Friday, April 30, 2004

Tennessee Treasury poverty study reveals Hispanic services statistics, recommends State-level immigrant outreach office

"Although the percentage of Tennessee residents born outside the United States is small compared to the national average (2.8 percent versus 11 percent), the state has the sixth fastest-growing immigrant population and the fourth fastest-growing Hispanic population in the country."

"The Knox County Health Department and the Metropolitan Nashville Health Department's Bridges to Care programs serve large numbers (36 percent and 30 percent, respectively) of Hispanic residents."

"DHS [Department of Human Services] reports rising caseloads of immigrant families (though the Families First caseload is only about one percent Hispanic) and implements strategies specifically to serve this population. As of November 2003, 1,138 front line DHS employees have received Latino Cultural Competency Training through statewide contracts with Conexion Americas. DHS personnel reported using Language Line Services and some interpreter services. The Metro Nashville office displays a large sign in many different languages explaining available interpreter services to clients. Statewide advocacy organizations report regular interactions with service providers, government officials, and program staff."

"The General Assembly and the Governor may wish to consider establishing an Office of Immigrant Affairs to help multiple agencies plan for and serve Tennessee's growing population of residents with limited English proficiency. The North Carolina Governor's Office maintains an office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs to provide information and staff to the Advisory Council on Hispanic and Latino affairs. The office also sponsors events and projects for Spanish-speaking residents and develops and coordinates programs to meet their needs."

Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury April 2004 Report: Seeking a way out Services and challenges affecting Tennessee's poor

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Mexican roofer tells of long hours, travel for work in U.S.

"He's traveled from North Dakota to North Carolina and from Texas to Tennessee, sometimes with family members, to get work."

"'We're working hard - 12, 14 hours a day. We don't care. We want to stay here.'"

"He said he'd been sent back to Mexico a couple of times already but had returned to this country to work."

"When told he could face jail time, he said: 'I prefer to live here two to three years in jail than Mexico.'"

The Tennessean

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

U.S. women's soccer team faces Canada at Coliseum in July

"Red, white and blue soccer will be part of Nashville's Fourth of July weekend as the U.S. Women's National Team will play Canada at the Coliseum in preparation for the Summer Olympic Games in Greece."

"The match is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. July 3 and will be broadcast nationally by ESPN, officials with U.S. Soccer and the Titans, who operate the Coliseum, confirmed last night."

"The match will be the fourth in a six-game schedule in the United States to prepare the team for the Olympics. The soccer games in Greece begin Aug. 12."

"[A] key member of the team, Cindy Parlow, is from Memphis and was the Tennessee High School Player of the Year in 1994 for Germantown. Now 25, she is the youngest woman in soccer history to play on a national team that won both an Olympic Gold Medal and a Women's World Cup."

The Tennessean

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Accordian-playing Hispanic drywall subcontractor finds success in Nashville

"Today, [Juan Francisco Martinez] is a U.S. citizen. His drywall business is thriving. He owns several rental properties in the area and a dance hall on Nolensville Pike. He also plays accordion with Misterio del Norte, a Nashville-based band that is about to release its sixth album and plays to packed audiences throughout the Southeast and Mexico."

"Martinez, who was named contractor of the year by the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, was among the early wave of Hispanic immigrants to Nashville in the past 20 years."

"Between 1980 and 1990, Nashville's Hispanic population rose by 454%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Between 1990 and 2000, the Hispanic population in Nashville grew an additional 630%, making Nashville one of the top 10 cities in terms of Hispanic population growth."

"Hispanic residents in the eight-county Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area totaled 40,139 in 2000, accounting for 3% of the population. There were about 1,200 Hispanic-owned businesses in Nashville last year and the number continues to grow, said Steve Uria, president of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce."

The Tennessean

Monday, April 26, 2004

Bredesen clarifies proposal for new "driving certificate"

"Citing homeland security risks posed by the state's driver's license law, Gov. Phil Bredesen yesterday announced he wants to change the law so that only U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents will get state driver's licenses."

