Monday, January 21, 2013

Immigrant of the Day: Richard Blanco, Inauguration Poet

Born on February 15, 1968 in Madrid, Spain, Richard Blanco grew up in Miami, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University. He is the son of Cuban exiles and is gay.

Blanco's collections of poetry include Looking for The Gulf Motel (2012); Directions to The Beach of the Dead (2005), winner of the 2006 PEN/American Center Beyond Margins Award; and City of a Hundred Fires (1998), winner of the 1997 Agnes Lynch Starrett National Poetry Prize.

Sandra Cisneros describes Blanco's poems as "sad, tender, and filled with longing. Like an old photograph, a saint's statue worn away by the devout, a bolero on the radio on a night full of rain. Me emocionan. There is no other way to say it. They emotion me."

As it was put in the New York Times, "his poems are laden with longing for the sights and smells of the land his parents left behind." 

Blanco is the recipient of two Florida Artist Fellowships, a Residency Fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the John Ciardi Fellowship from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Blanco is a professional civil engineer and has also taught writing at various schools, including Central Connecticut State University, Georgetown University, and American University.

In 2013, Richard Blanco was selected to read at Barack Obama's second Presidential Inauguration.  As the 2013 inaugural poet, Blanco joins the ranks of famouus predecessors such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.


January 21, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DACA Recipient Seeks Attorney License in Florida

The ABA Journal reports that a law graduate who is seeking to be admitted to the Florida bar has received relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. José Godínez-Samperio is awaiting a Florida Supreme Court ruling on whether he is eligible for a state license to practice law. The court heard arguments in October and was waiting for a decision on Godínez-Samperio's deferred-action application before ruling. He has also obtained a state driver's license.

Godínez-Samperio came to this country with his family on a visitor's visa from Mexico when he was 9 years old. He has passed the Florida bar exam.

Undocumented immigrants who arrived as children in the United States are also seeking admission to the bar in New York and California.


January 21, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!


"There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society, with a large segment of people in that society, who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that they have nothing to lose. People who have a stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don’t ‘own’ it, they want to destroy it.” -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

One can only wonder whether King's statement, which was made with African Americans in mind, applies to immigrants in the modrn United States.


January 21, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Poll: Bipartisan Support for Immigration Reform

A majority of American voters favor immigration reform that includes a path to earned citizenship for current undocumented immigrants, and strong accountability measures, according to a bipartisan poll by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm, and Hart Research Associates, a Democratic firm. The national survey of 1,003 registered voters showed voters wanting a long-term fix for the immigration system that includes a path to full citizenship for immigrants here without papers. Almost four out of five voters said they support a system that requires immigrants to pay taxes, holds employers accountable for hiring legal workers and prevents them from exploiting immigrant labor, improves border security, and ensures that undocumented immigrants have a chance to work towards citizenship. The plan is broadly favored across partisan, ideological, regional and ethnic groups.  More information is available here.


January 20, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DACA Data and News

Here is data on the on the processing of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program through January 17. 


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Srevices had received 407,899 requests for deferred action (an average of 80,000 per month since the program began); 394,533 had been accepted and 154,404 approved. USCIS received an average of less than 1,500 requests per day in January, down from a high of more than 5,700 per day in October shortly after the program began accepting applications. The majority of DACA recipients continue to hail from Mexico and reside in California.

The Obama administration recently announced that DACA recipients are "lawfully present" in the United States, which might calm some of the concerns in a few states over the driver's license eligibility of DACA recipients.


January 20, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)