Latino Voices

Latino Voices

COUNTY TAKES STEPS TO ADDRESS COVID-19 DISPARITIES IN LOCAL LATINO COMMUNITIES AFTER ECM REPORTS, BUT THE PROBLEM IS NATIONWIDE AND SYSTEMIC

Hear audio of our interview with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez aired on KNSJ: click here

In exclusive interviews, ECM spoke with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Chicano Federation leaders on the problems and potential solutions

By Briana Gomez

July 28, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – After ECM’s special report on May 28 on the high rate of COVID-19 among local Latinos, the County of San Diego announced on July 21 that it is launching a new TV, radio, online and signage outreach campaign to the local Latino community aimed at overcoming information barriers on COVID-19. As of July 21, of more than 24,000 COVID-19 cases in our county with known race/ethnicity, about 60% are Hispanics or Latinos, yet Hispanics/Latinos make up only about 34% of the local population.

Audio: 


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LATINO CONSERVATION GROUPS URGE ACTION ON PANDEMIC, CLIMATE CHANGE

By Suzanne Potter

Reprinted from California News Service, originally published in June

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming

July 17, 2020 (Sacramento) --  Latino conservation groups say battling the pandemic goes hand in hand with fighting climate change, because poor air quality exacerbated by climate change makes people more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Juanita Mora, CEO of the Chicago Allergy Center, said Latino communities are disproportionately affected by both the pandemic and poor air quality.


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'DREAMERS ARE HOME': SUPREME COURT REJECTS TRUMP EFFORT TO END DACA PROGRAM

"Today we celebrate and tomorrow we will continue to fight because Trump's attacks on the immigrant community must end."

By Julia Conley

Credit to Common Dreams, under a Creative Commons share with attribution license

Photo:  public domain image via Wikipedia

June 18, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - Immigrant rights advocates celebrated a major victory Thursday morning as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Trump administration cannot end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has allowed nearly 800,000 young immigrants, known as Dreamers, to live and work in the United States.


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CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES WIN SUIT ON BEHALF OF UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS

By Mikhail Zinshteyn, CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks at CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland in 2018. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

June 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - A federal judge sided with California’s community colleges today in ruling that the Trump administration illegally restricted recent federal stimulus funds to as many as 800,000 students, including undocumented students.


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NEW SANDAG REPORT FINDS BLACKS AND HISPANIC COMMUNITIES HARDEST HIT BY HEALTH AND ECONOMIC CRISIS

Source: SANDAG

June 17, 2020 (San Diego) -- As the San Diego region’s labor market continues to experience an historic decline, Black and Hispanic communities are most impacted, according to a new SANDAG Data Science and Analytics report, “COVID-19 Impact on the San Diego Regional Economy: Black and Hispanic Communities Hardest Hit.”


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WHY ARE LATINOS DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPACTED BY COVID-19 IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY?

By Briana Gomez

Photo, left: Briana Gomez and her daughter, Aya, with masks from Chicanista Boutique, a Chicana-owned San Diego business

May 28, 2020 (San Diego) -- COVID-19 has plagued millions globally, hitting San Diego at over 5,000 cases according to recent CDC data. The virus has disproportionately impacted San Diego County’s Latino population.

According to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, 60 percent of COVID-19 positive tests in San Diego County are among Hispanic or Latinos. Equally troubling, CBS 8 reports that 41.1% of deaths locally are among Latinos.


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PANDEMIC STEALS MOST FROM IMMIGRANT WORKING WOMEN

By Jackie Botts | CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Nearly one in three non-citizen working women in California have lost their jobs during the pandemic, according to the study by UC Merced researchers. Photo via iStock.

May 23, 2020 (San Diego) - Early estimates indicate that the coronavirus pandemic has stolen jobs from non-citizen workers — including immigrants who have green cards, work visas or are undocumented — in California at higher rates than citizens. And women have suffered greater job loss than men. 


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HOW CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOUNDATIONS ARE TRYING TO HELP STUDENTS

By Mikhail Zinshteyn, CalMatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  A student walks back to her car after picking up eggs, milk, produce and dried goods from the weekly drive-thru food pantry at Santa Monica College. Photo by Mikhail Zinshteyn for CalMatters

May 8, 2020 (San Diego) - In the third week of April, Shannon Hill approved the donation of some $35,000 in emergency aid to 40 students at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.


