TCR Talks: Challenging stereotypes about Asian Americans

Saigon fell to the Viet Cong on April 30, 1975. That was the day Tuyet Le and her family left Vietnam. She was 3 years old when they came to America as refugees. Le, 42, now works to help other immigrants and Asian Americans as the executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago. She also serves on the board of directors of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Asian American Justice Center.

Rosaura Lima

A changing Southern landscape

Teresa Puente drove across the U.S. this summer blogging about diverse people and places and capturing day-to-day life in America. Here are three dispatches from the South, where the Latino population is growing. Read about all the people she met at her Chicanísima blog at Chicago Now. 
Rosaura Lima, 40, played with her children in the parking lot of a budget hotel in Morristown, Tenn., the boyhood home of Davy Crockett. 
She lives in Bowling Green, Ky., with her husband, Roman Martinez, 43, who travelled 250 miles to Morristown for a construction job. She was trying to keep the kids busy, as her husband was sick in a local hospital. He woke up with a giant welt on his arm that doctors told her may have come from a bug bite.

Immigrant wins illegal voting case, granted residency

A Filipino immigrant who faced deportation for illegally registering to vote and casting a ballot can now stay in the U.S.
Elizabeth Keathley of Bloomington, Ill., who came to the U.S. in 2003, registered to vote in 2006 through the “motor voter” law – even though she was not a citizen. Last week, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared her of wrongdoing, and a Department of Justice immigration judge has approved her permanent residence, the Chicago Tribune reported. The court accepted Keathley’s testimony that an employee at the DMV rushed her through the driver’s license application process, during which she was asked if she was interested in registering to vote. After receiving her voter registration card, Keathley voted in the 2006 congressional election. During a citizenship interview that December, she was asked if she had voted.

For generations of immigrants, opportunity comes before equality

The families of what is now known as Hero Street were shunned. They were forced to live in railroad boxcars, without electricity or plumbing, on an unpaved street. Snow blew through the cracks in the walls in winter. The street turned to mud when it rained. The kids who grew up there still remember the other school kids calling them “dirty Mexicans.” They remember being made fun of when their parents pulled them out of school to go top onions in the fields across the Mississippi, in Iowa.

Maricela Haro

County official: Sentence for immigration fraud ‘bittersweet’

A Chicago woman who posed as an immigration attorney, promising her clients they would become legal permanent residents, was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for stealing money from undocumented Latino immigrants. Maricela Haro pled guilty to 19 counts of “theft of property obtained by deception” for defrauding 19 people. Her victims said she also charged them $2,500 application fees and claimed her brother was a high-ranking U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service official who could help them obtain legal residency. She has been held at the Cook County Jail since her arrest last October. The case is a rare glimpse into a problem that plagues immigrant communities.

Elvira Arellano

Elvira Arellano detained after crossing border in protest

Chicago immigration activist Elvira Arellano, named Time Magazine’s 2006 Person of the Year, crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally Tuesday with her U.S.-born son Saul and Emiliano, her 4-month-old baby. “This is a way to protest President Obama,” Arellano told The Chicago Reporter in a phone interview before she crossed. “The only thing he’s given immigrant families is two million deportations.”
According to another activist at the border, Arellano was detained by authorities. Because she has a deportation order in her record, she may face criminal charges for illegal re-entry. The status of her son and baby are not known, and a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman would not confirm information about Arellano or her children, citing privacy laws.