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    ***NEW TIME: 2:15 EASTERN***  


     

    For Immediate Release:
    November 3, 2010

    Contact: Michael Earls(202) 261-2388

    **Telephonic Press Conference, Wednesday November 3rd at 2:15 PM Eastern **
    **Dial-in number: 1-800-895-0231, Passcode: ELECTION**

    Latino Voters Show Up, Save the Senate for the Democrats
    Polling Reveals How and Why Latinos Voted in Eight States

    Washington, DC – Today, Latino Decisions and experts in Latino civic participation and immigration reform are going to analyze a new series of polls that detail how Latino citizens voted in eight states crucial to determining the balance of power in Congress. The polls, which utilize a new model to approximate turnout for the mid-term elections, reveal who Latinos voted for in key races for House, Senate, and Governor, and more importantly, what motivated their vote. The research includes data on naturalized citizen voters as well as other subgroups.

    On Wednesday, November 3rd at 2:15 PM Eastern [NEW TIME], Gary Segura of Latino Decisions will present new polling data from eight states: AZ, CA, CO, FL IL, NM, NV, and TX. The surveys, designed to capture both early and Election Day voters, were sponsored by National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and America’s Voice, and will add a greater dimension to the national exit poll data available.

    Speakers will analyze the results of the 2010 elections, the impact of Latino voters, and what role the immigration debate played in their political behavior.

     

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    WHO: Gary Segura, Ph.D., Stanford University and Latino Decisions
    Clarissa Martinez de Castro, Director, Immigration and National Campaigns, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
    Mike Garcia, President, SEIU United Service Workers West (USWW)
    Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice
    Francisco Heredia, Arizona State Director, Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign
    Jessie Ulibarri, Colorado State Director, Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign
    WHAT: Latino Voters Save Senate for Democrats: Polling Reveals How and Why Latinos Voted in Eight States
    WHEN: Wednesday November 3rd at 2:15 PM Eastern [NEW TIME]
    HOW: Dial In: 1-800-895-0231, Password: “ELECTION”

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  • 11/03/10--08:39: Wealth-Building Wednesdays
  • Each Wednesday, NCLR’s Wealth-Building Policy Project rounds up pertinent news from the blogosphere.

    The Failure of Mortgage Modification
    by Casey B. Mulligan, Economix
    Lack of incentive remains a substantial barrier for loan modifications.

    Two New York Times Editorials on the Foreclosure Crisis
    by Mike Konczal, Rortybomb
    The loan-servicing industry’s protocol is rife with conflicts of interest.

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the CFPB
    by Justin King, New America Foundation Blog
    Tim Fernholz offers a succinct vision of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and what it means for the nation.

    Republican Mortgage Finance Proposals Would Take Housing Policy Back To The 1930s
    by Pat Garofalo, The Wonk Room
    Republicans are poised to diminish federal engagement in matters of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    November 3, 2010

    Contact:
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670

    Latino share of electorate continues to increase

    Washington, DC—Latino voters proved pivotal in several hotly contested midterm elections, including in Nevada, Colorado, and California, and likely helped Democrats retain their majority in the United States Senate. According to exit polls, Latino voters contributed significantly to the margin of victory in the Senate and gubernatorial contests in California and Colorado, as well as, most notably, the Senate race in Nevada between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Assemblywoman Sharron Angle. In addition, initial exit poll reports suggest that Latinos, motivated by the widespread anti-immigrant tone of many campaigns, increased their share of the electorate in several states. These results confirm an earlier report on Latino voters by NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, which projected that an additional 700,000 Latino voters could participate in this election.

    “Latino voters sent a loud and clear message this election: We reject the politics of fear and demonization. Where candidates engaged in the shameful scapegoating of immigrants and tactics that transparently disrespected Hispanics, such as in Nevada and Colorado, the response from Hispanic voters was overwhelming,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “Latinos in 2010 reaffirmed their influential role in American politics, both as voters and as candidates, which will only increase in future elections. Political leaders and parties that demonize or take Latino voters for granted are taking a great risk.”

    “This was also an historic election for Latinos with the win of Susana Martinez in New Mexico, the first Latina ever to be elected as governor. And with the elections of Brian Sandoval as governor in Nevada and Marco Rubio as senator in Florida, it is clear that Latinos are forces to be reckoned with in both parties,” noted Murguía. On the voting front, Latino voters in these and other states affirmed that candidates and positions matter in their voting choices.

    With an unemployment rate higher than the national average, Latinos placed jobs at the top of their priorities, with immigration acting as an energizing force. In fact, immigration was cited as the top issue in several polls—an historic first, but unsurprising given the extensive use of anti-immigrant tactics during this campaign season. Additional information on Latino voter concerns and motivations is available in an election-eve poll of likely Latino voters conducted by Latino Decisions and sponsored by NCLR in collaboration with the Service Employees International Union and America’s Voice.

    “As we look to a new Congress, Latinos are demanding real solutions from political leaders on the economy, jobs, and immigration, and we want their commitment to stop demonizing immigrants and Hispanics for political gain. Both parties now share the responsibility of leading and producing results. It’s time to govern,” concluded Murguía.

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    For Immediate Release:
    November 4, 2010

    Contact: Michael Earls
    (202) 261-2388
     

    Polling and Experts Make Clear: Latino Voters Showed Up & Saved the Senate for the Democrats

    On Press Call, Experts and Election Night Polling Answer How and Why Latinos Voted in Eight States

    Washington, DC – Latino Decisions and experts in Latino civic participation and immigration reform gathered yesterday on a press conference call to analyze Latino voter turnout in the 2010 elections, assess what motivated Latinos to vote, and answer what Tuesday night’s results mean for the future of immigration reform and Latino political engagement. The call also featured a detailed analysis of election night polls in 8 states conducted by Latino Decisions that details how and why Latino citizens voted in eight states – AZ, CA, CO, FL IL, NM, NV, and TX.

    On the press call held yesterday, Gary Segura of Latino Decisions highlighted that Latinos voted for Democrats over Republicans by roughly a three to one margin and noted that, “Latinos may have saved the Senate for Democrats. They certainly saved Harry Reid – about 10% of the overall vote in Nevada were Latinos voting Democrat. Overwhelmingly, Latino voters were there to support Latino community instead of either party and felt that the immigration debate and accompanying anti-Latino sentiment drove them to the polls on Election Day.”

