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
(CNN) - Imagine what it must be like to be born in one country but only know another, to be labeled "illegal" but feel 100% American, and to be asking for special dispensation from a government that has shown a flair for arresting and deporting people just like you.
"Samuel" doesn't have to imagine this life. He's too busy living it.
The recent high school graduate is one of about 82,000 Dreamers who opted to roll the dice on a new government program that promises temporary relief for young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, have no criminal record and are pursuing higher education.
They're called Dreamers because they might have qualified for legal status under the Dream Act if the bill hadn't died in the Senate in December 2010 when 36 Republicans and 5 Democrats voted against cloture.
By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) - Writer Mark Trahant guessed the situation was a first: campaign jabs that centered on a candidate's claim of Native American roots.
He was referring to the Senate race in Massachusetts that pits Harvard University law professor Elizabeth Warren against Republican Sen. Scott Brown.
There are many issues of contention in this hotly contested race, but one of them has become Warren's claim to Native American ancestry. After Brown accused her of taking advantage of minority status, Warren fired back in an ad that came out Monday.
"As a kid, I never asked my mom for documentation when she talked about our Native American heritage," Warren says in the spot. "What kid would? But I knew my father's family didn't like that she was part Cherokee and part Delaware, so they had to elope.
"Let me be clear: I never asked for or never got any benefit because of my heritage," she continues, addressing the central concern that Brown has brought up on the campaign trail and at the candidates' first debate last week. "The people who hired me have all said they didn't even know about it."
It's a bit more complicated, said Trahant, a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
"The usual standard is citizenship, being a member of a tribe. Elizabeth Warren does not meet that test," he said.
"It's not right that she would use her self-recalled heritage for any academic advancement ... even if there are no academic standards that define who is legally a Native American (except the citizenship issue). On the other hand, when you see videos like this one, you cringe."
Editor's note: Melanne Verveer is the United States ambassador-at-large for global women's issues and Penny Abeywardena is the head of the Girls and Women program and associate director at the Clinton Global Initiative.
By Melanne Verveer and Penny Abeywardena, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Women have finally arrived.
From Washington to Wall Street to Twitter, writers, academics, and business leaders are pointing to the empowerment of women as key to many of the world's greatest challenges. They're publicizing the research and amplifying hard facts, like the fact that when women have equal access to agricultural resources, 100 million to 150 million fewer people will go hungry.
Or that when women participate equally in the workforce, the GDP in the U.S. the eurozone, and Japan will experience a double-digit spike. And while there's no perfect metric for the popular perception of "girl power," a 2010 Pew study found widespread public support for women's equality in virtually every nation.
The excitement over women's potential and progress is warranted. But there's still a large and disappointing disconnect between research and reality. Girls and women do indeed perform 66% of the work and produce 50% of the world's food. But they earn only 10% of the world's income and own a dismal 1% of its property.
And women everywhere experience less access to credit, training, technology, markets, role models, and protection under the law. Girls and women may keep the world running, but someone else is still running the show.
So if women have indeed "arrived," despite key indicators showing continued widespread inequality, where exactly have they landed? All signs point to girls and women at a tipping point.
By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
Washington (CNN) The divisive issue of same-sex marriage was expected to be discussed privately by the Supreme Court on Monday, and the justices could soon announce if they will hear a constitutional challenge to a federal law denying financial benefits to gay and lesbian couples.
An order from the court announcing whether it will take up either or both of two separate issues could come as early as Tuesday morning. If so, oral arguments and an eventual ruling would not happen until next year, but the current appeals are sure to reignite the hot-button social debate in a presidential election.
At issue is whether guarantees of "equal protection" in the U.S. Constitution should invalidate a California law - and the separate 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which for federal purposes defines marriage as the legal union only between one man and one woman.
By Catherine E. Shoichet and Gustavo Valdes, CNN
(CNN) Nearly half of the nation's states have new voting measures that could stop some Latinos from heading to the polls in November, a civil rights group said Monday.
"This year, an unprecedented number of voting restrictions impose barriers to voting that disproportionately affect the Latino community," said a report from Advancement Project, which has also sued to block such voting measures in a number of states.
Monday's report from the organization, which pushes to protect voting rights, was the latest volley in a national battle over such measures that splits largely along party lines.
Advancement Project's report points to three different types of efforts in 23 states that it says will impact eligible Latino voters: efforts to purge rolls of non-citizen voters, proof of citizenship requirements for voter registration and photo ID laws.
By Emil Guillermo, Special to CNN
(CNN) - To the average American, the name Wilma Lamug may not have any meaning at all. But to the more than 3 million people in the Filipino-American community, the name could some day be as important as that of Rosa Parks.
Lamug and 68 other nurses in California’s Central Valley have achieved a major victory in their two-year language discrimination fight against the Delano Regional Medical Center. Without admitting guilt, the medical facility has agreed to undergo anti-discrimination training and monitoring, and more importantly, pay out a settlement to the nurses of nearly $1 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The nurses’ advocates at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center call the deal the largest language discrimination settlement in the U.S. health care industry.
Some might be very familiar with discrimination based on skin color or an ethnic look - but based on language or accented English? Some people - especially those who feel that English and only English should be spoken in America - might lack sympathy.
If that’s you, the case of the Filipino nurses of Delano, California, is instructive to understand how language discrimination can lead to a hostile workplace, one that’s unhealthy and illegal. FULL POST
Editor's note: Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and commentator, served as national Hispanic campaign chairwoman for John McCain in 2008 and national Hispanic co-chair for Jon Huntsman's 2012 campaign. Follow her on Twitter @ananavarro.