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FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS RELEASE OF DOZENS OF MEDICALLY VULNERABLE PEOPLE AT OTAY MESA DETENTION CENTER

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo (Google): CoreCivic's Otay Mesa Detention Center
 
May 5, 2020 (San Diego) – Judge Dana Sabraw issued an order on April 30 directing the federal government to release more than 50 medically vulnerable individuals who are in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at the Otay Mesa Detention Center. According to the ICE website, at least 105 detainees at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19.
 
Judge Sabraw wrote in his decision, “The Court HEREBY DECLARES that current conditions of confinement for Otay Mesa Medically Vulnerable subclass members held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center are unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment because the conditions of their confinement place subclass members at substantial risk of serious illness or death.”

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TWO MAJOR SAN DIEGO HOSPITAL CHAINS SEEK 'URGENT' FEDERAL HELP ON BORDER

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo:  A Scripps Health medical team. Group president/CEO says San Diego needs “PPE, pharmaceuticals and scarce medical equipment needed in this type of pandemic.” Photo courtesy of Scripps

May 1, 2020 (San Diego) - Executives with Scripps Health and Sharp HealthCare, two major San Diego hospital chains, have written to the federal government seeking “urgent action” to combat COVID-19 along the U.S.-Mexico border.


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IMMIGRANT ACTIVIST TO NEWSOM: OUTREACH NEEDED TO OVERCOME FEAR OF TESTING

By Chris Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo:  Enrique Morones, shown at a Waterfront Park rally in 2018, reminds state officials: “By helping the undocumented community, you’re really helping yourself.” Photo by Chris Stone

April 19, 2020 (San Diego) - Among Gov. Gavin Newsom’s indicators to be used before stay-at-home orders can be eased (and the economy reopened) are testing and contact tracing.

But what if California’s 2 million undocumented immigrants are too fearful to be tested?


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RELIEF FUND FOR IMMIGRANT WORKERS ANNOUNCED: MONEY INCLUDES DONATIONS FROM PHILANTHROPISTS AND STATE EMERGENCY FUNDS

By Miriam Raftery

April 16, 2020 (Sacramento) – Many undocumented workers are risking their lives serving others during the coronavirus pandemic, with jobs in healthcare, as caregivers, in the food industry, and more. Others have lost jobs due to shutdowns, but are not eligible for stimulus funds.  So yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $125 million disaster relief program for undocumented immigrant worker to help their families. 


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ACLU DISMISSES LAWSUIT AFTER ICE RELEASES 4 IMMIGRANT DETAINEES VULNERABLE TO COVID-19

Otay Mesa ICE facility has at least 16 COVID-19 cases, highest of any  U.S. detention site

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

April 13, 2020 (San Diego) – After the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed lawsuits in 13 states demanding release of detained immigrants at high risk due to COVID-19, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent a letter to Congress on April 7 announcing it had identified 600 medically vulnerable detainees and to date, had released 160 of them.

Today, local ACLU representatives asked the court to dismiss a suit filed earlier this month on behalf of four medically vulnerable people detained at the ICE Otay Mesa Detention Center and Imperial Regional Detention Facility, after ICE released all four  plaintiffs.

“Our clients, Yusuf Ozdemir and Jane Doe, were released Thursday night; and Miguel Angel Benitez and Issis Yoselin Zelaya Sagastume were released Friday night,” states a press release issued today by  the ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties, ACLU Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project, ACLU Foundation National Prison Project and ACLU Foundation Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & HIV Project.


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WORKERS ON BORDER WALL AT TECATE NOT WEARING MASKS OR MAINTAINING SOCIAL DISTANCING

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 3, 2020 (Tecate) – Along the California-Mexico border at Tecate in San Diego’s East County, construction of the border wall is being done by workers not maintaining social distancing or wearing masks—despite national, state and county emergency declarations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction is deemed an essential business under California’s emergency order and the Trump administration has specifically deemed building the border wall essential.  But why are no precautions being taken to protect the health of workers and the public?


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NEW FUND SUPPORTS SAN DIEGO’S IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

 

 

Source: San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC), a project of Alliance San Diego, has launched the SDIRC Immigrant Relief Fund to provide grants of up to $500 to immigrant families in San Diego who have lost part or all of their income due to the coronavirus pandemic, or other disasters. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes county and statewide shelter-in-place orders, many workers in San Diego County have had their hours reduced, are temporarily not working, or have lost their jobs altogether. Some immigrant workers are not eligible for certain federal and state benefits such as unemployment and food stamps. 

The fund will launch with $10,000 thanks  to a generous donation from Oxfam America, a confederation of 19 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, and a donation from SDIRC, a coalition of over 50 organizations serving the immigrant community. The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is asking those who can to consider donating to the fund.

