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2006 Winner, Jasminh Duc Schelkopf

My Mom “Thuy”

By Jasminh Duc Schelkopf

International School of Indiana

 

My mother’s name is Thuy. She was born in Saigon, South Vietnam. Her father was a 3-star Lieutenant General for the South Vietnam military and her family had almost everything that you could possibly think of before the civil war of Vietnam. However, when they lost their country, they lost everything. After the war, all they had left was their hope and beliefs.

 

In 1975, North Vietnam won the war. When my mother was only twelve years old (8th Grade), she and her brother and sister were forced to go to Canada. The rest of her family was then scattered around the world in places like France, Australia, Canada and the U.S.A. They all had a very tough time there because they had no support and no money as new immigrants.

 

For seven years after the war, my mother went to school and worked during the evening to help out my grandfather. My mother attended college for only two years because she needed a full time job to support her family. She also went to beauty school, graduated, and worked for the family. Then, having lived in Canada for ten years, my mother realized there was a better future for her in the U.S.A. -- “The Land of Opportunity.” She decided to move to Pennsylvania in 1985.

 

My mother began hard work at a beauty shop near Philadelphia and she worked hard everyday. Her dreams were to “ONE DAY” create her own salon and reach her many dreams. Due to her talents, she developed many clients and made a lot of friends. She saved as much money as she could and even avoided eating out or going to the movies or doing anything fun that might cost money.

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The Hispanic Factor

Published on Thu, Apr 05, 2012

President Obama's inability to pass much-needed comprehensive immigration reform could cost him the 2012 election. Though recent news of a rebounding economy, coupled with Republican Party infighting, suggests an alternate narrative, the Hispanic vote is neither uniform nor clearly aligned with the Democratic Party. If Hispanics fail to show up in support of the president in four key swing states — Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado — the election could go to the Republican candidate, likely to be former Governor Mitt Romney.

Time magazine kicked off the topic of Hispanic electoral power with its March 5th cover story, "Yo Decido," written by journalist Michael Scherer. The author noted demographic trends that favor Hispanic predominance in certain places in the nation, and last week, it was widely reported in the U.S. media that about one in six Americans are Hispanic. Additionally, one in six workers in the U.S. is Hispanic, and most Hispanics live in the U.S. legally. They are fully integrated into communities. There is a prevailing assumption that, because a majority of Hispanics are Catholic, they should be naturally allied with more conservative candidates — particularly the two Roman Catholics still in the Republican race as of this writing, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

While the Republicans appear to have learned from some earlier egregious mistakes, like former candidate Herman Cain's jocular comment about electrifying the fence between the U.S. and Mexico, they seem to have a collective tin ear when it comes to Hispanic culture, issues, voting patterns, and history. They don't seem to understand the importance of Hispanics among us, and, surprisingly, they don't seem to really care.Read more...

Published in the Memphis Flyer

The LAC Docket | Volume I, Issue 2

The Newsletter of the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center

March 1, 2011
Our Work | Requests for Evidence | Quick Links | Donate

OUR WORK

Access to Courts

Federal appeals court rejects jurisdictional bar to post-departure motions to reopen
Pruidze v. Holder, No. 09-3836 (6th Cir. 2011)

In early February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected the government’s long-held position that immigration courts lack “jurisdiction” to consider motions to reopen filed by noncitizens who have already left the country. The unanimous decision agrees with the position of the Legal Action Center (LAC) and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP), which contended in an amicus brief that the decades-old regulation underlying the government’s argument has been superseded by more recent changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). (See press release.) The Sixth Circuit thus became the fourth court to strike down or question the validity of the regulation, which only the Tenth Circuit has expressly found to be consistent with the motion to reopen statute.Read more...

Why the Supreme Court ruling on immigration is a clear rebuke to Arizona

Published on Tue, Jun 26, 2012

IPC's staff lawyer Ben Winograd published an Opinion Piece for the Christian Science Monitor about the Supreme Court decision regarding Arizona's immigration law: Read more...

Published in the The Christian Science Monitor

2012 Creative Writing Contest Honorable Mention

Working Toward a Dream

By: Aedra Li

San Francisco, CA


I remember being confused, so many why’s and not enough because’s. Why did we leave Saulita? Where were we going? My parents didn’t say a word to me or my brother. All they said was, “We are going to a better place. You will understand later.” Was a twelve year old girl too young to know the truth? If I got a penny for every question I had, I’d be a millionaire. Then I’d have enough money to go back to Saulita and see my bestfriend, Pablo.

