Tag Archives: Latinos

Voces de la Frontera: We must now redouble our efforts

The immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera announced a series of community forums throughout Wisconsin following the victory of Donald Trump, who has vowed to build a wall on the Mexican border, conduct mass deportations and institute a ban on certain types of people coming to America.

The first forum will be at St. Rafael Catholic Church, 2059 S. 33rd St., Milwaukee, at 1 p.m. on Nov. 13.

The second forum will be at the Racine Labor Center, 2100 Layard Ave., Racine, at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, issued this statement after the election:

“For 15 years, Voces de la Frontera has fought to defend immigrant workers and their families. With every organizing tool available, our community has ceaselessly protected itself from the same xenophobia that has now risen to power in the government. We’ve done it through marches, rallies, civil disobedience, lawsuits, building electoral power and more. With Trump’s election, we must now redouble our efforts.”

She continued, “The immigrant rights movement is resilient, militant and rooted in working class identity. Our movement has broad experience mobilizing strikes, walkouts, boycotts, and economic action when political action has not been possible, as we did in Wisconsin when we defeated anti-immigrant state legislation earlier this year by organizing a Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants. If we see any movement to erode what our movement has won, like DACA, we will do whatever is needed to protect it. We are committed to organizing nationally with our networks and broadening the struggle to include other groups of workers and people who have been threatened by Trump.

“Trump’s message of fear and division unfortuantely resonated with white blue collar voters, who have suffered economic hardship similar to African Americans and Latinos. In the decimation of union organization, they don’t feel there’s a voice for them. But I do not believe that the majority of those people represent the worst elements of the Trump camaign – the far-right, white supremacist ideology we’ve seen. I think that most Trump voters want the same things that people of color want and need. And the promise they hoped to see in Trump will be betrayed, because he never ran on a platform that supported working people.”

The day after the election, Voces de la Frontera held a news conference where members spoke about how they are responding to Trump’s victory.

“I’m scared,” said Valeria Ruiz, 20, a DACA beneficiary from Racine. “From one day to another, my future, my 9-year-old sister’s future and that of more than 9 million undocumented immigrants in this country, is suddenly less certain. It’s terrifying. But we will do what we’ve always done – unite and fight.”

“I have a beautiful family,” said Lola Flores, an undocumented mother of four and Voces de la Frontera member from Waukesha. “Today my daughter called me from her middle school and told me that her Latino classmates were crying. It’s heartbreaking. But I will never stop fighting for the future of my children.”


 

La elección de Trump significa que tenemos que defendernos sin descansar

MILWAUKEE, WI – Después de la elección de Donald Trump como Presidente, Voces de la Frontera anunció una serie de foros comunitarios a en el estado de Wisconsin. El primer foro será en la Iglesia Católica San Rafael (2059 S 33rd St en Milwaukee) a la 1pm el domingo 13 de noviembre (más información aquí). El segundo foro será en Racine Labor Center (2100 Layard Ave en Racine) a las 5pm el domingo, 13 de noviembre (más información aquí).

En respuesta a los resultados electorales, Voces de la Frontera publicó la siguiente declaración:

“Por 15 años, Voces de la Frontera ha luchado para defender a los trabajadores inmigrantes y sus familias,” dijo Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Directora Ejecutiva de Voces de la Frontera. “Con todas las herramientas de organizar disponibles, nuestra comunidad se ha protegido sin cesar de la misma xenofobia que ahora () ha subido al poder de los Estados Unidos al gobierno. Lo hemos hecho a través de marchas, manifestaciones, desobediencia civil, luchas, representación del poder electoral y más. Ahora, tenemos que redoblar nuestros esfuerzos.