    The Latino Decisions polling, sponsored by National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and America’s Voice, found that immigration issues were critical in driving Latino voters to the polls this election. While 48% of Latino voters chose either “jobs” or “the economy” as their top concern in the Latino Decisions poll, 37% chose immigration as the most important issue. In every state, immigration was among the top two issues that voters wanted policymakers to address, ahead of education, housing, taxes, and other important issues.

    According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice and the moderator of the call, “Latino voters delivered in the 2010 elections. Were it not for the Latino firewall in the West, these midterms would have conformed to past “change” elections, which have seen both houses of Congress swept from power. Instead, this time, Latinos kept the Senate in Democratic hands and played a key factor in helping Democrats win the governors’ races in California and Colorado, and their current lead in Illinois.”

    Similarly, Clarissa Martinez De Castro, Director, Immigration and National Campaigns at National Council of La Raza (NCLR), said, “Latinos in 2010 reaffirmed their influential role in American politics both as voters and candidates” and pointed to the choice confronting the Republican Party in recapturing lost ground among Latino voters for the 2012 elections and beyond, saying, “Republicans have an option – continue to let extremist leaders define their stance on immigration or come to the table and present a clear solution to the immigration issue.”

    In addition to the polling data discussed, the call featured the on-the-ground testimonials from experts in some of the critical 2010 battleground states in which Latino voters – and the issue of immigration – played a major role.

    Mike Garcia, President, SEIU United Service Workers West (USWW), discussed how Latino voters provided the winning margin in California for Governor-elect Jerry Brown (D-CA) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Garcia stated, “The politics we see now in California give a glimpse to the political future in other western states. In California, where more than 1 in 5 voters are Latino, there’s no doubt that Meg Whitman’s anti-immigrant stance cost her the election. Her flip-flop from the primary to the general and her support of SB1070 deeply offended Latino voters.”

    In Arizona, the scene of a heated debate over immigration, the Latino Decisions polling found that Latinos strongly oppose the SB1070 anti-immigrant law (by a margin of 74% - 17%), and that immigration (45%) polled ahead of jobs and the economy (41%) as a key motivating issue for voters. Francisco Heredia, Arizona State Director of the Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, said that, “As we move to 2012, Latinos will be increasingly motivated in Arizona politics and elections – and anti-Latino rhetoric will continue to be a major motivator for Latino voters.”

    Meanwhile, Jessie Ulibarri, the Colorado State Director for the Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign, summed up the role of Latino voters in Colorado and beyond, saying, “We need to put to rest the idea that Latino community is a sleeping giant. We are an ignored giant but no more. Latino voters are informed and active all across Colorado and western states.”

    Access Latino Decisions PowerPoint Presentation on Election Night Polling Results: http://latinodecisions.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/press-briefing-pptx.pdf

    Analysis from New York Times Polling Guru Nate Silver and Latino Decisions on why Latino Decisions’ Methodology May Be More Accurate in Capturing Latino Voter Sentiment than National Exit Polls: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/03/did-polls-underestimate-democrats-latino-vote/ and http://latinodecisions.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/how-the-national-exit-poll-badly-missed-the-latino-vote-in-2010/

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    By Eric Rodriguez

    The economy and jobs were top concerns of Latinos who voted in Tuesday’s midterm elections, according to new data from an election night poll conducted by Latino Decisions in eight states where high Latino voter turnout was critical to election outcomes. Nearly half (48%) of Hispanic voters ranked jobs or the economy as the issue of most concern to their community (31% said jobs, and 17% said the economy). When asked about their specific concerns about today’s economic situation, a majority of Latino voters (53%) polled named worry over finding employment or over losing the job they have. Poll results also signaled that Latinos are anxious for solutions to these ongoing problems from the 112th Congress.

    News about the national employment situation released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reinforces the urgency of the jobs crisis that weighs so heavily on voters’ minds. In October, 12.6% of Latinos were unemployed, compared with 9.6% of the total workforce. The disparity is the same or worse at the state level. All of the states surveyed in the Latino Decisions poll—Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas—had a higher unemployment rate for Latinos than for the workforce overall. For example, Hispanic workers in California faced a 14.7% unemployment rate in 2009, compared to 11.3% for workers in the state overall. As of September 2010, California’s overall unemployment rate had risen to 12.4% (monthly employment data is not available by race and ethnicity), which no doubt contributed to voters’ anxiety about jobs and the economy. In Nevada, the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation (14.4%) in September 2010, more than half (54%) of Latino voters said that jobs and the economy are the most important issues to the Latino community.

    Many Latinos who voted are not convinced that their elected officials are standing up for them in debates about how to put people back to work and repair the economy. In response to the question “how much do you think the public officials take into account economic issues of the Hispanic community when considering reforms?” 36% of those polled said “somewhat,” 33% said “not too much,” and 14% said “not at all.” This is a clear charge to Congress to respond to ongoing economic challenges in new, effective ways.


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    November 8, 2010

    Contact:
    Sherria Cotton
    (202) 785-1670


    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) today announced that the NCLR Institute for Hispanic Health received an award from the American Public Health Association (APHA) for an obesity prevention program geared toward the Latino community. The program, Cuidemos Nuestra Salud: Con Una Vida Balanceada (Let’s Take Care of Our Health: With a Balanced Lifestyle ), provides promotores de salud (lay health educators) with training and a bilingual tool kit for education sessions within Hispanic neighborhoods to encourage healthy eating and increased physical activity.

    “There is an urgent need for culturally competent and linguistically appropriate health educational materials that address the obesity epidemic among Latinos in an innovative and creative way. At NCLR, we are doing all that we can to ensure that health materials are providing messages that resonate with the Latino community to make a long-term impact,” said Dr. Maria Rosa, Vice President, NCLR Institute for Hispanic Health.

    The award-winning program was selected from a competitive pool for demonstrating innovation in materials targeting a specific population. It began in January 2010 and is being used in Boston, Houston, Milwaukee, Tucson, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Focus groups helped determine the best approach and terminology for increasing knowledge and changing behavior related to nutrition and physical activity in a way that would resonate with Latinos. The bilingual tool kit—which includes a flip chart, handouts on body mass index (BMI) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture food pyramid, a refrigerator magnet about healthy portions, food models, and a healthy living pledge—is designed for promotores to use during one-hour charlas (health education sessions) in their communities.

    “NCLR is thrilled to have received this award from APHA. Given that the obesity rate among Hispanics is nearly 29%, this award highlights how important it is for public health programs to take cultural issues into consideration, work with community leaders, and use bilingual materials,” said Dr. Rosa.

