Sanders Presenta Ambiciosa Propuesta de Sanidad Pública Universal

September 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

WASHINGTON – El senador y ex aspirante a la candidatura presidencial demócrata Bernie Sanders presentó el miércoles un plan para crear un sistema de sanidad pública universal, una propuesta con pocas opciones pero que respaldan destacadas figuras demócratas como las senadoras Elizabeth Warren o Kamala Harris.

“Hoy comenzamos la larga y difícil lucha para acabar con la vergüenza internacional de que Estados Unidos sea el único país importante de la tierra que no garantice el cuidado de la salud a toda su gente”, dijo Sanders al presentar la iniciativa legal.

El plan de Sanders, considerado el ala más izquierdista del partido demócrata, propone la ampliación gradual del actual programa Medicare que ofrece cobertura médica para los mayores de 65 años al resto de los ciudadanos, hasta ofrecer sanidad gratuita a los 323 millones de estadounidenses.

El primer año entrarían en el programa los mayores de 55 años y todos los menores de 18 años, y en los siguientes cuatro años iría incluyendo otros grupos de edad hasta que todos los estadounidenses recibiesen una “tarjeta de sanidad universal”, según el plan de Sanders.

Esta propuesta ofrecería cobertura total: desde los costes de los servicios hospitalarios, hasta las medicinas, maternidad, salud mental, dental y oftalmológica.

El senador se refirió también a los esfuerzos de los republicanos para quitar la asistencia sanitaria pública “a hasta 32 millones” de estadounidenses más, con la revocación del programa sanitario impulsado por el anterior presidente Barack Obama.

El senador se comprometió a luchar porque se garantice a todos los cuidados de la salud, “como un derecho, no como un privilegio”.

El plan de Sanders, que durante la campaña electoral situó en un coste de 1,4 billones de dólares, se sufragaría con subidas de impuestos a todos los estadounidenses, aunque con especial incidencia en las rentas más altas.

La propuesta no tiene opciones de salir adelante en el Congreso, con mayoría republicana en ambas cámaras, pero supone un intento de Sanders de inclinar al partido demócrata hacia la izquierda.

Por ahora, ya cuenta con el respaldo de influyentes senadores demócratas, como Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris o Corey Booker, considerados posibles aspirantes a la candidatura presidencial de su partido para 2020.

Las ausencias, no obstante, también son notables y entre ellas sobresalen el líder de la minoría demócrata en el Senado, Chuck Schumer, y el ex candidato vicepresidencial demócrata, el senador Tim Kaine, entre otros.

La reciente reforma sanitaria impulsada por Obama conocida como “Obamacare”, ofreció subsidios y amplió el acceso a estos seguros privados para personas con problemas médicos previos o de bajos recursos, y forzó a aquellos que no contaban con uno a contratarlo o pagar una multa.

Trump Rescinde DACA: 800.000 Beneficiaros en Riesgo

September 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Los líderes demócratas del sur de California y los defensores de los inmigrantes criticaron duramente hoy la decisión de la Administración de Trump de eliminar gradualmente el programa de Acción Deferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA), que ha protegido a unas 800.000 personas – incluidas más de 242.000 en California – que fueron traídos al país como niños de deportación.

Los activistas de inmediato planearon salir a las calles para protestar la decisión, que fue anunciado por el fiscal general Jeff Sessions en nombre del presidente Donald Trump.

Read this article in English: Trump Rescinds DACA: 800,000 Recipients at Risk

Bajo la acción de la Administración de Trump, el Congreso tendrá seis meses para intentar aprobar una legislación que se dirija a DACA antes de que el programa se elimine gradualmente.

La congresista Grace Napolitano, D-El Monte, también en Twitter, instó a todos sus “colegas republicanos a unirse a nosotros y tomar medidas para #ProtectDreamers! #DefendDACA!”

El alcalde de Los Ángeles, Eric Garcetti, dijo: “La acción del presidente Trump en DACA es cruel – amenaza con separar a familias, pone en riesgo nuestra economía y no hará nada para unificar a Estados Unidos o hacernos más seguros”.

