The Common Core State Standards movement is well into the implementation phase and we want to make sure you’re ready for all that entails. Join us for our next “Learning from Leaders” webinar series for a talk Latino-serving charter schools can implement CCSS sucessfully. Click on the image to register or go here.
What to Watch This Week:
The House meets Tuesday to vote on eight measures under suspension of the rules. These include several health-related bills passed out of the Ways and Means Committee, a measure to commemorate former Czech President Vaclav Havel, and a resolution condemning Russian interference in Ukraine. On Wednesday and Thursday the House will consider a bill (H.R. 3973) that would require the Attorney General to submit a report to Congress if any federal official foregoes enforcing an enacted law. On these days the House will also take-up a measure (H.R. 4138) that would allow Congress to take legal action against the Administration for failing to execute laws and another (H.R. 3189) that would bar the Departments of Agriculture and Interior from requiring private entities from transferring water rights as a condition for using federal lands. Finally, on Friday, the House will vote on H.R. 4015, a permanent “doc fix.” This bill would alter the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate, the formula used to reimburse physicians.
The Senate convenes Monday evening and is scheduled to vote on passage of S. 1917 (Sen. McCaskill), a bill that addresses sexual assault in the military by changing the way these cases are handled within the military chain of command. This week the Senate will also consider a series of judicial and Executive nominations and will begin resume consideration of S. 1086, the reauthorization of the Childcare and Development Block Grant program.
On Monday, the president will host a reception for the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Champions. On Tuesday, President Obama will travel to New York City to attend DNC and DSCC events. The president will also attend unspecified meetings in the White House the balance of the week. Continue reading
Week Ending March 7, 2014
This week in immigration reform: NCLR salutes the tremendous work done for immigration reform by the Senate Gang of Eight and the Fast for Families fasters at our 2014 Capital Awards gala, where NCLR’s Janet Murguía criticizes continued House Republican inaction on immigration reform and calls on President Obama to stop unnecessary deportations; hundreds of advocates travel to Washington, D.C. for NCLR’s 2014 National Latino Advocacy Days and lobby Congress on the need for immigration reform legislation and other Latino priorities; and NCLR and its network tweet at House Republican leadership, telling them that Latino voters will remember their obstruction when they go to the polls in the November midterm elections. NCLR kept the community informed in a number of media appearances this week, with staff quoted in the Associated Press, the Washington Post, Politico, CBS News, NPR, NBC, USA Today, Univision, Fox News LA, The Hill, and many other news outlets.
–NCLR salutes efforts of Gang of Eight, Fast for Families at 2014 Capital Awards, where Janet Murguía lambasts House Republican inaction on immigration reform while calling on Pres. Obama to stop unnecessary deportations. NCLR bestowed its highest honors on the Senate Gang of Eight and the Fast for Families fasters, honoring them for their heroic efforts for immigration reform, at its 27th Annual Capital Awards ceremony this Tuesday, Mar. 4th.
NCLR’s Janet Murguía focused on the fight for immigration reform in her remarks Tuesday night, criticizing continued House Republican inaction on immigration reform while also calling on President Obama to stop separating families by putting an end to hundreds of thousands of senseless deportations. You can read Janet’s remarks here.
Fast for Families fasters Eliseo Medina, Lisa Sharon Harper, and Rudy Lopez are hailed at NCLR’s 2014 Capital Awards.
Representing the Senate Gang of Eight, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) are awarded for their efforts on immigration reform by NCLR’s Janet Murguía, NCLR Board Chair Jorge Plasencia, and NCLR Board Member Cid Wilson at the 2014 Capital Awards (photo: @SEIU_Eliseo).
–Hundreds of advocates come together at NCLR’s 2014 National Latino Advocacy Days for two days of trainings, meetings on the Hill, and action for immigration reform. This week witnessed hundreds of community leaders, representing 25 states across the country including North Carolina, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, and Idaho, coming to Washington, D.C. to take part in NCLR’s 2014 National Latino Advocacy Days.
The advocates – many of them members of NCLR’s nearly 300 Affiliate organizations – spent Wednesday, Mar. 5 at an all-day training, where they strategized around achieving Latino legislative priorities in 2014 and prepared to visit their members of Congress on the Hill on Thursday, Mar. 6.
NCLR Affiliates and partners followed up on the day of training by traveling to the Hill this Thursday, Mar. 6 and meeting with their members of Congress and staff. Advocates urged the House to get to work on an immigration reform bill and discussed other areas of concern to the Latino community, including education, equality and economic opportunity, healthcare, and school bullying.
