Category — immigration

Passage of the “Dream Act”

By Andrea Rivera
Passage of the “Dream Act”


Obama. Obama. Obama. His actions right before the elections in November inspires skepticism. He explains that he did it because it was the right thing to do, but why not before? Why now? Could it be for the elections? If it was the right thing to do, why didn’t he begin his presidency with this policy? Was it for the vote and support of Hispanic groups? Nonetheless, skepticism aside, he proposed a law will forever change the lives of thousands of affected undocumented families.    

On June 15, 2012, Barrack Obama announced a new hope for the undocumented: granting the freedom to any undocumented person who has lived their whole lives in the United States to obtain a work permit. Obama made it apparent that this was not a “permanent fix,” but it is a start. It is a start to a better nation; a start to eliminate fear in the minds of parents who think they have ruined the lives of their children by transporting them across the border; a start to fulfill the lives of our brothers and sisters, but an end to deportations and their corruption.

 It is time to change how our nation approaches the mixture of racism, neglect, discrimination, and frustration of the people. The misfortune is of undocumented minors sent a message thus far calling for the need for progress. This proposal gives the undocumented youth hope to persevere into the future without any hindrances. Progress will evidently lead to an unwelcomed number of problems but if we have overcome everything until now, imagine how much more we can do united.

The Dream Act was a policy created to allow undocumented teenagers to continue on to college right after school, but was shut down in 2010 by Congress. This was a loss and a shock for many students and families. Why won’t the government grant them that right?  I know the situation is delicate because everyone has different beliefs, but people as a whole should know right from wrong. At least I thought so. For example, I believe granting children their wish to continue in life after high school is not only right, but a beautiful concept: as a country we are fulfilling their dreams.  They have lived here their entire lives under the government system, and as children they do not have the maturity to understand why living here is unconstitutional. They were given free education as children but continuing would be tragically impossible because they are not legal. They are considered aliens… children considered aliens. Seriously? They are innocent lives who are going to face difficulties or obstacles because their parents are trying to do what’s best for them.

This policy is a gift to thousands of families across the nation. They are full of joy thanking every angel in heaven for listening to their prayers and for finally handing their children the hope they deserve. And also for giving next year’s high school graduates confidence and assurance to continue their schooling and their lives here in America, the land of dreams and prosperous lives.

 I have a neighbor named Cesar who is 9 years old and is the cutest little boy ever. Unfortunately he is undocumented and he knows he is from Mexico, but he doesn’t know that it’s illegal for him to be here. He frequently asks me about college and wonders when I’ll go, so that when I come back I can tell him everything, and give him tips to make it through. Thus far, every time the topic came up, I would change the topic as quickly as I could. It saddened me because I knew this kid was college material, capable of overcoming any challenges, but I also knew he wouldn’t have the chance to ever experience it… until now. I’m glad and extremely appreciative for the passage of this act. I’ll now be able to witness my neighbor who I see as a little brother, go off to college and succeed in his future dreams.

 We know this work permit will not grant any person citizenship, but allowing these children to one day become fully American is also inevitable. It may take months, years or decades but we have hope that this dream will come true. ¡Si se puede!

July 23, 2012   No Comments

Latino Teens & Young Adults Garner Attention from Industry

Change is inevitable and while we don’t know what the future holds, there are certain things that cannot be ignored.  This country has always been destined for change as different waves of immigrants have redefined what it is to be “American.”  Again, we face a similar movement with this generation of multicultural young adults, led by Hispanic growth. It continues to move this nation in a new direction and the industry is taking note.

Jacqueline Hernandez, Chief Operating Officer, Telemundo, Communications Group, Inc. states that in next 40 years the U.S. population will expand by one hundred million people fueled primarily by US Hispanics.

Based on the currently reality, Telemundo understanding the potential of this audience, conducted a study that analyzes the State of Young Latino Americans (YLA’s), defined as 18-34 year olds, whose country of origin is in Latin America and who live in the U.S.   They are not the only ones that are making this push to further understand one of the fastest growing and increasingly important segments of the population.  Marketers such as McDonald’s, Coke, Dr. Pepper, Adidas, Apple and Motorola understand that these consumers will determine the future success of their brand.

Key highlights from the study include:

YLAS are highly maintaining their culture and heritage while still embracing their American Lifestyle.

YLAS love being bi-cultural. More than one third (37%) of YLAS self-identified themselves as both Hispanic and American, identifying with both cultures equally the same. At the other end of the spectrum, only 2% felt more American than Hispanic. YLAS are in the midst of a retro-acculturation explosion. Because of the YLAS strong pride in their homeland and country of origin, this generation is re-discovering their heritage and is experiencing a Latino re-awakening. YLAS are going from “George” to “Jorge.”

