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The Citizen
The Citizen /January 01, 2007

Drivers' Licenses for Immigrants
From Gotham Gazette
With a new administration in Albany, many immigrant New Yorkers are hoping that a policy that has denied drivers' licenses to hundreds of thousands of state residents who lack immigration status will be reversed. Many are now wondering what kind of driver's license proposal they can expect to see from the new governor.

The new Democratic majority in Congress and their Republican allies are working to reverse some of what many immigrant rights advocates called flaws in a bill passed by the U.S. Senate last year. A new version of the Immigration Reform Bill will allow undocumented immigrants to gain legal status without having to leave the country. Ligislatores are considering withholding funds for putting up fences along the border with Mexico.

But the obstacles to legal status, or green cards, will remain for the time being. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials have reportedly said that they need to update an antiquated, paper-based application process before the government grants a new path to citizenship or creates a temporary-worker program. A recent report shows that some immigrants still had to wait for years before their cases were approved, despite the agency's claims that it had cut its backlog of applications by 70 percent.

Immigrants in New York are counting on a promise made during last year's campaign by Governor Eliot Spitzer to allow undocumented immigrant to apply for drivers' licenses. "The facts show that restricting immigrants' access to drivers' licenses does nothing to improve security," said Spitzer spokesperson.

Meanwhile, a group of immigration control advocates gathered early this month outside of Columbia University, waving flags and holding signs that said "Illegal immigrants have no rights." Protesters were upset that students haven't been disciplined for disrupting a speech by the founder of the Minuteman Project, a civilian immigration monitoring group.

Below are stories from the Bengali, Chinese, Korean, Polish, and Spanish language press via our partner, Voices That Must Be Heard.

Health Problems Among Caribbean Immigrants
From Gotham Gazette
Caribbean women immigrants are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stages of cervical cancer than black women born in the United States. Experts say a lack of funds and serious cultural barriers prevent Caribbean women immigrants from getting gynecological checkups.

Polish Immigrants Can Be More Picky
From Nowy Dziennik
The opening of European job markets to Polish citizens, according to employment agencies, is the primary reason why Polish immigrants are no longer inclined to accept less desirable jobs or embrace the typical immigrant lifestyle in the United States.

Undocumented Immigrants Get Legal Advice
From World Journal
For the first time ever, the Fujian Ethnic Association organized a free legal consultation session in Chinatown. The session attracted many Fujianese immigrants who came to the venue or called in to seek legal advice. Many of them inquired about workplace injury and workers' compensation.

Have Hate Crimes Against Muslims Decreased?
From Weekly Thikana
According to surveys of community-based organizations, hate propaganda against Muslims in 2006 decreased as compared to the previous year. Yet leaders of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that incidents of attacks on mosques never ceased.

Crime Drops in Chinese Neighborhoods
From World Journal
The NYPD determined that the overall crime rate in the 5th Precinct of Chinatown went down by 6.17 percent in 2006.

Police Department To Train Bodega Owners To Fight Crimes
From Impacto Latin News
President of the Association of U.S. Bodega Owners, Jose Fernandez, said he hoped that, once implemented, the program will grow stronger and the safety of bodega owners will be guaranteed.

Study Finds Healthy Food Scant In Bodegas
From El Diario / La Prensa
A study by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) found that 80 percent of the grocery stores in low-income communities are bodegas, but only a third of them sell low-fat milk, and only 10 percent offer their clients green vegetables.

Korean Extended Families Vanishing
From Korea Times
In the past one could customarily see grandparents, parents and grandchildren living together under one roof. Now Korean immigrants have been surpassed statistically by Caucasians with regard to the numbers of families living together under the extended family model.

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