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17
Apr

Details of immigration bill released

Lawmakers appear to have settled on a comprehensive immigration bill.

When people are hard at work in order to send money home to their families, what's happening in the news can be difficult to keep track of. But there's currently a bill in the Senate that has the potential to impact millions of immigrants who are either here currently or who intend to come to the U.S. in the future so that they can pursue their dreams.

According to details of the legislation, which were provided in summary form to multiple news agencies, unauthorized immigrants who have come to the U.S. will be able to obtain citizenship more quickly through some of the new rules laid out by senators. For example, among people who came to the U.S. before December 31, 2011, they will be allowed to apply for "Registered Provisional Immigration Status," which will afford them with the legal capability of staying with in the U.S. However, they have to pay as much as $500 in taxes and penalties and they will also need to show that they haven't been convicted of three or more crimes.

Once this all checks out, immigrants will maintain this provisional status for a period of 10 years. Once this time passes, they'll then be able to earn a green card. Before they're given one, though, they have to establish that they understand English, in addition to paying a $1,000 fee.

Expanded E-Verify use, new visas
There will also be greater use of the E-Verify system, which companies have been using with more regularity in order to determine whether people are legally authorized to reside in the country. Those who fail to meet the various requirements that enable them to work in the U.S. will no longer be eligible to work.

What may be viewed as one of the best components of the new immigration bill, which has yet to become law, is the production of more visas. Of course, visas are what give immigrants the ability to enter the U.S. There are limits to them, however, as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services only hands out so many in any given year. But should the bill become law, the annual cap on H1-B visas for high-skilled workers would jump from 65,000 to 110,000. The absolute maximum handed out would be 180,000.

The bill also stipulates that a brand new visa may be created, called a "W" visa. Though it's still unclear how many of these visas would be created, they would go to any worker who's not in an agricultural-based employment sector. They could then work for employers in the U.S., provided these business are registered.

As for those immigrants who work on farms and in other agriculture-oriented jobs, those who came to the U.S. and are undocumented would have to continue working for that same company or farm owner. After five years, they would then become eligible to apply for a green card.

Though this isn't the first time lawmakers have collaborated in order to try and come up with a comprehensive pathway to legalization for undocumented immigrants, political observers believe this bill has a good chance of clearing the necessary hurdles to be signed into law. Eight senators were charged with crafting the bill, led by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina.

The overwhelming majority of Americans support undocumented workers' ability to stay in the U.S. In a recent survey conducted jointly by CNN and ORC International, 84 percent of respondents said they should be allowed to continue working.

15
Apr

Próxima pelea de Pacquiao sería fuera de Estados Unidos

Pacquiao quiere enfrentar este nuevo desafío, que vendría a completar su quinta pelea con Márquez.

Ya han pasado más de seis meses, desde que los fans del boxeador Manny Pacquiao realizaron enviar dinero a sus familias, para que estos pudieran ver la pelea por pay-per view  del boxeador y político, quien le ganó al mexicano Juan Manuel Márquez. Y si su entrenamiento va como él lo tiene previsto, volvería más tarde que temprano al ring para derrotar al hombre que lo noqueó en el sexto asalto.

De acuerdo con el diario The Philippine Star, Pacquiao quiere enfrentar este nuevo desafío, que vendría a completar su quinta pelea con Márquez. Sin embargo, esta vez  quiere enfrentarse con el mexicano de 39 años de edad en su país de origen y no en Las Vegas, donde la mayoría de sus peleas han tenido lugar.

El entrenador de Pacquiao, Freddie Roach, comparte el deseo del boxeador, "quiero que la última pelea  sea en México", dijo Roach en el Venetian Macao en China, ante  un grupo de televisión y prensa escrita. "Ese es mi sueño."

Mientras que los pensamientos y acciones de Pac-Man  están casi constantemente involucradas con el boxeo y el arduo entrenamiento para ser un mejor peleador, sus colaboradores dicen que en estos días está dedicando la mayor parte de tiempo a la política, ya que las elecciones están a la vuelta de la esquina en su país natal, Filipinas.