For YLAS it is easy to toggle in and out of both the Hispanic and American cultures.

YLAS live in a cultural fluid environment. YLAS best describe their closest group of friends an EQUAL mix of Latino and American, in fact, 48% ‘hung out’ with this group of people. In this continuum, YLAS were least likely to have only non-Latino friends, representing only 2% of those surveyed.

YLAS have no language boundaries or barriers.

YLAS language mobility greatly depends on the place or situation they are in – they are chameleons in their space – they control it and they like it! At home, where the TVs are on, and with family – a larger percent choose to speak Spanish (39% at home, 55% with family); while at work (74%) and school (79%) the preference was English. Last but not least, among their friends, YLAs practice a mix of Spanglish.

YLAS are the always-connected generation.

YLAS are multi-taskers. YLAS are always consuming high levels of anything technological: 94% have access to the Internet at home; 84% Have high-speed internet; and 87% stream video content, with another 73% that listen to music on the internet. Laptop ownership has taken precedence over desktop, with 73% that own a PC or a Mac.

With a huge strength in mobile usage, a high percent (87%) of YLAS cannot live without it. YLAS are great multi-taskers as many of the activities they focus on are also centered among an online environment. While a majority they told us they eat while watching television (80%), they also text (61%), talk on the phone (60%) and surf the web (50%).

As the market continues to evolve, more and more brands will come to realize the buying power and influence of this next Latino generation.

Sources:, Telemundo State of Young Latino Americans (YLA’s) Study

March 10, 2011   5 Comments

Adios 2010

It’s been a little while.  First of all, Happy 2011!  Brand Lateen has been up and running for almost a full year, and we’re excited to see what this year has in store for us.  As we gear up for yet another year of discoveries about our evolving young Latino consumer, let’s first bid a proper despedida to 2010.

I’ll start with an update on how our program at W.H. Adamson High School finished out.  Our four classes did a wonderful job, and we saw a positive change in attitude in many of the students.  From having little to no interest in advertising, and very limited knowledge of the field, a lot of the students had done a complete 180 by the last day of the program.  As they came closer to a finished product, enthusiasm we had not seen prior began to emerge from many of them.

We ended it all with a day at the agency and then each class presented their campaigns to a board of judges.  The judges chose the Boost Mobile campaign as the winner based on how well-thought out and consistent it was throughout.  Their presentation had the least hiccups of any of the groups, and they kept their audience engaged and informed.  Their creative was very in touch with the brand, and much of the artwork done for the project was outstanding.  Each person in the Boost Mobile group was awarded a $10 gift certificate to Target, a free extra value meal and a free hot chocolate from McDonald’s.

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January 3, 2011   1 Comment

Little Adults

When I was in, let’s say, the third grade, one of the most fun things I got to do was help my very Mexican grandmother pay bills.  She moved to the U.S. from Puebla to be close to us, and as a result, it turned out that she also took on a serious amount of cooking responsibilities.  Anyway, when the first and middle of the month came around, my dad would take me to her apartment (about 2 minutes from our house) to visit, and do chores that to this day I feel they completely made up.  Part of the task was to help Abuelita look after her finances.  Small apartment, so there was rent.  Utilities consisted of electric, water, and trash.  Cable wasn’t important so she didn’t have it.  Mi abuela, Vicenta, never bothered to learn even the slightest bit of English, therefore, the mail she didn’t toss consisted of bills.  My dad thought it would be a nice gesture for me to help her make the payments, not so much because he thought he was teaching me a vital duty, but probably more because two adults got a kick out of watching a 7-year-old write checks.  Either way, I learned how to write a check as a young kid.  Think about that playground banter.  “You beat me in a race?  Whatever.  I write checks!  Para mi abuela.  ¿QUÉ?”

That was me, then, different situation too.

Today, there are still plenty of young second generation Hispanics not only filling out checks, but translating medical conversations, city ordinances, legal documents, and a number of other adult-like tasks, trust me.  Most of the time, the young people who are in charge of these kinds of things tend to be older now.  But regardless of age, they’re often faced with important matters to resolve.  How do you think it must feel in between a doctor and your mother, when you have to translate the doctor’s bad news and serious concern regarding high blood pressure?  Once negative predictions and details are revealed, immediate worry may settle in fast.  How would you react to having to tell your parents that the house you’re renting is soon to be bulldozed to make way for new condominiums?  I know, these are extremes, but for immigrant families this is often an unkind reality.  As kids, it’s not their concern, and they’re not expected to do anything about it.  But as the interpreters, they know everything.  I’m not totally sure, but I think it’s safe to say that no matter your background or culture, you strive to shield your children from these types of malas notcias.

