Category Archives: Article
Maria Contreras-Sweet was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday to head the Small Business Administration. Contreras-Sweet, whose family immigrated from Mexico when she was a child, becomes the second Hispanic Cabinet member in President Barack Obama’s second-term Administration.
Contreras-Sweet founded and has served as chairwoman of Pro-América Bank, a community bank that primarily serves small- to medium-size Latino businesses in Los Angeles. In 1999, she became California’s first Latina Cabinet secretary, heading the Department of Business, Transportation and Housing under former Gray Davis.
“When I was nominated by the president for this position, it became very clear to me that many people in the public were interested in my life and the challenges I had faced,” she tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “… And I also realized that much of the public perception of who I was and what had happened to me was not quite complete.”
In her memoir, My Beloved World, Sotomayor recounts growing up poor in the South Bronx; living with juvenile diabetes, a chronic disease; being raised by a single mother after her father, who was an alcoholic, died; and struggling to get a good education in spite of the odds. It became a best-seller when it was published last year and has just come out in paperback.
Read the full interview conducted by NPR Books & an excerpt from her memoir here:
“Hecho en America” celebrates Latinos achieving the American Dream. Features Jessica Alba, Senator Marco Rubio, George Lopez, Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez, Christina Aguilera and more.
The news special, from mun2 News, that is subtitled in Spanish continues the networks showcase of the personal success stories of Latinos who are changing politics, culture and business in the U.S
Watch the full video here: http://www.mun2.tv/node/1853806
Read more about “Hecho en America” and mun2 here.
A network of Latino donors that played a pivotal role in raising money for President Obama’s reelection is now focused on a new campaign: an effort to oust lawmakers who stand in the way of overhauling immigration laws.
The Latino Victory Project, a new political advocacy organization modeled after the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, is planning to spend as much as $20 million on campaigns targeting members of Congress who have sizable Latino communities in their districts but oppose comprehensive immigration reform.
The Project will also develop a direct line to Latino voters between themselves and Latino candidates for federal, state and local offices. The group offers assitance and training to help Latinos launch their respective political campaigns, including campaign and leadership workshops. The organization will also identify who it supports for office and provide voters with information about the candidates and foster a relationship between Latinos and their political representatives. It is unclear when the Latino Victory Fund will be fully operational.
At the helm of the project are DNC Finance Chair Henry Muñoz and actress Eva Longoria, both of whom chaired the Futuro Fund, a project that focuses on empowering young Latinos to become entrepreneurs.
Read more here:
Hundreds of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally are put through a little-known removal system run not by the federal government trying to enforce laws, but by hospitals seeking to curb high costs.
In interviews with immigrants, their families, attorneys and advocates, The Associated Press reviewed the obscure process known formally as “medical repatriation,” which allows hospitals to put patients on chartered international flights, often while they are still unconscious. Hospitals typically pay for the flights.
“The problem is it’s all taking place in this unregulated sort of a black hole … and there is no tracking,” said law professor Lori Nessel, director of the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall Law School, which offers free legal representation to immigrants.
Now advocates for immigrants are concerned that hospitals could soon begin expanding the practice after full implementation of federal health care reform, which will make deep cuts to the payments hospitals receive for taking care of the uninsured.
Health care executives say they are caught between a requirement to accept all patients and a political battle over immigration.
Hospitals are legally mandated to care for all patients who need emergency treatment, regardless of citizenship status or ability to pay. But once a patient is stabilized, that funding ceases, along with the requirement to provide care. Many immigrant workers without citizenship are ineligible for Medicaid, the government’s insurance program for the poor and elderly.
That’s why hospitals often try to send those patients to rehabilitation centers and nursing homes back in their home countries.
Civil rights groups say the practice violates U.S. and international laws and unfairly targets one of the nation’s most defenseless populations.
“They don’t have advocates, and they don’t have people who will speak on their behalf,” said Miami attorney John De Leon, who has been arguing such cases for a decade.
Estimating the number of cases is difficult since no government agency or organization keeps track.
The Center for Social Justice and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest have documented at least 600 immigrants who were involuntarily removed in the past five years for medical reasons. The figure is based on data from hospitals, humanitarian organizations, news reports and immigrant advocates who cited specific cases. But the actual number is believed to be significantly higher because many more cases almost certainly go unreported.
Some patients who were sent to their country of origin subsequently died in hospitals that weren’t equipped to meet their needs. Others suffered lingering medical problems because they never received adequate rehabilitation, the report said.
Gail Montenegro, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the agency “plays no role in a health care provider’s private transfer of a patient to his or her country of origin.”
Such transfers “are not the result of federal authority or action,” she said in an email, nor are they considered “removals, deportations or voluntary departures” as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Patients are frequently told family members want them to come home. In cases where the patient is unconscious or can’t communicate, relatives are told their loved one wants to return. Sometimes they’re told the situation is dire, and the patient may die, prompting many grief-stricken relatives to agree to a transfer.
The American Hospital Association said it does not have a specific policy governing immigrant removals, and it does not track how many hospitals encounter the issue.
There are expectations that medical removals will increase with implementation of health care reform, which makes many more patients eligible for Medicaid. As a result, the government plans to cut payments to hospitals that care for the uninsured.
Some hospitals call immigration authorities when they receive patients without immigration documentation, but the government rarely responds. Taking custody of the patient would also require the government to assume financial responsibility for care.
Jan Stipe who runs an Iowa Methodist department finds hospitals in patients’ native countries that are willing to take them. The hospital’s goal, she said, is to “get patients back to where their support systems are, their loved ones who will provide the care and the concern that each patient needs.”