By Ana Navarro, CNN Contributor
(CNN) - There is a new level of intensity in the courting of the Hispanic vote, and it culminated last week in two Univision Candidate Forums, one with Gov. Mitt Romney and one with President Barack Obama.
But before I get to that, there's the issue of the secretly recorded videotape of Romney's remarks at a fundraiser earlier this year, where he was caught on camera saying it would have been helpful if he were Latino. This election cycle, we have seen political operatives perfect the art of feigned outrage. After the video was released, Democrats pounced on the remark, calling it offensive and insulting.
The question regarding Romney possibly having Mexican heritage has come up before. Romney's father was born in a colony of American Mormons in Mexico and soon after, the family moved back to the United States. In Romney's last interview with Univision, in January, the network's co-anchor, Jorge Ramos - who is fiercely proud of his Mexican descent - told Romney that under the Mexican Constitution, he could claim Mexican citizenship. Ramos asked Romney why he wasn't embracing his Mexican roots when he could be the first Latino president.
Romney answered then with a similar answer to the one on the video. He gave a brief description of the circumstances of his father's birth, but then explained that neither he nor his dad was Mexican or had any claim to Hispanic heritage. He finished by quipping, "I don't think people would think I was being honest with them if I said I was Mexican-American. But I would appreciate it if you'd get that word out."
I saw nothing wrong with Romney's answer. Neither did Ramos. Romney is not funny. When he tries to be, it often comes across as awkward. But his remark was not offensive. What would be insulting is if he used his father's Mexican birth to try to pass himself off as what he is not, solely for political purposes.Read Ana Navarro's full column
Editor's note: This piece was originally published in the Southern Foodways Alliance's Gravy Foodletter #42, December 2011. Today's installment comes courtesy of Kat Kinsman, managing editor of CNN Eatocracy.
By Kat Kinsman, CNN
Several stories above Manhattan's Central Park, there hangs a three-Michelin-starred, monstrously expensive restaurant that an awful lot of people think is perfect. I may have thought that, too, at one point, but I know it's not, because I've been to the K&W Cafeteria.
Actually, I'm going to back that up and admit out loud in public that I have in fact boarded a plane, rented a hotel room, and stayed overnight in a city several states away for the express purpose of sitting down with a groaning tray of K&W chicken livers, fried okra, collard greens, and vegetable congeal and eating my greedy head off.
Yes, I made some preemptory noises about going to visit a couple of old friends who live in relative proximity to a K&W. I brought them along with me so I could steal hush puppies off their plates. And their child's. I have no shame. And the trip cost just slightly less than my single meal at the aforementioned palace of gastronomic fanciness.
There clearly are many, many things wrong with me as a human being, but if you've ever eaten at a K&W, you know my love of the place is not one of them.
That wasn't always the case. Though a Sunday apres-church K&W dining room is now typically a multi-racial, transgenerational, pan-denominational assembly of Southerners possessed of a great appreciation for fancy church hats and rock-bottom prices, in the early 1960s, several outposts found themselves at the center of the battle over segregation.
By Moni Basu and Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN
(CNN) –President Barack Obama admitted to Spanish-language network Univision Thursday that his greatest failure was the lack of comprehensive immigration reform, but many Latino voters said the president still has their vote.
Co-host Jorge Ramos, a strong advocate for comprehensive reform, kept after Obama to acknowledge that he had not made good on his campaign pledges. For pushing the president so hard, Ramos earned kudos from Dylan Byers of Politico, who wrote:
"It's difficult to imagine a Brian Williams or a Bob Schieffer looking President Obama in the eye and saying, 'You promised that, and a promise is a promise. And with all due respect, you didn’t keep that promise.' Indeed, it's the sort of move most moderators avoid at all costs. And yet, it's the very question Ramos asked of Obama."
Ramos, Byers wrote, has chutzpah. But perhaps more importantly, he anchors for Univision, the network for this campaign's coveted Latino demographic.
Obama admitted he was sidetracked on immigration reform but said the economy had to take precedence. He also blamed Republicans in Congress.
"Jorge, as you remind me, my biggest failure is that we haven't gotten comprehensive immigration reform done," he said. "But it's not for lack of trying or desire." FULL POST
By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) The Census Bureau released a depressing statistic Thursday: 46.2 million people in America fell below the poverty line last year. One in five children are poor.
What does it feel like to live in poverty?
Writer John Scalzi knows.
He remembers a Southern California childhood marred by a broken family. His mother put her two children in the back of the car and drove away from the home they’d known.
She bought a box of Raisin Bran and warned her children: “That has to last.”
Scalzi, 43, was in the first grade then.
Years later, the Raisin Bran memory became a line in an essay called “Being Poor.” He wrote it in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when so many asked why the poor of New Orleans had not fled their drowned city.
It occurred to him then that wealthier Americans did not understand that the poor do not always have the luxury of choice.
But he knew.
He was the kid who wore the cheap shoes from Lucky Drug Store – the ones with the glued-on soles. He could feel them come off on the playground.
He was the kid who discovered letters from his mom to his dad begging for child support and the kid hoping he would get invited to a friend’s for dinner. He once stole a piece of meat from Ralph’s supermarket, fried it up and cleaned the plate before Mom came home. He then told her she didn’t have to make any dinner because he wasn’t hungry anyway.
Here are a few other ways Scalzi measured poverty:
Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.
Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.
Being poor is living next to the freeway.
Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.
Being poor is hoping your kids don’t have a growth spurt.
Being poor is Goodwill underwear.
Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.
Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger’s trash.
Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see if your kid saw.
Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.
Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that’s two extra packages for every dollar.
Read Scalzi’s full essay here.