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    Contact:
    Nancy Wilberg Ricks, NCLR
    202-776-1754
    nwilberg@nclr.org

    Deidre Swesnik, NFHA
    202-898-1661
    dswesnik@nationalfairhousing.org

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 11—The following is a joint statement from civil rights organizations on the Obama administration’s report on reforming the nation’s housing finance market. Organizations issuing the statement include NCLR, National Fair Housing Alliance, Center for Responsible Lending, The Opportunity Agenda, NAACP, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, National Urban League, National People’s Action, the Kirwan Institute, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, PolicyLink and Poverty & Race Research Action Council. Senior staff of some of these organizations will conduct a conference call to offer further comments on the proposal and take questions at 2:00 p.m. EDT today. Details are below.

    “In its report, the Administration pledges to ensure that all communities and families have access to capital needed for sustainable homeownership and a range of rental options. Of the three options that the Administration proposes, the first two, which call for complete and near-complete privatization, will entirely fail to meet this goal and will instead marginalize communities of color. Congress should reject these two options. The third option, offering catastrophic reinsurance, inspires more confidence than the first two, but lacks important details as to how it would serve all Americans well. As the debate moves ahead and final decisions are made, our civil rights organizations will fight to secure sound lending policies for all Americans, ensuring that the families who have long been poorly served by the market will finally have a fair shot.

    “For decades, America’s housing finance system has operated on a 'dual track' in which factors other than a borrower’s creditworthiness affect the terms of his or her home loan. People of color and other underserved borrowers are routinely steered into substandard mortgages, even when their credit warrants a prime loan. A private secondary market helped drive this process. Full privatization would leave most Americans at the mercy of Wall Street and we know from experience the devastating results that would bring.

    “The secondary mortgage market must instead provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for all, eliminate housing discrimination, and promote residential integration. Fair lending rules that protect against discrimination and deceptive practices should be at the core of reshaping the housing finance market. True reform must eliminate the dual-track structure that traps qualified families in a fringe credit market and must build a more secure and accountable secondary market, preventing future crises like the one that helped bring our economy to its knees.”


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    February 4, 2011

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

     

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, applauds District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray for his appointment of Beatriz “BB” Otero as the city’s new Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. Ms. Otero, a long-time leader in the Latino community, is the founder and chief executive of CentroNía, a multicultural learning center in Columbia Heights and an active member of NCLR’s Affiliate Network.

    "This is great news for DC's Latino community and most especially for families throughout the city,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Her commitment, compassion, knowledge, and leadership on education and family support services are unparalleled, and she will be an invaluable part of the Gray administration."

    “She has been a key partner and valued advisor to NCLR’s education and family literacy programs,” Murguía added. “This appointment is a testament to her tremendous leadership and dedication to a population that is often underserved. We applaud Mayor Gray and we wish BB well in her new position.”

    NCLR has worked with CentroNía on a charter school as well as on pilot programs conducted in collaboration with the Verizon Foundation, including Lee y serás, which supports early literacy development for children through everyday activities using Latino cultural and linguistic traditions, and Thinkfinity, which adapted online resources to be used with Latino students in after-school settings.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    February 15, 2011

    Contact:
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670


    NCLR urges Congress to invest in the Latino community to strengthen our nation’s recovery


    Washington, DC—Yesterday, President Obama released his budget for fiscal year 2012. The President’s budget begins a process on Capitol Hill that NCLR (National Council of La Raza) hopes will be a serious and thoughtful approach to dealing with our budget deficits today, while maintaining our nation’s competitiveness in the future.

    The following is a statement from Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR:

    “Like all Americans, Latinos are concerned with the increasing deficit and are looking to lawmakers to develop real solutions to prevent our nation’s children from shouldering tomorrow’s debt. In the midst of this economic crisis, there is no doubt that lawmakers must approve measures that address our nation’s deficits and debt. Latinos share the president’s interest in maintaining America’s competitive edge and view the federal government’s investments in Latinos as a key element to achieving that important goal. The president’s budget includes critical savings measures that should be part of a comprehensive policy to prevent our children from bearing the burden of mounting debt. However, it does not adequately address the causes of today’s significant debt, such as tax measures that have depleted our treasury over the last decade.

    “Though the plan includes increased funding in many areas that are important to Latinos, such as strong support for workers’ rights and increased funding for programs that promote citizenship, it falls short in others. We are disappointed with the administration’s effective elimination of programs that support student success—including the William F. Goodling Even Start Program—and that the proposal only provides marginal funding for academic programs that serve English language learners.

    “Lawmakers must also continue to invest in foreclosure prevention programs. The proposed cuts would undo our progress toward recovery. Rescue scams remain rampant, particularly among communities of color. More than one million Latino homeowners are at risk of losing their homes or have already lost their homes to foreclosure. More funding will allow housing counseling programs to continue helping families with foreclosure prevention, rental, and financial counseling that contributes to a successful recovery.

