México, D. F. a 29 de Julio de 2008
En días pasados el Council of the Americas y The Americas Society presentaron el documento titulado "U.S. Business and Hispanic Integration: Expanding the Economic Contributions of Immigrants”. La investigación difundida por estas dos organizaciones señala que al igual que otros grupos migratorios, la migración hispana ha incrementado la demanda en el sector salud y educativo; sin embargo el estudio concluye que cuando se comparan los costos de estas demandas con las contribuciones económicas y sociales que los inmigrantes hispanos hacen, el balance es positivo para la sociedad norteamericana.
Al considerar las condiciones económicas y demográficas actuales de los Estados Unidos, resulta evidente que los migrantes subsanan ciertas demandas del sector productivo norteamericano. Al mismo tiempo, los migrantes aumentan los niveles de consumo y la recaudación de impuestos. Como apunta la investigación, una adecuada integración de los hispanos a la sociedad estadounidense maximizaría los beneficios de la migración y minimizaría sus costos.
El documento señala que dada la importancia de la integración de dicho grupo y en vista de la falta de programas y de una estrategia a nivel federal para lograrlo, las iniciativas provenientes del sector privado son imperativas para lograr dicha integración. Los ámbitos y estrategias en los que ambos sectores pueden participar para lograr una sana integración son:
• El incremento del acceso a la educación, desarrollo de capacidades y la profesionalización del inglés, lo cual promueve la participación y disminuye el aislamiento y la discriminación.
• La optimización de los conocimientos financieros de los migrantes, esto les permite tener mayor acceso a servicios bancarios y por lo tanto planear esquemas para financiar la educación de sus hijos o comprar un inmueble.
• La promoción de los servicios de salud incrementa la productividad y alienta el cuidado preventivo de la salud, lo cual además reduce los altos costos de la tensión médica de urgencias.
• La difusión de los mecanismos de naturalización y participación cívica promueve la participación política y alienta el compromiso del migrante con la sociedad que lo recibe.
El documento ofrece ejemplos específicos de “mejores prácticas” por parte del sector empresarial estadounidense como coadyuvante en el proceso de integración de las comunidades latinas a Estados Unidos.
Para consultar el estudio del Council of the Americas y The Americas Society, haga clic aquí.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Estudio sobre el papel del sector privado en la integración de los migrantes latinos en los Estados Unidos
México, D. F. a 29 de Julio de 2008
Posted by Angela Valenzuela at 2:14 PM
Friday, July 25, 2008
"Obama is doing better among Hispanics who supported Clinton than he is among non-Hispanic white Clinton supporters, 70% of whom now say they have transferred their allegiance to Obama while 18% say they plan to vote for McCain." This is all interesting, but where's the passion folks felt earlier about immigration? And what about the war?
Pew Hispanic Center pewhispanic.org
2008 National Survey of Latinos: Hispanic Voter Attitudes
by Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director, and Susan Minushkin, Deputy Director, Pew Hispanic Center
Hispanic registered voters support Democrat Barack Obama for president over Republican John McCain by 66% to 23%, according to a nationwide survey of 2,015 Latinos conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, from June 9 through July 13, 2008.
The presumptive Democratic nominee's strong showing in this survey represents a sharp reversal in his fortunes from the primaries, when Obama lost the Latino vote to Hillary Rodham Clinton by a nearly two-to-one ratio, giving rise to speculation in some quarters that Hispanics were disinclined to vote for a black candidate.
But in this new survey, three times as many respondents said being black would help Obama (32%) with Latino voters than said it would hurt him (11%); the majority (53%) said his race would make no difference to Latino voters.
Obama is rated favorably by 76% of Latino registered voters, making him much more popular among that voting group than McCain (44% favorable) and President Bush (27% favorable). Hillary Clinton's ratings among Latino registered voters are 73% favorable and 24% unfavorable; Obama's are 76% favorable and 17% unfavorable.
Also, more than three-quarters of Latinos who reported that they voted for Clinton in the primaries now say they are inclined to vote for Obama in the fall election, while just 8% say they are inclined to vote for McCain. That means that Obama is doing better among Hispanics who supported Clinton than he is among non-Hispanic white Clinton supporters, 70% of whom now say they have transferred their allegiance to Obama while 18% say they plan to vote for McCain, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
Latino registered voters rank education, the cost of living, jobs and health care as the most important issues in the fall campaign, with crime lagging a bit behind those four and the war in Iraq and immigration still farther behind. On each of these seven issues, Obama is strongly favored over McCain--by lopsided ratios ranging from about three-to-one on education, jobs, health care, the cost of living and immigration, to about two-to-one on Iraq and crime.
In addition to their strong support for Obama, Latino voters have moved sharply into the Democratic camp in the past two years, reversing a pro-GOP tide that had been evident among Latinos earlier in the decade. Some 65% of Latino registered voters now say they identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, compared with just 26% who identify with or lean toward the GOP. This 39 percentage point Democratic Party identification edge is larger than it has been at any time this decade; as recently as 2006, the partisan gap was just 21 percentage points.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Yesterday the US Census released its annual statement for Hispanic Heritage
Month, September 15- October 15, see attached. You will find a number of
interesting statistical facts about Hispanics, such as,
* At 45.5 million we are now 15% of the US population, African
Americans are 12.8%, Asian Americans are 4.4%
* We are the 2nd largest Hispanic population worldwide, larger than Spain
or any South American country outside of Brazil which the US Census does not
consider an Hispanic population. Mexico is the largest at about 109.9 million,
and the 13th largest country. Brazil is the 7th largest country at 191.9
million. If they were a country, US Hispanics would be the 29th largest
country just larger than the actual 29th largest country, Colombia (45.0
* By 2050, Hispanics are projected to become 24% of the US population at
102.6 million people.
* 48% of the US Hispanic population resides in California and Texas. The
Hispanics in California alone at 13.2 million would be the 5th most populous
state in the Union, after California, Texas, New York and Florida and larger
than the next largest state Illinois at 12.8 million. Hispanics in California
and Texas combined at 21.8 million would be the third largest state, larger
than New York at 19.2 million.
* 4.7 million Hispanics reside in LA County, the county with the largest
Hispanic population. They would be the 23rd largest state, smaller than
Colorado, 4.8 million, but larger than Alabama, 4.6 million, and 27 other
states and the District of Columbia, and roughly the 117th most populous
country just larger than Norway at 4.6 million.
* Only 60% of Hispanics 25 and older have a high school diploma.
* Only 13% of Hispanics 25 and older have a bachelor degree or higher;
32% of non-Hispanic Whites and 18% of Blacks (which may include some Hispanics)
25 and older have bachelor degree or higher
* 11% of all college students were Hispanic as of October 2006 (other
data above were 2007 data, usually July 1, 2007)
(Country rankings are approximate as the CIA listing from which they are
provided includes the European Union as well as its component countries
individually, and includes US territories, e.g., Virgin Islands and Puerto
Rico, as separate countries.)
Posted by Angela Valenzuela at 11:47 AM
THE RIGHT TO STAY HOME
By David Bacon
New America Media
JUXTLAHUACA, OAXACA, MEXICO (7/9/08) - For almost half a century, migration has been the main fact of social life in hundreds of indigenous towns spread through the hills of Oaxaca, one of Mexico's poorest states. That's made the conditions and rights of migrants central concerns for communities like Santiago de Juxtlahuaca.
Today the right to travel to seek work is a matter of survival. But this June in Juxtlahuaca, in the heart of Oaxaca's Mixteca region, dozens of farmers left their fields, and women weavers their looms, to talk about another right, the right to stay home.
In the town's community center two hundred Mixtec, Zapotec and Triqui farmers, and a handful of their relatives working in the U.S., made impassioned speeches asserting this right at the triannual assembly of the Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations (FIOB). Hot debates ended in numerous votes. The voices of mothers and fathers arguing over the future of their children, echoed from the cinderblock walls of the cavernous hall.
In Spanish, Mixteco and Triqui, people repeated one phrase over and over: the derecho de no migrar - the right to not migrate. Asserting this right challenges not just inequality and exploitation facing migrants, but the very reasons why people have to migrate to begin with. Indigenous communities are pointing to the need for social change.
About 500,000 indigenous people from Oaxaca live in the US, 300,000 in California alone, according to Rufino Dominguez, one of FIOB's founders. These men and women come from communities whose economies are totally dependent on migration. The ability to send a son or daughter across the border to the north, to work and send back money, makes the difference between eating chicken or eating salt and tortillas. Migration means not having to manhandle a wooden plough behind an ox, cutting furrows in dry soil for a corn crop that can't be sold for what it cost to plant it. It means that dollars arrive in the mail when kids need shoes to go to school, or when a grandparent needs a doctor.
In Oaxaca the category of extreme poverty encompasses 75 percent of its 3.4 million residents, according to EDUCA, an education and development organization. For more than two decades, under pressure from the World Bank and U.S. loan conditions, the Mexican government has cut spending intended to raise rural incomes. Prices have risen dramatically since price controls and subsidies were eliminated for necessities like gasoline, electricity, bus fares, tortillas, and milk.
Raquel Cruz Manzano, principal of the Formal Primary School in San Pablo Macuiltianguis, a town in the indigenous Zapotec region, says only 900,000 Oaxacans receive organized healthcare, and the illiteracy rate is 21.8%. "The educational level in Oaxaca is 5.8 years," Cruz notes, "against a national average of 7.3 years. The average monthly wage for non-governmental employees is less than 2,000 pesos [about $200] per family [per month], the lowest in the nation. Around 75,000 children have to work in order to survive or to help their families."
