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  • 09/21/10--14:43: A DREAM DEFERRED, NOT DEAD
  • By Eric Rodriguez

    Opponents of the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act” today used a procedural maneuver to thwart the legislation in a way that they think will allow them to hide their true positions from voters. However, not only will the Latino community continue to push for the “DREAM Act,” it will also remember today’s failure in the Senate on Election Day.

    The “DREAM Act” would allow young members of our society—who were brought here as children through no decision of their own, have grown up in our country, demonstrated good character, and excelled academically—to earn legal residence by serving in the military or completing two years of college. For years, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), along with many others, fought for this overdue day. The “DREAM Act” earned the right to be discussed on its merits before the Senate.

    But today’s long-awaited Senate action on the act was thwarted in a procedural vote by Senate Republicans. Not a single Republican senator voted to open debate on the “Department of Defense Authorization Act of 2011” (S. 3454), which contained the “DREAM Act” as an amendment.

    There has been an overwhelming outpouring of support for the “DREAM Act” from business, military, religious, civil rights, and immigrant organizations and education leaders from throughout the country, as well as incredible leadership from young students. The measure was even endorsed by the fiscal year 2010–2012 Strategic Plan for the Department of Defense’s Office of the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness to help the military “shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force.”

    We are deeply frustrated that Senate Republicans did not see it fit to give the legislation an opportunity. Even worse, more than a dozen so-called supporters of the “DREAM Act” chose to avoid an up-or-down vote on the legislation, keeping the lives of young people in legal limbo along the way. Some of these senators think they can flip-flop on this issue or hide behind statements such as “I support it but I won’t vote for it,” but these tactics have no place when it comes to America’s youth.

    Senators, the Hispanic community will not stop its push for the “DREAM Act” and broader immigration reform. And come November, the rapidly growing number of Latino voters will remember today’s vote.

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  • 09/22/10--08:41: News Roundup for Wednesday
  • Yesterday, the U.S. Senate scheduled a vote on a motion to proceed on the Department of Defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2011. The vote, if passed, would have allowed amendments to be discussed and voted on for the bill. One of those amendments was the “DREAM Act.” Unfortunately, the GOP voted against the motion, effectively stalling any movement on the bill and on the “DREAM Act” for the time being. The Washington Post writes:

    “Republican lawmakers on Tuesday stalled a Senate measure to allow children of undocumented immigrants to get on a path to citizenship, and accused the Obama administration of seeking amnesty for illegal immigrants through administrative changes within the Department of Homeland Security.

    “The so-called Dream Act to grant permanent residency to immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and who have completed some time in college or in the armed forces has been a sought-after goal for Democrats, who attached the measure to an important defense spending bill. Republicans used a procedural vote to block the bill. Immigration advocates accused Republicans of sacrificing the well-being of thousands of young people to cater to nativist sentiment.”

    According to a new study released by the College Board, the value of a college degree is on the rise. The New York Times has the story:

    “Despite rising tuition and student-loan debt levels, the long-term payoff from earning a college degree is growing, according to a report to be issued Tuesday by the College Board.

    “Workers with a college degree earned much more and were much less likely to be unemployed than those with only a high school diploma, according to the report, ‘Education Pays: the Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society.’

    “According to the report, the median earnings of full-time workers with bachelor’s degrees were $55,700 in 2008 — $21,900 more than those of workers who finished only high school.

    “And the pay premium for those with bachelor’s degrees has grown substantially in recent years. Among those ages 25 to 34, women with college degrees earned 79 percent more than those with high school diplomas, and men, 74 percent more. A decade ago, women with college degrees had a 60 percent pay premium and men 54 percent.”

    Six months after the president signed health care reform into law, its effects are starting to be felt, but not in the way that was expected. Large insurance companies are planning to stop providing child-only insurance plans, according to the Los Angeles Times:

    “Major health insurance companies in California and other states have decided to stop selling policies for children rather than comply with a new federal healthcare law that bars them from rejecting youngsters with preexisting medical conditions.

    “Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna Inc. and others will halt new child-only policies in California, Illinois, Florida, Connecticut and elsewhere as early as Thursday when provisions of the nation's new healthcare law take effect, including a requirement that insurers cover children under age 19 regardless of their health histories.

    “The action will apply only to new coverage sought for children and not to existing child-only plans, family policies or insurance provided to youngsters through their parents' employers. An estimated 80,000 California children currently without insurance — and as many as 500,000 nationwide — would be affected, according to experts.”

    Mortgage paperwork is to be simplified as soon as possible, according to USA Today. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Obama advisor Elizabeth Warren see it is part of consumer protection:

    “Obama adviser Elizabeth Warren and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday that the administration is committed to implementing, as soon as possible, several consumer protections that are part of the sweeping overhaul of the financial system that Congress passed in the summer.

    “Geithner and Warren made the comments as part of a forum they held at the Treasury Department with a number of consumer advocacy groups, financial literacy counselors and representatives of the mortgage industry to receive input on ways to simplify mortgage disclosure forms.

    “‘Whenever possible, we are committed to expediting completion of the law's requirements ahead of statutory deadlines,’ Geithner said. ‘Moving quickly to improve mortgage disclosures is one in a series of concrete steps we're taking.’

    “One of the requirements of the new Dodd-Frank law is to combine and simplify two overlapping mortgage disclosure forms, one required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the other by the Federal Reserve.

    “Despite a decade of efforts, the government has yet to combine the two overlapping forms.”

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  • 09/22/10--13:00: Wealth-Building Wednesdays
  • Life After the Home Buyer Tax Credit
    By Casey Mulligan
    The home buyer tax credit did have some influence on the market, but not as much as it is credited as having.

    More TARP, Please
    by Tim Fernholz
    TARP worked, and similar fund infusions will work for small businesses too.

    Those GSE Subprime Losses
    by Rortybomb
    Prime Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) loans were the worst performers above and beyond subprime loans.

    Fannie Freddie Further
    by Paul Krugman
    Again, stop blaming the subprimes.

    The Fed, Translated Into English
    by Jacob Goldstein
    Read the Federal Reserve's updates in plain English.

    Prepaid Cards for Prisoners
    by Bank Talk
    Will prepaid cards save prisons and prisoners money?

