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Making its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, Sin Nombre is an epic dramatic thriller from award-winning director Cary Fukunaga.
Seeking the promise of America, a beautiful young Honduran woman, Sayra (Paulina Gaytan), joins her father and uncle on an odyssey to cross the gauntlet of the Latin American countryside en route to the United States. Along the way she crosses paths with a teenaged Mexican gang member, El Casper (Edgar M. Flores), who is maneuvering to outrun his violent past and elude his unforgiving former associates. Together they must rely on faith, trust and street smarts if they are to survive their increasingly perilous journey towards the hope of new lives.
Paulina Gaitan (stars as Sayra): When I read the script, I realized I had to play Sayra because she was similar to me. I related to her emotional issues, like her feelings towards her father. Sayra is sentimental but strong at the same time; she bottles things up.
She starts to feel something for Casper, and thinks she can help him and change him and give him a better life.
I am Mexican, and Cary [Joji Fukunaga] wanted a Honduran actress to play Sayra, so he offered me the role of Martha Marlene. But I said, “If I’m not Sayra, then I won’t be in this movie.”
In playing Sayra, I added a lot of me so she became very similar to me. It became not, “What would my character think?” but “What would I think if I had to go on such a long trip with my Dad by train?”
I didn’t know about how Central Americans cross the border by taking the train, and what they go through; we watched videos of it during rehearsals, including of immigrants crossing rivers.
We Mexicans complain a lot about how we are treated in the U.S., but we don’t see how we treat Central Americans, and Sin Nombre shows that.
To see a trailer or where the film is playing near you visit: filminfocus.com
Temporary protected status (TPS) grants temporary protection from deportation to nationals of a country in which environmental or political events have occurred which make it temporarily unsafe to deport them or when armed conflict poses a serious threat to public safety. TPS has been granted to nationals of many countries including those of Nicaragua and Honduras in 1999 following Hurricane Mitch, and of El Salvador in 2001 following severe earthquakes.
Recent devastating environmental disasters from which Haiti has not recovered, continuing violence, and unstable political conditions pose a serious threat at this time to the personal safety of anyone forcibly repatriated to Haiti. Last year’s storms and hurricanes killed hundreds and rendered hundreds of thousands homeless. Fifteen percent of Haiti’s already fragile economy was destroyed, the equivalent of eight to ten Hurricane Katrinas hitting the United States in the same month. Haitian deportees face hunger, homelessness, and grave threats to their security. The Haitian government’s ability to provide basic governmental services–clean water, education, passable road and basic healthcare–has been severely compromised by the natural disasters and food crisis in 2008. Repatriating Haitians exposes them to these dangerous conditions, while imposing an additional burden on government resources that are already stretched too thin.
Furthermore, granting TPS to Haitian refugees would help Haiti recover, as Haitians in the United States could obtain work permits and would increase the already significant flow of remittances to their family and friends back home. Many depend on those remittances for their very survival. That flow of dollars is among the best foreign aid that the United States can provide, and it costs taxpayers nothing. TPS would be extended only to those Haitians currently residing in the United States, so any concerns about a mass exodus to the US are unfounded.
Congressman Alcee Hastings (FL) introduced legislation to grant TPS to Haitians (H.R. 144).
Amnesty International has found that the dramatic increase in the use of detention as an immigration enforcement mechanism in the USA results in a number of human rights violations. More than 300,000 men, women and children are detained by US immigration authorities each year. International human rights standards require that detention should only be used in exceptional circumstances, must be justified in each individual case and must be subject to judicial review. However, in the USA immigrants can be detained for months or years without any form of meaningful individualized judicial review of their detention. Alternatives to detention including reporting requirements or a bond should always be considered before resorting to detention.
The conditions under which immigrants are held violate both US and international standards on the treatment of detainees. Amnesty International documented pervasive problems including comingling of immigration detainees with individuals convicted of criminal offenses; inappropriate and excessive use of restraints; inadequate access to healthcare including mental health services; and inadequate access to exercise. Many individuals have limited or no access to family and to legal or other assistance throughout their detention.
Key findings of Amnesty International’s report on immigration detention include:
- The US detains asylum seekers, survivors of torture and human trafficking, lawful permanent residents and the parents of U.S. citizen children.
