Student Journalism Workshop

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ASU Arizona Latino Media Association’s (ALMA) holds its 11th annual workshop for Latino high school students to learn about journalism careers. Anita Luera, director of High School Journalism Programs for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, offers more details about the workshop.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Good evening, I'm Jose Cardenas, welcome to "Horizonte." a U.S. district judge upholds Arizona's employer sanctions law. The measure is still facing legal challenges. State lawmakers introduce several bills that could revise that same law. Details on what some of these bills are. Plus, an initiative encouraging U.S. citizens and new immigrants to volunteer in the community. Also, how high school students can get hands-on experience in the world of journalism, coming up next on "horizonte."

>> Jose Cardenas:
U.S. district judge Neil Wake has upheld the employer sanctions law. A coalition of Latino civil rights groups and businesses argue that the law unconstitutionally gives the state control over immigration. Judge wake noted the law doesn't determine who should be admitted to the U.S., but does control the licenses of businesses. Joining me to talk about the next legal step against the measure is Julie Pace, one of the attorneys in the groups challenging the law. Also here is Arizona state representative Theresa Ulmer, one of the sponsors of the proposed legislation. Thank you both for joining us on "horizonte." Julie, first, the judge's ruling: he did say that the statute was not preemptive, which was your chief argument, was it not?

>>Julie Pace:
Yes. We believe still that the Arizona employer sanctions law is preemptive on several grounds. Conflict grounds, express grounds, and field grounds. He did not agree with us, so that will be decided by the appellate courts.

>>Jose Cardenas:
He focused on the language in the statute that seemed to carve out the area for state licensing procedures.

>>Julie Pace:
I think the issue is we all know that congress regulates immigration, who comes into our state to work, crosses our borders, who leaves, those kinds of things. There was a saving clause put into the immigration bill that says, except for licensing. That seems to be what our state has focused on in enacting this law, how it has been interpreted to date. How it's been interpreted is that, when you take away a business license, it's after there's been a federal determination of a company knowingly hiring an undocumented worker. Then a state can take control of their license similar to the s.e.c.

>> Jose Cardenas:
The securities and exchange commission.

>>Julie Pace:
Then of course the state doesn't have to grant them licenses. That is how it's been interpreted to date. Judge wake's ruling will be the first one that's come down differently. There have been two others in other states, as well, that recently came out similarly situated. The other case is the Hazelton, Pennsylvania, case that came out last summer that says you can't regulate in the ways Arizona and Pennsylvania were both trying to do it.

>>Jose Cardenas:
That one is on appeal in the third circuit court of appeals.

>>Julie Pace:
Right. It was a 200-page decision by the judge. He came out that these types of employer sanctions laws are preemptive. That case is up on appeal, all the briefs are in on that. And the third circuit court of appeals will rule on that issue and due process probably this spring. The Arizona case will also be up on appeal now. It is at the ninth circuit right now with a motion for emergency stay of the employer sanctions law. That we'll find out probably about the end of the month. Whether that's granted or not, it's still on appeal. That briefing schedule will occur through may. Then the ninth circuit will rule sometime late summer, early fall, whether they also agree with whatever the third circuit holds. There will be a couple of appellate decisions coming down to give guidance. It gives guidance to legislators as to what they can enact in each state, and what's going to be considered constitutional.

>> Jose Cardenas:
We'll talk in a moment about some legislatures trying to do something to fix what some people think are defects in the law. One of those that's been claimed is the lack of an anti-discrimination clause. Judge wake didn't seem to have any trouble with that.

>>Julie Pace:
Right now the Arizona law does not have an anti-discrimination clause and it needs to be in there.

>>Jose Cardenas:
His response was, there are other statutes, both federal and state, that would take care of that issue.

>>Julie Pace:
Basically, yes and no. There are obviously civil rights discrimination laws, you can't target someone for speaking spanish or being spanish, things like that. The civil rights division follows up with those. But in Arizona, that civil rights law under the federal law is 15 or more employees, so under 15 it doesn't apply. Also the immigration laws for compliance with i-9 requirements are four employees or more. So there's a gap, there's no question. Most legislation in this area would have included an anti-discrimination provision to make it very clear. It's one of those items I think the court didn't address it that much, but it clearly is an issue for most people. You can't even go up to your employees and say, are you really legal. Employer sanctions is different, so we don't have the provision in that law now in Arizona.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Representative Ulmer, the legislation that you're cosponsoring is intended to fill some of these gaps, as I understand it.

