As anyone who’s relocated from another country to the U.S. knows, futbol is not as popular in America as it is in their part of the world. While what those in the States refer to as soccer does have a devoted following, it’s nowhere near as big a sport as it is in Latin America and most of Europe.
That’s not to suggest that the U.S. citizens aren’t wild about sports that you play with your feet – it’s just their preferred brand has a ball that’s shaped differently and strapped with white laces.
Similar to the World Cup for soccer, professional football has its own championship known as the Super Bowl. Each year right around this time, most of the country watches the sporting event, which for the 2012-13 season takes place on February 3, between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.
Some of the statistics detailing just how popular the event is provides a glimpse into America’s football-crazed culture.
The viewership of the Super Bowl may be the best indicator of how many people take part in the annual event. For example, last year alone, Super Bowl XLVI between the New England Patriots and New York Giants broke television records, with nearly 167 million people throughout the country watching the three hour game, according to Nielsen Media. That’s more than 50 percent of the American population. It marked the fifth straight year that that year’s Super Bowl became the most-watched televised event, according to the National Football League.
Advertisers spend millions for commercials during Super Bowl
Because so many watch the gridiron action, advertisers pay top dollar to air 30-second commercials in an effort to gain a potential customer’s business. According to John Bogusz, executive vice president of sports sales for CBS, the television network that aired the Super Bowl, advertisers spent as much as $3.5 million for a half-minute commercial. And for this year’s game, the average cost will likely be north of $4 million. Some of the most common advertisers have worldwide representation. In fact, when immigrants send money overseas to their family, their kids and spouses may spend their money on many of the products that these companies promote, such as cars made by Volkswagen, candy made by Mars and soft drinks produced by Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Many immigrants who choose to relocate to the U.S. do so for the business climate. And the Super Bowl is a major contributor for businesses of various types. According to Rockport Analytics, spending that derives from watching the big game helps produce more than 5,500 jobs each year, contributing nearly $180 million to employer payrolls.
Immigrants have had their influence on the Super Bowl, not only among those watch but also those who are actually in the NFL and have a chance to play in the yearly event that’s hosted by a different city each year. For instance, Mat McBriar, punter for the Philadelphia Eagles, is originally from Australia. Igor Olshansky, a defensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins, was born in Ukraine and moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 8. And former Arizona Cardinals guard Rolando Cantu hails from Mexico. He now works in the front office for the team.
Football may be a ways away from catching up to futbol among the Latino community, but it is making headway. Recently, the Dallas Morning News reported about the popularity of American-style football, with some of the biggest fans rooting for the Dallas Cowboys. The paper notes that the NFL opened offices in Mexico back in 1998 and has since made a concerted effort to market itself to the Latino community.
After years of being in a dead-end job or earning a wage that prevents them from taking care of their families, many people have resolved to make 2013 a year that they take the steps needed to immigrate to the U.S. And as a recent report suggests, it’s a good year in which to send money home to their families from there, as the job forecast in the country is stellar.
According to a recent report released by job listing website CareerBuilder, many employers within the U.S. intend to increase their staffing levels this year. Approximately one in every four employers in the country say they want to bring more people on board so that they can increase their business productivity.
Much of this optimism may stem from the economy showing modest improvements. The U.S. Census Bureau recently revealed that the unemployment rate stayed at 7.8 percent in December. In the final months of 2012, the jobless rate stayed below 8 percent, a level that the rate was above for most of the past several years.
Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, indicated that some of the least favorable job forecasts come out of Western Europe. Just 19 percent of employers in Italy expect to recruit more in 2013, with as many as 33 percent of companies intending to slash their staff levels. Other European nations whose companies predict hiring will be limited include France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
He added that there’s no real continuity in deciphering which companies from the various parts of the country will be hiring or firing.
“The job outlook presents varying degrees of growth and deceleration as governments and businesses strive to rebuild and expand and deal with large deficits,” said Ferguson. “The overall hiring picture is improving, but companies will remain watchful as they navigate headwinds and maneuver through somewhat precarious economic terrain.”
Ferguson also stated that the sluggishness with which many European companies intend to hire largely derives from the sovereign debt crisis this part of the world has experienced. Countries like Greece and Spain have had to cutback on various entitlement programs due to budget shortfalls.
Great time to be in sales
Meanwhile, with many U.S. companies expected to hire more, CareerBuilder points out which sectors will be the most likely to post ‘help wanted’ signs online, in print and anywhere else job openings are advertised. Domestic companies in sales, information technology and customer service are the major markets that look to expand their payrolls in the next 12 months. Sales was a theme among the world’s 10 largest economies, as six of them gave indications that this sector is looking for qualified candidates.