“La decisión de hoy es un revés gigante para los Estados Unidos, porque todos nuestros niños deben sentirse seguros y aceptados en un país que les pertenece”, dijo Garcetti. “DACA ha permitido que cerca de 800.000 jóvenes ambiciosos y patrióticos comiencen sus carreras, permanezcan en la escuela y devuelvan a nuestras comunidades sin temor a ser separados de la gente que aman”.

El alcalde también instó al Congreso a actuar rápidamente sobre la legislación: “…Ellos pertenecen aquí. Y lucharemos para que se queden”.

Al defender la decisión, Trump dijo que el presidente Barack Obama excedió su autoridad en la creación del programa DACA.

“En junio de 2012, el presidente Obama evitó que el Congreso otorgue permisos de trabajo, números de Seguro Social y beneficios federales a aproximadamente 800.000 inmigrantes ilegales actualmente entre las edades de 15 y 36 años”, dijo Trump.

“Los receptores típicos de esta amnistía ejecutiva, conocida como DACA, tienen más de 20 años. La legislación que ofrecía estos mismos beneficios había sido presentada en el Congreso en numerosas ocasiones y fue rechazada cada vez”.

Trump agregó: “Solo por la aplicación confiable de la ley de inmigración podemos producir comunidades seguras, una clase media robusta y equidad económica para todos los estadounidenses”.

Señalo que funcionarios de 10 estados están demandando el programa y sus asesores legales han determinado que es “ilegal e inconstitucional y no puede ser defendido con éxito en los tribunales”.

Esos argumentos hicieron poco para apaciguar a los legisladores demócratas.

La senadora Kamala Harris, de California, dijo que los receptores de DACA “hacen que nuestra nación sea fuerte y representen lo mejor de los Estados Unidos” y rescindir el programa “socava los valores de nuestra nación y es una cruel traición” de DREAMers. El representante Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, criticó el “ataque cruel y arbitrario” contra ellos.

La senadora Dianne Feinstein, D-California, instó al Congreso a avanzar con la legislación conocida como el DREAM Act que proporcionaría un camino a la ciudadanía para DREAMers – el término usado para los receptores de DACA.

“El fracaso en proteger a los jóvenes que han salido de las sombras constituiría un abyecto fracaso moral”, dijo Feinstein.

Funcionarios de la Unión Internacional de Empleados de Servicios denunciaron lo que llamó un “ataque vergonzoso” contra los beneficiaros de DACA.

La Coalición por los Derechos Humanos de los Inmigrantes de Los Ángeles (CHIRLA) dijo que los miembros estaban listos para reunirse en las oficinas de los legisladores republicanos, incluyendo el representante Steven Knight en Santa Clarita, la representante Mimi Walters en Irvine, así como la oficina del representante Kevin McCarthy en Bakersfield.

Además, decenas de trabajadores y miembros de la comunidad planificaron una marcha de mediodía por el centro de la ciudad de Los Ángeles desde los escalones del Ayuntamiento hasta el edificio federal en el bloque 200 del este de la calle Temple.

Introducido por Obama en 2012, DACA permite a las personas que fueron traídas ilegalmente a los Estados Unidos como niños a trabajar y estudiar en el país sin temor de ser deportados. DACA ha estado disponible para inmigrantes sin antecedentes penales que fueron traídos al país cuando eran menores de 16 años de edad. Los permisos de trabajo expedidos bajo DACA deben renovarse cada dos años.

Trump ha adoptado una postura dura contra la inmigración ilegal, pero hasta poco no había dado una fuerte indicación de si mantendría a DACA en su lugar.

Preguntado durante el fin de semana si los receptores de DACA deben estar preocupados, Trump respondió: “Amamos a los DREAMers. Amamos a todos…Creamos que los DREAMers son fantásticos”.

El representante Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, es uno de los muchos funcionarios electos de ambos partidos que han criticado los planes del presidente.

“La cobarde decisión de Trump de poner fin a DACA va en contra de las mismas fuerzas que han hecho de Estados Unidos un país excepcional”, dijo Lieu. “Deportar a cientos de miles de asiáticos y latinos – casi la mitad de los cuales fueron traídos a los Estados Unidos antes de los 7 años – no sólo es cruel, sino que dañara a nuestra economía”.