    “The president’s budget blueprint is a better approach than what is under discussion in the House of Representatives this week. For one, the president’s plan recognizes that while we must balance our budget, we must also invest in making our country stronger and more globally competitive. The plan being considered in the House of Representatives, in contrast, fails to demonstrate a strategy to achieve serious deficit reduction, presents no rationale for specific budget cuts, and risks weakening American competitiveness. The president’s plan is a good starting point for Congress, and NCLR looks forward to working with lawmakers to develop a federal budget that ensures a stable future for our country.”

    More information on Latino priorities in the president’s fiscal year 2012 budget proposal is available here.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    February 18, 2011

    Contact:

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


    Prestigious Charity Navigator Gives NCLR Four Stars

    Washington, DC--NCLR (National Council of La Raza) is pleased to announce that it has received a four-star rating for sound fiscal management from Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates how efficiently charities use their financial resources. For the third year in a row, NCLR earned the top rating for its ability to manage and build finances to support its mission of improving opportunities for Hispanic Americans. NCLR, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, is among only 13 percent of charities rated by Charity Navigator for exceptional fiscal responsibility for the past three years.

    “We are thrilled to receive this recognition from Charity Navigator for our strong financial management,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “It is one more reason that donors can feel confident that NCLR uses every resource possible to advance our mission and to do the work that makes a difference in the lives of hardworking Latinos and their families.”

    NCLR’s overall rating and its overall efficiency was at its highest in 2010 based on an evaluation of program expenses, administrative expenses, and fundraising expenses and efficiency. Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) applies data-driven analysis to evaluate the financial health of more than 5,500 of the largest charities in the U.S. The organization is considered the leading charity evaluator in the nation and estimates that it influenced more than $10 billion in charitable gifts last year.

    In a letter congratulating NCLR, Ken Berger, Charity Navigator President and CEO, stated: “As the nonprofit sector continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, savvy donors are demanding more accountability, transparency and quantifiable results from the charities they choose to support with their hard-earned dollars….This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates National Council of La Raza from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.”

    Founded in 1968, NCLR (www.nclr.org) is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Through its network of nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations, NCLR reaches millions of Hispanics each year in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. To achieve its mission, NCLR conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas— assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its Affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families.

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    President Obama’s budget proposal adds to the current debate on how to restore our country’s fiscal health. While it is far from perfect, the president's plan reflects a serious and thoughtful approach to dealing with our deficit today while maintaining our nation’s competitiveness in the future. Like all Americans, Latinos are concerned with our swelling deficit and looking to lawmakers for real solutions that will prevent our nation’s children from shouldering our debt.

    Projections of rising debt and ongoing deficits make this an urgent issue for all Americans. Latinos, who are among the communities most affected by the current economic downturn, also share the president’s interest in maintaining America’s competitive edge and view the federal government’s investments in workers and children as vital elements to achieving that important goal. Though the president’s budget includes critical measures that reduce the deficit and should be part of a comprehensive policy, it does not adequately address the main causes of today’s debt, such as our tax policies and Medicare costs.

    While the plan includes increased funding in many areas that are important to Latinos—such as strong support for workers’ rights and increased funding for programs that promote citizenship—it cuts deeply into others. The effective elimination of programs that support student success, including the William F. Goodling Even Start Program, and the lack of substantial funding for academic programs that serve English language learners is a step backward.

    In addition to these priorities, lawmakers must continue to invest in foreclosure prevention programs. The bust in the housing bubble is what got us into this financial mess —and yet weak investments in this area would undo our progress toward recovery in the housing sector. Rescue scams remain rampant, particularly among communities of color. More than one million Latino homeowners are at risk of losing their homes or have already lost them to foreclosure. More funding will allow housing counseling programs to continue helping families prevent foreclosure, obtain rentals, and establish financial security that contributes to a successful recovery.

    The president’s budget blueprint is a better approach than what was under discussion in the House of Representatives this week. For one, the president’s plan recognizes that while we must balance our budget, we must also invest in making our country stronger and more globally competitive. In contrast, the approach being considered in the House fails to demonstrate a strategy for achieving serious deficit reduction, presents no rationale for specific budget cuts, and risks weakening American competitiveness. President Obama’s plan is a good starting point for Congress, and NCLR looks forward to working with lawmakers to develop a federal budget that ensures a stable future for our country.


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    Contact:
    Julian Teixeira
    (202) 776-1812

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) today released an analysis of Latino employment trends showing that significant job growth is occurring in industries with strong Latino representation. However, other indicators point to a lack of job security among Latino workers, which may reflect the low quality of newly created jobs and their concerns about lack of preparedness.

    “Today’s employment report shows that Latinos are making important contributions to the industries that are helping drive our economic recovery,” said Eric Rodriguez, NCLR Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation. “Yet, Latino workers remain in a precarious position when it comes to keeping their jobs and advancing in the labor market.”

    The service sector accounted for the bulk of the 192,000 new jobs between January and February 2011, thanks to industries such as administrative and waste services, nursing and residential care, and trucking, where Latinos are highly represented.