"The legislature estimates that about 8,000 illegal immigrants per year get a license in the state."

"[T]he governor's proposal would allow undocumented immigrants who can prove their identity and residency in the state to get a driving certificate stamped 'Not valid for I.D.'"

"The certificate would ensure that drivers know the rules of the road and are able to get car insurance, governor's office officials said. The certificate would not serve as legal identification required to board airplanes, buy weapons or rent cars, the governor said in a news release."

The Tennessean

Tennessee Driving Certificate

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Law enforcement officials continue to address obstacles with Hispanic community; immigration official says cooperation with police will not lead to deportation

"Metro police Capt. Rick Lankford said most crime problems in the heavily Hispanic areas of south Nashville were robberies involving people and businesses, gang violence, domestic violence and alcohol consumption."

"Social and cultural differences, mistrust and language barriers are the biggest obstacles the department faces, he said."

"New police programs to resolve these problems include recruiting Hispanic officers, forming partnerships with local businesses and promoting neighborhood watch groups."

"Ron Kidd, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Nashville, said Hispanic residents who are in the country illegally needed to know that they would not be investigated or deported for helping police solve crimes or for giving them information."

The Tennessean

Nashville scores with international soccer

"It was the first professional soccer match played at the [Tennessee Titans'] National Football League stadium. An excitable crowd of 11,198 turned out to watch the Galaxy and the Tecos battle to a 1-1 tie."

"'In Denver, Colorado, Saturday night in a league game, Colorado versus the Galaxy, there were 13,000 people,' [Chip Hellmann, co-owner of Soccer World, which sponsored the Super Classico] said. 'In Nashville, Tennessee, we had a six-week publicity window and got 11,198.'"

"'That should tell people that absolutely there is a strong appetite for soccer in Nashville and we are thrilled.'"

"Andree Girone, a self-described soccer mom surrounded by young girls in red and black sports jackets, said the game is also popular in Brentwood, where her daughters play in a local club."

"'We probably have five teams just for the kids under 11,' she said. 'It's really exciting for them to see something like this come to Nashville.'"

The Tennessean Story 1, Story 2, Nashville City Paper

Saturday, April 24, 2004

NYC project gives police foreign language backup via cell phone

"On March 18, phones with access to Language Line Services, a translation company, were distributed to patrol officers in the 115th Precinct, which covers Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Corona - perhaps the most linguistically and culturally diverse area in the city, with foreign languages spoken in 83 percent of the precinct's homes."

"'We interviewed victims who had contact with the police, and the No. 1 issue is always language,' said Yolanda B. Jimenez, the commissioner of the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence, which secured a $300,000 grant from the federal government for the project. 'This will allow victims to tell police officers what happened at 2 a.m., in Urdu.'"

"In potential domestic violence cases, the officers begin by saying they are there to help, officers said. They then explain that under city law they cannot inquire about the immigration status of a crime victim or witness."

"Prosecutors are enthusiastic about the language line, too, because even when victims are willing to call the police, the absence of a translator can play havoc with evidence. Sometimes even after making a complaint, immigrants can be persuaded (or intimidated) to recant, said Scott E. Kessler, the domestic violence bureau chief in the Queens district attorney's office. But, he said, with the language line, transcripts of their initial statements can be used as corroborating affidavits even if they have backed down."

"In its first month, the language line was used three dozen times for nine languages: Bengali, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Sinhalese, Farsi, Spanish and Hindi."

The New York Times

Friday, April 23, 2004

Immigration raid at Murfreesboro Road driver education school

"An immigration raid at a south Nashville driving school yesterday resulted in 25 arrests of suspected illegal immigrants believed to be in the area solely to get driver's licenses."

"The raid was significant because of its size and because 'it shows the laxness of the Tennessee driver's license system is known nationwide,' said Ron Kidd, group supervisor of the Nashville office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement."