Bob Arum, quien ha promovido una gran cantidad de peleas de Pacquiao, dijo a los periodistas que una vez terminadas las elecciones,  Pacquiao, de 34 años de edad, se enfocará completamente en su entrenamiento y preparación física.

Singapur y Macao: otras potenciales ciudades para la próxima pelea
Mientras tanto, a pesar de que Roach y Pacquiao concuerdan en que les gustaría tener su próxima pelea en México – principalmente porque la tasa del impuesto sería más asequible allí que si lo tuvieran en Las Vegas – Arum dijo que está esperando una sede diferente. La Estrella de Filipinas señaló que "estaba esperanzado en que fuese Macao o Singapur", la próxima sede que acogerá la pelea del boxeador.

Donde sea la pelea de Pacquiao, las probabilidades de que se de en un lugar fuera de Estados Unidos son casi completas. Roach dijo en el Venetian Macao que la tasa impositiva en las Vegas, donde sus últimas peleas se han llevado a cabo, han subido desde el 31 por ciento a cerca del 40 por ciento en los últimos años.

Asimismo, la popularidad de Pacquiao ha incrementado en el ámbito internacional y hay muchas ciudades a las cuales, les gustaría auspiciar una de las peleas de boxeo más importante, con el orgulloso filipino como parte del evento.

Rosa Tamayo, representante de Pacquio también habló recientemente con la prensa de acuerdo a las apreciaciones de la próxima pelea del filipino.

"La lucha será definitivamente en septiembre", dijo Tamayo, de acuerdo al periódico del Reino Unido, Daily Mail. "Vamos a hablar sobre el rival y el lugar después de las elecciones del 13 de mayo".

Tamayo ha corroborado algunas de las declaraciones hechas por Roach y Arum sobre el boxeo en los EE.UU. y mantuvo que el costo de la tasa de impuestos en Las Vegas se ha vuelto demasiado prohibitivo. Asimismo, señaló que algunas ciudades consideradas para el próximo evento son: México, Macau, Dubai y Singapur.
Las personas cercanas a Pacquiao, así como expertos del boxeo, creen que Márquez será el próximo contrincante del filipino. En una entrevista, el ex boxeador de peso pesado George Foreman, dijo que tiene plena confianza en que Pac-Man podrá redimirse.

"Todas las probabilidades para convertirse en campeón otra vez, están a su favor", dijo Foreman.

Agregó que su ventaja es su condición física y la formación estelar, lo que según Foreman   permite a Pacquiao a recuperarse más rápido que el típico luchador en el ring.

15
Apr

Mexican-inspired art once divided, now unified

The divide between Mexican and Mexican American is becoming less and less apparent.

A new article indicates that what were once two separate and distinct entities – Mexican art and Mexican American art – may now be uniting to form one unique whole. 

According to a recent feature published in the Los Angeles Times, for the past several decades, there has been a divide between people who send money to Mexico in order purchase artistic renderings that were produced there and the showpieces that were made by someone of Mexican descent, only in America.

C. Ondine Chavoya, associate professor of Latina and Latino art at Williams College in Massachusetts, indicated that the two being isolated from each other has likely been because of the structural differences in how art is taught in the U.S. versus Mexico, not to mention the disparity in how galleries in each country are.

But art experts say that this separation is less apparent, due to recent discoveries revealing that Mexican art and Mexican American art have a lot of comparables.

These similarities were on display at an art festival held in Mexico City, called "Asco: Elite of the Obscure" which catalogued various pieces that were produced between 1972 and 1987. The Los Angeles Times notes that art enthusiasts will be able to see this exhibition through the month of July.

Technology has enabled art enthusiasts to overcome longheld stereotypes
But it isn't just the renderings that contributed to the estrangement between Mexican and Mexican American artwork. The newspaper notes that for generations, each camp had perceptions of the other that were less than favorable. For example, among Mexican artists who have never left their home country, many believed that those who moved to America turned their back on their culture in the pursuit of a different ideal. Octavio Paz, who won a Nobel Prize for literature, may have helped contribute to this stereotype in his work, "The Labyrinth of Solitude."

