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    It has been less than 24 hours since East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo made an offensive comment about what he was going to do for the Latino community, but the video has lit up social media networks all over the Internet.

    If you haven’t seen it yet, WPIX reporter Mario Diaz asked the mayor what he was going to do for the Latino community after the arrest of four East Haven police officers who have allegedly assaulted a number of the city’s Latino residents. Maturo’s immediate answer was “I might have tacos when I go home; I’m not quite sure yet.”

    Today, the Reform Immigration for America Coalition (RIFA) started a campaign against the mayor’s flippant response to questions about racial profiling. For every person that texts the word TACO to 69866 to show their concern about ignorance and racial profiling, RIFA will send Mayor Maturo one taco. Be sure to join their campaign. After all, if eating tacos is Mayor Maturo’s idea of helping the community, then we have an obligation to meet him halfway!  

    Check out the remarks below:


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    Contact:
    Joseph Rendeiro
    jrendeiro@nclr.org
    (202) 776-1566

    Washington, D.C.—With more discussion of budget cuts, lawmakers have begun floating policy proposals that would substantially reshape or cut back on health programs critical to vulnerable Latinos, such as Medicare and Medicaid. According to a statistical brief released today by NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the Medicare program provides health coverage for not only Latino seniors, but also more than one million disabled and seriously ill Hispanic children and working-age adults.

    “Policymakers often pledge support to protect Medicare for the elderly, and that will be critical for the Latino community—but little mention is made that the program is also serving young and vulnerable populations with significant health care needs,” said Kara Ryan, Senior Research Analyst for the Health Policy Project at NCLR and author of the report. “Latinos make up the largest share (43%) of children covered by Medicare, who, by virtue of being on this program, include some of the nation’s sickest children.”

    The Role of Medicare in Hispanics’ Health Coverage offers an in-depth analysis of how Medicare serves the Latino population at both the state and national level, including a state-by-state breakdown of the number of Hispanics covered by this program. Overall, Medicare serves approximately 3.5 million Hispanics, a population that is relatively small but also incredibly at risk.

    “Too many are eager to make hasty changes or cuts to fix gaps in the budget, but then look away when faced with the harsh reality of who will feel the most impact,” said Jennifer Ng’andu, Deputy Director of the NCLR Health Policy Project. “Ultimately, these budget decisions are about whether a mother can afford to take her sick child to the doctor or will end up in the more expensive emergency room. Getting to a dollar amount without looking at the true costs to American families often means that critical services and benefits will be lost for patients who need them desperately.”

    The publication of this statistical brief coincides with the updated release of an NCLR fact sheet, The Meaning of Medicaid, which contains up-to-date statistics that track the number of Latinos covered by Medicaid and by the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) nationally and in each state. Together these papers also highlight another noticeable trend: Latinos are disproportionately covered by both Medicaid and Medicare, or “dual-eligible.” Numerous plans to restrict coverage protections for the dual-eligible community have been proposed throughout recent budget discussions.

    “We wholeheartedly agree that action must be taken to make our nation financially sound,” added Ng’andu. “But we have to take the time to consider the consequences of these difficult decisions, taking care to ensure that they do not fall on the backs of those who are left defenseless because they were left out of the discussion.”

    NCLR is committed to maximizing health coverage access, including both the Medicaid and Medicare programs, for Latinos and all Americans, and will continue to work toward building an agenda for strong health care reform implementation.

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    By Kara D. Ryan, Senior Research Analyst, Health Policy Project

    This week has been a busy one. On Monday, House Republicans hinted at the potential legislative agenda for the year, and Tuesday night, President Obama delivered his third State of the Union address to the nation. One area of agreement is that both the White House and congressional Republicans have renewed their vows to take on deficit reduction. And one of the most popular targets in that realm is always entitlement reform—particularly changes or cuts to the Medicare program.

    It’s clear that we have to have a real conversation about the role of public health coverage programs in getting our fiscal house in order. So we need to ask: what would Medicare reforms mean for Latinos’ access to health care?

    What would happen to Nynah G., a Latina from Chicago living with a disability, who has health coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, and a supplemental coverage plan? At the time that she wrote to NCLR, her health coverage through these programs meant that she was the only member of her family with access to affordable health insurance:

    “I am a disabled person with Medicare and Medicaid and private insurance paid by Medicare for me, but when it comes to my family, my son is in need of good insurance and I cannot afford it. My husband also needs insurance and we cannot afford it.”

    We need to better understand how Nynah and other Latinos could be affected by changes that would completely reshape or drastically cut back Medicare.

    Today, to shed some light on these issues, NCLR released a statistical brief, The Role of Medicare in Hispanics’ Health Coverage. In it, we take a closer look at the 3.5 million Latinos enrolled in Medicare—a small but vulnerable share of the community. Here’s what might surprise you: although most policymakers talk about Medicare’s role in protecting seniors (which is certainly the case for more than 2.5 million Hispanics over age 65), it’s also providing coverage and health care access to more than a million Latino children and adults with serious health needs.

    Some of the questions we should be asking about policy proposals coming down the pike:

    • What would be the implications of Medicare cuts or reforms to the estimated 600,000 disabled and seriously ill children covered by the program, more than two-fifths (43%) of whom are Latino?
    • What would changes to the Medicare Advantage program mean for Hispanics when nearly 40% of Latino Medicare enrollees have supplemental coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan, two times the rate of non-Hispanic Whites with Medicare?
    • How would reforms affect Latino “dual-eligibles,” given that more than one-quarter (26%) of Hispanic Medicare enrollees are also covered by Medicaid?

    We’re expecting this debate to intensify, so we hope that this brief helps policymakers and advocates to evaluate proposals as they circulate. Stay tuned for more analysis from NCLR later this year on Hispanics’ use of services through Medicare, and download the updated version of our popular fact sheet, The Meaning of Medicaid: An Updated State-by-State Breakdown.