    However, February was the third month in a row in which Latinos exited the labor force, which probably contributed to the slightly lower Latino unemployment rate, 11.6 percent in February compared to 11.9 percent in January. Between January and February alone, 187,000 Latinos dropped out of the labor force. Poll data show that a lack of good jobs is causing many Latinos to give up looking for work.

    NCLR’s employment analysis points to policy recommendations to improve the employment prospects of Latinos and other vulnerable workers.

     


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    In the face of harsh anti-immigrant and anti-Latino rhetoric during the 2010 midterm elections, Latinos emerged as important political players, with Hispanic candidates proving competitive in statewide races and Latino voters affecting the balance of power in Congress. Yet with such little progress on the issues that matter to Latinos and so many candidates demonizing or neglecting the community, why did Latino voters go to the polls?

    “Latinos were telling us that they came out to support their community,” said Dr. Matt Barreto, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington and Co-Founder of Latino Decisions, a public opinion research firm that has been conducting tracking polls of Hispanic voters, including an election-eve poll of Latino voters in 2010. According to their numbers, more Latinos went to the polls to support their fellow Latinos (47%) than to support the Democratic (31%) or Republican (12%) candidates.

    “They came out to vote for respect,” explained Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, Director of Immigration and National Campaigns at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

    Barreto and Martínez-De-Castro participated in a panel discussion last week sponsored by NCLR at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. titled “Census, Redistricting, Elections: The Latino Vote in the Next Decade.” The panel focused on understanding the role that Latinos have played in recent elections and the effects that the growth and mobilization of the Latino community will have on the future of American politics. Moderated by Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown, the discussion also included Dr. Gary Segura, Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and Co-Founder of Latino Decisions, Rafael Collazo, National Deputy Director of Democracia U.S.A., and Gloria Montaño-Greene, the Washington, D.C. Director for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.

    Panelists agreed that although the Latino voting bloc is growing faster than any other electoral segment and drawing increased attention, there are still many misconceptions and missteps in engaging it. Some political players see all Latinos as immigrants and all immigrants as undocumented—and, therefore, ineligible to vote. But seven out of 10 Latinos are U.S. citizens, and of those under 18, the number is nine in 10. Similarly, much of the polling methodology used by campaigns and the media misses important segments of this electorate, consequently providing an inaccurate view of the issues and perspectives driving it.

    “These narratives are the stories that elected officials use to create public policies,” Segura said.
    “We have a responsibility to make sure that the story being told about the Latino community is accurate.”

    Gloria Montaño-Greene also pointed out that polling results influence political campaign investments and strategy.

    But ignoring Latinos is one option that politicians choose at their own peril.

    “2010 showed that among the Latino electorate, candidates matter, positions matter, and meaningful outreach and investment pays off,” said Martínez-De Castro, pointing to Senator Harry Reid’s race in Nevada as the playbook page that candidates of any party seeking to attract Latinos should follow.

    At the panel, NCLR released a report called Engaging the Latino Electorate, which looks at communication expenditures aimed at Latinos, examines layered campaign strategies that generated Hispanic engagement in the last election cycle, and provides examples of promising nonpartisan efforts.

    Both Barreto and Segura warn that the influence of Latinos in these elections is being diminished by inaccurate polling. For example, in the Nevada senatorial race, exit polling reported that Sharron Angle received 30% of the Latino vote—a highly implausible number, according to Segura, in light of the widely criticized ads that Angle ran painting Latinos in menacing ways—while 2008 presidential candidate John McCain, who was more popular among Latinos, garnered just 22% of their vote. In fact, Latino Decisions’ election-eve polling of Latino voters showed support for Angle at 8%. Segura worries that these types of incorrect figures misinform politicians about what motivates Latinos and how they feel about important issues, holding great consequences for policy-making.

    The next big debate looming in the future is undoubtedly the redistricting process. States throughout the country will redraw district lines in order to reflect their changing populations. Results from the 2010 Census released by nearly half of the states show sizable growth of the Hispanic population in every state. This is an opportunity for Latinos to capitalize on the redistricting process as a means of demanding a voice in government.

    “When you make this map, you can either unite communities or divide them,” said Montaño-Greene. “The map ensures that they either have a voice or they don’t have a voice.”

    Not only has the Latino population grown, Latinos also show the fastest rate of growth of voter turnout and registration. Moreover, the explosion of Latinos under 18 means that there is a humungous pool of potential voters waiting in the wings with the power to shape American politics.

    “The Latino youth vote is the Latino vote,” said Collazo, whose organization, Democracia U.S.A., works to increase political participation among Hispanics.

    He admits that Latinos must find a way to engage younger generations and provide them with leadership opportunities.

    “This group feels part of the future of this country,” he said.

    This news should be a wake-up call to both political parties. Republicans, who capitalized on anti-immigration attitudes during the midterm elections, will have to revise their strategy if the party wants to attract Latino voters in the future. But their game plan will depend on whether Democrats and the Obama administration take firmer stances on Latino priorities such as immigration. The panelists agreed that even if Democrats are unable to pass immigration reform, they need to make an effort to show Latinos that the party is in their corner.

