Read Full Articles
August 20, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
WASHINGTON – For those new to the U.S. tax system, filing taxes can be a confusing and intimidating process. For Hispanics, barriers such as language, fraud and misinformation add to the list of complications. To help address Spanish-speaking taxpayers’ needs for trustworthy and credible help, the Hispanic Access Foundationhas expanded its outreach and educational campaign in partnership with H&R Block, the world’s largest tax services provider, to eleven U.S. cities.
The campaign “Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future) emphasizes the importance of building an accurate tax history and gives Hispanics tools to protect against fraud and misinformation in the tax preparation process.
“This campaign has already helped thousands of Hispanics with issues such as fears about immigration status, situations of fraud and trusting unskilled tax preparers,” said Maite Arce, executive director of HAF. “The demand for help is so immense there was no hesitation in expanding to more cities. This is a critical need for Hispanics and for the long-term prospects of this country as a whole.”
Hispanic buying power is expected to reach $1.5 trillion in 2015, according to a recent Nielsen report. Additionally, the U.S. Census estimates that Hispanic business-owners contribute more than $70 billion to the nation’s economy. While there is no concrete number, estimates place the number of Hispanics not filing taxes in the millions.
“For the majority of Hispanics, it’s not a question of not wanting to pay taxes, but rather a lack of understanding and fear of the process. With access to quality information in their language and to bilingual tax experts, they can build their knowledge about taxes,” said Arce. “H&R Block and its more than 2,500 bilingual offices nationwide make them an ideal partner to help this population.”
Throughout the campaign, HAF and H&R Block will work with faith-based and community leaders to discuss tax issues, participate in community events and promote informational tax seminars called “Tax Talks.” More information about this campaign and a list of seminars is available at www.pormifuturo.org.
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world’s largest tax services provider, having prepared more than 600 million tax returns worldwide since 1955. In fiscal 2012, H&R Block had annual revenues of $2.9 billion and prepared 25.6 million tax returns worldwide. Tax return preparation services are provided in company-owned and franchise retail tax offices by nearly 100,000 professional tax preparers, and through H&R Block At Home™ digital products. H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Online Press Center.
June 15, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
The Obama administration announced today that it will offer indefinite reprieves from deportation for young immigrants who were brought to the country as minors and meet other specific requirements.
The move, hailed by immigration advocates as a bold response to the broken immigration system, temporarily eliminates the possibility of deportation for youths who would qualify for relief under the DREAM Act, giving Congress the space needed to craft a bipartisan solution that gives permanent residence to qualifying young people.
In a statement from the White House, President Obama said the policy was “the right thing to do,” calling DREAMers “Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every way but one: on paper.”
According to a memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security, immigrants may apply for a two-year renewable grant of “deferred action” if they entered the United States before age 16; are younger than 30; have lived continuously in the United States for at least five years; have not been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor; and are currently in school, have graduated from high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. Although not granted lawful immigration status, recipients will be able to obtain work permits under existing regulations.
Today’s memo, issued by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, comes almost exactly one year after the release of a memo from ICE Director John Morton setting forth an extensive list of factors for agents to consider when exercising prosecutorial discretion. The so-called “Morton memo” was initially hailed by immigrant advocates, who believed it would prevent the removal of foreign nationals who would have qualified for relief under the DREAM Act. Calls for bolder executive action grew stronger, however, after an ongoing review of pending removal cases yielded disappointing results and examples continued to surface of immigrants being denied prosecutorial discretion despite compelling circumstances.
Although not defined under federal regulations, deferred action has long been used by U.S. presidents to prevent the removal of immigrants for humanitarian reasons. Contrary to some headlines, immigrants who are granted deferred action—which can be revoked without notice at any time—will not receive “immunity” from removal. In addition, although they will be permitted to apply for work permits, immigrants who receive deferred action will not receive green cards or any other lawful immigration status, will not be permitted to sponsor family members, and may be unable to travel abroad.
According to the memo and a Q&A released by the administration, immigrants who are not currently in removal proceedings will have to submit applications demonstrating their eligibility for deferred action. Meanwhile, immigrants who are currently in removal proceedings will be eligible for deferred action, even if they previously declined an offer of “administrative closure” under the ongoing case review process. Although eligibility determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis, administration officials said that immigrants who satisfy the criteria in the memo should presumptively be granted deferred action.
