Posted in Breaking News, immigration, Latino Community, Uncategorized

U.S. Catholic Bishops speak out against Trump administration’s policy to separate immigrant families “Children are not instruments of deterrence”

Bishop Daniel Flores and Bishop Joe Vásquez of Texas are telling the world even on  Twitter they are against the Trump administration’s move to separate undocumented parents and their children at the border.

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Bishop Flores tweeted on May 31:

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Twitter Screenshot: Bishop Flores

Separating immigrant parents and children as a supposed deterrent to immigration is a cruel and reprehensible policy. Children are not instruments of deterrence, they are children. A government that thinks any means is suitable to achieve an end cannot secure justice for anyone.

The Trump administration denied for months that there was no formal policy separating families at the border. Their story fell apart and finally they had to come clean that they were separating parents from their children as a deterrent to keep other immigrants from coming to the U.S. illegally.

Read a good background piece by Jonathon Blitzer in The New Yorker. In “How the Trump Administration Got Comfortable Separating Immigrant Kids from Their Parents,” Blitzer writes:

On April 6th, Jeff Sessions and Kirstjen Nielsen, the head of Homeland Security, announced a zero-tolerance policy for immigrants at the border. Anyone who didn’t cross the U.S. border at an official port of entry would be criminally prosecuted, even if they were seeking asylum, and those travelling with their children would be separated from them. The policy was now official, and the Administration acknowledged its rationale: it was separating families to discourage others from travelling to the United States illegally

What was the policy before? Politifacts reports:

Before the Trump administration, immigrants entering illegally as families were rarely prosecuted, said Sarah Pierce, an associate policy analyst of the U.S. Immigration Program at the Migration Policy Institute. Instead, immigrants were held in family detention centers until they were sent to appear before an immigration court or deported.

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Bishop Joe Vásquez, the Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued a statement on June 1:

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Photo Courtesy: Bob Roller, CNS

Forcibly separating children from their mothers and fathers is ineffective to the goals of deterrence and safety and contrary to our Catholic values. Family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigration system and a foundational element of Catholic teaching. ‘Children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.’ (Psalm 127:3) Children are not instruments of deterrence but a blessing from God.

Rupturing the bond between parent and child causes scientifically proven trauma that often leads to irreparable emotional scarring. Accordingly, children should always be placed in the least restrictive setting: a safe, family environment, ideally with their own families.

My brother bishops and I understand the need for the security of our borders and country, but separating arriving families at the U.S./Mexico border does not allay security concerns. Children and families will continue to take the enormous risks of migration—including family separation—because the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle remain: community or state-sanctioned violence, gang recruitment, poverty, and a lack of educational opportunity. Any policies should address these factors first as we seek to repair our broken immigration system.

The New Yorker reports that according to the Department of Homeland Security, 658 children were separated from their parents between May 6th and May 19th.

 

Other stories of interest:

Houston Chronicle: Immigrant Families Separated at Border Struggle to Find Each Other

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Posted in Breaking News, Latino Community

Entravision’s Las Vegas employees let go with little notice, Vegas news will be produced out of El Paso

Sources started telling me early Friday that Entravision Communications was going to have massive layoffs at television stations around the country.

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Screenshot: Juan Juarez Twitter

It happened at the Univision station in Las Vegas which is owned by Entravision.

Reporter Juan Juarez confirmed it in his goodbye video he shared on Twitter. Here are parts of his video translated from Spanish to English.

Hi friends on Facebook and all my social media platforms. I wanted to share in person and on this video that they just let us go. Entravision Communications, the station in Las Vegas decided to let go of just about everyone including me, and many of my colleagues. Now they’re going to do the produce our local news from El Paso. I just wanted to say thank you, thank you because I know many people trusted me in the past two-and-half years while I worked at Entravision Las Vegas.

You opened your hearts in front of the camera that I carried in the heat and in the cold, it didn’t matter, and many people trusted in me. You supported me and you opened your hearts and homes to share many of your stories.

…This is not easy, because it’s a hard situation. There have been many tears and feelings now that this corporation make these kind of decision, and don’t take you into consideration. The truth is they do it suddenly without letting you know. We can only push forward…

Juarez was one of the many reporters who covered the Las Vegas Massacre in October 2017. He had grown very fond of Las Vegas and the people he served. Unfortunately he says the loyalty and commitment meant nothing to Entravision.