Financial experts say that the rate with which companies hire could do wonders for the nation’s economy by putting more people back to work and improving the country’s gross domestic product.
Some states have already witnessed economic recovery. According to three new reports from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the Migration Policy Institute and the University of Arkansas, the Natural State is one of those places in which economic conditions have vastly improved.
Results from the reports show that Arkansas – a state whose nickname also happens to be the Land of Opportunity – witnessed a net gain of $3.4 billion in earnings. Much of this derived from immigrants, as on a per capita basis, immigrant contributions were greater than the services they received.
Immigrants also fill many of the state’s most important employment positions. Between 2008 and 2010, nearly one in every five Arkansas physicians was an immigrant. Sixteen percent of construction workers, 13 percent of manufacturers and 9 percent of agricultural workers were also immigrants.
While there is some disagreement about how unauthorized immigrants should be assimilated into the United States, there appears to be widespread concurrence that they at the very least deserve a pathway to citizenship.
According to a recent poll commissioned jointly by two public policy interest groups that favor opposing sides of the political spectrum, more than half of the 1,000 respondents polled said that they were in favor of immigrants being granted a pathway to naturalization.
Speaking to an assembly of reporters about the poll, National Immigration forum member Jeb Bush Jr., son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sr., said it’s promising to see that Democrats and Republicans are largely like-minded on the issue of a citizenship pathway.
“Hopefully [lawmakers] have this type of data to … allow them to say listen, this is an issue that’s great for our country, people support it around the country, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for border security,” said Bush, according to the Huffington Post.
There was also a considerable amount of unity on immigration, in general, being a good thing for the country. When asked about immigration being a good or bad thing, nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated they thought it was overwhelmingly positive.
However, these same respondents didn’t think the U.S. immigration system was operating very well. Nearly half of the poll’s participants thought immigration needed to be revamped completely. Only 2 percent of adults thought the current system was “working very well.”
Though important, immigration reform still not priority
Despite respondents’ general sense that immigration reform needed to be addressed and that immigrants do a lot of good for the U.S. economy, there wasn’t a general sense that this issue should take precedent above other important issues for the federal government. The poll found that only 11 percent of men and women labeled fixing the country’s immigration system as a “very high priority.” At the same time, few thought it was a “very low priority,” as approximately one in every 10 indicated as such. The overwhelming majority – 77 percent – thought amending the immigration system was a medium or high priority.
Many legislators have given indications that 2013 ought to be a year in which immigration reform is furthered. The State of the Union address is slated for the early part of February and many political observers say that President Barack Obama will likely devote a portion of this speech to outlining what he hopes to do in the year ahead and how legislators can help.
Many legislators have given their positions in immigration, including those who some suspect could run for president in 2016. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, one of three Hispanics that serves in the Senate – the others being Ted Cruz from Texas and Robert Menendez of New Jersey – recently gave this thoughts and opinions on what he would do to reform the system so working people can continue to send money home to their families. And according to the Washington Post, his policies align with the general public’s, in that he supports a pathway to citizenship. The editorial board for the newspaper said that the Senate Republican’s intentions largely mesh with Democrats on principle. Where there’s contrast is how this pathway should be constructed. In other words, there’s some division on the details of this pathway.
However, one detail that Rubio and other lawmakers are eye-to-eye on is making more visas available for people who work in industries that the country needs, such as technology, engineering and the sciences.
Last year was one of the best ones ever to be in the market to buy a house, as a recent report indicates affordability was at an all-time high.
According to the National Association of Realtors, a combination of record-low mortgage rates and list prices helped make 2012 one of the most optimal years to purchase a property. NAR’s Housing Affordability Index reached 198.2 in the final days of the year, one of the highest rates the measure has reached since 1970.
The housing affordability index is a tool NAR uses to assess how reasonably priced home are for property seekers. Any number above 100 is an indication that buying conditions are favorable. And the higher the number is, the more purchasing power the buyer has.
“A window of opportunity remains open for buyers who can qualify for a mortgage,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR.
He added that homeownership in the country would liked have increased even further last year, were it not for “excessively tight underwriting” standards that precluded some people from purchasing a house.