But modern-day conveniences have helped Mexicans and Mexican Americans overcome these barriers. The Times indicates that the prevalence of text messaging and the internet has enabled individuals on both sides of the border to share their experiences one with another about the differences they've witnessed in the respective art pieces. A more liberated political environment has also contributed to greater communication, even about art topics that were once considered off-limits.

Curators tell the Los Angeles Times that as Mexican and Mexican American art become increasingly interconnected, even more parallels will become apparent. There will be more opportunities to discern the things that are analogous in future projects and exhibitions, including four years from now when Southern California hosts a festival akin to the one that Mexico City opened earlier this year.

Mexico has a rich history of famous painters who have made their mark on the world of art over the past centuries. One of the most well-known Mexican artists is Diego Rivera, who was a prominent painter throughout much of life. Several years before he died in 1957, Rivera's works were showcased in New York City at fine art museums in 1931. Some of his most famous pieces are in Mexico City today, as well as in U.S.-based cities like Detroit and San Francisco.

A slightly more contemporary Mexican artist is David Alfaro Siqueiros, He's perhaps best known for major works like "La Marcha," "Portrait of the Bourgeoisie" and "The March of Humanity." Siqueiros died at the age of 77 in Mexico in 1974. University of Mexico students get to see his work with regularity as an entire wall of a building on the campus depicts one of his murals.

11
Apr

Setting the record straight on insurance and earthquakes

Earthquakes can wreak havoc on homes, businesses and virtually all property structures.

Some of the most significant natural catastrophes to affect people around the world have come in the form of earthquakes.

Over the past decade, millions of people from all around the world have reached into their pockets and bank accounts so that they could send money to nations like Haiti, the Philippines, China, Indonesia and Pakistan so that victims can recover as quickly as possible.

One nation that has been relatively unscathed by earthquakes in recent years is the United States. However, as the Insurance Information Institute indicates, these earth-shaking events can happen at anytime and at any place. As such homeowners and renters need to be sure that they're prepared in the event a temblor occurs.

A mistake that many homeowner often make is assuming that their insurance coverage includes protection from earthquakes. As a general rule, however, basic homeowners policies do not provide compensation for quakes, no matter how minor or powerful they may be. In fact, even in California – a state where earthquakes are 66 percent more likely to transpire than in other parts of the country, primarily due to the sheer number of fault lines in the region – earthquake insurance has to be purchased separately from a normal home owner's insurance policy.

As common as earthquakes may be in the Golden State, though, they occur on a regular basis throughout the U.S., but most of them barely perceptible. Two years ago, though, this coming August, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck Virginia, a state where earthquakes have historically been few and far between, but was still strong enough to cause serious property damage.

Loretta Worters, consumer spokesperson and vice president of the III, noted that what happened in Virginia is a perfect example of how unpredictable earthquakes can be.

"Earthquakes can strike suddenly, without warning and can occur at any time, and in any season of the year," said Worters. "That's why it's important that everyone, no matter where they live, contact an insurance professional to make sure that they have the right type and amount of insurance."

What earthquake insurance covers
For those who've gone through an earthquake and what can result in the aftermath, these natural catastrophes can leave severe devastation. Depending on how strong it is, which seismographs are able to determine, the shaking and cracking caused by earthquakes can bring significant crevices and cracks to the earth's surface, destroying buildings, homes and possessions. Fortunately, earthquake insurance can help homeowners pick up the pieces.

"Earthquake insurance covers debris removal and pays for extra living expenses you may have while your home is being rebuilt or repaired," according to the III. "Coverage for other kinds of damage that may result from earthquakes, such as fire and water damage due to burst gas and water pipes, is provided by standard homeowners and business insurance policies in most states."