>>Theresa Ulmer:
Yes, we're trying to look at all of the elements that were brought up that were gaps or concerns. We address them in six different bills.

>>Jose Cardenas:
And one of them is a discrimination provision?

>>Theresa Ulmer:
Yes, most definitely. It's part of the complaint process as it goes to the county attorney. They can determine, you know, the complaint was not filed under discrimination. And that's a very important piece of it.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Why six different bills, as opposed to one that would take care of all the problems you think exist in the current legislation?

>>Theresa Ulmer:
As you know, in the legislature we have trouble agreeing on things. We looked at all the elements that needed to be addressed, and I felt I could not gather enough support on all of the elements. I decided, let's look at six different bills and kind of look at each individual area, and go forward with that.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Let's talk about some of those individual ones. One of the most important, at least from the business community's point of view, is that the bill makes clear that the legislation applies only to new hires after January 1, 2008. Is that right?

>>Theresa Ulmer:
Most definitely. The people that voted yes on this bill felt they were voting on a bill that would be effective starting January 1st. The e-verify program only allows you to verify new employees. We need to fix that so that the people that actually voted yes on this could feel that that has been justified. You know, there turned out to be some gray area around whether it was retroactive or not. We wanted to make it very clear that the intent was to find a starting point and move forward. You can't fix it all in one day.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Julie, that specific issue, new hires versus existing employees, is one that the judge did not decide. How important is that point? And do you think the proposed legislation will fix the problem that your clients noted?

>>Julie Pace:
I think it's constructive for the legislature to go back and look at the Arizona employer sanctions law, and do what they can to fix some of the more egregious areas. I think many of the bills won't cure the basic issue of, is it preemptive for states to even enact any of these laws. I do commend them for fixing some of these areas. The businesses are very concerned about having a law take away their business licenses when they have no way to check that, other than their normal hiring procedures in the beginning. After they've gone through the i-9 process, they're not allowed to go back and ask people again, or can we run you through e-verify, that's against the law. So I think it would be very helpful if it was just applying to new hires. And if there was a clear date when it applied to new hires, and we eliminated the whole confusion about existing employees being able to have a complaint about those folks having an investigation, or a business license, shutting you down so that all your employees lose their job at the company.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Many of these proposed changes are the result of a working group and advisory group that speaker wires convened. Let's talk about one of the proposals that deals with independent contractors. What can you tell us about that?

>>Theresa Ulmer:
I think it's important that people understand the concept of independent contractor. You're hiring someone not specifically working under your direction. They are performing a task that they're directing people, or the people that they potentially hire. If you hire one who has employees, you should not be responsible for the independent contractor's employees. There are some gaps in our statutes about how independent contractors or subcontractors are defined. We're trying to clarify that so that, for example, a landscaping company, the business is not responsible for who they've hired to do the lawns, his employees. So we're attempting to clarify that. And of course, the independent contractor himself will be held responsible for his employees.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Julie, one of the related issues to the independent contractor one is there's some language in the court's opinion that talks about casual hires and how that aspect would not be covered by the legislation. But you seem to think there's still some confusion.

>>Julie Pace:
Yeah. I think, as was pointed out, independent contractors and casual labor, there're still very specific employment and tax laws that apply to hiring either category of worker. I think there is a confusion that people are talking about casual laborers, that you can hire someone for a short time and you can pay them cash and you're not subject to the employer sanctions law or anything else. If you hire a day laborer, and go down as a business, you have to do an i-9 before they start to work on the first day. You still have to pay taxes and deal with those issues. I think what homeowners are trying to get at is some legislators would like to say, if you're a homeowner you won't be subject to the Arizona employers sanctions law because you're hiring a casual gardener or landscaper or housekeeper. And that's fine.

>>Jose Cardenas:
But you still run afoul of other federal statutes.