“Nuestro movimiento tiene una amplia experiencia movilizando huelgas, boicots y la acciones económicas cuando la acción política no ha sido posible, como lo hicimos en Wisconsin cuando derrotamos a las propuestas de ley anti-inmigrantes anteriormente este año al organizar un Día sin Latinxs e Inmigrantes. “Este movimiento basado en los derechos de los inmigrantes es resistente, militante y basado con la identificación de la clase trabajadora. Si vemos que cualquier de nuestros esfuerzos están siendo amenazados para ser elimanados, como DACA, vamos a hacer lo que sea necesario para protegerlos. Estamos comprometidos a organizar a través de nuestros redes nacionales y ampliaremos nuestra lucha para incluir a otros grupos de trabajadores y personas amenazadas por Trump.

“El mensaje de miedo y división de Trump resonó con los trabajadores blancos, que han sufrido dificultades económicas similares a los afroamericanos y a los latinos. Con la decadencia de las uniones, no sienten que hay una voz para ellos. Pero yo no creo que la mayoría de esas personas representan a los peores elementos de la campaña de Trump – la ideología de la extrema derecha, la supremacía blanca que hemos visto. Pienso que la mayoría de los votantes por Trump quieren las mismas cosas que la gente de color quiere y necesita. Sus esperanzas en Trump serán traicionadas, porque Trump nunca creó en una plataforma que apoyaba a la gente trabajadora.”

El miércoles, Voces de la Frontera tuvo una conferencia de prensa donde unos miembros de la organización hablaron sobre cómo están respondiendo a la victoria de Trump.

“Tengo miedo,” dijo Valeria Ruiz, de 20 años, una beneficiaria de DACA de Racine.”De un día para otro, mi futuro, el futuro de mi hermana de 9 años y el futuro de de más de 11 millones inmigrantes indocumentados en este país es de repente menos seguro. Es aterrador, pero haremos lo que siempre hemos hecho: unirnos y luchar.”

“Tengo una hermosa familia,” dijo Lola Flores, una madre indocumentada de cuatro hijos y miembra de Voces de la Frontera de Waukesha. “Hoy mi hija me llamó de su escuela media y me dijo que sus compañeros de clase latinos estaban llorando. Es desgarrador, pero nunca dejaré de luchar por el futuro de mis hijos.”

Latinos: Will the ‘sleeping giant’ awaken for Nov. 8?

Continue reading Latinos: Will the ‘sleeping giant’ awaken for Nov. 8?

AP fact check finds numerous lies, distortions in Trump acceptance speech

TRUMP: “Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years.”

THE FACTS: A rollback? President Barack Obama has actually achieved some big increases in spending for state and local law enforcement, including billions in grants provided through the 2009 stimulus. While FBI crime statistics for 2015 are not yet available, Trump’s claim about rising homicides appears to come from a Washington Post analysis published in January. While Trump accurately quotes part of the analysis, he omits that the statistical jump was so large because homicides are still very low by historical standards. In the 50 cities cited by the Post, for example, half as many people were killed last year as in 1991.

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TRUMP: “The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015. They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.”

THE FACTS: The pace of releasing immigrants is driven not by the Obama administration, but by a court ruling. A federal judge ruled last year that the government couldn’t hold parents and children in jail for more than 20 days. An appeals court partially rolled that back earlier this month, saying that parents could be detained but children must be released.

By the standard used by the government to estimate illegal border crossings – the number of arrests — Trump is right that the number in this budget year has already exceeded last year’s total. But it’s down from 2014.

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TRUMP: “When a secretary of state illegally stores her emails on a private server, deletes 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime, puts our country at risk, lies about it in every different form and faces no consequence — I know that corruption has reached a level like never before.”

THE FACTS: Clinton’s use of a private server to store her emails was not illegal under federal law. Her actions were not established as a crime. The FBI investigated the matter and its role was to advise the Justice Department whether to bring charges against her based on what it found. FBI Director James Comey declined to refer the case for criminal prosecution to the Justice Department, instead accusing Clinton of extreme carelessness.

