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Roque Planas

Entries by Roque Planas

Hillary Clinton Vows To Stop Calling Undocumented Immigrants 'Illegal'

(11) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 1:32 PM

Hillary Clinton promised on Tuesday to purge the term “illegal immigrant” from her vocabulary.

Pressed by journalist José Antonio Vargas during an online question-and-answer session hosted by Spanish-language news broadcaster Telemundo, Clinton publicly committed to avoiding the term, which is widely viewed as disparaging...

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Millions Of Americans Still Fear Their Parents Will Be Deported, One Year After DAPA

(4) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 3:27 PM

NEW YORK -- Activists in dozens of cities across the country staged rallies on Friday to press for deportation relief, one year after President Barack Obama announced far-reaching immigration reform programs that have been blocked by a lawsuit. 

Obama announced an executive action last Nov....

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One Of The Most Popular Anti-Immigrant Talking Points Just Keeps Falling Apart

(5) Comments | Posted November 19, 2015 | 7:16 PM

A study released on Thursday confirmed what many people who have been following the national immigration debate have understood for years: Immigration from Mexico has plummeted sharply since the onset of the U.S. economic crisis in 2008 and it isn’t likely...

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Here's Why You Should Stop Worrying About Terrorists Entering The U.S. As Refugees

(3) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 7:00 PM

After a series of attacks in Paris by the Islamic State group killed 129 people on Friday, several prominent Republican politicians called for the U.S. to stop taking in refugees from Syria, arguing that authorities might unwittingly allow terrorists to enter the country.

Despite the traction those arguments...

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New York City's Encuentro Music Festival Pays Tribute To Salsa, Colombian Roots

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 4:09 PM

NEW YORK -- The city’s largest Colombian music festival celebrates its 12th year on Saturday at Le Poisson Rouge in the Village.

Founded by musicians Pablo Mayor and Anna Povich de Mayor in 2003, the six-hour Encuentro Colombian Music Festival...

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This Is What It Looks Like When The U.S. Ignores A Refugee Crisis

(1) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 3:44 PM

As Jorge Alberto Rosal drove along a highway through the Guatemalan province of Zacapa on Aug. 12, 1983, a military jeep stopped his vehicle and several plainclothes men forced him to get inside their truck instead.  

His wife, Blanca Vargas de Rosal, called...

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Cuba's Top Pianist Pays Homage To The Band That Launched His Career

(0) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 7:29 PM

NEW YORK -- In 1973, a group of mostly classically trained musicians formed a band that changed the direction of Cuba’s music and reached the American mainstream for the first time since the U.S. had severed diplomatic ties with the government of Fidel Castro in 1962. With a...

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Ron Johnson: Deporting Kids To Honduras Is OK Because It's 'A Beautiful Country'

(7) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 12:58 PM

It's not so bad to deport children to what was until recently the murder capital of the world, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Friday, since Honduras is "a beautiful country" with "gorgeous resort zones."

More than 200,000 unaccompanied minors or...

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Yes, Donald Trump Is Actually Going On 'Saturday Night Live' Tonight

(14) Comments | Posted November 6, 2015 | 5:03 PM

GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump remains slated to host this week's "Saturday Night Live" after the show’s parent company disregarded a campaign by immigrant rights groups and Latino politicians based on the billionaire's anti-immigrant comments.

The invitation to Trump draws "SNL," the four-decade-old pop culture fixture, into...

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Just 19 Out Of 790 SNL Episodes Have Been Hosted By A Latino

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2015 | 10:47 AM

On Feb. 21, 1976, the Cuban-born actor and musician Desi Arnaz took the stage to host the 14th episode of the inaugural season of “Saturday Night Live” -- a comedy show that would become a pop culture fixture, offering wide exposure for those lucky enough to be invited...

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Activists Pledge To Go After 'SNL' Advertisers Over Donald Trump Appearance

(24) Comments | Posted November 4, 2015 | 4:19 PM

NEW YORK -- Several dozen activists gathered Wednesday in front of NBC’s headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Center demanding the network rescind an invitation to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to host “Saturday Night Live" on Nov. 7 and vowing to pressure the network's advertisers to join their cause.

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Court Ruling Could Pave Way For Marijuana Legalization In Mexico

(2) Comments | Posted November 4, 2015 | 3:24 PM

Mexico’s Supreme Court voted 4 to 1 on Wednesday that members of a cannabis club are allowed to grow marijuana for their personal use, a potentially significant blow to laws restricting drug use in the country.

The club members -- Josefina Ricarño, Armando Santacruz, José Pablo Girault and Juan Francisco Torres Landa Ruffo -- had applied for a license from Mexico's drug regulatory office, but were denied. They appealed that denial to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the four members were allowed to grow, transport and use marijuana for recreational purposes. 

Although the decision does not legalize marijuana across Mexico, it could provide a legal path for advocates and groups who oppose marijuana prohibition to continue challenging restrictions in the future. It sets the stage for a wide-ranging challenge to laws restricting marijuana by finding that prohibiting the recreational consumption of weed contradicts constitutional guarantees of personal freedom.