"The majority of those arrested yesterday at the 1005 Murfreesboro Pike location were from India, Kidd said."

"Many of the students arrested come from other states, including Missouri, Arizona and New Jersey, Kidd said."

The Tennessean

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Moore Elementary gears up for increased Hispanic student population after rezoning

"Moore Elementary's faculty met with the district's Spanish translator this week to learn more about the Hispanic community in general and some cultural differences of students who live in the Heritage Place subdivision rezoned to Moore next year."

''We were just making sure we understood their culture and the situations they had come from,'' said Principal Tricia Green. ''One thing Ginette (Gallauresi) told us that was interesting is that when she asked (Hispanic) families why they came to Franklin, the top three things they said were because they had relatives or knew people who lived here, they came for jobs and because the schools are nice here and are very accepting.''

"The Heritage Place subdivision was rezoned from Liberty to Moore in order to reduce the large number of Hispanic students at Liberty and make it more balanced at Moore. Green said in light of the increase numbers of Hispanic students she is expecting next year, she is trying to get a Spanish class set up for her faculty this summer and she expects to get an increase in her part-time English Language Learner position."

"She is also looking into trying to duplicate in some form the Spanish program at Liberty, which reinforces Spanish grammar for Spanish-speaking students and teaches Spanish to English-speaking students."

The Tennessean

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Nashville education system serves growing number of English Language Learners

"Every day roughly 272 students walking through the doors of Haywood Elementary School are English Language Learners (ELL), students whose first language is not English."

"Glencliff High School has more than 20 languages and 29 countries represented, according to Sonya Johnson, guidance counselor for all 257 ELL students at Glencliff."

"Nashville is now the largest ELL school district in Tennessee, serving between 4,500 and 4,750 ELL students in a given day."

"Memphis serves only about half that number, according to Metro’s ELL coordinator Sayra Hughes."

Nashville City Paper

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

U.S.-Mexico soccer at the Coliseum tonight

"Two international soccer clubs — the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer and UAG Tecos of Guadalajara — will meet tonight at 7 in the Soccer World Super Clasico at the Coliseum. It will mark the first time the downtown Nashville stadium, better known as the home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, will host a soccer match."

"The Tecos, which compete in the Mexican Premier League, are led by former Mexican Olympians Antonio Alvarado and Danilo Turcios. Their home is Jalisco, a Mexican state which has a strong immigrant presence in Middle Tennessee."

"Parking gates will open at today at 4 p.m. with Soccer World footing the parking bill for the first 6,000 fans. Officials were reluctant to predict an attendance figure for the game, only speculating that they expect a big walk-up crowd."

Nashville City Paper

Monday, April 19, 2004

Dialogue between police and Hispanic community continues tonight

"Metro Police will meet with members of Nashville’s Hispanic community from 6:30-8:30 p.m. today at Glencliff High School, 160 Antioch Pike, for a 'listening forum' to foster better understanding."

"'This is a great opportunity to improve relations between residents and the police officers who patrol our neighborhoods,' Mayor Bill Purcell said. In less than four years, the population of Hispanic residents in Nashville has almost doubled."

"The forum will include ways in which the language barrier and cultural differences isolate minorities and what can be to done to create healthy relationships between Hispanic people and Metro police."

Nashville City Paper

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Hispanic directory boosts circulation by 50%

"Directorio Comercial en Espanol, a telephone directory of Hispanic businesses in Midstate, has increased its circulation to 75,000 from last year’s debut of 50,000 copies."

"Cobalt Ventures, which has similar directories in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, currently distributes its Nashville Hispanic directory in 16 Midstate cities and towns. The company is looking to expand into 'several other cities in Tennessee and in the U.S.,' Jonathan Blue, Cobalt’s managing director, told Wednesday."

