This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending October 17

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Week Ending October 17

This week in immigration reform: NCLR continues the “Hanging in the Balance” blog series with a poll on Latino voter priorities; an anti-immigrant law in Alabama is dropped because of legal challenge; Senate Democrats call detention of women and children “unacceptable”; a recent Center for American Progress report outlines the economic benefit of executive action; register for Immigration Advocates Network annual e-conference.

NCLR continues ‘Hanging in the Balance series with a post emphasizing the importance of immigration reform to Latino voters: In our latest blog post, NCLR discusses recent polling data by the NCLR Action Fund and Latino Decisions. The poll, conducted in Florida, Colorado and North Carolina, shows that most respondents were planning on voting in the November election and named immigration among the top issues concerning them this election cycle. In North Carolina, immigration was chosen as the top issue by 33 percent of respondents. That number was 22 percent in Florida and 23 percent in Colorado, understandably because immigration is personal for Latino voters and their communities. Initiatives, like DACA, that keep families together have strong support. The poll shows that almost half of respondents in Colorado and North Carolina said they were much less likely to support a Republican candidate who voted to end the program.

The blog notes, “The directive from Latino voters is clear: reform the immigration system and do it quickly. The president should use his executive authority to help provide temporary relief to the millions of aspiring Americans living in the shadows. But that in no way excuses House Republicans and the rest of Congress from doing their job by passing a permanent solution. Lives are hanging in the balance and Latino voters won’t forget who has helped our community.” Find more in the press release.

Amidst legal pressure from activists, Alabama drops anti-immigrant provision: Almost all components of Alabama HB 56, an anti-immigrant law inspired by Arizona’s SB 1070, have been struck down by courts or dropped by the state. The latest of these measures to fall is known as the “scarlet letter” rule, which would have required the state to publish the names and other personal information of immigrants unable to prove their legal status. An article written this week states that “HB 56 proved to be little more than a headache and an embarrassment to Alabama and even as the House of Representatives is pursuing similarly harsh anti-immigrant bills on the federal level (such as the SAFE act)… the decline of HB 56 (points) to a broader turn away from anti-immigrant legislation around the country on the state and local level.” House Republicans should listen to their constituents’ calls for fair and humane immigration enforcement and comprehensive immigration reform instead of continuing to support legislation that harms immigrants and their communities.

Senate Democrats send letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary decrying detention of womend and children at the border:The Hill published an article detailing contents of a letter sent to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson. The letter speaks of the unacceptable nature of the detention of women and children seeking asylum. “Mothers and their children who have fled violence in their home countries should not be treated like criminals,” the senators wrote in the letter. “They have come seeking refuge from three of the most dangerous countries in the world, countries where women and girls face shocking rates of domestic and sexual violence and murder.” The letter was signed by Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Harry Reid (Nev.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Mark Udall (Colo.).

The senators also questioned the Secretary’s decision to build a new detention facility in Dilley, Texas, a sentiment espoused in an editorial by San Antonio Express News this week. The editorial emphasizes the common practice of releasing immigrants on bond while they await their court date, and notes “These families, by law, must be accorded due process to pursue claims to stay. The U.S. needs to make sure this is provided — and seek alternatives to detention in the interim.”

Making the case for administrative relief — a resource: Center for American Progress highlights economic benefit of executive action: A recent report from the Center for American Progress notes the fiscal benefits of deferred action, with many benefits realized immediately. The main findings include:

  • Temporary work permits would increase the earnings of undocumented immigrants by about 8.5 percent as they are able to work legally and find jobs that match their skills.
  • A deferred action program that allows undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least five years to apply for a temporary work permit would increase payroll tax revenues by $6.08 billion in the first year alone and increase revenues by $44.96 billion over five years.*
  • If President Obama instead extends deferred action to a smaller number of undocumented immigrants then the payroll tax revenue gains would not be as high.