As for Trump’s claim that Clinton faces no consequence, that may be true in a legal sense. But the matter has been a distraction to her campaign and fed into public perceptions that she can’t be trusted. The election will test whether she has paid a price politically.

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TRUMP: “The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 percent compared to this point last year.”

THE FACTS: Not according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks police fatalities daily. The group found that the number of police officers who died as of July 20 is up just slightly this year, at 67, compared with 62 through the same period last year. That includes deaths in the line of duty from all causes, including traffic fatalities.

It is true that there has been a spike in police deaths from intentional shootings, 32 this year compared with 18 last year, largely attributable to the recent mass shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge. But that was not his claim.

And overall, police are statistically safer on America’s streets now than at any time in recent decades.

For example, the 109 law enforcement fatalities in 2013 were the lowest since 1956.

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TRUMP: “My opponent has called for a radical 550 percent increase in Syrian (refugees). … She proposes this despite the fact that there’s no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from. I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people.”

THE FACTS: Trump persists in making the bogus claim that the U.S. doesn’t screen refugees. The administration both screens them and knows where they are from. The Department of Homeland Security leads the process, which involves rigorous background checks. Processing of a refugee can take 18 months to two years, and usually longer for those coming from Syria. Refugees are also subject to in-person interviews and fingerprint and other biometric screening.

For all that caution, U.S. officials acknowledge that the Islamic State group could try to place operatives among refugees. Last year, FBI Director James Comey said data about people coming from Syria may be limited, adding, “If we don’t know much about somebody, there won’t be anything in our database.”

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TRUMP: “Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when President Obama took his oath of office less than eight years ago. Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely. … President Obama has almost doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion, and growing.”

THE FACTS: Trump is playing with numbers to make the economy look worse than it actually is. The sluggish recovery over the past seven years has been frustrating. But with unemployment at 4.9 percent, the situation isn’t as bleak as he suggests.

Trump’s figure of 14 million who’ve stopped working since Obama took office comes from the Labor Department’s measure of people not in the workforce. It’s misleading for three reasons: The U.S. population has increased in that time; the country has aged and people have retired; and younger people are staying in school longer for college and advanced degrees, so they’re not in the labor force, either.

A better figure is labor force participation — the share of people with jobs or who are searching for work. That figure has declined from 65.7 percent when Obama took office to 62.7 percent now. Part of that decrease reflects retirements, but the decline is also a long-term trend.

On national debt, economists say a more meaningful measure than dollars is the share of the overall economy taken up by the debt. By that measure, the debt rose 36 percent under Obama (rather than doubling). That’s roughly the same as what occurred under Republican President George W. Bush.

The Hispanic population has risen since Obama while the poverty rate has fallen. The Pew Research Center found that 23.5 percent of the country’s 55.3 million Latinos live in poverty, compared with 24.7 percent in 2010.

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TRUMP: “Another humiliation came when President Obama drew a red line in Syria, and the whole world knew it meant absolutely nothing.”

THE FACTS: Trump’s reference is to a threat by Obama for retaliatory strikes if Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against rebels — and he’s basically on target. When Assad crossed Obama’s “red line” in 2013 by using chemical weapons, the U.S. president backed down.

Obama’s two secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, pushed for intervention, as have a former defense secretary and CIA director. But Obama as commander-in-chief has the last word, and nothing has swayed him thus far.

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TRUMP: “When that same secretary of state rakes in millions and millions of dollars trading access and favors to special interests and foreign powers, I know the time for action has come.”

THE FACTS: That’s a somewhat overheated take on a legitimately troublesome issue for Clinton.

Although financial disclosures show she earned only her government salary as secretary of state, she made more than $21 million afterward, over three years, for speeches and appearances for private companies. None of those speeches was paid for by foreign governments, but some groups she addressed could be counted as special interests.

As well, the Clintons’ family charity, the Clinton Foundation, received millions of dollars in donations while she was secretary of state, some from foreigners. And Bill Clinton earned millions making appearances and speeches for foreign corporations and organizations while his wife was at the State Department.

