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  • 10/19/10--06:55: News Roundup for Tuesday
  • A federal judge has announced that he will rule on the constitutionality of health care reform by the end of the year, according to The New York Times:

    “In a nearly three-hour hearing, a lawyer for the commonwealth [of Virginia] argued that if Judge Henry E. Hudson of Federal District Court finds unconstitutional the provision that requires Americans to have health insurance, he should declare the entire law void until the Supreme Court can review it. The lawyer noted that in writing the legislation, Congress failed to include ‘severability’ language to specify that the rest of the law would survive.

    “The Justice Department concedes that some of the most essential insurance changes, including requiring insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions, will have to be scrapped if the coverage requirement loses in the courts. The administration maintains that the regulations can work only if everyone is required to have coverage, so people will not simply wait until they get sick to buy policies.

    “But the federal government’s lawyers argued on Monday that other provisions, like the vast expansion of Medicaid eligibility, could survive, and that the judge should keep the law in effect during the appeals process.”

    A new study in The Washington Post reveals that racial harmony can be achieved in the dorm room:

    “A new study finds that randomly assigned roommates are equally likely to become friends regardless of their race.

    “Researchers studying roommate assignments at Berea College in Kentucky found that roommates of different races were just as likely to become friends as roommates of the same race. The finding, published in the October issue of Journal of Labor Economics, suggests that racial harmony on campus might begin with innovative dorm assignments.

    “The study also found that white students assigned black roommates tended to befriend more black students in college than white students assigned white roommates.

    “‘We find that, while much sorting exists at all stages of college, black and white students are, in reality, very compatible as friends,’ write the authors, Braz Camargo of Sao Paulo School of Economics and the University of Western Ontario, Ralph Stinebrickner of Berea College and Todd Stinebrickner of the University of Western Ontario.”

    Bank of America resumes foreclosures in 23 states, according to the Los Angeles Times:

    “Bank of America Corp. ended its freeze on foreclosures in 23 states earlier than some analysts had expected, but it is still reviewing its actions in California and 26 other states to make sure its attempts to seize homes complied with the states' laws.

    “BofA, the largest mortgage servicer and only major bank to impose a nationwide foreclosure moratorium, said it would begin asking judges in the 23 states for approval to seize a total of about 102,000 homes beginning Oct. 25.

    “That is just 24 days after it announced the freeze — a far faster resolution than the months of delays some analysts had predicted for the nation's battered housing markets.”

    October is breast cancer awareness month, and USA Today has a piece with three recommendations that may help reduce the risk of breast cancer:

    “Women who maintain certain ‘breast-healthy’ habits can lower their risk of breast cancer, even if a close relative has had the disease, a new study finds.

    “Engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight and drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all, was shown in a large study to help protect against breast cancer in postmenopausal women, the researchers said.

    “‘Whether or not you have a family history, the risk of breast cancer was lower for women engaged in these three sets of behavior compared to women who were not,’ said study leader Dr. Robert Gramling, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

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  • 10/20/10--07:56: News Roundup for Wednesday
  • Over the past three decades, most of the income growth has been concentrated at the top, while income inequality continues to increase, according to The New York Times:

    “Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, was a professor of moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow. His first book, “A Theory of Moral Sentiments,” was published more than 25 years before his celebrated “Wealth of Nations,” which was itself peppered with trenchant moral analysis.

    “Some moral philosophers address inequality by invoking principles of justice and fairness. But because they have been unable to forge broad agreement about what these abstract principles mean in practice, they’ve made little progress. The more pragmatic cost-benefit approach favored by Smith has proved more fruitful, for it turns out that rising inequality has created enormous losses and few gains, even for its ostensible beneficiaries.

    “Recent research on psychological well-being has taught us that beyond a certain point, across-the-board spending increases often do little more than raise the bar for what is considered enough. A C.E.O. may think he needs a 30,000-square-foot mansion, for example, just because each of his peers has one. Although they might all be just as happy in more modest dwellings, few would be willing to downsize on their own.”

    Hispanic voters are poised to have a big effect on November’s elections, according to a new study by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials covered in today’s Washington Post:

    “About 6.5 million Hispanic voters will likely cast their ballots this year, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials - nearly 1 million more than in the last midterm elections in 2006. The group derived its estimate by looking at the increase in Hispanic voter turnout in the past three congressional elections.

    “The voting bloc could have an impact in close races from Texas to Colorado, said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the group.

    “‘Never before have we had so many tight contests at the state and federal levels in states where the Latino vote can make a difference,’ he said. ‘I think it will make all the difference in 2010.’

    “Vargas's group says that several elections could turn on the Latino vote, notably gubernatorial contests in California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Some of the Republican nominees are Hispanic: Brian Sandoval in Nevada and Susana Martinez in New Mexico.”

    The recent outbreak of whooping cough across the nation demonstrates the need for vaccinations, according to USA Today:

    “Recent outbreaks of whooping cough highlight the need for adults to be vaccinated against this highly contagious disease, U.S. health officials said.

    “Not only does vaccination protect adults against the disease, it reduces the odds that they will pass on an illness that can be life-threatening to those most at risk: infants who haven't finished their full vaccination series, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    “A whooping cough outbreak this year in California has already sickened more than 5,270 infants and killed nine, the agency reported. That rate of illness is the highest recorded in the state since 1955, according to the California Department of Public Health.

    “The best way to protect yourself and the infants you come into contact from getting whooping cough — also known as pertussis — is the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, the CDC advises.”

    Community colleges in California are not graduating the majority of their students, and minority student numbers are even worse, according to a new study in today’s Los Angeles Times:

    “Seventy percent of students seeking degrees at California's community colleges did not manage to attain them or transfer to four-year universities within six years, according to a new study that suggests that many two-year colleges are failing to prepare the state's future workforce.

    “Conducted by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at Cal State Sacramento, the report, released Tuesday, found that most students who failed to obtain a degree or transfer in six years eventually dropped out; only 15% were still enrolled.

    “In addition, only about 40% of the 250,000 students the researchers tracked between 2003 and 2009 had earned at least 30 college credits, the minimum needed to provide an economic boost in jobs that require some college experience.

    “There were also significant disparities in the outcomes of black and Latino students. Only 26% of black students and 22% of Latino students had completed a degree or certificate or transferred after six years, compared to 37% of whites and 35% of Asian Pacific Islanders.”