Since the housing crisis, wherein home values fell precipitously due to a dramatic rise in foreclosures, mortgage servicers have increased their lending standards in order to more effectively determine whether a borrower has the capability to pay off a mortgage. Among the qualifications prospective borrowers have to show is a strong credit history, information about any outstanding debts and whether they are gainfully employed. Immigrants may be particularly attuned to this employment requirement, as many are in the U.S. so they can work and send money home to their families.
Make smart financial decisions after mortgage is attained
However, because of the expenses that can come with life in the U.S., it can be difficult to buy a house. And even if buyers have the financial means, the standards needed to be approved for a mortgage can be considerable. Furthermore, if approved, certain buying decisions can cause lenders pause, according to real estate expert Broderick Perkins.
“Lenders today don’t just check your qualifying information once or even twice,” writes Perkins. “Three, four or more checks, of one document or another, aren’t out of the question in today’s tight lending market.”
Perkins notes that whether a borrower is approved or not is largely dependent upon what assets they have and the level of risk the lender considers the borrower to be. Thus, if a borrower is approved but their assets change in the course of the lending period, it could bring serious problems for the homeowner because they no longer have the money needed to repay the debt.
There are a variety of strategies, however, borrowers can employ in the years in which they’re repaying their mortgage.
For example, Broderick says that one of the most important things to do is not to make any significant purchases if at all possible. Buying a new car, for example, may be necessary, but the amount of funds needed to pay it off – combined with the mortgage debt – could weigh too heavily on a person’s financial capability. In other words, they may be stretched too thin.
It goes without saying, but Broderick also says that borrowers should strive to pay off their debts on time. Having too many back payments could result in a lender nullifying a mortgage deal because the borrower’s credit has diminished too severely.
Finally, mortgage borrowers should make every attempt to maintain or improve their status on their present job. Broderick says that it’s a good idea to avoid looking for a new job in this period, unless it’s a second job wherein more money can be made.
A new survey indicates that a considerably large percentage of businesses throughout the country will be closed on a day that commemorates a great man who was a stalwart advocate for civil rights for all people.
According to a recent poll conducted by Bloomberg, approximately one in every three business will pay their respects to Martin Luther King, Jr. by providing their workers with a paid holiday on the day of his birth. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is January 21.
Bloomberg says that the approximately 32 percent of employers that intend to make January 21 a holiday is slightly more than how many did this in 2011, when around 30 percent of companies gave their workers paid time off. This has been an ongoing trend for the past decade. For example, in the 1990s, around 20 percent of employers – one in every five – gave their workers the day off.
But companies today are doing more in memory of Dr. King than simply giving their employees extra time at home to spend with their families or to relax. A fairly sizeable percentage of employers say that they will also hold some type of event that commemorates Dr. King’s accomplishments, whether it’s through holding a discussion group, establishing a memorial celebration, setting up a volunteer service project or sending out information about Dr. King’s career and life via email.
MLK Day long recognized as day of remembrance
Though a slightly higher percentage of companies give their employees time off for Dr. King’s birthday than several decades ago, the overwhelming majority of them that do so have had this policy since the 1990s. Bloomberg says that approximately 60 percent of employers had established Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a paid holiday before the year 2000.
Whether companies give their employees time off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or not, few would deny that he did a tremendous amount of good for African-Americans. But he’s also described as someone who helped advocate for immigrant rights as well.
Harvey Clemons, a religious leader from Houston, Texas, recently described how he helped fights for immigrants.
“Immigration is about human dignity and the nobility of parents of different tribes and nations facing the risk of coming to a foreign land, a land of opportunity, to work for a better tomorrow for their children,” Clemons wrote in a 2009 editorial. “Dr. King invoked the truth, the truth being that all humans ought to be treated with a certain dignity. It would be natural for us to look to him as an example for fighting for a just cause.”
Several immigration rights advocates have said that they believe Dr. King would be a fervent supporter of the DREAM Act, which is a piece of legislation that some lawmakers have supported, giving a greater number of unauthorized workers the ability to gain citizenship more easily.
Once many of these workers secure citizenship, they can focus on earning a living, as well as the ability to send money home, if need be.
Cuando la gente viene a los EE.UU., no es sólo porque quieren enviar dinero a sus familias. A menudo quieren tomar ventaja de unsistema educativo extraordinario, ya que Estados Unidos está dentro de los pocos países dedicados a entregar una gran cantidad de recursos financieros para ayudar a sus estudiantes a aprender.
Afortunadamente, más legisladores se están dando cuenta de esto y como resultado están siendo más flexibles para que estudiantes indocumentados puedan acceder a los beneficios que tienen los alumnos regulares que viven en el Estados y pagan un valor menor a los que vienen de otro Estado o de otro país.
