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    By: Eric Rodriguez

    The results are in and the face of America is changing. Recently released data collected by the United States Census Bureau shows that even in some surprising areas, such as Utah, Latinos are the driving force behind population growth.

    “Four out of ten new Utah people from 2000 to 2010 are minorities,” Pamela Perlich, senior research economist at the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, told USA Today. “There’s a wave of diversity sweeping across the state.”

    As other states continue to release their results from the 2010 Census, these statistics show that this wave of diversity is actually sweeping across the entire nation. In many states with relatively small Hispanic communities such as Tennessee, Mississippi, and South Dakota, Hispanic populations have increased more than 100% over the past ten years. Meanwhile, states already home to sizable Latino communities, such as Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada, have maintained steady growth. For example, Hispanics in Texas account for almost two-thirds of the population growth in the past decade and close to 38% of the overall population.

    “The Texas of today is the U.S. of tomorrow,” Steve Murdock, a former Census Bureau director who currently teaches sociology at Rice University, told USA Today.

    Although migration has certainly contributed to the increase, Murdock says that the Hispanic population growth in Texas has primarily been fueled by births among families already living in the United States. In fact, more than nine out of ten Latinos in the country under age 18 are U.S. citizens.

    This boom in Hispanic youth is also fueling population growth in California, the most populous state in the country. Although it is overall one of the slowest growing states, California saw its Latino population grow almost 28%, meaning that the number of Hispanics and whites in the state are almost equal. That balance won’t last long because more than half of Californians under 18 are Hispanic. Coupled with growth in the Asian community, these figures suggest that the Golden State is on its way to becoming minority-majority.

    This growth also helps spread diversity outside of urban centers. The New York Times recently reported that suburban towns have seen the largest population gains within the country and that many new residents are Latino.

    “Living in the suburbs used to mean white family, two kids, a TV, a garage, and a dog,” Kenneth M. Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire, told the New York Times. “Now suburbia is a microcosm of America. It’s multiethnic and multiracial. It tells you where America is going.”

    Growth among Hispanics, and in diversity overall, appears to be a trend that will continue. Many states besides California are also seeing a demographic shift in their younger populations, which now include more Hispanics. This could prove useful, especially as more Latinos enter the workforce. It is projected that by 2050 the percentage of our nation’s workforce made up of Latinos will more than double to 33%.

    For states such as Florida that were hit hard by the recession and the housing meltdown, Latinos and other minorities were a saving grace during this census period. Their numbers earlier in the decade helped to balance out the reduced growth later on.

    “If it weren’t for Hispanics and blacks, Florida would’ve had a truly disastrous decade,” William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings institution, told USA Today.

    Seven states, including New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and West Virginia, are still waiting to release their census findings. Based on the numbers so far, even more growth in the Hispanic population seems likely.

    Continue checking this blog for more updates and commentary about the 2010 Census findings in the coming weeks.


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    By Janis Bowdler, Director, Wealth-Building Policy Project

    More than one million Latino families have either lost or will soon lose their homes. In California, Hispanic-owned homes account for nearly half (48%) of all foreclosures. The rapid loss of homes among Latino and Black homeowners has increased the gap in homeownership rates between White families and families of color. Our research shows that foreclosures wipe out wealth that should have paid for retirements and college educations, depress neighborhoods and home values, and harm family relationships. Our efforts to support community-based housing counselors working with families in foreclosure has helped us better understand how national foreclosure prevention programs and policies can effectively reach the ten to 13 million families expected to lose their home during this calamity. As did others who are deeply concerned about the impact of the housing crises on families, we worked tirelessly to share information and provide guidance and recommendations to Congress and the administration. We had high hopes for the Obama administration’s signature Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). And when we recognized signs of trouble with HAMP’s implementation, and complaints from the community began to mount, we offered additional options and solutions to administrators.

    Unfortunately, many of our recommendations went unheeded. While HAMP set out to provide three to four million modifications, only 600,000 families have received permanent loan modifications through the program. Treasury has made some tweaks, but fundamental changes are needed to reach more families in distress. Our counselors still report difficulty obtaining modifications for worthy homeowners, and the lack of compliance has made justice unattainable for those wrongfully foreclosed upon. Moreover, the private sector’s move away from HAMP―proprietary modifications outnumber HAMP modifications two to one―suggests that the program’s influence and relevance are waning. At best, HAMP addresses the housing crises of yesterday; continued congressional focus on the program is preventing us from taking the bold steps that are needed to help millions of Americans facing foreclosure today.

    For these reasons we are left with little choice but to support the “HAMP Termination Act of 2011” (H.R. 839). It’s time to focus on foreclosure prevention remedies that reach further. Congress and the administration must consider more effective approaches, such as these five promising ideas:

    Leverage private-sector innovation. Rather than modifying mortgages one at a time, remaining HAMP funds could be leveraged to negotiate directly with investors to buy toxic mortgages in bulk. The savings can be passed to the homeowner in the form of principle write-downs and other modifications. Wall Street is way ahead on this, and similar models should be brought to scale.