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    October 20, 2010

    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670


    Washington, DC—Calling recent ads by Latinos for Reform an “affront to American civil rights and values,” NCLR (National Council of La Raza) President and CEO Janet Murguía today urged Latinos to stand up and have their voices heard at the polls this November. NCLR, the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, issued the following statement:

    “Latinos for Reform’s efforts to urge Latinos to stay at home on November 2 are an affront to us as Americans who have a deep and abiding faith in our democratic process. Too many people fought too long and too hard—some at the cost of their lives—for the right of all citizens to vote. This ad is a blatant attempt to undermine both that noble struggle and the long and proud history that Hispanics have in this country.

    “It is clear that Latinos matter in the 2010 midterm elections and that some people will go to great lengths to suppress the Hispanic vote. Latinos will most likely play decisive roles in races in California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, and Illinois, and Latino voter participation will also be watched closely in Arizona and Texas.

    “We applaud Univision and Entravision, both partners in the ya es hora ¡VE Y VOTA! campaign, for pulling these deplorable ads. Latinos must vote for respect on November 2. We must stand up against the scapegoating of this community and the demonization of millions of hardworking people. NCLR’s Vote for Respect campaign, which includes work with community-based organizations in 22 states, a voter participation pledge, celebrity and community public service announcements, and a musical single by Grammy Award-winning multicultural fusion band Ozomatli, is a rallying call for Latinos to show up at the polls on Election Day. NCLR will also partner with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund and other ya es hora partners to staff a bilingual election protection hotline on Election Day, 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682), where voters can call and receive advice if they encounter problems at the polls.”


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  • 10/21/10--07:30: News Roundup for Thursday
  • A new study shows that those who buy food with cash make better choices than those who use plastic. The New York Times has the story:

    “The Economix blog today offers an interesting lesson on economics and eating behavior. People who buy food with cash make better choices than people who pay with credit and debit cards.

    “In part of their study, the authors looked at the shopping behavior of a random sample of 1,000 single-member households who normally shop at chain stores. The authors looked at what these households purchased over a six-month period on each visit to the store, and how they paid for their items. Most of the households switched between card and cash payments on different trips (but the researchers did not randomly assign one form of payment versus another, so there may be some other lurking variables at play).

    “In this analysis, consumers were significantly more likely to purchase unhealthy foods like cakes and cookies when using a credit or debit card. Interestingly, consumers who shopped with larger baskets were also “more susceptible to impulsive purchase of unhealthy products,” the authors found.

    “Read ‘Going on a Diet? Start Paying in Cash,’ to learn more, including why the date of the shopping trip matters and why spending cash leads to buying more healthful foods.”

    The Washington Post fact-checks the good and the bad in the recently passed health care law:

    “The debate that preceded passage of the health-care overhaul has returned as a heated issue in the midterm elections. Politicians and advocacy groups seeking repeal of the law are making dramatic claims about its cost and effects. How valid are they? We evaluate some of the most common criticisms.

    “The law will cause 87 million Americans to lose their current coverage.

    “SAYS WHO?

    “Republican House leaders assert this in the ‘Pledge to America[’] governing plan they released last month, adding that it contradicts President Obama's assurance during the health-care debate that ‘if you like your health plan, you can keep it.’


    “How True? The evidence is limited.

    “Obama was certainly obscuring the picture. The law exempts plans in existence before its adoption from key requirements such as offering free preventive services and eliminating penalties for out-of-network emergency care.

    “But insurers can lose this ‘grandfathered status’ by making such changes as reducing the coverage of particular conditions or raising deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance shares above amounts set by formula. The same goes for employers that switch insurance carriers or reduce the share of employee premiums they cover by more than five percentage points. As a result, the administration estimates that by 2013, plans covering millions of workers will have fallen out of grandfathered status - not 87 million but 78 million workers according to the most recent figures.

    “Still, the Republican assertion that these workers will be forced to ‘drop their current coverage’ implies the workers will be left with a worse plan or none at all. There's little evidence for that. Many currently grandfathered plans already offer some or even all of the consumer protections required of new plans. So losing grandfathered status wouldn't necessarily require them to raise premiums or make other changes. What portion of plans fall into this category? There are not enough data to say.”

    A severe drought persists throughout the Southeastern and Midwestern United States, according to The Wall Street Journal:

    “An extreme drought has taken hold in parts of nine states stretching from the Southeast to the lower Midwest, damaging crops, driving up the cost of keeping livestock and putting officials on alert for wildfires.

    “Climatologists say the dry weather likely will continue at least until spring, raising the possibility of prolonged drought in some areas next summer.

    “‘Six months from now, we could be in a fairly significant drought situation throughout the Southeast,’ said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, a federally funded center at the University of Nebraska that monitors drought conditions across the U.S. ‘The general pattern is going to show worsening.’”

    BusinessWeek examines TARP’s returns, which are higher over two years than those yielded by Treasury bonds:

    “The U.S. government’s bailout of financial firms through the Troubled Asset Relief Program provided taxpayers with higher returns than yields paid on 30- year Treasury bonds — enough money to fund the Securities and Exchange Commission for the next two decades.

    “The government has earned $25.2 billion on its investment of $309 billion in banks and insurance companies, an 8.2 percent return over two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That beat U.S. Treasuries, high-yield savings accounts, money- market funds and certificates of deposit. Investing in the stock market or gold would have paid off better.

    “When the government first announced its intention to plow funds into the nation’s banks in October 2008 to resuscitate the financial system, many expected it to lose hundreds of billions of dollars. Two years later TARP’s bank and insurance investments have made money, and about two-thirds of the funds have been paid back. Yet Democrats are struggling to turn those gains into political capital, and the indirect costs of propping up banks could have longer-term consequences for the economy.”

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  • 10/21/10--07:35: Wealth-Building Wednesday
  • Mike Konczal on Bloggingheads: Where Have You Gone, George Bailey?
    by Tim Price, New Deal 2.0
    Mike Konczal and Noah Millman discuss who’s to blame in the foreclosure scandal.

    Congress Forces Bank of America to Offer Better Service
    by Barbara Kiviat, Reuters
    In the end, the CARD Act and Dodd-Frank bill didn't cause the sky to fall.

