Week Ending September 26
This week in immigration reform: NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía, encourages Latinos to register and vote in the November election; NCLR signs on to a letter to the President opposing family detention; NCLR posts another installment of the “Hanging in the Balance” blog series; NCLR blog highlights Affiliate organization, Enlace Chicago, the 2014 NCLR Midwest Affiliate of the Year.
–On National Voter Registration Day, NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía, emphasizes the importance of the Latino vote: While recognizing many Latinos are frustrated with the political climate and might be tempted to sit out this year’s election, Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR, emphasizes that “the only way to ensure that both parties respect Latinos and address Hispanic priorities is to grow our electorate. That means we absolutely must vote this November.” Murguía’s blog post highlights the growing influence of the Latino electorate – the number of Latino voters has doubled since 2006 – and urges Latinos to make their voices heard at the ballot box on issues ranging from immigration reform to Medicaid expansion.
In the effort to continue increasing the number of Hispanic voters, NCLR partnered with Rock the Vote to develop a new, easy-to-use voter registration tool that will allow us to register voters, whether at home or on the go. In addition to the online tool, NCLR Affiliates across the country hosted local events to highlight the importance of Latino voter engagement. In California, NCLR Affiliate El Centro del Pueblo hosted a voter registration competition among universities including East Los Angeles College, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal State Long Beach and Cal State Northridge.
–NCLR signs letter to the president in opposition to family detention: NCLR joined with 167 other advocacy organizations in sending a letter to President Obama disagreeing with the Administration’s current practice of detaining families without bond and its intention to build additional detention facilities. The letter outlines numerous problems with detention including limiting access to fair hearings, jeopardizing detainees’ physical and mental health, and requiring the use of limited resources that could be used for human alternative to detention.
–Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago Hosts Event, “Immigration: Where Are We Now?“: NCLR’s Senior Midwest Regional Coordinator of Affiliate Member Services, Vanessa Uribe, was a featured panelist at an event covering current issues facing Latino immigrants and what individuals and communities can do moving forward. The event, put on by NCLR Affiliate, Erie Neighborhood House, explored the current political climate around immigration reform and Uribe spoke specifically to the national perspective. She was joined on the panel by Vero Castro with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Luis Roman with the Association of Latinos Motivating Action, and Giovanna Valdez with Latinos Progresando, also an NCLR Affiliate.
–NCLR Continues ‘Hanging in the Balance’ series with the stories of two Latinas: In our latest blog post, NCLR tells the stories of Carla Mena and Karla Salgado. Mena, who arrived to the U.S. in 2001, is a 2012 graduate of Meredith College with a degree in biology. Salgado, arrived in the U.S. in 2009 at age 13 and has just begun her freshman year at the same institution. Both took AP classes and earned high grades in high school. Both volunteer on the Youth Council at El Pueblo, Inc., an NCLR Affiliate. While similarities between these two ambitious Latinas are obvious, one vital contrast remains – Mena is a DACA recipient whereas Salgado is ineligible because she entered the U.S. after 2007, missing the DACA deadline. With her work permit, Mena has been able to attain a job as a senior research assistant at the Duke University Global Health Institute’s Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research. Contrastingly, Salgado fears her dream of becoming a nurse anesthetist will never come true because of her undocumented status, saying “My status has broken my dream into pieces. I have worked hard to get where I am. I have scholarships to college but it will be in vain because I won’t be eligible to work when I get out. Please don’t tear my dreams apart. It’s not about politics. A piece of paper can change everything.” NCLR urges President Obama to provide relief to aspiring Americans like Karla.
–NCLR Highlights of work of Enlace Chicago, the 2014 NCLR Midwest Affiliate of the Year: NCLR’s latest Affiliate Spotlight focuses on Enlace Chicago, an organization that serves the Chicago community of Little Village, a working-class neighborhood. Enlace Chicago worked with local organizations to develop the Little Village Quality-of-Life Plan, which includes goals to support local and national immigration reform movements, to encourage partnerships between immigrant rights organizations, and to disseminate helpful, accurate immigration information to the community. Included in the Affiliate Spotlight is an interview with Enlace Chicago’s executive director, Michael D. Rodriguez, during which he talks about the work the organization is currently doing and how they hope to continue serving their community in the future.