This week in immigration reform: Senators return to their home states during the May recess, meeting with constituents before the Senate resumes next week and begins considering the immigration bill, S. 744. Meanwhile, NCLR staff and Affiliates take advantage of their senators returning home by leading marches and rallies for reform, hosting and attending listening sessions, and meeting with their senators, and new studies show additional ways that immigration reform is good for the country. To stay abreast of the Senate’s immigration activity, stay tuned to NCLR’s blog and Twitter feed for the latest updates.
By Joe Ibarra, Field Organizer and Capacity-Building Strategist, NCLR
In late September, as National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Affiliate leaders from throughout Texas gathered in Austin for their annual fall meeting, it was decided that they would, collectively, focus their advocacy efforts in the upcoming Texas legislative session on restoring the $5.4 billion that was cut from the education budget during the 2011 session. Programs such as full-day pre-K, parent engagement, bilingual education, after-school, credit recovery, and dropout prevention—largely attended by Latinos—were cut drastically or done away with altogether. It was clear, as our Texas Affiliates voiced strongly through a unanimous vote, that we could no longer sit on the sidelines as Texas legislators were making decisions that were negatively impacting so many Latino students, especially as the Latino student population continues to grow.
In the months since September, our Texas Affiliates have dedicated countless hours to ensuring that funds cut from the Texas education budget are restored. They participated in rallies with other advocacy groups, urged their staff and clients to call their legislators, held workshops to write and send letters to their legislators, held in-district meetings, and participated in the relaunch of the NCLR Texas Latino Advocacy Day—during which, over 200 participants met with 125 Texas legislative offices. All of their hard work culminated this past weekend as the Texas legislature passed a budget that put $4 billion back into education.
By Janis Bowdler, Director of Economic Policy, NCLR
Why is it so difficult for our leaders on Capitol Hill to grasp the concept that government policies should not harm children and families?
Another month has gone by and still Congress refuses to do anything to replace the sequester—the harmful budget cuts that are decimating health care, housing, and education programs across this nation. Government agencies and nonprofits are feeling the pressure of tightening budgets, but for the families and children that rely on their services, sequestration is personal.
By Barbara Moreno, Digital Coordinator, NCLR
Last week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R), during an event to try and reach out to Hispanic voters, was asked if he had any Latinos on staff. He started his response with a brief and simple answer of no, but, unfortunately, followed it up with a response reminiscent of Mitt Romney’s “binders of women” comment. Corbett continued to add “If you can find us one [Latino/a], please let me know.”
As a Puerto Rican, who both works for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and lives in the continental United States, I know for a fact that there is a large percentage of Latinos living in or near Pennsylvanian urban centers, with many of them representing the second largest Hispanic American population in the U.S. (Puerto Ricans). In some counties in Pennsylvania, almost 20% of the population is of Hispanic descent. The eight NCLR Affiliates in the area reach tens of thousands of Latinos, and during the 2012 get out the vote and voter education/registration programs, the Civic Engagement team reached over 40,000 Hispanics in Pennsylvania. Through our efforts and Affiliates in the area, NCLR is very aware that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of qualified applicants from which Corbett could choose to be a staffer.
It’s been over a year since the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers agreed to the historic $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement aimed at providing relief for underwater homeowners and preventing future unnecessary foreclosures. Fortunately, it seems we’re headed in the right direction.
Earlier this week, Joseph Smith, Independent Monitor of the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, released his fourth report detailing the progress made under the deal. Between March 2012 and March 31, 2013, more than 620,000 homeowners received over $50 billion in overall consumer relief. A big portion of this came in the form of a principal reduction.