Saturday, April 17, 2004

NASCAR courts growing Hispanic fan base

"Just like a new flame, NASCAR is turning heads. It also is attracting a record number of fans who are Latino, a coveted demographic. According to a recent nationwide study, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is the fastest-growing spectator sport among Hispanics in the United States. The Hispanic NASCAR fan base increased 23 percent from 1999 to 2002. National Basketball Association games came in second among Hispanics in the United States, with the fan base growing 10 percent during the same time period. In Arizona, 30 percent of the Latino market is watching NASCAR races on TV, and the number appears to be growing as the market expands, according to a recent study by local researchers who periodically poll Latino households in the Valley."

"Armando Fitz, who co-owns two NASCAR Busch Series cars with former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw, said NASCAR has adapted its marketing, targeting younger demographics and Hispanics."

"'It's not the typical advertising they used to do five to 10 years ago,' said Fitz, who was born in Cuba but moved to Nashville when he was 2. 'It just happens right now that Hispanics are falling in love with the sport, which is great.'"

"Yet NASCAR officials realize they are just beginning to tap into the market. The Formula One, Champ Car World Series and the Indy Racing Leagues all have Hispanic drivers. But there is no full-time Hispanic driver in NASCAR's top three touring circuits: the Nextel Cup, Busch Series or Craftsman Truck Series."


Friday, April 16, 2004

Davidson Group celebrates six months of crosscultural get-togethers

"Most conflicts could be avoided if people would just talk to each other, break bread together and make friends."

"That's the philosophy behind the Davidson Group, which pairs together community leaders from different racial and cultural backgrounds."

"The ultimate goal of the group is to improve race relations across Nashville."

"Last night at Lowe's Vanderbilt Hotel, the group celebrated six months of newfound friendships after reconstituting the organization last fall."

The Tennessean

Thursday, April 15, 2004

South Nashville spike in apartment crime gets police's attention; efforts underway to increase communication between apartment managers, renters, and police

"[Apartment complex manager Lori] Finchum says many residents, especially Hispanic and the elderly, are afraid to get involved out of fear."

"South Nashville is home to Metro's largest Hispanic population. That means that there's a huge language and cultural barrier for the South precinct. Sometime this year you'll be seeing a new Metro Police initiative there, called 'El Protector'. Its goal is to build a rapport with South Nashville's Hispanic community to fight crime."

"Capt. Lankford said, 'We've been working in the South Nashville area for the last four years, really trying to develop a better working relationship between the police and Hispanic community, because the Hispanic community is rapidly growing.'"

"'We see a number of Hispanic victims in a lot of these crimes, but I think its just a general population problem,' said Capt. Lankford."

"Police say that criminals often take advantage of Hispanics living in apartment complexes rich with automobiles and people carring heavy amounts of cash."

"Metro Police Sgt. Juan Borges said, 'One of the biggest problems that we're finding - not only in apartment complexes but in the city as a whole, specifically in the Hispanic community - is that we're not communicating with them.'"


Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Williamson County Court seeks full-time Spanish interpreter

"Circuit Court Clerk Debbie Barrett said the courthouse needs a full-time Spanish interpreter. She said the number of cases involving Spanish speakers has grown tremendously in recent years and continues to rise. She's asked county leaders to approve a full-time interpreter position to serve at the courthouse."

"'By law, we are required to give fair and equal access to non-English speakers who are involved in litigation,' Barrett said."

"Judge Lonnie Hoover said roughly 20% of all General Sessions cases involve Spanish-speaking people."

"More than 3,197 Hispanics live in Williamson County, according to Census 2000 numbers. That's a five-time increase from the 1990 census numbers, when about 500 Hispanics were counted."

"The Williamson County Health Department hired a full-time interpreter in 2001 after recognizing 15% of its clients were Hispanic."

The Tennessean

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Hispanic business sector "dynamic but precarious," chambers of commerce suffer from lack of trust

"Hispanics, meanwhile, represent a 'very dynamic but precarious business sector,' says Marta Tienda, a Princeton University professor who has studied Latino entrepreneurship."

