Access to Visas: Mission Impossible

by Jose Enrique Perez

Many people come to the United States for different reasons. Family, business, pleasure and even for school. It has always been difficult to get a visa, however, now the Trump administration is making it impossible.

In 2017, about 3,000 visas were rejected. 2018, however, showed a significant increase. The State Department admitted that it had rejected 13,450 immigrant visa applications (not counting non-immigrant visas) in the fiscal year 2018 based on the possibility the applicants could become a “public charge” once they arrive in the U.S.

The rejections represent a 316% increase over the previous year, when only 3,237 immigrant visa applicants were turned away. Not only the Trump Administration is sweeping immigrants in the United States; now, he is also making sure people don’t come. That reminds me a heavily quoted statement made by the President when he was discussing TPS (Temporary Protected Status) when he said he did not want people coming here from “sh**hole” countries.

The spike in denials follows Trump administration changes to the State Department consular guidance. The changes broadened the scope of who could be refused a visa based on the likelihood the person may require public assistance.

In January 2018, the department instructed consular officers to consider the past or current receipt of any type of public assistance when deciding whether a person could become a public charge. Previously, the officers had been told only to consider two types of benefits: cash assistance or long-term institutionalized care paid by the government.

We cannot even imagine the consequences of a change in policy regarding public charge and applications for visa for immigrants and non-immigrants alike in the United States.

Internally in the United States, Trump’s proposed public charge rule, which was published in the Federal Register in October of 2018, would allow immigration officers to deny green cards to immigrants deemed likely to receive a wide range of government benefits. Additionally, the measure would subject temporary visitors to increased scrutiny. This proposal has received wide opposition not only from Democrats, but also from businesses, media, academia, immigrant organizations, among others.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the new immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with representation before immigration courts, USCIS or ICE. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the May edition.

Horse Racing

by Linda DeStefano
Translated into Spanish by Rob English

As a child, I was taken once to a race track. I loved the beautiful horses. Only as an adult did I learn about the cruelty and death caused by racing horses.

Patrick Battuello’s website horseracingwrongs.com provides a wealth of information. For example, he lists racing horse deaths by state. In 2018 there were 98 horses killed racing and training in NYS. And this number is lower than the reality because the Gaming Commission typically only discloses deaths occurring on-site (or occasionally at equine hospitals) and those within 72 hours of injury. And nothing from the many private facilities across the state. He lists all the victims by name, date and type of injury. Here are just a few:

Old Dubai, January 19, Belmont T “fell at the 7/8 pole, suffered fracture to front leg – euthanized on track”

Desert Affair, May 6, Belmont R “suffered a fatal musculoskeletal injury and was euthanized on the track”

The Berber, May 14, Finger Lakes T “catastrophic injury to shoulder – euthanized”

Battuello lists the wrongs of the horse racing industry:

The Pounding of Unformed Bodies: The typical horse does not reach full musculoskeletal maturity till around six; the typical racehorse begins “training” at 18 months and is raced at two – or the rough equivalent of a kindergartner.

The Extreme Confinement: Most active racehorses are kept isolated in small stalls 23 hours a day, making a mockery of the industry claim that their horses are born to run, love to run. No affection, no stimulation – just an existence.

The Commodification: Most racehorses are bought and sold several times over during the course of their “careers” – traded and treated like common Amazon products.

The Drugging and Doping: Racehorses are injected with various drugs – some legal, some not – with a singular goal: to keep them running, even thru pain and injury.

The Whipping: What happens openly at the track would qualify as animal cruelty if done to our pets. What’s more, in what other sport do lashes provide the motivation?

The Killing: Horseracing Wrongs estimates that upward of 2,000 horses die while racing or training on American racetracks annually.

The Slaughtering: Although the industry downplays the extent of the problem, the prevailing wisdom is that most “retired” American racehorses are bled-out and butchered in foreign abattoirs. One final profit on their heads.

Linda is President of People for Animal Rights (PAR). For a free sample of our newsletter, contact PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, (315)488-PURR (8 a.m. – 10 p.m.), people4animalrightscny@gmail.com You can visit our website at www.peopleforanimalrightsofcny.org

Young Art Exhibit at La Casita

By Ricardo Loubriel

Boys and girls from our community present their new collection of paintings and drawings at the Young Art 2019 exhibition at La Casita Cultural Center. The opening reception will take place on Saturday, April 27 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. This event is free and open to the community. The exhibit will remain on view through June 14.

All the works were produced during the workshops of El Punto Art Studio last February. Two artists from our own community who exhibited their own art in the Cuba exhibition this year, Sanlly and Dalgis Viera, facilitated the workshops that produced this colorful art installation.

In addition to the exhibit, the young talents in La Casita’s music programs will perform live on the piano, violin and guitar as part of the opening celebration. Syracuse University students from the Setnor School of Music were the music instructors this year: Aleksandre Roderick-Lorenz (violin), Mia Tsai (piano) and Sebastian Escribano (guitar).


