Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Ramiro can drive legally — whew ]]> Lead story image

Ramiro will soon get his driver’s license. The fear of getting deported after a minor traffic violation will go away. The authorities now will know who is behind the wheel when Ramiro drives. They also will know that his driving skills have been tested and that he has auto insurance. All drivers in Illinois will be better off for that. “After 20 years of living in Illinois, I will be able to drive without fear,” Ramiro told me. “It is a great relief and one less worry.” I’ve known Ramiro for nearly 15 years. I wrote about him a few … ]]> Wed, 09 Jan 2013 19:55:06 -0600 <![CDATA[ Drug cartels bring violence to Chicago streets ]]> Lead story image

In the critically acclaimed television series “Breaking Bad,” there is a terrifying scene in which a kid shoots to death an unsuspected drug dealer in broad daylight. The fictional murder happens in the rough streets of Albuquerque, N.M., but it could have taken place in real life in Chicago. I recently started to watch back episodes of “Breaking Bad,” which tells the story of a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with lung cancer and decides to produce and sell methamphetamines along with one of his former students. The teacher intends to pay for his treatment with the proceeds … ]]> Mon, 04 Feb 2013 14:44:42 -0600 <![CDATA[ Medical limbo for illegal immigrant ]]> Lead story image

On Christmas Eve, Jorge Mariscal wanted to go shopping but couldn’t for fear of contracting an infection. Besides, he had already received a pretty wonderful gift. “I got the best gift I could have ever wished for,” Jorge, who is 24 and lives in Melrose Park, told me. A few weeks before, on Dec. 6, Jorge had undergone a kidney transplant. It likely saved his life. The donor was his own mother, Sonia Lopez. I first met Sonia and Jorge back in November during a fund-raising event in Little Village to help cover Jorge’s medical expenses for the upcoming transplant. … ]]> Mon, 28 Jan 2013 15:48:16 -0600 <![CDATA[ Honor the heroes of Newtown ]]> Lead story image

The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a horrific act of the utmost cowardice. God must have a hellish punishment for those who slaughter students and teachers. As a father, I am grateful to the heroes of Sandy Hook Elementary School who prevented more carnage. Our nation will forever honor those who sacrificed their lives trying to protect their students and whose brave acts saved the lives of many children. As Newtown buries 20 children and six adults, let’s pay tribute to those who put their lives on the line for their students. The families of those brave educators … ]]> Mon, 21 Jan 2013 15:48:18 -0600 <![CDATA[ Take on high school dropout crisis ]]> Lead story image

Imagine for a moment the economic and social devastation of having 47 percent unemployment. No, I’m not talking here about an impoverished country in Africa or Central America. That is the percent of high school dropouts ages 18 to 64 in Chicago that didn’t work at all in 2009-10. That is a recipe for creating an underclass. And it has gotten worse in the last decade. In Chicago, the employment percentage among dropouts age 16 to 19 declined by more than half over the last 12 years — from 38.9 percent in 1999-2000 to 18.2 percent in 2011-12. This growing … ]]> Mon, 14 Jan 2013 07:20:22 -0600 <![CDATA[ Mexican president can’t ignore drugs ]]> Lead story image

Last Sunday, the day after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto was sworn into office, drug violence took the lives of at least 19 people across our neighbor to the south. Among the victims, the mutilated bodies of six were dumped in a town in the state of Coahuila and three people were executed at a birthday party in Monterrey. The gruesome reality of drug violence crept into the pomp and circumstance of Peña Nieto’s second day in office. A tally of victims has begun under his watch. His predecessor, Felipe Calderon, left office after six years with the horrific record … ]]> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 07:16:42 -0600 <![CDATA[ Let undocumented immigrants get licenses ]]> Lead story image

Ramiro has driven without a license for nearly 20 years in the Chicago area. So have his wife and adult children. They drive every day fearing they could be involved in an accident or stopped by police for a routine traffic violation that could result in one of them being deported. “We think about it every day,” Ramiro told me. “We fear one of us might not come back home at night.” Ramiro is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who talked to me under the condition that I not reveal his identity. “We try to keep the speed limit and … ]]> Tue, 01 Jan 2013 06:25:10 -0600 <![CDATA[ Thankful for my caring daughter ]]> Lead story image

We should’ve realized back then that there was a serious problem. But we were just having fun on a hot summer day in the backyard. You were almost 3, Isabela, and you kept beating your older brother Daniel to race back and forth. When Daniel began crying because he just couldn’t win one race, your abuelita held you back just enough to allow your brother get a head start. Even then you crossed the finish line together. Soon after, we found out that your brother suffers from Duchene muscular dystrophy, a progressive debilitating disease that mostly affects boys and for … ]]> Mon, 24 Dec 2012 06:24:31 -0600 <![CDATA[ Will GOP answer wake-up call? ]]> Lead story image

The Republican Party is scrambling to understand just what hit it on Election Day. Republicans don’t yet seem to grasp the extent our country is changing, not only demographically but also politically. They alienated plenty of voters by embracing extreme views on the role of government, immigration, women’s reproductive rights, the environment and gay equality. To add insult to injury, Republicans figured minorities would not vote in great numbers, so their victory was almost guaranteed. Mitt Romney didn’t even bother to write a concession speech. I am not here to offer free advice. But perhaps the first step Republicans should … ]]> Wed, 19 Dec 2012 11:47:20 -0600 <![CDATA[ Time for Obama to deliver for Latinos ]]> Lead story image