The American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs issued a strongly worded directive to doctors in 2009, urging them not to “allow hospital administrators to use their significant power and the current lack of regulations” to send patients to other countries.
Doctors cannot expect hospitals to provide costly uncompensated care to patients indefinitely, the statement said. “But neither should physicians allow hospitals to arbitrarily determine the fate of an uninsured noncitizen immigrant patient.”
The NBA on Thursday announced the schedule for its seventh annual Noche Latina program, which once again will celebrate their Latino fans and recognize their own players from Latin America, the Caribbean and Spanish descent. Latinos are a diverse mix of different cultures, accents and physical characteristics. However, the NBA seems to have it all figured out when it comes to describing their growing fan-base across Latin American and in U.S. Hispanic communities.
The Noche Latina month celebration will include games between, “Los Lakers” (Los Angeles Lakers), “El Heat” (Miami Heats), and “Nueva York” (New York Knicks), among others, which will be wearing a special uniform with their names translated to Spanish. During that time, Latino music, games and concerts will be available for the audience who attend the events.
A variety of performances and giveaways includes the National Anthem performed by Mariachi Monumentale de Mexico, color guard presentation by the Roberto Clemente Community Academy ROTC and Latin Rhythms Dance Company performing at halftime.
For this year, a campaign featuring Latino pride was created, in which a man speaking in English explains that although he is proud to be Latino, likes Spanish music, and futbol, he also feels very American, and enjoys basketball. (Take a look at the video here.)
“No, I don’t have a mustache; I don’t wear mariachi or flamenco outfits when I go out to town. Yes, I like salsa music, I like rock too. I am Latino and proud. I am American as well. And although I like futbol, the one that you play with your feet, I am 100 percent basketball. NBA is my game: passionate, exciting, unpredictable. This is me.”
Speaking in Spanish this time, a Latina is also presented, clarifying that she is more than an stereotype and although she does enjoy watching telenovelas, the true drama she is interested in is found on the basketball court. (Take a look at the video here.)
“No, I don’t have a small waist and big hips, nor many children or a Chihuahua as a pet. Yes, I speak Spanish, but my accent is from New York. I’m Latina and proud, I am American too. Passionate, sure, for what makes my heart beat. Although I enjoy watching the telenovela with my grandmother, my favorite drama is on the court. The NBA is my game, I’m from here.”
More than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the country offer college credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of successful AP exam scores — which can potentially save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition.
The recently released College Board’s 9th annual Advanced Placement Report shows that more than 19 percent of public school graduates in 2012 scored three or higher on at least one AP class. While such a figure is a positive trend from a national perspective, a further look into the Latino student data in the AP report reveals mixed results.
According to the AP report, more than 169,521 Hispanic seniors took an AP exam in 2012. This is up from 153,535 in 2011. The problem, however, is that only three in 10 Hispanic high school graduates with AP potential in math actually took an AP math exam. The educational gaps are concerning for some experts who believe Latinos are key to the United States’ future prosperity.
Read more about the education gap here: http://www.voxxi.com/hispanic-high-school-graduates/
With heart and wit, the film explores the issue of homelessness among youth while also capturing the power of art and ambition. The film “Inocente” chronicles the struggles and hardships of fifteen-year-old Inocente Izucar’s journey as a homeless teenager and undocumented Latina who moved around 30 times within nine years with her mother and siblings, mostly calling the streets of San Diego home. Izucar held on to her determination to become an artist in the face of a bleak future and won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject during the 85th Academy Awards.
After her father was deported for domestic violence, Izucar, her mother and her siblings became homeless in San Diego. The family moved from shelter to shelter. Izucar’s mother says things got so hopeless that plans were made for the entire family to jump off the Coronado Bay Bridge before Izucar talked her out of it. For much of Inocente’s life, the emotions of living on the streets were hard to escape.
When she was 12, she was referred to a local nonprofit group, ARTS: A Reason To Survive. The group teaches the therapeutic aspects of art. The teen experimented with photography and painting and successfully turned her coping method into talent. She was drawn to vibrant colors and abstract art. Directors discovered Izucar’s story after she was profiled in a local newspaper, then began the two-year filming process when she was 15.
“You could see the transformation as she got into the painting, she’d get lost,” said Matt D’Arrigo, the founder of the group.
Recently, she had her first art exhibition in New York. Most of her pieces sold, which enabled her to get off the streets and into an apartment. She now lives in Chula Vista.
“Inocente” producer Yael Melamede hopes the film brings attention to the issues of teen homelessness, immigration and the importance of arts education.
Click here to look at samples of Izucar’s art!
Last night, the Latin American Political Society of Dartmouth discussed the implications of Rafael Correa’s re-election in Ecuador this past weekend.
What should we make of a part of the world where governments have resolutely turned their back on Western economic models which have failed Europe, slashed poverty and inequality, taken back industries and resources from corporate control, massively expanded public services and democratic participation – and keep getting re-elected in fiercely contested elections?
That is what has been happening in Latin America for a decade. The latest political leader to underline the trend is the radical economist Rafael Correa, re-elected as Ecuador’s President last weekend with 57% of the shared vote also while his party won an outright majority in parliament.
Ecuador is now part of a well-established pattern. Last October the much reviled but hugely popular Hugo Chávez, who returned home on Monday after two months of cancer treatment in Cuba, was re-elected president of Venezuela with 55% of the vote after 14 years in power in a ballot far more fraud-proof than those in Britain or the US. That followed the re-election of Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Latin America’s first indigenous president, in 2009; the election of Lula’s nominated successor Dilma Rouseff in Brazil in 2010; and of Christina Fernandez in Argentina 2011.