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“Undocumented” citizens are not only those designated as such by the immigration system. They are also those whose stories continue to go unnoticed, although 93% of them are U.S. citizens.”   Gettyimages
“Undocumented” people are not only those designated as such by the legal immigration system. They are also those whose stories continue to go unnoticed in the news media, although 93% of them are U.S. citizens born ot raised here, and fellow Americans…

The 3.6 million U.S. Latinos you haven’t heard about [OP-ED]

They are more “undocumented” —in a true and more precise sense of the word— than those other “11 million” you hear all the time about.

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“Undocumented.” 

“11 million undocumented.”

It is like a drill anybody who consumes U.S. news media has to endure all year long.

For the past ten years, or more, the “11 million undocumented” has been like a headline fixture — the most quoted statistics about Latinos in America.

Unquestioned and unproven because, I wonder, how can we accurately count them in the first place if they are undocumented, unaccounted for?

Yet, it is a heinous number framing through relentless repetition how millions of Americans see and size up the presence of Latinos in the U.S. 

We have no idea that the GDP of Americans of Latino descent has skyrocketed to $2.6 trillion, boosting the otherwise ailing productivity of the U.S. economy.

However, we can recite by memory the number of people the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook still branded until not long ago as “illegals,” after a 2013 retraction of the term “because —they finally acknowledged— it is not precise.”

AP, as well as some other U.S. major news media channels, has a long way to go to add more “precision” to the documenting the evolving reality of today’s America.

AP, as well as other U.S. major news media channels has a long way to go to add more “precision” in documenting the evolving reality of today’s America.

That rapidly evolving reality of the U.S. society is well ahead of the media’s current capacity to accurately reflect it — which is the major responsibility of the 4th State in a democratic society like ours.

That was our inspiration for AL DIA Journalism Lab on Higher Education — a project we put together in partnership with LMA (Local Media Association), the national media association spearheading philanthropy-supportive journalism with AL DÍA and 15 other diverse news media organizations from across the country.

Through fact-based, independent reporting, we want “to document the truly undocumented”— other 3.6 million Americans of Latino descent, 93% of them U.S. citizens you are yet to hear about, simply because no one has written enough about them.

They are today a blessing to the U.S. system of higher education, and also the national economy empower by it. Against all odds, they were admitted to university campuses in our region and all across the nation, and they make up the fastest-growing segment of the student population in U.S. colleges, covering the over 2 million loss in new student enrollment suffered by universities across the country over the past three years.

COVID-19 has deepened a looming labor crisis experienced today by every single one of the Fortune 1000 companies in America, confronting an increasing shortage of sufficient, competent, and diverse professional workforce.

The U.S. will be more vulnerable to the steep competition coming at us from abroad if we don’t acknowledge the demographic cliff we are now coming face to face at the critical juncture of the U.S. system of Higher Education.

"Any country that out-educates us is going to outcompete us," president Joe Biden said in his State of the Union speech to the entire nation.

President Joe Biden acknowledged it last week in his own nationally-televised State of the Union speech, crediting his wife Jill for this intelligent synthesis of the problem: "Any country that out-educates us is going to outcompete us," the president said in his address to the entire nation.

I agree with Mr. Biden: "Twelve years is no longer enough today to compete with the rest of the world in the 21st Century."

AL DIA Journalism Lab on Higher Education —a serious 3-year long reporting and writing project, powered up by a team of 4 professional journalists— wants to make a contribution to the understanding of this local and national problem, using a solution journalism approach to the common purpose of formulating better public policy on a structural change we, as a society, can’t afford to ignore any longer. 

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