"But there are no jobs here, and NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement] made the price of corn so low that it's not economically possible to plant a crop anymore," Dominguez asserts. "We come to the U.S. to work because we can't get a price for our product at home. There's no alternative."
Without large scale political change most local communities won't have the resources for productive projects and economic development that could provide a decent living. Towns like Juxtlahuaca, don't even have waste water treatment. Rural communities rely on the same rivers for drinking water that are also used to carry away sewage. "A typical teacher earns about 2200 pesos every two weeks [about $220]," says Jaime Medina, a reporter for Oaxaca's daily Noticias. "From that they have to purchase chalk, pencils and other school supplies for the children,"
Because of its indigenous membership, FIOB campaigns for the rights of migrants in the U.S. who come from those communities. It calls for immigration amnesty and legalization for undocumented migrants. FIOB has also condemned the proposals for guest worker programs. Migrants need the right to work, but "these workers don't have labor rights or benefits," Dominguez charges. "It's like slavery."
At the same time, "we need development that makes migration a choice rather than a necessity -- the right to not migrate," explains Gaspar Rivera Salgado, a professor at UCLA. "Both rights are part of the same solution. We have to change the debate from one in which immigration is presented as a problem to a debate over rights. The real problem is exploitation." But the right to stay home, to not migrate, has to mean more than the right to be poor, the right to go hungry and homeless. Choosing whether to stay home or leave only has meaning if each choice can provide a meaningful future.
In Juxtlahuaca Gaspar Rivera Salgado was elected FIOB's new binational coordinator. His father and mother still live on a ranch half an hour up a dirt road from the main highway, in the tiny town of Santa Cruz Rancho Viejo. There his father Sidronio planted three hundred avocado trees a few years ago, in the hope that someday their fruit would take the place of the corn and beans that were once his staple crop. He's fortunate -- his relatives have water, and a pipe from their spring has kept most of his trees, and those hopes, alive. Fernando, Gaspar's brother, has started growing mushrooms in a FIOB-sponsored project, and even put up a greenhouse for tomatoes. Those projects, they hope, will produce enough money that Fernando won't have to go back to Seattle, where he worked for seven years.
This family perhaps has come close to achieving the derecho de no migrar. For the millions of farmers throughout the indigenous countryside, not migrating means doing something like it. But finding the necessary resources, even for a small number of families and communities, presents FIOB with its biggest challenge. This was the source of the debate at its Juxtlahuaca assembly.
Gaspar Rivera-Salgado says, "we will find the answer to migration in our communities of origin. To make the right to not migrate concrete, we need to organize the forces in our communities, and combine them with the resources and experiences we've accumulated in 16 years of cross-border organizing." Fernando, the greenhouse builder and mushroom farmer, agrees that FIOB has the ability to organize people. "But now we have to take the next step," he urges, "and make concrete changes in peoples' lives."
Organizing FIOB's support base in Oaxaca means more than just making speeches, however. As Fernando Rivera Salgado points out, communities want projects that help raise their income. Over the years FIOB has organized women weavers in Juxtlahuaca, helping them sell their textiles and garments through its chapters in California. It set up a union for rural taxis, both to help farming famiies get from Juxtlahuaca to the tiny towns in the surrounding hills, and to provide jobs for drivers. Artisan co-ops make traditional products, helped by a co-operative loan fund.
The government does have some money for loans to start similar projects, but it usually goes to officials who often just pocket it, supporters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which has ruled Oaxaca since it was formed in the 1940s. One objective debated at the FIOB assembly was organizing community pressure to win some of these resources. But any government subsidy is viewed with suspicion by activists who know the strings tied to it.
Another concern is the effect of the funding on communities themselves. "Part of our political culture is the use of regalos, or government favors, to buy votes," Gaspar Rivera Salgado explains. "People want regalos, and think an organization is strong because of what it can give. But now people are demanding these results from FIOB, so do we help them or not? And if we do, how can we change the way people think? It's critical that our members see organization as the answer to problems, not a gift from the government or a political party. FIOB members need political education."
Political abstention isn't an option, however, warns Juan Romualdo Gutierrez Cortez. "We aren't the only organization in Oaxaca - there are 600 others. If we don't do it, they will." But for the 16 years of its existence, FIOB has been a crucial part of the political opposition to Oaxaca's PRI government. Gutierrez, a school teacher in Tecomaxtlahuaca, was FIOB's Oaxaca coordinator until he stepped down at the Juxtlahuaca assembly. He is also a leader of Oaxaca's teachers union, Section 22 of the National Education Workers Union, and of the Popular Association of the People of Oaxaca (APPO).
In June of 2006 a strike by Section 22 led to a months-long uprising, led by APPO, which sought to remove the state's governor, Ulises Ruiz, and make a basic change in development and economic policy. The uprising was crushed by Federal armed intervention, and dozens of activists were arrested. According to Leoncio Vasquez, an FIOB activist in Fresno, "the lack of human rights itself is a factor contributing to migration from Oaxaca and Mexico, since it closes off our ability to call for any change." This spring teachers again occupied the central plaza, or zocalo, of the state capital, protesting the same conditions that sparked the uprising two years ago.
Gutierrez himself was not jailed during the uprising, although the state issued an order for his detention. But he's been arrested before. In the late 1990s he was elected to the Oaxaca Chamber of Deputies, in an alliance between FIOB and Mexico's leftwing Democratic Revolutionary Party. Following his term in office, Gutierrez was imprisoned by Ruiz' predecessor, Jose Murat, until a binational campaign won his release. His crime, and that of many others filling Oaxaca's jails, was insisting on a new path of economic development that would raise rural living standards, and make migration just an option, rather than an indispensable means of survival.
Despite the fact that APPO wasn't successful in getting rid of Ruiz and the PRI, Gaspar Rivera-Salgado believes that "in Mexico we're very close to getting power in our communities on a local and state level." He points to Gutierrez' election as state deputy, and later as mayor of his hometown San Miguel Tlacotepec. Other municipal presidents, allied with FIOB, have also won office, and activists are beginning to plan a FIOB campaign to elect a Federal deputy.
FIOB delegates agreed that the organization would continue its alliance with the PRD. Nevertheless, that alliance is controversial, partly because of the party's internal disarray. "We know the PRD is caught up in an internal crisis, and there's no real alternative vision on the left," Rivera Salgado says. "But there are no other choices if we want to participate in electoral politics, so we're trying to put forward positive proposals. We're asking people in the PRD to stop fighting over positions, and instead use the resources of the party to organize the community. We can't change things by ourselves. First, we have to reorganize our own base. But then we have to find strategic allies.
"Migration is part of globalization," he emphasizes, "an aspect of state policies that expel people. Creating an alternative to that requires political power. There's no way to avoid that."
Posted by Angela Valenzuela at 11:44 AM
COLUMN OF THE AMERICAS
JULY 21, 2008
BY ROBERTO DR. CINTLI RODRIGUEZ
THE CHUPACABRA PSYCHOLOGICAL WAR AGAINST MIGRANTS
Scapegoating appears to have become the U.S. national pastime. Despite the deaths of thousands of brown peoples on the border and despite the rise of draconian laws massive nationwide immigration sweeps that rip families apart, scoundrel politicians have been waging an intense psychological war that has managed to convince much of the nation that these invading "brown hordes" are the source of all of their problems.
Scapegoating against the most exploited sectors of society shouldn't work, save for this sophisticated war. They – whom have come here primarily to work – have been demonized and dehumanized and nowadays treated as a threat, both to national security and the American Way of Life.
The sophistication lies in the ability to create loopholes to the precept that all people are created equal. In the United States, this equality is nowadays reserved for citizens. While exceptions generally offend our moral compass, they are not new to this country. This helps to explain land theft, genocide and slavery, along with the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. It is thus not a difficult leap to condone periodic massive repatriation campaigns against millions of brown peoples.
In this psychological war, we are told that it is not brown people who are being targeted: Only the illegal ones (the ones not truly human).
What is it that permits people to spew out venomous hate and to orchestrate campaigns that call for the incarceration and repatriation of brown peoples and confuse it for law and order? For example, CNN's Lou Dobbs, commentator Pat Buchanan, Rep. Tom Tancredo and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio all share something in common; they are obsessed and have made a career of haranguing so-called "illegal aliens." If their focus were Whites, African Americans, American Indians or Jews, their careers would have rightly been over long ago. Yet, because their hate campaigns target "illegal" and "faceless" brown people, these hate-mongers convince themselves that they are not racists.
However, in this same psychological war, the words "racist" and "sexist" have also now been rendered meaningless. Some even take pride in being labeled as such. In part, this is because psychological warfare is aimed at destabilizing and subverting the meaning of the words and languages we speak. This is what permits right-wing talk-show hosts and politicians to call for what amounts to ethnic cleansing, while avoiding a negative stigma. They can do this because in their own minds, they are simply calling for the protection of the nation's borders, not advocating campaigns against legitimate human beings.
In part, they are able to get away with this precisely because they have carved out a moral exception for human decency. This is the same psychological device that continues to permit segregation and discrimination – this while continuing to proclaim that we're all the children of the same God (It is not an irony that their anti-immigrant messages are not preached anywhere in any mainstream house of worship. Quite the reverse. Neither is it an irony that their hate is closely monitored by the highly respected Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intpro.jsp
The primary practitioners of psychological warfare that utilize the mis-use of language as a primary weapon are government, the military, global media giants and multi-billion dollar corporations (The president's butchering of the language does not count). Such warfare can result in the public coming to believe that wars are waged to bring about peace, that greedy and polluting corporations need to be given massive tax-breaks, that the Constitution is obsolete, that our privacy, rights and our freedoms are quaint and that the exploitation of human beings is part of a natural order.