    Support local success. Boston Community Capital is helping evicted homeowners reclaim their property. States are using the Hardest Hit Fund to respond to unique local conditions. Congress and the administration should elevate and scale local victories.

    Require more accountability from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency called for an end to the “dual tracking” of foreclosures and modifications, and Bank of America has committed to partnering with others to address this unfair practice. Their efforts are severely undermined, however, without Fannie and Freddie on board. The Treasury and Federal Housing Finance Administration must compel the government-sponsored entities to implement this basic tenant of responsible foreclosure prevention.

    Give the state attorneys generals (AGs) a shot. The AGs must accomplish what the Treasury has not―set firm, enforceable rules for modifications that include principle write-downs. The recently leaked terms raise concerns that the settlement might not go far enough. The AGs must conduct a rigorous inquiry and not settle until they have the best deal for their state.

    Give homeowners some leverage. Many deserving homeowners miss out on modifications because they are mired in their servicer’s bureaucracy. A little leverage in the form of a bankruptcy safety net would prompt more thorough customer service. Bankruptcy reform has failed in the House and Senate, but this budget-neutral option should be reconsidered for struggling homeowners.

    Other efforts show more promise―namely the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and state endeavors through the Hardest Hit Fund―but these programs are not a substitute for a national strategy to modify mortgages for deserving homeowners.

    Stabilizing our housing market is essential to our economic recovery and should be a concerted, bipartisan effort. We call on Congress and the administration to set politics aside and work together on a comprehensive strategy to put an end to needless and wrongful foreclosure.
     


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    By Janis Bowdler, Director, Wealth-Building Policy Project

    More than one million Latino families have either lost or will soon lose their homes. In California, Hispanic-owned homes account for nearly half (48%) of all foreclosures. The rapid loss of homes among Latino and Black homeowners has increased the gap in homeownership rates between White families and families of color. Our research shows that foreclosures wipe out wealth that should have paid for retirements and college educations, depress neighborhoods and home values, and harm family relationships. Our efforts to support community-based housing counselors working with families in foreclosure has helped us better understand how national foreclosure prevention programs and policies can effectively reach the ten to 13 million families expected to lose their home during this calamity. As did others who are deeply concerned about the impact of the housing crises on families, we worked tirelessly to share information and provide guidance and recommendations to Congress and the administration. We had high hopes for the Obama administration’s signature Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). And when we recognized signs of trouble with HAMP’s implementation, and complaints from the community began to mount, we offered additional options and solutions to administrators.

    Unfortunately, many of our recommendations went unheeded. While HAMP set out to provide three to four million modifications, only 600,000 families have received permanent loan modifications through the program. Treasury has made some tweaks, but fundamental changes are needed to reach more families in distress. Our counselors still report difficulty obtaining modifications for worthy homeowners, and the lack of compliance has made justice unattainable for those wrongfully foreclosed upon. Moreover, the private sector’s move away from HAMP―proprietary modifications outnumber HAMP modifications two to one―suggests that the program’s influence and relevance are waning. At best, HAMP addresses the housing crises of yesterday; continued congressional focus on the program is preventing us from taking the bold steps that are needed to help millions of Americans facing foreclosure today.

    For these reasons we are left with little choice but to support the “HAMP Termination Act of 2011” (H.R. 839). It’s time to focus on foreclosure prevention remedies that reach further. Congress and the administration must consider more effective approaches, such as these five promising ideas:

    Leverage private-sector innovation. Rather than modifying mortgages one at a time, remaining HAMP funds could be leveraged to negotiate directly with investors to buy toxic mortgages in bulk. The savings can be passed to the homeowner in the form of principle write-downs and other modifications. Wall Street is way ahead on this, and similar models should be brought to scale.

    Support local success. Boston Community Capital is helping evicted homeowners reclaim their property. States are using the Hardest Hit Fund to respond to unique local conditions. Congress and the administration should elevate and scale local victories.

    Require more accountability from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency called for an end to the “dual tracking” of foreclosures and modifications, and Bank of America has committed to partnering with others to address this unfair practice. Their efforts are severely undermined, however, without Fannie and Freddie on board. The Treasury and Federal Housing Finance Administration must compel the government-sponsored entities to implement this basic tenant of responsible foreclosure prevention.

    Give the state attorneys generals (AGs) a shot. The AGs must accomplish what the Treasury has not―set firm, enforceable rules for modifications that include principle write-downs. The recently leaked terms raise concerns that the settlement might not go far enough. The AGs must conduct a rigorous inquiry and not settle until they have the best deal for their state.

    Give homeowners some leverage. Many deserving homeowners miss out on modifications because they are mired in their servicer’s bureaucracy. A little leverage in the form of a bankruptcy safety net would prompt more thorough customer service. Bankruptcy reform has failed in the House and Senate, but this budget-neutral option should be reconsidered for struggling homeowners.