Members of NCLR Affiliates Enlace Chicago, Gads Hill Center, Latino Policy Forum, and Northwest Side Housing Center prepare to meet with their members of Congress as part of NCLR’s 2014 National Latino Advocacy Days (photo: @Latinopolicy).
NCLR, its Affiliates, and partners capped off the day’s visits by staging a mock election outside of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA-7) office, with advocates submitting ballots marked “yes” for immigration reform as a reminder to House Republicans that Latino voters care deeply about reform and will remember those who obstruct it in the 2014 November elections.
Youth members of NCLR Affiliate Latino Memphis join NCLR staff in the halls of Congress for NCLR’s 2014 National Latino Advocacy Days (photo: @LatinoMemphis).
–NCLR & allies tweet at Congressional leadership: we’ll be voting “Yes” on immigration reform. In support of its Mar. 6 action outside of Majority Leader Cantor’s office, NCLR and its network are tweeting at Congressional leadership this week, telling GOP leaders that Latino voters care deeply about immigration reform and, if Republican leadership continues to block progress on reform, will remember when they go to the polls in the November midterm elections and beyond.
Every day we interact with the economy as consumers in multiple ways—whether using our debit and credit cards, making payments on mortgages or rent, or using mobile banking services. Because there are now more opportunities than ever for fraud and financial scams, both online and offline, 78 government and nonprofit organizations have teamed up to offer a wealth of in-depth consumer resources on a wide variety of consumer protection topics.
We’re committed to building and preserving wealth in the Latino community and are proud to support National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) as a nonprofit partner. From preventing identity theft and financial fraud to explaining the safe way to buy and sell a home, the NCPW website contains vital information on your personal financial rights as a consumer.
Though we know immigrants greatly contribute to our economy, they are also often the targets of scams. For this reason, the NCPW website also contains numerous resources intended for immigrants and their families.
On the NCPW website, you’ll find an easy-to-use interface introducing the campaign and featuring new blog posts, highlighted partner organizations, and consumer protection resources. Click the “Consumer Topics” tab to find a list of categories.
While the site offers more than the topics listed below, here’s a quick look at some of the categories most relevant to Latino consumers:
- Banking: Latinos, one of the most underbanked ethnic groups, stand to gain from smart and safe banking practices. Resources include guides to choosing a bank versus a credit union, debit and credit card fraud prevention tips, interest rate explainers, and tips for secure and safe mobile banking. As Latinos enter the financial mainstream with bank accounts and credit cards, these resources offer a great introduction to help all Hispanics bank safety.
- Scam Alert: Without knowing what scams look like, we all become potential targets to scammers. Unfortunately, scammers often target vulnerable groups, including seniors, immigrants, and those who don’t speak English. This resource set covers many of the extensive types of financial fraud, including fake financial aid, phony charities, misleading mortgage advertisements, chain letters, and health fraud scams. Although scammers adapt quickly, the site offers a great starting point for protecting yourself from dangerous illegal financial schemes.
- International: This category offers a small set of resources about international scams related to immigration and visa issues. In these scams, fraudulent lawyers and business people target potential visa applicants and immigrants seeking to get authorization to travel to the U.S. Many charge high fees while offering no help. Others claim that U.S. residents won money in foreign lotteries.
- Your Home: Over a million Latino families lost their homes during the Great Recession, and millions of Americans are still under water on their mortgages. This category deals with safe ways to handle mortgage problems and types of home maintenance. Fraudsters often target desperate homeowners with bogus offers to refinance their homes to prevent foreclosure. These schemes can involve hefty fees that go straight into the scammers’ pocketbooks and do nothing to help homeowners. This section is a great resource for homeowners and prospective home-buyers alike.
Hundreds joined NCLR this week for our Annual NCLR Capital Awards and National Latino Advocacy Days. Below are highlights from this past week.
By Eric Rodriguez, Vice President, NCLR
After years of federal budget policies that have slashed critical programs in order to reduce government spending, NCLR welcomes a much needed change in priorities demonstrated in President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2015. The budget comes days after the announcement by the Treasury Department announced that the federal deficit is at its lowest point since 2008.
According to a 2013 national poll conducted by NCLR and Latino Decisions, an overwhelming 96 percent of Latino voters support a budget that invests in infrastructure and education to stimulate the economy. The president’s budget calls for $56 billion in new discretionary funding for defense and non-defense priorities, offering significant wiggle room to address Latino voter priorities. Specifically, this “Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative” would provide grants for preschool to two-thirds of the states by 2015 and prioritize job training resources for people with barriers to employment. Other economy-boosting highlights in the budget include:
- An increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour
- Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income workers who have no children
- $15 billion for Project Rebuild, which would put people back to work rebuilding neighborhoods hit hard by the foreclosure crisis.
