Illinois Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez tapped into deep-seated frustrations in Rhode Island and across the country when he introduced comprehensive federal immigration-reform legislation last week. No matter the fate of his bill, Gutierrez has garnered praise from immigrant advocates nationwide for bringing the issue back to the table in this congressional session.

At J&R market on Salem Street, the shelves are stocked with Kenyan tea, Nigerian flour, and Mexican cactuses. The public library boasts a collection of 2,000 books in Chinese, 10 times the count a decade ago. French classes, fading elsewhere, are thriving at Malden High School as Haitian families have poured into the city.

Nineteen months after the infamous Postville raid plucked 389 immigrant workers from their jobs at Agriprocessors meat-packing plant, about four dozen will spend their second Christmas here, in limbo.

Twenty already served five months in prison and are slated for deportation. They’d been ordered to remain to testify in the trial of the former company CEO Dec. 2.

In another sign that the economy might be turning around, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services has filled this year’s quota of 65,000 applications for H-1b guest worker visas, which allow companies to hire foreign workers for jobs they say they cannot fill with US-born applicants.

Latino groups contend that there was an undercount of nearly one million Latinos in the 2000 census, affecting the drawing of Congressional districts and the distribution of federal money.

CNN tells the story of US Army Captain Cheyne Parham, who has spent most of 2009 fighting the government to get visas for his wife, whom he met while stationed in Korea, and his two young daughters. “I’ve missed out on all but about one month of their lives,” Capt. Parham told CNN — ever since the Korean consulate refused to give the children passports or visas. The reason? Because his wife was working as a bar waitress at the time, the Korean consulate told Capt. Parham, they weren’t sure he was the father of his daughters.

Benenson Strategy Group conducted a national poll from December 19 to 21, 2009 for America’s Voice, following up on questions asked in May 2009. The December poll surveyed 800 likely voters and had a margin of error of ±3.46%. Sixty-five percent of respondents supported congressional action on comprehensive immigration reform in 2010.  According to the… Continue »

A pair of disturbing stories published last week uncover disturbing new frontiers in immigration enforcement, and prove that while the Obama administration may have abandoned workplace raids, it isn’t above using cheap tricks and racial profiling to catch undocumented immigrants.

Last week we brought you the story of immigrant students putting pressure on USA Today to change a provocative and misleading headline on a piece about young people who would benefit from the DREAM Act. Well, today those same advocates have cause to celebrate what they are calling a “subtle” victory on the road toward self-definition. Lal: “At the same time, this subtle change tells us that a few hundred emails and calls have the power to drive change. There should be some solace in knowing that any media source that refers to immigrant students as “illegal students” will have to bear the brunt of young immigrants who simply want the right to define themselves.”

Some say Gil Navarro represents everything that’s wrong with America.

But others say he’s a champion of the voiceless – one of the few public officials courageous enough to stand up for immigrants, even those here unlawfully.