Tag: Brazilians in Massachusetts

BostonBrazilianImmigration News

Stimulus Saves English Literacy Classes for Immigrants in Massachusetts

The good days have returned for Brazilian immigrant Claudete Alcântara. Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Everett Literacy Program has reopened its English classes and she is one of 54 students who have now returned to school.

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…)

BostonBrazilianImmigration News

Brazilians Debate Whether Undocumented Housecleaner ‘Betrayed’ Her Boss

By Eduardo A. de Oliveira, EthnicNewz and FI2W reporter

The news on the local Portuguese-language newspaper Brazilian Times

The news on the local Portuguese-language newspaper Brazilian Times

The talk of the town within the “Brazilian corners” of Somerville and Framingham, Massachusetts is whether the Brazilian housecleaner employed by Homeland Security official Lorraine Henderson betrayed her boss by agreeing to record their conversations for immigration authorities. Henderson, the Boston area port director for the Customs and Border Protection Division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was arrested last Saturday for allegedly employing an undocumented Brazilian housecleaner at her home in Salem, Mass.

The controversy in the Brazilian community, which we reported earlier this week, has now made it to the airwaves on Portuguese-language radio in the Bay State.

“Three years ago my boss asked if I had Social Security. I said no. She fired me, but her neighbors kept my services. I would never record a conversation with somebody who gives me a job,” said a listener to a show on WSRO (650 AM), who declined to reveal her name.

“I simply asked my listeners: if a boss treated you well, gave you a job, would you do what this housecleaner did to Henderson?,” said Fausto da Rocha, host of “Brazilian Immigrant Center on the Air” a show broadcast every Monday morning on 1360 AM. (more…)

BostonBrazilianImmigration News

Brazilians in Massachusetts Shocked After Arrest of Homeland Security Official

By Eduardo A. de Oliveira, EthnicNewz and FI2W reporter

Members of the Brazilian community in Boston and the surrounding region are expressing concern following the arrest on Saturday of the federal official responsible for keeping undocumented immigrants and illegal drugs out of ports in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Lorraine Henderson, the Boston area port director for the Customs and Border Protection Division of the US Department of Homeland Security, was arrested for allegedly employing an undocumented Brazilian housecleaner at her home in Salem, Mass.

Henderson - Photo: Boston Globe.

“I don’t know if my boss will inquire about my immigration status next time I clean her home,” said a housecleaner from Somerville, Mass., who spoke under condition of anonymity.

Henderson hired the unnamed worker starting in 2004. According to a Boston Globe report, she was warned by a fellow Homeland Security employee in 2006 that she should terminate the services offered by the undocumented contractor, but she refused to do so.

Henderson, the Globe said, “was arrested at her home shortly before 8 a.m. (Saturday) after an eight-month undercover investigation during which a cleaner wore a wire.”

(more…)