Immigrants “Want to Have a Voice”

The June 16, 2016, issue of the Littleton Independent had a very nice article about one of Immigrant Pathways Colorado’s major partners – the Littleton Immigrant Resources Center at Bemis Public Library.

The story highlights the program, which helps people studying to become United States citizens.

Deb Schaffer, the citizenship program coordinator at the center, said that the desire to vote is commonly cited in election years, but other reasons for applying for citizenship include the ability to petition for a green card for family members as well as a sense of security. “They all want to say, ‘Yes, I am an American,’” she said.

The full story is available at http://littletonindependent.net/stories/I-want-to-have-a-voice,218302?

Madeline Albright promotes education: An excerpt from the Denver Post’s coverage of Albright’s DU graduation speech June 4, 2016

Former secretary of state stresses need to be defender of liberty at home and abroad

The former, and first female, secretary of state was on stage from the beginning, sitting among DU’s distinguished faculty and administration, draped in the same brightly striped black robes. Albright, who graduated from Kent High School in Denver, gave the commencement address.

“I can picture my father, pipe in hand, reading the newspaper, and shaking his head at how foolish people can be,” Albright said. “And he thought he knew the answer.

“Because of him, the answer is education,” Albright said, highlighting her father Josef Korbel’s founding of DU’s Graduate School of International Studies in 1964. The graduate and undergraduate schools were renamed the Josef Korbel School of International Studies in 2008.

Albright, 79, gave a vivacious speech on why this graduating class’ degrees are so important in today’s world.

“Getting a degree is hard — so you can imagine how grateful I am to receive one just for showing up,” Albright said to laughter.

Before her address, DU awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree for her leadership. The university cited her advocacy and her leadership as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1993-97 and secretary of state from 1997-2001 for the honor.

“When pride in ‘us’ descends into hatred of ‘them,’ the American tapestry unravels … and spirals into hatred of racial groups and the LGBTQ community, and demonization of refugees and immigrants,” said Albright, whose family came to the U.S. as refugees from Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia in 1948.

“We cannot will away or wall away the world,” Albright said, referencing Trump’s proposed immigration policy. She said the U.S. should take in more refugees.

“While America cannot be the world’s sole policeman, it must be its best partner,” Albright said, urging the students that “engagement abroad matters,” and it is education that enables it.

“You can produce enough food, build enough shelter and share enough knowledge to allow people to live better,” she said. “The future is not decided by the stars or some course of history, but by the choices that you, and I, and all of us make.”

“You must not only be a consumer of liberty,” she said, “But a defender and enricher of it.”

Twelve Percent of Coloradans Born in Another Country

 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute, by 2013, Colorado had a population of more than 4 million (ages 16 and over).  Of those, 12 percent were born in another country.

The foreign-born in Colorado come from other parts of the world as follows:

·         Africa, 25,000, or 5%

·         Asia, 97,000, or 21%

·         Europe, 68,000, or 15%

·         Latin America, 257,000, or 55%

·         Northern America, 14,000, or 3%

·         Oceania, 3,000 or 1%

The category “Latin America” includes South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.  Northern America includes Canada, Bermuda, Greenland, and St.  Pierre and Miquelon.

Study: Immigrants Founded 51% of U.S. Billion-Dollar Startups

A new non-partisan 2016 study on entrepreneurship supports the belief that America benefits from robust immigration.

The study, from the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-partisan think tank based in Arlington, Va., was reported in the Wall Street Journal on March 17.  It shows that immigrants started more than half of the current crop of U.S.-based startups valued at $1 billion or more.

These 44 companies, the study says, are collectively valued at $168 billion and create an average of roughly 760 jobs per company in the U.S. The study also estimates that immigrants make up over 70% of key management or product development positions at these companies.

The three highest valued U.S. companies with immigrant founders include car-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc., data-software company Palantir Technologies Inc. and rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Inc.

Stuart Anderson, the study’s author and the foundation’s executive director, says the findings show that the U.S. economy could benefit from the talents of foreign-born entrepreneurs even more if it were easier for them to obtain visas.

The process to secure a visa is lengthy and cumbersome. The visas are capped at 85,000 per year.  In 2015, the lotter to obtain a visa hit capacity within one week, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The USCIS said it received nearly 23,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period.

While bills to address these issues have been introduced, they have failed to gain traction due to the overall standstill on immigration policy.

According to the study, founders of billion-dollar startups most often hail from India (14), followed by Canada and the U.K., with eight each, then Israel (7), Germany (4) and France (2).  Two brothers, the co-founders of payments startup Stripe, are from Ireland.

Pew Research Center Says More Mexicans Leaving the U.S.

A study by the Pew Research Center has found that more than one million Mexicans and their families, including American-born children, let the U.S. for Mexico between 2009-2014.  During the same five years, 870,000 Mexicans came to the U.S.

