Developing strategies to end hunger
 

9 posts from November 2010

Read the Institute's New Hunger Report

The Institute’s 2011 Hunger Report, Our Common Interest: Ending Hunger and Malnutrition, has just become available online at www.hungerreport.org. The 2010 Hunger Report, A Just and Sustainable Recovery, which had been the default landing page till today, remains available on the site along with the 2009 report, Global Development: Charting a New Course.

Nepalese woman / Nepal is part of USAID's Feed the Future Initiative

Who will feed the future? Nepal is one country where the U.S. will increase investments in agriculture. Photo: Richard Lord

At the 2009 G-8 Summit in L’Aquila, U.S. leadership was instrumental in gaining the commitment of member nations to $22 billion to improve global food and nutrition security. For its part, the Obama administration developed its own initiative, Feed the Future. Bread for the World, along with several U.S. civil society groups, provided input into the design of the program. The 2011 Hunger Report is concerned with events that led to the establishment of Feed the Future and with what it will take for the initiative to succeed.

The report argues that Feed the Future is a bold step forward in U.S. foreign assistance, possibly the best opportunity to come along in decades for the United States to contribute to lasting progress against global hunger and malnutrition. Feed the Future stands out with its dual focus on boosting incomes of smallholder farmers and improving the nutritional status of mothers and children, the groups most at risk of hunger and malnutrition.

The report starts with the spike in food prices in 2007-08 that pushed the number of people who suffer from hunger to more than a billion for the first time in history. Prices have fallen since then and so has the number of undernourished people, but as we are seeing in 2010, grain markets are still quite volatile, and so food prices remain a great concern.

For children born in the poorest parts of the world during the 2007-2008 food-price crisis, higher food prices meant that their families could not afford staple foods let alone the more nutritious foods. A series of articles in the British medical journal, the Lancet, published in early 2008 had immediate relevance, as it pointed out that malnutrition during the window of opportunity during pregnancy and in the first two years of life has irreversible consequences for a child. For children who survive early childhood malnutrition, the physical and cognitive setbacks are lifelong, leaving children more prone to illness throughout their lives and reducing earning potential.  

The 2011 Hunger Report includes several recommendations to strengthen Feed the Future and U.S. foreign assistance more broadly. Feed the Future must take a comprehensive approach to fighting hunger and malnutrition, adopting the following elements: increase the productivity of smallholder farmers, help them reach markets, take advantage of the links between agriculture and nutrition while scaling up evidence-based nutrition interventions (especially for pregnant women and young children), empower women, strengthen safety nets, and respond quickly to hunger emergencies.  

Dr. Rajiv Shah speaking about the 2011 Hunger Report

Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID administrator, described "Our Common Interest" as "The best report I've seen in years on this issue" in remarks at the National Press Club.

Moreover, the report argues, Congress should rewrite the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act to make clear that poverty reduction and development are key elements of U.S. foreign policy and reduce earmarks to ensure that U.S. development assistance has the flexibility to respond to realities on the ground. U.S. food aid should be improved to allow for a greater focus on nutritional quality, especially to reach infants and young children. In addition, the United States should take the lead in strengthening international institutions that are complementary to U.S. bilateral assistance in fighting hunger and malnutrition.

After decades of underinvestment in agriculture, Feed the Future is a refreshing throwback to when agriculture held a much more prominent place in U.S. foreign assistance. But Feed the Future has the potential to be much stronger than earlier U.S. programs. Its focus on country-led development is encouraging, but this must include building the capacity of national governments to sustain the progress begun with foreign assistance, and should also include building the capacity of civil society to hold national governments accountable for what they do with this assistance.

The 2011 report is available online and in print and anybody who wants to order a copy can do so via the website.  The online edition includes everything in the print edition and several other features. The Hunger Report has always been a comprehensive source for data on hunger, poverty and other development indicators. The Hunger Report website allows you to visualize these data. An assortment of information covered in the report is displayed in eye-catching graphics. 

Enjoy the report. Tell us what you think of it. And please, get the word out about it.

DREAM Act or DREAM Not?

  Image1

A group of students rally in support of the DREAM Act in September 2010.

In his second Back to School Speech, President Obama stated, “Your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it. And nothing—absolutely nothing—is beyond your reach, so long as you’re willing to dream big, so long as you’re willing to work hard. So long as you’re willing to stay focused on your education, there is not a single thing that any of you cannot accomplish, not a single thing.”

