English needs to be like Chips and Salsa in Texas

27 Oct

Photo Courtesy of ithemesbuilder.com

By: Cristian Sandoval

This being my first blog for Yes al Inglés, I wanted to make sure to share the reason why we started the program and why the organization is so committed to the English language.

A year ago MATT’s Executive Director approached me with the idea of creating an online English language program to help developing economies attract foreign investment.  The idea of teaching English intrigued me, and the challenge of developing a comprehensive program to teach English online was really exiting.

In 1985 UNESCO wrote a report in regards to why Mexico was failing to educate its elementary school children. It was failing for the same reason you don’t see many Mexican restaurants in Western Europe…the system lacked the appropriate infrastructure to supply the students with the right tools. Try to find black beans and jalapeno peppers in the Czech republic.

Yes al Inglés came to solve a lot of infrastructure challenges for teaching English. By being online it reduces the dependency on classrooms, it’s easy to follow, makes it easy for students to learn without the need for a teacher, and we tried to make it entertaining and fun for the students. Best of all, the low cost makes it accessible to everyone… like chips and salsa in Texas!

There is a lot to do and we have many opportunities. Let this be the start of our journey to teach English to developing economies.

Additional Links:

http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001363/136342so.pdf

Nearly 20 years after NAFTA, the first Mexican cargo truck crosses United States borders: 5 things you should know concerning the requirements the Mexican truck drivers will face

26 Oct

Photo Courtesy of : Ricardo Santos / AP

By: Leyla T. Berlanga
Last week, a Mexican cargo truck carrying electronic equipment and destined for Garland, Texas, was the first truck to enter the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA permits Mexican cargo trucks to travel beyond the previous boundary of 6 to 25 miles wide on the U.S. side of the border.
Mexican cargo trucks have crossed into the U.S. in recent years as part of a short-lived pilot program that began in 2007, and which was canceled by the Obama administration in 2009. Mexico retaliated by placing higher tariffs on a wide range of goods, such as dairy items, pork, and even Christmas trees.

Canadian cargo trucks have been granted full access to driving into the United States since the early 1980’s.

5 things you should know concerning the requirements the Mexican truck drivers will face are:
1:  Mexican truck emissions must meet U.S. clean air standards, and Mexican truck companies and drivers must submit to U.S. security checks
2:  Mexican truck drivers must demonstrate competency in English, to show they can read road signs, as well as communicate with police, if necessary
3: Mexican trucks will be required to purchase U.S. liability insurance
4: Electronic monitoring systems will track how many hours the trucks are in service while in the U.S.
5: Drivers must pass drug tests

From an economic point of view, American companies will be affected…whether the impact will be negative or positive is yet to be seen. I think it’s safe to say that Mexican trucking companies will face a number of competitive disadvantages when carrying international cargo into the interior of the United States.  I do think this is a step in the right direction as far as Mexico and U.S. relations are concerned; but do you think this is all coming to pass at the right time for both countries?

Semana Nacional de Migración 2011

25 Oct

Con la presencia del Presidente de la República Mexicana el Lic. Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, la Lic. Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo, El Secretario de Gobernación Francisco Blake Mora, entre otras personalidades del medio de la política mexicana, el 17 de octubre se dio por iniciada la semana nacional de migración 2011, cuyo tema central fue: “Los Derechos humanos del migrante niños, niñas y adolescentes no acompañados”.

La sociedad civil tuvo especial participación en este esfuerzo, compartiendo espacios con instituciones gubernamentales abordando temas de derechos humanos universales y análisis normativos en materia de migración en México, refugiados y derechos humanos de los migrantes.

La Fundación Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together (MATT) como actor relevante en la agenda binacional entre México y Estados Unidos fue invitado especial del Gobierno de México, teniendo presencia en la Ceremonia de Inauguración, en las conferencias magistrales y en una Reunión Privada con la Lic. Margarita Zavala quien convocó a 10 organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil para trabajar con ella en una agenda común a favor de los migrantes y de la región, asuntos que sonde interés medular para el desarrollo de los objetivos de la fundación como lo fueron: Derecho del migrante a la identidad, Derecho al voto: los mexicanos residentes en el extranjero, Derecho a la educación.

El segundo día de actividades MATT se hizo presente en la premiación de del 1er concurso de tesis sobre migración internacional 2011, la Directora en México Laura Ballesteros Mancilla, en representación de Aracely García Granados, compartió presídium con la Lic. Margarita Zavala, Presidenta Nacional del DIF, El comisionado del Instituto Nacional de Migración el Dr. Salvador Beltrán del Río, el Mtro. Javier Díaz de León Director ejecutivo del Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior, se le entregó el premio por su tesis de maestría al Mtro. Guillermo Yrizar Barbosa quien fue elegido por el comité dictaminador de este concurso como el máximo ganador con la tesis de título “De la repatriación de cadáveres al voto extraterritorial. Política de emigración y gobiernos estatales en el centro occidente de México”.

