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Immigration Conference at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix Campus on September 30

Grupo Salinas and Azteca America through its non-profit arm Fundacion Azteca America are pleased to present, in conjunction with Arizona State University’s School of Transborder Studies, a groundbreaking conference on immigration entitled “State of Latinos: Truth in Immigration,” to be held in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism’s First Amendment Forum in downtown Phoenix on September 30.

The conference will include an overview of the US-Mexico trans-border world, an examination of the development of US-Mexico immigration laws and an outlook into legalization, regularization and the future of immigration. The event will also include a media panel, coordinated by the Cronkite School, to examine coverage of SB1070 from different perspectives through radio, TV, newspapers and the Internet.

Participants include: Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon; Thomas Saenz, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF); Daniel R. Ortega Jr., National Council of La Raza (NCLR); Dr. Carlos Velez-Ibanez, School of Transborder Studies, ASU; Evelyn Cruz, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, ASU; Francisco Lara Valencia, School of Transborder Studies, ASU; Armando Guzman, Azteca America Maritza; Lizeth Gallego Felix, Prensa Hispana; Maria Barquin, Radio La Campesina;  Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic; Angel Rodriguez,

“We are pleased to engage the issues of immigration from an informed point of view that will help the greater public to attain a better understanding of the complexities of the subject,” said Dr. Carlos Velez-Ibanez, Director of the School of Transborder Studies.

“Our national debate on immigration policy and on the enforcement of immigration laws needs an infusion of greater factual accuracy and a commitment to carefully informed deliberation,” said Thomas Saenz, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). “Conferences like this one will help to reduce the amount of policymaking that is based on political posturing and pandering to fear and intolerance.”

“State of Latinos: Truth in Immigration” is a one of several initiatives supported by Fundacion Azteca America to foment dialog regarding comprehensive immigration reform.

A poster and schedule can be found HERE (pdf)

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FREE Screenings of ‘9500 Liberty’ in downtown Phoenix TOMORROW

On Sunday, August 22nd, Stateside Presents and Artists for Action will present two free screenings of 9500 LIBERTY, presented with Spanish subtitles, at The Third Street Theatre at Phoenix Center for the Arts in Phoenix, Arizona.

With the recent federal injunction halting the most controversial aspects of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070, Prince William County, Virginia remains the only jurisdiction in the United States to have implemented a law requiring police to check the immigration status of people they suspect are undocumented.

The award-winning documentary 9500 LIBERTY reveals how this became law and the ensuing aftermath. Film critic Roger Ebert recently praised 9500 LIBERTY warning Arizonans of the potential impact of the controversial immigration law. Law enforcement leaders around the country have pointed to the film as an effective survey of the public safety impacts of laws like SB1070.

9500 LIBERTY was recently presented at the Police Executives Research Forum convention in Philadelphia, PA, and at the Major County Sheriffs’ Association convention in Anaheim, CA.

9500 LIBERTY is directed by Coffee Party founders Eric Byler and Annabel Park. Byler said the film and the movement both promote “civil, fact-based, and solutions-oriented dialogue” as “the best way to approach divisive issues like immigration.”

“A few years before Arizona passed its new immigration law, a similar law was passed and then repealed in Virginia’s Prince William County. The documentary “9500 Liberty” tells the fascinating story of how that happened, and possibly foretells what lies ahead for Arizona. In Virginia, the law was eventually overturned by a combination of middle-class whites, Republican office holders, the police chief, Latinos and economic reality.“ Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times

“This engrossing documentary traces ugly repercussion in northern Virginia when a resolution is passed requiring cops to question anyone they have ‘probable cause’ to suspect of being an illegal alien.” Dennis Harvey, Variety

“There are certain films in certain times that make it exceedingly difficult to shut out the world around you. 9500 Liberty is one of them.” Bill, Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic

“With an uplifting turn of events and some extraordinary acts of conscience, 9500 Liberty is as dramatically charged as any fiction movie. And ultimately, it’s as powerful a booster of the democratic process as anything Frank Capra ever imprinted into our collective memory.” Desson Thomson, The Wrap

“9500 Liberty is a well made, engaging example of the documentary form, a film in which compelling storytelling transcends politics.”