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TRUMP: “After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the entire world. Libya is in ruins, and our ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos. Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis now threatens the West. … This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

THE FACTS: It’s an exaggeration to suggest Clinton, or any secretary of state, is to blame for the widespread instability and violence across the Middle East.

Clinton worked to impose sanctions that helped coax Tehran to a nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers last year, a deal in which Iran rolled back its nuclear program to get relief from sanctions that were choking its economy.

She did not start the war in Libya, but supported a NATO intervention well after violence broke out between rebels and the forces of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The country slid into chaos after Gadhafi was ousted and killed in 2011, leaving it split between competing governments.

Clinton had no role in military decisions made during the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Republicans’ claim that high-level officials in Washington issued a “stand-down” order delaying a military rescue in Benghazi has been widely debunked.

On Iraq, Clinton as a senator voted in 2002 to grant President George W. Bush authority to invade Iraq, but has since said it was a “mistake.” Many in the Middle East do not regret Saddam’s ouster and regional allies allowed U.S. bases in their country to support the war. But many also now fear the Islamic State group, which rose in the chaos of Syria’s civil war and Iraq’s security vacuum.

TRUMP: “America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.”

THE FACTS: Trump continues to repeat this inaccuracy. The U.S. tax burden is actually the fourth lowest among the 34 developed and large emerging-market economies that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Taxes made up 26 percent of the total U.S. economy in 2014, according to the OECD. That’s far below Sweden’s tax burden of 42.7 percent, Britain’s 32.6 percent or Germany’s 36.1 percent. Only three OECD members had a lower figure than the U.S.: Chile, South Korea and Mexico.

TRUMP: “My opponent wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment.”

THE FACTS: Hillary Clinton has not proposed any revocation of the constitutionally protected right to bear arms. She does support a ban on certain military-style weapons, similar to the law President Bill Clinton signed in the 1990s. That ban expired after 10 years and was not renewed. Clinton also backs an expansion of existing criminal background checks to apply to weapons sales at gun shows. The checks now apply mainly to sales by federally licensed gun dealers.

Associated Press writers Josh Boak, Stephen Braun, Deb Riechmann, Jim Drinkard and Alicia A. Caldwell in Washington and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.

 

Trump visit ignites town where Latino was killed in hate crime

By all accounts, tensions between Latino newcomers and whites have eased in the nearly eight years since a vicious hate-crime stabbing left an Ecuadorean immigrant dead.

Enter Donald Trump.

Trump’s appearance at a GOP fundraiser on Thursday just blocks from the site of the attack has ignited protests from Latinos, who fear the billionaire’s tough talk against immigrants could open old wounds and undo the progress that’s been made in the Long Island community.

“If he comes, there might be a toxic environment again. Maybe something bad happens,” 23-year-old Jocelyn Fajardo, who was born in New York City to Ecuadorean parents, said before the event. “Trump puts U.S. people against us, Latinos. He divides people.”

Joselo Lucero, whose brother was killed in the 2008 attack, says Patchogue is the wrong place for Trump to visit. “My community has suffered so much discrimination.”

So far, there’s been no comment on the controversy from Trump, who caused a firestorm on the first day of his campaign when he labeled illegal immigrants from Mexico as rapists and criminals, and he has repeatedly promised to build a massive wall along the border.

“I feel like that’s the only thing he talks about,” said businessman Angel Zhicay, 50, who is from Ecuador.

Thursday’s gala to raise funds for Republican candidates across eastern Long Island was held in a nightclub about 200 yards from the intersection where 37-year-old Marcelo Lucero was confronted by a gang of teens who admitted they regularly targeted Hispanic immigrants. They called the altercations “beaner hopping.”

Lucero was walking with a friend when the teens began yelling ethnic slurs and approached them. Lucero hit Jeffrey Conroy, then 17, in the head with a belt. Conroy lost his temper, took out a folding knife and fatally plunged it into Lucero’s chest.

