UnidosUS President and CEO: New Administration’s First 100 Days Agenda Must Include Latinos

UnidosUS President and CEO: New Administration’s First 100 Days Agenda Must Include Latinos

WASHINGTON, DC—As part of his 100-Day Agenda, President-elect Biden must ensure that Latinos are included in all efforts at repairing the damage of the previous administration, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía said today as UnidosUS (formerly known as National Council of La Raza), the nation’s largest civil rights and advocacy organization for Latinos, unveiled its own accountability plan for the incoming administration, The First 100 Days: Latino Inclusion in Biden Administration’s First Steps.

In a conference call, Murguía noted that the nation’s 60 million Latinos will be facing multiple crises on Jan. 20, 2021. COVID-19 continues to sicken and kill Latinos at alarming rates, the economic fallout from an uncontained virus still wreaks havoc on the financial security of families and continued incidents of flagrant racial injustice continue to outrage the public and fuel widespread civic unrest. Thus, it is critical that the new administration take quick action to 1) defeat COVID-19 and protect public health; 2) provide economic relief that places our country on the path to a strong and equitable recovery, including by stabilizing our essential workforce through broad immigrant reform and relief and 3) work towards racial equity and healing.

“Our polling prior to the election showed that the pandemic was by far the most important issue for Latino and Latina voters. That is not surprising. COVID-19 has absolutely devastated our community,” said Murguía. “Long-standing systemic health inequities, greater prevalence of co-morbidities and the fact that so many Latinos are among our country’s essential workers have meant that our community is twice as likely to get the virus, four times as likely to be hospitalized and three times as likely as to die from it.”

To combat the coronavirus pandemic, the UnidosUS 100-Day agenda and accountability plan calls for regular, reliable and free COVID-19 testing; equitable distribution of free, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines; and the establishment of a COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force as proposed in the Senate by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to provide recommendations and oversight on disparities in the public health and economic response.

It also calls for a robust, inclusive economic relief package that includes Latino workers and families; keeps more Latinos in their homes and rescinds regulations that harm American children in homes with mixed immigration status caregivers and prevent those families from accessing relief programs. As part of the economic relief package, Murguía said the relief plan should also include a promised temporary halt to deportations and an immigration reform package for Congress that provides a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in the United States, protects DREAMers and ends the horrific policies that separated families, traumatized children and closed America’s doors to refugees and asylum seekers.

Finally, UnidosUS’s plan calls for the Biden administration to focus on healing the nation’s open wounds inflicted by systemic racism. Murguía called for qualified Latinos to be appointed to 20 percent of the executive branch’s approximately 4,000 positions, including five cabinet positions, as well as a qualified Latina in the cabinet. The new administration should furthermore collect complete data on racial inequities, rally stakeholders around a community public safety agenda and use its first budget proposal to invest in the Latino community, close racial and ethnic disparities and root out discrimination and racism in federal agencies.

“We recognize there is a lot on the incoming administration’s plate, but this agenda is not a wish list, it is a must-do list,” said Murguía. “Our community is in crisis and needs help now. And as importantly, our country will not be able to recover from the pandemic and the other challenges facing our nation unless we help our community and other communities that have been disproportionately harmed by it. In short, getting our country back on its feet can only happen if we get the Latino community back on our feet.”