    Could inaction from the president and the Democrats as a whole keep Latino voters away from the polls? Democrats have to wonder whether the Latinos who voted in 2010 came to support their candidates or whether they came to defend their community and show their political power as a growing electorate in America. The questions stands: How might sustained inaction affect the Latino electorate in 2012?

     


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    Contact:
    Julian Teixeira
    (202) 776-1812

    jteixeira@nclr.org

     

    Seven new Affiliate members—El Colegio Charter School, Ibero-American Action League Inc., Identity Inc., Latin American Montessori Bilingual (LAMB) Public Charter School, Latinos Progresando, Migrant Health Promotion and Scholars to Leaders Academy—have recently joined the NCLR (National Council of La Raza) Affiliate Network. With these new additions, NCLR now has 271 influential organizations across the United States as Affiliate members.
    “NCLR’s impact continues to grow on a daily basis, and we are thrilled to have these influential organizations join our Affiliate Network,” said José Velázquez, Vice President, Affiliate Member Services. “These unique organizations provide Latinos with vital services that better the lives of our community. Together, NCLR and its Affiliates will have a greater impact on Latinos at the local level across the country.”


    The seven new Affiliates are:


    • El Colegio Charter School in Minneapolis, Minn. (www.el-colegio.org)
    • Ibero-American Action League Inc. in Rochester, N.Y. (www.iaal.org)
    • Identity Inc. in Gaithersburg, Md. (www.identity-youth.org)
    • Latin American Montessori Bilingual (LAMB) Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. (www.lambpcs.org)
    • Latinos Progresando in Chicago, Ill. (www.latinosprogresando.org)
    • Migrant Health Promotion in Saline, Mich. (www.migranthealth.org)
    • Scholars to Leaders Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (www.scholarstoleadersacademy.org)


    NCLR’s Affiliates include 271 community organizations that provide programs and services to millions of Latino families. Through this vital support, Affiliates ensure that NCLR’s mission is fulfilled every day.
     


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


    High-ranking U.S. congressman and internationally recognized musical group among this year’s honorees

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) is pleased to announce that Representatives Barney Frank (D–MA) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R–FL) as well as Grammy Award–winning band Ozomatli have been chosen as this year’s awardees at the NCLR Capital Awards. The Capital Awards gala is the only Hispanic event specifically dedicated to honoring members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who have shown a consistent commitment to promoting legislation and public policies that benefit Hispanic Americans in their districts and throughout the country. NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía is scheduled to address the audience regarding the growing Latino population and its significant impact on the future of America politically, culturally and economically.

    “We are immensely grateful to both Representative Frank and Representative Diaz-Balart for speaking out on Capitol Hill on behalf of the Hispanic community and for taking our concerns seriously,” Murguía said. “As our community continues to shape this great country, it becomes critical that lawmakers recognize our needs and passionately fight for the rights of hardworking Hispanic families across the nation.”

    Representative Frank, a Democrat from the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts, has served in Congress for more than 30 years and recently helped pass historic legislation which overhauled the country’s financial regulation system. He has been a fierce advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and, in the past decade, supported eliminating the five-year waiting period for legal immigrants in need of Medicaid funds and opposed a 2007 plan to increase the immigration fee.

    Republican Congressman Diaz-Balart recently began his fifth term in Congress as a representative for Florida’s 21st Congressional District. Diaz-Balart serves as chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference, a caucus for Hispanic Republican congressmen, and is a member of the Congressional Cuba Democracy Caucus, a bipartisan group that promotes policies designed to encourage Cuba’s transition to democracy.

    The Capital Awards gala will also recognize a familiar face to NCLR, multicultural fusion band Ozomatli, for their public service and advocacy on behalf of the Latino community. The Los Angeles–based music group recently worked in collaboration with NCLR during the 2010 midterm elections to encourage Latinos to vote by releasing an original song, “Respeto.”

    “Ozomatli truly stepped up to the plate at a critical point last year during the elections,” Murguía stated. “They set out to show that by voting, Latinos were not only demonstrating their political influence but also exhibiting a sense of self-respect and pride. I believe that message resonated with many Latinos and drove them to the polls.”

    NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. Through its network of nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations, NCLR reaches millions of Hispanics each year in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. To achieve its mission, NCLR conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas— assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its Affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families.


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Nayda Rivera-Hernández
    (787) 649-9501
    nrivera@nclr.org


    2010 KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico Data Book provides statistical snapshot of the 78 municipios

    On Tuesday, March 15, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) will hold a briefing to release a new book about how children in Puerto Rico’s 78 municipios are faring in areas such as poverty, health and education. A panel of experts will analyze local data from the 2010 KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico Data Book to determine how factors such as family structure and low birth weight can affect children in Puerto Rico and their prospects for the future. The briefing, which will begin at 10:00 a.m., will be held at United Way of Puerto Rico, located at Parada 26½ in Santurce, P.R.