    Other efforts show more promise―namely the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and state endeavors through the Hardest Hit Fund―but these programs are not a substitute for a national strategy to modify mortgages for deserving homeowners.

    Stabilizing our housing market is essential to our economic recovery and should be a concerted, bipartisan effort. We call on Congress and the administration to set politics aside and work together on a comprehensive strategy to put an end to needless and wrongful foreclosure.
     


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

     

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) hailed a vote yesterday in the Republican-led Kansas House of Representatives that dealt an overwhelming, bipartisan blow to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s efforts to enact legislation that would have legalized and legitimized racial profiling in the state. The 40-84 vote against the bill mirrored recent rejections of extreme anti-immigrant measures in other states such as in Arizona, the birthplace of such legislation, where the state Senate defeated a host of extreme proposals last week.

    “I am very proud that my home state of Kansas rejected such an extreme course on immigration—represented by legislators such as Rep. Virgil Peck—and has opted instead to have a more constructive debate on this important issue,” stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “I also commend the social, religious, business, and community leaders and activists who fought very hard against this draconian measure.”

    Several other states—including Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming—have also recently rejected or declined to consider extreme anti-immigrant, anti-Latino legislation.

    “We are heartened that the tide is turning and that these legislatures are realizing that, in a time of unprecedented fiscal crisis, considering legislation which is costly, discriminatory, and completely ineffective is a waste of both politicians’ and taxpayers’ time,” Murguía concluded.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

     

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) hailed a vote yesterday in the Republican-led Kansas House of Representatives that dealt an overwhelming, bipartisan blow to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s efforts to enact legislation that would have legalized and legitimized racial profiling in the state. The 40-84 vote against the bill mirrored recent rejections of extreme anti-immigrant measures in other states such as in Arizona, the birthplace of such legislation, where the state Senate defeated a host of extreme proposals last week.

    “I am very proud that my home state of Kansas rejected such an extreme course on immigration—represented by legislators such as Rep. Virgil Peck—and has opted instead to have a more constructive debate on this important issue,” stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “I also commend the social, religious, business, and community leaders and activists who fought very hard against this draconian measure.”

    Several other states—including Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming—have also recently rejected or declined to consider extreme anti-immigrant, anti-Latino legislation.

    “We are heartened that the tide is turning and that these legislatures are realizing that, in a time of unprecedented fiscal crisis, considering legislation which is costly, discriminatory, and completely ineffective is a waste of both politicians’ and taxpayers’ time,” Murguía concluded.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

     

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—In the midst of the devastating foreclosure crisis, families across the country continue to lose their homes at record rates with no end in sight. NCLR (National Council of La Raza) is asking lawmakers to take aggressive action to prevent the further deterioration of the U.S. economy and ensure that the billions of dollars in resources intended to resolve the foreclosure crisis reach American homeowners.

    NCLR today is urging members of the House of Representatives to vote in favor of H.R. 839, the “Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) Termination Act of 2011,” and against any proposals to redirect remaining HAMP funds to anything but preventing wrongful foreclosures.

    “Millions of Latino families are in the fight of their lives to save their homes from foreclosure,” said Eric Rodriguez, NCLR Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation. “They need real support to save their homes and neighborhoods, and unfortunately, HAMP has fallen seriously short of this goal. It is time to reinvest those resources into more effective solutions. We are calling on Congress to work together on a comprehensive strategy to prevent needless and wrongful foreclosures.”

    NCLR supports several alternatives not included in H.R. 839 that will provide borrowers and homeowners with a less bureaucratic and more streamlined process for borrowers and homeowners, which are outlined on NCLR’s blog.


    With millions of families likely to face foreclosure over the next two years, this is not a problem that either party can walk away from. NCLR strongly urges members of the House of Representatives take appropriate action to reign in the needless damage being done to American households. This means supporting effective solutions―such as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Hardest-Hit Fund―that have proven to be very effective in addressing the ongoing foreclosure crisis, as well as considering new approaches.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Joseph Rendeiro
    jrendeiro@nclr.org

    (202) 776-1812
     

    Washington, DC—Latinos are contributing to and benefiting from job growth in the transportation sector, according to a monthly employment report released today by NCLR (National Council of La Raza). The report calls for the renewal of federal funding for transportation projects, with targeted investments in worker training programs to improve opportunities for low-wage and limited-English-proficient workers.

    “More than one million Latinos work in transportation-related industries that are fueling our economic recovery,” said Catherine Singley, Senior Policy Analyst for the Economic and Employment Policy Project at NCLR. “In order for job growth to be sustainable, the federal government must renew its commitment to supporting the projects that put people to work in their communities.”

