UnidosUS Statement on President Biden’s 2023 State of the Union

WASHINGTON, DC— During last night’s State of the Union Address, President Biden noted key accomplishments and goals of his administration and called again for unity and decisive action on the nation’s pressing problems and needs. In reaction to President Biden’s speech, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía issued the following statement:

“We applaud President Biden’s leadership that has helped Latinos, and all Americans, weather the health and economic challenges from the pandemic, begin to rebuild our infrastructure, and create jobs. This progress includes a 15-year low Latino unemployment rate (4.5%)—down from nearly 19% at the height of the pandemic. Last night we were glad to hear of the additional steps the administration will move forward—and call on Congress to take—to  advance equity for Latinos and all Americans.

“The president called out today’s higher prices and made the case for a range of new measures to reduce the burden on families, including renewing the full Child Tax Credit, which lifted 1.2 million Latino children out of poverty in 2021. We also commend the administration’s efforts to promote an equitable economic recovery by reducing harmful and unnecessary costs for families, including with new policies that would curb excessive fees paid by consumers.

“We also commend the president’s call to increase Pell grants and create pathways to community colleges. Last year, we celebrated President Biden’s appropriate and legal student debt cancellation plan, now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court. We look forward to working with the administration on solutions to reduce levels of crippling debt for students. And as Latino children are the largest and youngest group of color, we call on the president to prioritize strengthening the educational pipeline for Hispanic students by increasing investments from early childhood education through college.

“We join the president in recognizing we have more work ahead to expand Medicaid and address drug costs. We are also deeply concerned that as pandemic supports wind down, health care coverage for millions of Latino families could be threatened. This spring, 15 million people could lose health coverage—the largest Medicaid loss in American history. We urge the Biden administration to use the new tools Congress enacted in December to prevent red tape and paperwork from terminating life-saving health care coverage for millions of eligible Latino children and families.

“We also care deeply about real progress on immigration. During the midterm elections last year, Hispanic voters—who are the second largest group of voting-age Americans—showed that they reject extremes and want leaders in Washington to expand opportunity for all—including immigrant communities. For decades, too many of our nation’s leaders have been demagoguing and exploiting the situation on our southern border, with very little to show for it. It’s time for real leadership in Congress and the White House to update our immigration system to effectively protect our borders, humanely and efficiently manage immigration flows, treat asylum seekers and aspiring Americans with dignity, and resolve the status of millions of immigrants who have been contributing to the U.S. for decades. The Biden administration must ensure that the U.S. fully welcomes and supports the inclusion of immigrants who are here to stay. We applaud the creation of the Task Force for New Americans and urge that it get to work to ensure the agencies are doing all they can to support immigrants’ fullest integration into the fabric of our nation.

“Finally, we fully support the President’s call for Congress to act on long-overdue priorities such as protecting voting rights and our democracy, reproductive rights, policing and criminal justice reform, mental health supports and steps to reduce gun violence as soon as possible.”

To read more about the specific federal priorities that support the agenda for UnidosUS and the Latino community, please see our letter to the White House dated January 24, 2023.