Last week, President Barack Obama addressed the nation in the 2015 State of the Union in-which he covered several important topics that has had the country talking about the last few months. While he didn’t into great detail about them, the president did talk about his executive action regarding immigration, the recent proposal of free community college, and the current state of the economy & job creation.
While the above three points of topics are important aspects to the entire country, we’ll look how they will benefit Latinos living in the United States of America.
On the matter of the economy within the country, the president addressed how despite the collapse of the economy has created strain for many Americans the economy is once again growing. According to the president, the unemployment rate within the country has been at its lowest since the 2008 financial crisis that gripped the country and job creation has been at its highest since 1999.
In a poll by Latino Decisionsa—a Latino political opinion research organization—found that when it comes to the security of the economy more than 53% of Latinos said they were worried when it comes to someone within their household of losing their job and thus their home because of it. Meanwhile, 50% of Latinos have found the cost-of-living to be burdensome with their earnings not being enough to cover basic expenses.
However, things could—hopefully and steadily—be changing for the country’s economy.
“At this moment—with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, booming energy production—we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth,” said Obama, “It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next 15 years and for decades to come.”
The president also added that the current increase in U.S. businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs within the country and it presents a hopeful outlook for the future of the country’s economy. With the change in the state of the economy and the rise in job creation, Latinos could feel the prosperous boon.
Late last year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that the rate of unemployment among Latinos has dropped to 6.6% from 6.8% back in October. Meanwhile, in November the BLS announced that the rate fell again to 5.6% showing that the change in the unemployment status of this country contains Latinos entering the labor force which in October stood at 66.5%.
“The U.S. economy closed out the year on a continued hot streak—252,000 new jobs, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.6 percent. December was the 58th consecutive month of private sector job growth, to the tune of11.2 million jobs. Average unemployment for 2014 was down 1.2 percentage points from 2013, the largest decrease since 1984,” said U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.
When it came to education and offering free, two-years of community college to Americans, Obama addressed the nation saying, “Keep in mind 40% of our college students choose community college. Some are young and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy without a load of debt. Understand, you’ve got to earn it. You’ve got to keep your grades up and graduate on time.”
If the president’s plan of offering two years of free community college goes through, there is an estimated 9 million students who could save an average of $3,800 in tuition. The proposal could prevent students from falling into great debt or keeping potential students interested in pursuing an education as opposed to turning away because of the heavy cost.
According to the White House, the president’s America’s College Promise would be covered by the federal government who will fund three-quarters of the average cost of community college while the remaining funds would be covered by the states that choose to participate in the free community college program.
In another Latino Decisions poll, it was discovered that Latinos and Latin families have hopes when it comes to Latino children being able to pursue a college education and become eventual college graduates now with the potential fear of affordability be slightly limited.
“Only 18% of Latino parents were very confident they could pay for their child’s college education. A significant share, 40 [percent] were not confident (with 20 percent not at all confident) they could afford these costs. Thus, it is likely that the President’s proposal to make community college as widely accessible as possible will be met with substantial support from this constituency,” said Latino Decisions on their site after the State of the Union address.
And on immigration, president Obama didn’t discuss his current plans for immigration reform seemingly taking a stance on no longer furthering talk about something he intends to do. President Obama did acknowledge how the issue is a “hot button” one in the country but promised to veto any legislation that would be drafted against his executive actions finding the ongoing debate on the matter to be tiresome.
Addressing Congress, The president made it clear the issue on immigration was over and done with promising Congress that “if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.”
Since his election and re-election, President Obama has been critiqued as being a president who hasn’t “done anything” which isn’t entire truly because he has succeeded despite some hurdles. While the matter of immigration was disheartening, the outlook is hopefully considering he appears to be putting his foot down now. But his lack of doing anything on immigration isn’t just his fault.
With his opposition being considerably loud and preventive in many of his plans for change, and a mess that needed to be tended to thanks to eight years prior to his taking office, it is surprising the President got anything done. Let’s see if America is finally on the right path come 2015.