This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending August 28

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Week Ended August 28

This week in immigration reform: Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) visits NCLR Affiliate to discuss immigration; NCLR President and CEO laments “Trumpification” of Republican Party; Citizens for Tax Justice corrects inaccuracies in Trump immigration, tax plans; and Gallup poll finds ties between immigrant status, discrimination. 

NCLR kept the community informed with staff quoted in Buzzfeed.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) talks immigration with Friendly House: During his visit to Phoenix, Arizona this week, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) spoke with leaders from Friendly House, an NCLR Affiliate focused on the betterment of immigrants in the Phoenix area. “Immigration is a bedrock service of the organization and the reason for Friendly House’s start 95 years ago. As the state’s oldest immigration service provider we appreciate the opportunity to share the valuable role we play in integrating new citizens into America and Arizona’s communities,” said Leticia de la Vara, COO of Friendly House. Talks focused on immigration’s impact on direct service providers, as well as the challenges the immigrant community faces in acclimating to a new country. Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and State Representative Reginald Bolding were also in attendance.

NCLR President calls past week’s immigration talk “turning point” in election: In a post on NCLR’s blog, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía wrote about Donald Trump’s effect on the presidential race, saying his immigration plan, “put[s] his bigotry and hateful rhetoric into policy.” Unfortunately, the effect of Trump’s rhetoric extends beyond politics, as evidenced by the beating of a homeless Latino man in Boston whose attackers were motivated by Trump’s policy stance on undocumented immigrants. “Much of the responsibility for this attack lies at the feet of not only Trump, but of a Republican Party whose leadership has so far refused to publicly and unequivocally denounce Trump and his extreme rhetoric,” says Murguía. “When the election rolls around next November, there is no question in my mind that we will look back at this week as a turning point in the election. It will be known as the week when Trump’s dominance of both the campaign and the direction of the Republican Party on the immigration issue turned a dark and dangerous turn. It will be remembered as the week that Republicans not only started to lose the Latino vote, but also the election.”

Trump’s immigration, tax flaws highlighted by Citizens for Tax Justice: Donald Trump’s framework for immigration reform is full of misleading statements and inaccuracies, writes the Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ). The article states, “Trump claims that ‘illegal immigrants’ received $4.2 billion in ‘free’ tax credits in 2011 and proposes to pay for part of his immigration proposal by accepting the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)’s ‘recommendation’ to eliminate tax credit payments to these individuals,” but upon digging into the TIGTA report tells a different story. First, CTJ notes, the word “free” is misleading because the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimated that unauthorized immigrants paid $11.8 billion in state and local taxes in 2012. The $4.2 billion figure is also called into question, as is the “recommendation” by TIGTA to eliminate tax credit payments to “illegal immigrants.”

Poll finds immigration status tied to discrimination among Hispanics: Gallup released a new poll this week finding that about 25 percent of all U.S. Hispanics say they have been on the receiving end of discrimination because of their ethnicity at least once in the past month. These instances occurred in a variety of settings, including their place of work, in dealings with police, while getting healthcare, at an entertainment venue, or while shopping. Additionally, the poll finds that for Hispanics born outside the U.S., those feelings of discrimination jump by as little as 50 percent and as much as 500 percent. For treatment in the workplace, for example, 5 percent of Hispanics born in the U.S. said they had faced discrimination in the past month compared to 18 percent of Hispanics born outside the U.S. One factor for this difference that Gallup cites is language: “The poll included interviews with Hispanics in both English and Spanish, with those born outside the U.S. much more likely to be interviewed in Spanish than native-born Hispanics. In turn, the analysis shows that reports of discrimination are much higher among foreign-born Hispanics who are interviewed in Spanish than those interviewed in English. This indicates that language, in addition to ethnicity, may be a key factor in Hispanics’ reports of discrimination and in any actual discrimination that occurs.” This data is taken from Gallup’s June 15-July 10 Minority Rights and Relations poll, which included a sample of 508 Hispanic adults.

From Theatre to Advocacy: Raising Funds for Causes That Matter

By Stephanie Higgins, Prospect Researcher, NCLR

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Stephanie Higgins at NCLR Headquarters in Washington

Being a fundraiser was something that never really crossed my mind. I always imagined myself being an editor at a publishing house or something similar, but halfway through graduate school I fell into a wonderful internship at New York Theatre Workshop. After four months with the marketing and development teams there, fundraising was something I knew I wanted to explore more. After finishing my graduate program, I worked in the development offices of theatre companies for a combined five years in New York and DC, mostly writing government, corporate, and foundation proposals and reports and stewarding donors when the occasion called for it.