If this is true, then why not give opportunities to those who work hard and strive to learn? That is exactly what DREAM Act students are asking for—a chance.

The DREAM Act would provide an official pathway to citizenship for thousands of unauthorized students who were brought to the United States by their parents at a young age. Obtaining this status would also mean they could work and thus have a positive impact on the country—fiscally and otherwise.

Organizations such as the Immigration Policy Center agree: “The United States is missing out on talented workers and entrepreneurs, and is losing vital tax revenues and other economic contributions.”

The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act has been repeatedly introduced by members of Congress in the House and Senate for almost a decade, but it has been plagued by years of negotiations, strategizing, and lobbying efforts.

Originally introduced in Congress in 2001 as H.R. 1918 and S. 1291, legislators have provided only small bursts of hope for the 65,000 unauthorized students who graduate from U.S. high schools annually, many of whom would qualify for the DREAM Act.

To qualify, students:

  • must have entered the United States before age 16.
  • must have been in the United States for at least five consecutive years prior to the bill’s enactment.
  • must have graduated from a U.S. high school, or obtained a GED and been accepted into an institution of higher education (college or university).
  • must have been between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time of application.
  • must have good moral character.

If students meet these requirements, they can apply for the DREAM Act. If approved, they will be granted “Conditional Permanent Residency.” Once residency is obtained, the student will have six years to complete at least two years of higher education or enlist for at least two years in one of the branches of the U.S. military. During the first five-and-a-half years of the six-year period, students will have an opportunity to apply for legal permanent residency and thus be able to apply for citizenship. If students already have a bachelor’s degree, they will still have to wait the five-and-a-half-year period.

This process is not easy. It will prove who really wants the opportunity and will abide by the rules.

The failure of the DREAM Act in September was a devastating loss for many supporters as Senate Democrats failed to garner support amongst Republicans to vote for the Defense Authorization Bill where the DREAM Act was to be added as an amendment. Now that the mid-term elections are over and as Congress reconvenes for the lame-duck session, the question for many DREAM Act students is: “Will Congress vote on it?”

Supporter and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he would push forward with the bill, but this will be challenging.

DREAM Act supporters know these next couple months are crucial to get the legislation passed as it is difficult to foresee any support in next years Congress. Moreover, the vote will be a critical move politicians need to carefully consider for the 2012 elections, if they wish to keep the Latino vote.

Portraits of Hunger and More

Let me draw your attention to two recent examples of great investigative reports related to hunger and nutrition. The first is a series of articles running in the Philadelphia Inquirer under the heading “Portrait of Hunger.” Hunger rates in Philadelphia are higher than in any big city of the country, and nowhere in Philly is hunger more endemic than in the First Congressional District, where the series is focused.

PA’s First District isn’t reeling because of the Great Recession. The recession hasn’t helped matters but the problems have been mounting for decades.  Jobs started vanishing half a century ago.

In these articles, you’ll read how families cope with hunger and poverty.  In a sense, we know their stories already - you may even feel like you’ve met these families before - but the articles still seem fresh because a good bit of the reporting is on nutrition, not just hunger.

Particularly popular, instant noodles and juice are the pediatrician's bugaboos - low-priced foods with outsized health consequences. They are the staples of corner stores, which outnumber supermarkets citywide by 17-1, according to an analysis by the Food Trust, a Philadelphia nonprofit working to provide access to healthy food.

I encourage you to check out the videos with the stories, especially the one of Mariana Chilton from Drexel University. She is featured in the articles but her explanations of hunger in the video and its effects on families and communities are well worth it if you aren’t inclined to read through all the articles. 

 

The second investigative report I want to draw your attention, “While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales,” appeared in the New York Times on Sunday, November 7, and describes why the obesity epidemic is so difficult to contain, especially if you think its only about self control.

I’ve been kind of fixated on obesity lately, so I couldn’t let this one pass.  The article highlights how USDA’s mandate to promote good public nutrition is being undermined right from within the agency.  It focuses on the influence of the Dairy Management Council, a division of USDA, created to promote the sale of dairy products. While that may sound like a legitimate aim for a division of USDA, the alarming aspects of the story are in the agency’s methods. Here’s one example: 

Dairy Management spent millions of dollars on research to support a national advertising campaign promoting the notion that people could lose weight by consuming more dairy products, records and interviews show. The campaign went on for four years, ending in 2007, even though other researchers — one paid by Dairy Management itself — found no such weight-loss benefits.