Secretary Napolitano’s memo comes two weeks after nearly 100 law professors sent a letter to President Obama outlining his authority to provide temporary relief from deportation. The announcement also comes on the thirtieth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Plyler v. Doe, which held that states cannot exclude undocumented schoolchildren from elementary and secondary schools.
Jockey Mario Gutierrez will be attempting to win the first Triple Crown since 1978, after winning both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness with horse I’ll Have Another. They’ll be racing on June 9th at Belmont Park.
The Hispanic Access Foundation has recently learned about the men and women who work behind the scenes at Belmont Park. Through a partnership with the Race Track Chaplaincy of New York, we’ve been working to bring these workers tax information through our “Preparate Para un Futuro Mejor,” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future).
Learn more about these workers with scenes from the backside of the tracks:
Hispanics are passionate about their public parks and open spaces. Parks are often the center of family life and activities, used as social settings for picnics and get-togethers with family and friends. As such, their protection ranks high on Hispanics’ priority list.
So, it’s of little surprise to me when I see the results of polls, like the recent 2012 Colorado College Western States Survey, which shows that the protection of parks, clean air and water is a top issue for Latinos. In fact, 87 percent of Latinos surveyed believe we can protect land and water while still having a strong economy – we don’t have to choose one over the other. Even further, 94 percent agree that public lands such as national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife areas are “an essential part” of the economies of western states.
It seemed only natural for the Hispanic Access Foundation to launch an online petition where Latinos can urge President Barack Obama to create news parks and monuments, as well as to continue protections for our land, air and water. Upon signing, the petition delivers an email directly to the White House.
Hispanics need a way to inform their elected officials about their concerns for protection and funding related to the environment and our natural spaces. This petition gives them a megaphone for their voices to be heard.
And Hispanics should receive unprecedented attention.
The U.S. Latino population is now at 50.5 million – 16.3 percent of the total population – according to the 2010 Census. Not only has the population reached new heights, but Latinos are also a growing force in elections. Between 2004 and 2008, the number of Latino voters grew by 28 percent, while the total number of voters increased by only four percent. 2012 should see a record number of Latinos heading to the polls.
To be clear, cultural traditions are not the sole reason these and other Latino voters consistently express strong support for clean air, water and land. The U.S. Hispanic population is disproportionately affected by environmental contamination in many parts of the country.
Latinos are 165 percent more likely to live in counties with unhealthy levels of air pollution, unsafe drinking water, and lead and mercury contamination – all of which can cause serious health problems – according to the American Lung Association. Hispanics also face higher rates of asthma than whites, and because they account for nearly one-third of those not protected by health insurance, they are less likely to receive specialized care.
In the Colorado College survey, which polled 2,400 register Latino voters in six key western states, 80 percent of the respondents view air pollution as a serious problem in their state, and see the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws as important protections rather than burdensome regulations.
A 2004 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council provides some credence to that belief. Ninety one (91) percent of Hispanics in the country live in metropolitan areas where air pollution is often present. One-third of U.S. Latinos live in western states where arsenic, industrial chemicals and fertilizer residues often contaminate local drinking water supplies. Furthermore, the study found that one and half million U.S. Latinos live in colonias – unincorporated communities with substandard housing – along the U.S.-Mexico border, where a lack of potable water and sewage treatment contributes to waterborne diseases such as hepatitis and cholera.
The environmental concerns make the voices of Latino voters all the more important. And for the sake of this generation and the next, its time for policymakers to finally acknowledge and embrace the will of the nation’s Hispanics.
Read more at HuffingtonPost.com
For more than six years, Lilia Fuentes did not get a Pap test. Lilia, whose name has been changed, didn’t think it was necessary since she always felt healthy.
Then, at the beginning of 2010, she went to see a doctor after she started to bleed profusely. The test results were devastating: she had advanced cervical cancer. From that moment on, her life took a 180-degree turn.
The independent and hard-working woman who cleaned houses in San Jose, Calif., had to undergo intensive treatment that left her bedridden. To prevent the cancer from spreading, her uterus and ovaries were removed and she started chemotherapy and radiation. She spent entire days in the hospital, completely isolated.
“Neither her sister, nor her two kids — a 22-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son — could see her,” recalls Claudia Colindres, who works for the non-profit organization Latinas Contra el Cáncer (Latinas Against Cancer), which offers support for those who suffer from the disease, as well as their families. Colindres says that despite doctors’ best efforts, the cancer not only did not diminish it became more aggressive.