    April’s report, which specifically focuses on Latinos in the transportation sector, shows that Latinos are strongly represented in expanding industries such as trucking and transportation support. Within transportation, however, Latinos are concentrated in low-wage jobs, making them more vulnerable to labor market fluctuations and more financially insecure during spells of unemployment. Due to new skills and educational requirements, many Hispanics are also at risk of being left out of new green jobs in transportation.

    “Federal policy must promote career mobility for workers in low-wage jobs, especially as industries like transportation evolve to reduce pollution and dependence on fossil fuels,” Singley continued. “Workforce development policies that integrate basic skill and language instruction can ensure that today’s Latino workforce can meet the needs of tomorrow’s businesses.”

    Please see April’s report, Steering Economic Recovery: Latinos in the Transportation Sector, for more information about how Latinos are contributing to transportation industries and where the transportation sector is growing.

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    By Rosa Beltre, El Barrio, Cleveland, OH

    When a small community-based organization has limited revenue and an overextended staff, it is time to think about volunteers—committed individuals who can help support the organization in ways beyond financial. Volunteers can make an important and noticeable impact in how community-based organizations function when used to the best of their potential. However, it’s a challenge for these organizations to meaningfully involve their volunteers so that they are able to receive the maximum benefit of the volunteers’ skills and knowledge.

    El Barrio, a Workforce Development Center of Excellence of the West Side Ecumenical Ministries in Cleveland, Ohio and an Affiliate of NCLR, has figured out the magic formula for meaningful corporate partner volunteer engagement. El Barrio has been extremely successful in the last five years in engaging their corporate partners to volunteer for the organization. Not only does El Barrio gain from their skills and knowledge, the volunteers and corporate partners also receive a high return of investment on their committed time. El Barrio has established an extremely rigorous volunteer engagement process that has yielded positive returns.

    El Barrio’s model is based on constant communication, making corporate partners aware of the organization’s needs, and ensuring that the corporate volunteers consider themselves part of the organization. El Barrio ensures that corporate volunteers are vested in the program, in the mission of the organization, and in the mission of the companies they work with. They do this by conducting a brainstorming session together with the volunteers to identify volunteers’ strengths and El Barrio’s needs. This ensures that each party is aware of what is required and can come together to plan activities and work plans around it.

    Other best practices utilized by El Barrio include:

    1. Defined time commitment. El Barrio ensures that each volunteer for the organization is aware of the time commitment—how many hours per week, when during the week, and the consistency of the schedule. An example schedule: Wednesday morning from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. for the next four weeks. This ensures that the individual and the corporation are aware of the time commitment to El Barrio.

    2. Volunteer retention. As with most organizations, El Barrio had trouble retaining volunteers. To overcome this, El Barrio created other volunteer opportunities so volunteers could see other available options. Many volunteers found interesting opportunities that kept them coming back to the organization and donating their time and skills.

    3. Information package. Although it was expensive, El Barrio has developed informational packages for corporate partners that identify volunteer opportunities at all levels—individual staff time, the in-kind donation of corporate resources, and corporate financial donation.

    El Barrio’s corporate volunteer engagement strategy has yielded bigger corporate engagement opportunities. For example, corporations working closely with El Barrio have first source contract with El Barrio for all of their employment needs. El Barrio screens candidates and hosts job fairs, if needed. Some of the staff at corporations teach classes for El Barrio, conduct mock interviews with participants, and offer informal mentorship and guidance to program participants.

    Through their volunteer engagement strategy, El Barrio has also been able to engage their corporate partners to offer “in-kind donations” by providing equipment, catering meal events, donating construction material to repair offices, and contributing other nonmonetary support. The success of the corporate volunteer engagement strategy is seen not only in the support that El Barrio receives, but also in the success of the participants. Without the support of these organizations and individuals, El Barrio would not have been able to successfully deliver its customer service and training program, which offers industry-driven training combined with classroom activities, online instruction, hands-on work, standardized curriculum, and a nationally recognized certificate. To date, El Barrio has successfully graduated 359 participants with 232 getting jobs at an average wage level of $10.50.

     


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    David Castillo
    (202) 776-1771
    dcastillo@nclr.org

    Hispanic community looking to congressional leaders to set national tone

    Washington, D.C.—The release of the 2010 U.S. Census numbers shows that the Latino community in the United States now accounts for one out of six Americans and is becoming a stronger force politically and economically. 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 with hundreds of Hispanic leaders from the NCLR Affiliate Network visiting their senators and representatives on Capitol Hill and asking them to sign the Pledge for Respect. By signing the pledge, members of Congress commit to ending the use of irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric against Latinos and 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.”

    At the close of the campaign this spring, 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.

    ###


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


    NCLR (National Council of La Raza) hailed today’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the preliminary injunction made by a U.S. federal circuit court against a controversial law in Arizona. The law, SB 1070, has been broadly condemned by national civil rights leaders for legitimizing and legalizing racial profiling and has set off protests and boycotts throughout the country.