When the campaign was challenged as false, government lawyers defended it, saying the Agriculture Department “reviewed, approved and continually oversaw” the effort.

Dr. Neal D. Barnard, with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, is quoted in the article explaining  “If you want to look at why people are fat today, it’s pretty hard to identify a contributor more significant than this meteoric rise in cheese consumption.”

In its reports to Congress, however, the Agriculture Department tallies Dairy Management’s successes in millions of pounds of cheese served.

Success, you bet - Americans now consume three times more cheese than they did in 1970.

I suppose one could say, leave it up to the public to decide whether it wants to put fresh vegetables on pizza or slather on the extra cheese. Maybe so, but I find the policy incoherence at USDA galling.

Perspective is everything. Dairy Management has a budget of $140 million. USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, which promotes healthy diets, has a total budget of $6.5 million.

The Business of Border Enforcement

The U.S. government has spent an estimated $35 billion on the U.S.-Mexican border since 1994.

It’s fair to ask, have the results been what the United States intends and needs?

In developing a border security strategy, experts agree that, “The U.S. government should focus its enforcement efforts on combating genuine security risks along our borders.”

Studies show, however, that since 1992, “the growth in spending has outpaced increases in apprehensions being made at the border, so each arrest costs more. As a result of the increased enforcement, immigrants have been pushed to more dangerous terrain where there is less surveillance, [more] extreme environments, and more natural barriers which create higher risks.” 

A border fence is erected in Yuma, AZ

A border fence is erected in Yuma, AZ, as part of the multi-billion-dollar Secure Border Initiative. The construction of hundreds of miles of fencing was contracted to the Army Corps of Engineers at an estimated cost of between $400,000 and $4.8 million per mile.

Adding to the dangers posed by nature are the dangers posed by human beings. In one recent incident, 72 immigrants were killed in northeast Mexico on their way to the United States. The group, mostly from Central and South American countries, was initially intercepted by members of the Zetas criminal organization who tried to coerce the immigrants into joining their organization. When the immigrants refused, they were killed.

All the technology and extra supervision on the border has not made it safer for immigrants. Rather, forcing immigrants to cross through the desert has increased the incidence of human trafficking, sexual assault, beatings, robberies, kidnappings, and killings. 

The U.S. government should focus its border policies on combating the criminal element that poses the biggest threat both to immigrants and to U.S. national security – not on intercepting the vast majority of immigrants, who are migrating to the United States simply because they need to feed their families.

Understanding immigrants’ reasons for leaving home is essential to finding solutions to the immigration dilemma. When we consider the root causes of migration, it becomes clear why fences and other expensive border enforcement efforts – or even the unpredictable dangers of crime and desert travel on foot – are not deterring large numbers of people from trying to cross the border. They have hungry children to feed and aging parents to shelter. An effective approach to immigration must cross the border to address the “push” factors in immigrants’ home countries.

Getting Real About RDAs in the USA

Based on volumes of solid, peer-reviewed science about nutrition, the U.S. government has provided the public with recommendations of daily allowances (RDAs) of vitamins and minerals. “Recommendations” is the key word here. Most people, including me, consider themselves libertarians when it comes to food. Recommendations are okay, but we’ll make our own decisions about what to eat, thank you. 

In case you missed it, the United States is the most obese country in the world, starting with 20 percent of our kids. Many Americans can expect a date with dialysis at some point. The kneejerk libertarian reaction is to think their fat is their own business, but according to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity is costing $147 billion per year in health care costs and will no doubt rise much higher lest something is done to address it.

The rate at which all health care spending is rising is the greatest threat to the country’s fisnancial stability. At the current rate of growth, the cost of health care could eventually affect everything from whether there is enough money in the government budget to repair broken bridges and pay for public school teachers to whether there is anything around for foreign aid to help poor countries reduce hunger and poverty.

I’m not going to use this post to suggest government should get more involved in the health insurance industry. But thinking about what government can do to take public health (and specifically, the obesity epidemic) more seriously is really quite urgent at this point.