For more information on the fund, click here

To apply for the fund, click here

To donate to the fund, click here


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'WE LIVE PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK': UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS STRUGGLE AS ECONOMY GRINDS TO A HALT

By Jacqueline Garcia and Jackie Botts

Jacqueline García is a reporter with La Opinión. CalMatters reporter Jackie Botts contributed to this article. This article is part of The California Divide, a collaboration among newsrooms examining income inequity and economic survival in California.

Photo:  undocumented immigrants often work in construction. Photo by La Opinión

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) - More than 2 million undocumented workers, who do not quality for many state and federal benefits, are among the hardest hit Californians as the economy is battered by the coronavirus pandemic.


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U.S., MEXICO WILL RESTRICT NON-ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC ACROSS BORDER STARTING AT 9 PM TONIGHT

 


Completed port of entry at San Ysidro

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo: San Ysidro border crossing, via San Diego Mayor Falconer's office

March 20, 20202 (San Diego) -- The Trump administration announced Friday that closure of non-essential movement across the Canadian border will be accompanied by similar limits on the Mexican border.


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IMMIGRANTS’ ADVOCATES URGE CALM AS PUBLIC CHARGE RULE TAKES EFFECT, LIMITING SOME BENEFITS FOR IMMIGRANTS APPLYING FOR GREEN CARDS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service
 
Photo: Riko Best, Adobe Stock via California News Service
 
February 24, 2020 (Sacramento) - Starting today, immigrants applying for green cards will be subject to the Trump administration's new 'public charge' rule.
 
The changes make it harder for people who receive certain types of public assistance to be approved. Benefits used before February 24 will not count, and the changes do not include the use of WIC or Medi-Cal for children.
 

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LATINO FILM FESTIVAL MARCH 12-22 SHOWCASES CINEMA, ARTS AND CULTURE

East County News Service

February 19, 2020 (San Diego) – The 27th annual San Diego Latino Film Festival will take place March 12-22 at two locations, AMC Fashion Valley 18 (7037 Friars Rd) and Digital Gym Cinema (2921 El Cajon Blvd.) The 11-day festival will present over 160 films from Latin America, the U.S., and Spain, showcases Latino cinema, arts and culture.

The even also features opening and closing night parties, the 5th annual Sabor Latino food, beer and wine festival on March 14, Q&A sessions with visiting filmmakers and actors from around the world, free student screenings, and more.


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BORDER PATROL LAUNCHES PILOT PROGRAM TO COLLECT DNA SAMPLES FROM MIGRANTS

East County News Service

January 8, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has initiated a 90-day pilot program starting yesterday to assess the impact of proposed regulatory changes that would require collection of DNA samples from many individuals in CBP custody, including minors.  The pilot program will be limited to the Detroit area and the Eagle Pass port of entry in Texas. 

DNA will be collected from people ages 14-79 who are apprehended and processed in Detroit.  At the Texas location, the DNA collection will be done on individuals who seek admission to the U.S. and are subject to further detention or proceedings.

According to CBS News  the action is the first phase of a sweeping five-part, three year Department of Homeland Security initiative “to obtain DNA profiles from virtually all migrants in U.S. custody, whether or not they've committed crimes.”


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FEDERAL ANTI-IMMIGRATION POLICY HURTING CHILDREN, REPORT SAYS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

December 10, 2019 (San Diego) -- In California, 1.3 million children younger than age five may lose out on essential services because of a hostile immigration climate, according to a new report.

Researchers from two children's advocacy groups found that the Trump administration's anti-immigrant policies and heightened law enforcement have had major impacts on children up to age five.


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BORDER PATROL AGENTS FIND AND RESCUE DESERTED MIGRANT WITH HELP FROM VOLUNTEERS

Source: Border Patrol 

December 5, 2019 (Dulzura) -- On Thanksgiving Day, a 34-year-old Mexican national with life threatening injuries was left behind by a criminal organization that tried smuggling him into the country.  


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TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION TARGETS BORDER WALL IN CAMPO IN BRAZEN SMUGGLING ATTEMPT

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Smugglers cut the old border wall to facilitate an alien smuggling attempt.
 
November 21, 2019 (Campo) -- U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 16 individuals Wednesday afternoon after smugglers cut the old landing mat border wall to facilitate a vehicle drive-thru human smuggling incident.