    “Today’s ruling is a victory for all Americans,” stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Laws such as SB 1070 are costly, unconstitutional, and ineffective and they leave us nowhere near a solution to our broken immigration system.
     

    “This decision is also a cautionary note for legislators in other states seeking to follow Arizona’s misguided path. Already, many states have said ‘No’ to copycats of Arizona’s racial profiling law, and a growing and diverse set of business, faith, civil rights, labor and social justice leaders are coming together to reject these unconstitutional and costly schemes and demand sensible immigration reform.
     

    “We share Arizonans’ and other Americans’ frustration with federal inaction on immigration, and we believe that together we can chart a constructive way forward. There is a right way and a wrong way to tackle the issue of immigration. Laws such as SB 1070 are the wrong way. Our country is better than this, and we applaud the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for affirming it,” concluded Murguía.
     

    NCLR will hold a teleconference next Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. EDT to discuss the impact of SB 1070. Further details about the teleconference will be sent to the media in the coming week.
     

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


    NCLR (National Council of La Raza) hailed today’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the preliminary injunction made by a U.S. federal circuit court against a controversial law in Arizona. The law, SB 1070, has been broadly condemned by national civil rights leaders for legitimizing and legalizing racial profiling and has set off protests and boycotts throughout the country.


    “Today’s ruling is a victory for all Americans,” stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Laws such as SB 1070 are costly, unconstitutional, and ineffective and they leave us nowhere near a solution to our broken immigration system.

    “This decision is also a cautionary note for legislators in other states seeking to follow Arizona’s misguided path. Already, many states have said ‘No’ to copycats of Arizona’s racial profiling law, and a growing and diverse set of business, faith, civil rights, labor and social justice leaders are coming together to reject these unconstitutional and costly schemes and demand sensible immigration reform.

    “We share Arizonans’ and other Americans’ frustration with federal inaction on immigration, and we believe that together we can chart a constructive way forward. There is a right way and a wrong way to tackle the issue of immigration. Laws such as SB 1070 are the wrong way. Our country is better than this, and we applaud the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for affirming it,” concluded Murguía.

    NCLR will hold a teleconference next Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. EDT to discuss the impact of SB 1070. Further details about the teleconference will be sent to the media in the coming week.
     

    ###
     


    0 0

    The fight for fair and just immigration policies was bolstered Monday when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the state of Arizona and upheld a lower court’s temporary injunction of the harsh anti-immigrant law known as SB 1070.

    In its decision, the court ruled that Arizona overstepped its authority in trying to regulate immigration, and immigration advocates, including the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), lauded the decision as a great step forward in repealing the law.

    “Today’s ruling is a victory for all Americans,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Laws such as SB 1070 are costly, unconstitutional, and ineffective, and they leave us nowhere near a solution to our broken immigration system.”

    While the ruling was a welcome development, we must remember that the fight is not over when it comes to ending these policies. Backers of the law, including Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and the state’s attorney general, are already vowing to fight this decision all the way to the Supreme Court.

    On the same day that the Ninth Circuit issued its decision, legislators in the Georgia Senate passed an Arizona-style copycat known as HB 87. The bill now goes back to the Georgia House where lawmakers must reconcile the Senate version. The clock is ticking, however, as the Georgia legislature ends April 14. Despite the looming deadline, advocates on the ground and at the national level are doing all they can to make sure that HB 87 does not become Georgia law. NCLR is hopeful that HB 87 will meet the same fate as other copycat laws and is making sure that legislators everywhere take note.

    “This [Ninth Circuit] decision is also a cautionary note for legislators in other states seeking to follow Arizona’s misguided path,” said Murguia. “Already, many states have said ‘No’ to copycats of Arizona’s racial profiling law, and a growing and diverse set of business, faith, civil rights, labor, and social justice leaders are coming together to reject these unconstitutional and costly schemes and demand sensible immigration reform.”

    The ongoing fight over immigration is the backdrop for the upcoming general election. If anything is clear from the latest U.S. Census figures, it is that both the Republican and the Democratic Parties will have to win over the Latino community if they want to be victorious in elections. Support for anti-immigrant laws is largely viewed as a liability for anyone who may have political aspirations. Indeed, a recent Wall Street Journal report suggests that the Hispanic population’s uptick may pose a challenge to the Republican Party, which could be in trouble because so many of its members have been leading the charge to crack down on immigrants.

    NCLR will continue to follow developments in the fight against unfair and unjust immigration laws, so be sure to check back here often. And if you haven’t done so already, join our campaign to Boycott Intolerance to show your opposition to SB 1070. You can also sign up for the NCLR Action Network to make your voice heard about issues affecting the Latino community.


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

    Washington, D.C.—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) enthusiastically supports the action plan released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which aims to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care for minority populations. NCLR applauds HHS for its proactive efforts to address these health challenges and would like to specifically recognize Dr. Garth Graham, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, who has worked tirelessly to integrate an agenda that eliminates racial and ethnic disparities into the plans of HHS. NCLR also praises the essential leadership of Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, in creating accountability across all key health agencies to address the growing gaps in health care for minorities.