    Sign up for health and nutrition updates from NCLR's health policy team!


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    Contact:
    Joseph Rendeiro
    (202) 776-1566
    jrendeiro@nclr.org

    Washington, D.C.—Earlier today, the Obama administration fulfilled a promise made during the State of the Union address, announcing the creation of a new financial crimes task force to investigate those responsible for misconduct contributing to the financial crisis. NCLR (National Council of La Raza), NAACP, National CAPACD (National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development), and the National Urban League (NUL) applaud the administration for taking a strong stand in the name of banking accountability.

    “Today the administration made a major move in helping American homeowners, especially Latino and other minority families,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “The housing crisis must be resolved not only for the sake of these hardworking families, but also because the full recovery of our economy depends on it. We believe that steps such as creating the financial crimes task force, enhancing the HAMP program, and pushing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer principal reductions to underwater homeowners will go a long way toward providing much-needed relief.”

    Numerous studies indicate that communities of color are disproportionately targeted with abusive and expensive mortgages, even when adjusting for factors such as income and credit score, compared to their White counterparts. As a result, communities of color are losing their homes at record rates.

    “The damaging impacts of the housing and economic crisis continue to permeate Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities across the country,” said Lisa Hasegawa, National CAPACD Executive Director. “The administration’s actions today are a step forward in bringing justice to the many families who have lost their financial security because of predatory practices that explicitly targeted AAPIs and other communities of color.”

    The Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group will be chaired by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who has a strong record of defending homeowners against unfair lending practices and fraud.

    “The economic collapse and foreclosure crisis overwhelmingly impacted communities of color,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “The administration’s decision is significant not only because it will bring those who brought about the devastation to justice, but also because it will help to restore America’s faith in our financial institutions and systems.”

    In addition, the administration announced important changes to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), including more incentives for mortgage servicers to provide principal reduction to underwater homeowners and extending those incentives to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both the Financial Crimes Task Force and these important changes to HAMP will work in tandem to hold banks accountable and provide more resources to families.

    “The NAACP commends the administration for taking these concrete steps to seriously tackle financial crimes against American families and the foreclosure crisis,” said Hilary O. Shelton, the Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and the Senior VP for Advocacy and Policy. “Given the disproportionate number of racial and ethnic minority families who are facing home foreclosure due to decades of targeting by predatory lenders and their nefarious tactics—including balloon payments, early payment penalties and hidden fees, as well as steering qualified borrowers into unnecessarily high-cost loans that could not be sustained—this new enforcement task force is a welcome action to give some recourse to Americans struggling because of these insidious predatory lending practices.”

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    Contact:
    Joseph Rendeiro
    (202) 776-1566
    jrendeiro@nclr.org

    Washington, D.C.—Standing behind American consumers, on January 20 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it will implement the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, providing enhanced protection and disclosure to consumers who send money to other countries.

    The remittance market has historically been loosely regulated, presenting a number of challenges to customers—especially Latinos, who have paid a particularly high cost. In 2009, immigrants from Mexico wired approximately $22.87 billion in remittances, and spent an estimated $1.5 billion in fees and other costs in performing these transactions. With little to no oversight, consumers had virtually no protection to ensure that the remittance process was fair and transparent.

    NCLR (National Council of La Raza) applauds the CFBP for taking much-needed action and implementing the new regulations on remittances, which certainly benefit Latino consumers. The new provisions require that:

    • Financial institutions must provide full disclosure to consumers before accepting payment
    • Disclosures must include the exchange rate, fees, and the amount of money to be delivered
    • Proof of payment, along with the date the money will be received, must also be provided to the consumer
    • Companies providing remittance transfers are responsible for any errors that occur

    NCLR believes that the new regulations are an important step toward greater financial protection for America’s families and consumers and will work with the CFPB to push for increased accountability and transparency among financial institutions.

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    By Janis Bowdler, Director, Wealth-Building Policy Project, NCLR

    On Friday, January 27, President Obama followed up on a promise made in his State of the Union Address by creating a new working group to aggressively investigate the abuses that triggered the housing crisis. We know that President Obama means business because he chose New York Attorney General (AG) Eric Schneiderman—a champion for taxpayers and homeowners—to lead this unit focused specifically on lending fraud and mortgage abuses. True accountability is necessary to restore the public’s faith in our national housing system. With Schneiderman and his team in place, the time has come for state AGs to bring their ongoing negotiations with mortgage servicers over the robosigning scandal to a successful conclusion.

    The 18 months since the robosigning scandal first broke have not been kind to Hispanic homeowners or the housing market in general. Latinos have lost 66% of their wealth thanks to the foreclosure crisis; this will leave lasting effects on their retirement and ability to finance their children’s education. Home values have dropped by as much as a third since 2006 and more than ten million families owe more than their home is worth. Most of the federal efforts to stave off foreclosures have come up short, largely because participation was voluntary for banks and servicers. A strong AG settlement is critical for those homeowners who sought relief, played by the rules, but still fell through the cracks of servicer bureaucracy.

    Details of a $25 billion robosigning settlement have begun to emerge and if the reported details are accurate, there is much to celebrate. One of the most important aspects of the settlement is the approximately $17 billion for principal reductions. Writing down principal has long been recognized as being one of the most effective tools for keeping families in their homes. When compared with the costs of foreclosure, property maintenance, and a sheriff’s sale for pennies on the dollar, it’s a win for banks, neighborhoods, and families alike. Yet servicers have not made it a priority. Not only could the settlement compel them to embrace principal reduction, but when coupled with Friday’s announcement of major incentives to servicers—including loans owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—it may be just what we need to break the logjam on write downs.