So let’s talk about farm policy. Yesterday, I said that high fructose corn syrup, a byproduct of subsidized corn, isn’t the main reason for obesity, but that doesn’t mean farm policy shouldn’t be doing more to promote healthier eating. We’ve got these RDAs that government supposedly stands behind. If the RDAs mean anything at all, shouldn’t there be some coherence in government’s support for them through food and farm policies?

According to the RDAs, Americans should be eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, and this would help to fight obesity. For many people, it’s an issue of cost. They can’t afford the healthy foods, and because they can’t afford it, the places where they shop see no reason to carry those foods, contributing to the downward spiral of worsening health conditions in poor neighborhoods.

The alternative to punishing people for choosing less expensive, unhealthy foods would be to focus on making healthier foods more affordable. You can do that in a variety of ways, for example, through additional SNAP benefits. But frankly, SNAP is not the answer. The average SNAP household earns about half the poverty rate. A whole lot more households are strapped for money than just those on SNAP, finding themselves trapped in neighborhoods where access to healthy foods is scarce.

A better alternative for all food consumers would be to help fruits and vegetable farmers to produce more. Fruits and vegetables don’t get production subsidies and they don’t need them or want them—but they could stand to get a lot more help than they currently do, for example, through government investments in agricultural research, conservation programs, and with direct marketing of fruits and vegetables to consumers.

Ramping up on the RDAs sounds easier than it is. Right now there isn’t even enough U.S. farmland to produce the requisite amount of fruits and vegetables to meet the RDAs. That’s not going to change without a deliberate effort on the part of government. Nor is a change in a culture of obesity.

That Syrupy Stuff in our Food

Obesity rates are highest among the poor, and so there is the unignorable relationship between food insecurity and obesity, but it doesn’t behoove us who want to reduce both food insecurity and obesity to fixate on the farm subsidies that gave us corn syrup as a cheap alternative to sugar.

Corn syrup has few friends and I’m not one of them, but it has been maligned worse than it should be, including by me.

I’m blogging about this because it’s assumed almost as common wisdom that high fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous ingredient of processed foods in recent decades, has been the major reason for rising obesity rates. Corn syrup arrived on the scene about the same time that obesity rates started to rise—and corn producers are heavily subsidized; therefore, the connection between farm policy and obesity seems obvious.

I mentioned in a previous post that there’s really very little evidence to connect the obesity epidemic with farm policy. Again, I’ll draw your attention to an article in a recent issue of Choices: The Magazine of Food, Farms and Resource Issues that covers this in more detail than I’m planning to do here.

Sugar-and-corn2 
As you can see in this graphic, high fructose corn syrup indeed has risen to near equal status with sugar as a sweetener in U.S. foods, but per capita consumption of sweeteners hasn’t changed enough to suggest the reason for America’s obesity problems is corn syrup, or sweeteners more generally.

Obesity is a complex phenomenon, a result of many factors, and fixating on corn syrup only misses more important issues, especially for poor households, like the prohibitive cost of healthy foods or the lack of access to such foods in poor neighborhoods.

Taking the Fizz Out of SNAP Won’t Reduce Obesity

By now, a lot of people have probably heard about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s intention to seek USDA approval to pilot a study to determine the effects of eliminating soda and other sugary drinks from the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program.

I was ambivalent when I learned about the mayor’s plan. I believe that food choices are people’s own business, including people on SNAP. I also know the cost of healthy foods (such as milk or fruit juice in this case) are almost always more expensive than an unhealthier alternative. 
However, my main concern is the slippery slope this could pave the way for—banning one type of food could lead to bans on others and others.

At the same time, research shows that soda and other sugary drinks are contributing to a national obesity epidemic, especially among kids. Presently, 2-5 year olds get most of their beverage calories from calorically sweetened beverages (CSBs). Look here:

Calories-by-age-group 

I came across this graph in a recent issue of Choices: The Magazine of Food, Farm and Resource Issues. The whole issue is dedicated to new research on obesity, and in case you thought you knew everything there was to know about obesity, I promise you there is still plenty to learn. For instance, this article makes a convincing case that obesity has very little to do with U.S. farm policies that subsidize corn, the reason we have so much high fructose corn syrup in our foods.