    Answers to Your Questions on the Foreclosure Crisis
    by Catherine Rampell, Economix
    A housing expert answers questions about the foreclosure crisis.

    Major Bondholders Seek Bank of America Mortgage Repurchases
    by Bill McBride, CalculatedRiskBlog
    Investors push Bank of America to repurchase low-quality mortgages packages.

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    October 21, 2010

    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670


    Washington, DC—A study released today by NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, shows that Latino youth in the U.S. experience pervasive ethnic stereotyping in their daily lives by adults who could instead help their integration into mainstream society. Authors of Speaking Out: Latino Youth on Discrimination in the United States conducted focus groups with first- and second-generation children of Hispanic immigrants to hear about their experiences with teachers, school administrators, law enforcement personnel, and others.

    “Throughout our nation’s history, children of immigrants have served as a bridge between sacrifice and success. While Latino teenagers are optimistic about their future and recognize that hard work is the key to achievement, they are coming of age at a time when the national discourse is immersed in anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic sentiment. This is reflected in their daily lives, in school, and in their neighborhoods, and it is detrimental to them and our nation as a whole,” said Eric Rodriguez, NCLR Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation.

    The study demonstrates that Latino children feel strong pressure from parents and society to obtain a college education and a good job. Only 55% of Latino students in the U.S. graduate from high school with a regular diploma.

    In reflecting on the challenges they face, the teenagers in the focus groups—who live in Los Angeles, Nashville, Langley Park, MD, and Providence, RI—spoke about being consistently viewed as “other” in interactions with teachers, administrators, and peers. Major findings from the study include the following:

    • Reflecting the hopes and expectations of their immigrant parents, Latino youth tend to have an optimistic outlook on the role of education and a strong desire to achieve successful careers.
    • The youth reported significant ethnic stereotyping that they feel often leads Hispanic students to be overlooked, excluded, or negatively tracked and results in unequal educational opportunities.
    • The focus group participants often perceived the workplace as a site of unfair practices based on racial and ethnic assumptions on the part of employers.
    • The teenagers emphatically described feeling unfairly and habitually profiled by law enforcement as a result of negative assumptions regarding Hispanic youth, gangs, and immigrants. Such regular contact with the police in a variety of spaces compounds feelings of vulnerability and distrust in their communities.

    The study identifies distinctions between cities; for example, Hispanic youth in Los Angeles and Langley Park expressed fear from constant, up-close exposure to gangs and the likelihood that police officers would profile them as gang members. The Latino youth in Tennessee appeared to experience by far the greatest degree of negative stereotyping and prejudiced behaviors and to feel the most blatantly marginalized in school, on the job, and in the streets.

    Some of the focus group participants spoke of teachers who had made a difference in their lives as well as interventions, such as the GED or other educational programs for at-risk minority youth, that put them on track for college. Despite the challenges they faced, most of the youth revealed a positive, resilient orientation toward their lives and future aspirations. The study underscores the need to change the tone of public discourse about the role of immigrants and Hispanics in U.S. society, attend to structural issues that contribute to stereotyping and discrimination within our institutions, and establish policies that build social cohesion and support.

    “Latino adolescents want to do the best they can to follow their dreams and contribute to our nation. Listening to what they have to say about their lives and their hopes and fears for the future is pivotal to envisioning better policies and programs that will allow these youth—our future workers, voters, and leaders—to thrive,” Rodriguez said.

    Speaking Out: Latino Youth on Discrimination in the United States provides insight into the environment and formative experiences that are helping to shape the attitudes and beliefs of the next generation of Americans—hundreds of thousands of potential new voters. The 16 million Latino youth in the U.S. represent more than 22% of the population under age 18 and, according to Democracia U.S.A.’s analysis of U.S. Census data, 500,000 Hispanics will turn 18—making them eligible to vote—every year for the next 20 years.

    This research is part of NCLR’s ongoing effort to document the status and experiences of Latino children in the U.S. This study follows America’s Future: Latino Child Well-Being in Numbers and Trends, which includes a state-by-state analysis of major socioeconomic factors, such as poverty, maternal education, and access to health care, that affect the well-being of Hispanic children, 92% of whom are U.S. citizens.


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    October 21, 2010

    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670

    Man who threatened NCLR and other Latino organizations pleads guilty in federal court

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today hailed the U.S. Department of Justice’s victory in the ongoing “Devilfish” investigation. Vincent Johnson, known online as “Devilfish,” pled guilty to ten counts of threatening NCLR and other Latino organizations—including LatinoJustice PRLDEF, MALDEF, and LULAC—in a series of emails spanning several years.

    “We want to thank the Department of Justice, especially the Civil Rights Division led by Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez and the FBI, for doggedly pursuing this investigation and prosecution,” stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “All Americans are entitled to express their opinions, but threatening anyone or any organization with violence, regardless of whether it’s done in person or online, should not be tolerated.”

    A resident of Brick, NJ, Johnson will be sentenced in January 2011. He could face both jail time and large fines for his offenses.

    “This outcome should be welcomed by all Americans who believe in promoting and protecting respect for free speech and civility. We are deeply relieved that Mr. Johnson will cease to be a threat to us and our sister organizations. Rest assured, though, that we will continue to make sure that efforts to intimidate and silence Latino organizations are appropriately addressed,” concluded Murguía.


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    By Emma Oppenheim

    Ninety million Americans lack the basic literacy, numeracy, and English language skills needed to qualify for continuing education, training, and jobs. Yet projections hold that employers will respond to continued technological and economic changes by increasingly demanding workers with some college education or vocational certification. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) recently held its first-ever Workforce Development Conference—¡Listo! Preparing Latino Workers for the New Economy”—in Chicago to focus on the needs of Latino workers, the fastest-growing segment of the American workforce.

