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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Public News Service: Obama Reelection Could Lead to Spike in Deportation Deferrals

Published September 28, 2012
Peter Malof, Public News Service – TX
El Paso, TX

The Obama administration’s new Deferred Action program gives young undocumented immigrants temporary permission to live and work in the United States, although fewer than 100,000 of the 1.5 million who qualify have applied for relief. One reason for the program’s slower-than-expected start is that many so-called DREAMers are wary of exposing their status to a new administration.

Jacob Hernandez, a 21-year-old Mexican architecture student, has lived in El Paso since he was five. He says he and his friends worry about what a President Romney would do with applicants’ information.

“If he’s elected president, he could just say, ‘Okay, you know what? I want everybody out.’ That’s why the people are scared. It’s not safe, because the first people who they’re going to take out are the ones that they have the documentation on.”

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