Voting for the first time in the USA…at 93!

This is my grandmother, mi abuelita Mama Lilia, she is 93 years old, and today she is sending in her ballot for the 2012 Presidential election.

This is the first time she votes in the USA, having just became a US citizen last year after studying US history and English for more than a year. (Her favorite presidents are Abraham Lincoln and FDR.) During her citizenship exam she was asked why she wanted to be a US Citizen. She replied, “Para tener voz y voto.”

So today she is extremely happy and proud to send in her vote. She’s been following the news and the debates, but she’s always known who she was voting for. Todos los dias she had been asking me if the ballot had come in the mail.

The last month has been pretty tough on her health, but she’s hanging in there and we’re all pulling for her. Today was a very good day, gracias a Dios. It was worth a picture on our way to the mailbox!

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Bravo Dreamers! Bravo President Obama!

Today is a good day if you are a young undocumented student in the USA and you were fighting for a chance to stay legally in the country you love, and the only country you know. Breaking news this morning! This is a bit from the New York Times:

U.S. to Stop Deporting Some Illegal Immigrants

By 

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will be able to obtain work permits and be safe from deportation under a new policy announced on Friday by the Obama administration

The policy, effective immediately, will apply to people who are currently under 30 years old, who arrived in the country before they turned 16 and have lived in the United States for five years. They must also have no criminal record, and have earned a high school diploma, remained in school or served in the military.

See the complete article here.

Congratulations to the Dreamers, and we realize that there is still so much more to do for them. Here’s how you can participate and support, through one of the major organizations fighting for them, Presente.org. I just received an email from one of its founders, Gaby Pacheco, and it urged us to keep fighting. This is from her email:

It would be easy to stop here and celebrate the President’s words, but we’re 1.2 million deportations past words at this point. We have to send the country a message that while we appreciate the President’s announcement today, we won’t stop fighting for change until we see it.

That’s why I need you to tell the President, Congress and other leaders in this nation that you stand with me, and millions of undocumented people who have become Americans, even if we don’t have papers that recognize us as such. If you tell them that you stand with us, you’ll be sending a message, and that you’ll continue to fight against every deportation. Tell them, now, and tell all your friends to do the same:

http://act.presente.org/sign/withdreamers

Go to Presente.org for more information.

So on that note, let’s keep up the fight for these kids. I personally know of several exemplary, smart, hard working, decent, and best all around kids who would love a chance at citizenship and who love this country just like any citizen born here. You would do anything to help them because they are the best of us, really.  As TIME Magazine said this week (bravo Time Magazine! This is the 2nd cover in 3 months dedicated to Immigration issues) “WE ARE AMERICANS…. Just not legally.”

It’s about time to make it happen for them and for the rest of the hard working, respectful immigrants who want to do things right and stay here legally.

Amazing cover by Time Magazine for the week of June 15, 2012. They probably just increased their Latino readership ten fold with all their new readers!!

Great Time Magazine cover this week: “Yo Decido”

Ya era hora que alguien lo dijera. Bravo Time Magazine. We love it. What a brilliant headline. I think it will catch on as a new mantra, along the lines of the always energetic but overused “Sí Se Puede.” (Para los mexicanos esto representa el amor/apoyo a la Selección Mexicana de Futbol solamente.)

“Yo Decido,” which for all my English speaking amigos, translates to “I Decide,” is a pretty strong statement. Yes, we have the power to make a difference.

I think this might be the first time that the magazine has a Spanish title on their cover and a mainstream media outlet declares the power of Latinos in the next elections. Look for it this week on your newsstand. I looked for it yesterday but it had not arrived.  It’s already making the rounds all over the place for the daring title and important subject matter.

Case in point: my 92 year old grandmother became a US Citizen last year and when they asked her why she wanted to become a citizen she said, “PARA TENER VOZ Y VOTO.” (“So I can have a voice and vote.”)

Here is the cover below and the link to the article online at Time.com “Why Latino Voter Will Swing the 2012 Election.”

From Time.com, the cover for the week of March 5, 2012.

Great article from the NYT on Immigration

Hey… it’s Monday.

Perdónenme el San Lunes but I just want to post a link to a great article I read this morning on the metro (I’m not done reading it todavía, but it’s great reporting as usual from the NYT and worth a read.)

Here comes 2012 and the elections and the never ending conversation/debate/issue that is Immigration. Brace yourselves, people. There’s more to come.

To read: “Crossing Over, and Over” from Damien Cave for the New York Times, click HERE.

Screen shot from NYT.com

Gregory Rodriguez from the LA Times says it best

The immigration rants and rhetoric are getting worse everyday in the US. You can practically blame Hispanics for any problem there is,  like the all the boogeymen, right wingers and hate mongers do. Then it’s all over the tv news and internet and public opinion is all messed up.

Is there a solution to this? Here’s an excellent column by Gregory Rodriguez from the LA Times: “Immigration facts figures and thoughts” which tries to shed some light on the statistics, while presenting a pro immigration voice that does not seem unbalanced.