- While the average cost of detaining an immigrant is $95 per person/per day, alternatives to detention are significantly cheaper, with some programs costing as little as $12 per day. Despite the proven effectiveness of these less expensive and less restrictive alternatives, the government is choosing to detain instead.
- Immigrants can be detained for months or years without any form of meaningful individualized review of whether their detention is necessary.
- The vast majority of people in immigration detention – 84 percent – are unable to obtain the legal assistance necessary to present viable claims in an adversarial and complex court process.
- The US contracts with approximately 350 state and county criminal jails to house approximately 67% of all immigrants in detention.
- Detention facilities are required to comply with ICE detention standards, however, these standards are not legally binding, and oversight and accountability for abuse or neglect in detention is almost nonexistent, leading to practices in violation of international standards. Immigrants are often put in excessive restraints, including handcuffs, belly chains and leg restraints.
- Individuals in detention find it very difficult to get timely – and at times any – treatment for their medical needs. 74 people have died while in immigration detention over the past five years.
to read entire report visit: amnestyusa.org
Wednesday the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Washington, D.C. convened to discuss how Latinos have been under-counted in previous census counts and efforts by LULAC and other national Latino organizations are aimed at making the next population count more accurate.
“April 1, 2010, is a critical date for all of us,” said Brent Wilkes, executive director of LULAC, referring to Census Day. “We have to make sure that every person is counted because it’s going to transform what is known about our diverse and growing population.”
Latinos represent an estimated 15 percent of the U.S. population, or 45.5 million people.
Wilkes noted that an accurate census count in 2010 is critical because those numbers will be used to address the needs of communities for the coming decade. The federal government uses census data to allocate about $300 billion in funds every year for vital services, including disaster relief, health care, schools, transportation, libraries and senior centers.
Panelists agreed that many Latinos, regardless of their immigration status, will be suspicious of the letters the Census will be sending out to households in March 2010. If they don’t respond to it, the Census Bureau will follow up by sending a specialist to their address for an interview. Such visits sometimes help the agency locate new members of the community.
One of the Census Bureau’s strategies for overcoming such fears is to deploy bilingual specialists around the country to do follow-up home visits. The agency has already hired personnel who speak 55 of 59 languages it has determined are needed for interviewing. “We want to make sure that the person who comes to your door looks just like you,” Ramos said.
In communities where Latinos represent more than 20 percent of the population, the agency will send the forms in both English and Spanish. Communities with smaller percentages of Latinos or other non-English-speaking groups can request bilingual forms.
The Census Bureau is also setting up local offices, with 145 already open and a total of 485 expected to be operating by the end of the year. These offices, located in the middle of communities, will help the agency do the hyper-local part of the job. But they also offer job opportunities.
Author: Cristina F. Pereda
In 2005, more than one-fifth (22.4 percent) of Hispanics 16 through 24 years of age were dropouts, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This means they were not enrolled in school, and had not graduated from high school or passed General Educational Development (GED) tests. These dropout numbers do not accurately measure the performance of U.S. schools in educating Hispanic students because they include immigrants educated abroad. However, even after adjusting for the portion of Hispanic dropouts who never attended U.S. schools, the dropout rate for Hispanic students is higher than for other major ethnic groups in America.
Fortunately, there is a proven way to increase the success rate for Hispanic students: school choice.
School choice would greatly increase opportunities for Hispanics to excel by requiring public schools to compete for students. Charter schools, for example, are publicly funded schools that are free of many of the regulations imposed on traditional public schools. Charter schools characteristically serve a disproportionate number of minority students who have had limited academic success in public schools. Unlike most public schools, charter schools do not have a local residency requirement. According to the Center for Education Reform, students attending charter schools are beginning to perform better academically than their peers in the public school system:
- Hispanic students have a greater chance of being proficient in math and reading if they attend a charter school.
- Students’ test scores at charter schools are “rising sharply” and beginning to outperform underprivileged students in public schools.
In order to inform yourself about charter schools in your area check the following websites:
Authors: Madison Jones and Renee Bou-Waked interns for the National Center for Policy Analysis
To read full report click here.