- A $15 million boost to the HUD housing counseling program
Another top Latino issue included in the president’s budget is comprehensive immigration reform. The budget uses the Senate-passed bill to calculate, which, if enacted, would reduce the federal budget deficit by $158 billion.
The president’s budget will not be debated in Congress but it communicates the Obama Administration’s priorities for priorities for the year ahead and in doing so, lays out a vision that contrasts with the bipartisan two-year deal that Congress enacted in December. While the Congressional budget deal marked a rare bipartisan compromise and softened the blow of sequestration in 2014 and 2015, it doesn’t make up for multiple rounds of cuts in recent years and sets up the country to reopen those wounds before they are healed before 2016. The American economy and Latino families are still hurting because of the deal’s strict caps on critical discretionary and nondiscretionary spending. (We should note that the president’s budget adheres to these caps by offsetting the new proposed spending through efficiencies in spending on Medicare and other federal health programs).
It doesn’t have to be this way forever. The midterm elections of 2014 are just around the corner and Latinos are poised to make their priorities known in the ballot box. Regardless of political party affiliation, Hispanic voters report that they will consider the federal budget as they decide who to vote for; the majority intends to support candidates in 2014 that stop cuts to programs for children and youth in and address job creation and economic growth needs. Members of Congress would do well to support aspects of the president’s budget that align with Latino voter priorities.
Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
NLCR Capital Awards, March 4, 2014 • Washington, DC
Each year at this event we honor bipartisanship. This is not by accident.
As a community — and as an organization — bipartisanship is a vital part of who we are. Latinos offer a broad variety of experiences, cultural histories, and political views that long to be represented in American politics.
We don’t adhere to one party, one ideology, or one point of view. We, of all people, understand and value diversity.
But, among those who govern, bipartisanship is a responsibility. It is the hallmark of democracy.
People with different points of view come together to defend their principles and present their opinions, but ultimately sit down to negotiate, so that the people’s business is done. It’s called governing.
Three months ago, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray sat down to negotiate a budget, and while neither side got everything they wanted, they stunned the nation’s capital by coming to an agreement. And last month, Congress passed and the president signed an extension of the debt ceiling.
These developments felt like a breath of fresh air, even though they were just doing the jobs they were elected to do. They demonstrated that bipartisanship is possible. Governing is possible.
It’s what the country wants. It’s what our community wants. It is what our nation needs.
After the last two elections, leaders from both parties signaled that resolving the immigration debate was possible.
And tonight we honored the sponsors of a true bipartisan agreement — the Gang of Eight — who raised hopes for comprehensive immigration reform by crafting and passing a landmark Senate bill.
Yet our hopes, once again, have been dashed by political gridlock.
One week after saying he was ready to move forward with immigration reform, Speaker Boehner pulled the plug on legislation in the House. He said, and I quote, “There’s widespread doubt about whether this Administration can be trusted to enforce our laws.
And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”
Seriously? Failing to enforce our laws?
For us, this president has been the deporter-in-chief.
Any day now, this Administration will reach the two million mark for deportations. It is a staggering number that far outstrips any of his predecessors and leaves behind it a wake of devastation for families across America.
Many groups, including NCLR, have long been calling on the president to mitigate the damage of these record deportations.
But again we hear no.
The president says his administration does not have the authority to act on its own.
All we hear is no. No from Congress. No from the Administration.
But here’s the thing: we won’t take no for an answer, because we can’t — not while over 400,000 people a year are being deported by this administration. Not while millions continue to live in the shadows, struggling in fear, every single day of their lives, outside the scope and protection of the law.
Nearly half of those being deported are simply hardworking people who have put down roots in their communities and have employers who count on them. Most have been here more than a decade.
One out of every four deportees is the parent of a child who is a U.S. citizen. Hundreds of thousands of these children, our children, are being deprived of their mother or father— and very often the family’s only breadwinner. It will take generations to heal the harm caused by inaction.
So, yes. We respectfully disagree with the president on his ability to stop unnecessary deportations.
He can stop tearing families apart. He can stop throwing communities and businesses into chaos. He can stop turning a blind eye to the harm being done. He does have the power to stop this. Failure to act will be a shameful legacy for his presidency.
But we cannot rely on administrative relief alone. It’s important and it’s needed, but it is also limited and temporary. We do a grave disservice to our community and to ourselves if we focus on only one front in this battle.