Homeowners are encouraged to speak with their insurance professional if they aren't sure whether they have earthquake coverage and how much it will cost them to add it to their standard homeowners policy. They may also want to ask about the offspring of earthquakes, such as landslides and mudflows. While these events may have occurred because of a quaking event, the damage resulting from them may require separate coverage, the III notes.

Even though earthquakes can happen anywhere, history shows that they tend to occur in California, which just so happens to be the state that most immigrants who currently live in the U.S. reside. According to the Immigration Policy Center, more than 10.1 million immigrants currently live in the Golden State. Nearly half of them call California their home, as 45 percent of the immigrants there have gone through the naturalization process.

10
Apr

Immigrants continue to buoy America’s economic engine

Immigrants' drive for success increases the size of the U.S.' gross domestic product.

While immigrants come to the U.S. for other reasons besides economy, for the most part, they do so to improve the economic well-being of their loved ones after making a money transfer. Naturally, these funds give their spouses and children the financial backing they need to satisfy their daily lives, whether they're routine-oriented – such as shopping for weekly groceries – or for the occasional spending splurges on various forms of entertainment.

But as a new study shows, immigrants who work in the U.S. do a great deal of good for the country's finances.

According to its latest report, "Immigration and the American Worker," the Center for Immigration Studies reports that the goods and services the country produces would not be as significant were immigrants not here. For example, the report found that the U.S.' gross domestic product – which is the total value of what the American workforce produces, is 11 percent larger thanks to the immigrant community. Their contributions add an estimated $1.6 trillion to the national GDP on annual basis.

This contribution improves the lives of both those who originate from the U.S. as well as people who are foreign born. When it comes to the impact immigrants' work productivity has on the native-born population specifically, though, this translates to $35 billion each year.

Unauthorized immigrants have also heightened the value of what the U.S. produces each year in the form of goods and services. The report found that between $395 billion and $472 billion is directly attributable to undocumented immigrants.

H-1B visa cap reached in five days
The levels of success that many immigrants have achieved in the U.S. – illustrated by their contribution to the GDP – helps explain why so many people from overseas seek to come to the U.S. so that they can work. And every year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services makes a special type of visa available to foreign workers so that they can enter the country based chiefly on their skills in a particular profession or trade. These visas are known as H-1B.

Because there are so many people who want to enter the U.S. and a limited number of H-1B visas immigration officials put a cap on how many are distributed, determining who get them on a first come, first served basis. Less than a week after USCIS indicated it would begin the approval and application process for H-1Bs, the 65,000 cap was reached.

In short, this means that those who did not file for a high-skill visa will have to wait an entire year if they want to enter the U.S. through this method. It's also bad news for business owners, many of whom hire from overseas due to some individuals' advanced training in specific fields. They, too, will have to wait until April 2014, when the H-1B process begins anew.

The benefits and popularity of the H-1B visa application process has prompted many legislators and immigration advocates to request that the cap be expanded so that more people can take advantage of it. As noted by the Brookings Institute, bills are currently being considered in Congress that would raise the cap to 115,000. It would then increase or decrease by 20,000 in the subsequent year, depending on the type of demand there was.

The Washington, D.C.-based think tank is in favor of increasing the cap.

"The current immigration reform debate is a great opportunity to overhaul the system and move away from an arbitrary race against time for H-1B visas," said Brookings. "A new method that structures America's future immigration system to better meet the demand for high-skilled workers … will be welcomed by employers and workers alike."

9
Apr

‘Illegal immigrant’ no longer acceptable with The Associated Press

The Associated Press has made it official policy to no longer use 'illegal immigrant' in its reportage.

Journalists and reporters often turn to The Associated Press Stylebook as the definitive resource for how to write and report news stories, as there are certain procedures and idiosyncrasies that are unique to news reporting versus traditional writing. They also use this book to assess what terms are and are not appropriate.

And based on a decision of AP executives, one term that is no longer considered permissible is "illegal immigrant."

In a blog posting by the AP's vice president and executive editor, Kathleen Carroll, the news agency explained why it's decided to cease and desist from using the phrase.

"The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term 'illegal immigrant' or the use of 'illegal' to describe a person," said Carroll. "Instead, it tells users that 'illegal' should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally."