The arts are an integral part of our society. Studies have proven that children who are exposed to the arts do better in school than their counterparts. Theatres have catalyzed the revitalization of entire neighborhoods. I very much enjoyed fundraising for the arts and I truly believe it is a worthy cause. After a while, though, I started questioning what I wanted to get out of my career: Why am I a fundraiser? When all is said and done, what difference will I have made?

That’s what led me to NCLR, where I research donors and help with our database. I’m really proud and excited to do what I do each day—not only because I have fantastic coworkers who are deeply committed to the cause, but because I feel I am making a tangible difference in people’s lives by connecting our front-line fundraisers with philanthropists who support our mission and have the financial capability to help NCLR continue its incredible work.

Though my path here was relatively unconventional and completely unplanned, I’m very grateful to be working at NCLR.

Media Coverage of Ramos Incident Exposes a Double Standard

By Lisa Navarrete, Advisor to the President, NCLR

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This week in Trump is the dust-up between the Donald and acclaimed Univision anchor Jorge Ramos at a news conference in Iowa. I’ll leave it to the press conference etiquette experts as to who violated the rules of engagement, but one thing is very clear: the media’s coverage of the kerfuffle reeks of a double standard.

Watch Trump eject Jorge Ramos below:

Ramos has been called “biased” and an “activist” for attempting to ask Trump tough questions about the candidate’s immigration plan. I have another phrase for Ramos was trying to do: being a journalist. In what universe is it biased to ask a candidate to explain his or her policy positions and how they plan to implement them, especially from a journalist who has spent decades covering the issue of immigration?

No one would call a reporter from Fortune magazine asking a corporate CEO tough questions on board governance an “activist;” they would call them a business reporter. Ramos’ experience and career make him an expert, not an activist. And unlike Donald Trump, Jorge Ramos knows what he’s talking about when it comes to immigration.

That is why, like some other reporters, he has asked Trump to explain how he would deport 11 million people or compel a sovereign nation to build a wall. But unlike other reporters, Ramos’ knowledge and experience has led to other, deeper questions that should be asked like, does Trump recognize the economic and humanitarian crisis mass deportation would create? How does he plan to address it? Why has Trump skirted responsibility for the violence committed in his name, such as the attack in Boston?

Trump eventually let Ramos back in and a spirited exchange took place when the candidate decided to answer some of Ramos’ questions.

On the issue of immigration, Ramos is doing the job the entire media should be doing on Trump—looking past the bluster and the hype to see if there is any there there. Spoiler alert: there isn’t. As such, Ramos isn’t just providing vital information to the Latino community; he is providing a critically important and constitutionally guaranteed service to all Americans

Home Care Workers Are One Step Closer to Receiving the Protections They Deserve

By Stephanie Román, Economic Policy Analyst, NCLR

CAG-Homecare-worker2_smallLast Friday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a decision that puts nearly two million home care workers in the United States one step closer to having critical minimum wage and overtime protections. The court’s decision upheld the Department of Labor’s (DOL) home care rule, providing home care workers with overtime and minimum wage protections, as a legal and justified change to the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) after it was challenged by home care business associations. DOL appealed the lower court’s ruling in favor of the home care business associations, thus taking the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. The department is now moving forward with its current policy of encouraging states and employers to take the necessary steps toward implementing the rule.

The court’s decision means that for the first time in U.S. history, home care workers will be recognized as workers worthy of the same basic overtime and minimum wage protections extended to all other workers. Friday’s decision comes after the Department of Labor’s January rule to address poverty-level wages and a lack of overtime compensation for home care workers was challenged in court by home care business associations.

The rule in question corrects a decades-long injustice of excluding home care workers from basic employment protections. Home care workers were left out of the 1974 update to the FLSA that expanded labor protections to domestic workers and have struggled to gain recognition and protections for their work. Home care workers provide individual care to elderly adults and assist people with disabilities with daily living tasks.

These workers are low-paid, predominately immigrant women and women of color. Poverty-level wages undermine the economic security of workers and their families and do not equate with the value that home care workers provide. Home care workers make an average of $9.70 per hour. NCLR has produced fact sheets and blog posts on these critical yet vulnerable workers.

The home care rule’s overtime and minimum wage protections are critical to current and future workers as the industry grows each year. In fact, home care has experienced a huge transformation over the years into a multibillion-dollar industry that is projected to keep growing as the U.S. population ages. This field has extremely high turnover rates. Investment in workers would help stabilize the workforce and make home care industry jobs the kind that will attract and retain dedicated workers.

Given Friday’s victory for the home care rule, DOL’s enforcement timeline for the rule depends on the legal actions taken by the businesses that challenged the department. Even as another challenge from the home care business associations may come, the U.S. Court of Appeals’ unanimous decision is heartening and should serve as a clear signal for states to act quickly and work to implement these basic protections for two million hardworking home care workers.