This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending Oct. 31

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Week Ending October 31

This week in immigration reform: NCLR produces a report showing Latino support for action on immigration; NCLR continues the ‘Hanging in the Balance’ blog series with the story of Javier Flores; NCLR and Affiliate TODEC host a town hall in California; NCLR, GALEO and Latino Decisions highlight the impact of the Latino electorate in Georgia; Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) write an op-ed on executive action.

NCLR releases Latino electorate profile: This week NCLR published a new resource on the Latino electorate, demonstrating that Latino voters are increasing their numbers at the polls and they want to see action on immigration. The report asks, “What impact has inaction on immigration reform had on Latino voters, the fastest growing segment of the electorate? A poll found that 54 percent of Latino voters would have much less favorable opinion, and 20 percent would have a somewhat less favorable opinion, of House Republicans if Speaker John Boehner did not have a vote on immigration reform legislation.” With the 2014 midterm election four days away, candidates and pundits should take note of the increasingly influential Latino electorate, especially when looking forward to 2016. Visit NCLR’s ‘Administrative Relief’ webpage for more information.

Representatives Pelosi (D-Calif.), Gutierrez, (D-Ill.), and Lofgren (D-Calif.) urge President Obama to take broad executive action: In an op-ed published by Univision, three Members of the House of Representatives make the case for broad executive action, citing a long history of presidential action on immigration. For example, under Presidents Reagan and Bush, a “Family Fairness” program offered indefinite protection from deportation and work permits for an estimated 1.5 million spouses and children of those who received status under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. The piece notes, “Similarly, the president could ‘parole’ into the country the spouses, sons, and daughters of American citizens and lawful permanent residents who face lengthy separation waiting for a visa. Doing so would not permit family members to skip the line, but it would allow them to wait in line with their family until a visa number becomes available.” Echoing the sentiments expressed by these Representatives, NCLR asks President Obama to act quickly and boldy to provide relief for millions of American families. For more information on the precedent for executive action on immigration, click here.

NCLR continues ‘Hanging in the Balance’ series with the story of Javier Flores: In NCLR’s latest ‘Hanging in the Balance’ blog post, we highlight what a delay of executive action means for immigrants and their families. We share a story published in the Washington Post of Javier Flores, a 31-year-old factory worker who, prior to his deportation, lived in Ohio for 13 years. After the president’s announcement that he would take action early this summer, Javier believed he would be able to stay in the U.S. with his children, ages 10, 7, 4 and 9 months, and would be able to continue working and paying his taxes. However, delay from the White House shattered these dreams. Javier was deported a month ago because of a traffic stop years before. NCLR knows there are thousands of other stories like Javier’s, all of which could have been prevented with executive action. The president must make good on his promise to act on immigration.

NCLR and Affiliate TODEC hosted a town hall meeting on Latino issues in California: The town hall took place on October 20 in Perris, Calif. and focused on issues affecting the Latino community including immigrant integration, juvenile justice, and the common core among others. Another event took place on October 30 in Thermal, California, focusing on the same issues. An article on the events quotes NCLR’s Pedro Silva as saying “We want to hear from elected officials who vote on issues of concern to Latino voters. And it’s important for elected officials to hear from Latino voters on the issues that impact them.” Find out more on what NCLR is doing on civic engagement by following @NCLREmpowers on Twitter or by visiting NCLR’s advocacy and empowerment webpage.

Pedro1Pedro Silva from NCLR speaks in the town hall meeting in Thermal, Calif.

NCLR and the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) hold media briefing: This week, NCLR, GALEO, and Latino Decisions held a briefing for the media on the impact of Latino participation in the upcoming election. The Latino electorate has grown by 438 percent since 2000 and in close political races their votes can decide the outcome. Loren McArthur, Deputy Director of Civic Engagement at NCLR, is quoted in the press release saying, “There’s a lot at stake for Latinos this election, and while some may feel frustrated by the lack of action on issues like immigration, a powerful way to break that gridlock and make progress on these issues is by growing the Hispanic electorate. In Georgia, Latino voters can absolutely make a difference in this November’s elections.” NCLR urges Latinos to make their voice heard at the polling booth next week to ensure our community is heard and our concerns respected.