“She lost a lot of weight and they decided to refer her to a home care program for terminal patients,” she says. “I visited her and the last time I went, I knew I would never see her again. Her skin was yellow and she looked very skinny, very tired.
Lilia died two weeks later, on July 4, 2011.
The family, according to Colindres, is still so upset they refuse to even talk about Lilia, who was 58 years old at the time of her death, originally from Mexico and a single mother.
“At her funeral, the one who looked the most depressed was her sister, who had never lived apart from her. After Lilia died, the family broke up. Her daughter went to live with a friend and her son stayed with his aunt because he was going to school.”
Colindres says that the family is finding it hard to cope with Lilia’s death. They feel guilty for not pressuring her to get tested on time and take better care of her health.
To make matters worse, Colindres adds, they lost the house that Lilia had bought making many sacrifices because they could no longer make the payments.
In California, nearly 1,400 women are diagnosed with this cancer and 400 of them die each year.
“Lilia’s mom, who lives in Mexico, cries a lot because she can’t see her again and can’t even visit her grave because they cremated her here and her ashes remain here,” she says.
Lilia’s story illustrates the tremendous emotional, social and economic impact the death of a middle-aged woman has on a family from a preventable disease.
“In general, (these women) are the cornerstones of their homes, the ones who give unity and strength to the nuclear family,” says Alejandra Casillas, an internist at the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).
Although this type of cancer affects all ethnic groups, Latinas are diagnosed with this disease twice as often as Caucasians. They also have the highest mortality rate in California, according to Casillas.
This is because, among other reasons, many Latinas lack health insurance. It is also due to cultural reasons.
“Latinas don’t take charge of their health; they don’t value the importance of staying healthy to support their families,” Casillas observes.
Cervical cancer is the second-most common cancer worldwide and is responsible for 250,000 deaths a year, of which 4,000 are recorded in the United States.
In California, nearly 1,400 women are diagnosed with this cancer and 400 of them die each year. The deaths are needless because cervical cancer is a preventable disease. It can be easily detected through a relatively simple, low-cost test and can be prevented by a vaccine.
The majority of cervical cancer cases is caused by the human papilloma virus or HPV. Each year, millions of women are infected with the virus, but because they do not have any symptoms, they don’t realize that they are at risk of developing cervical cancer.
The California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation has undertaken an intensive educational campaign to reduce the number of victims. Carol Lee, president and CEO of CMA Foundation, notes that “with proven prevention methods, including HPV vaccine, regular Pap tests and greater public awareness, we have a tremendous opportunity to reduce the devastating effects of cervical cancer and completely eliminate this disease.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the highest rate of advanced cervical cancer occurs among Hispanic women between 50 and 79 years of age.
Casillas says that several studies show that in California, Latinas are the least likely to get a Pap test. Ten percent have never had the test in their lives.
Pap tests are available for free for low-income women through the “Every Woman Counts” program, and HPV vaccines are covered by insurance and through the “Vaccines for Children” program.
To see if you qualify for a free cervical cancer test through this program, call 1-800-511-2300, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm. Spanish-speaking operators are available. To see if your children can be vaccinated free of charge, ask your doctor about the Vaccines for Children program. All children eligible for California’s Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) program may also qualify for free or low-cost vaccines.
The 2011 CMAF/Cervical Cancer Reporting Fellowship is sponsored by the California Medical Association Foundation (CMAF), a charitable arm of the California Medical Association, to bridge physicians to their communities to address community health. The journalism fellowship program, administered by New America Media, is designed to raise awareness and provide public health information on cervical cancer to the at-risk Latina population in Los Angeles.
Source: Latinas – The Main Victims of Cervical Cancer in California by Maria Luisa Arredondo, New America Media, Posted: Jan 12, 2012
About New America Media
New America Media is the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. Over 57 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3000+ ethnic media, the fastest growing sector of American journalism.
Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California with offices inNew York and Washington D.C., and partnerships with journalism schools to grow local associations of ethnic media.
NAM is dedicated to bringing the voices of the marginalized – ethnic minorities, immigrants, young people, elderly – into the national discourse. The communities of the New America will then be better informed, better connected to one another, and better able to influence policy makers.