    Where Did HAMP Go Wrong?
    by Adam Levitin
    HAMP has a tragic legacy of the wrong people, place, and time.

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  • 09/23/10--07:49: News Roundup for Thursday
  • Today, health care reform legislation’s new insurance rules go into effect, and insurers are scrambling to make sure that they get ahead of the changes. The New York Times has the story:

    “Insurers are cutting administrative staff to lower overhead costs, investing in big technology upgrades and training employees to field the expected influx of customer inquiries.

    “Despite the talk among some Republicans of repealing all or part of the law, insurers say they cannot afford to put off the changes. Many said they were fundamentally altering their business models to cope.

    “‘It is really the Manhattan Project because of the scale and the scope,’ said Karen Ignagni, chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group.

    “Under the new law, insurers that offer child-only policies must start covering all children, even the seriously ill, beginning on Thursday. Insurers must also begin offering free preventive services, and for the first time, their premiums must start passing muster with federal and state regulators by the end of the year.”

    Mountains of paperwork are creating opportunities for fraud and forgeries that compromise the foreclosure process. The Washington Post writes:

    “The nation's overburdened foreclosure system is riddled with faked documents, forged signatures and lenders who take shortcuts reviewing borrower's files, according to court documents and interviews with attorneys, housing advocates and company officials.
    “The problems, which are so widespread that some judges approving the foreclosures ignore them, are coming to light after Ally Financial, the country's fourth-biggest mortgage lender, halted home evictions in 23 states this week.

    “During the housing boom, millions of homeowners got easy access to mortgages while providing virtually no proof of their income or background. Now, as millions of Americans are being pushed out of the homes they can no longer afford, the foreclosure process is producing far more paperwork than anyone can read and making it vulnerable to fraud.”

    Birthright citizenship is a well-established and settled legal issue, according to Raul A. Reyes, a New York City attorney who wrote in response to Charlotte Allen’s piece calling for an end to the practice in the Los Angeles Times:

    “As an attorney and supporter of immigrant rights, I tried to read with an open mind Charlotte Allen's Sept. 20 Times Op-Ed article, ‘A birthright that shouldn't be.’ Allen argued against the 14th Amendment’s provision of birthright citizenship, warned of the costs associated with U.S.-born children of undocumented workers and castigated the Obama administration for failing to secure our borders.

    “The most meaningful part of her essay was what she did not say. Out of more than 1,000 words, she devoted exactly two sentences to offering a solution to our immigration problems.

    “Allen began by noting that if we ended birthright citizenship, ‘it would bring America's citizenship policies into line with those of most of the rest of the world.’ Sorry, but my mother never bought the ‘all the other kids are doing it’ argument, and neither do I. The U.S. is the gold standard for the rest of the world, not the other way around. I'd prefer to keep things that way.

    And finally, a new study from Vanderbilt University takes a hard look at the merit-pay system for teachers and comes up with some interesting conclusions. USA Today covers the study:

    “Offering middle-school math teachers bonuses up to $15,000 did not produce gains in student test scores, Vanderbilt University researchers reported Tuesday in what they said was the first scientifically rigorous test of merit pay.

    The results [.pdf] could amount to a cautionary flag about paying teachers for the performance of their students, a reform strategy the Obama administration and many states and school districts have favored despite lukewarm support or outright opposition from teachers’ unions.

    “The U.S. Department of Education has put a great deal of effort into prodding school districts and states to try merit-pay systems as part of its Race to the Top competition, although teachers' unions have often objected on the grounds that they don't have fair and reliable ways to measure performance. In most school districts, teacher pay is based on years of experience and educational attainment levels.”

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  • 09/27/10--08:04: News Roundup for Monday
  • The voice of the middle class will be heard this Saturday as the One Nation Working Together march takes place in Washington, DC. Stephen Greenhouse of The New York Times writes:

    “Predicting a crowd of more than 100,000, some 300 liberal groups — including the N.A.A.C.P., the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the National Council of La Raza and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force — are sponsoring a march on Saturday in the hope of transforming the national conversation so it focuses less on the Tea Party. The groups sponsoring the rally, which is called ’One Nation Working Together,’ say they hope to supplant what they say is the Tea Party’s divisiveness with a message of unity to promote jobs, justice and education.

    “‘The Tea Party has been getting much more media attention than it deserves, and it’s been saying it represents the voice of middle-class America,’ said George Gresham, president of 1199 S.E.I.U., a New York health care union local, who says his union has chartered 500 buses to carry 25,000 union members to the rally. ‘A lot of us feel we have to get a different voice out there speaking for working people, one respecting the diversity of this country, which the Tea Party does not.’”

    President Obama calls for a longer school year and acknowledges that money alone cannot fix our school system. The Washington Post writes:

    “Bemoaning America's decreasing global educational competitiveness, Obama sought in a nationally broadcast interview to reinvigorate his education agenda. At the same time, the president acknowledged that many poor schools don't have the money they need and he defended federal aid for them. But Obama also said that money alone won't fix the problems in public schools, saying higher standards must be set and achieved by students and teachers alike.

    “Asked in an interview if he supported a year-round school year, Obama said: ‘The idea of a longer school year, I think, makes sense.’ He did not specify how long that school year should be but said U.S. students attend classes, on average, about a month less than children in most other advanced countries.”

    Latinos in California still remember the political battle over Proposition 187, a proposal pushed by Pete Wilson, a Republican governor in the early ’90s, that would have denied services to undocumented immigrants. The Los Angeles Times writes:

    “Latino voters, who have helped to propel California's leftward political swing over recent years, remain reluctant to embrace Republican candidates as the November general election nears, a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll shows.

    “Registered voters who identified themselves as Latino backed Democrat Jerry Brown by a 19-point margin over Republican Meg Whitman in the race for governor, despite Whitman's multiple appeals to Latino voters during the general election campaign. Registered voters who identified themselves as white gave Brown a slim 2-point margin.

    “In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer held a 38-point lead over Republican Carly Fiorina among registered Latino voters, five times the lead she held among white voters.

    “Latino views are keenly watched by political candidates and campaigns because of the state's demographic march. A 2009 study by the Field Poll found that white voters had declined from 83% to 65% of the electorate in the previous three decades. At the same time, the percentage of Latino voters had almost tripled, to 21%.”