It is what George Orwell warned about in his classic novel, 1984. Through psychological warfare, the world gets turned upside down. This is how bigots become patriots and how human rights champions become traitors. This is in full evidence everywhere, including Tucson, where Pima County Legal Defender, Isabel Garcia, is in danger of losing her job – over a piñata incident – in which she and many protestors urged Sheriff Arpaio to "get out of town." Rather than the nation's #1 racial profiler having to explain his policies, it is Garcia who is on the defensive. Phoenix Mayor, Phil Gordon, who also opposes Arpaio's racial profiling, has also been put on the defensive.
Ironically, there does not appear to be an adequate appellation for someone who does not recognize the humanity of millions. In English, there are no such words. The closest I can find is "a human Chupacabras" – a devourer of flesh, spirits and souls.
© Column of the Americas 2008
Posted by Angela Valenzuela at 7:37 AM
>Patzin: Wombs and Land
>By Patrisia Gonzales
>Column of the Americas (c) July 16, 2008; Patzin, "respect-worthy
>medicine" in Nahuatl, is a monthly feature on Indigenous medicine
>Miriam Aviles-Reyes was pulled over by Tucson police while driving
>brown, pregnant and without papers in December 2007. In this era
>where the border has been extended into city streets, the uterus of
>Indigenous women cannot escape militarization. Tucson police quickly
>called in the border patrol; Miriam went into labor. Instead of her
>husband by her side at the hospital, an immigration office kept watch,
>insisting that she hurry up and push. As her baby descended through
>the birth canal, she recalled, the officer persisted in his threats to
>Nez Perce-Chicana scholar Ines Hernandez-Avila has addressed how the
>reproducing bodies of Indigenous women are subject to state control
>because they threaten many nation states and occupying forces with
>their ability to reproduce and sustain distinct peoples. With a 4 to
>1 birth rate among young Latinas, Indigenous-rooted women pose various
>threats to those who fear the browning of this country. Their bodies
>and the acts of their bodies are challenges to notions of homeland.
>What threat could Miriam have posed for the immigration official to
>violate the most sacred moments of life? It is doubtful she would
>have attempted escape with a baby crowning. The officer potentially
>risked that child's life from the duress that Miriam experienced.
>Indigenous midwives say that when a pregnant woman experiences fright,
>or trauma, what is referred to as susto, it causes susto in both
>mother and child. Luckily, her son was born without major
>complications, but only with time will the family know what birth
>trauma was inflicted upon this small one's life. For many Indigenous
>peoples, the body is a land base and a sacred site and how we come
>into this world is certainly a right to life and intricately linked to
>Miriam, the mother of three U.S. citizens , originates from an old
>Nahua village on the road to Xochicalco, a Mesoamerican university in
>900 A.D. To be Mexican, even if her Indigeneity was not recognized,
>is still to be treated like an Indian during various attempts at
>Indian removal in this country. For many like Miriam, their brown skin
>and Indian faces do not allow for their Indianess to be physically
>invisible. Instead, official narratives surrounding labels such as
>"Mexican" and "immigrant" deny their aboriginal histories and claims
>and silence their original relationships to this continent. While in
>labor, Miriam did sign papers agreeing to leave this country.
> Around the same time, a grandmother in South Texas took on Michael
>Chertoff and the Department of Homeland Security in yet another
>defense by Apache peoples to protect their land base and traditional
>territories. Dr. Eloise Tamez and her daughter Margo are engaged in a
>historic struggle for refusing to allow the border wall to traverse
>the Tamez private property (part of a 1786 Spanish land grant) and
>impede their ancestral Native trails. Professor Tamez has been
>described as a Mexican American grandmother, and yet she and her
>family assert their Indigeneity as Nde' (Lipan and Jumano Apache) and
>Basque descendants. El Calaboz Rancheria in the Lower Rio Grande
>Valley, wrote Margo in a report to the United Nations, is located in
>traditional homelands which were recognized by other Indigenous
>peoples as "the place where the Lipan pray." The government has sued
>Tamez and she has countersued, while numerous elders have been
>harassed by "armed personnel of the government," according to Margo.
>Calaboz, she writes, refers to an earthen dug-out prison: "… the
>psychological warfare that the Spanish used against our ancestors to
>contain them in little prison holes within the ground when they
>resisted oppression and stood firm on dissidence against all power to
>destroy a people."
>The Tamez women are related to Esequiel Hernandez, the student who was
>shot by U.S. Marines while herding his goats along the border in
>Redford, Texas , in 1997. He was the first civilian killed by U.S.
>military or National Guard since Kent State. A recent documentary
>portrays how the marines, though charged with murder by the Texas
>Rangers, were never prosecuted after a grand jury declined to indict
>them. According to the Tucson-based Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, the
>four- man unit, part of Joint Task Force Six, was the first known
>joint domestic operation between the Departments of Justice and
>Defense, and a precursor to the Department of Homeland Security.
>Esequiel was Jumano Apache and doing what his ancestors have always
>done, walk their traditional lands. As a local historian noted in The
>Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez, they have walked those lands for 12,000
>years. But Esequiel wasn't "crossing the border." Its militarization
>has extended from the womb of one Indigenous mother to another. A
>2008 report by that human rights coalition documented 128 bodies
>recovered in the Arizona-Sonora border, including a miscarried fetus.
>That which was life in a woman's womb, child, tissue, blood, has
>become these militarized lands.
>(c) 2008 Column of the Americas
>Gonzales can be reached at:
>Column of the Americas - PO BOX 85476 - Tucson, AZ 85754
Posted by Angela Valenzuela at 7:30 AM
Hispanics and the 2008 Election: A Swing Vote?
Paul Taylor and Richard Fry, Pew Hispanic Center
After spending the first part of this decade loosening their historic ties
to the Democratic Party, Hispanic voters have reversed course in the past
year, a new nationwide survey of Latinos by the Pew Hispanic Center has found.
Some 57% of Hispanic registered voters now call themselves Democrats or say
they lean to the Democratic Party, while just 23% align with the Republican
Party ˆ meaning there is now a 34 percentage point gap in partisan
affiliation among Latinos. In July, 2006, the same gap was just 21
percentage points ˆ whereas back in 1999, it had been 33 percentage points.
The new survey finds that a plurality of Hispanics view the Democratic Party
rather than the Republican Party as the one that shows more concern for
Latinos and does a better job on the issue of illegal immigration (although
a substantial minority of Latinos see no difference between the parties on
these matters). Also, many more Latinos say the policies of the Bush
Administration have been harmful to Latinos than say they have been helpful.
Hispanics are the nation's largest and fastest growing minority group; at 46
million strong, they make up about 15% of the U.S. population. Their
electoral clout continues to be undercut, however, by the fact that many are
ineligible to vote, either because they are not citizens or not yet 18 years
old. In 2008, Latinos will comprise about 9% of the eligible electorate
nationwide. If past turnout trends persist, they will make up only about
6.5% of those who actually turn out to vote next November.
But despite these modest numbers, Hispanics loom as a potential "swing vote"
in next year's presidential race. That's because they are strategically
located on the 2008 Electoral College map. Hispanics constitute a sizable
share of the electorate in four of the six states that President Bush
carried by margins of five percentage points or fewer in 2004 ˆNew Mexico
(where Hispanics make up 37% of state's eligible electorate); Florida (14%);
Nevada (12%) and Colorado (12%). All four are expected to be closely
contested once again in 2008.
The analysis of Hispanic partisan affiliation and political attitudes is
based on the new 2007 National Survey of Latinos. The survey was conducted
by telephone from Oct 3 through Nov 9, 2007 among a randomly selected,
nationally representative sample of 2,003 Hispanics, of whom 843 are
registered voters. The state electoral analysis uses recent Census surveys.
In addition to the state-by-state demographic and electoral data, an
Appendix includes the most recent information on Hispanics by congressional
Susan Minushkin and Mark Hugo Lopez The Hispanic Vote in the 2008 Democratic
Presidential Primaries. March 2008. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.
Pew Hispanic Center, February 2008. Hispanics in the 2008 Election Fact
Sheets. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.
Roberto Suro, Richard Fry and Jeffrey Passel. Hispanics and the 2004
Election: Population, Electorate and Voters, June 27, 2005. Washington, DC:
Pew Hispanic Center.
Louis DeSipio. 2006. "Latino Civic and Political Participation," in
Hispanics and the Future of America, edited by Marta Tienda and Faith
Mitchell. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.
Pew Hispanic Center/Kaiser Family Foundation. July 2004. Pew Hispanic
Center/Kaiser Family Foundation 2004 National Survey Of Latinos: Politics
and Civic Participation. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.
Copyright © 2008 Pew Hispanic Center
Posted by Angela Valenzuela at 7:24 AM
The deportation of illegal workers is dividing Long Island, one of
America's wealthiest regions
* Ed Helmore in Long Island
* The Observer,
* Sunday July 20, 2008
* Article history
Long Island, where rich residents are facing a labour shortage after a
spate of depo rtations. Photograph: Kate Maxwell
It is high season in the Hamptons, the holiday home for America's
superstars and merely super-rich. But behind the perfectly tended
lawns and clipped hedgerows at the far end of Long Island all is not well.