"Hispanic businesses are proliferating in immigrant neighborhoods, she says, but these business owners would be more successful if 'informal networks' were developed to provide them with business information."

"Many Hispanic business owners are 'very distrustful of participation in chambers of commerce,' she says."

Nashville Business Journal

Monday, April 12, 2004

Hispanics least likely to get ticketed

Hispanic males age 46-60 were ticketed 78.85% of the time - the lowest percentage of all males - after being stopped for traffic violations by Metro Police in 1993. Hispanic women age 36-45 were ticketed in 83.45% of stops - the lowest percentage of all females.

"Women in almost every age and racial category were more likely to get tickets than their male counterparts. But Hispanic women ages 16-25 and 36-45 were less likely than Hispanic men [of the same age] to be ticketed."

"Hilario Navarro, 24, a Hispanic man, was on his way to see his father who was leaving for Mexico the next day when he was stopped for going 41 mph in a 30 mph zone. He also spoke to The Tennessean outside traffic court."

"Navarro said he was kind and respectful as he explained to the officer that he wasn't paying attention and didn't notice the speed limit had changed. It didn't help."

'The way I talked to him, I think he would have given a ticket to anybody,' Navarro said."

The Tennessean

Sunday, April 11, 2004

TSU hosts birth of minority-focused aviation consortium

"Five historically black colleges from around the nation are joining with Western Michigan University's College of Aviation to form an Aviation Education Consortium that will work to diversify the aviation industry work force and expand opportunities for minority students and women."

"Delaware State University, Florida Memorial College, Hampton University, Tennessee State University, Texas Southern University and WMU are the charter collegiate members of the organization that was announced March 31 in Nashville on the campus of Tennessee State. Other consortium members are the Organization of Black Airline Pilots Inc. of Silver Springs, Md., and Tuskegee Airmen Inc. of Arlington, Va., which will both serve the consortium in an advisory capacity."

"In 2001, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, only 4.9 percent of commercial aviation pilots were women and only 1.7 percent of aircraft mechanic jobs were held by females. The most recent data available on the ethnic diversity of the industry's work force was compiled in 1990. At that time, less than 2 percent of commercial pilots were African American and less than 3 percent were of Hispanic origin."

WMU News

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Defense Department schools are "models" of Hispanic scholastic achievement

"Defense Department schools inspire fierce devotion, and with good reason. Students consistently rank near the top on federal reading, writing and math tests."

"And 50 years after the legal end of school segregation, the Pentagon's schools are models of integration and minority academic achievement. Last year, black and Hispanic eighth-graders outperformed peers in reading in all 50 states."

"'This is the finest school system in the world,' says Claire Smrekar of Vanderbilt University, who co-wrote a report on minority academic performance at Defense schools. 'The consistency with which this school system delivers high performance and produces outstanding outcomes for these kids and their families is unprecedented.'"

"At Fort Campbell High School, minorities account for about half of enrollment, and nearly 75% go on to college. More than 25% take rigorous Advanced Placement classes. During a recent AP calculus class, nearly half the students speeding through square roots were black or Hispanic."

Friday, April 9, 2004

Hispanic artists open show at Main Public Library downtown

"Downtown Main Library (615 Church St.; 862-5800) Wednesday, April 14 through May 2. New Voices, New Visions features beadwork, drawings, jewelry, paintings, photography and weavings by seven local Latino artists. Opening reception Wednesday, April 14 from 5 to 7 p.m."

"Works by Latino artists Noris Binet, Yuri Cunza, Ignacio Estupinan, Orlando Garcia-Camancho, Rachel Hernandez Hensley, Clara C. Mojica-Diaz & Jairo Prado. Hours: 9 am-8 pm Mon.-Thurs.; 9 am-6 pm Fri.; 9 am-5 pm Sat.; 2-5 pm Sun."

