Thursday, July 23, 2015

As American as Fernando: Valenzuela becomes U.S. citizen

By Yvonne Carrasco
July 22, 2015

Thirty-six years after first entering the U.S., 34 years since Fernandomania began and 25 years after his unforgettable no-hitter at Dodger Stadium, Fernando Valenzuela has added another benchmark to his American dream.

Today, Valenzuela became a U.S. citizen.

The Dodgers’ legendary lefty raised his right hand and took the Oath of Allegiance at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalization ceremony to become a U.S. citizen this morning in downtown Los Angeles. While a private and smaller ceremony could have been an option, Valenzuela chose to join nearly 8,000 Angelenos hailing from more than 130 countries in taking this big step.

Valenzuela also shared this special day with his wife Linda, who became a U.S. citizen a few months ago and with whom he’s shared every major moment of his life and career, and his family.

Valenzuela, a native of Etchohuaquila in Sonora, Mexico and a living example of the American dream, now has the rights and privileges that come with U.S. citizenship. Valenzuela first moved to the U.S. in 1979 shortly after signing with the Dodgers on July 6 that same year. His career in MLB, both as a player and broadcaster, spans more than three decades.

The Dodgers extend their congratulations today to one of the most iconic Dodgers of all time. Valenzuela’s cultural impact on Los Angeles and on baseball is immeasurable. What we do know is that our stadium is always filled with faces he directly inspired, fans whose parents or grandparents proudly noted that someone who looked like them and who came from Mexico was a Dodger and was selling out the stadium each of his starts. Regardless of background, however, today we are all proud Americans just like Valenzuela.

To learn more on naturalization and the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, please visit the USCIS website. If you’d like to read the Oath of Allegiance that Valenzuela took this morning, you can view that here.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

President Obama Speaks on Criminal Justice Reform at NAACP

<a href="/blog/2015/07/14/email-president-obama-iran-deal">The Iran Deal:</a>

"In too many places, black boys and black men, Latino boys and Latino men, experience being treated differently under the law.
—President Obama making the case for criminal justice reform

Click here to see President Obama's speech addressing the issue of the need to reform America's criminal justice system!

A quick look at the numbers:

  • 2.2 million: The number of prisoners in the U.S. -- which has quadrupled from only 500,000 in 1980.
  • 25 percent: The share of the world's prisoners that are in the U.S., even though we're only home to 5 percent of the world's population.
  • 60 percent: The share of U.S. prisoners that are either African American or Latino. "About one in every 35 African American men, one in every 88 Latino men is serving time right now," the President said. "Among white men, that number is one in 214."
  • $80 billion: The amount we spend each year to keep people incarcerated in America. For $80 billion, we could:
    • Provide universal preschool for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old in America
    • Double the salary of every high school teacher in America
    • Finance new roads, bridges, and airports; job training programs; research and development
    • Eliminate tuition at every one of our public colleges and universities

As the President noted, today's criminal justice system "remains particularly skewed by race and by wealth," and has adverse ripple effects on our country's families and communities:
"A growing body of research shows that people of color are more likely to be stopped, frisked, questioned, charged, detained. African Americans are more likely to be arrested. They are more likely to be sentenced to more time for the same crime. And one of the consequences of this is, around one million fathers are behind bars. Around one in nine African American kids has a parent in prison.

What is that doing to our communities? What’s that doing to those children? Our nation is being robbed of men and women who could be workers and taxpayers, could be more actively involved in their children’s lives, could be role models, could be community leaders, and right now they’re locked up for a non-violent offense."

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Wasted Gift of Donald Trump

The New York Times | OP­ED COLUMNIST

JULY 8, 2015
By Frank Bruni

I keep reading that Donald Trump is wrecking the Republican Party. I keep hearing that he’s a threat to the fortunes of every other Republican presidential candidate, because he sullies the brand and puts them in an impossible position. What bunk. The truth is that he’s an opportunity for them as golden as the namesake nameplates on his phallic towers, if only they would seize it. The brand was plenty sullied before he lent his huff and his hair to the task.

And by giving his Republican rivals a perfect foil, he also gives them a perfect chance to rehabilitate and redeem the party. As it stands now, he’s using them. If they had any guts, they could use him. They could piggyback on the outsize attention that he receives, answering his unhinged tweets and idiotic utterances with something sane and smart, knowing that it, too, would get prominent notice.

They could define themselves in the starkest possible contrast to him,calling him out as the bully and bigot that he is. Then he wouldn’t own the story, because the narrative would be about cooler heads and kinder hearts in the party staring down one of its most needlessly divisive ambassadors and saying: Enough. No more. We’re serious people at the limit of our patience for provocateurs.

There was a hint of this last weekend, when Jeb Bush, whose wife is Mexican­American, lashed out at Trump’s broad­brush comments about Mexican immigrants crossing into America with an agenda of drugs and rape. Bush labeled those remarks “extraordinarily ugly” and “way out of the mainstream” and said that there’s “no tolerance” for them.

But he didn’t exactly volunteer that assessment. It came in response to a reporter’s question, and it came more than two weeks after Trump’s offense. Neither he nor Marco Rubio exhibited any hurry in distancing themselves from Trump, though both of them trumpet their personal biographies as proof that they’re sensitive to Latino immigrants.

On Fox Business on Tuesday, Rubio gave a pathetic master class in cowardly evasion, stammering his way though an interview in which he was asked repeatedly for an opinion about Trump. You would have thought that he was being pressed for malicious gossip about the Easter bunny. He never did manage to upbraid Trump, though he was careful to mention the “legitimate issue” of border security that Trump had raised.

