This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending May 26

Week Ending May 26

NCLR denounces Trump’s slash and burn budget: This week, the administration released its budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018.  The proposed budget eliminates $1.7 trillion in funding that provides basic living standards to millions of Americans, gutting key programs and assistance that help families afford food, housing and health care. At the same time, the administration is asking for an increase of  $4.5 billion (in addition to the existing $19 billion in immigration enforcement each year) to implement the President’s Executive Orders that expand a deportation force that has ripped families and communities apart. In a press release, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía stated, “With this budget, the administration is proposing taking food off the tables of American families, taking health coverage from those who need it most, and relegating education to the bottom of the priorities list, all while helping the wealthy get wealthier and unnecessarily directing billions more to mass deportations designed to split families apart and leave millions of citizen children destitute.”

NCLR releases new report on financial inclusion: This week NCLR released a new report, Small Dollars for Big Change: Immigrant Financial Inclusion and Access to Credit, which explores the linkages between immigration legal services and financial products to finance fees for applications such as DACA, family petitions, and naturalization. The report highlights potential solutions to help immigrants who are ready to adjust their status but need help financing the process with small-dollar credit options. The report discusses innovative solutions for increasing immigrant financial inclusion and promising approaches to expand the availability of small-dollar credit products that are mainstream and affordable instead of predatory.

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Workers in the United States Deserve a Raise

By Yuqi Wang, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

Millions of workers and their families are living in poverty despite being employed and working back-breaking hours. This is largely because the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 for the last six years, while the cost of living, food, education, and health care have continued to soar.

Worse, the minimum wage for tipped workers has been frozen at $2.13 for more than a quarter of a century. It’s clearly time to raise the minimum wage—workers deserve a better standard of living that doesn’t force them to struggle to cover standard necessities.

The “Raise the Wage Act” introduced yesterday by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Representatives Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) would go a long way toward strengthening middle-class families by raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024, and gradually increasing the tipped minimum wage each year. This legislation would help lift full-time workers out of poverty, reduce their need for public benefits, and increase their ability to afford basic living costs such as food, visits to the doctor, and home repairs.

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Tune In to the Red Nose Day TV Special on NBC!

Tonight’s the night! People across the country are coming together to have some fun, and watch some great entertainment all in the name of ending child poverty.

NCLR’s Affiliates have also been participating in the fun. Take a look at some of what Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo and Chicanos Por La Causa have been doing to promote this very special day.


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Access to Small-Dollar Credit Leads to Immigrant Financial Inclusion

By Sabrina Terry, Senior Strategist, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

The size of the U.S. immigrant population has grown significantly over the past 40 years, from 4.7 percent of the total population in 1970 to 13.5 percent in 2015. Of the 43 million immigrants living in the United States in 2015, 45 percent (19.5 million) were Latino. The hard work and ingenuity of the immigrant community has produced many important contributions; for example: the foreign-born labor force participation rate (65.2 percent) exceeds that of native-born workers (62.2 percent); immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a business as native-born citizens; and foreign-born Latinos who have become naturalized citizens vote at higher rates than native-born Latinos.

Yet there are also areas where immigrants lag behind their native peers, and targeted interventions are needed to help people fully integrate into American society. One such area is financial inclusion, the ability to access and utilize affordable financial services and products, which is essential to building a financial identity, assets, and wealth in this country. Many Latino immigrants lack knowledge of how to navigate the U.S. financial system. In addition, immigrants tend to have unique financial backgrounds—uneven income streams or cash income, less likely to be banked, and more likely to have thin or no credit histories.

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Congressional Budget Office Confirms that Trumpcare Is the Worst Domestic Legislation in Years

The American Health Care Act could result in 23 million Americans left without health coverage by 2026

Today the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed what most Americans suspected: the latest version of the “American Health Care Act” (AHCA) is even worse than the first version introduced in the House of Representatives. The nonpartisan office estimates that more than $834 billion would be cut from Medicaid and 23 million people would have their health coverage taken away, endangering their health and opportunities.

We are deeply concerned about Medicaid cuts that would fundamentally restructure this program that has served as a safety net for more than 50 years. The White House budget proposal released yesterday confirmed the Trump administration’s intent to slash this lifeline for millions of people despite research that shows a majority of Americans oppose decreasing Medicaid funding (74 percent) and support the program (54 percent).

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