It seems like every few years, rap music is criticized for what some perceive as a precipitous decline in lyrical skill and quality. A decade ago, Nas declared that hip hop was dead. Now, artists such as Lil Yachty and Young Thug are often chided for veering too far from the roots of rap music. The debate will probably rage on for years to come, but if you take a moment to zoom out of the U.S. hip hop landscape, you’ll find that rap music still has the ability to give a voice to the voiceless.
Meet the Tihorappers Crew, a collective of Mayan rappers from Tihosuco, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
There is tough news out of Washington this week that could make chasing the American Dream cost a lot more. According to a report published on Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security is proposing raising a range of fees for those seeking legal immigration and citizenship, as well as an increase in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal fees. There would also a proposed charge for asylum applications, which would charge $50 for applications and $490 for work permits. As of now, only Fiji, Australia and Iran currently do this for asylum applications.
The price hikes would make the cost of citizenship applications go up by 83 percent, from $640 to $1,170. This would primarily affect roughly 9 million immigrants that are eligible to become U.S. citizens. DACA fees would also see a substantial rise as they would increase from $495 to $765. News of this fee hike comes in the same week that the Supreme Court heard arguments on the validity of President Trump’s justification to terminate DACA.
The reasoning for the proposed price hikes and new fees is to help cover new expenses at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of USCIS, said that this will help the agency cover new costs in the last few years due to an increase in citizenship applications.
“USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures, just like a business, and make adjustments based on that analysis. This proposed adjustment in fees would ensure more applicants cover the true cost of their applications and minimize subsidies from an already over-extended system,” Cuccinelli said in a press release. “Furthermore, the adjudication of immigration applications and petitions requires in-depth screening, incurring costs that must be covered by the agency, and this proposal accounts for our operational needs and better aligns our fee schedule with the costs of processing each request.”
As of now, the agency will have a period of 30 days to receive public opinion, as established by law. The plan then is expected to go into effect Dec. 2, while the comment period will remain open until Dec. 16.
After the comment period ends next month, USCIS is then obligated by law to consider comments on the proposal before any of the new fees can put forward. This time period is key for millions of immigrants that are eligible to naturalize and become U.S. citizens before such fees rise. Immigration advocacy groups are calling forward to those groups as they may have only a few weeks before these price hikes go into effect.
“If you were lacking motivation before, it’s now even more important because this outrageous rule aims to price out low-income and working-class immigrants from U.S. citizenship and so many other immigration benefits,” Diego Iñiguez-López, NPNA’s policy and campaigns manager, said in a statement to NBC News.
These proposed price hikes come at a time when the overall percentage of lawful immigrants living in the country that are willfully applying for and gaining citizenship has reached its highest level in more than 20 years. That can’t be said for Mexican Americans who fall behind other groups when it comes to naturalization rates. This is also despite being the biggest group of lawful immigrants in terms of country of origin.
“This is one more way under the administration that they are making legal immigration unattainable,” Ur Jaddou, former chief counsel at USCIS under the Obama administration, told Buzzfeed News.
Advocacy groups call the price hikes an attempt to further hurt those with already limited resources.
Boundless, an immigration services firm, called the proposed price hike another blow to immigrants trying to come into the U.S. The firm says that increased fees target the poor and those in vulnerable positions by pricing them out of citizenship.
“Once again, this administration is attempting to use every tool at its disposal to restrict legal immigration and even U.S. citizenship,” said Doug Rand, the group’s co-founder, told the Washington Post .“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees.”
There’s no denying that Mexican food revolves around masa. We use the corn dough for tortillas, tamales, gorditas, tostadas, chips, tacos, we can go on and on. The masa isn’t low-calorie food. It’s a high-carb, and we eat a lot of it. Have you ever had just one tortilla for one meal? We didn’t think so. We also eat a lot of beans, and beans — while good protein — are sometimes made it lard, straight up fat. We say all of this because Mexican food could become one of the most unhealthy habits if not consumed responsibly. A new study shows how much Latinos are affected by it.
Latinos are poised to get type 2 diabetes more than any other group.
Credit: @HHS_HealthReg2 / Twitter
A couple of studies point to the same result: the chances of Latinos getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are higher than any other group. The studies show that the fault falls on our genetics and also our lifestyle.
“There are some genetic factors,” Dr. Rayesh K. Garg said in an interview with the Miami-Herald, “but there are also many lifestyle factors. Diet, high fat, high-carb, plays a big role.”
Genetics: Hispanics/Latinos have genes that increase their chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is very complicated, though, and the connection isn’t completely clear.
Food: In some Hispanic/Latino cultures, meals can be high in fat and calories. Also, family celebrations may involve social pressure to overeat, and turning down food could be seen as impolite.
Weight/activity: Hispanics/Latinos have higher rates of obesity and tend to be less physically active than non-Hispanic whites. And some see overweight as a sign of health instead of as a health problem.
Studies also show that type 2 diabetes is also affecting a younger generation of Latinos.
The CDC study states that people of color, including Black, Latino, and Asian, are at risk of getting diabetes, but for Latinos, it’s still much higher. The report shows that Latinos will likely have type 2 diabetes at 17 percent higher than non-Hispanic whites, which is at 8 percent.
“The HCHS/SOL study found a comparable or higher burden of cardiovascular disease risk among all major U.S. Hispanic and Latino groups, compared to non-Hispanic whites living in the United States. Additionally, study data showed considerable differences among Hispanics of various backgrounds. It has been shown that 71 percent of Hispanic and Latina women and 80 percent of Hispanic and Latino men have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”
Here’s what Latinos can do to stay in better health and prevent diabetes.
Credit: @DrDiazRios / Twitter
It’s pretty common sense that we should eat everything in moderation, and that we should do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Dr. Garg also suggests phasing out of carbs. He said it sounds like a radical change, but it doesn’t have to be.
“You don’t have to completely abandon your lifestyle,” Garg says. “You can live a normal life if you have diabetes or prediabetes. But you do have to make changes.”
The CDC also suggests that Latinos have to change their way of thinking when it comes to doctors, health, and nutrition.
“You may put the needs of your family before your own health needs. You may want to use natural or traditional medicines instead of standard diabetes treatments. You may also have heard that taking insulin will cause diabetes complications (this isn’t true).”
Latinos love family gatherings, and those moments are usually shared with meals. The CDC suggests that by incorporating change within the family, a healthy lifestyle could benefit everyone.
“When a family member has to change what he or she eats to manage diabetes, it affects the whole family. This can be an opportunity for everyone to make healthy changes, which is especially important for kids. Hispanic/Latino children and teens are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, too, and learning healthy eating habits early gives them the best chance to prevent it.”