    Manuela McDonough, MPH, CPH, accepted the award today on behalf of NCLR, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, at the APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition in Denver, Colorado. The conference is the largest gathering of public health professionals in the world and is focused on current and emerging health science, policy, and practice issues in an effort to prevent disease and promote health.

    Information on the NCLR Institute for Hispanic Health’s programs, as well as in-depth analysis of Latino child nutrition in the series 2010 Profiles of Latino Health, can be found on NCLR’s website.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    November 15, 2010

    Contact:
    Sherria Cotton
    (202) 785-1670

    NATIONAL GROUPS DISCUSS CHILD HUNGER AND OBESITY WITHIN THE LATINO COMMUNITY

    Washington, DC—New data released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that for the third year in a row, Latino children are the hungriest in America. At the same time they are experiencing record rates of childhood overweight and obesity. To get to the bottom of these alarming trends, Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza)—the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—along with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign, and Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, will host a press conference on November 16 at 10:00 a.m. EST. As a prelude to the press briefing, Mary’s Center will host a healthy breakfast and cooking demonstration for guests, including Latino parents and children, using foods approved by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and donated and prepared by culinary professionals from food service provider ARAMARK.

    Both events will be held at Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care. The press event also marks the conclusion of NCLR’s series, Profiles of Latino Health: A Closer Look at Latino Child Nutrition, which examines critical factors affecting Latino children’s nutrition, including trends in hunger and obesity, as well as family access to healthy foods and other resources that play important roles in children’s nutritional outcomes.

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    WHAT: Press conference to address Latino child hunger and obesity, including a cooking demonstration of breakfast cooked with healthy foods
    WHO: Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
    Lisa Pino, Deputy Administrator, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Robin Schepper, Executive Director, Let’s Move!
    Maria Gomez, President and CEO, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care
    A teen served by the health and nutrition programs at Mary’s Center
    WHEN: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
    Breakfast and cooking demonstration (9:30–10:00 a.m.)
    Press conference (10:00–11:00 a.m.)
    HOW: Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care
    Kalorama Conference Room
    2355 Ontario Road, NW
    Washington, DC 20009

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    By Clarissa Martínez De Castro

    As media and pundits continue to dissect the results of November’s midterm election, one clear theme has emerged: Latinos in 2010 affirmed their influential role in American politics, as voters and as candidates, and this will only be magnified in the 2012 election. And while 2010 showed that political leaders and parties that demonize or take Latino voters for granted are taking a great risk, this election also showed that effective outreach to the Hispanic electorate continues to be spotty, both in terms of actual contact and in candidates defining themselves on the issues that matter.

    Let’s recap. Latino voters proved pivotal in several contested races, more notably in U.S. Senate contests in Nevada, Colorado, California, and Washington. They also made their mark in gubernatorial races in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Oregon, New Mexico, and Florida, helping elect Democratic candidates in the first four, and Republicans in the last two. Once the dust settled, Latino voters emerged as the wild card that numerous polls miscalculated (see Latino Decisions and Nate Silver on this), increasing their share of the vote in several states and helping Democrats retain their majority in the Senate.

    On the candidate front, Latinos also made some important gains. This cycle saw several firsts, including the historic election of the first Latina governor in the United States, New Mexico’s Susana Martinez; Brian Sandoval will become the first Latino governor of Nevada; and Washington and Idaho will both have a Latino in their House Congressional Delegation for the first time. Marco Rubio will take the Florida Senate seat once occupied by Mel Martinez, and he will be joined in Congress by another five new Republican House members, increasing the GOP Latino members to eight.

    This crop of Latino Republicans revealed the GOP’s strategy for going after Latino votes: Nominate Hispanic candidates. While the success of these candidates marks a welcome step toward the Republican Party coming to reflect the country’s make-up, simply nominating Hispanic candidates, without abandoning immigrant-bashing rhetoric, will not solve the party’s challenge with Latino voters. Of the three most notable races—Martinez, Sandoval, and Rubio—only Rubio captured a majority of the Latino vote. He did so at a lower level than Senator Martinez in 2004 (55% compared with 60%) and in a state where the Hispanic electorate routinely has supported Republicans in greater numbers than Latinos elsewhere. If the hope was that Latinos would simply flock to a candidate because the candidate was Hispanic, the answer is “no.”

    So what does 2010 say about Latinos and their attitudes toward elections and issues? Lesson number one: Demonizing immigrants and Hispanics is a losing strategy. If several Republicans had not fumbled the immigration issue, or had abstained from demonizing immigrants and Latinos, the GOP could have captured the U.S. Senate. Similarly, if Democratic candidates had taken a strong stance against these tactics, they could have motivated more Latinos to come out to the polls. While immigration did not rise on the general electorate’s list of priorities, it certainly motivated Latino electoral choices and influenced outcomes in Nevada, California, Colorado, and Washington. Sixty percent of Latino likely voters indicated that immigration was the most important or one of the most important issues in their decision to vote and for whom to vote. Fifty-three percent were influenced by existing anti-Latino, anti-immigrant sentiment. The most noted Republican bearers of this approach did not succeed: J.D. Hayworth (again), Tom Tancredo (again), and Sharron Angle. There are also examples on the Democratic side: Walt Minnick and Zack Space. Sure, there are some politicians that got a boost, such as Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, but whatever short-term gains may have been extracted by a few, their strategy was gratuitous, is a certain loser in the long term, and will be a particular challenge for the GOP, which is seen as wholesale endorsing anti-immigrant, anti-Latino measures.

    Lesson number two: Issues matter, but candidates need to define their stance on the issues that matter to the Hispanic community. Jobs and the economy have traditionally topped the list of Latino priorities, and with Latinos experiencing a higher unemployment rate than the national average, this is still the top concern. However, 47% of Latino likely voters felt that public officials do not take Latino concerns into account when considering economic reforms. Immigration was the second issue priority, spurred by a lack of progress on reform and by laws such as Arizona’s SB 1070, which have Latinos feeling like suspects in their own communities. More than a few politicians used the issue to stir anti-immigrant sentiment, and many others just stayed quiet. Only a rare few took a decisive stand denouncing those tactics, whether from an immigration policy or a civil rights perspective. Politicians’ lack of clarity on the issues leaves Hispanic voters with less reason for making their choices between candidates—and thus less enthusiasm.