She added that at one time, the term was considered to be the best option when referring to the strict definition of describing an individual from overseas without going through the appropriate protocols and procedures. But because the English language is always evolving, there are a variety of other phrases and usages that more adequately defines people who came to the U.S. in an unsanctioned way, such as "unauthorized immigrant" or "undocumented immigrant."

As journalists no longer use the term 'illegal' in reference to a person, this corroborates what many immigration advocates have said, in that no person is illegal. Instead, only actions can be considered unlawful, and have encouraged reporters to make note of that accordingly in their reportage.

Term offends both immigrants and natives
This development comes at a time in which many people in the U.S. – both those who are naturalized citizens as well as people who originate from overseas – believe the term is offensive. Last year, a nationally representative sample of likely voters, said they thought the phrase was unnecessary. In a Fox News poll that surveyed Latinos exclusively, approximately 50 percent of respondents, many of whom send money to their families back home, said they thought the term was disrespectful and hurtful. Less than one-third thought it was an accurate term and thus OK to use.

"Calling people illegal or an illegal immigrant has become normalized even though it's a term that's inaccurate," Monica Novoa, coordinator of the public campaign "Drop the I-Word," told Fox News Latino last year. "It's anti-immigrant, anti-Latino language that's harmful."

The public awareness event is still in effect and many people have signed the pledge at the campaign's website, promising never to use the phrase when referencing actual people.

The Hispanic and Latino community's quest to rid the American lexicon of the phrase has been a long time coming. It's also had its representation in the world of journalism. Earlier this year, Washington Post reporter Antonio Vargas testified in front of a legislative panel in the U.S. Senate.

"When you inaccurately call me illegal, you not only dehumanize me, you're offending them," said Vargas. "No human being is illegal."

Several lawmakers have indicated that they will make it their personal mission to make the terms use extinct. According to ABC News, legislators like Rep John Conyers of Michigan and Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois are among the public officials who've taken the pledge.

Proponents of banning the term are hopeful that other major news sources, such as the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, will follow the AP's lead and prohibit the phrase from being used in their copy.

5
Apr

Next Pacquiao fight more than likely outside the U.S.

When Manny Pacquiao returns to the ring, it likely won't be in the U.S.

It's been more than six months since Filipino fans of Manny Pacquiao made a money transfer to their families so they could watch the Fighting Congressman take on Juan Manuel Marquez on pay-per-view. And if his training goes as he plans, he hopes to return to the squared circle relatively soon to take on the man who knocked him out in the sixth round.

According to The Philippine Star newspaper, Pacquiao wants what would be a fifth go-round with Marquez. However, instead of in Las Vegas – where most of his fights have been – he wants to face off with the 39-year-old Mexican in his home country.

Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, shares his fighter's wish.

"I want the last fight in Mexico," said Roach before a group of television and print news reporters at The Venetian Macao in China. "That's my dream."

While Pac-Man's thoughts and actions are almost constantly involved with boxing and training to be a better fighter, his associates say that he's devoting most of his attention toward politics these days, as elections are just around the corner in his home country of the Philippines.

Bob Arum, who has promoted a great deal of Pacquiao's fights, told the reporters that the election can't come soon enough, as once it's over, the 34-year-old Pacquiao will likely recommit himself toward training and preparation.

Singapore, Macau other potential cities for upcoming fight
Meanwhile, even though Roach and Pacquiao say that they'd like to have their next contest in Mexico – mainly because the tax rate would be more affordable there than if they had it in Las Vegas – Arum said he's hoping for a different host city. The Philippine Star pointed out that "he sounded like he was pitching for either Macau or Singapore" as the venue for Pacquiao's next bout.

Wherever Pacquiao's upcoming fight happens to be, the chances that it will be someplace outside the U.S. are almost certain. Roach told reporters at The Venetian Macao that the tax rate in Las Vegas where his previous matches have been held have skyrocketed over the last couple of years, jumping from 31 percent to nearly 40 percent. Plus, Pacquiao's popularity has grown in the international arena and there are several cities that would like to host a major boxing match with the Fighting Pride of the Philippines as the main event.

