The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 45 of the nation’s preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, is calling on Congress to address pressing issues facing the Latino community before adjourning until the new year. Congress must pass a measure to fund the federal government beyond December 22 in order to avoid a federal government shutdown.
NHLA is calling on Congress to reject any year-end government funding bill that fails to include three critical priorities: the Dream Act, to protect youth who are losing the protection of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) at a rate of 122 every day; reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), to ensure that millions of children across the nation do not lose health coverage; and disaster relief funding for Puerto Rico, where over 30 percent of the population remains without power almost three months after Hurricane Maria hit the island.
“This week, Congress prioritized tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations over health insurance for kids, relief for those recovering from devastating natural disasters, and protecting young immigrants from deportation,” said Hector Sanchez Barba, NHLA Chair and Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. “Before they leave town for the holidays, Congress should demonstrate true Christmas spirit by ensuring that the most vulnerable are not left in the cold. Congress must pass the Dream Act, extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and provide the disaster relief that Puerto Rico desperately needs.”
“In a mad end-of-year rush, congressional leaders’ haste to enact a critical government funding bill has left too many Latino families out of the equation,” said Thomas A. Saenz, NHLA vice chair and MALDEF President and General Counsel. “But we know how critical these families are to our nation’s success in the future; Congress must include the DREAM Act, CHIP, and Puerto Rico relief in any funding bill.”
“We live in a society where the federal government has supported the most vulnerable and we strongly demand Congress support the CHIP Program for the health of children, Puerto Rico for survival of our people in need, and for Dreamers to be productive in our communities,” said Dr. Elena Rios, Co-Chair of the NHLA Health Committee and President & CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association.
“The members of the Senate and the House are a rare breed in America. Their profile is well within the range of the 1% of America that is upper class income. Virtually all of them will benefit handsomely from the Tax Bill championed by the billionaire in the White House and his Wall Street minions. They now want to go home for the Christmas holidays and leave some of our most vulnerable Latinx family members at serious risk of deportation, health emergencies, and without basic electricity and water. Yes, during this holiday season Congress is destroying the hopes of children in need of continued health care, DACA Dreamers whose potential is key for America, and millions of Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico who still lack power and water but live in an American colony. This is the height of hypocrisy and it will not be forgotten,” notes Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel to LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Co-Chair of the NHLA Civil Rights Committee.
“It is unconscionable and inhumane that right before the holiday, members of Congress will gift the wealthy a huge bonus while leaving a bag of coal for DREAMers, children living in low-income families and the millions of U.S. citizens who are still suffering without electricity and clean water in Puerto Rico. The message is loud and clear- this administration and Congress have prioritized the 1% on the backs of Latinx and immigrant families and communities who have continued to demonstrate vital investments and contributions in our society,” said Jessica González-Rojas, Co-Chair of the NHLA Health Committee and Latina Task Force, and Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL HISPANIC LEADERSHIP AGENDA:
The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is composed of 45 of the leading national and regional Latino civil rights and public policy organizations and other elected officials, and prominent Latinos Americans. NHLA coalition members represent the diversity of the Latino community – Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Latino Americans. NHLA’s mission calls for unity among Latinos around the country to provide the Latino community with greater visibility and a clearer, stronger influence in our country’s affairs. NHLA brings together Latino leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. For more information, please visit: www.nationalhispanicleadership.org
NHLA MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS:
Alianza Americas | American G.I. Forum | ASPIRA Association | Avance Inc. | Casa de Esperanza: National [email protected] Network | Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute | Farmworker Justice | GreenLatinos | Hispanic