Nashville City Paper, Nashville Scene, The Tennessean

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Letter to the Editor: Spanish is here to stay; keep it in Williamson County curriculum, too

"Very soon the school board will be voting on whether to fund the Spanish language program in the elementary schools. (Apparently some of the principals are against the program, believing that the future does not include needing to speak Spanish.) As a parent, I would like to see Williamson County keep our Spanish program."

"Currently we are ahead of the curve offering elementary Spanish — something only some of the private schools are doing. The reality is that our children are going to need to speak Spanish. Unless something changes drastically in our country, by the year 2040, the Hispanic population will be the majority in California. (followed shortly by Texas and Florida)."

"We need to stay ahead of the curve. Our children must be prepared for their future, and their future will include Spanish."

The Tennessean

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Servicios Hispana offers slew of Hispanic services in Madison

"Servicios Hispana, owned by Luis Del Mazo Sr., has made life easier for Hispanic immigrants who are unable to speak and write English and who don't have the necessary English documentation to do such things as apply for loans or marriage licenses."

''We translate birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, adoption papers and other documents,'' Del Mazo said. His business offers much more than just document-translation services, however."

"''We accompany a lot of people to traffic court,'' Del Mazo said, ''when they have a traffic ticket and when they don't know how to plead. I also will go in there as their insurance agent to show that they do have proof of insurance, and I also translate for them in court.''

"'We also do a lot of real estate closings,' he said. "'We go to different title companies and close the loans for them in Spanish.'"

The Tennessean

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Language barrier is law enforcement burden

"From street-level patrolmen to 911 operators, police say language barriers make it tough to do their jobs."

"Interactions with non-English speakers - Spanish-speakers chief among them - require more time and resources, overburden the force's few bilingual officers and, on occasion, lead to a lack of resolve on the part of police to enforce the law."

"Seventeen out of the about 1,300-member Metro police force speak some Spanish. Two speak Laotian; two speak German. One knows American Sign Language."

"[Police Chief] Serpas also is sending many of his officers to a weeklong, federally funded Spanish language-training course in May that most other departments across the state have taken."

"In the meantime, [Officer Chris] Benach, who plans to learn Spanish, says he and officers like him will keep trying their best.

"'Because they don't speak English and you don't speak their language, it doesn't matter,' he said. 'You've just got to do your job.'"

The Tennessean

Tennessee law enforcement stepping up to language challenges

"Memphis — the largest police force in the state with 2,100 officers — has about 20 Spanish-speaking officers and a handful who speak other languages, Fausto Frias, the city's Hispanic liaison officer, said."

"Patrol officers hand out his number to Spanish-speakers on their beat. Frias also speaks to churches, on Spanish radio stations and to community groups as part of his job. It's a position the city created in 2000 after a spate of home invasion robberies led to several murders. Police learned that crimes involving Hispanic victims were going unreported because Spanish-speakers feared the police."

"Knoxville police started a pilot program last year to give cell phones to bilingual residents who graduated from their citizens police academy. The graduates interpret for police on the phones, said spokesman Darrell DeBusk."

Chattanooga: 472 officers, "roughly a dozen" speak Spanish

Murfreesboro: 162 officers, four speak Spanish

The Tennessean

Police Chief Serpas debunks law enforcement/immigration connection, touts new Hispanic outreach program

"It's foolish to think that this country's immigration problems are going to be settled on the backs of local police officers. Those who have a different point of view? I welcome it. But I also welcome them to petition government to better fund INS so INS can do its job better."

"I think people are confusing the issues. We will always enforce the law in a just and fair fashion. What some have asked police to do is use their entrees — the very few that we have in immigrant communities — to now go in and ask them whether they belong in this country. How then does the community differentiate between a police officer wearing my uniform that's coming to ask, 'We understand you were victimized by an armed robber, please tell us what happened,' vs. them seeing this uniform and saying, 'Oh my goodness, are they here to see whether I belong legally?'"

"What El Protector will do is create a board of directors that has representatives of the Hispanic media, the chambers of commerce, community leaders. We will methodically start going through the problems, the first one being language. I would be very encouraged by people who want to help me with language barriers, but some only want to do it by getting paid. I don't have that kind of money."