    The quality of care received in U.S. hospitals has improved, according the a new study in USA Today:

    “A report says treatment has improved substantially at U.S. hospitals for several ailments including heart attacks, pneumonia and children's asthma.

    “The report released Wednesday is based on more than 3,000 hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission, an independent regulatory group.

    “On average, hospitals in the report gave recommended heart attack treatment almost 98% of the time in 2009, versus 89% in 2002. That includes aspirin upon arriving and aspirin and beta blockers upon leaving.

    “For pneumonia, recommended treatment was given almost 93% of the time in 2009. That compares with 72% in 2002. And for asthma care in children, it was 88% versus 71% in 2007, the first year the commission included that in its annual report.

    “Substantial improvement was also seen in surgical care, including appropriate use of antibiotics; the score rose to 96% from 77% in 2004.

    “The results suggest that increasing numbers of patients are surviving because they're receiving better care, said Dr. Mark Chassin, the commission's president.”

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  • 09/28/10--07:13: News Roundup for Tuesday
  • New early voting laws are changing how campaigns and civic engagement efforts engage the public. The New York Times reports:

    “At least one-third of all ballots across the country this year will be cast before Election Day, party officials said, reflecting a steady rise in early voting that is profoundly influencing how political campaigns are conducted in many parts of the country.

    “Democrats, who have been quicker to take advantage of the technique in the last two election cycles, say that a voting window of 30 days could allow them to win votes from people who might not otherwise cast a ballot and help level an enthusiasm gap that threatens their Congressional majority. Republicans concede being slower to adjust to the changes, but said they have stepped up their efforts in what they hope will be a strong year for the party.

    “‘You can lose an election before Election Day,’ said Jason Mauk, executive director of the Ohio Republican Party, which is intensifying its emphasis on early voting for the first time. ‘It’s in our best interest to try and bank as many soft votes as we can.’

    “The calendar may still say September, but people can begin casting their ballots on Tuesday in Ohio. Voting is already under way in Georgia, Iowa and four other states, with Arizona, California and Illinois set to start in the next two weeks.

    “Never mind that October is filled to the brim with televised debates, advertising pitches and eager anticipation from candidates waiting to see if they win the endorsement of their local newspaper’s editorial page. These old political rituals take place after millions of voters have already selected their candidates.”

    The One Nation Working Together march this Saturday will highlight the most diverse group of activists the country has ever seen. According to The Washington Post:

    “The organizers of the Oct. 2 rally, dubbed One Nation, are calling it the ‘most diverse march in history.’ The amalgam of 300 progressive groups - environmentalists, anti-war activists, church and civil rights groups, union organizers, gay rights coalitions and others - is planning four hours of speeches, singing and spoken-word poems.

    “‘We lose separately, and absent of a strategy to work together we will continue to lose,’ said Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, chief executive of Green for All, an environmental group supporting the march. ‘We have to be able to take critical action on all of the issues facing this country. We're at a critical moment in history, and we have the opportunity to move forward in a really significant way.’

    As science education stagnates, the economy suffers, according to a new report written up by USA Today:

    “Released Thursday at a congressional briefing attended by senators and congressmen of both parties, the report updates a 2005 science education report that led to moves to double federal research funding.

    “Nevertheless, the ‘Rising Above the Gathering Storm’ review finds little improvement in U.S. elementary and secondary technical education since then.

    “‘Our nation's outlook has worsened,’ concludes the report panel headed by former Lockheed Martin chief Norman Augustine. The report ‘paints a daunting outlook for America if it were to continue on the perilous path it has been following’:

    • U.S. mathematics and science K-12 education ranks 48th worldwide.
    • 49% of U.S. adults don't know how long it takes for the Earth to circle the sun.
    • China has replaced the United States as the world's top high-technology exporter.

    “Although U.S. school achievement scores have stagnated, harming the economy as employers look elsewhere for competent workers, the report says that other nations have made gains.”

    For those over 50, getting physically fit can be a painful experience. More athletes 50 and over are hiring physical therapists as personal trainers to prevent injuries, The Wall Street Journal writes:

    “But while physical therapists have become fixtures on the sidelines of professional and college sports, their health-preserving skills are little known among recreational athletes. ‘We're the best-kept secret in sports medicine,’ says James Glinn, a physical therapist who runs a set of clinics called Movement for Life, based in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

    “Word is getting out, as Jane Esparza can attest. The owner of a speakers bureau, Ms. Esparza encountered intensifying levels of knee pain as she entered her 50s. Her doctor told her that losing weight and getting fit would help.

    “But the trainers she interviewed paid less attention to her knee pain than to her excess weight. All of them, she says in an email, responded with some variation of ‘We'll whip you into shape.’

    “Then she learned about a fitness clinic near her Virginia home called Body Dynamics, run by Jennifer Gamboa, who holds a doctorate in physical therapy. Following a thorough study of Ms. Esparza's needs and limitations, a Body Dynamics physical therapist worked one-on-one with her for eight weeks, leading her through exercise routines that improved fitness and built confidence without straining her knees. Then she was handed over to a Body Dynamics personal trainer, who continued the regimen that the physical therapist had crafted, with an easy-does-it emphasis.

    “After 18 months, ‘I've lost weight,’ Ms. Esparza says. ‘My blood pressure has gone down. My cholesterol has improved. I breathe better. My strength and balance are improved. And the pain I lived with daily in my knees has greatly improved. Some days I'm almost pain free.’”

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  • 09/29/10--08:55: News Roundup for Wednesday
  • USA Today reports that the economic recession is leading more people to downsize their cars and homes and seek higher professional degrees to remain marketable; fewer people are likely to move or to marry young.

    “People are cautious because they don't know when the economy will improve, says Robert Lang, an urban sociologist at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. ‘They're risk-averse,’ he says. ‘It's a short-term crisis but it's changing long-term expectations. Just like the Great Depression haunted the postwar years, this recession is so deep, its impact may alter the first several decades of this century.’”