    The conference convened NCLR Affiliates, national advocates, state, local, and federal administrators, community colleges, and more to discuss policy and program strategies to help Latino workers succeed in today and tomorrow’s labor market. During the event, NCLR released Learning in Context: Preparing Latino Workers for Careers in Education, a new research report exploring the impact of integrated training programs and their potential for increasing the earnings, education, and language skills of low-skill and limited-English-proficient participants.
    Integrated training programs provide vocational training and teach basic skills and/or the English language simultaneously. For the millions of low-skill adults unprepared for the demands of work and continued learning, integrated training programs have emerged as a promising strategy to reach and improve the learning and earning outcomes of participants.
    Our research showed, however, that we need to tackle important policy and program issues to ensure that integrated training programs are accessible to Latino and low-skill workers. Our lessons and recommendations to policymakers, program administrators, and funders include the following:

    • The integrated training needs of limited-English-proficient learners are different than those of higher-level learners.
      • Recommendation: Explore integrated training models that more effectively target the needs of diverse lower-level basic education students and English language learners.
    • Training and support for workers with the most barriers falls largely on community-based organizations.
      • Recommendation: Increase collaboration with community-based organizations as partners in adult integrated training programs to ensure that workers of all levels can have access to and succeed in learning opportunities.

    Representing 14.2% of the workforce, Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the United States workforce, and preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow will require a better understanding of their learning needs today.

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  • 10/22/10--07:05: News Roundup for Friday
  • This week, we saw an attempt to suppress Latino voters through an ad telling them not to vote in November. The New York Times editorial page takes a look:

    “This year’s crop of negative political ads is fresh and repellent and headed for the landfill on Nov. 3. At least they aim to motivate voters, however basely.

    “Now here comes a twist: a new Republican ad so cynical that one media company, Univision, refused to air it. It’s from one of those 527 groups allowed to pursue ‘issue advocacy.’ The group, Latinos for Reform, aims its message at Hispanic voters fed up with inaction on immigration reform, which has been stalled for years.

    “It doesn’t tell them whom to vote for or against. It tells them not to vote. ‘Clearly, the Democratic leadership betrayed us,’ it says. ‘Aren’t you tired of politicians playing games with your future? Don’t vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message.’

    “Wait. Don’t vote? Clear message? Who is ‘us’?”

    The debt that college seniors face has increased, according to a new report also covered in The New York Times:

    “College seniors who graduated in 2009 had an average of $24,000 in student loan debt, up 6 percent from 2008, according to an annual report from the Project on Student Debt.

    “The increase is similar to those of the past four years, the report said, despite the recession, probably because members of the class of 2009 took out most of their debt before the economic downturn began.

    “‘This consistent growth in debt over the last few years really adds up,’ said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access & Success, the research and advocacy group that operates the debt project. ‘It’s important to remember that the experts all agree that if you’re going to borrow, you should take out federal loans first, because federal student loans come with far more repayment options and borrower protections than other types of loans.’”

    USA Today writes on the possibility that one in three Americans will suffer from diabetes by 2050:

    “The future of diabetes in America looks bleak, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report out today, with cases projected to double, even triple, by 2050.

    “According to the report, one in 10 U.S. adults have diabetes now. The prevalence is expected to rise sharply over the next 40 years with as many as one in three having the disease, primarily type 2 diabetes, according to the report, published in the journal Population Health Metrics.

    “‘There are some positive reasons why we see prevalence going up. People are living longer with diabetes due to good control of blood sugar and diabetes medications, and we're also diagnosing people earlier now,’ says Ann Albright, director of the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation.”

    Teen birthrates in the U.S. appear to be highest in the southern part of the country, according to an article in today’s Los Angeles Times:

    “The highest teenage birthrates in the U.S. are clustered in Southern states and the lowest in the Northeast and upper Midwest, government researchers said Wednesday.

    “Birthrates fell to an average of 41.5 births per 1,000 female teens in 2008 from 42.5 in 2007, with 14 states seeing declines. That followed an increase from 2005 to 2007, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

    “[…]But population differences alone cannot not explain the regional differences in birthrates, the researchers said.

    “Education and income, sexual activity and contraceptive use, and attitudes among teens toward pregnancy and childbearing are all factors, the researchers said.

    “Birthrates for white teens in 2007 ranged from 4.3 per 1,000 in the District of Columbia to 54.8 births per 1,000 in Mississippi.

    "For black teens, birthrates ranged from 17.4 in Hawaii to 95.1 in Wisconsin. And for Latino teens, birthrates ranged from 31.1 in Maine to 188.3 in Alabama.”

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    Latino youth are coming of age at a time when anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic sentiment is high and rising. The environment in which we raise our children matters. Blatant discrimination, racial profiling, and ethnic stereotyping have consequences for young people.

    A new study released yesterday by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) shows how Hispanic youth are experiencing these issues. Speaking Out: Latino Youth on Discrimination in the United States documents the perspectives of Latino teenagers who participated in focus groups in Los Angeles, Nashville, Langley Park, MD, and Providence, RI. American children of immigrants have historically played an important role, and their future and potential are the dreams that drive their parents' sacrifice and hard work. While not all Latino youth are children of immigrants, those who are embody the spirit and drive for success. They value education and feel a strong pressure from their parents and society to go to college and get a good job.

    Yet this study shows that across the nation, Latino adolescents receive stereotypical and discriminatory messages. They hear that they are not expected to graduate college, that they are suspected of being gang members, and that their families do not belong in the U.S. Not only are these messages widespread, but in some places they drive public debate and policymaking. Efforts such as Arizona SB 1070, banning the teaching of ethnic studies in public schools in Arizona, attacks on birthright citizenship, and many others poison the environment in places where Latino children and youth are expected to strive and achieve.

    NCLR’s report shows that Latino youth experience pervasive stereotyping in institutional settings such as schools and the workplace. And negative interactions between Latino youth and law enforcement are equally common. In spite of these challenges, Latino teenagers remain optimistic. They want to do the best they can to follow their dreams and contribute to our nation as our future workers, voters, and leaders.

    They're doing their part—perhaps it is time that we all do ours. Let's work harder and smarter to make sure that our youth can go to school and work in environments that support and encourage them to succeed.

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  • 10/25/10--07:36: News Roundup for Monday
  • The 287(g) program for local immigration enforcement continues to have problems, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, which has been reviewing spending on the program. The Washington Post writes:

    “The Homeland Security Department's internal watchdog is unable to verify federal money for an immigration enforcement program was spent as Congress intended, according to a report issued Friday.

    “The department's inspector general said Congress gave Immigration and Customs Enforcement $11.1 million in 2009 and 2010 for compliance reviews for a program known as 287(g), which allows local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws.
    “But the inspector general's office said when it tried to confirm expenditures it was unable to get all documents to back up spending.”