Thank you to all the viewers who share your stories with me and my co-workers. We leave knowing we did great work, we dedicated ourselves to the community, and unfortunately this did not matter to Entravision Communications.

Sources say Luisa Collins, Vice President of News Social Affairs and Wellness at Entravision Communications flew to Las Vegas to give everyone the bad news. According to an insider, she told the staff in news, radio and sales something about “difficult time and we have to do this.”

A total of 13 people from news were shown the door. They included a technical director, editor, three MMJ’s, a female anchor and two engineers. Two photographers and two male anchors remain and may gather news for the El Paso news production.

Reporter Jasmina Gonzalez fought back tears in her goodbye video she also posted on Twitter.  Here’s part of it translated from Spanish to English.

I will no longer be working for Univision, but I want to tell you that I take a little piece of all your hearts, they are right here with me. Thank you for your trust. Thank you for your support, for opening the doors to your homes, for always being there for us. I want to say I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

 

I have contacted Collins via Facebook to find out why the company made this decision, and how many other employees at other Entravision stations face termination. Will this save Entravision millions of dollars? Stay tuned.

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According to Entravision’s website:

Entravision Communications Corporation is a diversified Spanish-language media company utilizing a combination of television, radio and digital operations to reach Latino consumers across the United States, as well as the border markets of Mexico. Entravision is the largest affiliate group of both the top-ranked Univision television network and Univision’s UniMas network, with television stations in 20 of the nation’s top 50 Latino markets. The company owns and/or operates 58 primary television stations and also operates one of the nation’s largest groups of primarily Spanish-language radio stations, consisting of 49 owned and operated radio stations. Additionally, Entravision has a variety of cross-platform digital content and sales offerings designed to capitalize on the company’s leadership position within the Latino broadcasting community. Entravision shares of Class A Common Stock are traded on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol: EVC.

If the company is having money problems, it is not showing at the top. According to Salary.Com. CEO Walter F. Ulloa at Entravision Communications, made $4,751,204 in total compensation. More information on Salary.Com 2016 Report.

Posted in Breaking News, immigration, Latino Community, Uncategorized

Politico, immigrants are people not commodities, ‘Get your own immigrant’ story insulting and insensitive

Give two professors time to come up with a ridiculous answer to the U.S. immigration issue, and you’ll get what Politico Magazine has just published.

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Screenshot: Politico

The headline said it all, “What If You Could Get Your Own Immigrant?”

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Eric Posner

Eric Posner, a Chicago law professor and Glen Weyl, a Yale professor think immigrants should be matched with Americans who need cheap labor. Their idea is to have an  international website where Americans can find an immigrant they can sponsor in exchange the immigrant can live in a basement and get paid $5 dollars an hour for work.

Can we say indentured servitude?

I am a fan of many reporters who work for Politico, but it is shocking that this article got by several gatekeepers at the magazine.

Do you really think immigrants should be treated basically like slaves? Do you really think they should live in a basement?

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Glen Weyl

Sure, some could say an immigrant can turn down the job, but still…live in basement? That’s how these professors think we should treat newcomers. How heartless!

Shame on Posner and Weyl who proved they think immigrants are commodities. Why not use your knowledge on “an idea” that can help immigrants live a decent life in the United States and be treated with respect?

Also shame on Blake Hounshell, Politico Magazine’s editor-in-chief who gave these guys a platform to insult the immigrant community. He also tweeted the story early because he was proud of it.

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Screenshot: Hounshell Twitter 

This is why more people of color are needed in managerial positions in newsrooms. I would love to know how many editors are Hispanic at Politico Magazine. If I was an editor at Politico this story would have been tossed out.

As the daughter of immigrants, I can’t imagine my parents shoved in a basement and paid five bucks an hour to feed their kids.  As a journalist, I am ashamed that an editor would look at this story and not realize it only encourages people to look at immigrants as property not as people.

No matter how you feel about immigrants, whether here legally or not, they still deserve respect.

As I was writing this blog, Politico changed the headline. They are getting backlash on social media for the story and the headline.  Now it reads “Sponsor an Immigrant Yourself.”

Too late the damage has been done.

Posted in Human Interest, Latino Community, Professional Tips

How journalists should cover Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15- Oct. 15

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Courtesy: Mansfield ISD

Hispanic Heritage Month starts today, September 15 and runs until October 15. It celebrates Hispanics in the U.S. It recognizes not only the Latino culture and history but also our contributions.