I could not agree more with Mr. Rodriguez. 100% de acuerdo.  Although people in my camp rarely get any airtime on the nightly news or talk shows. We are just not dramatic enough, I guess.

No doubt haters will be flocking to Mr. Rodriguez’ column/page at the Times to inundate it with hate mail. Asi pasa cuando sucede. The internet gave everybody with a keyboard and wifi the chance to post, and I don’t think anybody is monitoring feedback on these publications. So we have to read hateful comments along with the few comments that are actually of value and insight.

Como dijo Rodney King durante los LA Riots, “Can’t we all get along?”

From the Los Angeles Times. July 26, 2010

Immigration facts, figures — and thoughts

Gregory Rodriguez

Illegal immigration has actually fallen in the last few years. So why all the heated rhetoric today?

With the immigration debate heating up — and a federal court case over Arizona’s SB 1070 brewing — you’d think that the U.S. was besieged by growing numbers of illegal immigrants. But you’d be wrong.

Despite the heightened rhetoric and the bloodcurdling vitriol surrounding the issue, illegal immigration has actually declined significantly over the last few years. While journalists like to characterize the anger over immigration as a response to facts on the ground — i.e. people are inundated and incensed — the numbers don’t bear them out.

In fact, the opposite is true. According to a February report by the Department of Homeland Security the number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. actually dropped by a whopping 1 million between 2008 and 2009, which amounts to the sharpest decrease in 30 years. It was the second year of declining numbers.

Likewise, the Border Patrol reports that apprehensions are down by more than 60% since 2000, to 550,000 last year, the lowest number in 35 years, even though the border is more tightly controlled than ever. As William Finnegan wrote in last week’s New Yorker, “The southern border, far from being ‘unsecured,’ is in better shape than it has been for years — better managed and less porous.”

And there’s more. Despite the drumbeat about hordes of undocumented Mexicans who have come north to take our jobs, consider this: According to the Pew Hispanic Center, between 2005 and 2008, the number of Mexican migrants arriving in the U.S. actually declined by 40%.

It’s not only the number of Mexican illegal immigrants that has dropped. The fact that the U.S. economy is struggling has discouraged high-skilled immigrants from around the globe from looking for jobs in America, and the flow of applicants for H1-B visas, or work permits, has slowed. Before the recession, the entire 85,000 H1-B annual quota would be filled within days of the application date on the first of April. For fiscal year 2010, the quota wasn’t reached until December 2009.

Finally, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey last fall revealed a historic decline in the percentage of U.S. residents who are foreign-born — from 12.6% in 2007 to 12.5% in 2008. That represents only about 40,000 people numerically, but it is the first time since the 1970 census — 40 years ago — that the foreign-born percentage of the U.S. population has gone down.

So, in the face of all this data showing that legal and illegal immigration is down dramatically, what’s all the fuss about? Why has the debate turned so nasty? Why does it seem worse than it did in 1994, during the debate over Proposition 187, California’s anti-immigrant ballot measure?

The easy answer, of course, is that the economy is tough and historically people have looked for targets to blame for their feelings of impotence.

But today I think there are other contributing factors. The political discourse overall is pretty horrific, and while immigration has always brought out the worst in people, today’s polarized climate only makes matters worse.

Furthermore, the right wing, where much of the anti-immigrant frenzy comes from, no longer has an authoritative voice of reason pressing for decency on the issue. Four years ago, after President George W. Bush unsuccessfully launched his own effort at comprehensive immigration reform, he warned against “harsh, ugly rhetoric.” Today, Bush is hardly heard from and the right has an “open borders” policy on over-the-top rhetoric.

Struggling newspapers seeking to engage readers at any cost are also part of the problem. Whereas racist rants were once confined to marginal websites, today many papers — including this one — have opened their online comments section to, well, complete nut-jobs. Allowing vitriolic racial rhetoric to remain on a mainstream website is to give it a level of acceptability. Just last week, in response to my column on the so-called burka ban in France, a rabid commenter proposed that all those crossing the U.S.- Mexico border without papers should be shot on sight. Nice. Such “dialogue” not only pushes out reasonable people, it emboldens the unreasonable ones. By allowing it to be posted, newspapers are presiding over the mainstreaming of anti-immigrant hate speech.

There may be those who see hatred as a justifiable means to an end. Perhaps they hope that all this harsh rhetoric will keep even more illegal immigrants at home. But they’d be silly to think that such invective only makes life harder for immigrants. Unfortunately, it also actively degrades our culture, our public square and our democracy.

grodriguez@latimescolumnists.com //

Take that Arizona!

¡Sí Se Puede!

It was a great weekend for all the marches Pro-Immigration Reform and against SB 1070. I have a feeling this time it’s going to be different, you’ll see! (See pictures on the link above.)

In the meantime my good friend Marisol sent me these, that I am reposting so you can laugh a little este san lunes por la mañana.

Este taxista tambien puede discriminar. Sorry Arizona! No hay servicio para usted:

Take that Arizona! Someone in Mexico took this picture, went viral on facebook and now it's here.

Yep! That's what it seems like. (By Mike Keefe)

Verdad. (Cartton by Fitz Simmons)