Only Congress can deliver a broad, inclusive, and lasting solution. So, to the House of Representatives, we say take up reform now, or suffer the political consequences.
There is no excuse not to.
Reform will add more than a trillion dollars of economic growth, and billions more in wage increases and tax revenues.
You have had more than enough time to come up with legislation to move reform forward. It is time to stop the political gamesmanship. This is not the “House of Cards.”
It is about ending the pain and suffering of millions of real people. It is about ending a patchwork of laws where even native-born U.S. citizens are at risk of arrest and detention. It is about ending a broken immigration system that ill-serves every sector of our society.
Sticking your head in the sand won’t make this issue go away. It won’t go away because we won’t go away.
For us, this issue is a matter of conscience. This is not a time to step aside. It is a time to step up. We are not bystanders in this process. We wouldn’t even be having this debate if it weren’t for the power of the Latino vote.
The path to immigration reform was not preordained; we created it.
But our work is not yet complete.
We will finish it by strengthening and by exercising our voice. Be it in the halls of Congress, in public forums, and most especially at the ballot box.
We will empower the millions who are eligible, to become citizens. We will empower the millions who are citizens, to register. We will empower the millions who are registered, to get out and vote. And on Election Day, we will make our choice.
And our message to policymakers and everyone else will be very clear: it is our community who will determine when the immigration debate is over. We will determine when the issue is resolved. And we won’t stop until it’s done.
Bipartisanship is possible. Governing is possible.
It’s what we all want. It’s what we all deserve. It’s the basis of our democracy and it is a responsibility we all share.
It’s long past time we got on with it.
Tonight in Washington, DC, NCLR will bring together hundreds for our 27th Annual NCLR Capital Awards. Every year, we honor folks in Washington who have shown their committment to the Latino community in the work they do every day. This year, those receiving special distinction include the Senate “Gang of 8″, which was responsible for sheperding through to passage in the U.S. Senate a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The legislation has stalled in the House of Representatives, but the leadership these eight Senators provided in getting the bill through deserves recognition.
We’ll also be honoring the Fast for Families movement, which was started in November and led by Service Employees International Union Vice President, Eliseo Medina. The fast Medina and several others took part in on the National Mall last year was inspiring and received the attention of many in Washington, including President Obama. Fast for Families also recently started a bus tour across America, to highlight others around the country who have committed to fasting until immigration reform is passed. Fast for Families has put a human face on the struggle for reform and serves as a reminder of who it is we are all fighting for.
Finally, our President and CEO, Janet Murguía will deliver an address to Capital Awards attendees in which she intends to call on President Obama to put an end to unnecessary deportations, which are slated to reach two million in a matter of weeks. The Washington politcal newspaper, Politico, published a piece today in which Murguia talked about the president’s deportation record and about what will be in her speech this evening.
From the Politico article:
“Murguía said NCLR has been privately urging the White House for months to do something about deportations — which will soon number 2 million since Obama took office. The group was also using its megaphone to blame Congress and not Obama for the deportations. Just three weeks ago, NCLR called for an end “to unnecessary deportations” and asked supporters to “ask Republican leadership to take a stand for family values and pass immigration reform.”
Now that focus is being directed at the White House.
“We respectfully disagree with the president on his ability to stop unnecessary deportations,” Murguía will say during a Tuesday night speech to NCLR’s annual Capital Awards dinner, according to prepared remarks. “He can stop tearing families apart. He can stop throwing communities and businesses into chaos. He can stop turning a blind eye to the harm being done. He does have the power to stop this. Failure to act will be a shameful legacy for his presidency.”
It’s sure to be an exciting and news-making kind of night, so don’t miss out! You can follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram. Just follow #NCLRCaps14 and join in via the widget below. We’ll be covering the entire evening.
We’ll see you online!
Week Ending February 28, 2014
This week in immigration reform: members of Congress continue calling for immigration reform legislation; businesses, faith leaders, and an Arizona sheriff write Congressional leadership, urging action on reform; states around the country pass or consider smart immigration bills; and NCLR releases another graphic in a series that refutes the excuses offered by House Republicans for their inaction on reform. NCLR kept the community informed as always this week, with staff quoted in the Associated Press, CBS DFW, The Gate News, and the Burnt Orange Report.
—Members of Congress continue to call for immigration reform legislation. Following positive comments on the prospects of reform by Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.), RNCC chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) at the end of last week, this week saw members of Congress continue pushing for Speaker Boehner and House Republican leadership to get working on immigration reform legislation.