    Speakers at the briefing include representatives from NCLR and the Demography Program
    of the University of Puerto Rico’s Graduate School of Public Health, Medical Sciences Campus. They will review highlights of the data and provide analysis of what the numbers mean for Puerto Rico and its families.

    The book, which includes demographic, health, education, and socioeconomic information about children on the island, demonstrates that many youth are unable to fulfill their potential because of their families’ difficult situations or their own risky behavior. The data was collected from the first 18 years of their lives beginning with low birth weight, premature birth and infant mortality statistics, spanning their infant, toddler and school years, and continuing through late adolescence to address issues such as teen pregnancy and teen mortality. The 2010 KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico Data Book is designed for use by organizations, communities, citizens, and government officials as a resource for research, education, advocacy and policy development.

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    WHAT:    Briefing to release the 2010 KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico Data Book
                   on the well-being of children in Puerto Rico’s 78 municipios

    WHEN:    Tuesday, March 15, 10:00 a.m.

    WHERE:  Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico
                   Calle Los Ángeles (final), Esquina Boulevard, Parada 26½
                   Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico

    WHO:      Dr. Hernando Mattei, Professor of Demography and Coordinator of the Census Data Center of the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of 

                   Public Health, Medical Sciences Campus
                   Nayda Rivera-Hernández, Senior Research Analyst, NCLR
                   Verónica Andino-Ortiz, Research Intern, NCLR

     

    TO ATTEND: RSVP to Nayda Rivera Hernández, Senior Research Analyst, NCLR, at nrivera@nclr.org. Please note that space is limited and will be reserved in the order that responses are received.
     


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    Earlier last week, a term sheet being negotiated among 50 state attorneys general (AGs) and the five largest mortgage servicers was leaked to the press. It does give us a brief, if incomplete, glimpse of the high-powered conversations on which the fate of millions of homeowners rests. The document outlines a baseline standard of care. This is nice, but the leaked document lacks crucial details, which is where the devil always lies. Nor does it speak to major community needs, such as those detailed in this letter to Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General, the most important of which is accountability.

    Today our system is fraught with servicers who take shortcuts. Without enforcement, apathy and bureaucracy dominate the broken foreclosure machine and wrongfully take homes from families like the Perezes. In December 2008, the Perez family began the process of seeking a loan modification for their Los Angeles home. They jumped through hoops for a year before they were granted a HAMP modification. Then, after five on-time payments, they were suddenly denied their modification. They renegotiated their terms and the bank postponed auction sale of their home. In September 2010, a trial modification was reinstated. However, this success was short-lived, for one month later they were informed that the house would be put up for auction. Hopeless at the end of this wild goose chase, they couldn’t save their home. In February 2011, the home they owned since 1961 was sold at an auction and they had three days to evacuate. By all calculations they should have qualified for a modification, but they were denied without any clear or satisfactory reason why.

    American families have rights, yet no one is holding servicers accountable for wrongdoing. The attorney generals must take a firm stand for their resident homeowners. Their term sheet is a start, but it does not go far enough on principle reduction, aiding families who went through wrongful foreclosure, and banning the “dual-track” process—continuing foreclosure proceedings while a family is being considered for a loan modification. If we have learned anything from HAMP, it’s that guidelines without a compliance mechanism are just suggestions and mere suggestions do not save homes or fight for families.


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

    CONGRESS ASKED TO PLEDGE TO RESPECT THE LATINO COMMUNITY
    NCLR looks to congressional leaders to set national tone

    WASHINGTON, DC—Recent U.S. Census numbers show that the Latino community in the United States is growing and becoming an ever stronger force politically and economically throughout the country. However, many still blame Hispanics for several of the country’s woes, targeting them with vicious and inaccurate attacks. To combat these injustices, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) is asking all members of Congress to pledge to respect the Latino community.

    With the help of Grammy Award–winning band Ozomatli, NCLR recently launched the Pledge for Respect campaign. In a new public service announcement released by NCLR, members of the group encourage viewers to contact their representatives and tell them to stop dehumanizing the Latino community.

    “There is right and there is wrong, and the terrible things that some of the leaders of our country are saying about Latinos are without a doubt wrong,” said Ozomatli band member Wil-Dog Abers. “We’re standing with the Latino community as we always have, and we’re encouraging our country to stand up and face these voices of intolerance.”

    The campaign kicked off on Thursday, March 10, 2011, as hundreds of Hispanic leaders from the NCLR Affiliate Network visited their senators and representatives on Capitol Hill and asked them to sign the Pledge for Respect.

    Representatives who have already signed the pledge include:

    Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D–IL), signed March 1, 2011
    Joe Baca (D–CA), signed March 1, 2011
    Charles A. Gonzalez (D–TX), signed March 2, 2011
    Ben Ray Lujan (D–NM), signed March 10, 2011
    Judy Chu (D–CA), signed March 10, 2011
    Bob Filner (D–CA), signed March 10, 2011
    Chaka Fattah (D–PA), signed March 10, 2011

    By signing the pledge, members of Congress commit to ending the use of irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric against Latinos and to focusing the national discourse on a more respectful debate about issues that truly matter to all Americans.