    The Washington Post reports that three out of ten children in Washington, DC are living in poverty, according to Census Bureau data:

    “Among black children in the city, childhood poverty shot up to 43 percent, from 36 percent in 2008 and 31 percent in 2007. That was a much sharper increase than the two percentage-point jump, to 36 percent, among poor black children nationwide last year. […]

    “But the District, where unemployment has risen to nearly 30 percent in Ward 8, had the most sobering rise. Last year, there were more than 30,000 black children living in poverty in the city, almost 7,000 more than two years before, according to Census Bureau data.

    “In contrast, the poverty rate for Hispanic children increased only two percentage points in the same period, to 13 percent, and the rate for white children increased one percentage point, to 3 percent.”

    While cautioning that no single voter group demonstrates unanimity, the Los Angeles Times said a new poll shows that Latino voters in California are reluctant to embrace Republican candidates in the November general elections:

    “Registered voters who identified themselves as Latino backed Democrat Jerry Brown by a 19-point margin over Republican Meg Whitman in the race for governor, despite Whitman's multiple appeals to Latino voters during the general election campaign. Registered voters who identified themselves as white gave Brown a slim 2-point margin.

    “In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer held a 38-point lead over Republican Carly Fiorina among registered Latino voters, five times the lead she held among white voters.

    “Latino views are keenly watched by political candidates and campaigns because of the state's demographic march. A 2009 study by the Field Poll found that white voters had declined from 83% to 65% of the electorate in the previous three decades. At the same time, the percentage of Latino voters had almost tripled, to 21%.”

    The New York Times writes that President Obama urged young people to keep fighting for change and asked them to “stick with [him]” in a speech broadcast to 200 college campuses:

    ‘‘’Change is going to come for this generation—if we work for it, if we fight for it, if we believe in it!’ Mr. Obama thundered. ‘The biggest mistake we can make is to let disappointment or frustration lead to apathy and indifference.’

    “The high-energy appearance, broadcast to 200 campuses around the country, was designed to stir memories of the final days of Mr. Obama’s presidential run, when more than 17,000 turned out to see him in this overwhelmingly liberal town.

    “Now, though, with his political clout diminished and voters increasingly dissatisfied with his stewardship of the economy, Mr. Obama must pick his audiences carefully. So Democratic strategists have settled on a strategy of trying to recapture the enthusiasm of 2008 by having Mr. Obama reach out to young people, especially the first-time voters who turned out in droves for him—and who may be apathetic, but have not soured on the president as older voters have.”

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    September 30, 2010

    Contact: Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670


    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, applauds today’s release of the “American Community Investment Reform Act of 2010,” which will bring the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) into the 21st-century banking system. CRA’s effectiveness has been hampered in recent years as its methods and scope have failed to keep pace with new technology and business models. A revamped CRA would expand the capital available for loans, investments, and services to areas where they are most needed—low-income communities and neighborhoods hit hard by the recession.

    The bill includes a number of long overdue updates to the original statute, including expanding the financial institutions covered by the law, increasing focus on community development loans and investments, and establishing a more meaningful evaluation scale.

    “This legislation is coming at a critical time for families and neighborhoods starved for credit, investment, and financial services as a result of the recession,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “The special attention paid to communities hit hard by foreclosures and unemployment is critical. These communities will not recover without partnerships and capital from the private sector.”

    Earlier this year, NCLR testified before the Federal Reserve regarding changes to CRA regulations that could be put in place immediately and improve banking services for all communities. “Updating CRA will create a powerful incentive for the private sector to invest in local community and economic development projects that are fundamental for a real economic recovery,” said Murguía. “I commend Representatives Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, and Luis Gutierrez for their leadership on this legislation and urge Congress to revitalize CRA for our new economy.”


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  • 09/30/10--07:03: News Roundup for Thursday
  • The Washington Post reports on the diverse groups bringing tens of thousands of people together in the nation’s capital for the One Nation Working Together march on Saturday, October 2, in support of jobs, justice, and education:

    “Their goal is to reclaim the excitement that surged among left-leaning groups after the 2008 presidential race but that more recently has belonged to tea party groups and other conservative activists. Last month, for instance, conservative commentator Glenn Beck partly filled the Mall with tens of thousands of his supporters.

    “The organizers of this weekend's rally, dubbed One Nation Working Together, are calling it the ‘most diverse march in history.’ The amalgam of 400 progressive groups - including environmentalists, antiwar activists, church and civil rights groups, union organizers and gay rights coalitions - is planning four hours of speeches, songs and poetry.”

    USA Today brings attention to the challenge that Louisville, KY faces after the Supreme Court struck down an integration plan in 2007 that would have required every school in the Jefferson County School District to have between 15% and 50% Black enrollment to ensure a diverse student population:

    “Now, Louisville is taking another swing at school integration. Under a new student-assignment plan that's tied to household income and dependent on increased cross-town busing, elementary schools slowly are being integrated in a different way. Yet the district that lost its case before the high court has fallen short of its goals of having a mix of students from higher- and lower-income areas and a blend of races in all classrooms.

    “Its situation reflects the new landscape for school integration that's coming into focus three years after the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling. The new reality tests the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education—the landmark high-court decision that struck down the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ schools more than a half-century ago—as school districts decide whether to continue to make integration a priority or return to neighborhood schools, whose enrollments often reflect communities' racial divide.

    “‘I think that minority schools are going to be even more isolated,’ says education professor Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at University of California-Los Angeles, which supports integration. ‘For very large communities, there is going to be no integration experience available...Segregation perpetuates itself.’”

    Citing it as a sign of how problematic the foreclosure process has become, The New York Times writes that J.P. Morgan is following GMAC and has suspended 56,000 foreclosures in 23 states because of concerns about legal documents that may have been improperly prepared:

    “Chase and GMAC, in their zeal to process hundreds of thousands of foreclosures as quickly as possible and get those properties on the market, employed people who could sign documents so quickly they popularized a new term for them: ‘robo-signer.’

    “In depositions taken by lawyers for embattled homeowners, the robo-signers said they or their team had signed 10,000 or more foreclosure affidavits a month.

    “Now that haste has come back to haunt them. The affidavits in foreclosures attest that the preparer personally reviewed the files, which those workers acknowledge they had no time to do.

    GMAC and Chase say that their lapses were technical and will soon be remedied with new filings. But defense lawyers are seizing on these revelations and say they will now work to have their cases thrown out.

    “Beyond the relative handful of foreclosure cases being contested are many more in which the homeowner did not have legal counsel. Potentially, hundreds of thousands of cases could be in doubt.”