Tiger Woods recently paid $65 million (£32m) for a beachfront home
here. Christie Brinkley, whose recent divorce has been the talk of
Long Island, is a regular visitor. But as a result of a locally
enforced purge of the undocumented immigrants who provide much of the
menial workforce, barmen are disappearing from beach bars, waiters
from the lobster-and- champagne benefit parties and cleaners from the
holiday mansions. Long Island is divided as never before between the
haves and the have-nots.
'The Latino community are living in uncertainty and fear,' said Sister
Margaret Smyth, the head of a church group in Riverhead, one of the
poorest areas of Long Island. 'As a result of the crackdown, we've
created a new underclass of women and children. Their men have been
deported but they want to stay because they want their children
educated. Before, people were poor; now they are extremely poor.'
Up to now summering bankers and celebrities have been more concerned
with th e social dramas of the season, such as the Brinkley divorce and
an entertaining scuffle at an art opening in East Hampton, when white
wine was served in contravention of a new teetotal town ordinance. But
tensions as a result of the crackdown on cheap labour have spilled
embarrassingly into view.
Hotels, restaurants and gardening contractors are predicting an
imminent shortage of able workers. And every day in the car park of
the 7-11 convenience shop on the main road in Southampton, a daily
drama of the poor is played out in one of the most prosperous regions
of America. More than a hundred Mexican, Honduran and Guatemalan day
labourers gather hoping to be picked up for work. Now opposing them
are a group of protesters - Long Island's 'minutemen' - clutching 'No
Amnesty' placards, shouting insults and clearly identifying who should
be the next deportees.
'The protesters have a lot of support,' said Brian Smith, leaning
outside his store, PH Pool. Reports that cross-border immigration may
be slowing was not evident in the Hamptons, he said. 'If anything
there are more immigrants coming than ever before; and I don't see why
they should come here and have their healthcare and babies for free.'
The Latino labourers, who are estimated to make up 20 per cent of the
Long Island workforce, believe the protesters are being paid to
confront them, although they have no proof.
Police hover nearby, ready to swoop at the first sign of a disturbance
that will give them the opportunity to ask for identification. If the
requisite documents are not forthcoming, deportation proceedings may
follow. 'There used to be work but now there are always problems,'
said one worker, before being hustled away by two police deputies. 'We
work hard. We don't cause problems. This is a country of immigrants
... so why do they want to turn against us?'
Luis Valenzuela, director of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, said:
'The immigration raids have been quite devastating to a vulnerable
community. Now they are introducing measures that will force people
deeper in the shadows. When people go deeper in the shadows they
become more vulnerable to exploitation.'
The problems of the Latino community are being reflected across the
US. In May, nearly 400 mostly Guatemalan workers at a meatpacking
plant in Ohio were arrested. Instead of being deported, many were
convicted for offering false identification and sentenced to five or
more months in prison. In a recent speech on illegal immigration,
presidential candidate Barack Obama said: 'We need a practical
solution for the problem of the 12 million pe ople who are here
without documentation. '
In the Hamptons, there is no such solution in the offing. The
Southampton congressman Tim Bishop said: 'I don't think there is a
broad understanding of the kind of havoc we are looking at,' he said.
The tension between native locals and the immigrant workers is
unlikely to improve as the local economy deteriorates, in common with
the rest of America. 'I call it mob mentality,' said Sister Margaret,
whose caseload includes taking unscrupulous employers to court for
employing Latino workers, often cheating them of their pay - and then
reporting them for failure to pay taxes. 'I go after the employers and
take them right into court. But people are afraid - they're afraid of
people who look different even though they're not competing for the
same type of work.'
As the cost of keeping the hedges trim and children cared for begins
to spike upwards because of a shortage of immigrant labour, the
Hamptons immigration debate is likely to become even more explosive.
In East Hampton, there have already been a series of seminars on how
better to integrate Latino workers into the community. But the burden
of undocumented and often illiterate immigrant labourers still falls
to charity groups and church outreach programmes which may now be
stretched beyond their limited means.
Acco rding to community activist Ligia Soto, 'people are still
arriving regardless of what they hear or see on the news. Things may
be difficult but they still want to come here to feed their families
and achieve their dreams - and to go back home eventually.'
At least they will find a sympathetic hearing with Lois Nesbitt, a
local business owner. 'If you need a local plumber,' she said, 'you
have to call five and hope one will show up. Immigrant labourers come
to work on time and work hard.'
Posted by Angela Valenzuela at 7:23 AM
From the 'We Are America' Alliance
------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -
July 11, 2008
An Open Letter to Senator Barack Obama:
Please Join Denver's Historic "We Are America" Immigrant Rights March on
Tuesday, August 26th at 9 a.m.
Help Announce a New Era in American Politics
Dear Senator Obama:
In the spirit of a New America, the members of the "We Are America"
alliance are p leased to write with our congratulations for your
Democratic Party nomination for the President of the United States.
We share the national excitement at what your presidency could mean
for people and causes that for too long have survived in the shadows
of American political life. We are also writing with an invitation
for you to join in an historic immigrant rights march, scheduled in
Denver during the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, August
26th at 9 a.m.
This event will unite thousands of Americans and recent immigrants
from across the country, who will march in celebration to announce a
new moment in Amer ican politics. We are very cognizant of the
importance of the Latino vote in Colorado and believe your presence
will produce new voters, inspiring many Americans who have lost faith
in the American political system. In Denver, we will stand together
in support of:
· Ending the immigrant raids that are destroying families in
· Defunding the costly and impractical border wall
· Passing a DREAM act to help immigrant children pay for
attending college, and
· Passing comprehensive and humane immigration reform.
We hope that you will join us in our celebration and in our common
work. Your presence as we walk the streets in Denver will foster
incredible energy towards change on these issues, will inspire
thousands more to become involved in the civic process, and will
create a political moment on immigration issues unparalleled in
We know that you are proposing many positive ideas on immigration
issues, including a path to citizenship, a more affordable and
coherent INS legal system, putting a stop to the "terrorizing ICE
raids, and comprehensive/ humane immigration reform. But the march
in Denver is about much more than any specific policy issue. This ma
rch is about recognizing that American is at a transformational
moment: millions of Americans are recognizing that America IS a
nation of immigrants, that immigrants play a vital role in the
community, and that the path to the future is one of friendship
between old and new Americans. People are marching in realization of
these facts˜what is needed now is for serious leaders to join us in
announcing a new era.
It can be expected that there will be strong criticism and powerful
resistance from those in America not ready to accept the realities of
a changing America. Many people are uneasy with the changes, and they
insist on imagining that America is not a diverse country of
immigrants, and on imagining that somehow the very demographics of our
nation can be undone˜but these kind of imaginings do not represent the
future of America. Our path must lie in a different direction, and we
need leaders able to address the nation al unease with vision and courage.
Forty-five years ago, another transformational president of great
energy faced a similar issue as America was challenged to reverse its
"white-only" immigration policy, and to begin to admit immigrants from
a variety of non-"Western" nations, including Asia, Africa and Latin
America. President John F. Kennedy did not shirk from the great
responsibility of his time. Instead he led the way in supporting new
legislation, the Hart-Cellar Immigration Act, which broadly
diversified the kind of immigrants who would be admitted to America.
Many people criticized the president, but in joining with the
progressive reform energy of his day, Kennedy's words reminded
Americans of the debt this county has always owed the immigrant.
"Every ethnic minority, in seeking its own freedom, helped strengthen
the fabric of liberty in American life. Similarly, every aspect of
the American economy has profited from the contribution of immigrants."
-- President John F. Kennedy
We are once again in need of that old wisdom. We are in need of
courageous leaders to join the people20as we stand up for our
immigrant neighbors in the community. We believe that you can be that
leader and join us in ushering in a new frontier in American politics.
The people will be celebrating the new era in the streets of Denver
on Tuesday, August 26th at
9 a.m. We invite you to join and walk with us ; history will remember
and be judged by such events as a dramatic beginning to that could be
one of the most meaningful presidencies in American history.
With Great Hopes,
We Are America Alliance
Contact: Nita Gonzales, Escuela Tlatelolco, njgonzal@aol. com
Es horrible como el gobierno ha tratado a esta mujer indocumentada.
Immigrant, Pregnant, Is Jailed Under Pact
By JULIA PRESTON
New York Times (July 20, 2008)
It started when Juana Villegas, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who
was nine months pregnant, was pulled over by a police officer in a
Nashville suburb for a routine traffic violation.
Juana Villegas and 2-week-old son in her lawyer's office Thursday in
Nashville. Mother and son had been separated for two days.
By the time Mrs. Villegas was released from the county jail six days
later, she had gone through labor with a sheriff's officer standing
guard in her hospital room, where one of her feet was cuffed to the
bed most of the time. County officers barred her from seeing or
speaking with her husband.
After she was discharged from the hospital, Mrs. Villegas was
separated from her nursing infant for two days and barred from taking
a breast pump into the jail, her lawyer and a doctor familiar with the
case said. Her breasts became infected, and the newborn boy developed
=0 Ajaundice, they said.
Mrs. Villegas's arrest has focused new attention on a cooperation
agreement signed in April 2007 between federal immigration authorities
and Davidson County, which shares a consolidated government with
Nashville, that gave immigration enforcement powers to county
officers. It is one of 57 agreements, known formally as 287G, that the
federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has signed in the
last two years with county and local police departments across the
country under a rapidly expanding program.
Nashville officials have praised the agreement as a successful
partnership between local and federal government.
