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.

Dr. Allison Brownell Tirres, assistant professor at DePaul University College of Laws, addressed a crowd of students, local activists, concerned citizens and professionals as part of the University of Texas at El Paso Centennial Lecture series. (Héctor Bernal/

The past is prologue for U.S. comprehensive immigration reform

EL PASO  – Immigration policies from the past must be studied in order to reform them for the future was the premise of a lecture by Dr. Allison Brownell Tirres on the topic of deportation, a subject that is as crucial as it is complex for residents of the borderland. “I want to try and put these stories in an historical context and I also want to suggest how the past may help us rethink the future,” Tirres said. Tirres, an assistant professor at DePaul University College of Laws, addressed a crowd of students, local activists, concerned citizens, and professionals as part of the University of Texas at El Paso Centennial Lecture series. While guiding the audience through a century of immigration law, Tirres brought up many legal turning points including the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act along and the Magnuson Act also known as the Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943. Tirres demonstrated the relationship between those laws and the current severity of enforcement of U.S. immigration practices.

Boehner takes more heat on reform comments and inaction

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the Republican Party are getting an earful from Democratic congressional members and Hispanic leaders and organizations for saying they do not trust the president to enforce immigration laws and forecasting  that immigration reform isn’t likely to pass this year, if ever. Fair Immigration Reform Movement spokesperson Kica Matos said in a press release that FIRM’s efforts last year to gain House Republican support for reform were unproductive. “Persuasion got us only so far,” said Matos. “From now on, any lawmakers who do not support it should expect relentless confrontations that will escalate until they agree to do so.”

America’s Voice spokesperson Frank Sherry stated that Republicans should recognize that selecting a presidential candidate next year could create serious division within the GOP. “It’s now or never for the Republican Party,” he said, and to oppose reform carries the risk being perceived not only as anti-Hispanic, but also against Asians and other immigrants.

Obama, Republicans fail to advance hopes on immigration reform

By Aaron Montes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – When President Barack Obama delivered the fifth State of the Union address of his presidency, he dedicated just three sentences to immigration reform. Not once did he mention the contributions or needs of Latinos, nor did he touch on his administration’s handling of deportations. Most of his proposals won applause from Democratic members while the majority of the Republican Party sat in silence. They did the same when the president said “…and fix our broken immigration system.”

On Jan. 30, the house GOP released its immigration requirements: more border security, implemented entry-exit visa tracking and employment verification systems and no special path to citizenship.

Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council. (

Hispanics are tired of Obama’s lip service on immigration reform

By Kay Bárbaro

For Borderzine from Hispanic Link

WASHINGTON – WE’RE STILL WAITING:  Cecilia Muñoz, longtime vice president of the National Council of La Raza whose appointment in Jan. 20, 2009, to President Obama’s initial cabinet was seen as a payoff to the Hispanic community for its huge role in Obama’s winning a front-door key to the White House. This, we and many others innocently believed, would ensure that el presidente nuevo would move quickly to make good on his repeated promises to end our undocumented immigrant agony by delivering genuine immigration reform legislation. Did he? Of course not.

Eliseo Medina, international secretary-treasurer for the Service Employees International Union, says Fast for Families will visit more than 100 key congressional districts where the group will invite people to join him and others in the fast. (Alejandro Alba/SHFWire)

Fast for Families tour of U.S. promotes immigration reform

WASHINGTON – Four activists for immigration reform are taking their cause on the road. They will board a bus Tuesday and urge people in 100 communities around the country to fast with them until Congress passes immigration reform. “We are going to be asking the American people to join us in fasting,” Eliseo Medina, international secretary-treasurer for the Service Employees International Union, said. “Judging from what happened in December, I think we are going to have tens of thousands of people joining us.”

The Fast for Families campaign began November when immigration activists sat outside the Capitol and fasted for 22 days. Medina is one of two people who will fast on the bus tour who also fasted at the Capitol.

Pew Hispanic Center

Pew Study: Who are our Hispanic leaders? Muchos

EL PASO — I was shocked to read in a recent article from the Pew Hispanic Center that 62 percent of U.S. Hispanics do not know who the most important Latino leader in the country is today. Mi gente, my people, without a leader? What a distressing thought. The best explanation I found for this anomaly is in an article by Juana Bordas of The Huffington Post. In her article, “Latino Leadership Follows A New Model,” Bordas says: “Latinos are forging a new model of leadership.

Brenda Perez of Nashville, Tenn. is arrested on First Street after protesters marched to the Capitol Tuesday. Perez was part of a group of three activists from Workers Dignity from Nashville who were arrested for civil disobedience. (Andrés Rodríguez/SHFWire)

Historically effective civil disobedience is now a tool in the fight for immigration reform

EL PASO — Worries press through Brenda Perez’s mind as she is escorted into a Washington, D.C. jail cell. “What if it doesn’t work out? What if they act on my immigrant status? What if I don’t get out?”
She looks at the others, some without legal documentation, who are being processed with her. She realizes she is in there for them, for other young members of her family who are in the U.S. without papers, and for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country.

A group of SRI participants at the border wall in New Mexico. (Angel Cancino/

Journalists file their stories after participating in UTEP’s immigration reporting workshop


EL PASO – Twenty journalists from all regions of the United States gathered at the University of Texas at El Paso this fall to learn strategies and tools for reporting about immigration in their home communities. The workshop, “Reporting Immigration: From the Border to the Heartland,” was sponsored by the McCormick Foundation and Borderzine. Borderzine is proud to re-publish the online, print and broadcast stories that the journalists are reporting from New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, areas of Texas and other parts of the nation. The topics they explore include the deaths of undocumented immigrants on the Texas-Mexico border, increased scrutiny of abuses by immigration agents, growing asylum requests from Mexicans who say they are victims of persecution in their country, immigration enforcement at the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez border, and coverage by U.S. women journalists of the deaths of hundreds of girls and young women in Ciudad Juarez. Their stories, published first in the journalists’ local news outlets, are part of the complex and ongoing story of immigration to the U.S. from Latin America and other parts of the globe.

Destino: Georgia

Por Mario Guevara

La frontera entre México y Estados Unidos en Texas se convirtió este año en el área con mayor número de arrestos de indocumentados en EE.UU., superando a la de Arizona, que por dos décadas fue la que más detenciones registró. MundoHispánico viajó hasta esa zona fronteriza para indagar sobre este fenómeno, especialmente porque una buena parte de los inmigrantes que tratan de cruzar ilegalmente planean llegar a Georgia y los estados vecinos, según reportes de las autoridades federales. “Muy pocos son los que buscan quedarse aquí, porque la mayoría creen que tendrán mejor oportunidades de hallar trabajo yendo más hacia el norte”, aseguró a este medio Ramiro Cordero, uno de los portavoces de la Patrulla Fronteriza en Texas y quien está destacado en El Paso. Una de las personas que venían rumbo a Georgia y que fue descubierta recientemente atravesando la frontera en busca del ‘sueño americano’ fue Reina Martínez, de 20 años. La joven nativa de El Salvador llevaba un mes presa en un centro de detención en Texas, hasta que Inmigración le concedió la libertad bajo la condición de comparecer ante un juez.