1. Sonia María Sotomayor: Judge Sotomayor was confirmed by a 68-31 vote in the United States Senate as the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice. She will be sworn in tomorrow. Now the whole nation will be able to find out what a "wise Latina" can do! And there is one more thing you can do: Check out the roll call on this vote and commit it to memory so that when your Senators come up for re-election, you can register and vote accordingly.
2. "A Broken System: Confidential Reports Reveal Failures in U.S. Detention Centers": Denied access to loved ones, lawyers and basic necessities, men and women within the nation’s immigration detention system find their fundamental rights routinely and systematically violated. Information not available to the public until now reveals substantial and pervasive violations of the government's own minimum standards for conditions at facilities holding detained immigrants, according to a 170-page report released last week by National Immigration Law Center, the ACLU of Southern California, and the law firm of Holland & Knight. The report is based on an analysis of hundreds of ICE, ABA and UNHCR detention facility review reports from 2001 through 2005.
3. Obama aims to overhaul immigration jail system: Pledging more oversight and accountability, the Obama administration announced plans Thursday to transform the nation's immigration detention system from one reliant on a scattered network of local jails and private prisons to a centralized one designed specifically for civil detainees. The reforms are aimed at establishing greater control over a system that houses about 33,000 detainees a day and that has been sharply criticized as having unsafe and inhumane conditions and as lacking the medical care that may have prevented many of the 90 deaths that have occurred since 2003. For details of the proposed changes, see ICE's Fact Sheet: 2009 Immigration Detention Reforms.
4. Living in U.S. Raises Cancer Risk for Hispanics: On the other hand, maybe immigrating to the United States isn't such a great deal. The risk of cancer for Hispanics increases by 40% when they move to the U.S., according to a new study. The risks of specific cancers, however, differ widely among the Hispanic subgroups of Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans, the researchers also found. On the positive side, U.S. Hispanics generally have lower cancer incidence than non-Hispanic U.S. whites, says Paulo Pinheiro, MD, PhD, a researcher in the department of epidemiology and public health at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, who led the study. "On the negative side, they increase their risk when they come here for the majority of the analyzed [in his study] cancers," Pinheiro tells WebMD. The study is published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Pinheiro says that Latino immigrants' cancer risk increases after they come to the U.S., presumably as they adopt unhealthy U.S. lifestyle habits such as eating fast food too frequently.
- Inspired by the remarks this weekend of Salvadoran Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas, a new group is forming within the Arlington (VA) Diocese to push for immigration reform. The group will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, September 29th, at 7:30pm at St. Anthony of Padua (San Antonio) Catholic Church, 3305 Glen Carlyn Road, Falls Church, VA 22041. Spanish speakers can check out the Padre Hoyos blog for details.
- Meanwhile in the "other" San Antonio (Texas), the 3rd Annual Bilingual Symposium on Immigration will be held at the Mexican American Catholic College on October 9-10, 2009. Caritas International President Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga will give the keynote address. Click on the link to download the brochure and registration form.