Must Watch: The Daily Show Send-Up of Anti-Immigrant Attitudes in Texas

The Daily Show has been in Austin, Texas all week long as part of their Election Day coverage, dubbed “Democalpyse 2014.” In last night’s episode, correspondent Al Madrigal filed a funny, yet poignant, story on how the immigration issue has shaped the misinformed views some Texans have of the state’s vibrant Latino community. Madrigal also does a great job of pointing out just how ludicrous some of the anti-immigrant claims really are. You’ll also notice a certain ALMA Awards winner make a hysterical cameo near the end of the clip. Enjoy!

The Consequences of Delayed Executive Action

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ImmDayofAction_immigrationsharegraphic_2_14President Obama’s decision to delay taking executive action on immigration this past September affected millions of hardworking people and their families. Like many of us who were disappointed in the House Republican leadership’s failure on immigration, we were expecting President Obama to act, particularly after he said in a Rose Garden ceremony on June 30 that he would fix as much of the immigration system as he could on his own. Millions of families were also waiting to hear what the president would do to provide relief. But for many of those immigrants, the president’s decision to delay taking action on immigration meant the difference between staying with their families in the United States and being deported to their countries of origin, often after having lived in the United States for several years.

One such individual is Javier Flores, whose story was featured in The Washington Post this past weekend. For Flores, a 31-year-old factory worker who most recently resided in Akron, Ohio, the president’s decision to delay action meant deportation.

From The Washington Post:

In June, he had watched on TV as President Obama promised he would stop deporting certain kinds of illegal immigrants by the end of summer. The president and his staff said they would bypass Congress by issuing an executive action to help people with clean criminal records and American-citizen children — people like Javier. “This means you!” an immigration advocate had written to him, and even though Javier had already been ordered deported he believed his miracle had come. He would be able to stay with his children, ages 10, 7, 4 and 9 months. He would be able to keep his job at the window factory, where he managed 30 people and paid $850 in U.S. taxes each month. “A perfect case,” the advocate wrote again, and all Javier had to do was wait for Obama to say the things he had promised to say.

But then July turned into August, and August turned into September, and Obama decided it was more politically prudent to delay his executive action until after November’s midterm elections. So instead of being offered his reprieve, Javier was sent back to the poorest state in Mexico, where the advocate had sent him one final note. “Sorry,” it read. “Terrible timing.”

The April All in For Citizenship Rally drew thousands of supporters from around the country.

Up until his deportation back to La Mixtequita, Mexico, a village with fewer than 1,000 residents, no mail service, no Internet service, and no work, Flores had lived 13 years in Ohio. His family, a wife and four children, are all still in Ohio. His youngest child is unable to comprehend why she has not seen her father for almost a month. Indeed, Flores’s deportation was hard for even his relatives in Mexico to understand. It is baffling how a routine traffic stop could turn into deportation for someone who has lived in and contributed to his community for so many years.

For now, Flores spends his days sometimes harvesting limes in a small orchard, but mostly contemplating his next steps, mulling over an attempt to return to Ohio, desperate for any solution that will reunite him with his family that needs him so sorely. It’s a heartbreaking and unfortunate situation that could have been averted had Congress or the president done the hard work necessary to finally bring some sanity back to our immigration system. There are millions of others who could avoid the same fate when President Obama makes a big and bold announcement after the midterm elections.

Economic Rights Are Essential to the Pursuit of Happiness

Richard_Cordray_newLast week, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray addressed students at Michigan State University on the anniversary of three pivotal moments in American History: the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974. With these three historic events, the United States moved closer to fully realizing the inevitable truth that civil rights, political rights, and economic rights are inextricably linked. They are all necessary for a free and democratic society.