    Lesson number three: Meaningful outreach is essential. Some Democrats assume that Latinos are a base constituency, or that Republican immigrant-bashing simply leaves Latinos with nowhere else to go. True, Republicans are their own worst enemy and Democrats’ best friend when it comes to these voters, but the “lesser of two evils” strategy is wearing thin. Senator Reid provides a good example of the way forward. He is one of the few Democrats who has been forthright in his support for immigration solutions that Latinos—and for that matter, the majority of Americans—support, and even though his opponent was running an anti-Latino campaign, he made very strong efforts to reach the Hispanic electorate. That kind of outreach was not in place in other campaigns. Lack of outreach combined with lack of issue definition is a losing strategy, no matter how weak your opponent may be on Latino priorities.

    Looking toward 2012, both parties have work to do. For Democrats, undelivered promises combined with a neglectful attitude toward Latino voters could be devastating. A small number of votes made the difference in Democrats retaining the Senate this year, and the party should heed the signs: A significant number of Latino voters stated that their vote was against the Republican and not for the Democratic candidate. Latinos are just as frustrated with the state of the economy; add to that a lack of progress on immigration and a sense that many Democrats are sitting on the sidelines while the community is being attacked, and that frustration could turn to rejection or sitting out an election. Voters need something to vote for, not just something to vote against.

    While the GOP hopes to attract Latino voters by simply running Hispanic candidates, Republicans will lose out big unless the party changes course and stops demonizing immigrants and Latinos. As we have seen in the past, Latino voters are willing to support a candidate regardless of his or her party affiliation if the candidate reaches out, takes positions on issues that matter, and builds a relationship with the community. But the GOP brand has been undeniably tarnished—just look at McCain’s trajectory—and in addition to the Latino facelift, a substantive redirection is needed.

    2012 stands to be another record year for Hispanic voters. It’s time to take these lessons to heart.


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    November 16, 2010

    Contact:
    Kara Ryan
    Sherria Cotton
    (202) 785-1670


    Washington, DC—According to data released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), for the third year in a row Latinos make up the largest share (38.2%) of American children living with hunger. In a seemingly contradictory trend, they are also experiencing record levels of childhood obesity. A lack of available resources for families to purchase and prepare healthy food has remained one of the most serious barriers to Hispanic children’s good nutrition and is a driving factor in both child hunger and obesity trends. Today, NCLR (National Council of La Raza)—the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—joined national partners and community-based organizations at a press briefing to promote promising practices and policies that can help turn the tide on child hunger and obesity and improve access to nutritious foods for Hispanic children and families.

    “NCLR is proud to stand with our Affiliates and community leaders as well as national partners, including USDA and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign, to call for comprehensive solutions that foster an environment where healthy food is affordable and accessible to Latino families,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.

    Today’s press briefing marked the conclusion of NCLR’s 12-part weekly research series, Profiles of Latino Health: A Closer Look at Latino Child Nutrition, which examined critical factors affecting Latino children’s nutrition, including trends in hunger and obesity, as well as family access to healthy foods and other resources that play important roles in children’s nutritional outcomes. Addressing underlying social and economic factors that prevent Hispanic families from consistently accessing affordable, nutritious foods will be a key strategy in the battle to improve children’s future health.
    “Children with poor nutrition—who deal with either hunger at home or misbalanced diets that end up in weight gain and obesity—are at greater risk for developmental problems and chronic disease. In our experience at Mary’s Center, they are also the children more likely to fall behind in school, which seriously impacts their capacity to succeed later on in life,” said Maria Gomez, President and CEO of Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, who hosted the briefing.

    As the latest data from USDA show, more than one in three (34.9%) Hispanic children live in food-insecure households, meaning that the household had difficulty at some time during the year with providing enough food for all of its members due to a lack of resources. Latino families often have to spend more time and money seeking healthy foods or prepare less nutritious items that are available closer to home. Improving access to federal nutrition programs, which are shown to improve children’s food security and nutritional intake, is essential to the strategy, along with investing in community-based solutions to connect families with the programs and resources that help them make healthy choices for their children.
    “Improving the nutrition and health of all Americans—especially children—is a high priority for the Obama administration because no one in this country should go hungry. Our partners, like NCLR, are critical in the fight against hunger because they are on the front lines helping us reach those in need,” said Lisa Pino, Deputy Administrator of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

    Also present at the briefing was Brenda Alvarado, 17, a local high school student and patient of Mary’s Center. Alvarado described how access to health care and nutrition counseling, together with the support of her parents, has helped her better manage her weight and cholesterol levels. She and her younger twin sisters have also been served by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which has been a vital source of nutritious food for their family in hard economic times.

    Alvarado is one of more than 16 million Hispanic children living in the U.S. Currently making up more than one in five children in the U.S., Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the child population and are expected to represent nearly one in three children by 2030.

    As a prelude to the briefing, Mary’s Center joined with ARAMARK dietitians and culinary professionals to provide a healthy breakfast and cooking demonstrations for Latino parents and children. Prepared entirely with foods approved by the WIC program, this breakfast is part of an ongoing partnership between the two organizations to improve community health through nutrition and wellness education. WIC staff were also on site to provide families with information about program participation.

    “Making sure that our children eat nutritious meals and live in healthy communities will not only improve their immediate health, but ensure a better future for all Americans,” concluded Murguía.

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    By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR

    With Thanksgiving around the corner, most of us are making preparations for a day of feasting. However, as we give thanks for the nourishment of food and family, we must remember that putting healthy food on the table every day is a tremendous struggle for many American families, including Latinos. In fact, when it comes to nutrition, Latino children are in the midst of a crisis. New food insecurity data released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that for the third year in a row, Hispanic children make up the largest share of children living in hunger nationwide. At the same time, Latinos are experiencing record rates of childhood overweight and obesity. What’s going on?

    NCLR sought to answer this question in our new research series, Profiles of Latino Health: A Closer Look at Latino Child Nutrition. The weekly installments examined critical factors affecting Latino children’s nutrition, including trends in hunger, obesity, and family access to healthy foods and other resources that play important roles in children’s nutritional outcomes. We found that while nutrition is certainly about the foods that Latino children consume, other factors play significant roles. The environment our children live, eat, and play in is as important to child nutrition as the foods they eat. Let’s consider three factors in Latino child nutrition:

    1. Resources: Latinos spend the larger share of their income on food but are still the least likely to have the resources to meet even the minimum standards for an inexpensive, healthy diet under USDA guidelines. The deep poverty that too many Latino families experience often creates barriers to affordable, healthy foods.
    2. Health care: Gaining access to care in early pregnancy helps women establish a healthy diet, yet Latino women are less likely to receive prenatal care. Moreover, Latino children who are overweight and obese are less likely than other children to gain access to needed nutrition counseling, in part because they are the community with the highest uninsurance levels.
    3. Environment:  Latinos are far less likely to live in communities that have robust sources of healthy foods. Instead they have to travel far for good food and make sacrifices in food quality.