Republican Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) published an op-ed in Roll Call this Wednesday where he described immigration reform as in line with conservative priorities, noting that reform would not only reduce state, local, and national deficits, but would add around 14,000 new jobs to every Congressional District.
Fellow California Republican Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) offered his own op-ed urging Congress to act on immigration reform, arguing that the country’s agricultural sector cannot function without changes to our immigration system.
These points were echoed in op-eds by Reps. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.).
–Tools You Can Use: Letters and op-eds from businesses, sheriff, and faith leaders urge action on reform. Business, law enforcement, and faith leaders continued to pressure Congress to act on immigration reform this week.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a letter, signed by 636 businesses and business organizations, calling on Congress and the Administration to get moving on immigration reform. Check out the letter to see if business groups in your community have signed on and could be a partner in advocating for reform. Please contact John Herrick at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to strategize around building or strengthening your local coalition.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik published an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star this past Sunday calling for immigration reform to be passed this year. Without reform, the 50-year law-enforcement veteran argued, undocumented individuals will not trust law enforcement enough to report crimes or serve as witnesses, and our neighborhoods will be less safe as a result. Dupnik also cautioned against proposals that would burden state and local police with enforcing the federal government’s immigration laws and thus alienate law enforcement from the communities they serve.
Finally, Catholic bishops teamed up with evangelical leaders in a joint letter imploring Congress to pass immigration reform legislation this year.
–Not content to wait on Congress, states work on immigration legislation of their own. While House Republican leadership produces only ill-founded excuses and fails to do anything meaningful on immigration reform, states around the country are passing or working on measures that will boost their economies and recognize the contributions and potential of immigrant residents.
Wednesday, Feb. 26 witnessed the signing into law of the Washington State DREAM Act, a measure that will allow undocumented students who meet income and residency requirements to access state-based financial aid. The proposal passed the state House and Senate with large bipartisan majorities.
Other states, including Florida and Tennessee, are considering tuition-equity measures that would allow qualifying undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at public universities and colleges.
–Another NCLR “Reality Check” graphic refutes House Republican excuses for doing nothing on reform. NCLR released another graphic this week challenging House Republican leadership’s excuses for failing to act on immigration reform. When they claim that they can’t work on immigration reform because President Obama hasn’t enforced immigration laws, it’s time for a reality check: in 2012, the Obama Administration spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement – more than was spent on the FBI, ATF, DEA, Secret Service, and U.S. Marshals combined.
NCLR and Affiliates in action.
- California: The NCLR Action Fund supported the Fast for Families caravan this week by organizing partners and NCLR Affiliates to follow the fasters as they traveled throughout Southern California and advocated for immigration reform.
By Catherine Singley, NCLR Economic Policy Project
The bitter cold temperatures in Washington this week didn’t deter a delegation of poultry workers from the warm states of North Carolina, Mississippi, and Arkansas from traveling to the nation’s capital. They had a message to deliver to decision makers: stop a government proposal that would endanger the health and safety of poultry workers by speeding up production lines in American poultry processing facilities. Yesterday, workers held a press conference on Capitol Hill with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, NCLR, the Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP, Oxfam American, Food and Water Watch, and others, to describe the debilitating injuries they’ve suffered at work and to call on the Administration to halt a proposal that would make a bad situation worse.
The proposed rule change comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal agency responsible for ensuring the safety of meat and poultry products. If the rule is finalized, poultry companies would be allowed to speed up production from 140 to 175 birds per minute—a 25% speed up—that would lead to more injuries in poultry plants. Many injuries are linked to the repetitive nature of poultry processing; workers can make up to 20,000 cutting or pulling motions a day. As a result, poultry workers already experience high rates of traumatic injuries to their hands, wrists, and arms.
Why the line speed increase? It’s included in the proposed rule as an economic incentive for companies to produce more chicken in exchange for adopting new food safety inspection measures (the basis of which has been heavily criticized by consumer advocates and the Government Accountability Office).
Not surprisingly, most of the debate about this proposal has been about the food safety benefits—or lack thereof—that would result if the rule is finalized. It’s understandable that the public wants to know that their food is safe and it’s USDA’s job to assure that it is.
For everyone who is concerned about what’s in their meat, Bacilio Castro, from the North Carolina Worker Justice Center, had an answer:
“You want to know what’s in the chicken on your plate? Tears. Tears of the mothers who can’t lift their children because of the pain in their wrists and shoulders from working on the line. We are not asking you to stop eating chicken. We are simply asking to be treated as human beings and not as animals.”