    After a brief pause, foreclosures are ramping up again this week. The New York Times writes a story on why banks won’t allow some mortgage holders to do short sales:

    “Bank of America and GMAC are firing up their formidable foreclosure machines again today, after a brief pause.

    “But hard-pressed homeowners like Lydia Sweetland are asking why lenders often balk at a less disruptive solution: short sales, which allow owners to sell deeply devalued homes for less than what remains on their mortgage.

    “Ms. Sweetland, 47, tried such a sale this summer out of desperation. She had lost her high-paying job and drained her once-flush retirement savings, and her bank, GMAC, wouldn’t modify her mortgage. After seven months of being unable to pay her mortgage, she decided that a short sale would give her more time to move out of her Phoenix home and damage her credit rating less than a foreclosure.

    “She owes $206,000 and found a buyer who would pay $200,000. Last Friday, GMAC rejected that offer and said it would foreclose in seven days, even though, according to Ms. Sweetland’s broker, the bank estimates it will make $19,000 less on a foreclosure than on a short sale.”

    Taste buds recently discovered on the lungs could help treat asthma sufferers, according to the Los Angeles Times:

    “An unexpected discovery of taste receptors in lungs may provide asthma sufferers with more effective ways to restore free breathing during attacks, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine reported Sunday.

    “Experiments with mice and human tissues revealed that the receptors, like those found on the tongue, respond to bitter substances by signaling constricted muscles in the lungs to relax, reopening tight airways in seconds.

    “The findings, published in the online journal Nature Medicine, could lead to the development of the first new class of asthma inhalers in 50 years, said Dr. Stephen B. Liggett, lead author of the study.”

    Could premixed alcohol and caffeine be the next health hazard for collage students? According to a new study in USA Today, it could:

    “Three beers, a can of Red Bull and a large espresso: no big deal, many college students might say. Three beers, a can of Red Bull and a large espresso times three or four, and they still might tell you they're not intoxicated.

    “Therein lies the danger of caffeinated alcoholic beverages, whose popularity has grown in recent years among college-aged drinkers, drawing the attention of concerned health officials, politicians and college administrators. Experts say that even one is a recipe for disaster, and so do officials at Ramapo College: they banned alcoholic energy drinks on campus this month.

    “Peter Mercer, president of the New Jersey college, said students referred to the above concoction when describing the effects of drinks such as Four Loko, which is particularly popular around the campus. Four Loko is one of a few flashy, canned drinks that take the mixing out of the equation, making it that much easier for students to get dangerously intoxicated, faster. Mercer said concerned students told him the inexpensive 23-ounce, 12% alcohol energy drinks were ‘all of a sudden very popular,’ and Four Loko was involved in a couple of incidents of excessive drinking. Since the start of fall semester, 23 people have been hospitalized with alcohol intoxication.”

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  • 10/26/10--07:44: News Roundup for Tuesday
  • Contrary to the stories that have been dominating coverage of the Latino vote, there is far more enthusiasm among Latinos for voting in November than previously thought, according to POLITICO:

    “Almost 60 percent of Latino voters now say they are ‘very enthusiastic’ about voting, up from 41 percent on Sept. 6, according to the latest Latino Decisions tracking poll released Monday.

    “But the level of enthusiasm among this fastest-growing segment of the electorate still pales in comparison to September 2006, when 89 percent of Latinos said they were determined to vote, and Oct. 2008, when that figure spiked to 92 percent.

    “Still, the jump in interest over the last two months is an encouraging sign for Democrats, who need strong Hispanic turnout in states such as Nevada, Colorado and California if they hope to hold onto those Senate seats – and, in turn, keep the chamber in Democratic hands.”

    The New York Times has a must-read editorial on our country’s mortgage mess:

    “The mortgage mess just keeps getting messier. Last week, Bank of America announced that it had performed a ‘thorough review’ of its processes, found nothing amiss and would soon restart 102,000 pending foreclosures. On Sunday, the bank acknowledged that it had in fact found errors in its filings, and would resume foreclosures only in a deliberate manner as new and corrected paperwork was submitted to the courts.

    “The repeated recalibration cast further doubt on Bank of America’s procedures and the ability of the entire industry to clean up this mess.

    “The immediate issue is robo-signing, in which employees at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and other banks falsely attested to having verified the facts in what may turn out to be hundreds of thousands, or more, court foreclosure filings. That has brought to light other problems, including crucial documents that have been lost or improperly transferred — raising questions about the banks’ legal standing to foreclose as well as the value of securities backed by these mortgages.”

    The Environmental Protection Agency aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by requiring stricter standards for big trucks, according to the Los Angeles Times:

    “The regulations, the first of their kind, call for a 20% reduction in heavy-vehicle emissions by 2018, which would require boosting fuel efficiency to an average of 8 miles per gallon, compared with 6 mpg now, experts estimate.

    “Trucks and other heavy vehicles make up only 4% of the U.S. vehicle fleet, but given the distance they travel, the time they spend idling and their low fuel efficiency, they consume 20% of all vehicle fuel, said Don Anair, a senior analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists' clean vehicles program.

    “The standards, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department, are the latest in a series of measures designed to chip away at greenhouse gas emissions at a time when a sharply divided Congress has been in a stalemate over climate change legislation.”

    A new study finds that heavy smoking in middle age significantly increases one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. USA Today writes:

    “Heavy smoking in midlife more than doubles your odds of developing Alzheimer's disease, a Kaiser Permanente study said Monday.

    “The study is the first to examine the long-term consequences of heavy smoking on Alzheimer's and vascular dementia, says the study's principal investigator, Rachel Whitmer, a research scientist with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland.

    “From 1994 to 2008, researchers evaluated the records of 21,123 men and women in midlife and continued following them, on average, for 23 years. Compared with non-smokers, those who had smoked two packs of cigarettes a day increased their risk of developing Alzheimer's by more than 157% and had a 172% higher risk of developing vascular dementia — the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's. The research is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.”

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    October 26, 2010

    Sherria Cotton
    (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 commended the U.S. Department of Education and the Obama administration on the release of national guidelines that help determine when student bullying violates federal anti-discrimination laws. The department took this step in response to the growing bullying and harassment crisis in America’s schools.