Conroy was convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The six others pleaded guilty to lesser crimes.

At the time of Lucero’s slaying, police acknowledged there had been a tense atmosphere in the town of nearly 12,000, including attacks on immigrant day laborers, but they say tensions have noticeably subsided. Last month, the top prize in the town’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade went to a group of Ecuadorean step dancers.

“As much as one might hear that hateful echo in Trump’s words today, it does not negate his right to speak,” Long Island newspaper Newsday said in an editorial Wednesday. “More important, his trip is a chance for Patchogue to tell the story of its progress.”

Activists held protests leading up to and during Trump’s appearance. About 100 people gathered outside the event holding signs decrying Trump and shouting. Several hundred also attended a vigil for Lucero held about an hour before Trump took the stage. This week at the site of the slaying, a sign reads: “Hate is not welcome in Patchogue. Make America Love Again.”

Trump made no mention Lucero or the protesters during his 20-minute speech Thursday evening. Speaking about his plan to build a build a massive wall along the border, Trump told his supporters: “I have great relationships with Mexico and Hispanic people.”

John Jay LaValle, chairman of the Suffolk County Republican Committee, said Thursday’s event was scheduled more than two months ago and he invited every Republican candidate. He said Trump, who was recently endorsed by the county GOP, accepted only last week.

“While we offer the greatest empathy possible to the family of Marcelo Lucero,” LaValle said, “we can’t help but to be suspicious of the motives of those leading the charge to connect that vicious hate crime with Mr. Trump’s commitment to enforcement of immigration laws that have gone largely ignored by both parties for 30 years.”

Felix Diaz, 47, an emigrant from El Salvador who owns his own landscaping business, said he hopes Trump cancels.

“He talks about separating families,”  Diaz said of Trump. “I have two kids who are here undocumented, but I am not speaking for them only. I am speaking for the whole Latino community. Even if someone would pay me to go, I would never go and listen to him.”

 

Sanders, Clinton pledge to include Latinos in key cabinet posts

Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders vowed to nominate Latinos into key cabinet posts in their administrations if elected, according to their answers to a questionnaire organized by the nation’s largest Latino coalition.

The 20-question survey was submitted by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda to all U.S. presidential candidates on Feb. 25, but received responses only from the two Democratic contenders and none from the Republicans, according to the results reviewed by Reuters.

Latinos and African-Americans have emerged as key voting blocs in the Democratic race for the White House nomination so far and are likely to play a large role in the outcomes of big contests looming in New York and California.

“From special assistants to cabinet members, Latinos will play a key role in helping to shape my policy priorities and be effectively represented in our agencies,” former Clinton wrote.

Sanders promised to make his administration “reflect the diverse make-up of the country… I can think of no place more vital for such diversity than in the cabinet and the Senior Executive Service of the President of the United States of America.”

President Barack Obama has nominated a number of Latinos to cabinet position during his time in office, two of whom are currently serving: Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro.

Both Clinton and Sanders have already promised comprehensive immigration reform, appealing to Hispanic voters ahead of presidential nominating contests in minority-heavy states. Leading Republican hopefuls Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, meanwhile, have promised to tighten up the borders and deport undocumented immigrants.

The responses come as the Democratic contest for the party’s presidential nomination is poised to roll into a slate of diverse states — including New York later this month and minority-heavy California in June.

The NHLA will use the questionnaires to guide voter engagement ahead of the November election, and to hold the winner to promises made during the campaign, said Hector Sanchez, the chairman of the NHLA.

“This is not just a piece of paper that we’re going to put out there,” Sanchez said. “If they want the Latino vote, they must engage with us.”

