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2011: A Tough Year for Latinos

Posted: Dec 28, 2011

The year 2011 was very tough for Latinos, especially for undocumented immigrants, according to an editorial in today's La Opinión.

The Latino community is still feeling the severe impact of the Great Recession. Thousands of families had to leave their homes due to foreclosures resulting from the real estate crisis. At the same time, unemployment and underemployment rates are higher among Hispanics than the national average.

The harmful effects of a rocky economy and budget cuts have negatively impacted Latinos in various ways, including public education.

Meanwhile, in 2011 undocumented immigrants became the target of numerous restrictive and discriminatory state laws. Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana and Utah enacted their own immigration laws, which in some cases were lessened by the courts. The issue of whether or not these laws are constitutional will be decided in 2012.

The good news happened in California, with the arrival of Governor Jerry Brown: DREAM Act laws and a law stopping arbitrary car impounds were approved.

On the other hand, the undocumented did not fare well on a federal level. Under the wide net of the Secure Communities program, the U.S. set a new record for deportations. The majority of those being deported were not the dangerous criminals sought by the program, but fathers and mothers who were separated from their families.

Cooperation between local law enforcement agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) yielded disastrous results; it impacted public safety by undermining the trust between the Latino community and the authorities.

This has been a difficult year, filled with challenges and dangers for Latinos. 2012 will not magically change the situation, but there will be elections at all levels next year, so there is hope for positive changes.

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