"We are able to identify and report individuals who are here illegally
and have been charged with a criminal offense, while at the same time
remaining a friendly and open city to our new legal residents," Karl
Dean, the mayor of Nashville, said in a statement on Friday.
Lawyers and immigrant advocates say Mrs. Villegas's case shows how
local police can exceed their authority when they seek to act on
immigration laws they are not fully trained to enforce.
"Had it not been for the 287G program, she would not have been taken
down to jail," said A. Gregory Ramos, a lawyer who is a former
president of the Nashville Bar Association. "It was sold as something
to make the community safer by taking dangerous criminals off the
streets. But it has been ope rated so broadly that we are getting
pregnant women arrested for simple driving offenses, and we're not
getting rid of the robbers and gang members."
Mrs. Villegas, who is 33, has lived in the United States since 1996,
and has three other children besides the newborn who are American
citizens because they were born here.
She was stopped on July 3 in her husband's pickup truck by a police
officer from Berry Hill, a Nashville suburb, initially for "careless
driving." After Mrs. Villegas told the officer she did not have a
license, he did not issue a ticket but arrested her instead. Elliott
Ozment, Mrs. Villegas's lawyer, said driving without a license is a
misdemeanor in Tennessee that police officers generally handle with a
citation, not an arrest.
After Mrs. Villegas was taken to the Davidson County jail, a federal
immigration agent working there as part of the cooperation agreement
conducted a background check. It showed that Mrs. Villegas was an
illegal immigrant who had been deported once from the United States in
March 1996, Karla Weikal, a spokeswoman for the county sheriff, said.
She had no other criminal record.
As a result, immigration agents issued an order to take charge of Mrs.
Villegas once she was released by the local authorities. Based on that
order, county officers designated her a medium-security inmate in the
jail, Ms. Weikal said.
So when Mrs. Vi llegas went into labor on the night of July 5, she was
handcuffed and accompanied by a deputy as she was taken by ambulance
to Nashville General Hospital at Meharry. Cuffs chaining her foot to
the hospital bed were opened when she reached the final stages of
labor, Mrs. Villegas said.
"I felt like they were treating me like a criminal person," Mrs.
Villegas said, speaking in Spanish in a telephone interview. The phone
in her room was turned off, and she was not permitted to speak with
her husband when he came to retrieve their newborn son from the
hospital on July 7 as she returned to jail, she said.
As Mrs. Villegas left the hospital, a nurse offered her a breast pump
but a sheriff's deputy said she could not take it into the jail, Mrs.
Mr. Ozment, the lawyer, said Mrs. Villegas would never have been
detained without the 287G cooperation agreement.
"Whether this lady was documented or undocumented should not affect
how she was treated in her late pregnant condition and as she was
going through labor and bonding with her new baby," Mr. Ozment said.
On July 8, Mrs. Villegas was taken to court, where she pleaded guilty
to driving without a license and was sentenced to time served.
Immigration agents immediately released her while a deportation case
proceeds, following a policy adopted last year by the Immigration and
Customs Enforcement to avoid separating babies from nursing mothers.
Ms. Weikal said Mrs. Villegas's jail stay was prolonged by the
Independence Day holiday weekend, when the courts were closed.
"There is a perception that she was treated different from other
inmates, and it just is not true," Ms. Weikal said. "Unfortunately the
business of corrections is that families are separated. It's not
pretty, it's not understandable to a lot of people."
She said that it was standard procedure to bar medical equipment like
a breast pump from the jail.
More than 60,000 illegal immigrants have been identified for
deportation since 2006 through 287G cooperation programs, said Richard
Rocha, a spokesman for the federal immigration agency. Most of the
agreements are aimed at increasing the screening of immigrant convicts
serving sentences in local jails, in order to speed their deportation.
Some, like Nashville's, provide for immigration screening right after
any foreign-born person is arrested.
Arrests of immigrants have increased rapidly in Tennessee since early
2006, when the state stopped allowing illegal immigrants to obtain
driver's licenses, after five years when they had been able to drive
National Institute for Latino Policy
101 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 313
New York, NY 10013
Posted by Angela Valenzuela at 7:19 AM
Obama Beats McCain by 24 Points in California in Field
Poll—More Indications Republicans Are In Trouble in
By Frank D. Russo
The California Field Poll, long considered the gold
standard in California polling , has just released
their latest survey showing that Barack Obama has a
commanding 54% to 30% lead amongst likely voters.
Believe it or not, there’s more good news for the
Democrats and Obama beyond this lead, which extends
across all sorts of demographic subgroupings—in
particular in the enthusiasm of his supporters. This,
analysis of the Hispanic turnout vote from the
February primary, and fundraising figures in key
California Congressional races, bode well for a banner
Democratic year in November.
Obama has consolidated Democratic support—he gets 78%
of the Democratic vote to McCain’s 9%. This includes
an 80% to 8% share of those who voted for Hillary
Clinton in the California primary—and he does better
with female voters than male voters. Any pundit driven
babble about the Democrats being divided—at least as
to California—is nothing more than psychobabble.
Obama wins the icing on the cake with the state’s
“non-partisan/other voters” who are neither Democrats
nor Republicans, by 64% to 18%--a 46 point advantage.
McCain gets 65% to 16% for Obama of the Republican
vote in the state.
Obama leads in all age groups by huge margins, the
closest being with the 65 and older voters where he
beats McCain 47% to 34%. He leads in all racial/ethnic
groupings—including white non-Hispanic voters by 47%
to 37%. Any talk of the Latino vote going for McCain
in California is a pipe dream—by a margin of 64% to
21%, they are voting for Obama.
McCain wins the strongly conservative voters 74% to
8%, but Obama starts to make inroads even in the
moderately conservative voters where he gets 27% to
McCain’s 55%. In the 45% of the expected electorate
that describes themselves as “middle-of-the-road,”
Obama wins 59% to 22%. And he gets an even higher
percentage from liberals than McCain gets from
conservatives, garnering 87% of the moderately liberal
vote to McCains’ 3% and 88% of the strongly liberal
vote to McCain’s 3%.
Obama builds up huge leads in Los Angeles County—61%
to 27%, the San Francisco Bay Area by 73% to 12% and
other parts of Northern California—51% to 25%. He wins
other Southern California, which includes conservative
counties, such as Orange and San Diego, by 45% to 40%.
Only in the Central Valley is there a statistical tie,
where he trails McCain 40% to 39%. In the coastal
counties, which account for almost 70% of the vote,
Obama leads 62% to 24%. He loses the inland counties,
but by a much closer margin where McCain has 44% of
the vote and Obama 35%.
Here is perhaps the most telling statistic in the
Field Poll. Obama’s voters are overwhelmingly “very
enthusiastic” (51%) or “somewhat enthusiastic” (44%)
about him while only 5% say they are “not
enthusiastic.” Even amongst McCain’s much smaller
numbers of voters, there is a decided lukewarm level
of support in California. 17% say they are very
enthusiastic about him, another 56% are somewhat
enthusiastic, and a full 27% are not enthusiastic.
Field’s poll was taken of 672 likely California voters
from July 18 to 14 and has a margin of error of 3.9%
and is higher amongst smaller samples of subgroups.
Field is a non-partisan and non-profit polling
organization that has been surveying California voters
There are other results here in the Field Poll,
including voters’ perceptions of the candidates and
their wives and a slight (48% to 40%) opinion of
Democrats and non-partisans that Obama should not
choose Clinton as his running mate. But there is other
news as to how the November election is shaping
up—that bodes well for the Democrats.
Congress: Democrats Doing Very Well in California
Fundraising in Key Districts
Some Congressional Districts that had been thought to
be out of reach by California Democrats are looking
very good from the standpoint of fundraising reports
that have just come in for the quarter ending in June.
Democrat Charlie Brown, who is running in the
Sacramento area 4th Congressional District against
Republican Tom McClintock, has a 6 to 1 cash advantage
going in to this race—one that he narrowly lost to the
incumbent Republican John Doolittle, who is not
After posting just under $97,000 for the April 1-May
15th filing period, Brown brought in another $264,000
between May 16th and June 30th---for a grand total of
more than $361K for the quarter. Brown has now raised
more than $1.3 million for the campaign cycle to date,
and retains more than $670,000 in cash on hand—more
than 5 times the amount he’d raised at the same point
during the 2006 campaign, where he narrowly lost to
retiring Congressman John Doolittle.
In the 46th Congressional District, Democratic
challenger Debbie Cook, the Mayor of Huntington Beach,
out-raised Republican Dana Rohrabacher by more than
$10,000. Cook raised $92,900 to Rohrabacher's $78,712.
Rohrabacher is a nine-term incumbent. Cook has raised
more than any previous challenger at this point in the
race, putting her on track to be the best funded
candidate ever to challenge Rohrabacher. Both the Cook
Political Report (no relation to the candidate) and
the Swing State Project have listed California's 46th
District as a race to watch.
In the 50th Congressional District based in northern
San Diego County, a race that has been hotly contested
since Republican Duke Cunningham resigned in disgrace,
Democrat Nick Leibham outraised Republican Member of
Congress Brian Bilbray by $245, 000 to $210,000 in the
Leibham was exuberant, saying: “Any time that you out
raise an incumbent, especially someone like Brian
Bilbray who has taken over $180,000 in campaign
contributions from Big Oil, it gives the campaign a
huge amount of momentum. This is the clearest sign yet
that the voters of the 50th are ready for change and
I’m honored that so many of them are willing to
contribute to our effort.”