Rose Tamayo, Pacquiao's representative, also spoke on behalf of her client to reporters recently.

"The fight is definitely in September," said Tamayo, according to the United Kingdom-based newspaper the Daily Mail. "We will talk about the opponent and the place after the May 13 elections."

Tamayo corroborated some of the statements Arum and Roach made about boxing in the U.S., saying that the tax rate in Las Vegas has become too cost-prohibitive. Thus, some of the top considerations for the host city include Mexico, Macau, Dubai and Singapore.

Those close with Pacquiao, as well as boxing experts, believe that Marquez will, in fact, be the next boxing match on the docket for the 34-year-old. In an interview with Boxing Scene, former heavyweight boxer George Foreman told the online news source that he has every confidence that Pac-Man will redeem himself.

"All the odds are in his favor to become champion again," said Foreman.

He added that the best thing going for him is his peak condition and stellar training, which he says has enables Pacquiao to recover more quickly than the typical in-ring fighter.

3
Apr

Facebook founder staunch immigration reform advocate

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is said to be starting an immigration advocacy group.

Though social media mogul Mark Zuckerberg may not know what it's like to send money to family members in another country, he's sensitive to the plight of many immigrants who are trying to make ends meet here in the U.S. so that they can provide for their families back home. As such, he's a stalwart supporter of immigration reform.

As anyone who's watched the news is well aware, immigration is a significant issue in America today and one that legislators on Capitol Hill are taking on with greater immediacy. From everyday Americans to the Hollywood elite, there has been no shortage of opinions on how to deal with immigration, especially the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country who would like a pathway to citizenship.

Technology industry leaders have been among those who have met with representatives and senators, as well as President Barack Obama himself. Executives, such as Zuckerberg, have expressed that immigrants play a major role in the U.S. economy, especially as it relates to technological development. Speaking to Fox News Latino, Duke University researcher Vivek Wadhwa noted that foreign-born business owners have employed more than 550,000 people since 2006, contributing more than $63 billion in retail sales to the U.S. financial system.

With these facts in mind, Facebook founder Zuckerberg is reportedly putting together a group of fellow technology industry leaders and immigration reform supporters, in hopes of forming an advocacy group. According to public policy news website Politico, the 28-year-old is said to have already committed millions of dollars toward its implementation, with the assistance of America Online founder Steve Case.

Though Zuckerberg is known to be a businessman, whose earnings put him in the upper echelon of the world's wealthiest, the advocacy group he's forming is exclusively for philanthropic efforts, as sources tell Politico that the yet-to-be-named coalition will be a nonprofit.

One of the main goals immigration reform advocates have moving forward is making more visas available to people who wish to come to the country. Each year, there are only so many visas that the government issues, controlled by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The millions of people who are on the waiting list hope that Zuckerberg's efforts will bear fruit.

Facebook used regularly in Latin America
Much of Zuckerberg's success with Facebook is due to its popularity not only in the U.S. but throughout the world. According to internet analytics firm comScore, Facebook is far and away the most popular social media platform in Latin America, a site that's frequented by millions of people who live in this region of the world. In fact, in 2011, there was a 16 percent increase in usage of the social media site, which was originally started so college students could keep in touch with one another.

Latin Americans have been in good company among international visitors to Facebook. Numbers reported by comScore reveal that in June 2011 alone, Facebook had more than 734 million people log on to their servers, followed by Twitter at 144 million. Windows Live Profile, LinkedIn and QQ Microblogging rounded out the top five at 119 million, 84 million and 74 million, respectively.

As far as time spent on the website, internet users averaged 5.4 hours in June 2011, according to comScore. However, Latin American visitors spent more time there, with Argentinians averaging 10 hours, Chileans 8.7 hours and Peruvians 6.6 hours. Among primarily Hispanic countries, the fewest number of average hours spent at the website was 4.9 hours by Brazilians.