Trump Rescinds DACA: 800,000 Recipients at Risk

September 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Southland Democratic leaders and immigrant advocates lashed out harshly today at the Trump Administration decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected an estimated 800,000 people – including more than 242,000 in California – who were brought to the country as children from deportation.

Activists immediately planned to take to the streets to protest the move, which was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on behalf of President Donald Trump.

Trump Terminates DACA: Protesters begin to gather at L.A. City Hall for march to federal building. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

Trump Terminates DACA: Protesters begin to gather at L.A. City Hall for march to federal building. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, called the president’s decision to rescind the program “outrageous.” This is a “heartbreaking day for the US and the bright young DACA recipients who know no home but America,” she said on Twitter.

Under the action by the Trump Administration, Congress will be given six months to attempt to pass legislation addressing DACA before the program is phased out.

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, D-El Monte, also on Twitter, urged all her “Republican colleagues to join us & take action to #ProtectDreamers! #DefendDACA!”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “President Trump’s action on DACA is cruel — it threatens to tear families apart, put our economy at risk, and will do nothing to unify America or make us more secure.”

“Today’s decision is a giant setback for America, because all our children should feel safe and accepted in a country that belongs to them,” Garcetti said. “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has allowed close to 800,000 ambitious, patriotic young people to start careers, stay in school, and
give back to our communities without fear of being torn from the people they love.”

The mayor also urged congress to act quickly on legislation: “… They belong here. And we’ll fight for them to stay.”

In defending the decision, Trump said President Barack Obama over-stepped his authority in creating the DACA program.

“In June of 2012, President Obama bypassed Congress to give work permits, Social Security numbers and federal benefits to approximately 800,000 illegal immigrants currently between the ages of 15 and 36,” Trump said. “The typical recipients of this executive amnesty, known as DACA, are in their 20s. Legislation offering these same benefits had been introduced in Congress on numerous occasions and rejected each time.”

Trump added: “Only by the reliable enforcement of immigration law can we produce safe communities, a robust middle class and economic fairness for all Americans.”

He noted that officials from 10 states are suing over the program, and his legal advisers have determined that it is “unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.”

Those arguments did little to appease Democratic lawmakers.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, said DACA recipients “make our nation strong and represent the best of America” and rescinding the program “undermines our nation’s values and is a cruel betrayal” of DREAMers. Rep.Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, criticized the “cruel and arbitrary attack” on them.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, urged Congress to move forward with legislation known as the DREAM Act that would provide a path to citizenship for DREAMers — the term used for DACA recipients.

“Failure to protect young people who have come out of the shadows would constitute an abject moral failure,” Feinstein said.

Officials with the Service Employees International Union decried what it called a “shameful attack” against DACA beneficiaries.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles said members were ready to gather at the offices of Republican legislators, including Rep. Steven Knight in Santa Clarita and Rep. Mimi Walters in Irvine, as well as Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield.

Additionally, scores of workers and community members planned a midday march through downtown L.A. from the steps of City Hall to the federal building on the 200 block of east Temple Street.

Introduced by Obama in 2012, DACA allows people who were brought into the United States illegally as children to work and study in the country without fear of being deported. DACA has been available to immigrants without criminal records who were brought to the country when they were younger than 16 years old. Work permits issued under DACA must be renewed every two years.

Trump has taken a hard stance against illegal immigration, but until recently had not given a strong indication of whether he would keep DACA in place.

Asked over the weekend whether DACA recipients should be worried, Trump responded, “We love the DREAMers. We love everybody. … We think the DREAMers are terrific.”

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, is one of many elected officials of both parties who have criticized the president’s plans.

“Trump’s cowardly decision to end DACA goes against the very forces that have made America an exceptional country,” Lieu said. “Deporting hundreds of thousands of Asians and Latinos — nearly half of whom were brought to the U.S. before the age of 7 — is not only cruel, it will hurt our economy.”

EGP staff writers contributed to this report.

Activistas y “Soñadores” Defienden a DACA

August 29, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Jóvenes amparados por el programa de Acción Diferida (DACA), sus padres y defensores de los inmigrantes de California iniciaron el lunes una semana de acciones para defender este beneficio ante la demanda de fiscales de diez estados que piden su cancelación.