"This vote by Mexico’s Supreme Court is extraordinary for two reasons: it is being argued on human rights grounds and it is taking place in one of the countries that has suffered the most from the war on drugs," Hannah Hetzer, senior policy manager of the Americas at the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. "Now with this landmark decision out of Mexico, it is clear that the Americas are leading the world in marijuana reform." 

Marijuana use remains controversial in Mexico, however. A survey released in October by Mexican pollster Parametría found that only 20 percent of Mexicans favored legalizing marijuana for recreational use, though some 81 percent said they supported legalizing it for medical use. Only 4 percent of respondents said they would smoke weed if it were legal.

It’s the latest in a series of shifts in the Americas away from past policies of the war on drugs, violence from which has killed an estimated 100,000 people in Mexico since 2006.

In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize marijuana in the U.S. Another two states and Washington, D.C., joined them two years later. Uruguay legalized marijuana in 2013 and moved to create the world’s first national marijuana marketplace, but there have been some hold-ups. Earlier this year Chile harvested its first crop of government-approved medical marijuana. And in what was seen as a significant rejection of a key American tactic to fight against the growing of cocaine in Latin America, the government of Colombia halted aerial fumigation of the country’s illegal coca fields, the plant used to make cocaine, on fears that the spray was linked to causing cancer. And just last month, Justin Trudeau was elected as Canada's new prime minister on a promise to end marijuana prohibition in the country.

This article has been updated with comment from the Drug Policy...

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This Map Shows How Far El Chapo’s Power Extends Past Mexico

(4) Comments | Posted November 3, 2015 | 2:14 PM

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera’s escape through a hole in the shower from the maximum security Altiplano prison outside Mexico City in July was more than a major embarrassment for President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration. The elaborate escape through a roughly 1-mile tunnel...

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Latinos In Congress Urge 'SNL' To Drop Trump Over 'Demonizing' Remarks

(26) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 2:15 PM

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus became the latest major Latino group to condemn NBCUniversal for inviting GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump to guest host the Nov. 7 episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

Two-thirds of the CHC’s 26 members voted in favor of issuing a statement Monday...

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GOP Rep Opens Up About Raising Transgender Son

(1) Comments | Posted October 29, 2015 | 1:48 PM

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) took her message of acceptance for the transgender community to Spanish-language television Wednesday, opening up about her son’s transition an interview with Telemundo.

"It’s a tragedy that a great proportion of young people who pass through this transition are rejected by their families," Ros-Lehtinen said. "People tell me and my husband, 'Oh, how great that you are accepting him.' First of all, he’s our son. He’s a blessing. He’s a gift from our creator."

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, Ros-Lehtinen's son, told Telemundo that when he first started to understand that he was transgender, he didn’t know how his parents would react. He grew up in relatively conservative South Florida, he noted, and both of his parents were public officials.

But Heng-Lehtinen, who now works on the staff of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination, said he couldn't be happier with how things turned out.

"It’s not easy to speak out in public about having a transgender son when there’s so much discrimination in this world," Heng-Lehtinen said. "For us, family is family and love is love."

Ros-Lehtinen has spoken publicly about her son’s gender transition before. But as Patricia Mazzei at the Miami Herald notes, taking her message of acceptance to a national, Spanish-language news broadcast has the potential to influence audiences that can tilt more socially conservative.  

"Rigo’s transition hasn’t been a problem," Ros-Lehtinen said, using a nickname for her son. "It’s been an adventure for our family. An adventure of acceptance and learning what our priorities in life are."

Watch the Telemundo interview...

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California Lawmakers Ask NBC To Kick Trump Off SNL Over 'Hateful Rhetoric'

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2015 | 3:02 PM

The California Latino Legislative Caucus wants NBC Universal to kick Donald Trump off Saturday Night Live.

Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), the chairman of the 22-member caucus, sent a letter Tuesday on behalf of the group of lawmakers asking the heads of NBCUniversal...

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Former Mayor Accused Of Ordering Attacks On 43 Students Breaks His Silence

(1) Comments | Posted October 25, 2015 | 4:08 PM

In their first interviews with the media since their arrests nearly one year ago, the former mayor of the Mexican city of Iguala and his wife say they didn’t order the attacks against 43 missing students -- a high-profile human rights case that sparked a national protest movement...

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Dominican Consulate Lashes Out At Junot Diaz Over Support For Haitian-Descended Dominicans

(2) Comments | Posted October 23, 2015 | 6:15 PM

Eduaro Selman, the Dominican consul of New York, revoked an award from Junot Diaz on Thursday because the writer publicly opposes the Dominican Republic's efforts to strip citizenship from people of Haitian descent.

The New York consulate said in a 

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Pennsylvania Warns Family Immigrant Detention Center: Change Policies Or Lose Your License

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2015 | 4:52 PM

One of the three facilities that detains immigrant families in the United States will not be allowed to expand and could lose its license to operate from the state of Pennsylvania -- a major win for the advocacy groups aiming to shut down family detention.

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Mexico Won't Be Sending 'El Chapo' To The U.S. If They Catch Him

(1) Comments | Posted October 23, 2015 | 2:00 PM

Mexico won’t send twice-escaped drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera to stand trial in the United States if authorities manage to recapture him.

A Mexican judge extended Guzmán a provisional exemption from extradition, Mexican news site Animal Político reported Thursday.

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