UnidosUS Reacts to President Biden’s Proposed Budget

WASHINGTON, DC— President Biden’s administration announced a $5.8 trillion fiscal year 2023 budget Monday.

In reaction to the proposed budget Eric Rodriguez, UnidosUS Senior Vice President, Policy and Advocacy issued the following statement:

“From struggling families facing rising prices, to adults and children who still need a vaccine, to students who aspire to graduate from college, to those facing discrimination and seeking redress from the federal government, there is much to like in President Biden’s proposed budget. However, as our FY2023 budget request letter enumerated, from a Latino perspective more is needed to advance equity for our nation’s 62 million Latinos and their families.

“We are particularly encouraged to see increased funding for education, a smart investment in young people who suffered learning and economic setbacks during the pandemic. Funding to support English learner (EL) students was increased by nearly $270 million and while this does not yet meet the need of rising EL numbers, the majority of whom are Hispanic, it is a welcome boost.

“For college students, there are two proposed federal investments that help ensure they can successfully pursue higher education. These investments are crucial to closing the achievement gap, given that half of Latinos rely on Pell grants to pay for college, and they are overrepresented among students who attend but are unable to complete college. We are committed to the doubling of the Pell grant and appreciate the commitment to accomplishing that by 2030.

“On the health front, we strongly support the investments included in the proposed budget, but we are disappointed to see that there was no mention of investment in consumer assistance programs that help consumers enroll in health coverage or similar investments in SNAP outreach. Programs like these help Latinos access the health and nutrition benefits for which they qualify. The budget also did not include funding to close the Medicaid coverage gap or to extend the public health emergency, which will have serious health consequences.

“The budget made some investments in housing to address the critical shortage of affordable housing in communities throughout the nation, and promote access to homeownership for underserved borrowers. Unfortunately, the funding for housing counseling is too low—this is a vital program that provides needed support to help Latinos avoid eviction and foreclosure amid the ongoing housing crisis.

“Lastly, the proposed budget provides critical funding for legal representation for immigrants in detention, for immigration benefits backlog reduction, and to hire 100 more immigration judges to reduce the backlog of over 1.5 million cases that are currently pending in the immigration courts. Unfortunately, the budget also irresponsibly increases funding for immigration enforcement. Despite these questionable enforcement increases, the budget does nothing to ensure relief for long-term undocumented immigrants with deep family and economic roots in the United States who have stood up for America during the pandemic and every day.

“Latinos—who need access to quality health coverage, nutrition, education, child care, housing, and jobs—cannot and will not return to the pre-pandemic status quo of entrenched social and economic disparities. UnidosUS will work with Congress to build on the president’s budget and ensure that Latinos are more fully included in our country’s spending and investments.”