Immigration reporter mulls fate after denial of asylum request
A judge denied Mario Guevara's application for asylum and ordered that he and his family leave the country.
July 6th, 2012
09:47 PM ET

Immigration reporter mulls fate after denial of asylum request

By Tom Watkins, CNN

A reporter from El Salvador who has been reporting for years about immigration issues in Atlanta finds himself in a position similar to that of many of the sources he covers.

"I understand now what the people feel," Mario Guevara, 34, told CNN on Friday. "Never in my life have I cried so much as in the last couple of days."

Last month, an immigration judge turned down Guevara's application for asylum and ordered that he, his wife and their 14-year-old daughter leave the country within 60 days. "It was the worst news of my life," said Guevara, who works for the Spanish-language Mundo Hispanico, which is owned by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Their two younger children were born in the United States and therefore would be allowed to remain. His mother and brother, who serves in the U.S. Army, are also U.S. citizens.

The case traces back to 2003, when Guevara was working as a photojournalist for the Prensa Grafica newspaper in the capital city of San Salvador. Routinely assigned to cover anti-government demonstrations, he was accused by some of the demonstrators of working as an undercover agent for the government, which he denies. After he was attacked twice and threatened with death, he moved himself and his family to Atlanta, he said.

But he entered the country in 2004 on a tourist visa and did not immediately file the paperwork seeking asylum, he said. "I had plans to return to Salvador when the situation got better, but that never happened," he said.

He has cited post-traumatic stress disorder as the reason for the delay.

The judge cited three reasons for the denial: the late filing, the fact that no Salvadoran journalists have been killed or attacked for political reasons during the past two years, and the fact that Guevara could not demonstrate that the police would not protect him, Guevara said.

"Right now, I feel as a victim, frustrated," he said, adding that he plans to appeal. "I understand that the United States is the best country in the world. But right now, I'm confused."

Guevara said he was convinced that those who threatened to kill him nine years ago would find him if he were to return. "Death threats have no expiration date," he said. And the possibility of returning to the country unnoticed would be slim, he said. Prensa Grafica and other Salvadoran newspapers published stories Friday about his case.

"I do not want to return to a country where there is a lot of peril," he said. "I do not want that life for my children."

Guevara said he understands better now why some people contemplate suicide, though he said he has not done so himself.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement public information officer Vincent Picard said that the department would not track Guevara down and deport him if he chooses not to leave voluntarily, but - absent permission to work - that would only leave him in limbo, Guevara said.

"Voluntary departure is not an option for me," he said. "I don't see going to El Salvador as an option. Here in this country, I have found everything I need."

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Filed under: Immigration
July 6th, 2012
06:30 PM ET

Zimmerman released after posting bail

By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - George Zimmerman was released from jail on Friday, one day after a Florida judge set bail at $1 million.

Judge Kenneth R. Lester Jr. found that Zimmerman's deceit over cash holdings at his first bond hearing in April was not enough to hold him without bail. However, he also said he believed the suspect may have been planning to flee the country to avoid prosecution in the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman had to post 10% of the $1 million - or $100,000 - to meet the requirement for release.

He wore a white dress shirt under a gray suit as he walked out of jail and into a waiting SUV.

"We are confident and comfortable that George will be safe," Zimmerman's attorney, Don West, told CNN outside the jail following his client's release.

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African-American jobless rate surges as overall unemployment rate holds
Job seekers pick up open-job fliers at a career fair this spring in Los Angeles, California.
July 6th, 2012
03:46 PM ET

African-American jobless rate surges as overall unemployment rate holds

By Emily Jane Fox, CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - As the overall U.S. unemployment rate stayed at 8.2% in June, the rate among black Americans rose nearly a full percentage point.

The reason for the increase appears to have been a rise in the percentage of African-Americans looking for a job, rather than job losses.

The unemployment rate for blacks rose to 14.4% from 13.6% in May, the Labor Department reported Friday. That's a sharp contrast to the white unemployment rate, which stayed put at 7.4%, and the Hispanic rate, which held at 11%.

This trend is not a new one, as the black unemployment rate has been roughly double that of whites since the government started tracking the figures in 1972.

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Filed under: Black in America • Economy • How we live • Race
Opinion: 'Illegal immigrant' is the uncomfortable truth
Ruben Navarrette says it doesn't help the cause of immigration reform to downplay the fact that millions of people crossed US borders illegally.
July 6th, 2012
11:00 AM ET

Opinion: 'Illegal immigrant' is the uncomfortable truth

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.

By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor

San Diego, California (CNN) - What's in a name? For my friends and simpaticos in the immigration reform community, enough to go ballistic at the mere mention of the phrase: "illegal immigrant."

First, there's enough to be afraid of in this world - from big government to monsters under the bed. We shouldn't be afraid of words. And when it comes time to declare a word or phrase offensive, we should be careful to do so judiciously and not go overboard.

That's my advice to my very good friend and business partner, Charles Garcia, for whom I have great affection and tremendous respect. He's my brother from another mother. That's true even on the rare occasion when he's wrong. And that's the case this week now that Charlie has written, in a thought-provoking column for CNN.com, that the phrase "illegal immigrant" is "biased" and "racially offensive." He also implied that it's a "slur" and - borrowing language from George Orwell - a "worn-out and useless phrase."

Opinion: Why 'illegal immigrant' is a slur

Actually, it's none of the above. The phrase is accurate. It's the shoe that fits. It's reality. And, as is often the case with reality, it's hard for some people to accept.

Read Ruben Navarrette Jr's full column

July 6th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Seventeen magazine vows not to alter images, to 'celebrate every kind of beauty'

By Greg Botelho, CNN

(CNN) - When teenage girls check out Seventeen magazine, they'll be getting the complete picture - no ifs, ands or Photoshopped butts about it.

That's the pledge the magazine's staff made in its latest edition, after a push led by a Maine 14-year-old to combat the practice of tweaking pictures and picking models whose appearance give teens an unrealistic perspective on what is beautiful.

"We vow to ... never change girls' body or face shapes. (Never have, never will)," the magazine states as part of its "Body Peace Treaty" from its August edition, a copy of which CNN obtained Thursday.

The treaty and accompanying note by editor-in-chief Ann Shoket promise that Seventeen will "celebrate every kind of beauty" and feature "real girls and models who are healthy," while vouching that the magazine always has done just that.

But the more than 84,000 people who signed a Change.org petition, started by teenager Julia Bluhm, clearly believed Seventeen and other publications didn't always present the full, unvarnished truth.

"Those 'pretty women' that we see in magazines are fake," the petition said, in requesting "one unaltered - real - photo spread per month." "They're often Photoshopped, air-brushed, edited to look thinner and to appear like they have perfect skin. A girl you see in a magazine probably looks a lot different in real life."

Retouching photographs is nothing new - especially in magazines and, increasingly, on the Internet. Adobe Photoshop and other digital image manipulation programs are widely employed by professionals and everyday users.

The petition claims that disseminating such altered images to impressionable teens can pose a real danger, helping to spawn a culture that touts unrealistic beauty and contributes to eating disorders, extreme dieting, depression and more.

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Filed under: Girls • How we look • Women