Vale decir que esta medida no ha estado exenta de críticas, debido a que uno de los argumento de quienes se oponen es el hecho que dar este tipo de beneficios a quienes no poseen documentación para vivir en Estados Unidos, es poner mucha más tensión al sistema educacional actual.
Pero, como muestra un informe reciente, los estudiantes extranjeros hacen maravillas para la economía de EE.UU., contribuyendo billones de dólares a los recursos financieros del país cada año.
De acuerdo con un análisis reciente realizado por la NAFSA- por sus siglas en Ingles- : Asociación de Educadores Internacionales, los estudiantes que asistieron a la universidad en el curso 2011-2012 ha contribuido cerca de $ 22 mil millones a la economía de los EE.UU.
Si desglosamos esta cifra, los fondos aportados fueron principalmente de matrícula y cuotas, que comprende cerca de $ 16 mil millones del total de $ 21,8 mil millones. Otros $ 400 millones, aproximadamente, resultó de alojamiento, comida y otros gastos.
Lo que es particularmente llamativo es que la cifra de $ 22 mil millones es un cálculo “conservador”. En otras palabras, la NAFSA se basa también en estadísticas recogidas de varias organizaciones diferentes que no son oficiales, tales como la Casa de Wintergreen Orchard, el Instituto de Educación Internacional, así también como los datos de la Universidad de Indiana Jason Baumgartner.
La mayoría de las matriculas escolares provienen de California
Creemos que con respecto a la educación, algo digno de mencionar es saber de dónde provienen los fondos que deja la educación en Estados Unidos. No es sorprendente que gran parte de estos vengan de California, el cual es uno de los Estados con mayor población inmigrante en el país. De acuerdo al propio Centro de Política de Inmigración la cifra asciende a 10,1 millones de inmigrantes.
En tanto los gastos que tienen los estudiantes extranjeros quedo establecido así: en California ascienden a 3.2 billones, seguido por Nueva York con un total de 2.6 billones de dólares, Massachusetts con 1.5 billones, Texas con 1.4 billones y Pennsylvania con 1.1 billones.
Desafortunadamente, algunos legisladores estatales han tomado se oponen y tratan de evitar que los inmigrantes reciban beneficios que otros estadounidenses tienen. De hecho, un legislador de Kansas ha presentado una demanda contra el gobierno del presidente Barack Obama, diciendo que sus políticas, de alguna manera, les impiden hacer su trabajo.
The final four clubs vying for European glory are set, as soccer fans witnessed the completion of the second legs of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals this week.
Spanish powerhouses Barcelona and Real Madrid both advanced to the next round, setting up a possible “El Clasico” final in Munich, Germany. After finishing 0-0 in the first leg, Barcelona overcame AC Milan 3-1 in the second fixture to overtake the Italian giants. Real Madrid coasted by Cypriot minnows APOEL Nicosia, winning 5-2 earlier in the week, and 8-2 on aggregate.
The two Spanish clubs will be joined by German club Bayern Munich, as well as West London powerhouse Chelsea. Bayern overcame Marseille this week 2-0 at Allianz Arena, matching their scoreline from the first leg at Stade Velodrome. Chelsea survived a spirited effort from Portuguese side Benfica, as Raul Meireles slammed home a beautiful strike for the Blues late in the second leg for a 2-1 victory. This, combined with Chelsea’s 1-0 win in the first leg at Estadio da Luz, ensured that England will have a representative in the semifinals.
Bayern is now set to face Real Madrid in on April 17th for the first leg of its semifinal. If the German club can pull out what will be a difficult victory over two legs, it will get a home match in the final. If that occurs, it will be a big task for either of the other two sides to defeat them on club soccer’s biggest stage. Chelsea will host Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the other semifinal one day later.
Regardless of how it plays out, it will no doubt be two fascinating fixtures that will leave supporters of all four clubs biting their nails. Who will the hero be? Will Messi continue to shine, or will Frank Lampard be able to navigate the Blues to the final? And will Cristiano Ronaldo continue to make his case as one of the top players in the world, or will Ivica Olic help Bayern shock everyone en route to a final at home?
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Before foreign citizens can get a job to send money to their native country, they have to go through a variety of steps in order to prove that their eligible to work in the U.S. And according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, that process may just gotten a bit easier.
USCIS recently announced that Self Check, an internet service that enables foreign workers to confirm their employment eligibility status, is now available throughout the country, including Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the other territories.