    Reportedly the settlement also allots $2–$3 billion to the states for housing counseling, legal aid, and victim’s assistance. Housing counseling has been one of the most successful foreclosure prevention programs to date, but inexplicably Congress eliminated its funding for 2011. Approximately $45 million was reinstated for fiscal year 2012, but the demand for service far exceeds this amount. Housing counseling is available free of charge to any family facing foreclosure. This invaluable service gives families a real alternative to scam artists peddling false promises to the tune of $5,000 or more.

    Clearly, $25 billion is not enough to repair all of the damage done to our homes and the economy, but that is why the robosigning settlement is only part of the solution. One of the most important deals struck in the negotiation is on the releasing of future legal claims. This means that the AGs and the Department of Justice can continue to pursue civil rights, origination, and securitization claims. In fact, the financial crimes task force, investigations underway by AGs in California, Nevada, and Massachusetts, and the Department of Justice’s landmark settlement with Countrywide give us every reason to believe that the march toward accountability is off to a good start. The robosigning settlement should be the next step. It is time to deliver the first installment of relief for homeowners that have not a moment to lose.  


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    PARA DIVULGACIÓN INMEDIATA

    Contacto:
    Julian Teixeira
    jteixeira@nclr.org
    (202) 776-1812

     UNA TELECONFERENCIA DE PRENSA EN ESPAÑOL

    Washington—Según se reanudan las negociaciones sobre el presupuesto en el Capitolio, una vez más, los legisladores proponen el recorte del crédito tributario de los hijos a millones de contribuyentes inmigrantes elegibles. Únase al NCLR (Consejo Nacional de La Raza) en la conferencia telefónica de prensa en español que tratará sobre la importancia de conservar el crédito tributario de los hijos para los inmigrantes.

    Los planes que se están considerando actualmente negarían a los inmigrantes que utilizan un Número de Identificación Personal del Contribuyente (ITIN) reclamar tan necesitado crédito. Si los legisladores siguen adelante con estas propuestas, más de 4 millones de niños latinos, la mayoría de los cuales provienen de familias de bajos ingresos, podrían perder este crédito. Los participantes discutirán las implicaciones que tendría en la comunidad hispana la pérdida de esta fuente de ingresos tan necesaria.

    AVISO DE PRENSA

    QUIÉN: 

    • Janet Murguía, presidenta y directora general del NCLR
    • Marielena Hincapié, directora ejecutiva del Centro Nacional de
    • Leyes de Inmigración
    • Arzobispo Thomas Wenski, Conferencia Católica Estadounidense de Obispos
    • Wendy Cervantes, vicepresidente de First Focus
    • Clarissa Martínez de Castro, directora, Inmigración y campañas nacionales, NCLR

    QUÉ: Conferencia telefónica de prensa titulada “Proteger el Crédito Tributario
    por Hijos”

    CUÁNDO: Martes 31 de enero de 2012 de 1:00 a 2:00 PM tiempo del este (EST)

    CÓMO: Llamar al: (800) 895-0231
    Título de la conferencia: “Protecting the Child Tax Credit”
    Identificador de la conferencia: CHILDTAX

    RESERVACIÓN: Por favor póngase en contacto con Joseph Rendeiro vía correo electrónico a jteixeira@nclr.org.

    El NCLR (Consejo Nacional de La Raza) es la organización nacional más grande de apoyo y defensa de los derechos civiles de los hispanos en los Estados Unidos y trabaja para mejorar sus oportunidades. Para mayor información sobre el NCLR, por favor visite www.nclr.org o síganos en Facebook y Twitter.

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    By Sergio Eduardo Muñoz and Jennifer Ng’andu, Health Policy Project, NCLR 

    It was one of the president’s most repeated selling points for health care reform: “If you like your health plan, you can keep it.” A selling point that acknowledged more than anything the 150 million American employees, 58% of the entire workforce, who have access to employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) and aren’t sure they want to mess with it. This type of private coverage has become so much the foundation of the health care system, many reform drafters thought it too ingrained to significantly change. The law instead sought to protect and bolster ESI with tax credits for small businesses, a requirement for large businesses to provide coverage, and the widely reported “individual mandate” penalty for workers who dismissed such coverage when offered. This continuity of ESI through health care reform is precisely why a recent Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulation is raising so many eyebrows. The proposed rule could make this widely popular benefit unaffordable for millions of Americans, especially working Latino families. As recent congressional briefings, studies, and news stories agree, ESI family coverage needs to come down, not continue to spiral out of reach.

    The president’s slogan always was a strong nod of assurance for a nervous electorate accustomed to the predominant form of American health insurance. It wasn’t just spin; it was a reflection of the basic essence of the ACA. Health care reform was an attempt to patch and improve an existing system of public and private coverage, all delicately balanced and interlocked with ESI. These interdependent parts ensure that all who gain from reform also have a stake in the ACA—a shared responsibility under law. For large employers, this means contributing to the cost of subsidizing their employees’ purchase of health insurance in the Exchanges if those employees don’t have an offer of affordable ESI. For small employers, incentives in the form of tax credits are given if they provide ESI through an optional Exchange newly designed just for them. Employees have the individual responsibility to accept these affordable offers, and sign up.

    Unfortunately, on the way to making sure employees have quality health insurance, either through their employer or through the Exchanges, a pitfall developed around what precisely qualifies as an “affordable” offer of ESI. As anyone who has looked at their workplace coverage options knows, family coverage is usually a lot pricier than just enrolling in the self-only plan. But the ACA didn’t clearly state which type of ESI plan must prove affordable. Considering the ACA bars an employee from the Exchange if offered an affordable ESI plan, this lack of clarity represents a significant potential Catch-22. Proposed regulations last year took exactly this feared approach and pegged the test of affordability to individual ESI, potentially saddling employees with family plans beyond their means.

