Tag: Brazilian immigrants

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Immigrant Demand for English Classes Outstrips Supply in Massachusetts Town: Eduardo A. de Oliveira On PRI’s The World

Christine Tibor announces the results of Framingham's ESL Lottery. (Photo: E. A. de Oliveira)

Christine Tibor announces the results of Framingham's ESL Lottery. (All photos by E. A. de Oliveira)

“If you don’t speak English, you’re missing out at work, at home,” Luciene Campos said in Portuguese. “When you do, you’re more respected.”

She was one of some 600 immigrants, many of them Brazilian, who recently jammed the auditorium of a Framingham, Mass. middle school waiting for a lottery that would assign 185 slots in English as a Second Language classes.

The classes, Feet In 2 Worlds reporter Eduardo A. de Oliveira wrote on EthnicNEWz.org, are “an obligatory stop for immigrants eager to learn the language of their future — but not all of them would get enrolled.”

Monday,PRI’s nationally-syndicated radio show The World ran a radio piece by Eduardo about the ESL lottery. This is from the show’s website:

Brazilian immigrants make up about a third of the population of Framingham, Massaschusetts. Many newspapers, radio stations and businesses cater to the immigrant’s needs. But the Brazilians still want desperately to learn English. Eduardo de Oliveira reports that the town’s English classes are so popular that you need to win a lottery to get in.

You can listen to Eduardo’s report here:

[audio:http://64.71.145.108/audio/0216096.mp3]

Brazilian Luciene Campos takes a test to know which level she will be placed at. At her side is the little girl she babysits.

Brazilian Luciene Campos takes a test to know which level she will be placed at. At her side is the little girl she babysits.

Here are a couple of extra interviews:

Christine Tibor is the director of Framingham’s ESL program. Twenty–five years ago, Tibor was the program’s first teacher. In this interview she told Eduardo de Oliveira she knows how it feels to live in a foreign country and not be able to speak the language. During a trip to Venezuela, she survived on a diet of ham-and-cheese, the only two words she knew in Spanish.

[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/fi2w_christine_tibur.mp3]

Fernando Castro is the owner of five tax preparation stores in Massachusetts. He was a student in thel ESL program 19 years ago. Now, he’s an occasional sponsor of the program.

[audio:http://www.jocelyngonzales.net/FI2W/fi2w_fernando_castro.mp3]
Christine Tibor receives assistance from Spanish- and Portuguese-language translators.

Christine Tibor receives assistance from Spanish- and Portuguese-language translators.

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BostonBrazilianCommentaryImmigration News

A Brazilian Immigrant Journalist Looks Back at 2008

By Eduardo A. de Oliveira, EthnicNewz and FI2W reporter

For millions of immigrant workers 2008 began with a sour taste in all the mouths they have to feed. Six months into 2007, Congress had drowned their highest hopes by killing the Immigration Reform bill.

For many families there was no choice but to return home – in the Brazilian community of Massachusetts alone there were 10,000 retornados, according to the Brazilian Immigrant Center.

Among those who remained here, much of the rhetoric about the need for immigrants to learn English got stuck in the back of their heads. The consequences were best seen in Framingham, Mass.

During a lottery for seats in an English-as-a-second-language course at Fuller Middle School, 500-plus immigrants competed for 165 seats. Of course the ‘no cost’ policy wooed many. But more than ever, they saw English as the language of their future – whether or not they are documented.

EDUARDO A. de OLIVEIRA

Hairdresser Marta dos Santos smiles upon hearing the news that she is one of 165 immigrants picked for an ESL course at Fuller Middle School. More than 500 people tried to get a seat in the classes. Photo: EDUARDO A. de OLIVEIRA

Despite being an election year, 2008 also served to harden immigrants’ hearts.

In the Republican presidential primary, candidates debated who would be the toughest on deporting undocumented workers. Forget about the melting pot, at that point workers learned that to half of America, all that mattered was their immigration status.

In the end, the Republicans selected a presidential candidate who had a record of trying to help undocumented immigrants. But the workers’ future in the U.S. looked grimmer as gas prices hit $4 per gallon, straining the livelihoods of delivery men, truckers, and taxi drivers.

But David Grabowski, a Health Economist at Harvard Medical School, found something about higher gas prices that was not bad news at all.

“We’ve discovered that for every 10 percent in price increase, there are 2.3 percent fewer fatalities in traffic related accidents. Among teenage drivers, at least 6 percent more lives were spared,” said Grabowski, who compared data from Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), from 1985 to 2006.

In another health-related story, a Dominican doctor used her Boston University credentials to fill a gap left behind by the Massachusetts Health Care Reform law. (more…)