new york votes

Podcast: Latino Voters and the GOP Presidential Candidates – Economic Concerns Outweigh Faith and Religion

In this Feet in Two Worlds podcast, La Opinión senior political writer and columnist Pilar Marrero breaks down a new poll released by impreMedia and Latino Decisions analyzing how religion and faith impact voting decisions for Latinos.


Podcast: Republican Candidates Do Not Resonate With Latinos

In this podcast, Fi2W Executive Producer John Rudolph speaks with La Opinión senior political writer and columnist Pilar Marrero about the first poll showing how Latino voters are responding to the GOP presidential field.

Health care reform supporters in Minnesota - Photo: AFL-CIO/Flickr

Latinos Support Health Care Reform But Not Mandate

A new Impremedia poll shows that Latinos support the majority of the federal health care law’s provisions and oppose its repeal. But just like other voters, they are against the clause that will force them to purchase coverage, the so-called mandate.

With Appointment as Lt. Governor, Abel Maldonado to Become California’s Highest Ranking Latino

Abel Maldonado, a California state senator and the son of Mexican immigrant farmers, has been appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the state’s lieutenant governor.


Pro-Immigrant Protesters and Hispanic Media Confront Sheriff Arpaio in Southern California

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona was clearly enjoying his starring role at a series of fundraisers last week in Southern California.

The sheriff, known for his aggressive tactics against undocumented immigrants in and around Phoenix, happily chatted with reporters — even the citizen reporters that were part of a protest against him –at an event on Thursday in Anaheim, Orange County before heading to Mission Bay, San Diego, for a second fundraiser.

The self-described “toughest sheriff in the country” came to California to support an underdog sheriff´s candidate: Bill Hunt in Orange County. On Friday, he did the same for Jay La Sur in San Diego County in a move that is certain to bring the immigration issue to the fore in those races, both to be decided next year.

Watch Pilar Marrero’s video of Sheriff Arpaio’s visit to Anaheim, California.

At first, Arpaio seemed irritated by the protests that awaited him as he arrived at the event in Anaheim. But then he seemed to relish the opportunity to face the cameras in California as he often does in Arizona. “Why are they always following me? When I went to the O’Brien show and the Colbert show in New York they were there too,” he said to puzzled reporters who were asking him about his controversial law enforcement policies. (more…)

News Analysis: Health Care Reform Turns into an Immigration Debate for Some

By Pilar Marrero, La Opinión and FI2W reporter

Health care reform opponents in West Hartford, Conn. (Photo: ragesoss/flickr)

Health care reform opponents in West Hartford, Conn. (Photo: ragesoss/Flickr - Click to visit.)

This Wednesday, President Obama is scheduled to give a major speech on health care reform before a joint session of Congress. The speech comes after weeks of controversy over various proposals and their real or imagined effects on the country. Some groups have focused not on the details of how to cover more people, lower the cost of care, or improve the health of Americans, but on how immigrants fit into the equation.

When a Congressional Research Office report surfaced recently analyzing the treatment of immigrants (documented and not) under one of the pending health care reform bills, some took it to mean… well, the exact opposite of what the CRO found.

The Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a Washington lobbyist group with an immigration restriction agenda, claimed it confirmed their worst fears: that illegal aliens would get health care coverage on the government’s dime.

“Congressional Research Agency Confirms Illegal Aliens Will Get Health Benefits Under House Bill,” claimed the headline, still at the top of FAIR’s website on Monday.

There is just one problem with that assertion: if you read the CRO report, it says the complete opposite.


News Analysis: ICE Chief Promises Efficiency, Continued Tough Enforcement of Immigration Laws

On his first visit to Los Angeles, three months after becoming the chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), assistant secretary for Homeland Security John Morton said all his agency wants to do is become more efficient.

“We will try to apply immigration laws in a tough, smart and thoughtful manner,” said Morton to a small group of reporters invited to meet him last week as part of his tour of Southern California.

He said that if people expected ICE to stop doing its job, they would be disappointed. “That is not the point”, said Morton, who is a career prosecutor.


Los Angeles: Many Small Marches for Immigration Reform on May Day

The first of the marches in Downtown Los Angeles today - Photo: j.r.mchale.

The first of the marches in Downtown Los Angeles today - Photo: j.r.mchale.

In Los Angeles, there were at least five major organized marches pushing for immigration reform on May Day, three of which started from the same point in the heart of downtown: Broadway and Olympic.

Different groups and local organizations had different routes in mind: the first one started with about 1,500 people and followed a route similar to the mega-march of March 25, 2006.

Another demonstration started later, towards Temple and Alameda, somewhat to the east of the first one. Approximately 1,000 people participated. A third march in the same area during the afternoon gathered only a few hundred people.

Two other groups were marching in the afternoon in Downtown and Echo Park, a neighborhood just west of Dodger Stadium.

Groups of students were to march separately in the southeast area of Los Angeles County in support of the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented students to regularize their immigration status and gain access to higher education.

The fragmentation of groups dissappointed a local activist, who had hoped for a unified contingent. “It’s too bad, the groups look very small by themselves. I participated in the first one and now I’m in the second one. They don’t take more than a block and a little more each”, said Ricardo Moreno, an immigrant rights activist in Los Angeles. “The groups are divided and to me, ’cause I know all the organizers, it’s about egos.”

Foreclosures Still Rising, Immigrants and Latinos Among the Hardest Hit

By Pilar Marrero, La Opinión and FI2W reporter
California has a high rate of foreclosures. (Photo: La Opinión)

California has a high rate of foreclosures. (Photo: La Opinión)

LOS ANGELES — Activists have a pet name for Hope for Homeowners (H4H), the government initiative that’s supposed to help struggling mortgage holders keep their homes: they call it “hoho”.

“It’s a sad kind of humor, but it reflects a reality,” says Kathleen Day of the Center for Responsible Lending, a homeowners advocacy group. “We have yet to see a significant effect of these programs for most people.”

Many people across the country who are –or expect soon to be– unable to continue payments on their mortgages have placed their hopes on H4H, otherwise known as “the Obama plan”. Latinos have been experiencing foreclosures at a higher rate than the rest of the U.S. poulation,  following a decade-long push to increase minority ownership. Figures released this week show that, instead of diminishing, foreclosures are rising quickly.

“I want to know, how much can my mortgage payment be reduced?” asks Norma Ochoa, a woman from Los Angeles that has been keeping up with her payments so far despite losing one of her two cleaning jobs.

Many, like Ochoa, are still waiting for an answer.

“The bank says they can not yet help me. That I need to wait,” she says, at the offices of a local organization that helps people negotiate with banks. “I don’t think I’m gonna be able to continue paying for long.”

RealtyTrac’s latest foreclosure report, released Wednesday, shows that during the first quarter of this year, foreclosure filings increased 13% compared to the previous 3 months.


The Fall of Rosario Marín, California’s Favorite Mexican Republican: News Analysis from FI2W

By Pilar Marrero, La Opinión and FI2W reporter

Rosario Marín - Photo: Los Angeles Times

Rosario Marín. (Photo: Los Angeles Times)

For years, California politician Rosario Marín, a model Latina conservative, was a rising star in the Republican Party.

Last week, though, after she resigned her state cabinet position due to an investigation into her outside income, Marín saw the state’s Republican-led administration quickly distance itself from her.

As California’s Fair Political Practices Commission investigates whether she improperly pocketed tens of thousands of dollars for giving speeches to companies who had business with her agency, Marín optimistically waits, saying she has done nothing wrong.

“I am at peace with myself, thank God,” she told me the day after her resignation. “I can sleep well every night.”