Let me highlight another graph in the issue. The one below details trends in Body Mass Index (BMI). As you can see, BMI has increased for all income groups—but note that it doesn’t show an increase for Food Stamp participants.

Obesity-trends

If Mayor Bloomberg were earnest about reducing obesity in NYC, he would be targeting everyone instead of just SNAP participants. Two-thirds of the country is currently overweight or obese.

Again, I highly recommend this issue of Choices if you want to get into some myth-busting about obesity.

La xenofobia 101

“Necesitamos una reforma migratoria...Tenemos que hacer valer nuestros valores y reconciliar nuestros principios como una nación de inmigrantes y una nación de leyes. Esa es una de las prioridades que perseguiré desde mi primer día” —Senador Barack Obama, junio de 2008

Estos pueden ser momentos frustrantes para los defensores de la reforma migratoria. A pesar de las promesas del presidente Obama y una muestra de interés nacional a principios de este año, debido a las leyes de inmigración restrictivas de Arizona el impulso para el cambio de política ha disminuido.

En este corto plazo la reforma integral puede ser muchas cosas excepto posible y las reformas incrementales como lo son el Acta DREAM y AgJobs, aunque son más realistas se enfrentan a enormes obstáculos. Casi todo el mundo ha sido culpado por el estancamiento: el Presidente, los republicanos, defensores de la inmigración mal aconsejados, y así sucesivamente.

Pero en una democracia la opinión pública es vital para la formulación de políticas. Está claro que en este momento el público estadounidense está más entusiasmado con la vigilancia fronteriza que con la legalización. A su vez, la vigilancia fronteriza es muy popular entre los políticos, porque la mayoría de los estadounidenses la apoyan. Aunque a menudo las votaciones son contradictorias, las mismas también revelan cierto apoyo para algunos programas de legalización. La información recaudada sobre la inmigración demuestra una clara preferencia pública por la vigilancia fronteriza.

Los políticos infrecuentemente culpan al público. Como Mark Salter, el asesor del senador John McCain, declaró recientemente: “No hay muchos votantes a quienes les guste escuchar que hay algo mal con ellos”. Pero la actitud del país hacia los inmigrantes tendrá que cambiar antes de que ocurra una reforma importante.

Por desgracia, uno de los elementos fundamentales que crea las opiniones de los estadounidenses sobre la inmigración es la xenofobia. No toda la oposición a la inmigración está impulsada por la xenofobia, pero sin duda la misma es un factor contribuyente. Los académicos describen la xenofobia—también conocida como “nativismo”, como: “Una intensa oposición a una minoría interna sobre la base de sus conexiones (‘no-americanas’) extranjeras”.

Hasta cierto punto, el elemento psicológico de nuestras actitudes hacia los inmigrantes existe en todos nosotros. Los objetivos cambian basados en los prejuicios del día, pero el miedo es constante. Es por eso que en 1855 la xenofobia estalló como una revuelta anti-alemana en Louisville, Kentucky, como resultado de la cual fueron asesinadas por lo menos 22 personas; en 1871 como una revuelta anti-china que cobró las vidas de por lo menos 20 inmigrantes en Los Ángeles, y hoy en día como la legislación restrictiva simbolizada por la ley SB 1070 de Arizona dirigida primordialmente hacia los inmigrantes mexicanos.

Otra interesante perspectiva sobre la xenofobia la describe como “discriminación potenciall” activada y aumentada por un sentido de amenaza. Los investigadores señalan que las opiniones negativas sobre los inmigrantes provienen de “los temores de la disminución de recursos económicos, los rápidos cambios demográficos y la disminución de la influencia política”. Otro investigador dice que: “Los inmigrantes pueden ofrecer un escape emocional para el miedo cuando los asuntos internos y externos de un país son inestables".

¿Suena familiar?

Las teorías sobre las causas de la xenofobia varían. Como se mencionara anteriormente, una de las causas lo es el factor económico. Los extranjeros son vistos como rivales debido a los limitados recursos económicos. Esto es particularmente cierto con respecto a los inmigrantes pobres, que son vistos como una carga para los recursos públicos. Otra razón está basada en los valores. Los inmigrantes traen diferentes creencias, costumbres y actitudes que no son compatibles con los valores estadounidenses.