    Hispanics are the youngest, fastest-growing population in the nation. One-third of the population is under the age of 18. One out of every five school children across the U.S. is Latino, and that proportion will be nearly one in three by 2030. Undoubtedly, the fate of this country is connected to the future of Latino children. Today I stood with national and community partners at a briefing to call attention to these concerns and advance potential solutions to improve child nutrition within the Latino community.

    NCLR has a history of working closely with all of the groups that came together for this briefing. We work on a regular basis with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to spread the word about the opportunities for Latino children and their families to gain access to nutritious foods through the federal nutrition programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). As a complement to the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, I am also proud to sit on the board of the Partnership for a Healthier America, an organization that is seeking to harness the ingenuity of private sector businesses and the resolve of nonprofits to help end childhood obesity.

    Community-based organizations such as Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care also have a critical role to play in solving the Latino child nutrition crisis. Mary’s Center, an NCLR Affiliate, is a federally qualified health center that connects families with all the various programs and opportunities that are essential to good health.

    We need to make these issues a key part of our national agenda and support policy solutions that take into account the various factors that contribute to childhood hunger and obesity. By supporting and expanding federal food and nutrition programs, investing in communities to ensure that everyone lives in neighborhoods where healthy food is available and affordable, providing access to good health care and medical advice to pregnant women, and giving parents the tools they need to be active partners in their children’s nutrition, we will not only improve children’s immediate health but also ensure a better future for all Americans. For more information on Latino children’s nutrition, please visit our website and sign up for health and nutrition updates from NCLR.


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    For Immediate Release:
    November 18, 2010

    Contact:
    Justin Nunez
    (202) 331-2389

    Speakers Applaud Majority Leader Reid’s Plan to Pass DREAM Act After Thanksgiving Recess

    Washington, DC – The day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced he will bring the DREAM Act to the floor, as a stand-alone measure, during the lame-duck session, DREAM-eligible youth joined national leaders at the National Press Club to call on Congress to pass the DREAM Act before the end of 2010. Speakers highlighted the importance of passing the DREAM Act and echoed the widespread support for the bill.

    Archbishop Jose Gomez, Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, urged Congress to stand up, saying, “There are times when Congress must act because it is the right and just thing to do. This is one of those times. With the passage of the DREAM Act, we can welcome a new generation of Americans who will one day become the leaders of our nation.”

    A new report by UCLA’s North American Integration and Development Center, titled “No DREAMers Left Behind: The Economic Impacts of Dream Act Beneficiaries,” shows that passing the DREAM Act would have a $3.6 trillion dollar impact on the economy, proving that not only is the DREAM Act a practical solution to one aspect of our broken immigration system, but it also good for our economy.

    “These study results add an economic justification to the existing moral and practical arguments for the DREAM Act,” said Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, Associate Professor in the UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies and Founder/Director of the North American Integration and Development (NAID) Center. “Passage of this legislation is sensible economic policy that represents a return on U.S. taxpayers' investment in public education - to the tune of $3.6 trillion in income alone.”

    “Our immigration laws tell these youth to give up and stop trying to fulfill their potential. It is the kind of message that goes against every ideal that our great nation has worked so hard to realize,” said Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “The upcoming vote is an important test to see who in Congress is willing to do what is right, for our nation and for the tens of thousands of young Americans whose futures depend on the DREAM Act. America and these young scholars cannot afford to wait another day.”

    Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel underscored the urgency of the bill, “At this critical point in our history, our nation can ill afford to continue to discard the future contributions of the well-educated, home-grown scholars and patriots whose brainpower would be marshaled and put to beneficial use through the swift enactment and implementation of the DREAM Act.”

    “Today, I stand with these courageous young people, with faith leaders and those working for civil rights, to show that the Hispanic community will not stop its push for the ‘DREAM Act’ and broader immigration reform,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “Americans have had enough with divisive politics. Seventy percent of likely voters and leaders in education, the military, business, and faith sectors support the legislation. Both parties should use this opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to develop real solutions to our nation’s problems.”

    DREAM-eligible youth told stories of their American dream as they called on their Senators to stand up. “I urge Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr, on behalf of myself, and that of undocumented young people in the state of North Carolina, to vote in favor of the DREAM Act. It’s the right thing to do, not only for undocumented students like myself, but also for the state of North Carolina and for this great nation,” said Emilio Vicente from North Carolina.

    Ramiro Luna from Texas said, “I have been fasting for the past 9 days for the opportunity to serve my country as a teacher. I love this country, it has been my home for the past 20 years and I willing to do whatever it takes for a chance live a life free of limitations.”

    Lizeth Quiñones from Indiana concluded, “I have grown up here and I have dreams like you, please join my Senator, Senator Lugar, in giving me chance to achieve those dreams.”

    The DREAM Act, introduced by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), as well as Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support. Now, Congress has a chance to rise above the heated, partisan rhetoric of the campaign season and show the American people that it can work together to pass real immigration reform. It is a common sense bill that enables high-achieving young people who came to this country as children a chance to legalize their status, if they enroll in an institution of higher learning or the U.S. military. It is a win-win, both for the youth who would qualify and the country that would benefit from allowing these young leaders to realize their full potential.

    For more on the DREAM Act, see: www.americasvoiceonline.org/dream.

    For a copy of the report, “No DREAMers Left Behind: The Economic Impacts of Dream Act Beneficiaries,” see: http://www.naid.ucla.edu/

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    By Clarissa Martinez De Castro

    Shameless demagoguery on the issue of immigration was part of the arsenal that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and State Senator Russell Pearce deployed in their election campaigns this year. Their brand of politics aims to push all the buttons of a public legitimately frustrated with federal inaction, even if it falls woefully short of delivering actual solutions. Brewer became the face of SB 1070—the law sponsored by Pearce that makes one-third of Arizonans suspects in their own communities and empowers every law enforcement agent within the state to demand their papers—with lurid and completely fictional accounts of headless bodies in the Arizona desert. And Pearce’s “friendships” with members of White supremacist and neo-Nazi groups have never fully been explained. Yet Brewer was reelected governor and Pearce became head of the Arizona State Senate. The questions are, at what cost, and who’s paying the tab?