    The Los Angeles Times covers a congressional hearing to address what the government can and should do about thousands of militant websites that recruit potential terrorists and pose a threat to our nation’s safety:

    “Militant websites are becoming more accessible and appealing to Americans, experts told members of Congress on Wednesday, adding that the sites must be monitored and some should be shut down.

    “At the moment, though, there are no government regulations or procedures for how to keep track of, or remove, websites promoting terrorist groups and extremist ideology, the experts said.

    “Officials testifying at the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on terrorism, nonproliferation and trade discussed strategies to combat websites that attempt to recruit members by using such familiar venues as Facebook and YouTube. […]

    “Gregory McNeal, an associate law professor at Pepperdine University, purposed a three-prong approach to countering militant websites, including studying the sites for information, closing selected sites and co-opting others by providing countering ideology.”

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    September 30, 2010

    Contact: Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670

    NCLR Applauds Menendez Immigration Bill

    New Immigration legislation is an urgent call to Congress to address the National Interest

    Washington, DC—NCLR today applauded Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) who has introduced the first comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate since 2007. The legislation, which is cosponsored by Senator Leahy (D-VT), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, provides a real, effective, and humane fix to our broken immigration system. The legislation is part of a strategy announced recently by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Senator Menendez, calling for action on immigration reform.

    “Senator Menendez is sending a clear signal to Congress that this unfinished business demands attention. From a moral, policy, and political perspective, there is just no excuse to continue neglecting an issue that has such a deep impact on the social and economic fabric of the nation,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

    The legislation would restore the rule of law by getting the 11 million undocumented people in our country to come forward, obtain legal status, learn English, and assume the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, while creating smart enforcement policies that uphold national security and the Constitution. It would also restore our legal immigration system, allowing citizens and legal residents to reunite with their families and permitting future workers to enter the nation legally and under conditions that safeguard the American workforce.

    “This is a bill that articulates what the American people want—a serious fix to a vexing national problem. For the Latino community in particular, it is a way to end the demagoguery that is threatening the long and proud history of Hispanics in America. We commend Senator Menendez’s leadership and will continue to push for any and all opportunities to achieve immigration reform. It’s about the best interest of the country and respect for our community, and Latino voters will have that on their minds this November,” concluded Murguía.


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    September 30, 2010

    Contact: Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670


    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today hailed the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Raul Yzaguirre, NCLR President Emeritus, as the next U.S. Chief of Mission to the Dominican Republic.

    “Ambassador Yzaguirre is well recognized and deeply respected by U.S. presidents and international heads of state as a civil rights leader with more than 50 years of service to our country. He is a perfect choice to represent the very best ideals and values of the American people on the international stage,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “His legacy of building strong American institutions that have advanced the Latino community in the U.S., of which Dominican Americans are a growing segment, make his confirmation as U.S. Chief of Mission to the Dominican Republic particularly fitting.”

    As NCLR’s President and CEO from 1978 to 2004, Yzaguirre made an indelible mark on American society. NCLR was recognized as one of the top 12 national nonprofit organizations in the acclaimed book Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High Impact Non-Profits, which attributes NCLR’s institutional growth and reach in large part to his hard work and leadership.

    Following the approval of his nomination by the Foreign Relations Committee in April, Mr. Yzaguirre’s confirmation vote was delayed by an anonymous “hold.” “This vote was unfortunately long overdue, but at last the Senate was able to come together to support our nation’s efforts overseas and move this important nomination forward,” concluded Murguía.


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  • 10/01/10--09:02: News Roundup for Friday
  • The Washington Post reports on an analysis by Senator Tom Harkin (D–IA) which shows that more than 50% of students at for-profit colleges drop out without earning a degree or certificate:

    “Industry officials immediately disputed the analysis, which Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) released during a hearing on for-profit colleges that Republicans called unfair and one-sided. The Obama administration is attempting to tighten regulation of the industry, which relies on federal student aid for much of its revenue.
    “‘The bottom line is this: For students enrolling in for-profit schools, graduation with a degree is a possibility, but debt without a diploma is a probability,’ said Harkin, chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
    “Of about 960,000 students who enrolled from July 2008 through June 2009 in schools run by 16 for-profit companies, data show that 57 percent had withdrawn from school as of August 2010, according to Harkin.”

    According to The New York Times, the 8.2% rise in Medicaid enrollments from December 2008 to December 2009—primarily due to joblessness and the resulting loss of health benefits—is the largest increase since the early days of the government health insurance plan for low-income and uninsured people:

    “Those kinds of increases exact a heavy toll on state budgets, as states share the cost of the Medicaid program with the federal government…

    “‘We do have horrific pressures on the Medicaid program,’ said Carol A. Herrmann-Steckel, Alabama’s Medicaid commissioner.’

    “…Despite the enhanced federal aid for Medicaid last year, virtually every state made cuts to benefit levels or provider payments in order to balance budgets. As a condition of receiving stimulus money, states were prohibited from lowering eligibility thresholds, which they are allowed to set within federal parameters.”

    The Wall Street Journal has analyzed which cities face the biggest housing risks—those in California and Florida top the list—and offers a housing stress indicator with data for most of the major metropolitan U.S. areas that have been hit hard by the housing crisis:

    “Real Time Economics has worked up a simple housing-stress indicator for most of the major U.S. metropolitan areas that combines three factors — the fraction of mortgage-holding homeowners in a community with a monthly housing payment in excess of 30% of income, the percentage of all people in the region without health insurance and the fraction of the population without a job. The indicator uses 2009 data from Census’s American Community Survey.

    “Within more than 500 metro areas, the top 20 most stressed include nine in California and six in Florida, where the housing bust has been particularly acute. Among the most populous cities, Miami tops the list, followed by California’s Inland Empire, Los Angeles and San Diego.”

    USA Today covered a congressional hearing on how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) handled the recall of adult Motrin that was found to be defective, a case that highlighted the question about whether the FDA should have the authority to mandate drug recalls, which are currently voluntary on the part of manufacturers:

    “The Food and Drug Administration waited too long to ask McNeil Consumer Healthcare to recall defective adult Motrin made in the company's San Juan, Puerto Rico, plant, the agency's principal deputy commissioner, Joshua Sharfstein, said Thursday at a congressional hearing.