“Estamos bajo alerta por lo que pueda pasar este 5 de septiembre, que es el plazo que dieron los fiscales a la administración (del presidente Donald) Trump, así que este es un recordatorio para todos que vamos a estar en la lucha hasta las últimas consecuencias”, dijo a EFE Melody Klingenfuss, vocera de California Dream Network en Los Ángeles.

Las movilizaciones inician con una petición a la senadora Kamala Harris para que mantenga su compromiso con los beneficiados y trabaje por una legislación que les dé a los “soñadores” la residencia.

“Uno de cada cuatro soñadores vive en California y la senadora Harris sabe el valor del aporte que nosotros y nuestras familias le damos a la economía de este país”, insistió Klingenfuss, oriunda de Guatemala y beneficiada de DACA.

Los “soñadores”, que buscan reunirse con Harris al menos dos veces en esta semana, quieren además la reafirmación de compromisos de congresistas como Linda Sánchez y otros demócratas que representan al estado en el Congreso federal.

La Legislatura de California también será un objetivo de las acciones y varias delegaciones se unirán en Sacramento para hacer cabildeo.

“Necesitamos que el estado esté comprometido a defender a los “soñadores” y que no se conviertan en blanco de las autoridades locales”, explicó a EFE Jorge Mario Cabrera, vocero de la Coalición por los Derechos Humanos de los Inmigrantes (CHIRLA).

Los organizadores de esta semana de acciones quieren que la línea telefónica de la Casa Blanca para recibir sugerencias y opiniones del público sea saturada con pedidos de votantes para que se mantenga el programa creado por el expresidente Barack Obama en 2012 para proteger de la deportación a miles de jóvenes indocumentados.

“Están jugando con el Dream Act y haciendo apuestas políticas a ver quién gana y no podemos permitir que nos sigan utilizando de esta manera”, advirtió Ivan Ceja, director de UndocuMedia.

Ceja se refiere a la cruzada conservadora contra el programa que favorece a unos 800.000 jóvenes. Una coalición de procuradores estatales encabezada por el fiscal General de Texas, Ken Paxton exigió al presidente terminar con DACA antes del 5 de septiembre argumentando que es inconstitucional.

“Si el presidente Trump termina con DACA estaría demostrando una vez más que prefiere una agenda de supremacistas blancos y que no le interesa el bienestar del país”, advirtió Cabrera.

Al menos tres vigilias están programadas a lo largo de la semana en manifestaciones que se concentrarán en los edificios federales de inmigración.

Los activistas también quieren recordar a la comunidad la importancia del programa y varias pancartas gigantes con el mensaje “LA Stands With DACA” serán desplegadas en las principales autopistas de Los Ángeles, mientras que otra acción similar será realizada en Sacramento, capital del estado.

“Estamos invitando a todos, inmigrantes, estadounidenses, indocumentados, documentados que se unan a nosotros porque los ‘soñadores’ nunca abandonaremos las causas justas”, dijo Klingenfuss.

Groups Mobilize to Save DACA

August 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A coalition of civil rights groups today began a weeklong series of local events in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which may be threatened with extinction under Pres. Donald Trump.

They are mobilizing to save the Obama-era program that allows young people brought to the country illegally as children to stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation. Upwards of 800,000 people have already been granted DACA status and as many as 200,000 applications have been filed since Trump became president.

On Friday, administration officials said the president is weighting whether to allow the program to just expire or to cut it immediately. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Friday that the program “continues to be under review.”

Trump in April backed away from his harsh campaign rhetoric promising to deport anyone in the U.S. without permission, telling the Associated Press that he would prioritize the deportation of criminals. DACA recipients should “rest easy,” Trump said, adding that he would handle the program with “heart.”

Ten state attorneys general and one governor have threatened to sue the federal government if the program is not allowed to lapse on Sept. 5.

With that deadline looming, groups across the country are mobilizing to save DACA.

Locally, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) and the California Dream Network (CDN), in collaboration with young undocumented immigrants, their families and supporters today kicked off “Rise Up 4 DACA,” a series of actions taking place daily through Friday in a variety of locations throughout m Los Angeles County.

Coalition members started activities rolling this morning by putting up banners and posters at Los Angeles Street overpass of 101 Freeway, followed by a young people’s meeting with Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. at the UCLA Labor Center.