>>Julie Pace:
Absolutely, if you're paying more than a thousand dollars to a casual worker at your home, you still have to deduct for certain taxes, you have to pay social security. There's a whole set of rules when you hit a thousand or 1500 in one tax year. If you're hiring a contractor to do work, technically you have to have a licensed contractor do work, unless the work is under a certain value of money, a very small value at that. There's a lot of confusion about casual labor that, if people think they're enacting this law to exempt homeowners, they should just say that. And as the representative has pointed out, the independent contractor is very different. The answer is not to put all your employees on as independent contractors. They have to be paying workers comp, having a tax id number. You have to have written agreements with any independent contractors. There are all kinds of provisions about that. It can be a hearing because of the unemployment, as the process goes on, you have to justify in a hearing they're not really an employee. So that doesn't work in a lot of the cases. We can't have companies hiring true vendors, whether it's a janitorial service or a supplier dropping stuff off, and be liable for their employees for whether they did their paperwork right or they're undocumented or not. If you are doing things properly in your own company and have some subcontractors in to do work, all your employees are not going to be sent home because that company didn't do something right.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Representative Ulmer, as I understand it, there are other protections provided by other pieces of legislation that you proposed, including some that relate to burden of proof and the complaint process.

>>Theresa Ulmer:
I had a lot of conversations with my county attorney about how will this work for you. The complaint process needs to be something that is standardized, that we can all agree that there are certain criteria, if you want to file a complaint. And if it's done that way regularly. So we put forth language around that. We want to make sure that false and frivolous complaints are defined. And if somebody filed a false and frivolous complaint, they can be charged for misrepresenting information. We need a process that's standardized. That's what we're trying to do with that bill, is to give them some criteria, as well as define false and frivolous.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Just a couple of questions for both of you. Representative Ulmer, your prediction as to whether these proposed pieces of legislation are going to get through the legislature.

>>Theresa Ulmer:
I heard today they were supposed to be first and second read and be assigned to the homeland security committee. We're hoping that happens very timely. The next process is to get that committee chair to hear the bills and get it through the committee.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Is that representative pierce?

>>Theresa Ulmer:
He's on that committee, and you know, he's not supportive of what we're doing. But we want to make sure that legal workers are not losing their jobs. This is a protection for American workers. We want to make sure businesses are doing what they should do, but that we're not having a law out there that's going to hurt them if they're attempting to do the right things. We don't want them to be punished. That's the goal, to get it through hearing and get it out on the floor and let's vote on these changes.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Julie, last question for you: it's a pretty thorough opinion, 37 pages long. Your prediction is to the prospects of success on appeal at the ninth circuit.

>>Julie Pace:
I think we always realize we're going to be on appeal. So we hope that the ninth circuit finds in our favor and rules it's preemptive, otherwise we have 50 more states that are going to make it very complicated if they all enact these same laws. For 20 years it's been interpreted the way that we have put forth. We hope the ninth circuit finds the same way. We're confident it's preemptive. We'll wait and see what they rule.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte."

>>Jose Cardenas:
In 2006, president George w. Bush created a task force to help new immigrants embrace the core of American culture. I spoke to Marie Sebrechts from U.S. citizenship and immigration services about how people can get involved.

>> Jose Cardenas:
Your department has launched a new initiative to help new citizens, or does it apply to legal residents, as well, assimilate into American society?

>> Marie Sebrechts:
That's correct. We started an initiative through our office of citizenship, that actually is directed to legal permanent residents. So that's the first entry point of anyone to the United States. They come in and they need to know a lot of things about social programs, educational programs in the United States, what their rights and responsibilities are. So we started this effort with what we call the new immigrant orientation guide, about three years ago. That effort has since been expanded, and there actually is a multi-agency effort now, of which we are a part, which is called the new American task force. It is designed to provide resources to new immigrants to this country, help them assimilate and have one focal point to get information. The basis for all the information is found at a website called www.welcometousa.gov. It's a portal to all federal services available to immigrants. On there you will find social services, educational services, etc. A new initiative which was just launched is the new Americans initiative, which is for volunteerism, in which we encourage individuals who are citizens, who are here permanently, to reach out to immigrants and volunteer to teach English or help with civics classes. At the same time, part of that volunteerism initiative is to encourage immigrants to volunteer, because it's a great way for them to understand their communities, get to become a part of their communities, and reach out of perhaps the small world in which they're living as new immigrants, and really become a member of the community. So in partnering with freedom corps, we have developed a part of the website where you can find volunteer opportunities throughout the United States in every community.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Whether you're a citizen or an immigrant?