    “‘It was clear in November 2008 that the Motrin lots did not meet specifications,’ Sharfstein told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. ‘Yet, the actual recall did not happen until early August of the following year. This took too long.’

    “Oversight committee chair Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., has dubbed it the ‘phantom recall,’ because McNeil hired a contractor to buy up the defective Motrin without mentioning the word ‘recall.’”

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    October 1, 2010

    Catherine Singley
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670

    NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía to address thousands at historic One Nation Working Together rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, October 2

    Washington, DC—Exactly one month before Election Day, NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, will join leading human and civil rights organizations, labor unions, students, and religious groups to host a rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC for jobs, justice, and education. As a leader of the One Nation Working Together campaign, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía will share her vision of a new economy with the diverse crowd, which is expected to draw more than 100,000 people from all 50 states. The event will also feature Latino talent, including comedian Paul Rodriguez. The historic gathering will take place from noon to 4:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, October 2.

    “One Nation Working Together is a movement of hardworking Americans who believe it is within our power as a country to build an economy that works for everyone,” said Murguía. “We are calling on our political leaders to enact commonsense solutions that put America back to work immediately, tackle the foreclosure epidemic, empower consumers, restore fairness to the labor market, and improve wages and conditions for all workers by passing comprehensive immigration reform.”

    “We recognize that building a strong, new economy won’t happen without a collective will or leadership and vision. The energy of the thousands who gather in Washington, DC on October 2 will create momentum leading up to Election Day that will carry through to next year and the next decade. These moments are the first steps on the road to an economy built on fairness, accountability, and respect for the contributions of all workers,” concluded Murguía.

    The One Nation Working Together rally is timely, as new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 15 million Americans were out of work in September.

    Visit to learn more and join the movement.


    WHAT: One Nation Working Together march at the Lincoln Memorial
    WHO: Thousands of people from all 50 states who are workers, business owners, students, teachers, parents and grandparents, U.S. citizens, recent immigrants, and more

    Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO, alongside leaders of leading human and civil rights organizations, labor unions, students, and religious groups

    Media Access: 8:00 a.m. Media Entrance: Media should access the site via Henry Bacon Drive, NW or 23rd Street, NW from Constitution Avenue, NW. The media check-in location is on the east side of the Lincoln Memorial. Workspace: Seating, workspace, and power will be available to working, credentialed members of the media. Camera risers will be available for TV and still photo use. Power and audio mult boxes will be available on the riser. Additional tented workspace and a lit interview set will be available on the south side of Lincoln Memorial Circle.
    WHEN: Saturday, October 2, 2010, 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
    WHERE: Steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC


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    On Saturday, October, 2, exactly one month before Election Day, I will march beside Americans of all backgrounds to urge our political leaders to take bold steps to rebuild our economy. More than 100,000 people from across the country, including leading human and civil rights organizations, labor unions, students, and religious groups, will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC for the One Nation Working Together rally, which will call on our nation's leaders to rebuild and strengthen America's economy. The historic gathering will take place from noon to 4:30 p.m. EDT.

    One Nation Working Together is a movement of hardworking Americans who believe it is within our power as a country to build an economy that works for everyone. Saturday's rally is right on time, as new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 15 million Americans were out of work in August. It is time for our political leaders to enact commonsense solutions that put America back to work immediately, tackle the foreclosure epidemic, empower consumers, restore fairness to the labor market, and improve wages and conditions for all workers by passing comprehensive immigration reform.

    We recognize that building a strong, new economy won't happen without a collective will or leadership and vision. The energy of the thousands who gather at the Lincoln Memorial will create momentum leading up to Election Day that will last into next year and the next decade. These moments are the first steps on the road to an economy built on fairness, accountability, and respect for the contributions of all workers.

    Visit to learn more and join the movement.

    Follow Janet Murguía on Twitter:

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  • 10/04/10--07:36: News Roundup for Monday
  • Last Saturday’s One Nation Working Together rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC drew tens of thousands of participants. According to The Washington Post:

    “Saturday's gathering featured many speakers; at times it appeared that organizers wanted to give everyone an opportunity to have their say. The rally lacked central charismatic speakers like Beck and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, or the two men who will headline an Oct. 30 event on the Mall - Comedy Central television personalities Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Also unlike the Beck event, the progressive groups were explicit about their desire to reenergize their political base. Beck said his goal was to honor soldiers.

    “The more than four hours of speeches, poetry and music were buttressed with testimonials from out-of-work Americans, immigrants, veterans and Native Americans. They focused on jobs, education and human rights issues in particular.

    “Edrie Irvine, a laid-off legal secretary from Silver Spring, shared her story with a gathering of unemployed workers that fed into the larger rally. ‘The recession was caused by the banks, greed and deregulation,’ she said. ‘It didn't have anything to do with me, but I lost my job.’"

    Bank of America and other lenders are halting foreclosure proceedings due to paperwork mistakes, according to USA Today:

    “Bank of America is halting foreclosures in 23 states because of paperwork problems, the Associated Press is reporting.

    “The announcement follows the disclosure that a BofA official admitted to signing up to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month, usually without reading them.

    “Earlier today, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal ordered a 60-day moratorium on all foreclosures by all banks, the first state to implement an industrywide freeze. Wednesday, JPMorgan Chase announced it was suspending foreclosures on 56,000 homes because of potential problems with documentation.

    “California expanded its moratorium on foreclosures by Ally Financial and its GMAC unit, announced last week, to include JPMorgan Chase.”

    Drug makers are being accused of not following new pricing laws, according to The New York Times:

    “Drug manufacturers often flout a federal law that requires them to provide the government with pricing data needed to calculate discounts on medications prescribed for poor people under Medicaid, federal investigators say in a new report.

    “The information is not submitted at all, is filed late or is incomplete, the investigators said, and as a result Medicaid overpays for prescription drugs.

    “The problem, they said, could become more significant under President Obama’s new health care law, which increases the amount of the discounts and promises to add millions of people to the Medicaid rolls.

    “In a new initiative intended to force compliance, Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, who led the investigation, said he would impose civil fines on drug manufacturers that fail to meet their price-reporting obligations.”

