This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending July 3

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Week Ending July 3

This week in immigration reform: celebrating citizenship in light of Independence Day; the growing influence of the Latino community; and Delaware extends driving permits to undocumented immigrants.

This Fourth of July, Let’s Celebrate New Citizens: This Saturday marks America’s 239th birthday. As we head into the holiday weekend, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is preparing to welcome more than 4,000 new citizens in more than 50 naturalization ceremonies between July 1st and 4th.  A San Jose Mercury News article covered a naturalization ceremony during which 92 new Americans took their oaths of citizenship. New American Sergio Saporna Jr., 43, came to the U.S. almost 16 years ago from the Philippines: “Today, in the ceremony, I was thinking about where I came from, but also about all the benefits and wonderful things that have happened to me. I think becoming a citizen is the best way for me to give something back to the country that has already given me so much.” This weekend follow #newUScitizen for photos and tweets of people celebrating the 4th of July as new Americans. 

Also this week, Univision, along with NCLR, NALEO, LULAC, and CitizenshipWorks launched a campaign to promote the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen. “There are an estimated four million Hispanics eligible for citizenship in the U.S.,” said Roberto Llamas, executive vice president for Human Resources & Community Empowerment. “Our goal is to help them understand the benefits, rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship, particularly how to qualify and prepare themselves to vote.” Check out UnivisionContigo.com for information and resources on applying for U.S. citizenship.  

The Latino community’s growing influence is already changing the 2016 election landscape: This week, 2016 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is facing consequences after making derogatory remarks about Latino immigrants. Media companies NBC and Univision have cut ties with the business mogul and Macy’s Department Store will no longer carry his menswear line. NCLR issued a press statement applauding NBC and Univision for their decision: “NBC deserves an enormous amount of credit for reaffirming what their company stands for and, as importantly, what it does not stand for. We know that this was not an easy choice for NBC and its parent company, Comcast, nor was it easy for Univision, and they will have NCLR’s full support going forward. We applaud those in both companies who worked so diligently behind the scenes to address this issue and ultimately make this difficult decision. It was the right thing to do,” stated NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía.

An NPR story linked the backlash from Trump’s comments to the growing influence of the Latino population, especially as consumers. Latinos are one of fastest growing groups of consumers, with their collective purchasing power expected to reach $1.5 trillion this year, up 50% from 2010. Further, the average age of the Hispanic population is 27 and they are just entering their prime buying years. The media is also vying for the Latino audience. Candidates and companies alike can no longer risk insulting or alienating our community without paying an economic price.

Delaware passes law allowing undocumented immigrants driving permits: A Washington Post article reports this week that Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed a bill to give driving privilege cards to undocumented immigrants who have ties to the state. The state will begin issuing the cards in six months.

 While Delaware is implementing helpful, welcoming policies for undocumented immigrants, other states are still holding up federal deferred action programs that would provide social and economic benefits nationwide. This week the three-judge panel in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was chosen to hear arguments on July 10th regarding the Texas lawsuit stopping expanded DACA and DAPA. Many remain confident that the judicial system will eventually side with the Obama Administration. In a New York Times op-ed, Matt Barreto writes: “Just as with same-sex marriage and Obamacare, the issue of immigration is before the federal courts, and if past decisions are any indication, it is very likely that 12 months from now the Supreme Court will continue to validate the progressive movement by affirming Obama’s immigration orders as constitutional and in line with U.S. public opinion.” The Justice Department hasn’t ruled out taking the case to the Supreme Court, but they are currently allowing the case to work its way through the Fifth Circuit.

The Latino Outlook is Positive but Improvement is Still Needed

By Delia Pompa, Senior Vice President, Programs, NCLR

ImmigrationRally_7_10_2013Latinos are well aware of discrimination and inequality yet we are optimistic about the future, a new poll shows. The State of the Latino Family Survey of 1,000 Latinos, ranging from new immigrants to long-time citizens and conducted by Univision, The Denver Post, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, shows that the Latino community is particularly hopeful about their economic prospects, their personal health, and the quality of public education.