The Tennessean

Monday, April 5, 2004

Bank of America brings Eugene Castrejon to Nashville to serve Hispanic business community

"Eugenio 'Eugene' Castrejon, client manager, was in commercial banking in Clearwater, Florida. He will focus on the Hispanic business community, in addition to managing small business clients in Nashville."

The Tennessean

Sunday, April 4, 2004

Taco Bell sponsors high school Hispanic heritage essay contest

"There's still time to enter the Taco Bell Hispanic Heritage Essay Contest, sponsored by Taco Bell and Hispanic Magazine."

"The national competition asks high school students to write about the contributions Hispanic people have made to American culture. Students in grades 9-12 should describe, in 500 words or less, why Hispanic heritage is important to everyone."

"The winner of the Taco Bell Hispanic Heritage Essay Contest will be announced in Hispanic Magazine and awarded a $1,000 educational scholarship from Taco Bell."

The Tennessean, Official Contest Site

Saturday, April 3, 2004

Raul Malo releases "Nashville Acoustic Sessions" CD

"Raul Malo, voice of the Mavericks, fronts 'The Nashville Acoustic Sessions' (CMH), a stellar singing and picking outing that puts an Americana touch on the likes of Roy Orbison's 'Blue Bayou,' Bob Dylan's 'You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go' and even 'Moon River.' Super players and engineering add to the solid effort."

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Friday, April 2, 2004

Alex MacKay named Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year

"A co-recipient of the Tennessee Bar Association's Harris A. Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award is Stites associate Alexendra MacKay. She was nominated for the award by the Nashville Pro Bono Program. She received the award as recognition for the difficult pro bono work she took on and for accepting very lengthy pro bono cases."

"MacKay, who has a Chilean mother and speaks Spanish, also was recognized for helping to bring legal services to the Hispanic community through bilingual legal aid clinics, a Stites & Harbison initiative in partnership with Conexion Americas."

"The Nashville Pro Bono Program is a joint effort of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands and Nashville Bar Association."

Nashville Business Journal

Thursday, April 1, 2004

Legal immigration waiting game gets longer with record backlog

"Green cards that would have taken 14 months to process in 2001 are now averaging 33 months. The number of pending applications for such things as replacing a lost green card and obtaining citizenship has shot up nearly 60%, to about 6.2 million. Cases more than 6 months old have increased by 89% since 2000, from 1.8 million to 3.4 million, according to the government."

"Because the applications are taking so long, supporting documents, including fingerprints, medical records and security checks, often become lost or outdated and have to be resubmitted. That means the application is delayed, with more chores for employees and more anxiety for immigrants."

"In December, a former immigration contractor at the agency's Laguna Niguel office was convicted of shredding immigrants' files to clear up a 90,000-document backlog."

"'The backlogs are now much longer than at any time since I've been practicing, and by an exponential factor,' said Carl Shusterman, a Los Angeles immigration lawyer with 30 years of experience."

"The main reason for the delays is the increased security checks since the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the Bush administration. But congressional investigators and other critics say insufficient funding, lack of personnel and other shortfalls are also to blame."

"The problems with the system have been very real in the life of Elerida Rodrigo, a soft-spoken nurse from the Philippines. Rodrigo, who lives in Torrance, met all the legal requirements for a green card long ago, but it took eight years before she recently got the word that her application had been approved."

"The costs and consequences of the growing delays go beyond personal heartache. Businesses that rely on foreign professionals are facing logistical headaches and added legal costs to maintain their workforces. Family members sponsoring a relative have died while the process dragged on. And some immigrants have lapsed into illegality, risking deportation, because work permits or other papers have expired."

"'Even though we say we want immigrants to go through the legal process and not come here illegally, we make the legal process as cumbersome and difficult as we can," said Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-North Hollywood). 'That is encouraging the very illegality we are trying to deter.'"

Los Angeles Times
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