Started in March of last year, Self Check was expected to become more available within a year of its launch. Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the USCIS, says the recent announcement makes that a reality.
"We are pleased to complete, ahead of schedule, our expansion of this important tool for employees," said Mayorkas. "Since our initial launch in March, approximately 67,000 people have used Self Check and we anticipate that participation will dramatically increase with service now available to individuals across the country."
In the spring of last year, the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration made the employment eligibility status tool available on a limited basis. Now that it has been expanded, Self Check will enable all foreign workers to enter information that employers use for E-Verify. And because it has Spanish and English translations, the process should be even easier to complete, USCIS notes.
Perhaps the best part of the Self Check service is that it's free and can be used by anyone who is over the age of 16. It's also ideal because it eliminates the intermediaries foreign workers used to have to go through to determine their work eligibility status, which often took a long time. And because individuals have their own access to this information, Self Check provides them with the knowledge they need to have problems corrected should there be any issues with their status
If recent immigrants are eager to get to work so they can send money home to their families and loved ones, USCIS offers a step-by-step process about how to get started.
While many immigrants come to the United States so that they can earn a living and send money home to their families, the goods and services they produce improves the country’s economic function, a new report indicates. As a result, officials are calling on lawmakers to reform immigration laws so more immigrants will be motivated to enter the U.S.
According to the results of a report conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration, immigrant entrepreneurs are a valuable asset that the country needs to better its financial well-being, based upon analysis of businesses started by immigrants. These jobs have led to the creation of millions of jobs for U.S. workers, and in so doing, have contributed to the country’s financial health.
“Regardless of one’s school of thought, there is very little disagreement among researchers and experts that immigrant entrepreneurship is a powerful and valuable asset to America’s economic future,” said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council. “There has been a lot of attention paid to the high tech, highly educated immigrant entrepreneur, this report reinforces that it is less about your degree or the product you produce, and far more about recognizing a need in your community and having the skills and commitment to bring a dream to life.”
Included among the reports findings are details about some of the country’s most successful businesses that were started by immigrants. For example, Sergey Brin of Google and Pierre Omidyar of eBay have helped millions of Americans find gainful employment since their respective organizations were established.
“The U.S. Small Business Association estimates that small businesses have generated 64 percent of the net new jobs over the past 15 years and credits immigrant businesses with a significant contribution to this job growth,” said Marcia Drew Hohn, director of the Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center and the report’s lead author.
Including immigrant entrepreneurs’ successes, the report also describes their challenges, many of which may be improved through comprehensive immigration reform.
The U.S. Chamber and IPC also offer several recommendations regarding how these changes can be implemented. This includes the Department of Homeland Security making it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to start a business by cutting back on the amount of paperwork and documentation that’s required. The groups also say Congress should also develop a visa category that’s specifically for immigrant entrepreneurs. These would help immigrants establish residency more quickly so that they can get their businesses up and running.
While many people have found that sending money home to their native country is easier and more convenient by doing it electronically, some may still be hesitant to do it because they aren’t sure how it works. But a new rule adopted by a consumer protection group may help ease these concerns.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an organization that was formed in the wake of the financial system and housing collapse a few years ago, remittance transfer providers will be required to disclose additional information on their websites before individuals make wire transfers. This includes exchange rates, what fees are charged and requiring providers to investigate any issues that result in the recipient not receiving their funds.
A testimony to Xoom’s quality assurance is that virtually all of the new rules are already in effect with Xoom. Exchange rates among all 30 countries Xoom services are posted, fees are clearly identified and there is a window in which users can cancel transactions.
In addition to heightening the disclosure process, the rule also requires transfer providers to make any and all payment information available upon first request. This information should be repeated after the payment is made, CFPB indicates. Furthermore, individuals who are sending money will have half an hour to cancel a transaction after it’s been made.
While the rule is considered to be final, financial transfer companies have one year to implement the changes. In other words, the new requirements will become mandatory starting January 21, 2013.
Richard Cordray, newly appointed director of the CPFB, said the last thing people should have to worry about is how they can send money to their families back home.
“People sending money to their loved ones in another country should not have to worry about hidden fees,” said Cordray. “With these new protections, international money transfers will be more reliable. Consumers will know the costs ahead of time and be able to compare prices. Transfer providers will also be held accountable for errors that occur in the process.”
CFPB states that before 2010, there were limited regulations on international wire transfers which weren’t subject to the same kind of scrutiny as other activities. That changed with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, which overhauled the nation’s financial system. One of the things the bill required was the issuance of new protections for remittance transfers.