What is striking about the survey is that the pollsters chose to include undocumented immigrants living in the United States, providing a fuller picture of the Latino community’s stance on a variety of issues. Nonetheless, while optimism is apparent throughout the survey, differences exist among demographic groups, highlighting the complexity of the Latino community. Some findings show that Latinos who are newer to the United States have a much more positive outlook than those who have lived in the country longer. This latter group was more prone to “express disappointment with persistent inequality and diminishing opportunities.”

The poll focused on the following areas: social progress, economics, education, health, and the Latino experience.

Social Progress

Latinos have seen progress in health care access, equal opportunity, and education. The optimism for these particular issues, however, is somewhat guarded, especially considering that those surveyed believe there is an uptick in violence and crime, affordable housing is scarce, and discrimination against Latinos and immigrants has not diminished. The difference in attitudes is most stark when generational and socioeconomic differences are considered. For example, 56 percent of fourth-generation Latinos believe that things are getting worse on the job front compared to 40 percent of new U.S. citizens.

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Economics

When asked about the economy and personal finances, an overwhelming 73 percent of respondents said they were optimistic about the future. Just 10 percent of those surveyed said they were not optimistic at all. The survey also showed that undocumented immigrants and the highest-income earners had the most positive outlook. Unfortunately, there is still progress to be made in ensuring that Latinas feel secure about the economy. A full 54 percent said they had no savings to draw from were they to fall on hard times, and just 61 percent said they could take on another job or more hours, compared to 73 percent of men who said the same.

Education

LatinoFamilySurvey_chart3Education is always one of the highest priorities for Latino parents, and respondents are confident about the instruction their children receive. According to the poll, 77 percent of Latinos with children said they believe that their schools are providing a quality education. An impressive 60 percent of Latino parents said they are actively engaged in their children’s education, whether it be attending parent-teacher conferences or volunteering at the school. Attendance at functions such as school board hearings, however, was weaker; the time commitment necessary for such events was often cited as a barrier, as were language and citizenship differences.

Health

The survey revealed that Latinos are also positive about their health outlook. In fact, 63 percent said they were in “good, very good, or excellent health.” Compare this to the 12 percent who rated their health as “poor.” Interestingly, while 75 percent said they have some kind of health insurance, 40 percent reported that they usually seek medical care outside of a doctor’s office. Twenty-five percent said they go to clinics or community health centers, while 16 percent said they go to hospitals or urgent care centers for medical attention.

The Latino Experience

Finally, on the Latino experience overall, the community is undeniably concerned about being the targets of discrimination in American society. Almost 70 percent said they are concerned about excessive force being doled out against them. Interestingly, more than 20 percent said they felt that Latinos are discriminated the most in Arizona, surely a result of the state’s notorious anti-immigrant atmosphere embodied by laws such as SB 1070.

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This is an important poll, to be sure, though we should keep in mind that while Latinos remain optimistic about their future, there is still much work to be done politically, legislatively, and programmatically to guarantee better opportunities. Harnessing the optimism of our diverse and complex community will help us break down the barriers to education and the workplace, helping more Latinos enjoy full participation in American life.

This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending July 15

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Week Ending July 19

This week in immigration reform: a House committee prepares to hold a hearing on DREAMers, while President Obama reaffirms his commitment to a road to citizenship in immigration reform legislation; NCLR Affiliates continued contacting their members of Congress this week, urging members to step up and lead on comprehensive reform that includes a road to citizenship. NCLR staff kept the community informed on the latest in immigration reform, with staff quoted in stories by The Washington Post and VOXXI.

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Stay Ahead of the College Admissions Game with NCLR and Univision!

School has started and midterms are just around the corner. Before you know it, college application deadlines will be here. We want to make sure you’re ready to start the process and that you have everything you need. That’s why NCLR will join the Univision Virtual College Fair—a collaboration between CollegeWeek Live and Univision—designed for first-generation students and their families.

On Thursday, October 11 from Noon–10:00 p.m. EDT, you’ll be able to join a day-long online event dedicated to answering all the questions you might have about college, whether it’s about filling out forms, application deadlines, or tests needed for admission. NCLR will also hold a special session at 9:00 p.m. EDT, so be sure to tune in!

This is a free event and you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Meet admissions reps from your choice of 100+ schools
  • Video chat with current students to hear firsthand about campus life
  • Watch live presentations on getting accepted to college, paying for college, college study skills, and more
  • Search $3 million in scholarships

Sign up now.  It’s free and easy!