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 Affiliate opportunity — Immigration advocates network hosting annual e-conference: The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) is excited to announce its third annual e-conference, “Cutting Edge Issues in Immigration Law,” from November 3 to November 7, 2014. Join them for a week-long series of interactive online trainings with national experts on immigration issues through the lens of current events and latest developments in the law. The cost of each two-hour training session is $25. Your support helps IAN offer free trainings and resources throughout the year. Click the link above to register. A schedule of sessions is as follows:

  • Monday, November 3: Screening for Other Relief
  • Tuesday, November 4: Unaccompanied Minors and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • Wednesday, November 5: Grounds of Inadmissibility
  • Thursday, November 6: DACA and Administrative Relief: Strategies for Potential Criminal Complications
  • Friday, November 7: U Visas for Workplace Crimes

NCLR Staffers Show Support for LGBT Youth on Spirit Day

GLAAD_Spirit_Day_InstagramToday is Spirit Day, and that means we’ve gone purple in support of LGBT youth and to take a stand against bullying. We’ve joined millions of people, organizations, and corporations across America in sporting purple because here at NCLR we believe all people deserve equal treatment and the right to be safe in their surroundings. When it comes to LGBT equality, especially, we see it as one part of the larger fight for civil rights, which we are engaged in every day. We’re proud to partner with GLAAD today and to call ourselves allies of the LGBT community because we know that when our communities work together, we become stronger.

Our staff is especially passionate about equality and many of them today expressed their solidarity by also wearing purple. We’ve included a sampling below of but a few of the many supportive staff members who believe wholeheartedly in LGBT equality and in the mission to defeat bullying in all forms.

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#spiritday #minons @nclr

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Octavio Espinal, Associate Director, Office of the President, NCLR

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NCLR Media Relations Specialist, Joe Rendeiro #SpiritDay

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NCLR Senior Manager, Digital, Jonathan Marrero

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NCLR Digital Specialist, Barbara Moreno #SpiritDay

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NCLR Executive Administrative Assistant and Scheduler, Celia Gamboa #SpiritDay

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NCLR Communications Intern, Anna Suttorp #SpiritDay

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NCLR Communications Coordinator, Ricky Garza #SpiritDay

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NCLR Manager, Economic Policy Project, Catherine Singley Harvey

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NCLR Action Fund Executive Director, Matthew McClellan #SpiritDay

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Loren McArthur, NCLR Deputy Director, Civic Engagement #SpiritDay

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NCLR New Media Manager, David Castillo #SpiritDay

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NCLR Communications Director, Julian Teixeira #SpiritDay

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The NCLR Los Angeles staff supports #LGBT youth! #SpiritDay

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NCLR Vice President, California Region, Delia de la Vara shows her support this #SpiritDay.

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So tell us: What does Spirit Day mean to you?

Amazing Inventions by Latinos

By Jose Oliveros, VOXXI

(Originally published by VOXXI as “5 influential inventions by Latinos“)

Hispanic Heritage Month is coming to an end, and here at VOXXI we wanted to salute the great Latino inventors. Some of the things you have used -and some you haven’t- were invented by a Latino and you didn’t even know it.

Here are 5 incredible inventions by a Latino:

1. The color T.V.

Invented in 1946 by Mexican engineer Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena, color television sets changed the way we all watch our favorite shows and sporting events. As always, Latinos adding flavor to the bland in the world.

2. The Submarine

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Photo: Creative Commons, U.S. Navy

Narciso Monturiol i Estarriol of Figueras, Spain, invented the first combustion engine driven submarine. The invention by the Spaniard changed the world forever. The submarine is a pivotal piece in every country’s defense. The vessel’s first voyage was in 1859 in Barcelona.

3. reCaptcha

Hate spam? No, not Specially Prepared Assorted Meats, but that nasty clutter you get in your e-mail inbox. Well here is you your knight in shining armor, Dr. Luis vox Ahn. The Guatemalan native invented a system called reCaptcha that makes people type in two words in order to access restricted areas in website. In other words, it makes sure that a human is trying to access a certain part of a website and not a bot. If spam is bad now, imagine what it would be without it.

4. The X-ray microscope


The X-ray microscope was an important leap forward for the science and a Latino was right in the middle of the invention. Albert Baez is a co-inventor, along with Paul Kirkpatrick, invented a tool and imaging that, according to a Stanford University press release, “is still used, particularly in astronomy to take X-ray pictures of galaxies and in medicine.

5. Liquid-fuel rocket engine

Peruvian scientist Pedro Paulet, born in Arequipa on July 2, 1874, invented the liquid-fuel rocket engine. Basically, without Paulet’s groundbreaking invention in 1895, space travel would still be just a dream. So, you’re welcome Neil Armstrong.

Weekly Washington Outlook — October 14, 2014

White House at Night

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House is in recess, returning the week of November 10.

Senate:

The Senate is in recess, returning the week of November 10.