    So how does this play out for Latino workers and families? First and foremost, make no mistake: an unaffordable definition of affordability may be particularly difficult for Latinos due to their demographics and prospective gains from ESI. Hispanics are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to pursue marriage and to have children in financially struggling families. Furthermore, the vast majority (84%) of uninsured Latinos live in families, a rate higher than their uninsured non-Hispanic White peers (69%). Making ESI unaffordable for those Latinos who receive an offer of ESI—which they are required to accept—would be a peculiar and unintended side effect of a law that was supposed to make coverage affordable.

    Through advocacy with the Obama administration, detailed explanations have already been relayed as to why a careful read of the ACA shows that the affordability test should be applied to family, not self-only coverage. However, a simple appeal to the overall intent of health care reform to bring everyone fully in to the system should be sufficient. Members of families unable to afford ESI dependent plans, but unable to access the Exchange for affordable options, might very well forego family health insurance altogether, despite subsequent tax penalties. Drafters of a law meant to lower the uninsurance rate while simultaneously protecting the current form of ESI could not have intended such a result.

    Along with many allies seeking to maximize reform, NCLR has already submitted formal comments on this unaffordable affordability test and will continue to advocate for a fairer interpretation of the law that ensures access to affordable quality health insurance for all. The ACA went to great lengths to preserve the ESI system, even at the expense of competition between ESI and the Exchanges. But the deal for keeping the historical oddity that is ESI was that it would remain affordable. Otherwise, the effect may be to force people to keep health plans they don’t like. And that selling point definitely doesn’t have the same ring. 


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    Contact:
    Joseph Rendeiro
    jrendeiro@nclr.org
    (202) 776-1566

    Washington, D.C.—Heading into the 2012 legislative session, lawmakers are proposing to raise taxes on hardworking, low-income Latino families to pay for an extension of the payroll tax cut. Rather than asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, legislators are proposing cutting off access to the Child Tax Credit for taxpayers who use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN). NCLR (National Council of La Raza) estimates that more than four million Latino children and their families could lose out on this valuable tax credit if current proposals pass, pushing them further into poverty.

    “We are outraged that this proposal is even on the table,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Latino voters are paying close attention to how policymakers treat our community. Given that one out of every four Latino children would face greater hunger and poverty as a result of this proposal, it is hard to see it as anything less than an attack on our children. Congress should pass a fair tax package that maintains access to the Child Tax Credit for vulnerable families.”

    ITINs are commonly used by immigrants who lack a Social Security number so that they can pay their share of income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. In 2012, ITIN tax filers paid more than $9 billion in payroll taxes to support Social Security and Medicare.

    Murguía was joined on a call earlier today by Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, as well as representatives from National Immigration Law Center (NILC), First Focus, and CASA de Maryland, who echoed opposition to restrictions to the Child Tax Credit.

    “The House proposal is a direct attack on our nation’s children,” said Wendy Cervantes, Vice President of Immigration and Child Rights at First Focus. “Any restriction on the Child Tax Credit would make it more difficult for hardworking parents to provide for their children’s basic needs and threaten to drive child poverty even higher.”

    Families affected by this policy change typically earn an average of $21,000 per year. If the law changes, those families would experience an 8 percent increase in taxes, amounting to a loss in income of about $1,800.

    “At a time of economic uncertainty for working families, the president and Congress have an opportunity to prove that they are committed to fairness and equity by rejecting proposals limiting low-income immigrant taxpayers’ eligibility for the Child Tax Credit,” added Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of NILC.

    Looking at the effects that changing the law could have on the 2012 election, Clarissa Martínez-de-Castro, Director of Immigration and National Campaigns at NCLR, also pointed out that these proposals have received an overwhelmingly negative response from Latino voters.

    “During an election year, when the Latino voting bloc is being courted by both parties, hitting Latinos where it hurts the most—their wallets—doesn’t appear to be a particularly sound strategy for winning over this community,” said Martínez-de-Castro.

    In fact, Archbishop Wenski doubted whether any American would back these changes knowing who would be affected.

    “Most Americans would not support a tax break knowing it is at the expense of poor children,” said the Archbishop. “Our federal officials should look at other ways to extend this provision.”

    To learn more about the Child Tax Credit and how policy changes could impact the Latino community, please refer to the NCLR fact sheet.

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    Contacto:
    Julián Teixeira
    jteixeira@nclr.org
    (202) 776-1812

    Washington, D.C.— Encaminados a la sesión legislativa 2012, los legisladores están proponiendo aumentar los impuestos a las familias latinas trabajadoras de bajos ingresos para pagar por la extensión del recorte al impuesto sobre la nómina. En lugar de pedirle a los estadounidenses más ricos que paguen la parte justa de impuestos, los legisladores proponen cortar el acceso al crédito tributario por hijos a los contribuyentes que utilizan el Número de Identificación Personal del Contribuyente (ITIN). El NCLR (Consejo Nacional de La Raza) estima que más de cuatro millones de niños latinos y sus familias podrían perder este valioso crédito fiscal si se aprueban las propuestas actuales, lo cual los llevaría aún más a la pobreza.

    “Nos asombra que esta propuesta esté incluso sobre la mesa” dijo Janet Murguía, presidenta y directora general del NCLR. “Los votantes latinos están observando cómo los políticos tratan a nuestra comunidad. Dado que uno de cada cuatro niños latinos enfrentaría mayor hambre y pobreza como consecuencia de esta iniciativa, es duro verla como algo menos que un ataque a nuestros niños. El Congreso debería aprobar un paquete fiscal justo que incluya el acceso al crédito tributario por hijos para las familias vulnerables”.

    El ITIN lo utilizan comúnmente los inmigrantes que no tienen un número de Seguridad Social para poder pagar la porción de impuestos correspondiente a su ingreso, Seguro Social y Medicare. En el 2010, los contribuyentes que utilizaron el ITIN pagaron más de $9 billones en impuestos sobre la nómina en su contribución al Seguro Social y el Medicare.