At the meeting, Harris, vowed to fight for DACA’s survival.

“We will fight to keep the spirit behind DACA alive and to keep the word that was spoken in connection with DACA alive and true,” Harris said.

The young people are also scheduled to later today visit U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez’ office in Norwalk.

The banner and poster drops will be repeated Tuesday and Thursday, while a “Save DACA” phone marathon to the White House will be held daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the CHIRLA Call Center on West Third Street.

Other activities include a caravan to Sacramento in support of DACA and SB 638, the anti-fraud immigration consultant bill and a large rally in support of DACA Friday morning in front of the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles.
Contains information from City News Service.

 

 

So Cal Leaders Decry San Bernardino School Shooting

April 10, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

Southland elected officials sent words of condolence today to victims of the shooting at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, with several of them condemning the violence as an incursion on what is supposed to be a safe place of learning.

“School campuses are sacred spaces where children should be free to learn, play and grow without threat of violence,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement released by his office. “Today’s shooting at North Park Elementary in San Bernardino is a reminder that deadly weapons can shatter that sense of security, mercilessly and without warning — leaving parents and educators struggling to address the questions, fears and anxieties that gun violence creates for our young people.”

City Council President Herb Wesson sent condolences via Twitter, writing, “Senseless violence like this is nothing less than a tragedy.”

Two adults — one of them a teacher — died in the shooting, and two children were critically wounded. Police said the shooting was an apparent murder-suicide, with a gunman walking on to the school campus, checking in at the office as a visitor and going to a classroom, where he opened fire at the teacher. The two children also suffered gunshot wounds, police said, but they were not believed to have been targeted by the gunman.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, said he was “heartbroken” by the shooting, noting that it was “even more tragic for (the) community as it comes on (the) heels of terror attack,” referencing the 2015 shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Ontario, whose district stretches into Los Angeles County, commended the response of law enforcement to the scene, and echoed Garcetti’s comments about the need to keep schools safe.

“Schools are supposed to be safe havens, and tragedies like today’s are becoming far too commonplace in our society,” Torres said. “While we are still gathering the facts, I am determined to do what I can to support those impacted by today’s shooting and take any actions necessary to protect our
community and prevent these senseless acts of violence from ever happening again.”

Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-El Monte, added, “Guns do not belong anywhere near schools, at any grade level, and we must do all we can to ensure our classrooms are safe environments for learning and growth. There are still many unanswered questions from today’s tragedy, but we cannot just talk about how to prevent gun violence, we must act.”

Gov. Jerry Brown said he and his wife “send our thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by today’s tragic shooting.”

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said she was “heartbroken” over the shooting.
 

Gov. Appoints Becerra to Replace Harris as Atty. Gen.

December 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

He’s the highest-ranking Latino in Congress, but Rep. Xavier Becerra will soon vacate his Congressional seat to become California’s first Latino Attorney General.

In a surprise move last Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced on Twitter his appointment of Becerra to replace Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris who has been elected to the U.S. Senate.

“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant — in the State Legislature, U.S. Congress, and as a deputy attorney general. I’m confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change,” Brown’s announcement said.

Becerra called the nomination “an opportunity I cannot refuse.”

The son of Mexican immigrants, Becerra, 58, is closing out his term as House Democratic Caucus Chair. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992 and is the first Latino to serve on the powerful Committee on Ways and Means. He’s also Chair of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security.

Before his election to Congress, Becerra served in the State Assembly and as a deputy attorney general in the California Department of Justice. He earned a law degree from Stanford Law School and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University.

A high-profile surrogate for Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president, Becerra was for a time floated as a possible vice-presidential running mate.

Brown’s nomination, though unexpected, is being viewed across the state as a strategic move to replace Harris with someone well prepared to do legal battle with the Trump Administration on multiple fronts, including climate change, immigration, and the economy. His intimate knowledge of the inner-workings of Capital politics, federal departments and budgets, as well as the relationships built over the last two decades are assets that could serve the state well in what could be a rocky road ahead.

(Office of Rep. Xavier Becerra)

(Office of Rep. Xavier Becerra)

“As a former deputy attorney general, I relished the chance to be our state’s chief law enforcement officer to protect consumers, advance criminal justice reform and, of course, keep our families safe,” Becerra said in his statement accepting the nomination, expressing gratitude for the governor’s confidence in his abilities.