    “We are deeply concerned with the recent increase in the bullying and harassment of vulnerable kids. Latinos are among the many youth being targeted for attack, especially as anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant rhetoric proliferates,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “Discrimination, racial profiling, and ethnic stereotyping can have dangerous, long-term consequences for young people. We applaud Secretary Duncan and the Department of Education for taking this important step in protecting our children.”

    NCLR recently released a report titled Speaking Out: Latino Youth on Discrimination in the United States, which captures Hispanic students’ pervasive sense of being negatively stereotyped by teachers, administrators, peers, law enforcement, and others based on their appearance and perceived ethnic background. The youth revealed that they feel overlooked, excluded, and negatively tracked and that this results in unequal opportunities for educational success.

    NCLR encourages the Department of Education and the administration to continue working with an eye toward the distinct needs of Latinos. Specifically, NCLR supports creating a climate that is safe and healthy for Latino youth by:

    • Providing resources and professional development for teachers to help them better serve students of diverse backgrounds
    • Strengthening family engagement and outreach programs that help parents become advocates for their children, especially if they are experiencing racism or harassment at school
    • Investing in programs that promote community cohesion, particularly among law enforcement and Hispanic youth

    “The future of our nation depends on the physical and mental well-being of today’s young people. By giving our youth full support and protecting students against bullying and harassment, we will help ensure a healthy learning environment and safer communities,” concluded Murguía.


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  • 10/27/10--06:34: News Roundup for Wednesday
  • Latinos are once again poised to have a significant impact on the elections next week. But what are some of the factors pushing Latinos to participate? Latina Lista takes a look at the perfect storm:

    “It's not a myth that Latino voters have the power to influence the outcomes of political elections. It's a fact that was proven in 2008 during the presidential election.

    “[…]However, according to the political research group Latino Decisions, Texas and Arizona still rank among states where Latinos can influence elections. But for 2010, Latino Decisions projects Latinos to influence elections in: California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Florida, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

    “Up until a few weeks ago, the notion that Latinos could resurrect any kind of electoral influence was highly debatable among pundits, the media and even Latinos ourselves.

    “But thanks to a string of events, the drive to get out the Latino vote has intensified. However, it's not enthusiasm for change that's driving the Latino vote this time, it's a steel determination to keep an undesirable change from happening and to fight back against racists running for office.”

    The Department of Education issued a letter yesterday calling on teachers to help in the fight against bullying in schools. The New York Times writes:

    “The letter is the product of a yearlong review of the federal statutes and case law covering sexual, racial and other forms of harassment, officials said. Issuing the letter took on new urgency in recent weeks because of a string of high-profile cases in which students have committed suicide after enduring bullying by classmates, the officials said.

    “In one case, Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman, jumped from the George Washington Bridge in an apparent suicide last month, days after his roommate, according to prosecutors, streamed over the Internet his intimate encounter with another man.

    “The department issued the letter to clarify the legal responsibilities of the authorities in public schools and in colleges and universities under federal laws, the officials said. Certain forms of student bullying might violate federal anti-discrimination law.

    “‘I am writing to remind you that some student misconduct that falls under a school’s anti-bullying policy also may trigger responsibilities under one or more of the federal anti-discrimination laws,’ says the letter, signed by Russlynn H. Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights.”

    The mere fact of walking may help prevent memory loss, particularly among the elderly, according to a new study that gets a write-up in The Washington Post:

    “THE QUESTION Might a regular walking regimen protect against the memory loss that occurs when the brain shrinks in old age?

    “THIS STUDY involved 299 people who averaged 78 years old and had no cognitive problems at the start of the study. The distances they walked weekly were recorded, MRI scans measured their brains' gray matter (the part of the brain responsible for thinking) and they were given standardized cognitive tests. After 13 years, 116 participants had diagnoses of mild cognitive impairment or dementia. Those who walked six to nine miles a week had greater gray matter volume nine years after the start of the study than those who walked less or not at all; walking farther showed no added benefit. They also were half as likely to have developed memory problems in the 13-year span as were the others.

    “WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? Older people. Walking has been shown to boost a person's energy and mood, benefit muscles and bones, help control weight and lower the risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.”

    Consumers are spending more on luxury goods, even as spending on everyday essentials remains tight, according to USA Today:

    “Consumers are buying more luxury items but spending remains tight for everyday essentials such as food and dental care, a USA TODAY analysis finds, suggesting a growing divide between haves and have-nots.

    “Purchases of TVs, jewelry, recreational vehicles and pet supplies are growing robustly, government data show. At the same time, spending on medical care, day care and education is down in the dumps.”

    “‘The rising tide isn't lifting all boats,’ says Carl Steidtmann, chief economist at the Deloitte accounting and consulting firm and author of an index tracking consumer spending.

    “He says higher-income and older households, helped by a strong stock market, are experiencing increased wealth and spending more. However, high unemployment is pulling in the other direction, depressing spending among people without jobs and those anxious about job security.”

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    October 27, 2010

    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670

    Washington, DC—Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza), sent letters today to Democratic National Committee Chairman Timothy Kaine and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, urging both Democrats and Republicans to denounce efforts to advance campaigns by scapegoating Latinos. NCLR, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, issued the following statement:

    “NCLR is very concerned by how several candidates for office in both parties are stirring up anti-immigrant sentiment for political gain. Recent ads aired across the country have used photos, footage, and language that contain blatantly negative stereotypes and caricatures of Hispanic Americans. While extreme attacks are, unfortunately, not uncommon to this election year, we are exhorting the leaders of both parties to immediately denounce such tactics. In addition, we are urging them to take the necessary steps to ensure that all of their candidates and campaigns refrain from using this type of maneuvering for the remainder of the election season.

    “As a nonpartisan organization, we have worked closely with members of both parties, and we do not support or endorse any candidate for office. This is not a question of taking issue with any individual candidate or his or her policy positions. This is a matter of protecting our democratic process and promoting respect, civility, and common decency for all Americans.

    “These kinds of ads are offensive and disrespectful and have no place in our electoral process. They should not have a place in the Democratic or Republican parties either. We urge both parties to renounce such campaign maneuvers and avoid scapegoating in this critical election year.”