En todo caso, la xenofobia crea una carga emocional para aquellos hacia quienes es dirigida.  Encuestas recientes indican que dos tercios de los latinos sienten que están siendo objeto de discriminación y una gran cantidad cree que esto se debe al actual estado anímico anti-inmigrante en el país. Además de los obstáculos económicos, la adaptación cultural en lo que puede ser un medio hostil está vinculada a la depresión y al suicidio entre los inmigrantes recientes.

Aunque a corto plazo el pronóstico para la reforma migratoria es sombrío, a largo plazo el consenso a través del espectro de la política es que algo tendrá que hacerse. Este es un buen presagio para el cambio gradual. Es por eso que la educación y la comunicación son clave y tal vez incluso más importantes ahora.

Aunque los políticos no pueden decirle a los votantes que están equivocados, los defensores sí pueden hacerlo. Es probable que la reforma migratoria no ocurra con una sola acción legislativa dramática. Lo más probable es que ocurra poco a poco, lo cual será facilitado por un proceso educativo que reduzca el miedo.

Xenophobia 101

Anti-immigrant-protesters-006


“We need immigration reform…We must assert our values and reconcile our principles as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. That is a priority I will pursue from my very first day.”
Sen. Barack Obama, June 2008

These can be frustrating times for immigration reform advocates. In spite of President Obama’s pledges and a streak of national interest early this year due to Arizona’s restrictive immigration law, momentum for policy change has waned.

In the near term comprehensive reform is all-but-impossible and incremental reforms like the DREAM Act and AgJobs – while more realistic – face daunting obstacles. Just about everybody has been blamed for the stalemate: the President, Republicans, ill-advised immigration advocates, and so on.

But in a democracy public opinion is vital to policymaking. It’s clear that right now that the American public is more enthusiastic about border enforcement than earned legalization. In turn, border enforcement is popular among policymakers because a majority of Americans support it. While polling is often contradictory – for example, it also reveals support for some sort of legalization program – the data on immigration show a clear public preference for border enforcement.

Politicians rarely put the blame on the public. As Sen. John McCain adviser Mark Salter recently stated, “Not too many voters like to be told there’s something wrong with them.” But the nation’s attitude toward immigrants will need to shift before major reform happens.  

Unfortunately, one of the core elements shaping Americans’ views on immigration is xenophobia. Not all opposition to immigration is driven by xenophobia, but it is certainly a contributing factor. Scholars describe xenophobia – also known as nativism – as, “An intense opposition to an internal minority on the grounds of its foreign (‘un-American’) connections.”

To some extent, the psychological element of our attitudes to immigrants is hardwired in all of us. The targets change based on the prejudices of the day, but the fear is constant. That’s why in 1855 xenophobia exploded as an anti-German riot in Louisville, Kentucky that killed at least 22; in 1871 as an anti-Chinese riot that killed least 20 immigrants in Los Angeles; and today as the restrictive legislation symbolized by Arizona’s SB 1070 that is directed primarily toward Mexican immigrants.

Another interesting take on xenophobia describes it as “discriminatory potential” activated and escalated by a sense of threat. Researchers note that negative views of immigrants come from “fears of diminished economic resources, rapid demographic changes, and diminished political influence.” Another researcher states that “immigrants can offer an emotional outlet for fear when both the internal and external affairs of a country are unstable.”

Sound familiar?

Theories on the causes of xenophobia vary. As noted above, one is economic: outsiders are seen as challengers for limited economic resources.  This is particularly true regarding poor immigrants who are viewed as a drain on public resources. Another is values-based: immigrants bring different beliefs, morals, and attitudes that are not compatible with American values.

In any case, xenophobia takes an emotional toll on its targets: Recent polling indicates that two-thirds of Latinos feel they are being discriminated against and a plurality believe that this is due to the current anti-immigrant mood in the country. In addition to the economic challenges, cultural adjustment in what can be a hostile environment is linked to depression and suicide among recent immigrants.  

Although the short-term prognosis for immigration reform is grim, over the long-term the across-the-political-spectrum consensus that something has to be done bodes well for gradual change. That’s why education and communication are key and perhaps even more important now.

Although politicians can’t tell voters they are wrong, advocates can. Immigration reform will probably not occur with a single dramatic legislative action. It’s more likely to happen one-step-at-a-time and it will be facilitated by long-term, broad-based public education and outreach that defuses our ingrained impulses that tend toward fear.

 

 

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