    While Brewer and Pearce won, it is clear that, as a result of their antics, Arizonans have lost.
    In the Hispanic community, which traces its roots to the birth of the state, the prominent belief is that this will lead to the racial profiling of citizens and legal immigrants. The law has been condemned by prominent leaders in the state, including the mayors of Phoenix and Tucson, by organizations such as the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and by more than 55 city councils and state legislatures from Amherst, Massachusetts to San Diego, California.

    Various boycotts of the state by performing artists and civil rights organizations have cost the Arizona tourism industry dearly. Upwards of $15 million were lost in the first few months, with more than 40 meeting and convention groups canceling and dozens of artists refusing to play in protest of the law. Tourism officials have estimated that Arizona could lose $90 million over the next five years from conventions that won’t even consider the state as a destination due to the controversy.

    Travel bans to Arizona prohibit employees from Columbus, Ohio, Boulder, Colorado, and St. Paul, Minnesota to use city funds to travel to Arizona. Music performers that span all genres, including Hall and Oates, Cypress Hill, and Pitbull, have cancelled concerts in the state, and the World Boxing League won’t schedule Mexican fighters for bouts there.

    Then there are the legal costs, since Brewer has vowed to fight for SB 1070 all the way to the Supreme Court. The result of that fight will end up costing the state millions, with the price tag already exceeding $1 million—and that’s only through July. So Brewer has spent the last few months fundraising extensively for the law’s defense fund, appearing coast to coast as the darling of anti-immigrant extremists on cable television and appealing to businesses for public relations support for the damage that she and Pearce have inflicted on Arizona’s national image.

    This might all be laughable—and Arizona has certainly turned into a late-night punch line—if not for the epic mess that Arizona is in right now. Arizona has the second-highest rate of foreclosure in the country and one of the highest rates of people filing for bankruptcy. The state is facing a record deficit of nearly $1 billion out of a total budget of just $8 billion. Thanks to budget woes, Arizona has already laid off 2,000 employees, cut day care subsidies and health care, and even closed state parks and highway rest stops. And the next step is cutting education to the bone. So what is Senate Leader Pearce doing about all this? He’s hard at work on legislation to save the incandescent light bulb and unconstitutionally deny citizenship to children born in the United States.

    It is no wonder that several states, even those with conservative majorities, are taking a look at what’s happening in Arizona and saying “no thanks.” Susana Martinez, the newly elected governor of New Mexico, a Republican and the first Latina ever to serve as a U.S. governor, has said that she does not want an Arizona-style law in her state. And just last week, Utah’s most powerful leaders, including the Chamber of Commerce and the Mormon Church, sent out a statement asking for rational, effective, federal immigration reform. They figured out what we already knew—Pearce and Brewer have been wined and dined across the country, but it was Arizonans who got stuck with the tab.


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    By Alejandra Gepp
    As the fifth leading cause of death among Hispanics in the U.S. from 1998 to 2002, diabetes is a major concern among this population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 2.5 million Hispanic adults age 20 or older (about 10.4%) have been diagnosed with diabetes. The burden caused by this diagnosis can be greater among Hispanics due to numerous factors, including poor self-management of the disease. These difficulties are likely the result of barriers to high-quality care such as limited English proficiency, citizenship status, low education, fear or mistrust of the health care system, lack of health insurance, and the cost of health care services. Yet studies have found that diabetes self-management and care management programs are showing success in improving clinical status and the quality of life among Latinos.

    Social and peer support are important strategies in self-management education. For more than ten years, NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health (IHH) has been incorporating the promotores de salud (lay health workers) model as a strategy for providing culturally competent and linguistically appropriate peer support to Latinos facing health-related issues, including diabetes awareness and self-management. Peer support has been identified by many researchers and clinicians as an essential component of any self-management program that promotes behavioral change. For example, Peers for Progress, an international organization that promotes peer support around the globe and an NCLR partner, conducted a systematic review of peer support interventions published from 2000 to 2009. They found significant effects of peer support in 83% of all publications identified and significant results in 81% of publications reporting clinical trials.

    Most recently, IHH has partnered with sanofi-aventis and HUMANA to pilot a 12-month project, Viviendo Saludable, with two NCLR Affiliates, Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy and Mexican American Unity Council. Viviendo Saludable uses promotores as a mechanism to assist Latinos who are 55 and older with managing their diabetes. The curriculum includes a tool kit with culturally and linguistically appropriate education materials for promotores de salud to use when conducting community health interventions. Stay tuned for the preliminary results of our new pilot project!


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    November 29, 2010

    Contact:
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today announced the appointment of Catherine Pino to the NCLR Board of Directors. Ms. Pino is Co-Founder and Principal of D&P Creative Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm based in Falls Church, Virginia that is focused on advancing initiatives to elevate the social, economic, and political status of Latinos, women, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

    “Catherine has long been a member of NCLR’s familia and we are privileged to have someone with her talent and experience joining our Board of Directors. In addition to her wealth of knowledge about the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors and the pioneering leadership she has provided on Hispanic LGBT issues, Catherine has a profound commitment to the Latino community and the work of NCLR,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía.

    Along with her partner Ingrid Duran, Ms. Pino has sought to advance corporate, philanthropic, and legislative efforts that mirror her deep commitment to social justice and civil rights issues.
    Her two decades in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector include roles at NCLR, the Independent Sector, the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, as well as in the Capitol Hill office of New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman (D). She and Duran created PODER PAC, the first-ever national political action committee dedicated to helping Latina candidates across the country obtain the resources needed to launch winning campaigns. They also created two production companies to effect social change through film.

    “It’s an incredible honor to have been asked to serve on the NCLR Board of Directors because NCLR holds a very special place in my heart. It is where I began my career and where I had the opportunity, at a very young age, to learn firsthand about the important role this highly respected and valued civil rights organization plays in society. I look forward to continuing to advance the issues of importance to the Latino community with the accomplished Board of Directors and the dynamic staff led by Janet Murguía,” said Ms. Pino.

    Ms. Pino is a board member of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), and the Victory Campaign Fund. She serves on the Nielsen Hispanic/Latino Advisory Council and was the first Latina to serve as Co-Chair of the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City. She has been widely recognized for her professional and civic accomplishments, having received both the New York State Special Civil Rights Award and the Robert F. Wagner Public Service Award. Hispanic magazine has named her a “Latina of Excellence.”