La Mtra. Ballesteros Mancilla resaltó la labor que de manera conjunta se ha venido realizando con el Instituto Nacional de Migración, con el IME y demás dependencias de gobierno que apoyan a que el Programa Yo soy México sea posible, de igual manera agradeció a la Presidenta Nacional del DIF por emprender la tarea de redefinir las políticas públicas en materia de migración.

En el tercer y último día, en la reunión privada con la Lic. Margarita Zavala y 10 Organizaciones de la sociedad civil, entre las presentes se encontraban Ashoka, Caminos Posibles, Fundación BBVA, Fundación KELLOGG, la Fundación Apple Seeds, la Universidad Intercontinental, el Tecnológico de Monterrey, entre otras.

Para MATT fue una semana de mucha proyección, debido a la vinculación que se hizo con altos funcionarios de gobierno, con organizaciones de la sociedad civil y demás órganos estatales y municipales que están interesados en colaborar de manera conjunta con las fundación, fue una semana de logros y éxitos cosechados, toda vez que la apertura de foros públicos que se logró de un universo de cientos de ONG´s en México MATT tiene la fortuna de estar en el primer círculo de estas Organizaciones que de manera conjunta con el gobierno de México abordaran en los próximos meses el tema migratorio y de la cual han sido reconocidos sus programas y trabajo que se ha venido realizando.

Obama marked Record High Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants

24 Oct

Photo Courtesy of John Moore / Getty Images / AFP

By: Eduardo Pacheco, Researcher

On September 30th the fiscal year ended with the Obama Administration breaking their previous record set last year of deportations of undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. Officials with ICE claim this increase in deportations is the direct result of “smart” immigration enforcement policy through the Federal Government’s Secure Communities Program that has led to the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants suspected of having criminal backgrounds. According to the reports disclosed by ICE on October 18th, 55% of the 396,906 deported from the US had a criminal background, in which under the administration’s new policy placed them under the High Priority Category for apprehension and deportation. It is important however to realize that 45%, a very large percentage, of those deported had no criminal background putting some doubt in the exclusivity of only targeting criminal undocumented immigrants.

Many pro-immigrant rights organizations and organizations that advocate in the reduction of immigrant flows into the US disagree with the Obama Administration’s reports and policy.

Many of the organizations that seek to drastically reduce the number of undocumented immigrants claim that the change in deportation priority is a backdoor amnesty, and these recent record breaking deportation numbers is a way for the Obama Administration to shift attention away from this “backdoor amnesty”.

In contrast, pro-immigrant rights organizations argue that under the Obama Administration more families are being torn apart than ever before by the flawed Secures Communities Program, in which there is record that in the past many individuals have been wrongfully targeted by the program.

While Immigration continues to be used as a political football between political candidates and parties in the US, what is true is that lack of action to address this issue on behalf of Congress and the Obama Administration is having grave consequences on Latino Communities across the United States, Mexico, and Latin America. The disproportionate deportation of Latinos has led to friction between the Latino Community and President Obama. According to DHS 77% of Undocumented Immigrants residing in the US are of Latino descent, however according to the newly published numbers by ICE 93% of the 396,906 deported last fiscal year are Latinos mainly from Mexico.

There is a great need to reexamine not only these immigration enforcement policies, but also the rhetoric revolving around this issue and its negative consequences on the largest minority community in the US, for the sake of the US and of the countries that are having to deal with large numbers of repatriates.

President Calderon’s visit to the United Nations and New York

7 Oct

President Calderon Addresses the United Nations in New York

Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico, convened with other world leaders at the 66th General Assembly Session of the United Nations, in a time in which Mexico is plagued with violence in some regions by powerful Drug Cartels. President Calderon addressed at the General Assembly of the UN revolved around three main issues that are currently top priorities for members of the international community. Calderon stated that the United Nations must maintain its relevancy as an avenue from which world leaders can move forward to address and eradicate poverty, climate change, and international crime. These three issues are what Calderon stated to be some of the main factors that hinder the development of numerous countries throughout the world and jeopardize the legitimacy of governments. In addition, to his request for the international community to address these issues more aggressively, Calderon condemned the lack of leadership at the international level on behalf of countries with high consumption of drugs, such as the United States. This is not the first time President Calderon has condemned the United States for its lack of gun control laws and its lack of initiative to implement public policy to eradicate drug use and or create an “alternative market” from which the astronomical profits currently enjoyed by the Drug Cartels can be reduced. President Calderon also received the Gold Insigne Award, in a Gala organized by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, in which MATT participated as a special invite of the Council of the Americas; MATT was able to share our perspectives on the bi-national agenda with important guests such as, Claudia Palacios of CNN, Alejandro Ramírez CEO of Cinepolis, and Margarita Zavala Mexico´s First Lady. In this Gala the President talked about the importance of the integration, not isolation, of Mexicans into the American community and, mentioned that through the integration of the Mexican community, the United States could gain a more educated population. It was really interesting to listen to Calderon’s speech, because it  helps MATT, a bi-national organization, understand that the new Mexican Government’s vision corresponds with MATT’s mission, after three years of hard work directed towards advocacy in Mexico.  MATT works with issues pertaining to the integration and the education of the Mexican community on both sides of the border.  Calderon concluded his UN visit by participating in the general debate of the General Assembly on: The Role of Mediation in Conflict Solution by Pacific Means. Earlier in the week prior to his visit to the UN, Calderon was recognized and awarded the highest award given to a head of state by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas for his promotion of culture, politics, social and economic development in the Western Hemisphere. Nevertheless, Calderon addressed and condemned the United State’s high consumption and demand for drugs, which he largely blames for Mexico’s current woes making this a revolving theme. Calderon’s visit to the US concluded with a visit to Los Angeles, California in which he met with members of the Mexican community and he was also in attendance of a special screening of The Royal Tour, a documentary about Mexico.

