Immigrant rights advocates bring protest, Aztec dance, prayer to free detainee in El Paso

El Paso – Alexi Cruz may not have realized he had friends in this border community until he was on the verge of being deported. Cruz, 24, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who has lived in the U.S. since he was 14 years old, was detained in early November by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after his car broke down on the way to Arizona. He was on his way from his home in San Antonio to see his mother in Arizona because authorities had apprehended his sister. His wife, Anayanse Garza, said that Cruz sought help after his car broke down in New Mexico near the Arizona border and was questioned by law enforcement officers about his residential status. The Border Patrol was called to pick him up.

Collective history archive.

Immigrants and the Great Recession: A do-it-yourself historical archive

BERKELEY – What is “public” about a public history? Is it that these historical narratives chronicle marginalized rather than elite stories? Is it that these types of stories can be publically available, on a website or public library, for anyone to access? Or is it, perhaps, that the goal of this type of history is to engage the public and enable social participation? I think all three.

The call for humane immigration reform resonates with my Hispanic heritage

SUNLAND PARK, NM – I attended the Solidarity Prayer Service held September 7 here at the border fence that separates Mexico from the U.S. at end of Anapra Road organized by local catholic churches. Marchers came to both sides of the fence. It was heart wrenching to see the small children standing at the fence. They told me they hoped to be able to come to El Paso one day. We should be building bridges not walls.

Catholics gather at the U.S.-Mexico border fence to pray for fair and humane immigration reform

Lea esta historia en español. SUNLAND PARK, NM – With their fingers sticking out through the chain-link border fence from the Mexican side, Johan 10, and his brother Irving, 11, squint their eyes against the penetrating afternoon sun to make out the people who drive up on this side of the fence. About 150 members of area Catholic congregations and the bishops of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso gathered on Saturday, September 7th along the fence that separates two countries in the neighborhood region of Anapra to pray for immigration reform. With leaders of the dioceses of Ciudad Juarez on the other side, and the dioceses of El Paso, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Brownsville, San Angelo, Piedras Negras and San Antonio on this, the U.S. side, the Catholic community showed its support for immigrant human rights by gathering for a solidarity prayer on the border desert. Nuevo Laredo bishop, Gustavo Rodriguez Vega, and archbishop of the San Antonio archdioceses, Gustavo Garcia-Siller, conducted the prayer and said the purpose of the event was to acknowledge the necessity for an ample and fair immigration reform, according to the teachings of the Catholic society.

Korean Americans consider it easier to adapt in El Paso because Hispanic culture is also family oriented. (Hecko Flores/

Korean Kimchi finds a friendly red chili pepper in El Paso

EL PASO – There was a slight tremor in the hands. The arms were thin and pale, yet strong as they helped hold up and set up one of the lights at the factory. His thick and heavy eyeglasses sat lower than they were supposed to be. Judy Lee, 54, observed as her restless 77-year-old uncle, Dr. William Lee, descended from a high stool after changing a bright light bulb that reflected off his bald head. “Be careful uncle!” said Judy as the elderly man stepped down from the stool and kept himself busy working around the factory.

Annunciation House at 1003 East San Antonio Ave. (Aaron Montes/The Prospector)

Annunciation House provides shelter, safety for those in need

EL PASO – The Annunciation House tries to help people that have been affected by violence or suffer from poverty by supporting them and spreading awareness of these issues throughout the El Paso community. Annunciation House started in February 1978, when a group of individuals sought to connect more with poverty-stricken individuals and the Gospel. With weekly meetings and very little direction, they were able to come up with a plan of how to help people – whether refugees, immigrants or homeless – who were struggling with poverty, unemployment, abandonment, injustice or oppression. Annunciation House has opened their doors to many individuals who have all suffered in one form or another, whether it is losing their family and leaving them homeless or being subjected to the violence surrounding the drug cartels. Many families go to Annunciation House as refugees after escaping the violence that corrupted their homes in Juárez, as in the case of one family who requested to stay anonymous.

Juan Velasquez, 24, came to the U.S. when he was 14 years old and recently graduated from Georgetown University. He, along with fellow members of LCLAA, will participate in the Selma to Montgomery March this week. (Salvador Guerrero/SHFWire)

Latino group joins re-enactment of Selma to Montgomery March

WASHINGTON – Thousands of people gather in Alabama each year to re-enact the Selma to Montgomery March that took place 47 years ago. This year protesters will have not just a memory but a new cause as they march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge. Representatives from the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Hispanic Federation, League of United Latin American Citizens and the National Council of La Raza held a rally here Wednesday to announce they would join the re-enactment of the civil rights march. They left after the rally for the 14-hour bus ride to Selma, Ala., to take part in the final two days of the Selma to Montgomery March re-enactment that started Sunday. The 1965 march for voting rights ended in violence when peaceful protesters were attacked by local law enforcement using tear gas and clubs.

Immigration Integration is a term used to describe immigrants who have the same opportunities as natives. (Jesus Sanchez/

The integration of immigrants into society benefits them and their new country

EL PASO — When an immigrant in France is stopped and searched by police in a subway or airport, nobody looks twice. In France where immigrants are usually Muslims, North Africans, or Algerian that police action is a routine daily activity. In the United States, where immigrant usually means Mexican, we would see that profiling by police as a violation of human rights. But the United States is not the only country with immigration issues. Other countries around the globe also have to deal with immigrants entering their country illegally such as Central Americans migrating to Mexico.

Laurent Gilbert, left, David Lubell, Michael Byun, Patice O’Neill and Vanessa Cárdenas discuss issues of immigrant integration into communities on Tuesday. They advocate against inequality and hate crimes.(Danya Hernandez/SHFWire)

Groups help immigrants, local residents learn to coexist

WASHINGTON – With about 1.3 million immigrants coming into the United States each year, it is not easy for some people to cope with the changes that occur in their communities. Several organizations around the country are lending a hand to communities with high numbers of immigrants, advocating for tolerance and interaction to end hate crimes. The Center for American Progress hosted a presentation Tuesday about an initiative called “Stronger Together: Community Integration of Newcomers.”

The initiative seeks to “conquer fears and grow stronger by embracing differences.”

Several experts on immigration said it is important to bring members of the community together so that they can get to know each other and understand each other’s cultures. “It’s in everybody’s interest to have community cohesion and build stronger communities,” David Lubell, executive director of Welcoming America, said. Lubell said he has experienced the change that community integration brings.

President Barack Obama speaks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Award Gala on Wednesday. He focused on issues important to the Hispanic community, such as job creation and immigration. (Danya P Hernandez/SHFWire)

Obama tells Hispanic audience he will fight for their issues

WASHINGTON – Hundreds of spectators cheered and applauded as President Barack Obama promised to work to pass the Dream Act, which would allow some young immigrants to become U.S. citizens. “I will do everything in my power to make the Dream Act a reality,” he said. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 34th Annual Awards Gala on Wednesday to kick off his administration’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. “I don’t have to tell you these are tough times. You know how hard this recession has hit families, especially Latino families,” Obama said.