As in 2012, Republicans can’t summon the courage to take on the dark heroes of the party’s lunatic fringe. As in 2012, this could cost them dearly. The Charleston, S.C., church massacre and subsequent debate over the Confederate flag afforded them an ideal moment to talk with passion and poetry about racial healing.

But the leading contenders reacted in fashions either sluggish, terse, muffled or all three. They showed more interest in fleeing the subject than in grabbing profitable hold of it. Trump’s rant about immigrants, which he has since amplified, was another squandered moment. Chris Christie could have made good on his boasts about always telling it like it is and being unconstrained by politesse.

Instead he made clear that he liked Trump and considered him a friend. That soft crunching sound you heard was the supposedly hard­charging New Jersey governor walking on eggshells.

Rand Paul claims the desire and ability to expand the party’s reach to more minorities. So where’s his takedown of Trump? Bush has said that a politician must be willing to lose the party’s nomination in order to win the general election, but that philosophy can’t end with his allegiance to the Common Core. It has to include an unblinking acknowledgment of his party’s craziness whenever and wherever it flares. Trump’s hold on voters stems largely from his lack of any filter and from his directness, traits that they don’t see in establishment candidates.

So his fellow Republicans’ filtered, indirect approach to him just gives him more power. And while he should be irrelevant, he’s becoming ever more relevant, because he’s exposing their timidity and caution. They’re wrong to try to ignore him, because the media won’t do that and because he’s probably going to qualify for the debates. Looking ahead to the first of them, the conservative pundit George Will bought into the notion of Trump as an ineradicable pest who “says something hideously inflammatory, which is all he knows how to say, and then what do the other nine people onstage do?”

Oh, please. That’s hardly an existential crisis. It’s a prompt for an overdue smidgen of valor. Without any hesitation, they tell him that he’s a disgrace. Without any hedging, they tell him that he’s absurd. It’s the truth. And for the Republican Party, it might just be transformative. Thomas L. Friedman is off today.

I invite you to visit my blog, follow me on Twitter at and join me on Facebook. Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter. A version of this op­ed appears in print on July 8, 2015, on page A21 of the New York edition with the headline: The Wasted Gift of The Donald.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

USHCC Responds to Donald Trump's Presidential Campaign Rhetoric


WASHINGTON, June 30, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) was disappointed by the harsh and insensitive rhetoric expressed by Donald Trump, Chairman and President of The Trump Organization and founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts, during his recent 2016 Presidential Campaign announcement. Trump has claimed that Mexican immigrants bring problems like drugs and violent crime into the United States - an extreme and exclusionary position that has no basis in fact and is completely inappropriate in our national political discourse.

According to a study published by the George W. Bush Institute, in collaboration with the USHCC, America's immigrant community is highly entrepreneurial:Critics charge that Trump is promoting a racist agenda under the protective umbrella of the Republican Party, at a time when leading candidates, including Governor Jeb Bush and Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, have acknowledged the economic and political contributions of the Hispanic community and all immigrants to our country.

The study also found that employment rates are highest among America's burgeoning immigrant community:

Also, despite his assertions U.S. incarceration rates are, in fact, lowest for the immigrant population, disproving Trump's claims that immigrants are a major source of criminal activity.

Finally, while Mr. Trump has been dismissive of our country's relationship with Mexico, it is worth noting that according to the U.S. Department of State, Mexico is the third largest U.S. trading partner after Canada and China, and our country's second largest foreign supplier of petroleum. The U.S.-Mexico border is one of the busiest, most economically important borders in the world, with nearly one million legitimate travelers and nearly a billion dollars worth of goods legally crossing the border each day.

"Donald Trump's statements - which may be dismissed as the rantings of a fringe candidate - certainly do not reflect the leadership qualities needed in 2016 and beyond, and are unwelcome in today's political conversation," said USHCC President & CEO Javier Palomarez "Mr. Trump should be well-aware of the critical role foreign-born workers play in the success of his enterprises. We commend those who have denounced Trump's extremist rhetoric, and look forward to a national, fact-based, dialogue with corporate leaders and Presidential candidates, regardless of political affiliation, that is predicated on dignity, respect, civility and compassion for all people."

Trump's anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic positions are diametrically-opposed to those expressed by the leaders in the hospitality industry, and we are proud to see that Trump's competitors have openly acknowledged the important contributions these workers make to their businesses. In a 2013 open letter to Congress, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, whose member companies include Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, Lowes hotels and others, highlights that the hospitality industry is proud and fortunate to include many immigrants among its 1.8 million associates throughout the country.

Given his announcement, the USHCC has abandoned Trump hotels as possible sites for its 2016 National Convention in Miami, Florida, and its 2016 Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C., the two largest gatherings of Hispanic business leaders in America. The USHCC also commends Univision and Comcast NBCUniversal for ending their business relationships with Mr. Trump in response to his recent remarks.
The USHCC will continue to do business with like-minded individuals and corporations that are committed to equality, diversity, inclusion and the fair treatment of all who call our country home.

About the USHCC
Founded in 1979, the USHCC actively promotes the economic growth and development of our nation's entrepreneurs. The USHCC advocates on behalf of nearly 3.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses, that together contribute in excess of $486 billion to the American economy, each year. As the leading organization of its kind, the USHCC serves as an umbrella to more than 200 local chambers and business associations nationwide, and partners with more than 240 major corporations throughout the United States.
For more information, visit
Follow us on Twitter @USHCC