    “Politicians need to set the example for all Americans on this issue,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “Demonizing Latinos does nothing to fix the problems with our economy and immigration system. Members of Congress need to give Latinos the respect that they deserve and work hand-in-hand with us to find real solutions to improve America.”

    She added that “while NCLR does not expect every member of Congress to agree with our positions on issues such as immigration reform, we do believe that every senator and congressperson can commit to using civil language that shows consideration for the Hispanic community.”

    The campaign will run until May, when NCLR will publish a list of those in Congress who have signed the pledge, indicating who stands with the Latino community on this issue.

    Everyone is encouraged to get involved and send a message to Congress saying that America will not tolerate disrespect toward Latinos or any other community. Participants can visit the NCLR website or text RESPECT to 62571 to find out how to contact their representatives.

    NCLR hopes that with the participation of as many members of Congress as possible, we can end the use of hateful speech against Latinos and work toward the common goal of finding the solutions that will better America.

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

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    Contact:
    Nayda I. Rivera-Hernández
    (787) 649-9501
    nrivera@nclr.org

    New NCLR report documents risks in each of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipios

    San Juan, P.R.—The 2010 KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico Data Book, released today by NCLR (National Council of La Raza), illustrates a troubling statistical portrait of children and youth in Puerto Rico through an examination of the conditions for children in each of the island’s 78 municipios. At a press briefing held today at United Way of Puerto Rico, demographic experts from NCLR and the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Public Health explained their mounting concerns for the well-being of children throughout the island and their prospects for the future.

    Researchers collected and analyzed extensive data about Puerto Rican residents under the age of 18, gathering information about their demography, health, education and socioeconomic well-being. The book highlights some of NCLR researchers’ most important and worrisome findings: hundreds of children in Puerto Rico die every year and thousands more are at risk of not reaching their full potential due to poverty, family structure or risky behavior.

    “In order to have policies that effectively support our young people, we need comprehensive data and we must understand the factors that affect their well-being,” said Nayda Rivera-Hernández, NCLR Senior Research Analyst and author of the report. “The 2010 KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico Data Book challenges us all—policymakers, nonprofits, community groups and the private sector—to take a fact-based look at children and youth in Puerto Rico and ask what we can do to improve their future and that of our nation.”

    According to the book, children and youth in Puerto Rico tend to be clustered in specific regions of the island. More than one in four under the age of 18 (27.5%) live in one of the following five municipios: San Juan, Bayamón, Ponce, Carolina and Caguas. The population ranges from just 500 in Culebra to more than 96,000 in San Juan.

    Other key findings from the 2010 KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico Data Book include:

    • Disturbing rates of child poverty. During 2006–2008, child poverty rates ranged from 35.4% in Trujillo Alto to 77.8% in Orocovis. The municipios with relatively large urban populations, such as Bayamón, Caguas, Carolina, San Juan and Arecibo, had relatively low rates of public assistance use.
    • High rates of youth who are idle. Out of all U.S. jurisdictions, Puerto Rico has the highest percent of teens not attending school and not working (14.6%). Humacao (21.1%) and San Lorenzo (19.7) top the list of municipios with available data for 2006–2008.
    • Elevated risk of health complications at birth. Children born in southern municipios, such as Sabana Grande (29.4%), San Germán (28.0%), Maricao (26.0%), Gurabo (25.5%) and Guánica (25.0%), face higher risks of being born prematurely than children born in the northern municipios. Other municipios including Humacao (64.5%), Naranjito (62.4%), San Lorenzo (62.3%), Las Piedras (62.1%) and Yabucoa (61.5%) have the highest percentages of cesarean births in Puerto Rico.
    • High rates of teenage parents. Although Puerto Rico has one of the highest teen birth rates in the U.S., municipios in rural areas and the center of the island have the highest rates on the island. Vieques (114.4 per 1,000 females ages 15–19), Cataño (96.7), Comerío (92.1), Ciales (85.9) and Arroyo (82.6) have the highest teen birth rates, while Lares (28.7 per 1,000 females ages 15–19), Aguada (34.9), Quebradillas (36.1), Trujillo Alto (38.3) and Hormigueros (38.3) have the lowest rates.

    “Despite data that show many obstacles faced by children and youth in Puerto Rico, we must remember that children are resilient,” said Rivera-Hernández. “If our policies can be directed toward helping them lead healthy and safe lives so they can learn and achieve academically, then we will have productive citizens who are prepared for the challenges of the future.”

    NCLR has managed the KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico project for the past nine years and has contributed to strengthening information about the well-being of children and youth by publishing reports, maintaining the KIDS COUNT Data Center online database as a free resource, and engaging in multiple initiatives to advocate for children on the island.