 

During one part of the trip, my brother and I had to hide under a blanket. We heard a gringo speaking, but we couldn’t understand him through the blanket. He asked a lot of questions. After three days, we finally stopped driving. We got out, stretched our aching legs, and looked cautiously around. We saw many other immigrants working in the fields, picking strawberries. In front of us was a house that you could tell used to be white, but was now an ugly cream. It used to be a single-family house, but now it housed for families of five. Everyone that lived in that house had to work in the fields to live there and put food in their families’ mouths. We worked 15 hours a day under the hot California sun. All of our backs ached, all of our hands turned ugly with calluses. As the seasons changed, we moved from farm to farm, but the work was the same. We worked for six hard, intense years harvesting crops that would feed the lucky people who didn’t have to work like us.

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Read AIC Board Member Matthew Hirsch's Op-Ed on the Case for Immigration Reform

Published on Sat, Dec 08, 2012

American Immigration Council Board Member Matthew Hirsch published a piece on the need for immigration reform in the Patriot News on the PennLive website.  Here's an excerpt:

"Since the election, renewed attention has been focused on the issue of immigration reform and, like boxers circling in the ring, opposing sides seem to be inching toward some kind of compromise. The Republican leadership recognizes that shifting demographics helped President Obama win re-election, and it does not want to be the party of 'No' on immigration.

Both parties also understand that Congress is seen by the public as a pit of petty partisanship, and they view immigration as an issue that has the potential for a bipartisan bill they all can claim as their own.

These are good reasons for compromise on immigration, but there are at least five other good reasons for supporting immigration reform, which includes legalization of the undocumented."

Published in the Patriot News

Jhoon Rhee

The Father of American Tae Kwon Do

Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, a 10th Degree Black Belt, is considered the "Father of American Tae Kwon Do." Grandmaster Rhee's first trip to America was on June 1, 1956, for a short military training program soon after the Korean War. In 1957, he returned as a freshman to Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, Texas with $46 in his pocket. English was his biggest obstacle. It took him half an hour to read a single page. Through perseverance and discipline, Grandmaster Rhee has become one of the most prominent motivational public speakers in the world today, encouraging individuals to achieve self-discipline, self-esteem and self-defense through the development of academic, moral, and physical excellence.

Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee has been involved in every aspect of Tae Kwon Do. He has opened schools in order to teach not only the physical techniques of Tae Kwon Do, but the inseparable mental aspects, as well. His Martial Arts philosophy calls for building true confidence through knowledge in the mind, honesty in the heart, and strength in the body. His philosophy and seminars center around rediscovering the vision of America's Founding Fathers by restoring mental discipline in America and in the world.Read more...

Washington Post Highlights IPC Fact Sheet in Response to Rep. Steve King

Published on Wed, Jul 24, 2013

The Washington Post draws attention to a recently-updated IPC Fact Sheet, "From Anecdotes to Evidence: Setting the Record Straight on Immigrants and Crime" to refute Rep. Steve King's claims about DREAMers being criminals.

The post reads:

"King has absolutely no proof for this disgusting, prejudiced statement. (Then again, one wonders what constitutes proof for a congressman who thinks snow disproves global warming.) As the Immigration Policy Center points out, using data from the census, the Pew Hispanic Center and the FBI, crime rates have fallen in the United States as the immigrant population (legal and illegal) has increased."

Published in the Washington Post

Natasha Iskander

Natasha Iskander, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, conducts research on labor migration and its relationship to economic development; labor mobilization and its relationship to workforce development; and processes of institutional innovation and organizational learning. Her work examines how the dislocations caused by migration provide opportunities for knowledge creation and economic development.

 

IPC Special Report Cited by Al Jazeera America

Published on Thu, Feb 20, 2014

An IPC report titled "Bordering on Criminal: The Routine Abuse of Migrants in the Removal System" was recently cited by Al Jazeera America in an article titled "In El Paso, Residents Aren't Waiting for Congress to Fix Immigration".

The article higlights grassroots efforts to hold law enforcement accountable for abuse and mistreatment.

"A New Mexico woman recently filed a lawsuit after she experienced a six-hour search trying to cross legally from Ciudad Juarez into El Paso. The search, which included anal and vaginal probes, found no drugs.

Nationally, of those who come into contact with CBP, 11 percent report experiencing varying degrees of physical abuse and 23 percent say they received verbal abuse, according to a recent report by the Immigration Policy Center.

Far from being isolated incidents, the report’s authors argued, the mistreatment they recorded corresponds to a well-documented pattern of behavior. Of deportees interviewed for a 2011 report by the humanitarian border organization No More Deaths, 10 percent said U.S. authorities physically abused them. A separate report looking at Salvadorans deported between 1999 and 2000 found that 16 percent experienced physical abuse.Read more...

Published in the Al Jazeera America