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    October 28, 2010

    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670

    Anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment has potential to drive Latinos to the polls

    NCLR experts available to comment on 2010 Latino vote primer and midterm elections

    Washington, DC—Latinos will undoubtedly play a key role in the 2010 midterm elections, especially in contested races in California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Illinois, according to Latino Voters and the 2010 Election: Numbers, Parties, and Issues, a brief released today by NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. The report is a comprehensive resource for members of the media, providing details on the likely Latino voter turnout, a profile of the Latino electorate, and an outline of Latino voter priorities.

    Overall voter participation tends to be lower in midterm elections than in presidential elections. This also holds true for Hispanics, although they remain the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. electorate. While some factors—such as high unemployment levels, increasing foreclosure rates, and a lack of progress on comprehensive immigration reform—may have a dampening effect on Latino enthusiasm, polling and on-the-ground efforts are also finding that Latino concern over anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment may prove powerful in driving Hispanics to the voting booths. Conservative NCLR estimates project that we could see an additional 700,000 Hispanic voters join the voting rolls this November.

    “The clearest choice that Latino voters have this November is to vote for respect,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “Our nation’s democracy is strongest when all voices are heard. That is why numerous nonpartisan initiatives, including NCLR’s, are partnering with the Hispanic community to urge voters to head to the polls next week as a step toward restoring Latinos’ long and proud history in America.”

    Jobs and education have traditionally topped the list of Hispanic priorities; unsurprisingly, they remain there this year given the state of the economy. However, immigration has risen on the list of priorities as a result of an increasing anti-Latino environment. “This election offers Latinos an opportunity to take a stand for their community, sending the message that it is time to address our problems together, as a nation, and reject the politics of division,” said Murguía.

    The following NCLR experts will be available to answer any questions or comment on the report and the Latino vote:

    Eric Rodriguez, Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation
    Clarissa Martínez De Castro, Director, Immigration and National Campaigns
    Ellie Klerlein, Associate Director, National Campaigns
    Laura Vazquez, Legislative Analyst, Immigration Policy Project

    For more information on the Latino vote and NCLR’s Vote for Respect campaign, visit


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  • 10/28/10--10:04: News Roundup for Thursday
  • Tuition has been increasing at four-year public universities as well as private nonprofit universities. However, so has financial aid, according to a new study by the College Board that gets the attention of The New York Times:

    “The good news in the 2010 ‘Trends in College Pricing’ and ‘Trends in Student Aid’ reports is that fast-rising tuition costs have been accompanied by a huge increase in financial aid, which helped keep down the actual amount students and families pay.

    “‘In 2009-2010, students got $28 billion in Pell grants, and that’s $10 billion more than the year before,’ said Sandy Baum, the economist who is the lead author of the reports. ‘When you look at how much students are actually paying, on average, it is lower, after adjusting for inflation, than five years earlier.’

    “In the last five years, the report said, average published tuition and fees increased by about 24 percent at public four-year colleges and universities, 17 percent at private nonprofit four-year institutions, and 11 percent at public two-year colleges — but in each sector, the net inflation-adjusted price, taking into account both grants and federal tax benefits, decreased over the period.”

    A new poll finds that more Americans are concerned about making mortgage and rent payments. The Washington Post reports:

    “A majority of Americans now say they are worried about making their mortgage or rent payments, underscoring the extent of economic anxiety in the country heading into midterm elections.

    “A new Washington Post poll shows that concerns about housing payments have spiked since 2008 despite some improvements in the overall economy. In all, 53 percent said they are ‘very concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’ about having the money to make their monthly payment. Worries are the most intense among those with lower incomes and among African Americans.

    “The poll results highlight the political challenge facing the Obama administration: Despite committing hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out troubled financial firms, create jobs and keep distressed borrowers in their homes, it has not been able to make many people feel better about their personal situations or even relieve fears about the cost of a need as basic as shelter.”

    According to The Arizona Republic, the costs of defending Arizona’s SB 1070 have surpassed $1 million:

    “The bill for defending Arizona's newest immigration law has now passed $1 million, and that's for work done only through July.

    “Gov. Jan Brewer's office on Wednesday released the latest round of invoices from its outside legal counsel, Phoenix law firm Snell & Wilmer. July costs were $621,846.16. May and June costs had totaled $440,520.25.

    “Money to pay for the state's legal costs is coming from Brewer's legal-defense fund, which has received $3.7 million from 42,727 individuals in all 50 states.

    “Legal fees are expected to continue to be high over the next couple of months.”

    Not many are expected to seek flu shots this season, according to surveys covered by USA Today:

    “Only a year after the swine flu pandemic led Americans to line up for flu shots, many people are now spurning vaccines, two studies suggest.

    “Only 37% of people plan to definitely get vaccinated this year, a Consumer Reports survey shows. About 30% say they definitely won't get a shot, while 31% of respondents are undecided, the survey of 1,500 says.

    “In another survey of 1,300 adults by retailer CVS, 59% of respondents say they were ‘likely’ to get a flu shot this year.

    “Nearly two-thirds of CVS survey respondents knew that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends flu shots for everyone over 6 months old. But only half of those said that advice influenced their decision.”

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    By Clarissa Martinez De Castro

    In the battle to categorize Latinos, something always gets lost in translation. Some want to see this community as a monolith that's either aligned on every issue or focused solely on immigration. Others insist that Latinos are like the rest of the electorate and that there is no set of common interests that speak to it as a group. Both sides can find data that, if used in isolation, could support their side, but either conclusion, in addition to being simplistic and wrong, often leads to lackluster or less-than-strategic outreach to this community. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) lays out some of these complexities in its recent report Latino Voters and the 2010 Election: Numbers, Parties, and Issues.

    Much has been made about Latino enthusiasm around voting on Tuesday, suggesting that low enthusiasm means "not voting." Well, here's the thing: I am voting on Tuesday, but I would hardly describe my mood as "enthusiastic." All to say that there are different factors vying for Latino attention--some could dampen participation, some could energize it--and the way that candidates define themselves on the issues makes a difference to those energy levels. "Defining" is not, however, what the candidates have always been doing.

    Where party affiliation is concerned, Latinos register as Democrats by significant margins--traditionally two to one. But there is evidence that candidates can garner this community's support, regardless of party affiliation, if they follow some simple steps: (1) conduct meaningful outreach, (2) take positions on the issues that matter to Latinos, and (3) build a relationship with the community. While many politicians are engaging in tactics that alienate or demonize Hispanics, others are not really working for the community's vote or clearly defining their positions on issues that matter to Latinos. This leaves Hispanic voters with little to work with, and it's one of the reasons why NCLR says that voting for respect may be the clearest incentive that Hispanics have for voting.

