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Beyond Borders

A blog about immigration in the New York region

From Congress to the No. 7, renewed focus on the Dream Act


The No. 7 subway line in NYC is one of the places where young immigrants are rallying for the DREAM Act today, according to organizers from Make the Road New York. Sen. Harry Reid is promising a test vote this week on the long-proposed legislation that would set out a legalization path for undocumented students.

The DREAM Act is considered one of the more winnable pieces of immigration reform, but the political prospects are apparently uncertain. Many young voices, though, are mobilizing.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 5:46 pm
Category: Uncategorized


Talk on refugees offered at College of New Rochelle


The College of New Rochelle Office of Mission and Identity will present a lecture by Rev. Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J. titled “The Holy Family’s Flight Into Egypt and Today’s Refugees” on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. in Romita Auditorium in the Mooney Center on the Main Campus of the College. O’Donovan is president emeritus of Georgetown University, past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, and a Trustee of The College of New Rochelle. He studied with Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J., at the University of Muenster and has written extensively about Rahner’s theology, including an introductory volume, A World of Grace.  He also writes art criticism.
The lecture is free and is open to the public.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 5:17 pm
Category: Uncategorized



‘Day of the Dead’ is nigh in NY


The Day of the Dead, that macabre-but-also-festive tradition from Mexico, will be observed locally with displays and workshops at the the Pelham Art Center, New Rochelle Library and Hudson River Museum in Yonkers.

The Pelham center is holding an art workshop Saturday, and the Yonkers museum has a day of events scheduled Sunday. The library‘s Dia de Los Muertos display runs Sunday through Nov. 4.

Mexican families pay respects to their ancestors with home altars decorated with marigolds, favorite foods, and fruits. Zafiro Acevedo, who is organizing the Yonkers and Pelham events with her mother, Aurelia Fernandez, described the tradition to me two years ago.

Here’s more on the celebration and its roots. If you’re looking to create your own celebration at home, here’s what to eat.

(Photo courtesy of New Rochelle Public Library)

Posted by Leah Rae on Friday, October 29th, 2010 at 1:44 pm
Category: Day of the Dead, Mexico, New Rochelle


Immigration and the midterm elections


Just a week before the 2010 midterm elections, it’s a fun time to visit the immigration page on PolitiFact.com, where several campaign statements have earned the “pants on fire” fact-check rating. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and her statements on desert beheadings are also in there, along with some exchanges between Sharron Angle and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

(Added: Speaking of truth-telling, one of Reid’s aide’s has been fired over allegations of marriage fraud.)

The site’s Obameter also notes President Obama’s “promise broken” on introducing immigration an immigration bill in his first year. The president renewed the promise on a radio show Monday.

Among New Yorkers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gets a “false” for a dubious comparison of skills-based immigration policies in the U.S. and Canada.

For the big picture on immigration and the elections, here’s a backgrounder from the Council on Foreign Relations.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 at 12:16 pm
Category: elections, Uncategorized

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Peekskill concert to spotlight ‘ties that unite’


A concert at the Paramount in Peekskill Saturday night aims to bring different cultural groups together in response to the brutal beating of an Ecuadorian immigrant in May.

The lineup is designed to “get Peekskill to know Peekskill,” said songwriter and producer Alfredo Dueñas. “We have these ties that unite us, and we can grow from there,” he said.

The performers include: singer Mary Mancini; Ecuadoran musical ensemble Inti Andino; the Children’s Theater Company of Peekskill; Peekskill’s own youth band Backlash; Los Rufianes, a Peekskill Guatemalan community-based ranchero band; the Westchester Band, an Ecuadorian brass band; a program of African and Afro-Caribbean drumming and dance with master drummer Maxwell Kofi Donkor and friends with  Nydia and Sergio Rodriguez; and poetry / spoken word by Nancy Ewing, Ibrahim Saddiq (P-O-E-T) and Hip Hop recording artist Noodle; and tap dance by actor, songwriter and dancer Marcus Franklin.

Details on the “One Peeskill, One World” event are on this ArtsWestchester page.

Posted by Leah Rae on Thursday, October 14th, 2010 at 4:50 pm
Category: Uncategorized


A website for Peace Corps volunteers, via Pelham


John Coyne, an author who lives in Pelham, edits a busy website where Peace Corps volunteers come together to commune, gossip, critique each other’s writing, and talk about world events. Have a look at Peace Corps Worldwide and the related blogs. I wrote about the site for The Journal News.

The site makes interesting reading whether you’re a ‘PCV’ or not. I took an interest in Coyne’s writing tips, and of course the food blog, I Don’t Speak Cuisine. The site is independent of the corps itself, so the writers and commenters speak very freely.