“Governor Brown and our state leaders lean forward when it comes to advancing and protecting the rights and interests of the more than 38 million people in California,” said Becerra. He pointed out that during his 24 years in Congress he’s “been part of some of the greatest debates confronting our nation, from opposing the Iraq war, to fighting to help Americans recover from the Great Recession, to launching the bipartisan immigration talks and helping write our nation’s health security law.”

Becerra has national stature, regularly appearing on political talk shows and campaigning for Democrats across the country.

MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz congratulated Brown on the appointment, calling it “inspired.”

“California’s attorney general has numerous critical responsibilities, including defending the laws of the state and defending the rights of all of its residents. It is abundantly clear, based on MALDEF’s experience working with Rep. Becerra, that he will undertake these responsibilities with great skill and tremendous commitment; great success will result for all Californians,” Saenz said.

The California Latino Legislative Caucus is also hailing the appointment. Caucus Chair Assemblyman Luis Alejo called it “another historic milestone for Latino leadership in California…

“Rep. Becerra’s experience and leadership at the national level will be of great service to California as we gird ourselves for potential federal rollbacks of the progressive policies we have enacted for the people of this great state,” Alejo said. “With the racially divisive rhetoric we heard from the campaign of the President-elect, we can think of no better champion in the Attorney General’s office than Rep. Becerra.”

As attorney general, Becerra would become the second Latino in statewide office; Secretary of State Alex Padilla is the other. Both bodies in the State Legislature are also headed by Latinos, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin De León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who said “Becerra clearly has the experience to step into this vital role,” and the “tenacity” and “much-needed qualities for an attorney general given the troubling times ahead.”

Brown’s nomination will become official when Harris is sworn-in on Jan. 3. He must be confirmed by both the Senate and Assembly, which is widely expected to go forward without problem.

The timing of his appointment could make Becerra eligible to run for up to two additional terms — serving nearly 10 years as attorney general. It could also serve as a high-profile launching pad for a run for U.S. Senate or governor.

 

Kamala Harris: Primer ‘Mujer Biracial’ Electa Como Senadora de California

November 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

La fiscal de California, Kamala Harris, fue elegida el 8 de noviembre senadora en representación de California al imponerse a su rival, ganando con un 62.5% del voto ante el 37.5% de Loretta Sánchez, de acuerdo a la Secretaría del Estado de California.

Harris, de origen afroamericano e hindú contó con el apoyo del Partido Demócrata y echó abajo las aspiraciones de la también demócrata Sánchez de convertirse en la primera mujer hispana en representar a California en el Senado Federal.

De acuerdo con las normas electorales de California, los dos candidatos con mayor número de votos en las elecciones primarias -sin importar el partido que representan- se enfrentan en la ronda final, como fue el caso de Sánchez y Harris.

A lo largo de la campaña, Harris recibió el apoyo de los principales líderes políticos hispanos del estado, como el presidente interino del Senado, Kevin de León, o el presidente de la Cámara estatal, Anthony Rendón.

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Kamala Harris agredece su elección al Senado el Martes en California Foto: Por Fred Zermeno

 

El presidente, Barack Obama, también anunció su apoyo a Harris, al igual que lo hiciera recientemente el Fondo de Acción de CHIRLA, el brazo político de la mayor coalición latina de California de grupos defensores de los inmigrantes.

Asimismo, tanto la líder campesina Dolores Huerta como el sindicato de trabajadores agrarios latinos Unión de Campesinos, que Huerta cofundó, dieron su respaldo a Harris.

La nueva senadora, que por su origen será considerada la primera “mujer biracial” en el Senado en representación de California, reemplazará a la también demócrata Bárbara Bóxer, quien se retira este año luego de 24 años de mantener su asiento en la Cámara Alta.

Latinos at the Ballot Box

October 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

When Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump kicked off his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and drug dealers, Latinos were propelled into the forefront of political rhetoric that sought to marginalize their importance and value to the country or on the flip side motivated multiple campaigns to get the Latinos to the ballot box.