While Brown v. Board of Education and the 1964 Civil Rights Act are relatively known for their roles in reducing legal discrimination, Director Cordray used his speech to highlight a less-known antidiscrimination law: the 1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. For the first time, ECOA outlawed discrimination by creditors against borrowers based on race, ethnicity, sex, age, and national origin.

While fairness in the lending law has been on the books for four decades, lending discrimination against people of color persists today. People of color have always been targeted by subprime lenders, but the housing crisis fanned the flames of predatory practices as lenders offered risky mortgages that ultimately led to default and foreclosure, pushing millions out of their homes. Latino wealth was decimated, and the racial wealth gap between Latinos and Whites continues to widen more than ever.

Even when controlling for similar credit profiles, research shows people of color routinely pay significantly more for auto loans than Whites.

Last December, NCLR strongly supported a historic $98 million settlement between the CFPB and auto lending giant Ally Financial. In violation of the ECOA, more than 200,000 Hispanics, Asians, and Blacks were charged higher rates for auto loans.

Despite its efforts to root out unscrupulous lenders in the auto sector, the CFPB has its hands tied due to the exemption of the real culprits in auto loan discrimination against minority borrowers: the car dealership lenders who set initial loan prices for borrowers. Despite the fact that auto lenders play a pivotal role in working with customers and setting auto loan prices, the CFPB has no oversight authority of the dealers because they are not considered to be engaging in financial activities.

The auto market must not be exempt from the preservation of Latinos’ economic and civil rights. Like buying a home, the decision to buy a car often involves a large loan paid over a period of years, amounting to the second most expensive purchase most borrows will make in a lifetime.

As of today, laws like the Equal Credit Opportunity Act are in place to protect people of color from discrimination, but ongoing price discrimination against minority borrowers doesn’t reflect this resolution.

To create a fully fair and equitable market, the CFPB should be granted authority over the auto market to directly enforce the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and all relevant antidiscrimination legislation.

NCLR Board: Washington Football Organization Should Change its Name

NCLR has joined the growing chorus of voices urging the Washington football organization to drop its name and the images offensive to millions of Native Americans.

At their fall meeting this past weekend, the NCLR Board of Directors held that unanimous vote to call on Dan Snyder, the team’s owner, and the entire organization to make the change.

Photo: Keith Allison, Creative Commons

Photo: Keith Allison, Creative Commons

“Our brothers and sisters in the Native American community have been clear and consistent in their call to change both terms and images that they consider demeaning. As an organization committed to fairness and equality for all, NCLR fully supports these efforts,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía in a statement.

NCLR has already joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human rights in its efforts to change the organization’s name. The vote this past weekend solidifies the commitment to those efforts and further strengthens our relationship with the Native American community.

“The Latino community well understands that words matter and that they can denigrate, disparage and dehumanize,” said Murguía. “We should treat all people with the respect and dignity they deserve. We will continue to work with our friends and partners in the Native American community and with the Leadership Conference until justice is served in this matter.”

Weekly Washington Outlook — October 27, 2014

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What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House is in recess, returning the week of November 10.

Senate:

The Senate is in recess, returning the week of November 10.

White House:

On Monday, the president will meet with the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee at the White House.

On Tuesday, President Obama will travel to Milwaukee to attend a DNC roundtable and a campaign event for Mary Burke and other Wisconsin Democrats.

On Wednesday, the president will attend meetings at the White House.

On Thursday, President Obama will travel to Portland, Me. to attend a DNC roundtable and a campaign event for Mike Michaud and other Maine Democrats. Afterward, the president will travel to the Providence, R.I. area, where he will remain overnight.

On Friday, President Obama will deliver remarks at Rhode Island College on the economy and the importance of pursuing policies that help women succeed. Following his remarks, he will return to Washington. In the evening, President Obama and the First Lady will welcome local children and children of military families to trick-or-treat at the South Portico of the White House.

On Saturday, the president will travel to the Detroit area to attend a campaign event for Gary Peters and Mark Schauer.