White House:

On Tuesday, the president will attend a meeting at Andrews Air Force Base hosted by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL.  Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander U.S. Central Command will also participate in this meeting.  In the evening, President Obama will attend a DCCC event in the Washington area.

On Wednesday, the president will travel to Union, N.J. to attend a DSCC event.  In the evening, he will travel to Bridgeport, Conn. for a campaign rally with Connecticut Democrats, featuring Gov. Dan Malloy.

On Thursday, President Obama will travel to Rhode Island to deliver remarks on the economy. Afterward, the president will travel to Long Island, N.Y. to attend a DNC event.

On Friday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House.

This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending October 10

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Week Ending October 10

This week in immigration reform: Deportations in 2013 were at a record high and cities are changing how they respond to federal immigration enforcement; NCLR continues the “Hanging in the Balance” blog series; Huffington Post publishes an op-ed by Representatives Conyers (D-Mich.) and Lofgren (D-Calif.) on executive action; NCLR presents the Immigo app, a resource for immigrants, activists, and advocates.

–Department of homeland security releases report detailing deportation numbers from 2013 and more cities are refusing to cooperate with immigration and customs enforcement: An article in the Las Vegas Sun notes that according to a new DHS report, “438,421 immigrants were deported in 2013, up approximately 5 percent from the previous record of 418,397 in 2012. More than 2 million people have been deported since President Barack Obama took office.” These numbers are released in the midst of a growing trend of cities refusing to detain those suspected of immigration violations in local jails and detention facilities until ICE decides to collect and deport them. These policy changes result partly as “officials worry that the detention requests also undercut community policing, making neighborhoods less safe by discouraging victims in immigrant neighborhoods from reporting crime or working with police. Local communities, unlike ICE, are also left with the collateral damage of families fractured by deportation” according to an article in the Washington Post. The growing trend of cities refusing to cooperate with federal officials is further evidence that the immigration system is broken and needs reform.

–NCLR continues ‘hanging in the balance’ series with the stories of three latinas threatened with deportation: With the delay of executive action by President Obama until after the November election, aspiring Americans continue to face the threat of deportation. In our latest blog post we share the story of three Latinas who are either at risk of deportation themselves or know of someone who is at risk of deportation. The possibility of deportation is real, especially with the continuation of a record number of removals by the Obama Administration. We continue to advocate for immigration reform so that Anabel, Maria, Elizabeth, and millions of other families, can live free of the fear of deportation.

–Huffington Post publishes an opinion piece by representative conyers (d-mi) and representative lofgren (d-ca) on administrative action: Representative Conyers (D-Mich.) and Representative Lofgren (D-Calif.) write an op-ed recognizing that the inaction of House Republicans has created the need for executive action on immigration. Not only have House Republicans failed to vote on comprehensive immigration reform, but they have passed several bills harmful to immigrants, including one that would disallow DACA recipients from renewing their applications, exposing them to the threat of deportation. They write, “We had hoped that executive action by the president would have taken place sooner, given the House Republicans’ obstructionism on immigration reform and the overriding national interest in updating our immigration system. But make no mistake, when the president acts, it will be because the GOP has made it abundantly clear there is only one viable path forward on immigration.”

NCLR presents new immigo app as a resource to share information on immigration: NCLR presents its new app, Immigo, to the NCLR Corporate Board of Advisors. The app highlights the successful partnership between NCLR, Verizon, and the Immigration Advocates Network.  Working together we have created an app that empowers service providers to share accurate immigration information with their clients. David Valdez of the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA is a perfect example of the user of the app. In an article, he writes, “No less than two weeks ago I had a student approach me needing some advice on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Normally, I would be anxious about providing accurate information on such a sensitive subject. However, having recently attended a digital media workshop at the National Council of La Raza conference, I’d learned of great new applications that have been developed to provide information on issues related to immigration. I was able to direct this young man to download the Immigo app and provide him with the most up-to-the-minute information for immigration reform.”

The app is available for free in the iTunes store and the Google Play stores.

Tune in tonight at 10 pm ET on msnbc for the NCLR ALMA Awards:ALMAGraphic

 

We’re Putting a Premium on STEM Education!

By Juliana Ospina Cano,  Escalera STEM Manager, NCLR

By 2020, six years from now, more than two million science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs will go unfilled if youth are not prepared to succeed in a competitive STEM-driven economy. At the moment, Latinos represent 15% of the overall workforce, but only 7% of the STEM workforce.