    “This commitment to prioritizing the health of Latinos in the U.S. is very encouraging and could not have come at a more crucial time,” said Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at NCLR. “Hispanic Americans are disproportionately uninsured, receive a lower quality of health care and are more likely to go without needed services. When you factor in the alarming rates of obesity and risk of diabetes among younger Latinos, it becomes clear that we need to either find solutions now or face a health crisis in the future.”

    Among the promising strategies that the action plan employs is to acknowledge and support the role of promotores de salud, or community health workers, who play a critical part in reducing the incidence and burden of chronic diseases among disadvantaged Latino communities. It also builds on several major provisions in the Affordable Care Act by supporting initiatives to expand, diversify and properly train our health care workforce, and it allocates resources to ensure that health care providers can offer competent language services and address culturally diverse populations.

    NCLR wholeheartedly endorses this action plan, which includes not only specific changes that will be made to the health care system to better serve Latinos but also timelines and preliminary measures to ensure that the department stays on task. This is an important step toward ensuring that Hispanic Americans can access the services and high-quality health care that they need to improve their well-being.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

    Washington, D.C.—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) enthusiastically supports the action plan released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which aims to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care for minority populations. NCLR applauds HHS for its proactive efforts to address these health challenges and would like to specifically recognize Dr. Garth Graham, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, who has worked tirelessly to integrate an agenda that eliminates racial and ethnic disparities into the plans of HHS. NCLR also praises the essential leadership of Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, in creating accountability across all key health agencies to address the growing gaps in health care for minorities.

    “This commitment to prioritizing the health of Latinos in the U.S. is very encouraging and could not have come at a more crucial time,” said Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at NCLR. “Hispanic Americans are disproportionately uninsured, receive a lower quality of health care and are more likely to go without needed services. When you factor in the alarming rates of obesity and risk of diabetes among younger Latinos, it becomes clear that we need to either find solutions now or face a health crisis in the future.”

    Among the promising strategies that the action plan employs is to acknowledge and support the role of promotores de salud, or community health workers, who play a critical part in reducing the incidence and burden of chronic diseases among disadvantaged Latino communities. It also builds on several major provisions in the Affordable Care Act by supporting initiatives to expand, diversify and properly train our health care workforce, and it allocates resources to ensure that health care providers can offer competent language services and address culturally diverse populations.

    NCLR wholeheartedly endorses this action plan, which includes not only specific changes that will be made to the health care system to better serve Latinos but also timelines and preliminary measures to ensure that the department stays on task. This is an important step toward ensuring that Hispanic Americans can access the services and high-quality health care that they need to improve their well-being.

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    The fight for fair and just immigration policies was bolstered Monday when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the state of Arizona and upheld a lower court’s temporary injunction of the harsh anti-immigrant law known as SB 1070.

    In its decision, the court ruled that Arizona overstepped its authority in trying to regulate immigration, and immigration advocates, including the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), lauded the decision as a great step forward in repealing the law.

    “Today’s ruling is a victory for all Americans,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Laws such as SB 1070 are costly, unconstitutional, and ineffective, and they leave us nowhere near a solution to our broken immigration system.”

    While the ruling was a welcome development, we must remember that the fight is not over when it comes to ending these policies. Backers of the law, including Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and the state’s attorney general, are already vowing to fight this decision all the way to the Supreme Court.

    On the same day that the Ninth Circuit issued its decision, legislators in the Georgia Senate passed an Arizona-style copycat known as HB 87. The bill now goes back to the Georgia House where lawmakers must reconcile the Senate version. The clock is ticking, however, as the Georgia legislature ends April 14. Despite the looming deadline, advocates on the ground and at the national level are doing all they can to make sure that HB 87 does not become Georgia law. NCLR is hopeful that HB 87 will meet the same fate as other copycat laws and is making sure that legislators everywhere take note.

    “This [Ninth Circuit] decision is also a cautionary note for legislators in other states seeking to follow Arizona’s misguided path,” said Murguia. “Already, many states have said ‘No’ to copycats of Arizona’s racial profiling law, and a growing and diverse set of business, faith, civil rights, labor, and social justice leaders are coming together to reject these unconstitutional and costly schemes and demand sensible immigration reform.”

    The ongoing fight over immigration is the backdrop for the upcoming general election. If anything is clear from the latest U.S. Census figures, it is that both the Republican and the Democratic Parties will have to win over the Latino community if they want to be victorious in elections. Support for anti-immigrant laws is largely viewed as a liability for anyone who may have political aspirations. Indeed, a recent Wall Street Journal report suggests that the Hispanic population’s uptick may pose a challenge to the Republican Party, which could be in trouble because so many of its members have been leading the charge to crack down on immigrants.

