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A new report by the Project on Student Debt said college graduates in Arizona had some of the lowest levels of college debt in the nation. The state’s average of $20,299 was 47th lowest among states, ahead of only California and New Mexico.

Students in four-year colleges in Arizona graduated with some of the lowest college debt in the nation in 2012, according to a new report. Read more»

Phoenix resident Cristian Avila passes the cross he has worn for 22 days of his fast to Ciara Taylor, who is one of the new group of hunger strikers pushing for immigration reform.

After 22 days with no food as part of an immigration reform protest, Phoenix resident Cristian Avila broke his fast Tuesday and was sent to a Washington-area hospital for a checkup. Avila was one of four hunger strikers who had been living and fasting in a tent on the National Mall in hopes of compelling congressional action on immigration reform. Read more» 1

Cristian Avila, 23, started fasting Nov. 12 in Phoenix, then brought his fast to Washington where he has joined four others who said they will take only water until Congress act on stalled immigration reform bills.

Visitors to a tent on the National Mall occasionally have to lean in close so they can understand what Phoenix resident Cristian Avila is saying. Avila is one of five protesters who stopped eating Nov. 12 and in an effort to force congressional action on stalled immigration reform legislation. They have vowed to continue their fast until the House acts. Read more» 1

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Tucson, has said he opposes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but he supports measures aimed at fixing problems with it, like the bill to let people keep insurance that would be canceled under the law.

The midterm congressional elections are still a year off, but the Republican Party started ratcheting up its campaign this week against three freshman Arizona Democrats it has targeted in the race. In a conference call Monday, strategists for the National Republican Congressional Committee said they would try to tie “the disastrous rollout of Obamacare” to Democratic Reps. Ron Barber of Tucson, Ann Kirkpatrick of Flagstaff and Kyrsten Sinema of Phoenix. Read more»

Phoenix resident Gina Sanchez, shown here in the Paz Accion shirt during an October immigration rally in Washington, was back in town this week to join in a fast to bring attention to the issue.

Immigration overhaul advocates said they will keep fighting, despite a House Republican leader’s comment last week that there is not enough time left on this year’s legislative calendar to act on the issue. Read more»

Seven National Guardsmen from Arizona have died since 9/11 while serving to support the war on terror. Their names are listed with those of nearly 800 other fallen guardsmen from around the country on a memorial wall at the National Guard Memorial Museum.

Sgt. Mary Herrera answered her country’s call after 9/11 and was deployed to Iraq where she was shot twice in the right arm, a memory that she says is still fresh 10 years later. But Herrera was not active military when she was wounded overseas: The Tucson resident was a member of Arizona’s Army National Guard. Read more»

Advocates tried to raise awareness of sex trafficking of minors by putting a teen girl inside a life-sized doll box labeled 'for sale' on a street in downtown Washington.

Arizona got a C on a national report card that examines states’ protections against sex trafficking of minors, the third straight year the state has received a middling grade on the report. Read more»

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an architect of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, told an immigration forum at Georgetown University that it is past time for the House to act on the issue.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., urged the House Thursday to act on immigration reform, even if that means moving on its own piecemeal approach to the problem rather than the Senate’s comprehensive reform bill. Read more»

Even though Friday’s cuts in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – food stamp – benefits have been planned for years, angry House Democrats rallied against the cuts this week on Capitol Hill. Their bill to delay the cuts has stalled.

More than 1.1 million Arizonans who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – better known as food stamps – will see their benefits reduced Friday in a long-planned national cut., ranging from $11 a month for a single recipient to $65 or more for large families. Read more»

Robert Pauw argued to the OAS’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that U.S. immigration policies contravene international human rights standards aimes at protecting children and family unity, as well as fundamental due process and workers’ rights.

After months of pushing national leaders for action on immigration reform, advocates Monday took their appeal to an international stage, telling the Organization of American States that U.S. immigration policy violates human rights. Read more»

Barber last November. The Democrat is expected to face a rematch next year with Republican Martha McSally, whom he beat narrowly for the 2nd District seat in 2012.

With a year until the next election, Democratic freshmen in three competitive Arizona congressional districts are continuing to stockpile cash for their re-election bids, according to the latest campaign finance reports. U.S. Reps. Ron Barber, Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema each raised at least $280,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30. Read more»

Phoenix resident Hassan Quiz was brought to this country illegally as a baby, and was subsequently turned away when he tried to join the military. Quiz joined other illegal immigrants at a Capitol Hill rally for a bill that would let them, and other like them, enlist.

Phoenix resident Hassan Quiz had passed all the tests toward his dream of being in the military when he ran up against one he couldn’t pass. Quiz was brought to this country illegally as a child, making him ineligible to serve in the U.S. military. So Wednesday, he and eight other illegal immigrants who had been turned away from the service did military-style drills in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, hoping to get a message to Congress. Read more»

After being told they could not meet with House Speaker John Boehner, the group of 44 immigration reform advocates stood in line in the hallway outside his office and prayed – and vowed to continue doing so for a week or until they get a meeting.

They rode for 43 hours in a bus from Phoenix, hoping to appeal to House Speaker John Boehner on immigration reform, but when they arrived at his office in Washington they were turned away. So the group of 44 Arizonans gathered in the hallway outside Boehner’s district office Tuesday, singing and praying and vowing to wait – for a week or for a meeting with the speaker, whichever comes first. Read more»

Taryn Offenbacher of Shared Hope International said closing the 'age loophole' should be a priority. 'A minor is a minor' and customers should be punished just as severely whether that minor is 14 or 17, she said.

Someone who solicits sex with a minor in Arizona could face up to 27 years in prison. Or 90 days. It’s what advocates call the “age loophole” and they say changing it is a priority. Read more»

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, center, links arms with other members of Congress before being arrested in front of the Capitol as part of a rally in support of immigration reform.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva was arrested Tuesday with nearly 200 other protesters outside the U.S. Capitol after a daylong rally to demand congressional action on comprehensive immigration reform. The Tucson Democrat was one of eight lawmakers arrested at the end of the Camino Americano rally, which drew thousands to the National Mall for speeches, music and cheers. Read more» 1

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