    El día de hoy en una llamada se unieron a Murguía el arzobispo Thomas Wenski de Miami, así como representantes del Centro Nacional de Leyes de Inmigración (NILC), First Focus, y CASA de Maryland, quienes secundaron la oposición a las restricciones al crédito tributario por hijos.

    “La propuesta de la Cámara es un ataque directo a los niños de nuestra nación”, dijo Wendy Cervantes, vicepresidenta de políticas de inmigración y derechos de la niñez de First Focus. “Cualquier restricción al crédito tributario por hijos dificultaría a los padres trabajadores el poder cubrir las necesidades básicas de sus hijos y amenazaría además con llevar el nivel de pobreza a tasas más elevadas.

    Por lo general las familias afectadas por este cambio de política, ganan un promedio de $21,000 al año. Si la ley cambia, esas familias experimentarían un 8% de aumento en sus impuestos, lo que equivaldría a una pérdida de ingresos de aproximadamente $1,800.

    “En tiempos de incertidumbre económica para las familias trabajadoras, el presidente y el Congreso tienen la oportunidad de demostrar que están comprometidos con la justicia y la equidad, si rechazan las propuestas que ponen límites a la elegibilidad de los contribuyentes inmigrantes de bajos ingresos para el crédito tributario por hijos” agregó Marielena Hincapié, directora ejecutiva de NILC.

    Viendo los efectos que el cambio de la ley podría tener en las elecciones de 2012, Clarissa Martínez-de-Castro, directora de campañas nacionales e inmigración del NCLR, también señaló que estas propuestas han recibido una respuesta muy negativa por parte de los votantes latinos.

    “Durante un año electoral, cuando ambos partidos cortejan el voto latino, darles en donde más les duele –sus bolsillos– no parece ser una buena estrategia para ganarse a esta comunidad”, dijo Martínez-de-Castro.

    De hecho, el arzobispo Wenski dudaba si algún estadounidense respaldaría estos cambios sabiendo quienes se verían afectados.

    “La mayoría de los estadounidenses no apoyaría una reducción fiscal sabiendo que sería a costa de los niños pobres", dijo el arzobispo. "Nuestros funcionarios federales deberían buscar otras maneras de ampliar esta provisión".

    Para más información sobre el crédito tributario por hijos y cómo los cambios de política podrían afectar a la comunidad latina, por favor consulte la hoja informativa del NCLR.

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    Contact:
    Julian Teixeira
    (202) 365-2273; jteixeira@nclr.org

    Leticia de la Vara
    (602) 309-402; leticia.delavara@gmail.com

    National Hispanic civil rights organization calls for accountability after Department of Justice finds pattern of discrimination against Latinos in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

    PHOENIX—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) will make a major announcement at a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 11:00 a.m. MST to call on Arizonans to hold accountable the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), led by Joe Arpaio, for the pattern of discriminatory practices against Latinos as documented in a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report last month. The press conference will be held at Valle del Sol located at 3807 N 7th St. in Phoenix.

    Outrage among Latinos throughout the nation has grown as Sheriff Arpaio continues to lead the MCSO, and especially after just launching his reelection campaign. Daniel R. Ortega, Jr., a Phoenix attorney and Chair of NCLR’s Board of Directors, will join Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO, in speaking to the impact that such discrimination has on public safety and what must be done to repair the breach of trust that these actions have created between law enforcement and the Latino community.

    NCLR had previously denounced the discriminatory practices of the MCSO, which according to the DOJ report include unlawful stops, detentions, and arrests of Latinos, and discriminatory treatment of Hispanic inmates who speak limited English and are punished and denied critical services. The department said it has reason to believe that under the leadership of Sheriff Arpaio, MCSO has engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional conduct that violates federal law, confirming that MCSO’s practices unfairly target and discriminate against Latinos.


    MEDIA ADVISORY

    WHAT:      Press conference to hold Sheriff Joe Arpaio accountable for the MCSO’s discriminatory practices against Latinos, along with an additional major announcement

    WHO:       Daniel R. Ortega, Jr., Chair of NCLR’s Board of Directors
                      Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO
                      Luz Sarmina, President of Strategic Initiatives

    WHEN:    11:00 a.m. (MST) (Arizona Time)
                     Thursday, February 2, 2012

    WHERE:  Valle del Sol
                     3807 N 7th St.
                     Phoenix, AZ 85014

    To RSVP for this briefing, or obtain additional information, please contact Julian Teixeira at jteixeira@nclr.org or (202) 365-2273.

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    Yesterday, the Arizona Maricopa County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on issues related to the sheriff’s office led by the notorious Joe Arpaio. One of the problems to be discussed was the ongoing Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), which was last month found by DOJ to be engaging in a “pattern or practice of discrimination against Latinos and retaliation against critics.” The DOJ also determined that the culture of MCSO was one of “bias [that has] reached to the top levels of the agency.” Maricopa County residents were told that they would be able to discuss their concerns and ask questions at the hearing, but after two hours of discussion, it became clear that this wasn’t going to happen. Many in the audience stormed out of the auditorium outraged because they didn’t get any chance to confront Arpaio and his office’s decisions. the authority. They quickly sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice complaining about Joe Arpaio’s abuse of power, yet no response has been issued.

    Check out a report on the hearing:


    This meeting is yet another example of the failed leadership for which has Sheriff Arpaio has become infamous. Residents may have been snubbed, but one thing was made clear: under Arpaio’s leadership, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has no accountability to the public that it’s supposed to serve and protect.

    At NCLR, we know that something must be done to hold Arpaio responsible for his actions against the Latino community. Tomorrow in Phoenix, we’ll be holding a press conference to highlight his lack of accountability and demand that action be taken. Click here for more information. 