    NCLR’s Board currently has 21 members, including elected officials and representatives from community-based organizations, the corporate sector, and academia. Board membership reflects the diversity of Hispanic nationality groups and the geographic distribution of the Hispanic population, and the bylaws stipulate that the Board must include equal representation of men and women.

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    By Kattrina Hancy, Farmworker Justice

    As World AIDS Day approaches, people will be standing in solidarity with individuals affected by HIV and AIDS. Some will be thinking about the worldwide AIDS pandemic and countries with infection rates well above those in the United States. Others may recall the high rates of HIV and AIDS in Washington, DC and other large U.S. cities, or the disproportionate number of HIV cases among Blacks and Latinos. However, few will be thinking about HIV among farmworkers. Farmworkers have traditionally been left out of most HIV and AIDS prevention efforts, making them an underserved population. Farmworker Justice, a subsidiary corporation of NCLR, is working hard to change this.

    There are approximately two million hired agricultural workers in this country. Given the absence of national data on HIV infection rates among farmworkers, we do not know how many are infected, but useful inferences may be drawn from statistics collected on Hispanics in the United States since a staggering 83% of farmworkers self-identify as Hispanic. We do know that Latinos are disproportionately impacted by the epidemic. Although they represented about 15% of the U.S. population in 2006, they account for 17% of all new infections that year. We also know that the rate of new HIV infections among Latino men is more than twice that of White men, and among Latinas the rate is nearly four times that of White women.

    Farmworkers are likely to have a similar profile to Latinos. Unfortunately, the vast majority of epidemiological data on HIV prevalence among farmworkers is based on small, local studies conducted more than a decade ago. In 1992, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a prevalence rate of 5% among 310 farmworkers tested in Immokalee, Florida. A few other small studies have reported rates ranging from 0.47% to 13%. In order to effectively combat HIV and AIDS in the farmworker community there is an urgent need for more research. Without the data, it is difficult for organizations to secure funding for prevention, care, and treatment efforts.

    HIV and AIDS take an especially heavy toll on the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in U.S. society. Poverty, low income, limited education, substandard housing, and limited access to health care contribute to increased rates of infection in any given population. HIV is not an occupational hazard of farmwork like pesticide exposure or heat stroke, but farmworkers in the U.S. undeniably contend with these other conditions. Moreover, their isolation, status as recent immigrants, and migration for work contribute to low acculturation, which in turn indirectly influences many HIV risk factors. These include increased likelihood of multiple sex partners for Latino men, low rates of condom use among Latinas, less use of testing and health services, increased depression which may lead to elevated rates of alcohol and substance use (which often leads to risky sexual behavior), and increased likelihood of patronage of or employment as sex workers. Farmworkers, few of whom are covered by health insurance, also have limited access to essential health care and HIV prevention information and services.

    Since 1997, Farmworker Justice has been working to bridge the gap between these services and the farmworker community. Its HIV program, Poder Sano (loosely translated as “Healthy Power”), mobilizes rural Latino communities around the prevention of HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, and tuberculosis. By providing free capacity-building assistance and community mobilization tools, Poder Sano strengthens community-based organizations’ HIV prevention programs, improves monitoring and evaluation practices, and creates partnerships for program support. Farmworker Justice is also part of CDC’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, which seeks to increase HIV/AIDS awareness, knowledge, and action across multiple sectors of the Latino community—including the civic, business, and education sectors—to help accelerate HIV prevention efforts and reduce the stress of HIV and AIDS, especially in rural farmworker communities.

    This year, in a joint effort to reduce stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV and AIDS and promote awareness and testing, Farmworker Justice and NCLR are joining the Facing AIDS initiative hosted by www.aids.gov. To see how both organizations are facing AIDS, click here or visit http://www.flickr.com.


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    By Janet Murguía

    NCLR has long supported the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.” For nearly a decade, we have urged Congress to do the right thing. We have worked with a distinguished group of bipartisan senators and other members of Congress to try to get this legislation passed. Yet, despite overwhelming support from the Latino community and from leaders in the military, academia, and business, hope for this modest and sensible piece of legislation has been dashed time and again.

    Every year that the “DREAM Act” does not pass, more hardworking students lose their chance at achieving the American Dream—and our country loses too. The students who would be helped by the act were brought by their parents as young children to this country, which has become their only real home. They are success stories—youth leaders and dedicated students graduating with honors from high schools in their hometowns. They want the chance to go on to college or serve in the military so that they can work, give back, and contribute to the communities in which they were raised and to the only country that they have ever known. These youth are already working hard and are prepared to work even harder.

    Our country needs and will benefit immensely from their talents, their gifts, and their drive to succeed. We know from a recently released study that the students covered under the “DREAM Act” will contribute at least one trillion dollars to the American economy over the course of their lifetimes; the intangible benefits of investing in these students’ futures, however, are immeasurable. Morality shows us that passing this legislation is the right thing to do, but there is a political dimension that shows us that the “DREAM Act” is also the smart thing to do.

    Congress needs to listen to Latino voters, who spoke clearly in the midterm elections. As is everyone, Latinos are deeply concerned about jobs, education, and health care, but it was the immigration issue that got Latino voters to the polls. In states where candidates ran on anti-immigrant platforms, such as in Nevada, Colorado, and California, Hispanic voters—the fastest-growing voting bloc in the nation—overwhelmingly responded and gave the margin of victory to the other side.

    Latino voters want secure, effective, and humane immigration reform, and that starts with the “DREAM Act.” What Hispanic voters do not want is more excuses and more attempts to move the goal posts. The upcoming up-or-down vote on the “DREAM Act” will be closely monitored by a community that has grown tired of excuses, delays, and false promises.

    And these members of Congress should remember that there will no longer be a place to hide in the minds of Latino voters. Latinos will see congressional votes for what they are—a clear indication of which members of Congress support the future of these young people and this nation. There is no doubt in my mind that this vote will also reveal who stands with the Latino community or who does not.


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 2, 2010

    Contact:
    Paco Fabián
    (202) 785-1670

    Latino youth deserve to know where Republicans stand on their future

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today called on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R–OH) to work with their Democratic colleagues on moving the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act” forward. The call came in response to yesterday’s letter from all 42 Senate Republicans stating that they would not vote on any legislation until an extension of the Bush tax cuts was passed. NCLR also hand-delivered more than 7,000 letters urging a vote on the “DREAM Act” to Boehner and McConnell.

