Last Column, Period.
NiLP Note: As the New Year began, we got the bad news that our longtime colleague, veteran journalist Albor Ruiz's column at the New York Daily News has been cut from their budget. As he put it on his Facebook page:
The year is not beginning all that great for me: I was just told that due to budget cuts my column in the Daily News (where I worked for 22 years) has been scrapped.
After 20 years writing it every week, I --and hopefully the readers-- will miss it.
Albor, who first joined the Daily News staff in July 1993, had been demoted from full-time status that of a freelance columnist in the May 2013 round of layoffs at the paper. His columns were one of the few English-language media outlets that consistently covered Latino immigration issues, as his last column below illustrates.
Given the Daily News' poor and at times controversial track record in covering Latino community issues, the absence of Ruiz' column leaves a hole. There were, for example. Incidents revolving their coverage of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade (the naked ladies and Cuban flag mix-up controversies) that illustrated the paper's editorial disconnection from the Latino community, especially with the forced departure of such Latino journalist as Maite Junco, Carolina Gonzalez and the demotion from the editorial ranks of Robert Dominguez.
According to the American Society of Newspaper Editor, in 2015, before the latest cuts, Latinos made up only 6.3 percent of the Daily News staff, despite Latinos making up over 29 percent of the city's population. With the departure of Ruiz, the paper's only remaining columnist is Juan Gonzalez. What makes the Ruiz cut interesting is that, unlike other high profile and highly paid layoffs made by the paper, which is reportedly losing $30 million a year, Ruiz was only a part-timer. This says a lot about their commitment to fair coverage of the city's 2.4 million Latinos.
If you would like to express your concern about the layoff of Ruiz and the future of the Daily News' coverage of the Latino community, write to or call:
President and CEO
New York Daily News
Letter to the Editor
Immigrants Who Fled Poverty, Violence
on Central America Face
Threat of Mass Deportation in 2016
This is my last column of the year and as I sat down to write it, I almost could hear the collective "good riddance" with which New Yorkers are sending off 2015 and its load of unending wars, terrorist acts, mass murders, police brutality, homeless crisis, absurd presidential wannabes and on and on and on ...
Fortunately, a new year, always a time of hope and renewal, is just around the corner and its arrival calls for celebration and good wishes, right?
Certainly not for many of the country's long-suffering immigrant families.
"Happy 2016 from the Deporter-in-Chief," is the perverse New Year message being delivered by the Obama administration to hundreds of Central American mothers and children who came across the border last year in a desperate run for their lives.
Rodolfo Gonzalez-Murillo is moved from a van to a jet chartered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement which will take him and other undocumented immigrants to the border to be deported. Massive ICE raids are expected in 2016.
Precisely on Christmas Eve -
Nochebuena for Latinos - The Washington Post reported that 2016 will probably begin with the dreaded U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducting massive raids across the country. Their purpose is to expel the adults and kids that, against all odds, fled El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, countries ravaged by drug cartels and murderous gangs that will force the women and children to join them or be raped, tortured or killed.
Let's not forget that it is the United States' insatiable appetite for illegal drugs that fuels most of the brutality in those countries that causes its people to embark on their do-or-die journey to the North.
"I am very disturbed by reports that the government may commence raids to deport families who have fled here to escape violence in Central America," said Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.
First lady Michelle Obama looks on as President Obama (seen with First Lady Michelle Obama) is allowing the Central American immigrants to be forced back to the dangers of their home countries.
"As we spend time with our families this holiday season, we who are parents should ask ourselves what we would do if our children faced the danger and violence these children do? How far would we go to protect them?"
The operation would send thousands of terrified Central American families back into the black holes of poverty and violence they barely escaped. It is bound to be cruel and unsparing: Adults and children would be detained wherever they can be found and immediately deported.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he is "very disturbed by reports" of the mass raid plans.
"It would be an outrage," Gregory Chen of the American Immigration Lawyers Association told The Post.
"This administration has never acknowledged the truth: that these families are refugees seeking asylum who should be given humanitarian protection rather than being detained or rounded up."
The families the Obama administration is gearing up to round up and deport are persecuted people whose lives are in danger. They deserve all the rights and protections afforded to refugees and asylum seekers.
As Chen said, "When other countries are welcoming far more refugees, the U.S. should be ashamed for using jails and even contemplating large-scale deportation tactics."
Certainly not an auspicious start for 2016.