Background

Congress started Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968, and it was expanded to a month in 1988. The celebration coincides with the national independence days of several Latin American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica celebrate on September 15. Mexico celebrates its independence on Sept. 16 and Belize on Sept. 21.

Topics to cover on Hispanic Heritage Month

OK for the record, Hispanic Heritage Month IS NOT about margaritas and tacos. Don’t be cliché.

Hispanic Heritage Month is about shining a light on good people and projects that profile the Latino community. Do more than one story. Produce a series of profiles or stories that run every other day or week. Here are some suggestions:

  • Hispanic entrepreneurs
  • Studies being done on the Latino c ommunity by a local university or hospital.
  • Hispanic philanthropists
  • Latino community projects that are aimed helping children, immigrants and the community as a whole.
  • The rise of bilingual schools and immersion schools. Who is learning Spanish as adults and children and why?
  • The story behind the leader: profile Latino community, church and political leaders. What in their background made them the person they are today?
  • Latino artists
  • Hispanic educators
  • The economy and Hispanic spending power
  • Political power and the Latino vote

Turn to resources to give you ideas

If the suggestions I have given you still don’t spark an idea for a few stories for Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some resources that can help:

Huffington Post Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month – Library of resources and topics

Facts about U.S. Latinos about Hispanic Heritage Month

Fun facts about Hispanic Heritage Month

Remember as Latinos we want to see our stories all year long. Recognize this important month but don’t stop telling our stories when Hispanic Heritage Month is over.

Posted in Breaking News, Cesar Chavez, Human Interest, immigration, Latino Community

Dallas Mega Marchers show commitment to unity and push for immigration reform

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Photo courtesy: DPD

The Dallas Mega March did not draw the 100-thousand people that organizers expected, but the ones who did show up were just as passionate as the ones in 2006. That’s when 500,000 marchers took to the streets of Dallas.

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Photos by Rebecca Aguilar 

Ashley of Sherman, Texas was at the rally in front of Dallas City Hall with a sign that read “Got White Privilege?” She thought it was important to take her little boy to the Mega March on Sunday, because she said it was history.

Thousands at the rally waved signs, some read “Will trade racists for refugees” and “Keep hope alive.” Dallas police estimated around 32-hundred people marched on Sunday.

I did a Facebook Live while I was there and walked through the crowd. People of different backgrounds, ages, and religions were there to show their support.

Posted in Breaking News, Human Interest, Latino Community

Mercado Bilingüe, the small Dallas newspaper with a big vision for our Latino community

It’s nice to see that two of my stories have made the front page of  Mercado Bilingüe’s online site. One was about the impact of Pope Francis’ visit and the other about a Texas group fighting to get water breaks for construction workers.

But this blog is actually a big shout out to Mercado Bilingüe and Editor-and-Chief Phillip Morales who allows me to write opinion pieces and cover stories that affect our DFW Latino community. Something I’ve always wanted to do as a journalist.

A while back I realized Mercado Bilingüe was making an impact in North Texas. It is a small weekly newspaper but one with a big vision. The vision is to cover stories that mainstream media often ignores. Stories that are impacting Latinos and their families. You can also read Mercado Bilingüe online.

When I worked in local television news in Dallas, doing a positive story on Latinos was nearly impossible. Breaking news and blood and guts feeds the local television news beast every day. The only Latinos I covered as a TV reporter were those accused of committing a crime or victims. I also covered many immigration stories. That was my job and I was good at it.

But Latinos are more than stories about immigration and undocumented workers.  We’re business leaders, scientists, doctors, lawyers, community leaders, teachers, fundraisers and much more. We are contributing every day in local neighborhoods and businesses.

Today small news outlets around the country like Mercado Bilingüe are giving readers, even non-Latinos a good and important choice. Would you rather watch another local crime story on television or read a story in Mercado Bilingüe that can inspire and empower you as a person?

I also applaud Morales for embracing this veteran news woman. At a time when many news managers are actually posting jobs that read “Looking for a young eager reporter to cover…”, Morales realizes that age has nothing to do with good journalism.

Funny story, a local newspaper manager turned me down for work because he claimed I didn’t have enough newspaper experience.  My decades of experience in television news didn’t count for him. Yes, doors are closed even for women like me with 50 journalism awards and nominations.

My last bit of good news, I will be covering the 2016 Presidential race for Mercado Bilingüe. I love politics. As Latinos we are a huge voting block and I will be finding out what the candidates have planned for us.