    “It is time for members of Congress to show where they stand on the future of these young men and women and on moving the country forward,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “This vote will reveal whether they stand with the Latino community and these young people who want to serve and contribute to the only country they have ever called home. Make no mistake—the Latino community will be watching this vote closely. The time for hiding behind excuses and moving the goal posts is over.”

    The DREAM Act has long been a bi-partisan measure whose fundamental principle is to provide a path to legal status for thousands of young people if they have shown good character and attend college or serve in the military for two years. It has the support of not just the Latino community but also of educators, religious and military leaders, and the business community. More than 70% of American voters also support this targeted and modest measure. A vote on the “DREAM Act” would be the first major vote on an important priority for Latinos since the recent election, an election in which Latinos made a difference in several key congressional races.

    “We strongly urge both parties in Congress to work together on legislation that is important to Latinos and other Americans. Passing the ‘DREAM Act’ would be a critical first step,” Murguía concluded.

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    Begin by finding out what’s working

    By Eric Rodriguez

    Voters in the midterm elections sent a clear directive to Congress to tackle unemployment, and Democrats and Republicans fervently reaffirmed their commitment to get Americans back to work. But the last three weeks have made it clear that years of disappointing jobs reports, anger from unemployed Americans, pressure from desperate businesses, and warnings from economists of all stripes are little match for the political realities in Washington. Partisan sniping and a focus on deficit reduction mean that any new proposal to jumpstart hiring will be subject to heavy scrutiny. Members of Congress will likely shy away from offering large-scale, comprehensive plans to create jobs for fear of being portrayed as fiscally irresponsible.

    Even if no one in Washington is willing to go big for American workers, lawmakers must still take steps to advance job creation incrementally—or risk losing their jobs in 2012. A good starting point to stimulate job creation is to find out where it’s actually happening. In which states? In which industries? How can we build on this momentum?

    It turns out that during the height of the recession, Latinos made employment gains in several states (see table below). This is despite elevated unemployment rates for Latinos, which remain two to three percentage points above the national rate. These figures only account for Latinos who are currently employed, so they cannot be explained solely by the fact that Latinos are the fastest-growing share of the American labor force (those who are employed and those who are searching for work). Against the odds, Latino workers are helping to sustain a fragile but unmistakable recovery.

    In the coming months, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR)—the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—will take a closer look at promising employment trends. We’ll interview industry and state labor market experts and make recommendations based on what we learn. We welcome your input and hope you will continue to stay tuned. You can email your ideas to Catherine Singley at csingley@nclr.org.

    States with the Largest Net Gains in Latino Employment, 2008–2009
    Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment, 2008” and “Geographical Profile of Employment and Unemployment, 2009.” Washington, DC, http://www.bls.gov/opub/gp/laugp.htm (accessed November 2010).

      Employed Latinos, 2008 (thousands) Employed Latinos, 2009 (thousands) Net Change in Latino Employment, 2008–2009 (NCLR calculation) (thousands) Percent Change in Latino Employment, 2008–2009 (NCLR calculation)
    Oklahoma 99 125 26 26.3%
    Massachusetts 177 198 21 11.9%
    Pennsylvania 229 249 20 8.7%
    Kentucky 41 58 17 41.5%
    Maryland 220 237 17 7.7%
    Georgia 340 354 14 4.1%
    Virginia 251 265 14 5.6%
    Nebraska 57 69 12 21.1%
    New York 1,316 1,325 9 0.7%
    Louisiana 63 70 7 11.1%
    Ohio 123 129 6 4.9%

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 7, 2010

    Contact
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670

    Compromise plan includes victories for Latino workers and families

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today expressed support for the new framework agreement on taxes, which will continue critical tax credits for low-income working families for the next two years. The bipartisan compromise announced last night by the White House preserves expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit, along with a boost in the EITC for families with three or more children.

    “We applaud President Obama, Secretary Geithner, and leaders on both sides of the aisle for standing up for working families throughout this difficult debate. They made the right choice to invest in working families, who ultimately fuel business activity and job creation,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía.

    These measures will provide much-needed support for Latino workers and families, who are among the hardest hit by the nation’s economic crisis. Estimates from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities project the impact of the improved low-income refundable tax credits, which were part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, on low-income Latino families and children in 2011:

    Extending the expansions in the Earned Income Tax Credit will benefit:

    • 2.1 million Latino families
    • 5.2 million Latino children

    Extending the expansion of the Child Tax Credit will benefit:

    • 3.3 million Latino families
    • 6.1 million Latino children

    The agreement also includes a new 2% reduction in employee payroll taxes and a yearlong extension of unemployment insurance. The White House says that these measures will benefit 155 million workers and seven million workers, respectively.

    “We urge the swift passage of this legislation before the end of the year so families aren’t dealt an unnecessary blow to their paychecks come January 1,” concluded Murguía.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 8, 2010

    Contact:
    Paco Fabián
    (202) 785-1670

    Vote is a watershed moment for Latinos

    Washington, DC—Today, both chambers of the United States Congress are due to vote on the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.” If passed, this sensible piece of legislation will provide undocumented kids who have grown up in this country with the opportunity to achieve conditional legal status and eventually earn the ability to apply for citizenship if they attend college or serve in the military.

    The following is a statement from Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

    “For Latinos, the fastest-growing segment of the nation’s electorate, the ‘DREAM Act’ vote is a defining moment. For one, a significant number of youth affected by this legislation are Latino. But more importantly, Congress can use this vote to protect the futures of innocent children and preserve the future of this country. This issue is near and dear to Latinos. While the majority of Hispanics in the U.S. are citizens, we are keenly aware of the devastating effects of congressional inaction on immigration reform. America cannot afford to lose another generation of young people who stand to contribute to its economic and social prosperity.

    “Beneficiaries of the ‘DREAM Act’ will contribute at least one trillion dollars to the American economy over the course of their lifetimes, according to a recent study. Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office finds that enacting the ‘DREAM Act’ would reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion dollars over ten years. Our military supports the ‘DREAM Act,’ and it is part of the Department of Defense's 2010–2012 Strategic Plan to assist the military in its recruiting efforts. Members of the business, faith, and labor communities also support this legislation. Polls show that the majority of the American public supports the measure and is looking to Congress for solutions. It has been supported by members of both sides of the aisle before, and we have an opportunity to see it pass this week.

    “The time for excuses is over. The ‘DREAM Act’ has been around for over a decade and has been debated and supported by members of both parties. It’s time for a vote, and excuses will not hide which members choose not to stand for innocent children; Latinos will remember those members who vote for America’s future, and those who neglect to take a stand.”

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