NEW YORK FARM BUREAU IS FOCUSING ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

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Gordon M. Grant for The New York Times

“Immigration is a key issue for New York farms and employees and for consumers who want to continue to enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products,” said NYFB Public Policy Director Julie Suarez. “Without a stable workforce, food doesn’t get picked, cows don’t get milked and farms don’t have products to take to market.”
NYFB is pushing for a program that provides legitimate visa status for workers already here but may sometimes have questionable documentation and who are willing and able to do the work that farmers depend on. These are workers who come from other countries for jobs that farmers try to fill first with local employees but are often unsuccessful. These reforms, the Farm Bureau said, should include both contract and non-contract options for the flexibility that farmers and workers need for labor protections, especially for the state’s fruit and vegetable growers.
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Farms in upstate New York: Photo by Keturah Stickann/John Menier (CC)

Speaking to reporters during a press conference, NYFB outlined three key areas it is targeting including the passage of a new Farm Bill, substantial immigration reform that recognizes New York’s farm needs, and funding for disaster assistance.
NYFB is also focusing on making sure New York’s farmers are represented in any immigration reform package that works its way through Washington, and is promoting changes that address both short and long term farm labor needs in New York.

READ MORE: North Country Now

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“BIBLES, BADGES AND BUSINESS” UNITE FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

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A new alliance between conservative pro-reform constituencies including religious leaders, law enforcement and the business community adds momentum to the push for a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws. On a conference call Monday, leaders from the Texas Association of Business, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition and the National Immigration Forum joined former top law enforcement officials to announce the alliance, calling it “Bibles, Badges and Business.”
“For the last two years, conservative leaders who hold a Bible, wear a badge or own a business have gathered in the mountain west, the midwest, the southeast and our nation’s capital to forge a new consensus on immigrants in America, moving our nation closer to a 21th century immigration process,” Ali Noorani, the executive director of National Immigration Forum, told reporters. “And across the country and on the hill, these conversations are turning into action.”
He said “Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform” will not formally take positions on legislation but will espouse principles including creating a “road to lawful status and citizenship” for undocumented immigrants, respecting those who are waiting in line to become immigrants, modernizing laws for future flow of employment- and family-based immigration and recognizing the need for border security.

Read more: TALKING POINTS MEMO

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WILL THE NEXT POPE BE LATINO?

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Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Nearly half of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America. Some speculate the church will embrace this growing population and give the world its first Hispanic pope.

“There’s a sense this is the time a pope will come from this whole growing area of the church,” said local Catholic leader Father David Garcia.

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When the cardinals meet to elect the next pope, many will be praying he comes from Latin America.
“I think I’m excited that our next pope might be from outside of Europe,” said local parishioner Brian Przybla.

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For the first time in centuries, cardinals will have time to discuss candidates ahead of time and perhaps listen to others.
“I think they will take into consideration someone younger and maybe Hispanic would be great,” said local parishioner Theresa Cuellar.

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Already there is speculation about the Hispanic who could be pope. Archbishop Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil, the largest Catholic country in Latin America, is seen as the front-runner.
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez

Also mentioned is Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Before the election of Pope Benedict XVI, Rodriguez said, “It would be a great hope for many of the young Catholics to have a pope who could come from Latin America.”
Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City is another Hispanic papal contender along with Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez from Columbia.
A third of American Catholics are Hispanic. That number is expected to grow, especially in Texas.

Read more: KHOU

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JENNIFER LOPEZ AND MARC ANTHONY ARE STILL A FAMILY?

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Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony may be separated, but they’re still family! The friendly exes recently reunited to celebrate a birthday party — and even posed for a family photo with Lopez’s boyfriend Casper Smart and Anthony’s girlfriend Shannon de Lima.

Lopez, 43, shared the happy family photo on Twitter Thursday, Feb. 7, with Anthony and Smart posing on either side of them. The celebration was in honor of Anthony’s son Cristian’s 12th birthday on Feb. 5. The singer shares Cristian — plus younger son Ryan, 9 — with ex-wife and former Miss Universe Dayanara Torress.

Happy Birthday Cristian!” Lopez tweeted Thursday alongside the shot. “House party. Familia.”

Lopez began dating 25-year-old Smart, her former backup dancer, in October 2011. Anthony and 24-year-old model Lima went public with their romance in January 2012. Last month, the couple released a statement announcing they had split, but it appears they may be back together as the model retweeted the group photo, which Anthony tagged her in.

The big group shot also includes Lopez and Anthony’s adorable 4-year-old twins, son Max and daughter Emme. The two stars separated in July 2011 after seven years of marriage. Anthony filed for divorce in April 2012, but the split has not yet been finalized.

Lopez told recently USA Today that their kids “didn’t know anything” at first. “They’re starting to figure it out now, a year and a half later,” she said. “They were just 3 at the time.”

Read more: US MAGAZINE

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LEGALIZING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IS A BAD IDEA: THE OP-ED THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE PUBLISHED

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The Chicago Tribune published an op-ed rehashing claims about undocumented immigrants that have been widely debunked, without noting that the author is a fellow at nativist organization the Center for Immigration StudiesCIS is an anti-immigrant organization whose affiliation with hate groups has been thoroughly documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In the February 8 op-ed titled, “Legalizing Illegal Immigrants A Bad Idea,” CIS fellow David Seminara repeated the false claims that undocumented immigrants steal jobs from hard-working Americans and that they put a strain on social services. The Tribune identified Seminara simply as a former diplomat who has “issued thousands of visas during his career at the State Department.”

According to his bio on the CIS website, Seminara has been a fellow at the organization since 2009. He has written extensively for the group’s blog, including writing posts that have criticized an undocumented immigrant fearful of applying for deferred action and attacked scholarships for undocumented immigrants.

Knowing Seminara’s affiliation with CIS would have alerted readers that the op-ed was presenting a biased view of the immigration debate as it repeated many of CIS’ and other nativist groups’ talking points. Indeed, his claim that undocumented immigrants steal Americans’ jobs is not new; it has been discredited by economists and immigration experts using mountains of research: Undocumented immigrants do not generally compete with Americans for labor, and in fact have been found to boost Americans’ wages.

Immigrants given legal status under the immigration reform framework announced by the Senate are also unlikely to be a strain on the welfare system. Under the current framework, newly legalized immigrants would not be eligible for Medicaid or any government social benefit. In addition, immigrants are more likely to have jobs and over half have a high school degree or more.

In Illinois, consumer spending by undocumented immigrants already generates $5.45 billion in gross regional spending which accounts for 31,000 jobs in the Chicago area,according to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. In fact, the Immigration Policy Center reported that in 2010, undocumented immigrants in the state paid nearly half a billion dollars in taxes.

Read More: Media Matters

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