On Sunday, President Obama will travel to Bridgeport, Conn. for an event with Dan Malloy and other Connecticut Democrats.  Afterward, he will travel to Philadelphia to attend a campaign event for Tom Wolf and other Pennsylvania Democrats.

This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending October 24

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Week Ending October 24

This week in immigration: NCLR continues the ‘Hanging in the Balance’ blog series with the story of a mixed-status family; NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía visits Kansas City; NCLR facilitates two webinars on DACA and college readiness; NCLR and partners increase civic engagement efforts; NY City Council passes bill prohibiting law enforcement from honoring detainer requests issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

NCLR continues ‘Hanging in the Balance series with the story of a family with mixed-status and what the executive action means for them: In NCLR’s latest ‘Hanging in the Balance’ blog post we tell the story of Vicky Ramirez, a member of NCLR’s Líderes Youth Advisory Council, and her family. Vicky’s parents are legal permanent residents, but some of her siblings are not. One is a DACA recipient. One is the parent of a U.S. citizen. When asked about how executive action would affect her family, Vicky said “it would be transformative.” She also described the challenges families like hers face and how they could continue contributing to the country if they were granted administrative relief and obtained work permits. For millions of families like Vicky’s across the country, NCLR urges President Obama to provide relief that allows millions of families to continue to live and work in the United States.

NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía urges Latinos in Kansas to head to the polls come November: This week, NCLR’s President and CEO, Janet Murguía, travelled to her home state of Kansas to encourage Latinos to vote. “Murguía was joined at the event by Irene Caudillo, President and CEO of El Centro Inc., and Representative Louis Ruiz, both of whom echoed the call to get out the vote. Latinos currently account for 5.5 percent of the state’s electorate, or about 120,000 voters. As it stands, the margin of victory in certain races is currently less than the total percentage of Latino voters in the state.” In a news release Murguía is quoted as saying, “In order to translate our growing numbers into political clout, we must make sure that every eligible Hispanic registers to vote and that every registered Latino voter in Kansas casts a ballot on Election Day. In especially close races, Kansas’s Hispanic electorate is not an afterthought; it’s a kingmaker.”

NCLR faciliates webinars regarding DACA and college-readiness: This week, NCLR was busy sharing information with educators about DACA and college readiness for undocumented students. NCLR collaborated with College Board to present a webinar entitled “Assisting Undocumented Students in the College Application Process.” Over three hundred school counselors registered for the webinar and received information on policies that impact undocumented students. NCLR also hosted a webinar for Escalera program grantees and other partners in educational programs titled “College Dreams for Undocumented Students”. If you are interested in materials, please contact Laura Vazquez at lvazquez@nclr.org.

NCLR and partners host town hall meeting in North Carolina: NCLR, in partnership with Affiliate El Pueblo, hosted a town hall meeting on October 18 in Raleigh, North Carolina. It featured candidates for Sheriff, Clerk of Court, and District Attorney running in Wake County and allowed them to present their platforms and to address concerns from the Latino community. Find out more on what NCLR is doing on civic engagement by following @NCLREmpowers on Twitter or by visiting NCLR’s advocacy and empowerment webpage.

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Additionally, in partnership with the Latin American Coalition, NCLR hosted a town hall meeting on October 22 in Charlotte, North Carolina at Caldwell Presbyterian Church. The event featured Vanessa Faura, former Republican candidate for city council, Nelda Leon with Mecklenburg Hispanic Democrats, and Rafael Prieto, Editor of Que Pasa Mi Gente.

New York City council passes bill prohibiting NYPD and New York City Department of Corrections from honoring detainer requests: Law enforcement and correctional facilities in New York City will no longer honor detainer requests from ICE, unless they are backed by a warrant from a federal judge. The recently passed bill also removes ICE officials from the Rikers Island correctional facility, a goal long championed by immigration advocates, including NCLR Affiliate, Make the Road New York. The law separates ICE and local law enforcement in hopes to ensure just treatment of immigrants and to foster trust between communities and local police. Read more in the New York Observer.