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    Contacto:
    Julián Teixeira
    (202) 365-2273
    jteixeira@nclr.org

    Leticia de la Vara
    (602) 309-4121
    leticia.delavara@gmail.com

    La organización nacional más grande de derechos civiles de los hispanos se une a las voces locales para exigir que Arpaio responda por discriminar a los latinos

    PHOENIX—El NCLR (Consejo Nacional de La Raza) pidió hoy que Joe Arpaio renuncie su puesto como jefe de policía del condado de Maricopa, representando la primera organización nacional que se une a un coro de líderes locales y activistas comunitarios para exigir que Arpaio renuncie de inmediato. Un informe del Departamento de Justicia (DOJ) de Estados Unidos publicado en diciembre documentó las prácticas discriminatorias contra los latinos de la comisaría bajo su mando.

    “El NCLR pide a Joe Arpaio que renuncie como jefe de policia del condado de Maricopa”, dijo Janet Murguía, presidenta y directora general del NCLR. “Esto no es personal, tiene que ver con su desempeño. El Departamento de Justicia confirmó que Arpaio ha creado un clima hostil para los latinos, ciudadanos y no ciudadanos por igual. Muchos informes también confirman que Arpaio ha puesto en peligro la seguridad de cada uno de los residentes del condado de Maricopa al no cumplir con su responsabilidad primaria, la aplicación efectiva de la ley. Sea como sea, debería irse”.

    “Como residente de Arizona de toda la vida y como alguien que ha colaborado con el departamento en litigios, sé el daño que el jefe de policía Joe Arpaio ha hecho a nuestra comunidad”, agregó Daniel R. Ortega Jr., abogado de Phoenix y presidente de la Junta Directiva del NCLR. “Cualquier duda que pudo existir sobre la discriminación racial contra los latinos por la comisaria, algo además ilegal e inconstitucional, desapareció con el informe del DOJ. Arpaio debe renunciar y permitir que otro jefe repare los daños y restaure la confianza de los residentes en la aplicación de la ley en Maricopa”.

    El NCLR ha denunciado anteriormente el trato de los latinos por la comisaría del jefe Arpaio. Según el reporte investigativo del DOJ, las prácticas discriminatorias de su comisaría contra los hispanos incluyen paradas, detenciones y arrestos ilegales, así como el trato discriminatorio a los presos hispanos que hablan poco inglés y que por lo tanto, han sido castigados y se les han negado servicios importantes.

    El Departamento de Justicia dijo que tiene razones para creer que bajo la dirección de Arpaio, la comisaría ha incurrido conducta inconstitucional que viola la ley federal, lo que confirma que sus prácticas atacan y discriminan injustamente a los latinos.

    Varios líderes y activistas comunitarios de Arizona también han pedido la renuncia de Arpaio, entre ellos están Mary Rose Wilcox, supervisora del condado de Maricopa; Respect Respeto, una organización local sin fines de lucro; Los Abogados, el Arizona Hispanic Bar Association; Asian Chamber of Commerce; Asian Pacific Community in Action; Steve Gallardo, senador estatal; Michael Johnson and Michael Nowakowski, concejales de la ciudad de Phoenix; miembros del clero local; y los capítulos locales del National Urban League y el NAACP.

    “Es un orgullo estar aquí y unirnos con los valientes individuos y organizaciones de Arizona que han pedido que Arpaio renuncie”, dijo Murguía. “Las voces que piden un cambio y la restauración de la urbanidad y la equidad en Phoenix son diversas, bipartidistas y cada vez más fuertes”.

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    Contact:
    Julian Teixeira
    (202) 365-2273
    jteixeira@nclr.org

    Leticia de la Vara,
    (602) 309-4121
    leticia.delavara@gmail.com

    National Hispanic civil rights organization joins local and state voices in demanding that Arpaio be held accountable for discrimination against Latinos

    PHOENIX—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) today called on Joe Arpaio to resign from his position as Sheriff of Maricopa County, representing the first national organization to join a growing chorus of local and state leaders and community activists to demand that Arpaio step down immediately. A U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report released in December documented the discriminatory practices carried out against Latinos by the sheriff’s office under his leadership.

    “NCLR calls on Joe Arpaio to resign as Sheriff of Maricopa County,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “This isn’t personal, it’s about performance. The Department of Justice’s findings confirm that Arpaio has created a hostile climate for Latinos—citizens and noncitizens alike. But numerous reports also confirm that Arpaio has endangered the safety of every resident of Maricopa County by failing in his basic obligation to effectively enforce the law. By any measure, he should go.”

    “As a lifelong resident of Arizona and someone who has engaged the department in litigation, I know the damage that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has done to our community,” added Daniel R. Ortega Jr., a Phoenix attorney and Chair of the NCLR Board of Directors. “Any doubt that the sheriff’s office engages in unlawful and unconstitutional racial profiling of Latinos was erased by the DOJ’s report. Arpaio must step down from his position and allow new leadership to repair the damage done and restore public confidence in local law enforcement.”

    NCLR has previously denounced the treatment of Latinos by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) under Arpaio. According to the DOJ report, the discriminatory practices of his office against Hispanics has included unlawful stops, detentions, and arrests of Latinos, as well as discriminatory treatment of Hispanic inmates who speak limited English and were therefore punished and denied critical services. The DOJ said that it has reason to believe that under the leadership of Sheriff Arpaio, MCSO has engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional conduct that violates federal law, confirming that MCSO’s practices unfairly target and discriminate against Latinos.


    We know several community leaders in Arizona have made their voices heard and are calling for Arpaio’s resignation, including Citizens for a Better Arizona, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox; Respect Respeto, a local nonprofit organization; Los Abogados, the Arizona Hispanic Bar Association; Asian Chamber of Commerce; Asian Pacific Community in Action; State Senator Steve Gallardo; Phoenix Councilmen Michael Johnson and Michael Nowakowski; local clergy members; and the local chapters of the National Urban League and NAACP.