In the 11th district,which includes the edges of
Alameda and Contra Costa counties and a chunk of the
Central Valley around Stockton, Democratic Member of
Congress Jerry McNerney has $1.37 million available to
defend the seat he took from Republican Richard Pombo
two years ago. His opponent in November, former GOP
Assemblyman Dean Andal, has $663,000 in the bank. this
is about the only district that Republicans are
expected to target in the Fall and attempt to take
There are other examples of a Democratic surge in
Latino Turnout Shows Republicans in Trouble in
The conservative blog, Fox & Hounds, established by
former President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers
Foundation, Joel Fox, had this to say about a new
analysis released by Data Mar, “California
Presidential Primary Voter Turnout Analysis: Hispanic
vs. Non-Hispanic” as it reflects the November
“DataMar estimates that 18.8% of the voters at the
election were Hispanic and they heavily favored the
Democrats. Of that segment of the electorate, 63%
voted Democratic and only 20% voted Republican.
“In fact, the percentage of Hispanic voters who voted
Democratic was higher than the percentage of
Non-Partisan Non-Hispanic voters who took part in the
“Clearly, Republicans have work to do to make inroads
into the Hispanic vote to win elections in
With any surge of Democratic voters and California’s
independent voters favoring the Democrats, this could
be the year not only to win the Presidency, but to
pick up seats in California.
Posted on July 16, 2008
I find this to be very superficial and not that surprising. It would be helpful if there were more analysis of Latinos.
July 16, 2008
Poll Finds Obama Isn’t Closing Divide on Race
By ADAM NAGOURNEY and MEGAN THEE
Americans are sharply divided by race heading into the first election in which an African-American will be a major-party presidential nominee, with blacks and whites holding vastly different views of Senator Barack Obama, the state of race relations and how black Americans are treated by society, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The results of the poll, conducted against the backdrop of a campaign in which race has been a constant if not always overt issue, suggested that Mr. Obama’s candidacy, while generating high levels of enthusiasm among black voters, is not seen by them as evidence of significant improvement in race relations.
After years of growing political polarization, much of the divide in American politics is partisan. But Americans’ perceptions of the fall presidential election between Mr. Obama, Democrat of Illinois, and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, also underlined the racial discord that the poll found. More than 80 percent of black voters said they had a favorable opinion of Mr. Obama; about 30 percent of white voters said they had a favorable opinion of him.
Nearly 60 percent of black respondents said race relations were generally bad, compared with 34 percent of whites. Four in 10 blacks say that there has been no progress in recent years in eliminating racial discrimination; fewer than 2 in 10 whites say the same thing. And about one-quarter of white respondents said they thought that too much had been made of racial barriers facing black people, while one-half of black respondents said not enough had been made of racial impediments faced by blacks.
The survey suggests that even as the nation crosses a racial threshold when it comes to politics — Mr. Obama, a Democrat, is the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas — many of the racial patterns in society remain unchanged in recent years.
Indeed, the poll showed markedly little change in the racial components of people’s daily lives since 2000, when The Times examined race relations in an extensive series of articles called “How Race Is Lived in America.”
As it was eight years ago, few Americans have regular contact with people of other races, and few say their own workplaces or their own neighborhoods are integrated. In this latest poll, over 40 percent of blacks said they believed they had been stopped by the police because of their race, the same figure as eight years ago; 7 percent of whites said the same thing.
Nearly 70 percent of blacks said they had encountered a specific instance of discrimination based on their race, compared with 62 percent in 2000; 26 percent of whites said they had been the victim of racial discrimination. (Over 50 percent of Hispanics said they had been the victim of racial discrimination.)
And when asked whether blacks or whites had a better chance of getting ahead in today’s society, 64 percent of black respondents said that whites did. That figure was slightly higher even than the 57 percent of blacks who said so in a 2000 poll by The Times. And the number of blacks who described racial conditions as generally bad in this survey was almost identical to poll responses in 2000 and 1990.
“Basically it’s the same old problem, the desire for power,” Macie Mitchell, a Pennsylvania Democrat from Erie County, who is black, said in a follow-up interview after participating in the poll. “People get so obsessed with power and don’t want to share it. There are people who are not used to blacks being on top.”
White perceptions, by contrast, improved markedly from 1990 to 2000, but have remained steady since. This month’s poll found that 55 percent of whites said race relations were good, almost double the figure for blacks.
The nationwide telephone poll was conducted July 7-14 with 1,796 adults, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. In an effort to measure views of different races, the survey included larger-than-usual minority samples — 297 blacks and 246 Hispanics — with a margin of sampling error of six percentage points for each subgroup.
Black and white Americans agree that America is ready to elect a black president, but disagree on almost every other question about race in the poll.
Black voters were far more likely than whites to say that Mr. Obama cares about the needs and problems of people like them, and more likely to describe him as patriotic. Whites were more likely than blacks to say that Mr. Obama says what he thinks people want to hear, rather than what he truly believes. And about half of black voters said race relations would improve in an Obama administration, compared with 29 percent of whites.
About 40 percent of blacks said that Mr. McCain, if elected president, would favor whites over blacks should he win the election.
There was even racial dissension over Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle: She was viewed favorably by 58 percent of black voters, compared with 24 percent of white voters.
Among black voters, who are overwhelmingly Democrats, Mr. Obama draws support from 89 percent, compared with 2 percent for Mr. McCain. Among whites, Mr. Obama has 37 percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for Mr. McCain.
After a Democratic primary season in which Mr. Obama had difficulty competing for Hispanic votes against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Obama leads Mr. McCain among Hispanic voters in the likely general election matchup by 62 to 23 percent. Mr. Obama is viewed favorably by more than half of Hispanic Americans, compared with Mr. McCain, whose favorability rating is just under one-quarter. By significant margins, these voters believe that Mr. Obama will do a better job of dealing with immigration; Mr. McCain has been trying to distance himself from Republicans who have advocated a tough policy on permitting illegal immigrants to stay in the country.
Over all, Mr. Obama leads Mr. McCain among all registered voters by 45 percent to 39 percent.
White voters, much more so than black voters, are divided in their political loyalties. Mr. Obama draws significant support among white Democrats. Yet still, among just Democrats, blacks were more apt than whites in the poll to express positive views of Mr. Obama across a range of questions. For example, black Democrats were 24 points more likely than white Democrats to have a favorable opinion of Mr. Obama.
“I don’t like some of his policies, like on energy,” said Bob Beidelman, 69, a white Democrat from York, Pa., about Mr. Obama. “Also I don’t like statements his wife made. She seems like a spoiled brat to me.”
He added: “I’m one of those white people who clings to guns and the Bible, and those things that Barack said kind of turned me off,” he said. “This isn’t a black and white thing. If a conservative African-American like former Congressman J. C. Watts was running, I’d have bumper stickers plastered all over my car supporting him.”
The survey found extensive excitement among African-Americans about the prospect of Mr. Obama’s candidacy, a factor that could prove important in pushing voter turnout. The poll found that 72 percent of black voters said they expected Mr. Obama to win.
The high levels of enthusiasm for Mr. Obama among black Americans suggested that there was less of a divide among them about his candidacy than suggested by occasional tension among black leaders. Last week, Mr. Obama was criticized by the Rev. Jesse Jackson as “talking down to black people” by going before black audiences and urging parents to take more responsibility for their children.
“He’s got all these enthusiastic young people working for him,” said James Wilson, 75, a property manager from Philadelphia who is black. “I’m a person who would never give money and they called on the phone and got me to give.”
The poll found that Mr. McCain is yoked to the legacy of President Bush — majorities believe that Mr. McCain, as president, would continue Mr. Bush’s policies in Iraq and on the economy. Mr. Bush’s approval rating on the economy is as low as it has been in his presidency, 20 percent; and even while there has been an increase in the number of Americans who think the war is going well, there has been no change in the significantly large number of people who think it was a mistake to have invaded.
Kevin Sack, Dalia Sussman and Marina Stefan contributed reporting.
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
Saturday, July 12, 2008
It's wonderful to see the churches protecting the human rights of immigrants when they do. This is the Christian mission. -Dra. Valenzuela
July 12, 2008
Iowa Church Is a Beacon After Immigration Raid
By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN
POSTVILLE, Iowa — Back in 2002, before all the trouble, the Rev. Paul Ouderkirk retired from St. Bridget’s Roman Catholic Church here, his last station in 43 years of ministry. He built a home 35 miles away in a town along the Mississippi, and he indulged a passion for family history, tracing his lineage to an ancestor who had arrived in New Amsterdam with the Dutch East India Company.
Once a month or so, Father Ouderkirk drove back to St. Bridget’s to officiate at a wedding or baptize a baby. He savored those rituals, proof that the Hispanic immigrants who had arrived over the past decade to work in Postville’s kosher-meat plant were setting down roots. Some had bought homes. Their children had graduated from high school, even been selected for the National Honor Society.
Then came the morning of May 12, when both satisfaction and retirement ended for the 75-year-old priest. Federal immigration agents raided the Agriprocessors factory, arresting nearly 400 workers, most of them men, for being in the United States illegally. Within minutes of the raid, with surveillance helicopters buzzing above the leafy streets, the wives and children of Mexican and Guatemalan families began trickling into St. Bridget’s Church, the safest place they knew.
It was about that time, with several dozen cowering people inside the church, when Sister Mary McCauley, the pastor administrator at St. Bridget’s, found out that Father Ouderkirk was attending a ceremony for diocesan priests nearly two hours away in Dubuque. Unable to reach him directly, she left a simple, urgent message: “We need to see a collar here.”