>>Marie Sebrechts:
Yes.

>>Jose Cardenas:
If somebody wants information about immigration, and for example, you have somebody living here who wants to bring a sibling to this country: is there a source of information similar to that that they could go to?

>>Marie Sebrechts:
Absolutely. The best place to go is to www.uscis.gov, which is our website. Actually it's designed now where it asks questions, you know, have you -- I have an application pending, I have not yet applied. I am looking to sponsor someone. I'm looking to bring someone over as an employer. It's a pretty comprehensive site to be able to get good information. There's also an entire area there on citizenship, to direct people to the resources they need for that effort. That would be my first recommendation, to go to that site. The second thing is that you can make an appointment actually to come into one of the local offices. We have information officers here in phoenix, right on central. We have another office down in Tucson. Make an appointment on line. You no longer have to stand in long lines around the building from 5:00 in the morning, fortunately. We have an electronic appointment system.

>>Jose Cardenas:
You make it easier to get the information.

>>Marie Sebrechts: we have tried to make it easier for people, and have them not wait for days in front of a building. We've tried to move into the 20th century ourselves.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Arizona high school students interested in a journalism career can get the opportunity to find out more information about the field at this year's Arizona Latino media association's "alma" multimedia workshop. Anita Luera is here to talk about the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Many of our viewers will know you from your long-time involvement in media here in the valley with different stations and so forth. And then you were working most recently there, and now you're at A.S.U.

>>Anita Luera:
It's been a nice progression, having worked 27 years in the television news industry, and then working in the nonprofit and leadership development, and then being able to come back to school, so to speak, and do something that I've been very passionate about, and that is encouraging young people to get into the profession of journalism and mass communications. So the opportunity came up. I was one of many who applied and was very fortunate to come on board to work with the Cronkite School, where we're having tons of changes going on. It's a really exciting time, but also a really good time in our media world with the converged media changes, with the technology, how it's changing how we do journalism. It's really an exciting time to talk to young people and show them how this world is so support, of communication. And we need their voices.

>>Jose Cardenas:
Let's talk about the high school journalism institute.

>>Anita Luera:
Okay. Arizona Latino media association has done a journalism workshop for the last 11 years. The last 7 or 8 they have partnered with A.S.U. to put on a day-long workshop. Basically Alma wanted to target Latino kids to get them interested in a career in journalism, whether it be print, TV, radio. And now online, web information. So they've always put on this workshop once a year. Its working professional Latino Journalists who give up volunteer time, come together and teach a lot of young people what they do every day in their careers. And the target has been high school students, and usually they have been able to reach to about 50 students. This year we're trying to -- we've got close to -- facilities to handle up to 90 students.

>> Jose Cardenas:
I think currently there's only one major news anchor in the local stations and I think that's Catherine Anaya with channel 5. Is there concern that there's not the level of interest coming out of the journalism schools?

>>Anita Luera:
I think at fox 10, Frank Camacho at channel 3, a long-time Latino journalist here. There's been less young people becoming involved? Yeah, I think.

>>Jose Cardena:
Do these kids want to do these kinds of jobs?

>>Anita Luera:
It's hard to say. But I know when I run into students here at the Cronkite School, it's a good number of students that are involved, and they do want to get involved.

>>Jose Cardena:
And we've got some information about the workshop on the screen. Tell us quickly, what the multimedia workshop will encompass.

>>Anita Luera:
That's a day-long workshop, and we're going to present different modules for the different platforms in media, print, radio, TV broadcasts, the web. So we've designed a program to take students through that whole process. Today's world of communication, the students will be required to -- if you're a print reporter -- to pick up a camera, shoot the video, to do the interview, and then turn around and report the story. So it's all those skills that are being required of the journalists of today, and to meet all those different platforms. So we hope to give them that experience.

>>Jose Cardena:
You have a summer program that we've got on the screen, and we're going to have to end the interview with that. Anita, thank you so much for joining us.

>>Anita Luera:
Thank you.

>>Jose Cardena:
Next Thursday meet two newly elected members of the phoenix city council, Maria Baier and Michael Nowakowski. That's our show tonight, I'm Jose Cardenas, have a good evening.

Anita Luera:High School Journalism Program, Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University;

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