The young authors of La Casita’s Dual Language Reading Circles, will also be featured at this event. The program will release a new storybook in English and Spanish with an original story by the participants. This is the fourth edition produced by the program, edited by Margot Clark and Tere Paniagua. Olivia Flores, a Political Sciences sophomore at S.U., coordinated and facilitated the reading workshops.

All programs in arts, music and language arts education involve the participation of children from the local Latino communities locally and near Syracuse. The programs are offered at no cost to participants. During the school year, workshops include drawing and painting, bomba and plena dance and drumming, piano, violin, guitar and activities that combine the arts and sciences, facilitated by Ashley Jimenez and her group of engineering students from S.U.

Tere Paniagua, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement for the Hispanic Community, an SU initiative, is in charge of managing La Casita.
“We are extremely proud of our youth’s accomplishments and deeply grateful for the commitment of our partners and sponsors on and off the Syracuse University campus,” said Paniagua. “The dedication and contribution of SU students volunteering in support of our programs and our children is invaluable and extremely positive.”


The Young Art exhibit is a project of La Casita Cultural Center in collaboration with the Point of Contact Gallery, the Spanish Action League, and the Partners in Learning Manos pre-school program. Support for these program comes from the College of Arts & Sciences at Syracuse University, Mercy Works, Molina Healthcare and Wegmans. This program is supported by funding from the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA).

Your Stories, Your Library

La Casita’s Bilingual Library is a vital resource for the education programs at the Center. Your Stories, Your Library is a new campaign to raise awareness and support from the community for the work of the library. The bilingual library offers an interactive, program-driven space where students, researchers and community members of all ages learn about U.S. Latino and Latin American literatures and cultures. To support this initiative, please contact La Casita: Tel. 315-443-2151 or email: lacasita@syr.edu.

La Casita is located at 109 Otisco St. Syracuse, NY 13204.

Young Art Exhibit Photo Descriptions

Young Art Exhibit_01 -“Artist Sanlly Viera working with two children at the El Punto Art Studio”
Young Art Exhibit_02 – “Two children working on artwork during the El Punto Art Studio”
Young Art Exhibit_03 – “Young girl working on artwork during the El Punto Art Studio”
Young Art Exhibit_04 – “Young girl and her artwork at the El Punto Art Studio”
Young Art Exhibit_05 – “Painting made by students in the El Punto Art Studio”
Young Art Exhibit_06 -“Painting made by students in the El Punto Art Studio”

How much produce can you buy for $10?

HEALTH

Vegetables and fruits can fit into any budget! For $10 you can buy 18 portions of vegetables and fruits; 1 cup tomato, 3 cups of green beans, 3 cups of corn, 4 cups of peas, 1 cup of pears and 6 cups of peaches. That’s almost 4 days’ worth of veggies and fruits for one person! Buy fruits and veggies in all their forms – fresh, frozen and canned.

Celebrate the season by purchasing fresh vegetables and fruits when they are in season. They are easy to get, have more flavor and are usually less expensive. Your local farmer’s market is a great source of seasonal produce and they usually start up by June.

Buy frozen and canned year-round, it’s usually picked and packed at its’ peak when its chock full of nutrients. Look for canned or frozen veggies that have not been pre-sauced and say “no salt added”, “low sodium” or “reduced sodium” on the label. Look for fruits canned in juice or light syrup.

Frozen and canned produce is one of the greatest kitchen hacks to save you time in the kitchen; it comes pre-cut and/or pre-cooked! But keep it simple with fresh produce, when you buy these pre-cut, pre-washed, ready to eat and processed foods are convenient, but cost more than when purchased in their basic forms.

The trick to buying all the vegetables and fruits you need to keep your body strong is to make a list before you go to the grocery store. Check the local newspaper, online, and the store ads before you shop. You save money by buying only what you need and getting the best price, leaving more of your food budget for delicious wholesome produce loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Want a side of physical activity with your vegetables and fruits, along with the satisfaction of an amazing accomplishment? Plant your own! Start a garden- in the yard or in a pot on the deck- for fresh, inexpensive, flavorful additions to meals. Herbs, cucumbers, peppers, or tomatoes are good options for beginners. Browse through a local library or online for more information on starting a new garden.

Lastly, plan and cook smart. Prepare and freeze vegetables for soups, stews or other dishes in advance. Add leftover veggies to casseroles or blend them to make soup. Overripe fruit is great for smoothies or baking. There are plenty of ways to make use of all of your veggies and fruits, for more ideas visit www.myplate.org. For more recipes, tips and more also visit www.eatsmartnewyork.org.

Latina Leaders – WISE Latina 2019

Join us at this year’s WISE Latina session, “Latina Leaders Expanding the Definition of Health”

Date: April 25th, 2019
Time: 12:00 – 1:30pm
Location: Sky Armory

WISE Latina 2019 Featured Speaker is Carmen M. Peña, M.A., Coach & Motivational Speaker

Join fellow Latina professionals and entrepreneurs from throughout New York State at this year’s WISE Latina Conference at the WISE Symposium. Bright and successful mujeres from Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Utica and New York City will be attending, and we’re excited to host you too. Our 2019 program will feature a prominent Latina who is Leading the way and expanding the definition of health. She will guide attendees in creating a plan to live a life that is Meaningful to them and impacts their families, their communities, their businesses and the world around them. This year’s event will offer reflections on both personal and business growth, while offering practical tips and tools for becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise.

