Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Immigrant advocates: Injunction won't stop us

In the wake of a federal injunction temporarily halting President Obama’s recent immigration executive actions on deportation relief for millions of immigrants, advocates say their big concern is not the legal battle ahead but the confusion and inaction that might result among immigrant families even if the Obama administration ultimately prevails.

“We’re telling them to keep gathering documents together and saving money for the fees,” Perla Hinojosa, area coordinator with Mi Familia Vota said Tuesday at a rally in downtown Tampa held with other community groups.

Friday, February 13, 2015

House Hunters Havana?

Cuban housing on Malecon in Havana
Photo by Saundra Amrhein
When President Obama made his announcement in December about relaxing certain travel and trade restrictions with Cuba, my thoughts went almost immediately to Home Depot and Lowe's.
That’s because one of the biggest crises facing Cubans is a shortage of housing and home-repair materials.

Official Cuban numbers put the shortage of housing units for its 11 million citizens at 500,000, though at least one other scholar placed it anywhere between 600,000 and 1 million, according to the Associated Press.

Every year the gap grows, as Cuba’s fraying architecture falls victim to years of neglect, salt air and a battering of tropical storms that alone have caused billions of dollars in damage since 2008.

Often several generations live crowded under one roof, while thousands are vulnerable to the threat of the all-too-frequent structure collapse, particular in Old Havana and Central Havana.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Obama’s $1 billion for Central America: More harm than good?

This month, the Obama administration announced it was including in its budget proposal $1 billion in aid for Central America in the wake of the migration of tens of thousands of Central American children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border the past several years.

Friday, February 6, 2015

How immigration detention became big business locking up border crossers and asylum seekers

This week, three news outlets – Fusion, the New York Times Magazine, and the Texas Observer – each separately published investigations and in-depth pieces looking inside the booming new for-profit immigration detention industry.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

#YoSoyMoises – Where is the outcry over the slaughter of Mexican journalists?

In the last several weeks, since the mass killings of staff members of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo by Islamic extremists in Paris, millions of people have marched in France and around the world in support of the slain journalists and freedom of the press. The slogan #JeSuisCharlie became a rallying cry at marches and on social media.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Thawing frozen ideas of Cuba

One of Cuba’s popular timba bands, Azucar Negra, performing
during a reunion concert with its former star singer Haila
Momprie, on the Malecon in front of the U.S. Interests Section,
April 2008. — Photo by Saundra Amrhein
In the past month, there has been a flurry of news features and articles about Cuba ever since President Obama announced that his administration was working to restore ties with the island nation following five decades of hostilities between the two countries.

Some of the articles took a political angle, some a business one, and others focused on anticipated opportunities for curious U.S. travelers.

Inevitably, a certain phrase cropped into some of the coverage, a popular expression used in U.S. news media reports to describe Cuba: that it is “frozen in time.” Or a companion descriptor: “time warp.”