Latino underrepresentation is directly linked to lack of exposure and students’ attitudes toward STEM education. Too often, we hear students say “Math is too hard;” “I was told I don’t have what it takes;” or “I like science but I don’t think I’m smart enough.” These comments are a reflection of the STEM-deficit mindset that lives in the Latino community. To address part of the STEM disparity, NCLR has formalized a STEM readiness program that seeks to expose Latino youth to STEM disciplines. Aligned to the Common Core State Standards and culturally relevant to Latino students, NCLR STEM programs lead students to develop a STEM mindset, one that encourages problem-solving, creativity, and innovation.

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NCLR Affiliate Youth Development Inc. learning how to train families on Padres Comprometidos con CHISPA at Albuquerque’s Explora museum.

NCLR STEM currently houses four main programs to bolster youth’s interest in STEM disciplines. With support from the National Science Foundation and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, CHISPA (Children Investigating Science with Parents and Afterschool) engages students in early STEM education. In collaboration with ASPIRA, NCLR works with 19 Affiliates and 11 national science museums to provide culturally relevant STEM curricula in elementary schools across the country. This innovative program blends science instruction with a family engagement piece. With this two-fold approach, CHISPA exposes students to STEM after school and parents through the newly developed family engagement curriculum Padres Comprometidos con CHISPA. The programs address two of the main challenges in STEM education: early exposure to STEM and family engagement.

At the middle school level, NCLR focuses on STEM family education with its Padres Comprometidos, STEM at Home program. The program introduces Latino families to STEM education and cultivates interest by tapping into parents’ background knowledge. It’s not uncommon to meet Latino parents who are immediately turned off by math and science, as many of them had negative experiences in their own schooling. Padres Comprometidos, STEM at Home reintroduces STEM by building relevant awareness by providing concrete examples of STEM in our daily lives. In this program, families regain a positive attitude toward these disciplines while learning critical skills on how to successfully advocate for their children at school.

Puentes, NOLA, and AAMA representatives sharing the Escalera STEM curriculum to fellow Escalera peers at the Summer Escalera training.

Puentes, NOLA, and AAMA representatives sharing the Escalera STEM curriculum to fellow Escalera peers at the Summer Escalera training.

As an extension of the Escalera Program, Escalera STEM exposes high school juniors and seniors to STEM disciplines through inquiry-based instruction, exploratory activities, and engagement with STEM professionals. The newly developed STEM curriculum validates Latino’s attitudes toward STEM education and challenges STEM disengagement and family expectations as students analyze relevant data regarding current and future market projections. Given the overwhelming request to expand the Escalera STEM network, NCLR is pleased to announce a STEM education training this month in Houston, Texas.

The last component of the NCLR STEM initiative includes NCLR’s first STEM Youth Summit. This event will bring more than 150 high school students, STEM professionals, and community partners with the purpose of exposing students to STEM education.

As stated by President Obama, “American students must move from the middle to the top of the pack in science in math” and in order to achieve this goal, students need to have equitable and accessible resources to enable them to navigate their current STEM world, and the possibilities that lie ahead. NCLR invites its Affiliates to join the STEM network to boost and develop a competitive Latino-STEM-oriented workforce.

For more information regarding NCLR STEM education or to bring a program to your community, contact NCLR STEM Manager Juliana Ospina Cano at jospina@nclr.org. @EscaleraSTEM.

Poverty Can Influence the Childhood Obesity Epidemic

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Photo: LA Unified School District (creative commons license)

Childhood obesity has become a dangerous epidemic, especially among Latino children. There are many factors that play a role, but one of the worst is poverty: Latino children are three times more likely to live in poverty than White children, and children living in poverty are at higher risk of being obese.

The unfortunate reality is that low-income families face additional barriers to leading healthy lifestyles, resulting in weight issues that manifest themselves very early in life. For example, mothers who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are much more likely to have overweight babies. Researchers believe this is related to the high proportion of sugar-sweetened items consumed through the program.

One barrier that occurs at the family level is food insecurity, which is defined as not having access, due to physical or economic constraints, to enough safe and nutritious foods to lead a healthy life. Nearly one-quarter of Latinos report not having enough food to eat. Families facing food insecurity tend to buy cheaper, less nutritious foods in order to stretch their budgets, and they may overeat at times when they do have access to food. Such up-and-down eating patterns can lead to metabolic changes that promote fat storage.