9500 LIBERTY (with Spanish subtitles) Sunday, August 22, 2010 – 4 PM and 7 PM Third Street Theatre at Phoenix Center for the Arts 1202 N. Third St., Phoenix, AZ 85004 (map)

For more information, please send an email to

Panel Discussion to Follow Screenings with Director Eric Byler

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Immigration Law Inspires Downtown Phoenix Exhibit


The flag of Arizona, skeletons and the Statue of Liberty are just some of the images evoked by a group of artists to give life to their views on Arizona’s new immigration law.

The collection of prints, sculptures, paintings and photographs are featured in the traveling exhibit, “SB1070: An Artist’s Point of View,” which opened at the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center in Phoenix the weekend before the law took effect on July 29.

The show will move to galleries throughout Arizona and across the country in an effort to educate the public on how artists from the state that has become ground zero in the immigration debate perceive the matter, said the show’s organizer.

“This educational exhibit was born from the thought that there has to be a different way of reaching people’s hearts on this issue,” said Annie Loyd, founder and CEO of The FUSION Foundation, which organized the exhibit in collaboration with the cultural center.

“This show is not a protest show,” she said. “This was truly meant to be something that evokes people’s emotions, that allows you to work your way into the art and really consider what’s going on.”

The show took shape quickly after its conceptualization in a marketing meeting in early June. A call to artists in Arizona for contributions was quickly met with more submissions than the show could hold, prompting its organizers to rotate pieces each time the show moves to a new space.

In their works, the artists bring their personal history and experiences with immigration in Arizona — a divisive issue in the border state long before SB1070 brought it under the national microscope.

“My mother was undocumented, my father born in Texas, and she feared immigration all her life, even after she became a citizen,” said Martin Moreno, whose painting, Born in the USA, depicts the wake of a son of a Mexican-born wife and American husband.

“She never went back to Mexico, and that same scenario has played over thousands of times. Even today, my son is in the same situation. He is a citizen and my daughter-in-law is undocumented. History repeats itself,” he said.

Moreno describes his piece as “a portrait of a family sharing two cultures,” with the father in his National Guardsman uniform, and the mother in traditional Mexican garb, lighting a candle of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

“The piece tries to address that many couples have a foot in two worlds,” he said, “and that hasn’t changed in my lifetime.”

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Phoenix steps up efforts for accurate census count

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — The sputtering economy, spike in home foreclosures, and crackdown on undocumented immigrants could pose significant hurdles for officials working to get an accurate count of Phoenix residents for the 2010 census.  At stake are hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and state funding, disbursed to cities based on official decennial population figures.  “There are a lot of concerns that we have,” said Tammy Perkins, who is coordinating Phoenix’s census efforts.  “Every person we miss costs the city $400 a year.  If we miss a family of four, that’s $1,600 a year for 10 years.”

Census figures released this year revealed that the number of immigrants living in Arizona in 2008 had fallen by about 60,000, to 932,518, likely a result of the economic recession and construction slowdown.  Meanwhile, 60 percent of Valley home sales last month involved foreclosures, making it harder to track former homeowners who are now staying with friends, in hotels or living on the streets.

Hispanic leaders have said that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s raids and crime sweeps have forced some immigrants to move out of state or back to their home country, while fostering a distrust of government among those who’ve stayed.  “There is a lot of fear in the Hispanic community.  I think we will have a really hard time getting Hispanics to open the doors and return their census forms,” said the Rev. Eve Nunez, a community leader who is heading a Phoenix census committee focused on the faith-based community.  “We are trying to dispel that fear by telling them how much this will mean to their community.”  [Note: Read the full article at Phoenix steps up efforts for accurate census count.]