    “NCLR is very proud to stand with the courageous individuals and organizations in Arizona who have called on Arpaio to step down,” said Murguía. “The voices calling for change and a restoration of civility and fairness in Phoenix are diverse, they are bipartisan, and they are growing stronger.”

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    In Phoenix today, NCLR became the first national organization to demand the resignation of Joe Arpaio from the office of Sheriff of Maricopa County.

    “This isn’t personal, it’s about performance. The Department of Justice’s findings confirm that Arpaio has created a hostile climate for Latinos—citizens and noncitizens alike,” said NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía. “But numerous reports also confirm that Arpaio has endangered the safety of every resident of Maricopa County by failing in his basic obligation to effectively enforce the law. By any measure, he should go.”

    Arpaio is known for discriminating and mistreating Latinos in Maricopa County. According to the damning Department of Justice report released in December, the discriminatory practices of his office against Hispanics includes unlawful stops, detentions, and arrests of Latinos, as well as discriminatory treatment against those who speak limited English and were therefore punished and denied vital services.

    “Arpaio must step down from his position and allow new leadership to repair the damage done and restore public confidence in local law enforcement,” said NCLR Board Chair and Maricopa County resident Daniel R. Ortega Jr.

    NCLR joins a long list of elected officials and organizations who have called on Arpaio’s resignation, including Citizens for a Better Arizona; Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox; Respect Respeto, a local nonprofit organization; Los Abogados, the Arizona Hispanic Bar Association; Asian Chamber of Commerce; Asian Pacific Community in Action; State Senator Steve Gallardo; Phoenix Councilmen Michael Johnson and Michael Nowakowski; local clergy members; and the local chapters of the National Urban League and NAACP.

    Amid all these calls for his resignation, the Department of Justice report, and the sham of a public hearing on the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office earlier this week, it seems the days of “America’s Toughest Sheriff” are numbered. 


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    In Phoenix today, NCLR became the first national organization to demand the resignation of Joe Arpaio from the office of Sheriff of Maricopa County.

    “This isn’t personal, it’s about performance. The Department of Justice’s findings confirm that Arpaio has created a hostile climate for Latinos—citizens and noncitizens alike,” said NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía. “But numerous reports also confirm that Arpaio has endangered the safety of every resident of Maricopa County by failing in his basic obligation to effectively enforce the law. By any measure, he should go.”

    Arpaio is known for discriminating and mistreating Latinos in Maricopa County. According to the damning Department of Justice report released in December, the discriminatory practices of his office against Hispanics includes unlawful stops, detentions, and arrests of Latinos, as well as discriminatory treatment against those who speak limited English and were therefore punished and denied vital services.

    “Arpaio must step down from his position and allow new leadership to repair the damage done and restore public confidence in local law enforcement,” said NCLR Board Chair and Maricopa County resident Daniel R. Ortega Jr.

    NCLR joins a long list of elected officials and organizations who have called on Arpaio’s resignation, including Citizens for a Better Arizona; Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox; Respect Respeto, a local nonprofit organization; Los Abogados, the Arizona Hispanic Bar Association; Asian Chamber of Commerce; Asian Pacific Community in Action; State Senator Steve Gallardo; Phoenix Councilmen Michael Johnson and Michael Nowakowski; local clergy members; and the local chapters of the National Urban League and NAACP.

    Amid all these calls for his resignation, the Department of Justice report, and the sham of a public hearing on the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office earlier this week, it seems the days of “America’s Toughest Sheriff” are numbered. 


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Kathryn Butcher
    Vice President of Public Relations
    (713) 929-2316; (281) 352-9219
    kbutcher@aama.org

    HOUSTON—AAMA (Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans) and NCLR (National Council of La Raza) will convene 200 student leaders on Monday, February 6, on the topic of “Youth Leadership: Looking Ahead on Immigration and Education.” High school students from AAMA’s George I. Sanchez Charter School, the Tejano Center for Community Concerns’ Raul Yzaguirre School for Success, and Gateway Academy will gather for a program beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the University of Houston, University Center, Houston Room.

    The keynote speaker for the Líderes Congreso will be Loren Campos, Field Coordinator for United We DREAM, who works to prevent deportation of Texas DREAM Act–eligible students. Campos, who recently graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, is the son of an undocumented immigrant. He was able to attend college because of the Texas DREAM Act, legislation that allows undocumented students to qualify for in-state college tuition.

    Breakout sessions will include topics such as legal issues, juvenile justice, and financial aid for college. Sessions will be led by Captain Robert Manzo and Officer Rick Trejo of the Houston Police Department; attorneys Frances Valdez and Ann Johnson; and Maggie Manzano and Cora Battle of University of Houston-Downtown.

    The Houston Líderes Congreso is one of a series of youth conferences that will be held throughout the country as part of NCLR’s youth leadership program, Líderes Empowered, which equips and inspires young Latinos to become leaders and youth advocates in their communities. The Houston theme and program were planned by the George I. Sanchez Charter School’s Youth Leadership Committee after conducting a survey to determine what issues are most important to Latinos in Houston’s East End.

    “Young people want to become more involved in their communities and can accomplish a great deal with their energy and enthusiasm. The workshops offered through the Líderes Congresos will help them gain skills to become youth advocates so they can work for their communities and advance their own academic and professional goals,” said Berenice Bonilla, NCLR Líderes Manager.

    “We are delighted to host this Congreso where students will hear first-hand from a rising young Latino leader and have the opportunity for dialogue with other leaders in our community,” said Beatrice Garza, president and CEO of AAMA. “Because nearly half of all Latinos in our country are under the age of 25, it is critical that we help our students find their voices and develop their skills to become the leaders of tomorrow.”