Food insecurity is just one of many stressors that disproportionately affect low-income families. Others include low-wage work, lack of access to health care, poor housing, and neighborhood violence. Parental stress is an especially powerful risk factor for obesity in the case of Latinos. One recent study found that insufficient sleep is also a risk factor for being overweight, and sleep deprivation is higher among families with lower incomes due to crowded homes and noisy environments that affect sleep quality.

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Another barrier, neighborhood-level poverty, can play an even more significant role than family poverty after age two. Low-income neighborhoods have fewer safe and pleasant places to play, and children living in them are less likely to be physically active. Violent crime and other neighborhood conditions such as trashed streets, stray dogs, and speeding cars likewise discourage outdoor active play. Such neighborhoods feature fewer markets and more fast food outlets, and people without access to reliable transportation cannot easily shop for food in other areas.

There are ways to counteract these forces, though. Various policy initiatives, such as tax credits, zoning incentives, and technical assistance, have been shown to improve the food environment in underserved communities by encouraging supermarkets and farmers markets to open there and corner stores to expand their offerings. Revisions to food subsidy programs, such as the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food packages that offer healthier foods, have led to higher consumption of fruits and vegetables by children.

However, barely more than half of Latinos who are eligible for SNAP benefits actually use this resource due to a lack of awareness of the program, immigration concerns, and restrictions (SNAP has a five-year residency requirement, even for legal immigrants). A combination of outreach efforts and program design changes can overcome some of these constraints. NCLR is therefore teaching families about SNAP and other food assistance programs. Our goal is to make higher-quality, nutritious foods more accessible, thereby helping families climb out of poverty.

Marking Latina Equal Pay Day

By Catherine Singley Harvey, NCLR Economic Policy Project

Labor-Day-Banner-Photo-6_resizedToday is Latina Equal Pay Day, marking the day when the average Latina worker’s wages catch up with the wages earned by the average non-Latino White man last year. According to the National Women’s Law Center, the gender wage gap is “the amount of money a woman would have to earn for every dollar made by a man in order to have equal annual earnings.” In 2013, women in the U.S. working full time year round made only 78 cents for every dollar a man made. Hispanic women earned only 56 cents. This is not just about the kinds of jobs Latinas hold; the gap persists between workers in the same occupations, from surgeons to customer service representatives.

Latina Equal Pay Day is no cause for celebration; rather, it is the stark reminder that pay discrimination still undermines the economic security of women, and especially Latinas, and their families. The real life consequences of wage disparities are devastating for Latino families, particularly because so many Hispanic households rely on the income of Latina mothers or heads-of-households to provide. An analysis by the National Partnership for Women and Families finds that about 40 percent of married Latina mothers earn at least half of their families’ income. Of the nearly 2.8 million households in the U.S. headed by a Latina, more than 1.1 million currently live in poverty. Nationwide, the Latino poverty rate is more than double the poverty rate for Whites.

We’ve heard from Latina voters directly that they are alarmed about low wages. A national poll of Latino voters by NCLR and Latino Decisions found that nearly 67 percent of female participants are concerned that they were not making enough to cover their basic expenses.  And more than 63 percent say that their personal finances have either remained unchanged or actually gotten worse in the five years since the Great Recession. Wages are clearly on the mind of Latino voters, who will play an important role in key races in this election cycle.

Wage Gap for Latinas in States with Key Hispanic Electorate
State Number of Latinas Working Full Time Media Wages for Latinas Media Wages for White, Non-Hispanic Men Annual Wage Gap Cents on the Dollar
California 1,425,264 $29,829 $68,464 $38,635 0.44
Texas 1,094,074 $26,021 $57,406 $31,385 0.45
Nevada 86,052 $27,552 $52,963 $25,411 0.52
Colorado 114,041 $30,156 $56,496 $26,340 0.53
Florida 581,460 $28,491 $48,864 $20,373 0.58

Source: NCLR selection from analysis by National Partnership for Women and Families of 2013U.S. Census Bureau data.

As you cast your ballot this November, show your support for your mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters who deserve to live in a country where their hard work is rewarded with fair compensation. Learn about where your candidates stand on gender pay discrimination and encourage them to get on board with the majority of the voters who believe that our lawmakers should act to close the wage gap for women and especially Latinas.