This year’s focus is on the personal search to expanding the definition of health within in order to find Physical, Mental, Emotional and Financial Health, and the wisdom to lead the way. We will creatively encourage women to seek out practical ways to launch successful business enterprises through which they can positively impact their own sustainability as well as that of their communities. We’re looking forward to seeing you at this year’s session. All women are bienvenidas.

Carmen’s solution-oriented, positive approach will help us discover how to form healthy habits that lead us to achieve our goals. She will be speaking on self-empowerment, mindfulness, and how to transform into the best version of ourselves. The intention is to have Latinas leave the event feeling good, with increased confidence and a clearer vision of the action steps necessary to get to the next level of their dreams and goals successfully.

For price and to view the full WISE SYMPOSIUM agenda go to www.wisesyracuse.com or read more about WISE Latina at www.wiselatina.org

ALL WISE LATINA ATTENDEES CAN ATTEND THE ENTIRE SYMPOSIUM WITH THEIR TICKET.

TICKETS FOR OUR SESSION ARE COORDINATED VIA MARISOL HERNANDEZ, WHO COORDINATES WITH THE SKY ARMORY TO SECURE OUR GROUP’S ENTRY. PLEASE EMAIL MARISOL AT MHERNANDEZ@WISELATINA.ORG TO SECURE YOUR WISE LATINA & SYMPOSIUM TICKET TODAY!

WISE Latina ticket includes full access to the WISE Symposium (8:00am to 5:30pm) continental breakfast, lunch, breakout sessions and cocktail party. The WISE Symposium is an event produced by The Events Company in partnership with WISE Women’s Business Center and SKY Armory. WISE Symposium ticket holders can attend WISE Latina at lunch time without additional expense.

Want to know more? We’ll share the WISE Symposium speaker’s full bios in our next update and on our Facebook Event Page!

We want to hear from you! Before and during the event, please Tweet out your pictures, saludos and responses using the WISE Latina Hashtags:

#wiselatina2019 or #wiselatina or #wise2019

Are you a Spanish speaker? We will offer FREE Spanish translation throughout the event so you can enjoy the conference, even if Spanish is your first, preferred or only language.

A Reflection about SOMOS

Politics
by Andres Aguirre

The 2019 SOMOS Conference marked my first return to Albany in about five years. I’ve never had a bad experience when I’ve gone up to the Capitol, and this was no exception. I was able to meet a multitude of elected officials, attend various educative workshops, and network with countless amounts of young politically active students like myself.

This year, the Conference’s theme was “We Are Dreams Come True”, in celebration of the passing of the New York State DREAM Act. It was incredible to see so many students, past and present, all gathered in the same place to finally be able to commemorate their work over the past 8 years.

Now, I am not a Dreamer. I was born in the United States and as a result did not have to struggle like they did. It breaks my heart to hear some of the stories that have resulted of the DREAM Act being stalled on for so long. Some undocumented students, because they had no access to aid or loans, simply could not afford to go to college anymore and dropped out without much of a choice. To finally see all of their advocacy finally payoff is a feeling that is surely indescribable. And, as a result, it gave me great joy to be able to witness such a historic event.

Are We Latinx, Latin, or Latino?


by Maximilian Eyle

It is no secret that languages are constantly in flux. Some changes happen gracefully, like the slang that evolves from generation to generation. Other shifts can create divides between speakers of a language and illustrate sharp differences in how we perceive our identities and our surroundings. One such example is the term Latinx, which is a fascinating example of how contemporary ideas of gender equality and sexual identity can conflict with longstanding linguistic traditions. The results of this conflict have yet to be determined.

There are two primary claims for why we should adopt the term Latinx. The first is that the commonly used Latino presumes masculine dominance. Put another way, why should we use the masculine suffix when half the population is female? The second point is that it is becoming more commonly acknowledged that some people do not wish to identify as male or female. The x suffix acknowledges this ambiguity. Though the term has been in use on the internet since 2004 if not before, its popularity has increased – particularly on college campuses.

Those who oppose the term are quick to point out some of the challenges it creates. Spanish is fundamentally based on a binary and gendered system. Every noun is either masculine or feminine, and in the case of people – mixed groups of men and women are always referred to in the masculine. A 2015 article in The Phoenix asked: If Latinx became standard, what about other plural nouns? Would we have to say niñx instead of niños or hermanx instead of hermanos? It has also been pointed out that an already common word, Latin is gender neutral and could achieve many of the same goals as Latinx while fitting more naturally within the Spanish linguistic tradition.

I invite anyone reading this to write in with your opinion. Do you think Latinx is an important word to incorporate into the Spanish vocabulary? Are we better off sticking with Latino or Latin? Are there other issues that we have not touched on in this article? Please send your thoughts in to maxeyle@gmail.com

Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He works as a media consultant and writes each month about a variety of issues for Spanish-language papers across New York State. Maximilian has a love of Hispanic culture and learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher. He can be contacted at maxeyle@gmail.com.