Peace Corps volunteers have a special obligation to share their experience overseas with other Americans when they get back. This is known as the “third goal,” along with providing training and representing the U.S. abroad.

Next year is the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary, and Coyne is helping to plan readings by former volunteers at libraries around the country. He is also planning a new series of books by PCVs.

Coyne is communications manager at the College of New Rochelle.

Posted by Leah Rae on Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 at 5:02 pm
Category: Uncategorized



From NY, Chileans watch miraculous rescue at home


You didn’t have to be Chilean to be riveted by the coverage of the ongoing mine rescue, but there was a special sort of pride today at places like Los Andes bakery in Sleepy Hollow.

The bakery has been a gathering spot for local Chileans to talk about the amazing rescue of 33 miners who were trapped for 69 days.

Others watched the televised miracle in their country from their homes in Westchester.

“I am very emotional and nervous, too,” said Pilar Llanos, who lives in Yorktown. “I have been here six years and I miss my country very much. It’s been a hard time for the country. First the earthquake and now this.”

(Photos: Tania Savayan/The Journal News)

Posted by Leah Rae on Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 at 4:20 pm
Category: Uncategorized


Brewster code enforcer accused of selling NY licenses


The village of Brewster’s code enforcer, a police officer until 2008, is accused of selling New York driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants for a high price.

Marcela Rojas and Rob Ryser have the story today on LoHud.com. State police said they learned of the scheme from immigrants who bought the licenses. Robert Serino is facing felony grand larceny charges.

As an officer in 2008, he raised an alarm about ID cards that were being sold to immigrants even though they had no official validity. “What we want to get out is that the information on these cards cannot be trusted,” he said at the time.

Posted by Leah Rae on Friday, October 1st, 2010 at 5:17 pm
Category: Uncategorized


Update: GOP drops support for Russell’s campaign


Westchester County Republican Chairman Doug Colety has not responded to a call regarding Jim Russell’s candidacy against Rep. Nita Lowey, and Russell’s essay, unearthed by Politico, against interracial marriage and integration.

State Republican Party spokesman Alex Carey said: “We certainly don’t support Jim’s viewpoints espoused in that article, and condemn all of his racist and ethnocentric viewpoints espoused in there. In terms of actions taken, that’s a local issue, and chairman Colety and the county GOP have decisions to make with regard to whether to continue endorsing Mr. Russell.”


Westchester County Republicans are withdrawing support for Russell.
“We’re going to pull the plug on him immediately,” said Westchester GOP Chairman Doug Colety, who is also a county Board of Elections commissioner. He said he wanted to remove Russell from the ballot altogether but was unsure if that is possible.
Russell, who lives in Hawthorne, had been endorsed by the GOP for the second time in a row to run against Lowey in the 18th District.
“We were unaware of any of this,” Colety said, referring to the essay.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 at 4:40 pm
Category: Uncategorized


Jim Russell on housing desegregation


Jim Russell has written against racial integration before in letters to the editor, though without the same detailed discussion of a “biological basis” as in the Occidental Quarterly. Here is a 1996 letter that ran in The Journal News (then known as Gannett Suburban Newspapers), responding to an article about the Yonkers desegregation case:

The original argument for school integration was that it would advance the academic achievements of minorities. Instead, an Oct. 1 article on the Yonkers desegregation fiasco concedes that after years of forced integration “ minority students fared worse against national norms in 1995 than in 1988. ” Why, then, do some persist in their advocacy of integration? Don’t they realize that, if given a choice, most parents of all races would rather have integration funds spent on improving the quality of their neighborhood schools? Yet, this paper’s Oct. 3 editorial urges an integrationist crusade “ throughout Westchester and Putnam. ”

Given these discrepancies, a complete re-evaluation of racial integration is needed. First of all, we must acknowledge that neither court orders nor millions of taxpayers’ dollars can alter what nature has pre-ordained -namely, that it is normal and healthy for people to prefer the company of their own kind in their neighborhoods and schools. Indeed, a fundamental function of racial characteristics is to provide a source of group cohesion which protects each race as it evolves into a full-fledged species of its own. This is how true diversity is maintained and advanced. To deliberately disrupt this natural process may have disastrous consequences.

Instead of opposing normal, natural human inclinations, we should work to see that the laws of our nation are brought into harmony with the laws of nature in a manner that is as fair as possible to all.


This past June he wrote to The Journal News to criticize the fair housing settlement in Westchester. He attacked “the irrational assertion that so-called ‘de facto segregation,’ which is often the result of natural housing patterns, constitutes proof of discrimination.”

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 at 2:51 pm
Category: Uncategorized


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Reporters from The Journal News track the latest developments in immigration. Beyond Borders explores the news, the cultures and controversies.
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