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IMMIGRANTS’ ADVOCATES CALM FEARS AFTER PUBLIC CHARGE RULES PUT ON HOLD

Suzanne Potter, California News Service
 
Photo: Immigrant children, creative commons image via S.A.
 
November 8, 2019 (Sacramento) - Immigrants' rights groups are working to calm fears in the migrant community - after a judge blocked President Donald Trump's changes to the public charge rules last month. 

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TRIBAL MEMBERS LAUNCH FIRE RELIEF DRIVE TO AID SURVIVORS OF FIRES IN MEXICO

By Miriam Raftery

October 28, 2019 (San Diego) – The Kumeyaay (Kumiai) tribal nation spans both sides of the border.  “Baja California Kumiai communities impacted by fires are in need,” writes Grace Sesma, who along Martha Rodriguez has established a Kumiai fire relief donation drive.  Donors can give money or donate items at several drop-off points on Native American reservations in San Diego’s East County.


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DEVASTATING WILDFIRES IN MEXICO CLAIM LIVES, FORCE MASS EVACUATIONS

 

Update October 26:  30 homes have burned in Rosarito, where a man and his dog were found dead after their home burned, Mexico News Daily reports. Over 70 homes have now burned in Tecate. The National Forestry Commission (Conafor) had contained only 35% of the estimated 50 fires raging in Mexico.

By Miriam Raftery

“People had to hike out through the mountains to save their lives,” – Tecate resident Veronica Lavarello

October 25, 2019 (Tecate, Mexico) – Fires burning in Mexico have displaced at least 1,645 people forced to evacuate their homes. The blazes have killed three people, Associated Press Reports. Deaths include a 12-year-old girl and a 19-year-old woman, the Mexican new site Radar Tecate reports.  Antonio Rosquillas, director of Baja California Civil Protection, indicates two others are injured. In Rosarito, where 30 homes have burned, a man died in a structure fire along with his dog, Mexico News Daily reports.

Tecate Mayor Zulema Adams announced that at least 54 homes  have been destroyed and 100 have been damaged.

One of the fires shut down the coastal highway north of Ensenada for several hours today. A fire in the Tecate region burned over 35,000 acres. Schools in Tijuana, Tecata and Rosarito were all ordered closed today due to heavy smoke.

Smoke has been visible on the northern side of the international border but thus far the blazes are confined to Mexico.

Mexico’s president has declared a state of emergency, as dozens of families remain in shelters.  Tonight, the intensity of Santa Ana winds has diminished, aiding firefighters battling the blazes.


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FARMWORKERS, ADVOCATES REJOICE AS CA ENDS SALE OF CHLORPYRIFOS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

Photo: CC by SA-NC

October 24, 2019 (Bakersfield)--- Farmworkers' groups are celebrating the end of at least a decade-long battle to ban a toxic pesticide in California after the state Environmental Protection Agency announced a new deal with manufacturers of chlorpyrifos. The pesticide no longer will be sold to growers in California after Feb. 6.

Nayamin Martinez, director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network, said studies have linked chlorpyrifos to serious health effects in kids.

"It's a very dangerous chemical that can cause harm, especially in brain development, for unborn children and young children who live in close proximity where this pesticide is applied," she said.


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BILL TO STOP LABOR TRAFFICKING OF IMMIGRANTS PASSES LEGISLATURE WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT, BUT TWO EAST COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES VOTE NO

East County News Service

September 15, 2019 (San Diego) – The California State Legislature today passed on a 61-9 vote Assembly Bill 589 authored by state Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to make it illegal for an employer to confiscate a worker’s immigration documents as a way to force them into labor.


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TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SEEKS TO DEFY COURT SETTLEMENT, KEEP IMMIGRANT CHILDREN IN INDEFINITE DETENTION

Announcement called “cruel and frankly evil”; legal challenges expected

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Overcrowding of families observed by Homeland Security Office of Inspector General on June 11, 2019 at Border Patrol’s Weslaco, TX, Station. Faces digitally obscured by OIG. 

 

August 21, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – In apparent defiance of a 2015 federal court settlement which limits detention of migrant children and their families to 20 days, the Trump administration has announced plans to adopt new regulations allowing longer detentions—potentially, indefinitely.


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CUYAMACA COLLEGE STUDENT RECEIVES LIFE-CHANGING SCHOLARSHIP FROM MANA DE SAN DIEGO

East County News Service

August 15, 2019 (El Cajon) - El Cajon resident Pamela Gallardo has received the Lolita Lizarraga Scholarship from local nonprofit MANA de San Diego. She was just one of 25 local Latina students to chosen for the honor.


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