By Ytzel Arrunada
EL PASO — Mario Fernandez, 45, crossed the border illegally in search of opportunity and a better life, but he found himself here without rights or guidance and countless unanswered questions.
But now, a new publication is on their side.
The first edition of Nuevos Paisanos
is available on online. Nuevos Paisanos magazine was launched in February to help inform and aid immigrants with useful information.
As of now, Nuevos Paisanos is the first immigration-oriented publication in El Paso. The inspiration came from “The tens of thousands of nuevos paisanos – hence, the name of our publication – fleeing from the dangers and harsh living conditions present in Mexico,” said editor Priscilla Portillo.
Like Fernandez, many immigrants come to the United States looking for a job that will pay enough to feed their families. Others cross over to receive an education or to flee from danger.
“I think El Paso needed a publication like this one, I learned a lot from it, and I liked that it was in Spanish too,” said Fernandez.
Whatever their goals, immigrants are kept from achieving their dreams because of their illegal status, which imposes severe limitations on their movement and their opportunities.
Portillo, who is a recent UTEP graduate also noted “My business partner and owner of Del Pueblo Press and I began Nuevos Paisanos with the invaluable contribution and support of our five-member editorial board: Dr. Gina Núñez-Mchiri, Gabriela Castaneda, Eduardo Beckett, Esq., Maria Victoria Moreno, and Dr. Sergio Saenz-Rivera.”
The editorial board members compose short articles in English and in Spanish that cover immigration related themes pertaining to men and women of all ages.
“We have people who speak both languages in our city. Some parents may read in Spanish but their children are more likely to read in English. We have to respect the diversity in language use within our local immigrant community,” said Núñez.
Taking into consideration the mixed citizenship status of immigrant families, language preference is important to reaching a broader audience “We are a heterogeneous community with different levels of education. The information is not in technical terms and we write short pieces we can share with our general audience,” said Núñez.
David Haro, a local immigration lawyer said, “the magazine will help inform and teach immigrants what their rights are.” The expert advice will explain common misperceptions and will provide an understanding of our government and legal topics related to immigration issues.
For example, the inaugural printings of approximately 250 copies of Nuevos Paisanos had an article written by Sergio Saenz-Rivera that explained the difference between a passport and a green card, and a consulate and an embassy. Knowing the basic concepts that form our legal system will help people to seek the right help in the right places.
Haro mentioned that because El Paso is composed of mostly a Hispanic population, anti-immigration laws have a great effect on regions like ours.
The article Domestic Violence and Immigration, discusses the challenges of immigrants in domestic violence cases. Patricia Bylicki, a victim services unit specialist for the El Paso County Sheriff’s office said…
(Editor’s note: Borderzine is a regional news partner of Latina Lista.)