By the time Father Ouderkirk extricated himself and reached Postville in the evening, nearly 400 families, some of them not even Catholic, filled the rotunda and social hall of St. Bridget’s. They occupied every pew, every aisle, every folding chair, every inch of floor. Children clutched mothers. One girl shook uncontrollably.
A few volunteers from the old Postville, descendants of the Irish and Norwegian immigrants who settled here more than a century ago, set out food. Others took turns standing watch at the church door, as if the sight of an Anglo might somehow dissuade the feared Migra, as the immigrants call Immigration and Customs Enforcement, from invading their sanctuary.
Already, members of the church staff and a Spanish teacher from a nearby college were tallying the names of the detained workers. Father Ouderkirk conducted his own version of a census in this predominantly Hispanic parish. Gone were all but two members of the choir he had assembled over the years. Gone were all but one of the eight altar servers. Gone were the husbands from the weddings he had performed, and gone were the fathers of the children he had baptized.
As for the mothers, many of them also worked at Agriprocessors and had been arrested. In a putative show of compassion, federal authorities released them after putting an electronic homing device on each woman’s ankle to monitor her whereabouts. These mothers were, in the new lexicon of Postville, “las personas con brazalete,” the people with a bracelet.
During his earlier tenure at parishes in North Texas and Marshalltown, Iowa, Father Ouderkirk had experienced immigration raids twice before, but never on this scale. By the second day, he had moved back into his bedroom in the rectory.
“It’s like God saying, ‘I gave you a little practice,’ because this is the worst,” Father Ouderkirk said in an interview late last month at St. Bridget’s. “This has happened after 10 years of stable living. These people were in school. They were achieving. It has ripped the heart out of the community and out of the parish. Probably every child I baptized has been affected. To see them stunned is beyond belief.”
The only redemptive thing that can be said, perhaps, is that in the crisis at Postville — with nearly 400 immigrants imprisoned and facing deportation, with 40 mothers under house arrest awaiting their own court dates, with families that had two working parents now forced to survive on handouts from a food pantry — the beacon of the Roman Catholic Church to immigrants has rarely shone more brilliantly.
“I came to the church because I feel safe there, I feel secure,” said Irma López, the mother of a 2-year-old daughter, who was arrested along with her husband, Marcelo, after they had worked at Agriprocessors for six years. “I feel protected. I feel at peace. I feel comforted.”
At a practical level, Father Ouderkirk has hired four temporary staff members to help track the court cases and distribute food and financial aid to the affected families. Along with other religious leaders around Iowa, he had been preparing for a march in defense of immigrants’ rights. St. Bridget’s parish, which has only about 350 members, is spending $500,000 in the relief effort, he said.
One month after the raid, St. Bridget’s held a Mass in remembrance of the detainees. The name of every one was recited from the altar, and after every 20 names, a candle was lighted, usually by a persona con brazalete. The candles, half burned, remain in the nave, beneath a wood carving of the Virgin Mother, each one an offering for a miracle.
“I pray to God for the opportunity to stay in this country so my daughter can be educated here,” Mrs. López said. “That was my dream.”
Sitting in the rectory alongside Mrs. López, Rosa Zamora nodded in agreement. “When I pray, I know God is close to me,” said Mrs. Zamora, whose husband, like Mrs. López’s, is now jailed in Louisiana awaiting deportation to Guatemala. “I know there are laws, but God is the judge of everything.”
Judgment of a different sort, though, has been visited on Father Ouderkirk and his aides. One anonymous phone message warned him, “What you’re doing is against the law. Harboring criminals.” Sister Mary received an unsigned letter stating: “You are as far as possible from being the image of Mother Teresa. May you rot in hell.”
It is infuriating in a particular way for Father Ouderkirk and his staff members to hear from such nativists. St. Bridget’s Spanish-speaking lay pastor, Paul Real, has forebears who settled in what is now New Mexico in the 1500s. And Father Ouderkirk’s heritage, of course, goes back to the Dutch colonists.
“I think it’s made me more empathetic,” he said. “I think of the chances my ancestors had. Here are people who’ve been here 10 years, and to get torn up like this, it’s doesn’t make any sense to me. It cuts so deep. Like Sister Mary says, once you’ve cried for two straight weeks, you don’t have any more tears. But it doesn’t mean you stopped feeling.”
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
Posted by Angela Valenzuela at 5:44 AM
Friday, July 11, 2008
This is a powerful story about the rights of immigrants and the ethics of an interpreter to go beyond to literal translations to actually translate the meaning of legal proceedings to immigrants. -Angela
July 11, 2008
An Interpreter Speaking Up for Migrants
By JULIA PRESTON
WATERLOO, Iowa — In 23 years as a certified Spanish interpreter for federal courts, Erik Camayd-Freixas has spoken up in criminal trials many times, but the words he uttered were rarely his own.
Then he was summoned here by court officials to translate in the hearings for nearly 400 illegal immigrant workers arrested in a raid on May 12 at a meatpacking plant. Since then, Mr. Camayd-Freixas, a professor of Spanish at Florida International University, has taken the unusual step of breaking the code of confidentiality among legal interpreters about their work.
In a 14-page essay he circulated among two dozen other interpreters who worked here, Professor Camayd-Freixas wrote that the immigrant defendants whose words he translated, most of them villagers from Guatemala, did not fully understand the criminal charges they were facing or the rights most of them had waived.
In the essay and an interview, Professor Camayd-Freixas said he was taken aback by the rapid pace of the proceedings and the pressure prosecutors brought to bear on the defendants and their lawyers by pressing criminal charges instead of deporting the workers immediately for immigration violations.
He said defense lawyers had little time or privacy to meet with their court-assigned clients in the first hectic days after the raid. Most of the Guatemalans could not read or write, he said. Most did not understand that they were in criminal court.
“The questions they asked showed they did not understand what was going on,” Professor Camayd-Freixas said in the interview. “The great majority were under the impression they were there because of being illegal in the country, not because of Social Security fraud.”
During fast-paced hearings in May, 262 of the illegal immigrants pleaded guilty in one week and were sentenced to prison — most for five months — for knowingly using false Social Security cards or legal residence documents to gain jobs at the Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in nearby Postville. It was the largest criminal enforcement operation ever carried out by immigration authorities at a workplace.
The essay has provoked new questions about the Agriprocessors proceedings, which had been criticized by criminal defense and immigration lawyers as failing to uphold the immigrants’ right to due process. Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the House Judiciary immigration subcommittee, said she would hold a hearing on the prosecutions and call Professor Camayd-Freixas as a witness.
“The essay raises questions about whether the charges brought were supported by the facts,” Ms. Lofgren said.
Bob Teig, a spokesman for Matt M. Dummermuth, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, said the immigrants’ constitutional rights were not compromised.
“All defendants were provided with experienced criminal attorneys and interpreters before they made any decisions in their criminal cases,” Mr. Teig said. “Once they made their choices, two independent judicial officers determined the defendants were making their choices freely and voluntarily, were satisfied with their attorney, and were, in fact, guilty.”
Mr. Teig said the judges in the cases were satisfied with the guilty pleas.
“The judges had the right and duty to reject any guilty plea where a defendant was not guilty,” Mr. Teig said. “No plea was rejected.”
The essay by Professor Camayd-Freixas, who is the director of a program to train language interpreters at the university, has also caused a stir among legal interpreters. In telephone calls and debates through e-mail, they have discussed whether it was appropriate for a translator to speak publicly about conversations with criminal defendants who were covered by legal confidentiality.
“It is quite unusual that a legal interpreter would go to this length of writing up an essay and taking a strong stance,” said Nataly Kelly, an analyst with Common Sense Advisory, a marketing research company focused on language services. Ms. Kelly is a certified legal interpreter who is the author of a manual about interpreting.
The Agriprocessors hearings were held in temporary courtrooms in mobile trailers and a ballroom at the National Cattle Congress, a fairgrounds here in Waterloo. Professor Camayd-Freixas worked with one defense lawyer, Sara L. Smith, translating her discussions with nine clients she represented. He also worked in courtrooms during plea and sentencing hearings.
Ms. Smith praised Professor Camayd-Freixas’s essay, saying it captured the immigrants’ distress during “the surreal two weeks” of the proceedings. She said he had not revealed information that was detrimental to her cases.
But she cautioned that interpreters should not commonly speak publicly about conversations between lawyers and clients. “It is not a practice that I would generally advocate as I could envision circumstances under which such revelations could be damaging to a client’s case,” Ms. Smith said.
Professor Camayd-Freixas said he had considered withdrawing from the assignment, but decided instead that he could play a valuable role by witnessing the proceedings and making them known.
He suggested many of the immigrants could not have knowingly committed the crimes in their pleas. “Most of the clients we interviewed did not even know what a Social Security card was or what purpose it served,” he wrote.
He said many immigrants could not distinguish between a Social Security card and a residence visa, known as a green card. They said they had purchased fake documents from smugglers in Postville, or obtained them directly from supervisors at the Agriprocessors plant. Most did not know that the original cards could belong to Americans and legal immigrants, Mr. Camayd-Freixas said.
Ms. Smith went repeatedly over the charges and the options available to her clients, Professor Camayd-Freixas said. He cited the reaction of one Guatemalan, Isaías Pérez Martínez: “No matter how many times his attorney explained it, he kept saying, ‘I’m illegal, I have no rights. I’m nobody in this country. Just do whatever you want with me.’ ”
Professor Camayd-Freixas said Mr. Pérez Martínez wept during much of his meeting with Ms. Smith.