The desire to reunite families was the main reason for the out-migration.  Other factors appeared to be the aging of Mexico’s population and increase in manufacturing centers along the border due to the North American Free Trade Agreement, providing jobs for younger workers.

Read the full article at http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_29141207/study-finds-more-mexicans-leaving-u-s-than-coming?source=rss

Spring International and LI3 Board Member Help Somalian Refugee

The terrible story of a young Somalian man who was blinded by insurgents in his country, and who now is trying to support himself and his two younger sisters, was the topic of an article in the Littleton Independent on Dec. 17, 2015.

The horror of the story what happened to him in Somalia — and on Thanksgiving weekend when his mother was killed in a car crash and his sister’s back was broken —  is offset by the kindness and caring of the people at the Spring International Language Center, who have set up a GoFundMe account to assist the family.  LI3 Board member Connie Shoemaker, Director Emeritus of the Center, is quoted in the article.

To learn more about Yasin Mohamud and his experience, see http://littletonindependent.net/stories/Refugees-path-takes-wrenching-turn,203757.

Donations can be made via the Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/miracleforyasin.

Aurora Working to Integrate Immigrants and Refugees

By Susan M. Thornton, Chair

The City of Aurora is moving forward to welcome and integrate people from around the world.  Nearly one in five people in the city of approximately 340,000 was born in another country.

A new Aurora Welcome Center has been developed in partnership with the city’s new Office of International and Immigrant Affairs.  The Welcome Center is housed in a building owned by Aurora Public Schools.  Initial funding is from the private sector and nonprofits.

Aurora Public Schools has established a new Community Corps Liaison program, designed to recruit and train volunteers to work with international students in the schools.  More than 1,000 volunteers are now involved, according to APS Superintendent D. Rico Munn.

And a three-year planning process, with public input, will focus on citizenship and civic involvement; small business training; public safety awareness; and outreach via sports and recreation, such as a new Aurora International Soccer Club, for example.

Let’s hope that other communities will be inspired by Aurora’s example to think about ways to integrate newcomers into the fabric of their civic life.

Immigrants from Asia Now Outnumber Those from Mexico

Politicians who are blaming Mexico for sending immigrants to the U.S. might want to notice the latest trend: immigration from Asia.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, immigrants from China and India have overtaken immigrants from Mexico in the numbers coming to the U.S. The shift has been building for more than a decade, the Census Bureau said in a May release.  Of the 1.2 million newly arrived immigrants, China led with 147,000 followed by India with 129,000 and Mexico with 125,000.

The Census Bureau says this is in contrast to the 2000 census, which counted 402,000 immigrants from Mexico and no more than 84,000 each from China and India.

In addition, according to the Texas State Demographer, the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the state each year has dropped by more than half since 2005.

(Source: Associated Press, Aug. 30, 2015)

What a Few of Our Grantees Tell Us

We asked some of our grantees what small amounts of assistance from LI3 meant to them.  Here are what some of them had to say:

I want to thank LI3 who helped my family to settle in Littleton.  Coming to a new country is like suddenly being blind.  How do we know what to do?  Where do we go?  Who will lead us?  We were so lucky to have a team of people who helped us find our way and to finally live in peace.

  • Raad (refugee from Iraq)

I would like to have more opportunity to improve my family life, career, and for my two children, both born in America.  Becoming a citizen will assist with completing college and I look forward to taking part in my community as a voter.

  • Maria

LI3, thank you very much for the help, especially with providing me the money [for citizenship application].  I was able to pass my test and I truly appreciate your support.  I hope you can continue to help more people like me who need it.  Thank you again and may God bless you.

  • Diana

It is important for me to become a U.S. Citizen so that I can stay here in the United States, close to my children and grandchildren who are all U.S. citizens.

  • Rosa

I spent more than 30 years living in the United States.  I feel part of this country all of my daughters are U.S. Citizens.  I want to start with English classes so I can help my family and give back to this beautiful country.  I plan to volunteer when I can use my native language.

  • Josepha

I very much appreciate the support of LI3 to help me pay for [citizenship application] costs.  I am also very appreciated of this country which is why I want to become a citizen.

  • Julian

I am very greatful for the scholarship as it is a big help to obtain my DACA. This is important to me because this is my opportunity to finish what I started.  I am/will be able to finish my career.  It is a nursing career.  If I cannot do this I will continue with a career in education.  I love to help people and being bilingual this will give me a bigger opportunity to help out in a better way.  Thank you so much for helping me on my way to a better life.

  • Olivier (brought to this country without documents as a young child)

I am very happy to become a citizen.  I will feel bigger and more confident.  I can go to school, get an education and get some benefits.  I will get English education so I can talk with everyone.

  • Esmerelda

Thank you so much for your support of my citizenship [application].  That would not be possible if not for your support.  With all my heart,

  • Claudia

I am very happy.  I am very close to becoming a citizen on August 12.  Thank you for your help.  With all my heart, God bless you always.

  • Antonio