Click here to read Part 1 of Latino Factor: Changing the Face of Politics

The power of the Latino vote in recent years has been touted as a possible game changer in national elections, with both Democrats and Republicans citing the importance of their vote in Barack Obama’s winning of the presidency 8 years ago.

Efforts to get Latino permanent residents to become citizens so they can vote in November were significantly ramped up, as were the campaigns to get eligible, but unregistered voters signed up.

On Monday, a handful of registered voters showed up to a Voting Basics workshop in Commerce to become more informed before heading to vote Nov. 8. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

On Monday, a handful of registered voters showed up to a Voting Basics workshop in Commerce to become more informed before heading to vote Nov. 8. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Of the 27 million Latinos eligible to vote, more than 13 million are expected to head to the polls this November, according to the Pew Research Center.

For this two-part series, EGP spoke to a number of Latino elected officials from California about the history, power and influence of Latinos in the political arena. They described the struggles and discrimination faced by Latinos both in the past and the present. While they acknowledge there has been progress – such as the number of “political firsts” that includes Latinos leading both of California’s legislative bodies, more Latinos now serving on powerful congressional committees, in the president’s cabinet and in other leadership roles – all agreed there is still a long way to go to solidify Latino political strength.

They also discussed the evolution of what it means to be a Latino candidate, or worthy of Latino support.

In California, the U.S. Senate race between U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez and State Attorney General Kamala Harris in many ways highlights those changes.

The election has potential for its own “first.” If elected, Sanchez would be the first Latina to ever serve as a U.S. Senator: Harris would be California’s first African-American woman and first Asian-American woman in the U.S. Senate.

Part two of this series takes a closer look at what’s at stake for Latinos on Election Day and what it means for a Latinos to run for office.

 

The Latino Voice

The polarizing Presidential Election that polls still show is to close to call, has driven dozens of nonprofit and civil rights groups to launch outreach campaigns to register eligible Latino voters and encourage them to head to the polls next month.

According to a Pew Research Center report, Latinos are about 15 percent or more of the electorate in Florida, Nevada and Colorado, all key battleground states. In November, Latinos are projected to make up a record 27 million or 11.9 percent of all eligible U.S. voters, according to the report.

While the numbers are growing, the voter turnout among Latinos has not been as impressive. Despite a record 11.2 million Latinos casting their vote in 2012, it represented less than half of all the Latinos eligible to vote.

“Yes, Latinos can determine the election, we have the numbers,” acknowledged U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard. “My fear is [they] don’t show up to the ballot box.”

In contrast, African-Americans and White voters are more likely to turnout. In 2012, 64 percent of White and 66.6 percent of African-Americans eligible voters cast votes.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is partnering with colleges and universities and other organizations across the state to encourage voter registration. He says the importance of voting is often instilled when parents take their children to the polls, an experience unfamiliar to many Latino immigrants.

“My parents never took me to vote, it wasn’t our experience,” he told EGP. “Far too many families don’t have that tradition.”

Because nearly half of eligible Latino voters are between the ages of 18 and 35, a group already on its own less likely to vote, special attention has been focused on targeting Latino millennials. The nonprofit Voto Latino aims to empower Latino millennials through civic engagement and reports it has registered over 101,000 Latinos. The next battle will be to get them out on election day.

“This election is very important” to Latinos, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis told EGP. Especially “when you hear Donald Trump say these things,” says the daughter of immigrants, referring to his comments disparaging women, immigrants, specifically Mexicans.

The former labor secretary has been campaigning for Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling her a “good alternative for our community.”

“I believe she has a good record representing our community and I believe she will appoint Latinos to her cabinet,” Solis said.

Roybal-Allard tells EGP she often hears Latinos say “para que” (what’s the point) when it comes to voting, but hopes this election they consider the consequences.

“If they stay at home that’s like voting for Trump,” she said.

According to the Pew Research Center, a major factor in who voters support is their dislike for a candidate’s opponent.

Sanchez told EGP no matter whom they vote for, Latinos need to care about being represented at the polls.

“When our community doesn’t vote we give away our vote to the people who are voting,” she said.

 

Being Latino Is Important, But Not Everything

As EGP reported in part one of this series, in years past when there were few Latinos in elected office, being Latino was often the most important qualification for getting the Latino vote. The belief was that a Latino candidate would have a more comprehensive grasp and sensitivity to the issues and positions important to Latinos.