Most Lateens don’t get that guard though.  In many Hispanic families, the role of sole interpreter is always established.  It’ll usually be the oldest kid, and that child has an actual job.  It’s almost like a service.  I wouldn’t say they mature faster, but they do acquire this sort of skill set early, early on.  And when times get tough, they’re right in the heat of it.  It doesn’t necessarily make them smarter of savvier (well, maybe), but in a way it does rob them of their innocence and childhood.  Do you think this role exists in non-Hispanic families?  Highly unlikely.

So what do you think?  Advantage or disadvantage?  It’s a fine line.  Does possessing knowledge of adult burdens make you more mature?  I don’t know.  Nevertheless, Lateens today carry more weight than you think.  This might add some insight to the rough edges you notice once in a while.  The grownup persona could be there for more reasons than you imagine.

July 27, 2010   6 Comments

The Future Lateen pt. 2

So once gain, Hispanics will be this country’s majority in 2050.

It’s funny how the statistics are all there, yet many general market agencies (major ones) are still on the fence as to whether or not it’s worth the time or money to attempt exploring and advertising to the dynamic, immense demographic. I’m not sure here, and I hate to sound harsh, but does the hesitation merely spur from not seeing the bigger picture, or for lack of a nicer word, ignorance? The prediction cited at the beginning of this post doesn’t mean that Mexico and Central and South America are simply going to swallow the United States. While Latin Americans will likely never stop migrating to this country, no one should forget about our second and third generation-ers. They’re the young ones already here, the bilingual and bicultural ones, the ones consuming every type of existing media at a faster rate than the GCM population, the ones who are willing to dive right into just about anything remotely appealing, the ones with that energy and heart America is slowly losing its grip on, and they’re the ones who in 2050 will be looking after today’s critics. The “ones”…there’s gotta be a name for ‘em. Ah, yes.  Lateens. [Read more →]

July 16, 2010   1 Comment

The Future Lateen pt. 1

One type of Lateen that deserves a little love is the one I’d like to call the “future” Lateen.  This is the Lateen who is born to one Latino parent, and one parent of another powerful cultural influence.

In college, I knew two brothers who were half Mexican, half black, and very much attuned to both the Mexican culture and that of African Americans, two rich cultures, each with a powerful voice…and each with an awfully distinct way of thinking. They were fun people, and depending on the situation, they could easily transition back and forth between displaying a Mexican and a black persona. Other times, they were simply intriguing people that you couldn’t quite put your finger on. I point these brothers out because they’re the only ones I’ve known personally that exemplify this idea.  Based on what you know about cultures from other parts of the world, imagine what happens when a Hispanic falls in love with say…an Asian, someone from the Middle East, or an Eastern European. What are their children like?  The merging of culture is nothing new, but think of the overwhelming experiences a child of a true Mexican parent and a genuine Chinese parent may have growing up in America, for instance. The holiday season would consist of Posadas, and Chinese New Year. What do you think the family’s staple dinner items might be?  What about language?  The child could grow up speaking Spanish, Mandarin and English fluently, three of the most widely used languages on the planet. [Read more →]

July 16, 2010   2 Comments

Lateens Join The March

A group of people each with distinct character, yet a group of people wanting something in common. That’s the group of people that gained the world’s attention on May 1, 2010. These special groups of people are mostly immigrants, but are known as illegal aliens. No, not the kind of aliens from some far off galaxy, but humans that are born outside the United States of America. From sea to shining sea, across the plains of Texas, to the monuments in Washington, under the lights of New York, to the hot sun of Arizona and over the hills of California millions and millions of feet marched, leaving a message in every step. The need for opportunity to give back to the nation and the desire of no discrimination.

We filled up roads, we filled up highways, and we even filled up cities. You might be wondering why I mention “we.” It’s simple, I choose to march. Yes, I am legal, but like most Lateens in the U.S. some members of my family are not. Well over 200,000 people per city marched peacefully demanding immigration reform and condemning racial profiling by the state of Arizona.

Still confused? We demand the DREAM Act. Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act qualifying undocumented youth would be eligible for a 6-year-long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service. On the other hand in Arizona SB1070 requires officials (in state and local levels) to make a “reasonable” attempt to determine the immigration status of a person “if” they come in contact with someone they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in this country undocumented. These laws affect all of us that marched, but the real point here is what happened to me at the march.