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stand on stage after addressing at a rally to celebrate the state of New York passing into law a $15 minimum wage in New York on April 4. — PHOTO:   REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stand on stage after addressing at a rally to celebrate the state of New York passing into law a $15 minimum wage in New York on April 4. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

 

New poll: Clinton leads all GOP candidates

Hillary Clinton leads all the GOP White House contenders in hypothetical general-election showdowns, according to the MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist poll.

Clinton’s lead comes despite the fact that the contentious — and often bizarre — Republican presidential primary is swallowing all of the air in the media. Democratic candidates Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have been nearly missing from the headlines for weeks.

Clinton’s biggest GOP lead is against Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who has the highest unfavorable ratings of any candidate in either party. Clinton trumps The Donald by 52 to 41, according to the poll released today.

Clinton’s lead against Ben Carson, her closest Republican rival, is 48-47, which is well within the margin of error. Her next closest contender is Marco Rubio, whom she leads 48–45.

Clinton holds stronger leads against Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush —51–44 and 49–45, respectively.

Among registered Latino voters, Clinton holds a far more commanding lead over every GOP candidate. Rubio, who is the son of Cuban immigrants, performes the best against Clinton among Latinos, trailing her 58–39.

The fastest growing minority population in the United States, Latinos gave President Obama 71 percent of their vote and Mitt Romney only 27 percent, the lowest that a GOP candidate has received in the three previous election.

But, with the exception of Donald Trump, Latino voters nationally seem more receptive to Republicans in 2016, despite high-profile immigrant bashing from several GOP candidates. Most analysts, however, believe it will be extremely difficult for Republicans to get the approximately 40 percent of the Hispanic vote  needed to win the White House. 

Pope to highlight contributions of Hispanics at mass in D.C.

The first pope from the Americas will canonize a Spanish friar who brought the Catholic faith to California in front of the largest Catholic church in North America.

There will be plenty of symbolism in Pope Francis’ visit to Washington next week, and the city’s archbishop said Thursday that while the pope will be speaking as a pastor, not a politician, he could address an issue that bitterly divides the nation’s leaders: immigration.

“I think the message of the Holy Father is going to be the message he’s been giving now for a long time: There has to be a way to welcome people who are so desperately trying to share what we already have,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington. “I suspect the Holy Father will highlight that in some way.”

Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of canonization for Junipero Serra in Spanish, and several thousand of the 25,000 tickets to the event will be reserved for Spanish-speaking people, many of them from California, Wuerl said.

Serra established the first Catholic missions in California in the 18th Century; he was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988. Some California Native Americans oppose Serra’s canonization, calling him a destroyer of indigenous culture.

The Mass will provide an opportunity to highlight the contributions of Hispanics to the nation and the church, Wuerl said.

“Historically, and we’re talking now over a long period of time but certainly in the recent history, the strongest and most consistent voice for the welcoming of immigrants, for the welcoming of the stranger into our land, has been the Catholic church,” he said.

Next Wednesday’s Mass will be celebrated in a temporary sanctuary that’s being built on the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The church can comfortably seat 3,500 people, and up to 10,000 can cram inside on special occasions like Easter. But the pope’s visit is more than that, and the archdiocese can’t hope to accommodate everyone who wants to attend. There will be 15,000 seats on the lawn in front of the church, and the remaining 10,000 people will have to stand.

“If we had 100,000 seats, we’d have 100,000 people,” said Monsignor Walter Rossi, rector of the basilica.

Inside the basilica will be more than 2,000 men and women from around the United States who are studying to be priests and nuns. Pope Francis will bless them before the Mass.

The temporary altar for the Mass was designed by three architecture students from neighboring Catholic University who won a design competition.

‘Children of Giant’: New documentary eyes story of Latino extras in 1956 ‘Giant’

A new documentary seeks to tell the story of Mexican-American child actors who appeared in the 1956 blockbuster movie “Giant” but later could only view it in segregated theaters.

“Children of Giant” goes to the West Texas town where director George Stevens and his Hollywood crew set up shop to shoot one of the first, major films to openly tackle racism.

