The Latest in Sequestration: Millions of Latino Children Up for Negotiation

By Leticia Miranda, Senior Policy Advisor, Economic Security Policy

Child Tax Credit Advocates

Children advocating on Capitol Hill to save the Child Tax Credit

No.  I’m not exaggerating.  A proposal by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R–NH) to replace the pending automatic cuts would raise taxes on hardworking, low-income Latino families.  Rather than asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, legislators are proposing cutting off access to the Child Tax Credit for taxpayers who use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs).  NCLR estimates that more than four million Latino children and their families could lose out on this valuable tax credit if the current proposal passes, pushing these families into poverty.

It is outrageous that this proposal is even on the table.  Latino voters are paying close attention to how policymakers treat our community.  Given that one out of every four Latino children would face greater hunger and poverty as a result of this proposal, it is hard to see this proposal as anything less than an attack on Latino children.  This isn’t the first time either.  NCLR’s Action Network responded with more than 5,000 letters in 2012 when Congress last tried to strip this important credit—and we won.  Congress should pass a fair budget plan that maintains access to the Child Tax Credit for vulnerable families.

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Have the Mortgage Settlements Left Communities of Color Behind?

By Janet Murguía, NCLR; Marc H. Morial, National Urban League; and Lisa Hasegawa, National CAPACD

Foreclosuresign

Photo: Jeffry Turner

This February marks the one-year anniversary of the $25 billion national mortgage settlement made with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Ally Financial. Since then, the banks have barreled through their obligations at a rapid clip, leaving us with some concerns.
To explore the settlement’s progress, the Alliance for Stabilizing Our Communities, a partnership between the National Council of La Raza, the National Urban League, and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, hosted a summit featuring Joseph A. Smith Jr., an independent monitor of the national mortgage settlement.

On the heels of the monitor’s third report released last week, this summit examined how the national mortgage settlement has been implemented and the ways in which it has affected communities of color.

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In Battle on Capitol Hill, the Real Losers Are Struggling Communities

Guest blog post by NCLR Affiliate Nilda I. Ruiz, President and CEO, Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha

nildfa2On my way back from Washington, DC, it hit me just how close our nation’s capitol is to Philadelphia and yet how far apart these worlds seem to be.  Amid the white marble buildings and towering national monuments, politicos make huge decisions that have such a deep and meaningful impact on the day-to-day lives of people across this nation.  But sometimes it’s hard to get a sense of whether they honestly grasp the consequences that their decisions have for the people outside Capitol Hill.

Last week, I had a chance to break that wall down and talk directly with congressional staff about my apprehension over the upcoming budget cuts, or sequestration, set to take place on March 1.  My profound concern as the President of Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM), a community-based organization, is far from isolated to me; nonprofits throughout the country are staring at the clock as it ticks down to sequestration, thinking about which programs are going to be shelved.

At APM, we are incredibly fortunate to be able to provide comprehensive services to struggling families in the Philadelphia area.  We offer everything from early education for children to outpatient drug and alcohol treatment to a financial literacy program.  We’ve built hundreds of houses and apartments for people of low and moderate income, developed our own successful mortgage counseling program in partnership with NCLR, and built the TruMark credit union building, which has brought banking back to a neighborhood after 50 years of red lining.

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Smart Shoppers Make Healthy Shoppers

By Paul A. Aguilar, Project Coordinator, Institute for Hispanic Health, NCLR

Last month NCLR highlighted the many successes of its healthy shopping program, Comprando Rico y Sano.  Since 2010 this program has helped us reach more than 4,000 Latinos in 22 communities across the country.  This year NCLR updated the Comprando Rico y Sano curriculum and provided training and materials for 14 of its Affiliate organizations.  All of this was made possible by the generous support of General Mills’s Que Rica Vida and the Walmart Foundation.  With these committed partners and the dedication of our Affiliates, this program will provide 6,000 more Latinos with valuable information on how to make healthy food choices by the end of the year.  Over the course of the next few months, NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health will showcase the efforts of many of these organizations.

One notable Affiliate is TODEC Legal Center, which has been serving migrant communities in California’s Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial Counties for almost 30 years.  They work every day to provide equitable access to information and services for people with limited or no English proficiency, including immigrants and migrant workers.  Since Comprando Rico y Sano has been integrated into their existing services, the organization has facilitated educational sessions, or charlas, for close to 400 individuals in the community.

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Want Your Kids to Graduate from High School? Make Sure They Show Up at School.

By Liany Elba Arroyo, Associate Director, Education and Children’s Policy Project, NCLR

Bell Multicultural Students

As the parent of a 19-month-old daughter, I often find myself thinking now about the things I can do to make sure she will excel in school, graduate high school on time, and enroll in college.  I spend the time I have with her during my commute between Washington, DC and Maryland practicing the alphabet, counting to ten, and singing songs.  I read to her and play games that boost her brain development and help her develop preliteracy skills.

Because of my education, I am giving her the best shot I can at guaranteeing her own educational achievement.  Yet I succeeded without experiencing many of these supports.  What made the difference?  One thing I vividly remember from my childhood is the emphasis that my mother and grandmother placed on getting me to school every day.  As it turns out, they were on to something.

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