    On the issues, Latinos are concerned about bread-and-butter matters such as jobs and education. In poll after poll--regardless of whether they lean left, lean right, or are nonpartisan--these two issues have consistently topped the list of Latino priorities for years. The economy is especially significant, and both in 2008 and 2010, the same has held true for the rest of the American electorate. But details count, and just because someone is talking about a top issue doesn't mean that they are talking about the aspect of it that matters most to the Hispanic community. For example, in 2004, there was a lot of campaign talk about health care, but most of the discussion focused on prescription drugs while the top concern for Latinos was the quality of and basic access to medical care. So this discussion did not have the effect of really engaging or motivating most Latinos.

    Since immigration does not traditionally top the priority list (although it has reached number one in several polls this year), some pundits say that Latinos do not care about immigration. Wrong again. Immigration--when it's part of the political debate--serves as a litmus test by which Latinos assess how candidates or parties look at their community. And let's face it: It escapes no one that the toxicity of the immigration debate has put a bull's-eye on the backs of Latinos. Many Hispanics, regardless of immigration status, are feeling like suspects in their own communities, or, worse, becoming victims of hate crimes. In such an environment, is it any surprise that immigration can act as a force behind participation? Or that, contrary to the headline of a recent report but much in line with its actual findings, Latinos overwhelmingly agree on the solution? (Interestingly, so does the majority of their fellow Americans, by the way).

    So what does this all mean? The Latino electorate will continue to grow, will matter on Tuesday, and will be hotly sought after in 2012. But while Republicans have a lot of ground to recover, Democrats have not sealed the deal. One could even say that when it comes to Latinos, Republicans are their own worst enemy and Democrats' best friend. This Tuesday, the Latino vote will be a message about whether candidates have managed to connect with these voters in a meaningful and substantive way. Both parties still have a lot of work to do.

    * In addition, on Wednesday, November 3, NCLR will discuss results from an election-eve poll of likely Latino voters. This discussion will add greater dimension to how and why Latinos voted (the poll, by Latino Decisions, is conducted in collaboration with America's Voice and the Service Employees International Union).

    Follow Clarissa Martinez De Castro on Twitter:

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    By Berenice Bonilla

    My primary mission at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is to develop student leadership in communities throughout the country and foster civic empowerment among rising Latino leaders. As manager of the Líderes Initiative, I have been able to witness the impact of our national and regional youth conferences on the lives of visionary young people who are trying each day to move a little closer toward their goals. Our members have a strong desire to give back to their community and create opportunities for their peers. Over the last few months, I have been able to facilitate a new program that allows young people to contribute in a very unique way.

    This past August, Best Buy launched the second round of its @15 Exchange challenge. By completing online educational activities, young people are given the chance to direct $250,000 of the company’s charitable donations to their program or initiative of choice, making them the drives of change.

    We reached out to the youth in our national network, including more than 70 high school students in the NCLR Escalera Program, and mobilized teens in after-school programs and online communities to participate in the @15 Exchange. The effort resulted in $25,000 of funding being directed to support the Líderes Initiative. These new funds will allow us to continue providing opportunities for young people to succeed, grow, and advocate for the rights of underserved communities.

    We found that the simplicity of the program made it appealing to young people. One of the students in the program noted, “I like that we were able to pick out who we wanted to donate our points to.” Through partnerships such as these, we hope to continue to engage youth in activities that allow them to make a difference in practical ways, putting the power to give into the hands of our nation’s young people.

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    By Clarissa Martinez De Castro

    As debate continues over SB 1070, the Arizona law that would essentially codify racial profiling as accepted police practice, no group is paying closer attention than the state lawmakers and politicians who have declared their intentions to enact similar laws in their states. Not only are they following news on the lawsuit, they are also closely examining the impact of the law on Arizona’s image and economy. Though the SB 1070 legal battle won’t be resolved for several more months, one crucial lesson can already be gleaned from the state’s experience with SB 1070: Promoting intolerance comes with a price; proceed with caution.

    There is no doubt that the impact of SB 1070 has resonated in the state of Arizona. Already, estimated fees for the legal defense of SB 1070 are more than $1 million—and that’s only for expenses through July. As the debate about immigration has transformed Arizona from the “Grand Canyon State” to the “Show Me Your Papers State,” Phoenix alone stands to lose an estimated $90 million in hotel and convention business over the next five years as a result of meetings, conventions, and conferences that have been moved out of the state. To combat the negative effect she created by signing SB 1070 into law, Governor Jan Brewer has allocated $250,000 in state funds for a marketing campaign to try to restore the state’s image.

    Is this the road that other states want to follow?

    The answer, in several cases, has already been “no.” Despite the media hype about Arizona copycat legislation and the number of states considering it—a symptom of election-season politics—nine states have already heeded the “caution” sign. One example is Florida, where state legislators voted not to take up a copycat bill during this year’s special legislative session. In Louisiana, copycat bill HB 1205 was defeated in the house judiciary committee, and in both Arkansas and Nevada, proposed SB 1070 copycat ballot measures failed to make it onto the midterm ballot. In Pennsylvania and Michigan, where copycat bills were introduced, the legislatures didn’t even give the bills enough credence for debate. Legislators in Utah may also abandon earlier plans to introduce an Arizona copycat bill in 2011. After a “fact-finding” trip to Arizona last month, lawmakers saw firsthand the public relations fallout and tarnished brand that Arizona has experienced as a result of SB 1070.

    Lessons can also be learned from the impact that misguided immigration enforcement proposals have on local budgets. In towns such as Hazleton, PA or Farmers Branch, TX, millions of city dollars have been spent to defend anti-immigrant proposals—proposals initiated by groups who swooped in from outside the state and left local taxpayers holding the bag for legal fees. Before the economic crisis hit, this situation was untenable. In these times of budget crises, it’s suicidal.

    No good can come to states that are still considering SB 1070 copycat legislation. As the SB 1070 debate unfolds, politicians across the nation have started—and should continue—to take note of the price their states will pay if they push forward with Arizona copycat legislation. These proposals are false promises at a time when Americans are looking for real solutions to fix our nation’s broken immigration system.

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