For the 60 years since the movie’s release, most of the Mexican-American cast has been largely forgotten, though the movie introduced the nation to the discrimination Latinos faced, documentary director Hector Galan said.

“Many people don’t realize how important the film ‘Giant’ was to Mexican-Americans at the time,” Galan said. “For the first time on a national level the stories of Mexican-Americans were being told.”

Based on the novel by Edna Ferber with the same name, “Giant” follows wealthy Texas cattle rancher Jordan Benedict Jr., played by Rock Hudson, who marries Maryland socialite Leslie Lynnton, portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor. Their sprawling ranch is located on land once owned by impoverished Mexican-Americans, who still work the land but are denied basic medical care and decent jobs.

Benedict’s son, played by Dennis Hopper, marries a Mexican-American nurse, played by Mexican actress Elsa Cardenas, creating racial tension. James Dean also starred in the movie.

At the time of its release, the movie was popular among Mexican-Americans, especially since Ferber had interviewed civil rights leaders Hector P. Garcia and lawyer John J. Herrera for her novel and the movie adopted real-life episodes from the new civil rights movement in Texas.

Yet, many of the main actors were unaware of the discrimination the Mexican-American extras faced away from the movie set.

In the documentary, Galan interviews Cardenas, who recalls how staff at a hotel looked at her suspiciously and how she didn’t know the Mexican-Americans children on the set had to attend segregated schools. He also interviews child actor Tony Cano who remembers incidents of racism.

The documentary also covers Stevens’ experience in World War II as part of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Stevens would become one of the first directors to capture images of the Holocaust and his footage would be used in the Nuremberg Trials.

“That experience changed him forever,” Galan said. “I don’t think he would have made ‘Giant’ had it not been for that experience.”

In addition, the documentary shows how Dean playfully interacted with Mexican-American teens off screen and shocked the town when he was killed in a car wreck in California weeks later.

States where immigrant children are released

States with established Central American immigrant communities have received the most unaccompanied children released to sponsors this year after they were arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of the 30,340 who have been released through July 7:

Alabama: 407

Alaska: 5

Arizona: 186

Arkansas: 166

California: 3,150

Colorado: 221

Connecticut: 325

Delaware: 117

District of Columbia: 187

Florida: 3,181

Georgia: 1,154

Hawaii: 8

Idaho: 8

Illinois: 305

Indiana: 245

Iowa: 122

Kansas: 179

Kentucky: 237

Louisiana: 1,071

Maine: 8

Maryland: 2,205

Massachusetts: 773

Michigan: 92

Minnesota: 173

Mississippi: 179

Missouri: 121

Montana: 1

Nebraska: 192

Nevada: 122

New Hampshire: 13

New Jersey: 1,504

New Mexico: 18

New York: 3,347

North Carolina: 1,191

North Dakota: 4

Ohio: 360

Oklahoma: 212

Oregon: 50

Pennsylvania: 386

Rhode Island: 119

South Carolina: 350

South Dakota: 21

Tennessee: 760

Texas: 4,280

Utah: 67

Vermont: 3

Virgin Islands: 4

Virginia: 2,234

Washington: 211

West Virginia: 10

Wisconsin: 50

Wyoming: 6

Source: U.S. Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.

Immigration activists urge Obama to take bold action

Immigration activists are warning of political peril for President Barack Obama and Democrats in the fall election unless the president acts boldly and soon to curb deportations and allow more immigrants to remain legally in the United States.

Many activists say Obama has been slow to grasp the emotions building within the Latino community as deportations near the 2 million mark for his administration and hopes for immigration legislation fade. With House Republicans unlikely to act on an overhaul, executive action by Obama is increasingly the activists’ only hope.

“There is tremendous anger among core constituencies of the president and the Latino and Asian communities in particular,” said Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, which champions immigration change. “He has a momentous choice to make.”