    NCLR will continue to follow developments in the fight against unfair and unjust immigration laws, so be sure to check back here often. And if you haven’t done so already, join our campaign to Boycott Intolerance to show your opposition to SB 1070. You can also sign up for the NCLR Action Network to make your voice heard about issues affecting the Latino community.


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    At one point in her life, Noemi Rodriguez saw her chances of going to college as almost nonexistent.

    But the senior at Kelly High School in Chicago changed her mindset at the age of 17 when she joined ESCALERA, a youth development program administered by Instituto del Progreso Latino (IDPL).

    As a leading educational institution annually catering to more than 14,000 participants and families in Chicago, ESCALERA brings the dream of a college degree into reach for students such as Rodriguez. It piques in them an awareness of higher education and helps them through any barriers they encounter during their pursuit of degrees.

    In ESCALERA, Rodriguez gained the tools and experiences that would make her dream of attending college a reality. She served an internship during summer 2010 with one of IDPL’s board members, Emily Prieto, director of the Latino Resource Center at NIU.

    Thanks to her outstanding performance, Rodriguez received one of NIU’s VIP Scholarships and the chance to serve as an intern alongside Prieto during the fall 2011 semester. Rodriguez also attended the CHANCE and LRC Latino Leadership and Academic Achievement reception Saturday, April 2, where she watched as incoming Latino freshmen were recognized for their achievements.

    Rodriguez is appreciative of ESCALERA and the opportunity to attend NIU.

    “ESCALERA and my work with Emily Prieto helped me think more about school, and it opened a lot of doors for me and helped me gain confidence,” she says. “I now feel that the sky is the limit for me.”


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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


    NCLR, NAACP, National CAPACD, and NUL to hold press conference to discuss impact

    Washington, D.C.—In the midst of the nation’s worst housing crisis, Congress and the administration have decided to eliminate all funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Housing Counseling Assistance Program. NCLR (National Council of La Raza), along with the NAACP, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD), and the National Urban League (NUL), will hold a telephonic press conference this coming Monday, April 18, to discuss the impact that eliminating these funds will have on all families, particularly communities of color.

    HUD’s Housing Counseling Assistance Program, which has had a history of bipartisan support because of its results-driven approach, is essential to helping families access information and guidance on homeownership, renting, reverse mortgages, foreclosure, and other financial concerns. By eliminating this program, nonprofits providing these free services will be forced to lay off skilled housing counseling staff and shut down counseling centers across the nation at a time when our housing crisis is at its peak. As a result, scam artists are likely to fill the void for families seeking foreclosure guidance, and real estate speculators will scoop up homes from would-be borrowers in the homeownership market.

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    WHO:

    •Janis Bowdler, Director, Wealth-Building Policy Project, NCLR
    • Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director, National CAPACD
    • Cy Richardson, Vice President, Housing and Community Development, NUL
    • Hilary Shelton, Washington Bureau Director and Senior Vice President for Advocacy, NAACP

    WHAT:Telephonic press conference

    WHEN: Monday, April 18, 2011, 1:30–2:30 p.m. EDT


    WHERE:To join the telephonic press conference, dial (877) 273-4202 and enter the conference code 8885260.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:Please contact Julian Teixeira, Communications Director, NCLR, at jteixeira@nclr.org or (202) 776-1812 for questions or more information about this telephonic news conference.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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


    Law enforcement, business, and civil rights communities discuss SB 1070 copycat legislation in other states

    Washington, D.C.—One year after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” (SB 1070), the nation’s most punitive immigration law, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) will host a telephonic briefing on Wednesday, April 20, to release a report on how “copycat” versions of the law have fared in other states. Coming one week after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision to block parts of the controversial law and in the wake of Georgia passing its own Arizona-style bill, the report analyzes the economic consequences that Arizona has suffered since the passage of SB 1070, the concerns surrounding the passage of several immigration bills in Utah, and the failure of similar copycat legislation in 11 states during the 2011 legislative session.

    Following the passage of SB 1070, news reports suggested that nearly half of the nation’s state legislatures were considering similar laws. However, amid growing concern about the hidden costs and expanding public opposition—from the business community, law enforcement officials, and civil rights, faith, labor, and social justice organizations—many of these laws have suffered setback or defeat. This telephonic briefing will provide an analysis of the lessons learned since Arizona’s passage of SB 1070, Utah’s laws, and the harmful consequences ahead for states that are considering similar legislation, including Georgia, where recently approved legislation is heading to the governor’s desk.

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    WHAT: Telephonic press briefing on the one-year anniversary of Arizona SB 1070 to discuss similar legislation in other states and release NCLR’s report, One Year Later: A Look at SB 1070 and Copycat Legislation.