    NCLR has called for improved collection and accessibility of data on children and youth in Puerto Rico and has recommended that children on the island be included in national surveys. In addition, NCLR has urged agencies in Puerto Rico that collect data to use smaller age breakdowns, as opposed to grouping all children into the “under 18” category, and has pushed for child welfare data be published online regularly.

    This research was funded in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, through its support of NCLR’s KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico project.
     


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

    WASHINGTON—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) today condemned a remark made by Kansas State Representative Virgil Peck (R) in which he suggested that the same helicopters used to hunt feral pigs be used to hunt undocumented immigrants. Peck stated, “It looks like to me if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a [solution] to our illegal immigration problem.” The remark was made at a hearing of the Kansas House Appropriations Committee on Monday.


    “Peck’s alleged ‘joke’ is deeply offensive and a clear indication that the immigrant-bashing rhetoric of the past few years has succeeded in making immigrants less than human in the eyes of too many Americans,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Immigration is a complicated issue, but the vitriol surrounding the debate has very real consequences and endangers lives. We urge Peck’s colleagues to condemn his remarks in the name of civility and decency.”


    Noting that Peck said he was just speaking like “a southeast Kansas person,” Murguía added, “It is despicable that Peck would invoke his Kansan heritage to defend his remarks. I was born and raised in Kansas, and the people I grew up with are hardworking people with close-knit families, good neighbors, and people of strong faith. They do not think that hunting human beings is funny. Peck owes his constituents and my home state an apology.”
     


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    By: Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR


    Kansas State Representative Virgil Peck might think he was being funny yesterday, but to Hispanics everywhere his comments are no joke.


    According to today’s Lawrence World Journal, Peck told his state’s House Appropriations Committee, “It might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled—with hunters shooting from helicopters.”
     

    Such language has no place in civil discourse and should be condemned by his committee, his leadership, and the state legislature.


    Unfortunately, this is not the first time a legislator has compared undocumented immigrants to animals or much worse. Terms like “illegals,” “invasion,” “aliens,” “hunting them down,” and “anchor babies” litter the immigration debate like confetti.
     

    In April, Pat Bertroche, a physician running for Congress in Iowa, said in a campaign forum, “I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal?” Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky called for building an electrified underground fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. And Tom Mullins, a Republican candidate for Congress in New Mexico, one-upped him by proposing to put down land mines.


    But advocating for shooting humans from helicopters is far beyond unacceptable. Ironically, Peck’s comment comes just days after NCLR launched its Pledge for Respect campaign. It appears it couldn’t have come at a more timely moment.


    When Representative Peck was asked about his comment, he said, “I was just speaking like a southeast Kansas person.” It is despicable that Peck would invoke his Kansan heritage to defend his remarks. I was born and raised in Kansas, and the people I grew up with are hardworking people with close-knit families, good neighbors, and people of strong faith. They do not think that hunting human beings is funny. Peck owes his constituents and my home state an apology.
     

    Peck was also quoted as saying “I think it’s over” and that he did not expect any more controversy over his comment. I beg to differ.
     

    When political leaders suggest violence as a means to an end, even jokingly, their comments add to the public perception that such actions are acceptable. Peck doesn’t think he did anything wrong. He needs to understand that this type of rhetoric has no place in public discourse. That’s why we are also asking Mike O’Neal, Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives, to call for an apology and an end to this intolerance in the Kansas legislature.


    We understand that our country is tired of federal inaction on immigration reform. But dehumanizing and scapegoating immigrants is not a solution. We look to our elected officials for solutions and expect them to behave like leaders. It’s time that they start acting like it. Kansans, and the rest of America, deserve better.
     


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    By: Loren McArthur

    Treat others how you want to be treated. It’s a simple rule, one most people learn by the time they turn five years old. But knowing what’s right and doing what’s right are two very different things. Unfortunately, it seems like some politicians need a refresher course.


    The 2010 elections showed just how willing some members of Congress are to insult Latinos, using race-baiting political ads, unfairly blaming immigrants for job losses, and generally attacking the community with dehumanizing, racist language. The chorus of hate rhetoric has had real consequences for Latinos in many states, where anti-Latino sentiment has paved the way for anti-Latino, Arizona-style legislation that legalizes and legitimizes racial profiling. It’s time to say “Enough!”


    The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) recently kicked off its Pledge for Respect campaign, asking members of Congress to sign a pledge to oppose xenophobic and malicious attacks against Latinos and focus on finding real solutions to the many complex problems that our nation faces. On Thursday, March 10, 2011, hundreds of Hispanic leaders from the NCLR Affiliate Network visited their senators and representatives on Capitol Hill and asked them to sign this pledge.


    But we won’t be stopping there. Everyone is encouraged to get involved. Call or write your legislators, visit their offices, or even post on their Facebook walls—just send the message that Latinos are not political pawns. They should be treated with the same respect and dignity that every other group in this country is afforded.
     