National Hispanic Heritage Month 2011

5 Oct
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2011

“Renewing the American Dream”

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Leyla Tess Berlanga

September 15th through October 15th has been proclaimed as National Hispanic Heritage Month and has been given the theme “renewing the American Dream.” On September 15th President Obama’s “proclamation” was released and I found it to be quite interesting. In the proclamation, the President mentioned how influential Hispanics are to the American community as a whole, stating that things such as “strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service” have enhanced our nation’s character. The President also expressed that “the future of America is inextricably linked to the future of our Hispanic community. “

The President is also in the midst of “selling” The American Jobs Act to the American people as well as to Washington; Hispanics account for two-thirds of the country’s population growth, are currently experiencing an unemployment rate of 11.3 percent, and there are currently over 50 million Hispanics in the United States; so I think it is safe to say that the support and vote of the Hispanic community is very important and crucial to the Obama administration.

The President has proposed the American Jobs Act to help the entire Nation, and particularly Americans like the nearly one million Hispanic-Americans who have been out of work for over six months. The President also mentioned topics such as “improving educational opportunities, and expanding access to affordable, quality health care” and stated to remain committed to fixing the country’s “broken immigration system”. He mentioned key issues that we, the Hispanic community, are concerned about and I hope that these statements weren’t made simply in lieu of this being Hispanic Heritage Month, but rather made with the intentions of being executed efficiently, properly and in a timely manner.

The American Jobs Act of 2011: It will affect us all

15 Sep

President Barack Obama

By: Leyla Tess Berlanga

On September 8, 2011 President Barack Obama addressed Congress, and the nation as a whole, and presented the American Jobs Act of 2011.  The Bill would help create, and establish jobs for the 14 million Americans who currently find themselves unemployed as well as the small businesses in this country.  According to americanjobsact.com, “the purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans– without adding a dime to the deficit.” A question I have it: where do both the Democratic and the Republican Parties stand regarding this Bill? Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi expressed her support for this Bill by saying “Congress must act with urgency”. The Democratic Party supports the pillars of this Bill which are:

  1.   Tax cut to help the American small business hire and grow
  2.   Putting workers back on the job while rebuilding and modernizing America
  3.   Pathways back to work for Americans looking for jobs
  4.   More money in the pockets of every American worker and family
  5.   Fully paid for as part of the President’s Long-term deficit reduction plan

where as the Republican Party supports and stands for:

  1. Keeping loopholes open in the tax code that effectively allows the rich and large corporations to pay an inordinately small amount of taxes
  2. Further lowering taxes for the rich and large corporations
  3. De-funding social security, Medicare, and Medicaid

Republicans view the passing of this bill as something that will increase taxes on job creators and view the American Jobs Act 2011 is the kind of proposal that both political parties have rejected in the past. Many Republican leaders asked President Obama immediately after his speech to send them a copy of the bill that he so ardently wants them to approve. He did so…day before yesterday, September 13th.

I feel as though this bill has the potential to both help and hinder Americans, both job creators and job seekers alike, and the outcome of that is up to the American people to determine.  On a bi-national level, I dare to think of the possibilities that the passing of this bill might present; the American Jobs Act states that an estimated 25 million Hispanic workers will benefit from the extension of the payroll tax cut and the tax cuts would benefit 250,000 Hispanic-owned small businesses as well. This could mean a stronger, louder voice in the political sector for Hispanics as a whole. The president is hitting the road this week in a political attempt to sell the American Jobs Act, although, he’s only stopping in major 2012 battleground states.

Sources:
1. http://www.americanjobsact.com/
2. http://www.politicususa.com/en/the-american-jobs-act
3. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/08/democratic-leader-nancy-pelosi-backs-american-jobs-act
4. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/12/dems-fight-for-american-jobs-act-2012-election-battleground-states_n_958504.html
5. http://thehill.com/