    What kind of health insurance a family has could determine if they do or don’t follow a doctor’s recommended treatment, according to a new study that gets coverage from the Los Angeles Times:

    “Researchers from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Ohio surveyed 1,978 parents to see if health insurance -- or the lack of it -- was a factor in following doctors' orders. About 13% of parents said they couldn't fulfill at least one of their child's doctor's recommendations in the last year because they couldn't afford it. This constituted being underinsured by the researchers.

    “There was a divide among insured and underinsured children. The study authors found that children with private insurance were about two times as likely as children with public insurance to be underinsured, after they adjusted for annual family income and health status. And after controlling for various demographic factors, the authors discovered that having an annual family income between $15,000 and $34,999 was the best forecaster of a child's health taking a hit because the family couldn't pay.”

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    October 4, 2010

    Feliza Ortiz-Licon
    (213) 489-3428 ext. 2203


    Speakers including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will focus on raising standards for Latino students and the educators who teach them

    Los Angeles, CA—The California Regional Office of NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, will host a conference for K–12 school leaders and education experts on October 7–8 in downtown Los Angeles. The goal is to reframe the conversation on expectations, standards, and accountability as they relate to Hispanic students in the public school system.

    The conference, “Accountability for All: Raising the Standard of Learning for Latino Students,” will kick off at 9:00 a.m. on October 7 with remarks from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

    Distinguished education experts from across the country will include Delia Pompa, Vice President of Education, NCLR; Yolie Flores, Vice President, Los Angeles Unified School Board; Dr. Arun Ramanathan, Executive Director, The Education Trust—West; Dr. Blandina “Bambi” Cárdenas, former President, The University of Texas-Pan American; and Joaquín Tamayo, Assistant Director of the Education and Society Program, Aspen Institute.

    Other participants will include superintendents, executive directors, and principals of charter schools in the NCLR School Network from throughout the nation, most of whom serve student populations with a high percentage of Latinos. The conference will give school leaders a forum to exchange information and perspectives, a clear understanding of how to integrate the needs of Latino and English language learner students into accountability measures, practical tools that can be implemented at their schools, and the chance to provide feedback on policy recommendations at the federal level.


    WHAT: Education conference to discuss measures for raising Latino student performance
    WHEN: October 7, 2010, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
    October 8, 2010, 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
    WHERE: Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Tiffany Room
    506 S. Grand Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90071
    WHO: Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Mayor, City of Los Angeles
    Delia Pompa, Vice President, Education, NCLR
    Yolie Flores, Vice President, Los Angeles Unified School Board
    Dr. Arun Ramanathan, Executive Director, The Education Trust–West
    Joaquín Tamayo, Assistant Director, Education and Society Program, Aspen Institute
    Dr. Bambi Cárdenas, Former President, The University of Texas-Pan American

    Note: Registration to the general public for the conference is now closed. Working media professionals who would like to visit during the conference can contact Feliza Ortiz-Licon at (213) 489-3428 ext. 2203 to set up interviews.


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    October 4, 2010

    Paco Fabián
    (202) 785-1670


    Speakers including Ozomatli will focus on raising awareness about this year’s critical Latino voter turnout

    Washington, DC—Latinos have a long and proud history in America and are alarmed by the current wave of intolerance that is being directed at our communities. This November, Latino voters have an opportunity to stand up to intolerance and vote for respect. Arizona SB 1070, the movement to repeal birthright citizenship, racial profiling, hate speech, and immigrant bashing have all undermined our country’s core values and are diluting who we are as Americans.

    Marking the end of voter registration for this year’s election, NCLR (National Council of La Raza)—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—will join with other leading Latino civic engagement and advocacy organizations during a press conference on Wednesday, October 6 at 9:30 a.m. to urge Latinos to turn out and vote on November 2.

    While some politicians are betting against the Latino electorate, others are betting that they do not have to work for our vote. They are wrong. Latinos, the fastest-growing segment of the electorate, will be looking at who is blocking progress toward real solutions, as well as who is standing on the sidelines while the community is under attack.


    WHAT: National Latino organizations urge communities to vote for respect
    WHEN: October 6, 2010, 9:30 a.m. EDT

    NCLR Headquarters
    Raul Yzaguirre Building
    1126 16th Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20036
    To listen in to the conference, please dial 1-800-862-9098
    Passcode: LATINOVOTE

    WHO: Ozomatli (via video)
    Clarissa Martínez De Castro, Director of Immigration and National Campaigns, NCLR
    Ben Monterroso, Executive Director, Mi Familia Vota
    Brent Wilkes, National Executive Director, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
    Rafael Collazo, Deputy Director, Democracia U.S.A.
    Maria Teresa Kumar, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Voto Latino
    Chris Espinosa, Director of Advocacy, Hispanic Federation
    Julissa Gutiérrez, New York Director of Civic Engagement, National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO)

    To RSVP for this press conference, please contact Paco Fabián at or (202) 785-1670.


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  • 10/05/10--07:49: News Roundup for Tuesday
  • A program called Secure Communities aims to be in place throughout the country by 2013. The program will share information about anyone who is arrested and fingerprinted at the local level with federal databases. According to The New York Times editorial page:

    “The program, Secure Communities, a collaboration between Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, and the Department of Justice, is a source of anxiety and anger for cities, counties and police departments that want to preserve a bright line between local policing and federal immigration enforcement. Their valid concern is that local officers should never be seen by immigrant communities as arms of immigration enforcement. Fighting and preventing crime are unrelated to detaining and deporting immigrants and should stay that way.

    “Places like San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and Arlington County, Va., have chosen to opt out of Secure Communities, but their ability to do so seems limited.

    “Because Secure Communities is a data-sharing program between two federal departments, the only way a local jurisdiction could avoid participating would be by refusing to send a suspect’s fingerprints to the federal criminal-justice system, a dereliction of crime-fighting duty. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has written a letter detailing how a local agency could register its objections as the program is deployed, but she did not really offer an opt-out clause. This seems hardly likely to preserve that bright line on enforcement.”

    As the economy strains family budgets, many are cutting back on saving for college. According to The Washington Post:

    “American families are scaling back plans to pay for their children's college education as the stunted economic recovery continues to weigh on household budgets, according to a survey to be released Tuesday that was commissioned by college lender Sallie Mae.