When I got out of the car, I looked around and I noticed I was not the only teen out there. In fact I would guess that at least 65 percent of the people marching were between the ages of 15 and early 20s. While it was a great march, I lived a dramatic experience that I hope no one goes through. When I started walking into downtown I could see City Hall full of white shirts and American flags waving in the air. It was inspiring. As I got closer to the spot where everyone was, I realized I was behind the “Minute Men,” also known as the anti-immigrants. At first I thought, “How cool will this be? I can see how the other side views us.” But I was not prepared for this awakening.The group of about 50 people looked at me and my family, pointed their speaker and said “Look at these Mexicans! They don’t pay taxes, they are committing crimes, they are taking our jobs, these aliens need to go back to Mexico.” I could feel my heart skip a beat, my soul burn, my fist clinch hard, and I was ready to attack. The only thing that could save me from acting out was my mom, an alien in their eyes. She held my hand and told me, “Not to get down to their level. To set the example for my little brother that perseverance is the tool to success.” Never would I think that in my own country of birth I would be screamed at like that. Never will I think again that I’m fully safe in this country. I think experiences like this help create a separate American identity for Lateens; it makes us even prouder of our roots because our own (other Americans) will not accept us.  I knew that I could not stoop to their level and judge them. Everyone had a reason to be there – their personal beliefs…which because we live in U.S. we are entitled to. But I will never forget the hate I felt directed toward me and my family. It was just like in elementary school when I read about hatred between whites and blacks, except this time I was not reading about discrimination. I was living it myself.

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June 15, 2010   3 Comments

Identity: I Am Me

Story of a Lateen becoming a new age Latina in this country.  Powerfully written in her own words.


More than just a word thrown on a page

A noun efficiently used in discussion of who you are, where you’re from, and who you hope to be, It is your root system spreading deeply, widely, freely.

When you pass me, who do you see?

Yes, you notice my dove chocolate skin;

My curious double espresso pair of eyes; my dimple on the right side; my almost perfect row of pearly crest whitened teeth; my 100-watt smile, melting away all adversity; my dark brown almost black hair that has been stripped of its kinky curls to be straight to the roots.

My short stature, curvy body along with hips that absolutely refuse to fit into Abercrombie & Fitch.

That is me.

This intense description of my physical appearance is lacking.

Sure I am what you see, but do you see what I am?

Doubt it!

I am more than a body and words on a page.

I am a series of complex roots.

Twisting. Crossing. Intersecting uniquely below the surface.

I am the product of the clash between two worlds.

Culture clash, cling, clash and change. Yes we can.

Brought in the headlights between two worlds, a subject of profiling.

Whether it was racial or not. I believed that I was caught.

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April 30, 2010   1 Comment

Lateens Keep Close Eye on Arizona Immigration Law

Senate Bill 1070, a recent bill passed in Arizona is the toughest immigration law in all of the United States.  Under the law, local policemen can act as immigration agents.  They can detain anyone suspected of being an illegal alien, arrest or fine a person who fails to provide a U.S. identification document, or arrest anyone who hires or transports an undocumented worker.

In other words, Arizona cops will soon have the authority to pull over anyone they “suspect” might be of illegal status, and racial profiling has basically become legal in the state.  The law isn’t expected to go into effect until the middle of the year, but the debate is sure to continue.

Across the nation, Latinos are banding together in protest, and Lateens especially have expressed a strong interest in the topic.  Most Lateens who were born here and are therefore citizens are being spurred into advocacy and action for immigrants’ rights and because of how the immigration law affects their families.  Imagine living in a world where policemen can freely harass your parents, or other relatives simply for being of Hispanic heritage.  Say one day, your mother goes to the grocery store and forgets her pocketbook.  If she’s pulled over before she gets back home and can’t present the officer with proper identification, she’s going to jail, even if she is legal.

Can you say Gestapo?

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April 27, 2010   2 Comments

The Future Will Be More Hispanic

The future belongs to the young, and so we know that our future will be more and more Hispanic. That counts one of every five kids in school today, one of every four newborns and that number jumps to one of every two in California and Texas. The Pew Hispanic Center released an in-depth report that paints a fascinating picture of the values, education and employment of the next generation: Hispanics between the ages of 16 and 25. That includes high rates of teen pregnancy, gang affiliation and school dropouts, but it also finds that the majority of Latino youth speak English as their dominant language and place a high value on education and career success. Contrary to popular assumption, the great majority of young Hispanics are born in the U.S.

This group has already taken notice of their role in this country and the impact that they have from mainstream culture to their local communities. They are proud to be active participants of the broader youth movement, while being able to create something that is uniquely Latino. They are not ashamed, embarrassed or intimidated. Lateens meld together their American society with their Latino experiences to create a new America.

This doesn’t mean that today’s Lateen is not going to struggle, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. They realize that many of the issues such as immigration, unemployment and racism are not going to go away overnight. But they also realize that the future will be more Hispanic than it is today and it is up to them to define what the future will hold.

April 23, 2010   1 Comment