Latino voters played a key role in electing President Barack Obama for a second term in office. As expected, nearly 70 percent of Latino voters voted for Obama in spite of his inability to deliver on his promise of comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in office. Reforming an obsolete immigration system should now be a top priority for his administration. Years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Obama when he was still a U.S. senator from Illinois. At that meeting, Obama defended his vote to build a wall along the southwest border with Mexico. His vote sent … ]]> Sun, 09 Dec 2012 19:29:41 -0600 <![CDATA[ As a citizen by choice, I cherish my vote ]]> Lead story image

I vividly remember the day I became a citizen of the United States 12 years ago. About a hundred people from all over the world attended the ceremony at the Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago. We all took the Oath of Allegiance to our new country. Afterwards, some of the new citizens gathered with friends and families to take pictures. I had to head back to the newspaper where I worked. But I was so excited that I needed a few minutes to take it all in. I stopped at a coffee shop near my job to reflect briefly … ]]> Sun, 02 Dec 2012 14:07:32 -0600 <![CDATA[ Mexico is missing from presidential debate ]]> Lead story image

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney wrestled for 90 minutes Monday night over key foreign policy issues — from China to Iran to Afghanistan to Israel. But they left out Mexico. I understand that the serious situations in Iran, Libya and Syria demand considerable attention from both candidates, as do the challenges of ending the war in Afghanistan and responding to China’s rise as an economic superpower. But you’d think Mexico’s problems might warrant at least a few minutes of debate, given how directly everything that happens south of our border affects us, too. Romney touched on the growing importance … ]]> Mon, 26 Nov 2012 07:12:06 -0600 <![CDATA[ Why Latinas are backing Obama ]]> Lead story image

I call my wife “motorcito” or “little engine.” Margaret has earned this term of endearment because she makes sure everybody and everything keeps humming in our household. Of course, my wife can enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning of reading and sipping tea, but once she decides it is time to get things done around the house, she gets everyone involved. Margaret is of Irish decent, but she could easily pass for a Latina mom because she speaks Spanish fluently and has an uncanny ability to run things in our household. Mexican and Irish women have a lot in common other … ]]> Mon, 19 Nov 2012 15:09:34 -0600 <![CDATA[ ‘Sesame Street’ is U.S. ambassador to the world ]]> Lead story image

I grew up in Mexico, so I’m here to tell Mitt Romney: If he is sincere in wanting to strengthen America’s influence abroad, he really should lay off Big Bird. I was 13 when “Sesame Street” was introduced in Mexico as Plaza Sesamo. It was the American show, but with a Mexican spin, and Mexican kids instantly fell in love with all of Jim Henson’s classic puppets and quite a few new ones, absorbing all that excellent educational content along the way. Big Bird became Albelardo. Kermit the Frog became La Rana Rene. Bert and Ernie became Beto y Enrique. … ]]> Mon, 12 Nov 2012 11:51:21 -0600 <![CDATA[ A Latina journalist returns to teach at DePaul ]]> Lead story image

Renowned journalist Maria Hinojosa is coming home to Chicago. You are probably familiar with her reporting if you have listened to public radio or watched CNN in the last 10 years. Hinojosa has won a couple of Emmys, and several times she made the list of the 100 most influential Latinos in the United States. On Sunday afternoons, I often listen to her show, “Latino USA,” on National Public Radio before dinner. Hinojosa is the anchor and executive producer of the show, which focuses on stories and analysis of the growing Latino population for a mainstream audience. Last year, Hinojosa … ]]> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 11:28:34 -0600 <![CDATA[ A heartbreaking loss of an angel in Highland Park ]]> Lead story image

As a father, my heart goes out to the family of 5-year-old Jaclyn Santos Sacramento, who died on a beautiful Labor Day while on an afternoon stroll with her mother and siblings near their home in Highland Park. I feel terribly sorry as well for the parents of 18-year-old Carly Rousso, who drove the Lexus coupe — while allegedly intoxicated with a chemical product — that killed Jaclyn and sent her mother and two brothers to the hospital. Carly faces charges of reckless homicide and aggravated DUI. She is free on bond and is looking at a maximum sentence of … ]]> Mon, 29 Oct 2012 06:28:43 -0600 <![CDATA[ Invitation from Beyonce and the Obamas has an asterisk ]]> Lead story image

Dear Beyonce, I must admit I got a jolt seeing your email drop in my inbox. I usually receive emails from local politicos and community organizers as well as a couple of readers who call me nasty things. Once in a while I get an urgent email from a businessman in a remote African town informing me about the millions I inherited from a deceased individual I never met. Your email begins in a most memorable way: “I usually don’t email you, but I have an amazing invitation I have to share.” I almost fell off my chair. Then you … ]]> Sun, 21 Oct 2012 14:42:02 -0600 <![CDATA[ CTU should return to classrooms during negotiations ]]> Lead story image

Marcela Martinez, a teacher at Seward Academy in the Back of the Yards neighborhood for 15 years, was at Monday’s rally in front of City Hall in support of the teachers strike. Martinez wore the red Chicago Teachers Union T-shirt and held a sign in Spanish alluding to the strike being about the students. “We are not only teachers. We are parents, counselors and nurses for our students, and we do it with love,” Martinez told me. “We deserve a fair contract.” Martinez said she would be on the picket line for as long as it takes. The strike is … ]]> Mon, 15 Oct 2012 09:25:48 -0600