Activists credit their sit-ins and hunger strikes for Obama directing new Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to review the administration’s deportations policy and suggest ways to make it more humane. Now they’re focused on ensuring they get the outcome they want – an expansion of Obama’s two-year-old policy allowing work permits for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children who have been in school or the military.

The program has helped more than 600,000 people. Activists want it expanded to include more immigrants, such as those who have been in the U.S. for at least five years or who since their arrival have had children. Depending on how it’s defined, that could help many millions more.

Obama has said he doesn’t have the authority to take such a step without Congress. At a White House meeting with religious leaders Tuesday he emphasized he wouldn’t act on his own while there still was a window for congressional action, participants said.

Republicans have warned that a unilateral move by Obama would end any possibility for cooperation on immigration legislation. A bill to improve border security and offer a path to citizenship for many of the 11.5 million immigrants here illegally remains stalled in the GOP-led House 10 months after passing the Senate.

But many activists say they’ve all but given up on Republicans and argue that Obama has the responsibility and authority to take expansive steps to legalize large segments of the population. They worry that Johnson’s review will produce only small measures aimed at slowing deportations and improving procedures.

“At this point anything short of an affirmative administrative relief program for parents of U.S. citizens and Dreamers is not enough,” said Lorella Praeli, director of advocacy at United We Dream, which represents immigrants brought here illegally as kids, known by their supporters as Dreamers. “The clock on Obama has run out.”

Administration officials haven’t tipped their hand on the timing or outcome of Johnson’s review, though activists anticipate initial steps fairly soon. Peter Boogaard, spokesman for the Homeland Security Department, said the review will be completed expeditiously and the aim is to see “if there are areas where we can further align our enforcement policies with our goal of sound law enforcement practice.”

Despite the complaints from activists, Republicans accuse the Obama administration of inflating its record on deportations by counting people removed as they’re attempting to cross the border or shortly thereafter. In the 2013 fiscal year more than 60 percent of the nearly 370,000 deportations were of recent border crossers, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Immigration activists, meanwhile, say they feel betrayed by Obama, who was elected with strong Latino and Asian support in 2008. They complain his strategy of winning GOP cooperation by increasing enforcement has failed.

Cynthia Diaz, 18, participated in a six-day hunger strike outside the White House last week to protest her mother’s detention. She pointed to Obama’s promise to prioritize immigration reform.

“That’s how he got the Latino vote, and now he just stabbed us in the back,” Diaz said, adding she and others would think twice in the future before supporting the president and his party.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said recent polling shows a drop-off in enthusiasm among Latino voters. “Lack of progress on immigration is hurting our chances of getting these voters out to vote,” Lake said

Immigrants’ rights leaders say executive action by the president would energize Latino and Asian voters, as happened before the 2012 election when Obama deferred deportations for young immigrants. However, it also could mobilize conservative voters.

Frustration has spilled over onto some of Obama’s allies in Congress. Protesters from California were arrested last week after swarming the offices of Democratic Reps. Loretta Sanchez and Xavier Becerra to push toward stronger action.

“We’re doing everything that we can,” Sanchez later complained. “So when they come and they pressure us it’s almost like, `Guys, we understand where you’re coming from, but what we need to do is we need to get a vote out of” House Speaker John Boehner. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said activists were giving “a gift to the Republicans” by targeting Obama instead of the GOP.

Obama expressed a similar complaint at a meeting with immigration rights groups last month, asking officials present to give him 90 more days and meantime keep the focus on the GOP. Participants portrayed a president getting drawn reluctantly into contemplating executive action and focused, at least initially, on smaller steps that he told them would likely not satisfy them.

That meeting, and Obama’s announcement of a review by Johnson, came shortly after Janet Murguia, head of the National Council of La Raza, labeled Obama “deporter in chief.”

Now activists are waiting for Obama’s next step.

“The pressure for sure is working, and I think the question is how bold are they ready to go,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “The hard part is this is not a bold administration, and especially on immigration where the focus has been on legislation.”

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