    The Congreso is free of charge and open to all youth ages 14–26, although seating is limited. For more information, or to make a reservation, please contact Kathryn Butcher at (713) 929- 2316.

    ABOUT LÍDERES
    NCLR’s Líderes Initiative is a national program created to increase opportunities for Latino youth that will maximize their influence as leaders in the United States. Through a wide range of leadership development and civic engagement efforts, Líderes empowers, equips, and enables young Latinos to serve as agents of positive social change. The Congreso is made possible by support from ConAgra Foods, a Líderes Programmatic Partner. For more information about Líderes, visit lideres.nclr.org or email bbonilla@nclr.org.

    NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

    ABOUT AAMA
    AAMA, the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans, is a 501(c)(3) organization formed in 1970 by a group of business leaders and community activists in Houston’s East End to address serious concerns about the high drop-out rate among Latino youth and the lack of economic opportunities for Latino families. Today, AAMA serves more than 22,000 people each year in Houston, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley through education programs for youth and adults, and a network of educational, outreach, and treatment programs to help youth and adults resist and overcome substance abuse. For more information, please visit www.aama.org.

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    By Kara D. Ryan, Senior Research Analyst, Health Policy Project

    About a year ago, I found myself getting nostalgic for school lunch. I was touring the kitchen of La Fe Preparatory School in El Paso, Texas, a bilingual public charter school located just blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border. It’d been a while since I’d been in an elementary school cafeteria (the last time was probably in the 1980s when the Cold War was still raging and the pull-down maps of Eastern Europe in my grade school classrooms looked much different than they do now). The colorful plastic trays, pint-sized milk cartons, and kid-sized tables and chairs brought me back to the lunch lines of my childhood.

    That day, Randi Marshall, the kitchen manager at La Fe Prep, was giving me a first-hand look at what goes into serving a hot, healthy lunch to the students. She showed me the industrial-sized mixers and ovens, explaining that she and her team make nearly every meal from scratch. As we talked, students streamed through the line excited for the day’s offering: spaghetti, broccoli, yellow squash with chili and lime, and low-fat milk. It was clear that more than just the maps have changed since my time in elementary school; the cafeteria meals have also had an overhaul.

    In response to a movement to improve the nutritional content of school-based meals, policies and practices are changing at the federal, state, and community levels. For instance, farm-to-school initiatives focused on bringing local, healthy foods to school kitchens grew from a handful of pilot projects in the late 1990s to thousands of programs currently operational in all 50 states. Schools like La Fe Prep have been increasingly finding ways to make nutritious foods more appealing and accessible to kids by preparing fresh meals, integrating ingredients and flavors from students’ diverse cultural backgrounds, and providing healthy, low-cost recipes for families to prepare at home.

    These changes are exciting for all kids, but especially for low-income Latino children. The sad fact is that one in three Latino families with children at home don’t know or aren’t certain where the next meal is coming from, compared to about one in seven White households where children are present. Latino kids, unfortunately, are among the most at risk of both going hungry and being overweight or obese—and evidence suggests that the two are linked. For many kids, breakfast or lunch at school is the healthiest meal (or the only meal) that a child eats during the day. Making sure that these children get fed and that the meals at school are getting healthier is critical to ensure that their bodies and brains are growing and functioning at their best.

    That’s why NCLR was thrilled when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the final nutrition standards for school meals. Last revamped in 1994, the standards now emphasize putting more fruits, veggies, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy on school cafeteria menus, ensuring age-appropriate calorie levels and portion sizes, and further reducing unhealthy fat and sodium content. We applaud standards that will help all schoolchildren, especially our most vulnerable, to have better access to healthy foods.

    Want to know more about the school meal standards? Our friends at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) held a webinar about the changes on February 2, but if you missed it, you can fill out your free registration and replay the archived footage.

    To find out whether a child in your life is eligible for free or reduced-cost school meals, contact the child’s school at any time throughout the school year. Need an application in a language other than English? USDA has application package prototypes available in 33 languages on its website if your state or school has not made them available.

    Sign up for health and nutrition updates from NCLR's health policy team!


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Joseph Rendeiro
    jrendeiro@nclr.org

    (202) 776-1566

    Washington—In order to pay for an extension of the payroll tax cut, Congress is currently debating eliminating access to the Child Tax Credit for taxpayers who use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN). NCLR (National Council of La Raza) and First Focus Campaign for Children have previously expressed outrage over these proposals, which would affect more than four million low-income Latino children and their families, and are urging Congress to pass a tax package that preserves this much-needed refundable credit for ITIN users. The typical family who would be affected earns approximately $21,000 per year and would lose $1,800.

    On Thursday, February 9, NCLR and First Focus will accompany a group of elementary school children from Casa de Maryland, an NCLR Affiliate, who will deliver drawings that show the importance this money has for their families. We invite media to take pictures as the children drop off their drawings to the various senators on Capitol Hill who will be deciding the fate of these proposals.

    PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

    WHO: Youth from Casa de Maryland

    WHAT: Delivery of Child Tax Credit Drawings to Conferees

    WHEN: Thursday, February 9, 2012, 4:00 p.m. EST

    WHERE: 509 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

    TO RSVP: Contact Joseph Rendeiro via email at jrendeiro@nclr.org or call (202) 776-1566.

    NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

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    By Karla Tenorio, Communications Department, NCLR

    What a fantastic effort of the Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for improving children’s education and understanding of the U.S. justice system! In the January 25th episode of Sesame Street, the Justice explains how the highest court in the country solves conflicts.

    In the clip below, Sotomayor solves a problem where, apparently, Goldilocks intentionally broke Baby Bear’s chair. “Don’t worry—I will listen to both sides of the case,” says the Justice.

    In true Sesame Street fashion, there is a happy ending for these characters thanks to Sotomayor’s decision. Check out the video below. Enjoy! 


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