domestic violence, and newly elected Durham county sheriff Clarence F. Birkhead put an end to years of collaboration with ICE.