Ms. Smith, like more than a dozen other court-appointed defense lawyers, concluded that none of the immigrants’ legal options were good. Prosecutors had evidence showing they had presented fraudulent documents when they were hired at Agriprocessors.
In plea agreements offered by Mr. Dummermuth, the immigrants could plead guilty to a document fraud charge and serve five months in prison. Otherwise, prosecutors would try them on more serious identity theft charges carrying a mandatory sentence of two years. In any scenario, even if they were acquitted, the immigrants would eventually be deported.
Worried about families they had been supporting with their wages, the immigrants readily chose to plead guilty because they did understand that was the fastest way to return home, Professor Camayd-Freixas said.
“They were hoping and they were begging everybody to deport them,” he said.
Ms. Smith said she was convinced after examining the prosecutors’ evidence that it was not in her clients’ interests to go to trial.
“I think they understood what their options were,” she said. “I tried to make it very clear.”
Legal interpreters familiar with the profession said that Professor Camayd-Freixas’ essay, while a notable departure from the norm, did not violate professional standards.
Isabel Framer, a certified legal interpreter from Ohio who is chairwoman of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, said Professor Camayd-Freixas did not go public while the cases were still in court or reveal information that could not be discerned from the record. Ms. Framer said she was speaking for herself because her organization had not taken an official position on the essay.
“Interpreters, just like judges and attorneys, have an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the process,” she said. “But they don’t check their ethical standards at the door.”
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
Sunday, July 6, 2008
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Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino
David Hayes-Bautista: the end of California as we know it - Q&A
Q. Tell us about your family background.
A. I am one of the few native Angelenos that you will ever find. My parents were born in the United States. My grandparents were from Mexico, from a town called Atlautla in the state of Mexico. My grandfather was a historian, and he came here almost a century ago. He liked it and went back and brought the family over. I went through second mad third grades in Los Angeles, where I was categorized as having learning deficiencies. I didn't know this until I graduated from high school. My parents were very happy that I graduated, and then they shared the terrible secret that they had been carrying around all these years. They had been assured by my teachers and counselors that I would never graduate because I just couldn't learn.
Q. Were your studies always focused on Latino healthcare?
A. I started off my college studies in engineering. My father was an engineer, so he wanted me to be an engineer. It made sense to him. It didn't make sense to me, but I studied it for three years. It was good preparation, but ultimately I decided that I didn't want to be an engineer. I started at UC Davis studying civil engineering and then transferred to the College of Letters and Science at UC Berkeley--this was in the mid-sixties. At this point, I had heard that there were 25 Chicano students at Berkeley, as opposed to one at UC Davis. Interestingly enough, two or three of us still work together. We formed relations in the mid-sixties, and we are still working in the healthcare field together.
Q. How did you feel as a student at this time?
A. It was the early days of the Chicano movement--it was very exciting. I began to get involved with community groups in East Oakland that wanted to set up a clinic, and I was graduating from UC Berkeley and going to UC Medical Center to do my graduate work. This community group asked me if I would head up this clinic, and I said, "I am just starting school. What do I know about this?" They insisted that I was the closest thing to anybody who knew anything about healthcare. I took up the challenge, and I became the founding director of La Clinica de La Raza in Oakland between 1970 and 1974. La Clinica just celebrated its 35th anniversary last fall. It is still a major healthcare provider, but it basically started as a student-community effort. I guess that really got me interested in Latino health. Meanwhile, I was going to school at UC Medical Center in San Francisco. I did my master's and Ph.D. while I was working at La Clinica, and when I was finished with both, I asked to do some teaching at UC Berkeley and joined the faculty in 1974. In those days, there wasn't a lot of information on Latino health. In tack there was very little. And I am a quantitative person. I need to have information, data. We need to have science behind things. I began working the few data sets that were there: the census, birth files, etc. Late in 1978, people thought that because the Anglo baby boom was over that soon there would be fewer children entering high schools and, later, the University. We were being told to be prepared to downsize the University of California--that we might need to close a campus. I was a member of the Systemwide Health Sciences Committee. We have five medical schools in the UC system, and this Committee had taken this message to heart and spent a whole year talking about which medical school it would close. At that point, I said, "Don't close anything. You are assuming that everybody has the same demographic behavior as non-Hispanic whites, which is low fertility and low immigration. Look at Latinos: high fertility and high immigration. There is going to be population growth, only it will be Latino and not non-Hispanic white." Everybody said, "You're crazy. It's never going to happen." So, I got the 1980 census out and started doing my own computations. It was clear to me that there was going to be huge Latino population growth. At that point, I had the heretical notion that California would one day be half Latino. Of course, that frightened people.
Q. How did the demographic data pan out?
A. On February 5, 2003, we released a report that analyzed a master birth file, which lists every birth in California--about half a million every year. As it turns out, beginning in the third quarter of 2001 over 50 percent of all babies born in California are Latino. The Latino majority has emerged. That Latino majority is now 18 months old. What this means is that in the fall of 2006, the majority of all children entering the state's kindergartens will be Latino. In the fall of 2013, the majority of children entering the state's high schools will be Latino. In the fall of 2016, the majority of new workers entering the labor force will he Latino. By 2019, the majority of young people who have turned 18 and are eligible to register and vote will be Latino. The Latino majority is here. I saw this happening in 1975.
Q. What has caused this phenomenon?
A. It has to do with population movement within a country. In the mid-fifties as many as half a million braceros were in California each year. The total Latino population of the state was not even a million and there were almost as many braceros as there were resident Latinos. In the mid-sixties, the bracero program ended just as immigration laws changed. They changed the status of the bracero to immigrant. Changing their status from bracero to immigrant meant that they could stay here and get married, have children. As braceros they had already been here for 22 years, but couldn't stay. They began to stay all year round instead of going back to Mexico. They got married and started to have children. During the seventies most of the population growth was due to braceros changing their status to immigrants. But ever since the mid-eighties, births have been the primary factor of Latino population growth. In fact, in the last 10 years about 85 percent of Latino population growth in California has been due to births, and only 15 percent is due to immigration. Immigration to California has really fallen off tremendously.
Q. What other observations halve you, made from your data?
A. What we have seen in our data is that Latinos do have lower incomes and less education. We seem to be the urban underclass, which means high levels of labor force desertion, high levels of welfare dependency, disintegrated families, health-harming behavior, shorter life expectancy, drug use, smoking, drinking--you name it. However, as we got better data, it became clear to me that there was a paradox, the Latino epidemiological paradox.
Q. What about obesity and its effects on Latino health?
A. It is clear that a higher percentage of Latinos will be obese or overweight compared to non-Hispanic whites. Obesity can be due to either diet or lack of physical exercise, usually some combination of the two. Although, what is interesting is that for Latinos obesity does not yet translate into elevated levels of heart attack, cancer, or stroke. But yes, obesity is a problem, and I don't think we should turn our back and say, "because it doesn't translate into elevated heart disease right now, we don't have to worry about it." Yes we do have to worry about it. We have a little grace period before something will probably start to go terribly wrong.
Q. Which Latino healthcare problems need to be addressed?
A. The No. 1 problem is to resolve the Latino physician shortage. For better patient care, and secondly to get more physicians into academic medicine researching this whole Latino epidemiological paradox. Usually, Latinos are interested in finding out why, but if there are few Latino researchers, there are few people who are doing the research, which is why I cannot tell you the mechanism by which Latino culture produces this paradox. All I can tell you is that it produces it. But also better patient care: if we can be this healthy with poor access to medical care, just suppose we had decent access to medical care. We would make the United States, in terms of health, start to compete with Japan and Sweden, countries usually considered the paragons of a healthy population.
The Latino Epidemiological Paradox
A minority's health profile should be weaker than its non-Hispanic white counterpart; however, this is not the case for Latinos.
have about 35 percent fewer heart attacks.
have 42 percent lower cancer rate.
have 25 percent fewer strokes.
have lower infant mortality.
have lower rates of drinking, smoking, and drug use.
in California live five years longer than non-Hispanic Whites.
low access to care
Dr. David Hayes-Bautista
UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture
924 Westwood Blvd., Suite 730 Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310) 794 0663
COPYRIGHT 2003 Ferraez Publications of America Corp.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group
Posted by Angela Valenzuela at 7:03 PM
Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too - great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory....
...Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap as an hart."
But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common.-The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!
"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth."
Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!" To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America.is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery - the great sin and shame of America! "I will not equivocate; I will not excuse"; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.
But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, "It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, an denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed." But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!
For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian's God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!
Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Amercans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.
What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their mastcrs? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.
What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.
At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation's ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival....
...Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. "The arm of the Lord is not shortened," and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from "the Declaration of Independence," the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. -- Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other.
The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, "Let there be Light," has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. 'Ethiopia, shall, stretch. out her hand unto Ood." In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:
God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o'er!
When from their galling chains set free,
Th' oppress'd shall vilely bend the knee,
And wear the yoke of tyranny
Like brutes no more.
That year will come, and freedom's reign,
To man his plundered rights again
God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good,
Not blow for blow;
That day will come all feuds to end,
And change into a faithful friend
God speed the hour, the glorious hour,
When none on earth
Shall exercise a lordly power,
Nor in a tyrant's presence cower;
But to all manhood's stature tower,
By equal birth!
That hour will come, to each, to all,
And from his Prison-house, to thrall
Until that year, day, hour, arrive,
With head, and heart, and hand I'll strive,
To break the rod, and rend the gyve,
The spoiler of his prey deprive --
So witness Heaven!
And never from my chosen post,
Whate'er the peril or the cost,
Posted by Angela Valenzuela at 7:01 PM