    WHO:

    – Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
    – Wade Henderson, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
    – Chris Burbank, Chief of Police, Salt Lake City, Utah
    – Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center

    WHEN: Wednesday, April 20, 1:00 p.m. EDT

    HOW: Dial 1-866-283-8243; Conference Name: Anniversary of Arizona Racial Profiling

    For further information, or questions, please contact Julian Teixeira, Director of Communications, NCLR, at jteixeira@nclr.org.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

    To date, more states are choosing to take a pass on copycat legislation

    Washington, D.C.—On the one-year anniversary of the passage of Arizona SB 1070, the nation’s most draconian immigration law, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) is hosting a briefing to release a report which finds that Arizona’s image, as well as its legal and economic woes, in the wake of SB 1070 have led nearly a dozen states to reject or reconsider similar legislation. The report, One Year Later: A Look at SB 1070 and Copycat Legislation, provides a comprehensive overview of the status of copycat bills in state legislatures.

    Joining Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR, will be Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center; Chris Burbank, Salt Lake City Chief of Police; and John Livengood, President of the Indiana Restaurant Association. The speakers will provide diverse perspectives on the effects of copycat laws.

    “The evidence shows that the costs of political gambits and false solutions embodied by SB 1070 are too high, especially in times of economic crisis,” said Murguía. “We hope this report helps responsible state legislators realize how detrimental these laws can be to their states, and that we are better off as taxpayers and a nation if we focus on the real issues, come up with actual solutions, and work to finally fix the problem at the federal level.”

    “In the year since S.B. 1070 became law in Arizona, an outcry of opposition has come from all corners of this country, and rightly so,” Henderson said. “SB 1070 and its progeny offer false solutions that come attached with a host of negative consequences for states. They encourage racial profiling, add millions of dollars to the cost of law enforcement, demonize entire communities, make states vulnerable to expensive legal battles, and put an unconscionably high price on human dignity.”

    Livengood said that “business leaders everywhere have been watching the consequences of this bill in Arizona and are saying, ‘We don’t want this in our state. It’s not good for my business and it’s not good for our economy.’ At a time of such economic turmoil, the last thing states need is to drive investment out.”

    Referencing the recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the preliminary injunction of SB 1070, Hincapié points out that “the law is very clear: proposals like these are legal nonstarters. Immigration is a federal responsibility. Any state that passes legislation like this should know that it will likely face legal action.”

    Earlier this year, despite the signing of a state compact declaring immigration the jurisdiction of the federal government, the Utah state legislature passed a package of bills that included a guest worker proposal in addition to an SB 1070 copycat. Chief Burbank was among those who spoke out against the bills: “I expressed concerns about these bills not only because they are going to make our jobs more difficult but also because of their potential to increase crime. It is difficult to provide effective community policing when misguided legislation erodes the vital community trust on which we rely.”

    The report being released today looks at developments at the state level, starting with the initial expectation of SB 1070 proponents to swiftly take this approach nationwide and then investigating the factors that led many state legislatures to reconsider. Deterrents to passing copycat laws have included potential loss of tourism revenue and economic activity, legal and implementation costs, and overall viability. The report provides a preliminary assessment midway through the state legislative calendar year, and an updated version will be released once all legislative sessions have concluded for the year.

    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 | Facebook.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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


    Washington, D.C.—Latino youth are one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population, poised to fill the workforce gap as millions of baby boomers retire over the next decade. Yet achieving economic mobility remains out of reach for as much as 42 percent of this group, who are often plagued by high dropout and unemployment rates. NCLR (National Council of La Raza) will host a panel discussion, “Building a Brighter Future: Serving Disconnected Youth,” with representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, and other nonprofits keyed into this issue to examine the challenges that disconnected Latino youth face and the policies that will promote effective intervention strategies.

    The discussion, which will take place on Tuesday, April 26 at 9:00 a.m. at NCLR’s headquarters in Washington, coincides with the release of an NCLR report, Plugged In: Positive Development Strategies for Disconnected Latino Youth. The report addresses the obstacles that young Hispanics face, ranging from pregnancy to tenuous immigration status to language barriers, and it examines the NCLR Escalera Program: Taking Steps to Success, a Latino-serving, community-based youth workforce development model. It analyzes the Escalera Program’s disconnected youth pilot, discussing its successes and challenges in serving unemployed and out-of-school youth.


    MEDIA ADVISORY


    WHAT:          Panel Discussion: “Building a Brighter Future: Serving Disconnected Youth”

    WHO:           Delia Pompa, Senior Vice President of Programs, NCLR

                       Ana Hageage, Escalera Program Associate, NCLR

                       Gerri Fiala, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

                       Denise Forte, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, U.S. Department of Education

                       Mala Thakur, Executive Director, National Youth Employment Coalition

                       Jennifer Brown Lerner, Senior Director, American Youth Policy Forum

    WHEN:       Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 9:00–11:00 a.m. EDT

    WHERE:    NCLR Headquarters
                     Raul Yzaguirre Building
                     1126 16th Street, NW
                     Washington, DC 20036-4845

    TO RSVP: Contact Jennifer Occean at joccean@nclr.org or (202) 776-1732 if you would like to attend the panel discussion.
     


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