Opinion: Give immigrant kids a fair shake
Charles Garcia says a judge was right in ordering that American-born children of immigrants be given in-state tuition rates.
September 12th, 2012
05:17 PM ET

Opinion: Give immigrant kids a fair shake

Editor's note: Charles Garcia, who has served in the administrations of four presidents, of both parties, is the CEO of Garcia Trujillo, a business focused on the Hispanic market. He was named in the book "Hispanics in the USA: Making History" as one of 14 Hispanic role models for the nation. Follow him on Twitter:@charlespgarcia

By Charles Garcia, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Like a viper that slithers through the garden - mostly unseen, menacing, dangerous - a troubling trend is taking hold in this country, a movement to shake the foundations of what "born in the USA" means.

Wendy Ruiz was born in Miami in 1992. She graduated from a Miami public high school in 2010 and applied to Florida International University, a four-year state college that required her to disclose her parents' federal immigration status. Ruiz was unable to provide this information, so she was denied admission.

She then applied to Miami Dade College to complete a two-year degree. When her acceptance letter arrived, there was a catch: She would be required to pay the out-of-state tuition rate. How could this be possible when Wendy Ruiz had lived her entire life in Florida?

As the law stands, all children born in the United States, including those to undocumented immigrants, are granted U.S. citizenship. There are approximately 4.5 million American children like Wendy Ruiz who are U.S. citizens by virtue of birthright, yet whose parents are undocumented for federal immigration purposes.

These U.S. citizen children of undocumented parents are Americans. Many will join the military and help fight our wars to keep us safe. Most of them will someday work and pay Social Security taxes so our aging population can enjoy a comfortable retirement (perhaps even in Florida).

Yet politicians seeking to brandish their nativist credentials will do almost anything to discriminate against these American children, whom they call "anchor babies."

Read Charles Garcia's full column

Opinion: Poverty numbers don't tell the whole story
Psychologist Susan Bodnar say poverty "numbers don’t tell the real story about people and their finances."
September 12th, 2012
12:41 PM ET

Opinion: Poverty numbers don't tell the whole story

Editor’s note: Susan Bodnar is a clinical psychologist who teaches at Columbia University’s Teachers College and at The Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, two children and all of their pets.

By Susan Bodnar, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Almost every day brings an economic report with new statistics.

The numbers attempt to explain our society as a configuration of categories, boxes or slices on a pie chart.

In 2011, 46.2 million people fell below the poverty line. The top 1% has a household net worth of $16.4 million, while the median wealth is only $57,000. 

Median income falls, but so does poverty

These numbers don’t tell the real story about people and their finances.

History does.

Honestly, I don’t want to write this.

As a psychologist, I would like to hide how difficult it was to attain my education and my professional credentials, and how hard I still work! Once a person has achieved this thing called status it has become fashionable to act as if entitled to it, as though those who don’t yet have it are neither smart nor hardworking enough.

Yet I have an obligation to not deny the generations of hardship out of which I have constructed my success. FULL POST

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Filed under: Family • History • Poverty • What we think
Median income falls, but so does poverty
Poverty rate drops slightly for the first time in 4 years, the Census Bureau says.
September 12th, 2012
11:17 AM ET

Median income falls, but so does poverty

By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Middle-class families continued to see their incomes decline in the aftermath of the Great Recession, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Wednesday.

Median household income fell to $50,054 in 2011, down 1.5% from a year earlier. Income inequality widened, as the highest income echelon experienced a jump in incomes, while those in the middle of the income range saw incomes shrink.

Meanwhile, the national poverty rate hit 15.0% in 2011, down slightly from 15.1% the year before. Some 46.2 million people fell below the poverty line last year. The poverty threshold for a family of four was $23,021.

Most experts were expecting an increase in poverty, but Census officials said an increase in the number of people working full-time helped keep the rate in check.

Read the full story at CNN Money

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Filed under: How we live • Poverty
Atlanta police clear white officers of profiling in Tyler Perry case
An internal investigation has cleared two white Atlanta police officers of racially profiling director/actor Tyler Perry.
September 12th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Atlanta police clear white officers of profiling in Tyler Perry case

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Two white Atlanta police officers who pulled over and questioned entertainment mogul Tyler Perry have been exonerated of racial profiling by an internal investigation, according to documents released Tuesday.

Just after noon on February 24, Perry left his studio in southwest Atlanta alone in a white Porsche Panamera. As the actor and director later explained in a lengthy Facebook post, Perry made an illegal left turn to make sure he wasn't being followed.

Two Atlanta police officers in a patrol car pulled Perry over and questioned him for about six minutes before letting him go without issuing a ticket.

Perry described the incident as "hostile" and that he felt unsafe. One of the officers continued to "badger him" during questioning, the entertainer said.

After a four-month investigation, an internal affairs officer reported, "I would submit the evidence shows the actions of both officers with the regard to the traffic stop of Mr. Perry were justified, lawful and proper."

Read the full story 

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Filed under: Black in America • How we look