TX News Service: Immigration Reform – A Path to Citizenship and Secure Borders

Published January 29, 2013
John Michaelson, Public News Service – TX
El Paso, TX

A plan for immigration reform has been announced by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, and a mix of optimism and caution is greeting the proposal.

It includes a path to citizenship for people already in the country, says Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights.

“They are talking about bringing people who are undocumented out of the shadows and give them some kind of path to citizenship, so I think the recognition that there should be a solution for the people already in the United States, and they should be integrated with full citizenship, is quite important.”

The plan rolled out Monday also includes ramped-up border security, a reformed legal immigration system and an employment verification system.

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Public News Service: Big Turnout Leads to Big Predictions of Immigration Reform

Published November 8, 2012
Peter Malof, Public News Service – TX
El Paso, TX

As political analysts debate whether this week’s election results will ease the gridlock in Washington, D.C., some are predicting a quick breakthrough on at least one major issue. Immigration reform has been blocked in recent years – primarily by a Republican base that wants to seal the border first. That stance alienated enough Latino voters to help propel Democrats to a national victory this week, according to Adriana Cadena, statewide coordinator of the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance. She says Hispanic voters will not be satisfied with anything less than comprehensive reforms.

“That means providing venues through which people who are here undocumented can become U.S. citizens. There’s really no other option, and the time is now.”

The debate is already heating up. Some conservative activists say they will continue fighting what they see as amnesty for millions who are in the country illegally, but other Republicans are calling for a reexamination of their party’s relationship to the growing Latino electorate. President Obama, meanwhile, wants reforms enacted soon, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promises to introduce a bill in the coming year.

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Public News Service: Media Debate – More Newsrooms Avoid “Illegal Immigrants”

Published October 17, 2012
Peter Malof, Public News Service – TX
San Antonio, TX

Adjective or adverb? More and more newsrooms are debating how best to use the word “illegal” when referring to residents who did not move to the United States with proper documentation.

From CNN to The Huffington Post, major outlets that have been trying to expand their Latino audiences are avoiding the term “illegal immigrant.” The San Antonio Express-News, whose reach extends into Mexico, decided two years ago that the term was not consistent with how the paper described others suspected of breaking laws. Managing editor Jamie Stockwell says it’s like calling someone accused of violating traffic laws an “illegal driver.”

“So, the correct way to describe a person’s immigration status – when that information is relevant – is to say that a person is in the country illegally. And then we cite the source of our information; for example, ‘Police said the man is in the United States illegally.’ “

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