    Keep checking back here for more information about the Pledge for Respect campaign. We’ll be keeping track of the campaign’s success as we move closer to May, when NCLR will publish a list of everyone who has signed the pledge. Until then, please show your support by visiting the NCLR website or texting RESPECT to 62571 to find out how you can contact your representatives.
     


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Jennifer Occean
    (202)776-1732
    joccean@nclr.org

    WASHINGTON—The Best Buy Children’s Foundation and NCLR (National Council of La Raza) proudly announce the launch of the fifth annual NCLR–Best Buy Emerging Latino Leaders Scholarship Program. The scholarship will award a total of $25,000 to four graduating Hispanic high school seniors throughout the United States. The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 15 and winners will be announced in May 2011.


    The program will award four scholarships:
     

    • One grand prize winner will receive a one-time payment of $15,000.
    • One winner will receive a one-time payment of $5,000.
    • Two winners will each receive a one-time payment of $2,500.
     

    “The opportunities that this scholarship provides for students are immeasurable, ” said Delia Pompa, NCLR Vice President of Education. “For far too long the burgeoning costs of college tuition have been a major obstacle to the Hispanic community’s ability to attend college. This scholarship significantly aides future Hispanic leaders and their ability to prepare themselves to adequately advocate for the rights of Hispanic Americans.”
     

    Applicants must submit an essay detailing their role as an advocate for the Latino community. For more information, and to apply online, please visit the NCLR–Best Buy Emerging Latino Leaders Scholarship Program.

     


     


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Jennifer Occean
    (202)776-1732
    joccean@nclr.org

    WASHINGTON—The Best Buy Children’s Foundation and NCLR (National Council of La Raza) proudly announce the launch of the fifth annual NCLR–Best Buy Emerging Latino Leaders Scholarship Program. The scholarship will award a total of $25,000 to four graduating Hispanic high school seniors throughout the United States. The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 15 and winners will be announced in May 2011.

    The program will award four scholarships:
    • One grand prize winner will receive a one-time payment of $15,000.
    • One winner will receive a one-time payment of $5,000.
    • Two winners will each receive a one-time payment of $2,500.

    “The opportunities that this scholarship provides for students are immeasurable, ” said Delia Pompa, NCLR Vice President of Education. “For far too long the burgeoning costs of college tuition have been a major obstacle to the Hispanic community’s ability to attend college. This scholarship significantly aides future Hispanic leaders and their ability to prepare themselves to adequately advocate for the rights of Hispanic Americans.”

    Applicants must submit an essay detailing their role as an advocate for the Latino community. For more information, and to apply online, please visit the NCLR–Best Buy Emerging Latino Leaders Scholarship Program.


     


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

    Statement by Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza)

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—We applaud the bipartisan rejection of five anti-immigrant bills that came before the Arizona State Senate yesterday. Hopefully this signals a new day in Arizona where reasonable voices come together to solve problems rather than scapegoat the most vulnerable segment of their population. We want to thank the community and faith leaders who have been working tirelessly on these issues and who have been joined by law enforcement and government leaders to map out a new approach. We especially welcome the direct engagement of the 60 CEOs, business leaders, and 20 chambers of commerce that petitioned the State Senate to oppose the bills. We urge the state senators who helped to defeat these bills to stand firm and reject any attempts to bring such measures back.

    These thoughtless and unnecessary proposals take our country in the wrong direction. The citizenship clause is a bedrock principle of civil rights and part of what makes us all Americans. With one infamous exception, never in our nation’s history have we amended the Constitution to take away someone’s rights, and we should not do so now.

    We gratefully thank those Arizona senators who voted no. Arizonans are growing weary of legislation that does nothing to boost their economy and further tarnishes their state’s name on a national scale. Today, Arizona’s legislators can look forward to a new era of cooperation in solving the state’s problems, and we would be happy to join them in this effort.


    0 0

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

    Statement by Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza)

    WASHINGTON—We applaud the bipartisan rejection of five anti-immigrant bills that came before the Arizona State Senate yesterday. Hopefully this signals a new day in Arizona where reasonable voices come together to solve problems rather than scapegoat the most vulnerable segment of their population. We want to thank the community and faith leaders who have been working tirelessly on these issues and who have been joined by law enforcement and government leaders to map out a new approach. We especially welcome the direct engagement of the 60 CEOs, business leaders, and 20 chambers of commerce that petitioned the State Senate to oppose the bills. We urge the state senators who helped to defeat these bills to stand firm and reject any attempts to bring such measures back.

    These thoughtless and unnecessary proposals take our country in the wrong direction. The citizenship clause is a bedrock principle of civil rights and part of what makes us all Americans. With one infamous exception, never in our nation’s history have we amended the Constitution to take away someone’s rights, and we should not do so now.

    We gratefully thank those Arizona senators who voted no. Arizonans are growing weary of legislation that does nothing to boost their economy and further tarnishes their state’s name on a national scale. Today, Arizona’s legislators can look forward to a new era of cooperation in solving the state’s problems, and we would be happy to join them in this effort.


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