    “The study, which was conducted by Gallup, found that the percentage of families who planned to make little or no contribution to tuition increased, while the percentage who expected to cover more than half of expenses decreased. The trends were particularly pronounced in Hispanic families, where the number who thought they could only pay a little jumped from 12 percent to 35 percent.

    “In addition, the percentage of families who said the reason they are not socking away money for college is that they cannot afford it rose from 62 percent last year to 68 percent this year.”

    In connection to this story, California community colleges are struggling with wait lists for students eager to start or continue their education. The Los Angeles Times writes:

    “Kiyan Noyes-Aponte landed on the wait list for every class he wanted at Orange Coast College. The 18-year-old graduate of Mission Viejo High School pleaded with professors for a spot, diligently attended lectures and sat on floors in overcrowded classrooms hoping other students would drop out.

    “Despite his efforts, he managed to enroll in only two classes at the Costa Mesa campus, enough for part-time status. And he was luckier than many.

    “Students registering at California community colleges this fall are facing unprecedented hurdles, as campuses have slashed classes in response to budget cuts. At the same time, enrollment has surged, fueled by the largest high school graduating class in the state's history, older workers returning to school for job training and more students being unable to get into the state's four-year universities.”

    Are you getting enough exercise? Chances are, you’re not according to a new study covered in USA Today:

    “Only about 5% of American adults do some type of vigorous physical activity on any given day, according to the results of a new study.

    “Researchers analyzed 2003-2008 data from nearly 80,000 participants, aged 20 and older, in the American Time Use Survey, a national telephone-based poll that asked people what they did in the preceding 24 hours.

    “Most respondents reported sedentary activities such as eating and drinking (95.6%) and watching television/movies (80.1%), or light activities such as washing, dressing and grooming (78.9%), and driving a car, truck or motorcycle (71.4%).

    “The most frequently reported moderate activities were food and drink preparation (25.7%) and lawn, garden and houseplant care (10.6%), lead investigator Catrine Tudor-Locke, director of the Walking Behavior Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, and colleagues found.”

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  • 10/06/10--06:41: Wealth-Building Wednesday
  • Will House Republicans Try To Defund Financial Regulatory Reform?
    by Pat Garagalo, Think Progress: Wonk Room
    Opponents of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency may withhold funding if they get the chance.

    Wondering How Lenders Are Making Up for Missing Credit Card Fees? Check Your Home Escrow.
    by Nathalie Martin, Credit Slips
    In response to new credit card laws and fee limits, banks seek other revenue streams.

    Lawler: Trying to Make Sense of the Mortgage Foreclosure Fiasco
    by Tom Lawler, CalculatedRiskBlog
    Failures of the mortgage servicing industry are pervasive.

    Mortgage Mess Battle Lines Being Drawn
    by thefourteenthbanker, The Fourteenth Banker Blog
    Banks will do the best they can to resolve the foreclosure fraud debacle without culpability.

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    October 6, 2010

    Paco Fabián
    (202) 785-1670


    Washington, DC—At a press conference today, a coalition of national Latino organizations issued an urgent call to Latino voters—who are likely to be key factors in several highly contested elections across the nation—to participate in the upcoming midterm election. The coalition members also outlined their plans to energize Hispanic turnout in November through a series of new public service announcements, a national voter hotline, and stepped-up get-out-the-vote efforts focused on transforming voter anger toward the tone of this year’s campaigns into action. The event gathered a number of national Latino organization engaged in voter registration, education, and protection, including Democracia U.S.A., Hispanic Federation, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mi Familia Vota, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), Voto Latino, and NCLR (National Council of La Raza).

    “We are urging Latino voters to take a stand for respect and against the attacks on our long and proud history in America,” said Clarissa Martínez De Castro, Director of Immigration and National Campaigns at NCLR. “We have an opportunity to show politicians who are blocking progress on issues that matter to our community, as well as those who stand on the sidelines while our community is under attack, that they need to start working toward solutions or get out of the way. These issues matter to all Americans, and fixing our immigration system, jobs, health care, and education is also part and parcel of fixing our economy.”

    “While midterm election years are often challenging, Latinos realize that there are many important issues at stake and we can’t afford to sit this one out,” added Rafael Collazo, National Deputy Director of Democracia U.S.A. “I think that’s why we’ve seen such great voter registration numbers and an increased interest in participating; our job will be to keep that momentum going so that we show a strong turnout on November 2.”

    “American Latinos understand that politics is not a one-inning game. Our participation reached its height in 2008, but it will not end there. As a community, we have the highest unemployment and foreclosure rates. Participating at the polls on November 2 ensures that we have a voice at the table," said Maria Teresa Kumar, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Voto Latino.

    “Without question Latinos feel increasingly marginalized and targeted by the anti-immigrant rhetoric plaguing this election,” said Chris Espinosa, National Director of Advocacy for the Hispanic Federation. “Nearly one-third of all U.S. Latinos feel that racism and prejudice are dominating the current immigration debate. However, the wave of anti-immigrant sentiment is also motivating Latinos to participate in the electoral process.”

    “Full participation of the Latino electorate is essential for a healthy and vibrant democracy,” said Julissa Gutierrez, Northeast Director of Civic Engagement for the NALEO Educational Fund. “The provision of bilingual nonpartisan election information—and coordinating efforts to turn out Latino voters—will ensure that Latinos make their voices heard on November 2 and in the decisions that will affect children, families, and all Americans for years to come.”

    “This is our time to use the power of the Latino vote to fight back against petty politics that only serve to blame and attack us," said Ben Monterroso, Executive Director of Mi Familia Vota. “Latino voters must take stock of who is with us and who is against us. This is the moment to vote for leaders who will engage our issues, offer real solutions to our broken immigration system, and commit to building an economy that benefits all working families.”

    “On November 2, every eligible Latino must make it to their polling place and vote,” said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “With every election, the Latino electorate has increased considerably. We cannot let this end in 2010. We must all be united on Election Day to ensure that Latinos have their voices heard. Latinos are an empowered electorate and will continue to make a difference in every election.”

    For more information about Hispanic participation in the midterm elections, see NCLR’s “Latino Participation in Midterm Elections: A Quick Glance,” public service announcements, and other information discussed during the event, available here.


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