It was once unheard of for a Latino politician to endorse a non-Latino over a Latino in the same party, but the race between Sanchez and Harris is an example of how things have changed as more Latinos are elected to office.

For most, the fact that Sanchez is Latina is a factor, but by no means the biggest reason behind their endorsement.

“She’s a hard worker, dedicated and knowledgeable,” says Roybal-Allard, who has worked with Sanchez for nearly two decades. “I have seen first hand her commitment not just to Latinos but to our country.”

Roybal-Allard tells EGP she also endorsed Sanchez to ensure someone on the Senate would be sensitive to the needs of Southern California.

“The fact that she’s Latina is the cherry on top.”

Sanchez herself admits sometimes you don’t always want the Latino.

“Look at the presidential race, I was not going to vote for Ted Cruz.”

Instead, Sanchez asks that voters look at her resume, noting that during her 20 years in Congress she has served on the Committee on Armed Services and Committee on Homeland Security. She voted against the War in Iraq and supports immigration reform, and has been a supporter of small business.

“I know the issues, my opponent doesn’t have the experience” to get to work right away, says Sanchez, who has earned the endorsement of many of her colleagues in the House. “If we have a qualified Latina candidate and don’t choose the Latina then when the heck are we going to get one?”

The growing number of Latinos in office is what has perhaps made the shift in perspective possible.

“You want to have quality, good leadership,” points out Solis, who endorses Harris. She said Harris is on the right side of issues important to California Latinos. “I know some non-Latinos who fight for our rights.”

“We’ve evolved beyond looking at the color of our skin and instead focus on what a person brings,” she adds.

Other prominent Latino leaders including Sen. Pro Tem Kevin De Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon joined Solis in endorsing Harris, despite many expecting them to back the Latina with congressional experience.

Roybal-Allard told EGP this came as a surprise to her.

“It could be a lack of understanding to what it takes to be a member of congress,” she said. “There are different set of rules and Loretta [Sanchez] is someone that would hit the ground running,” the congresswoman said, noting the importance placed on seniority and established replacements.

Sanchez told EGP she thinks those who didn’t endorse her despite her qualifications were likely influenced by Northern politics in Sacramento.

It’s not about being Latina per se,” says Sanchez. “In this case I’m the qualified one with the experience.”

Endorsements in the race also show immigration is not the only issue important to Latinos.

Hector Barreto, president of the Hispanic Business Roundtable Institute, told EGP the group endorsed Sanchez because they have worked with the congresswoman for decades.

“Loretta [Sanchez] has always been passionate about helping small businesses,” he said. “It was a very easy decision,” he added.

The group tends to lean center right endorsing conservative candidates like Sen. John McCain and Sen. Marco Rubio this election.

Barreto said the group is concerned Harris will double down on efforts that hurt already struggling Latino-owned businesses by supporting more taxes and raising health care costs. There are 4 million Latino-owned businesses across the country, generating $700 billion in revenue each year, according to the Hispanic Business Roundtable Institute.

Sanchez on the other hand has been a champion in congress by fighting to get more federal contracts for small businesses and helping them have access to capital, said Barreto.

“If we can support a Hispanic candidate we will, but we don’t support a candidate [just because] they’re Hispanic.”

For those unsure of whom to vote for, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia hopes they ultimately mark the box next to Sanchez’ name.

“We did our research, our part to get this member on the ballot, she’s the qualified one,” Garcia said.

Congressman Xavier Becerra told EGP he chose not to endorse in the race and is instead concentrating on supporting Latinos running for seats in the House of Representatives. He told EGP he is happy to see there isn’t an absence of Latino candidates, and points out that in some races there is more than one Latino on the ballot.

“No doubt, when I hear a Latino is running I take an interest,” he said.

Solis predicts Latinos will have another bite at the apple when U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein retires.

Some political observers have speculated that deals were made early that a Latino would get Democrats support when Feinstein leaves office.

Meanwhile, Padilla told EGP he’s not endorsing in the race but says the U.S. Senate race is a reflection of the diversity of the state.

“Whether it’s the U.S. Senate this year or California Governor next year, I’m pretty sure there won’t be any state election without a strong viable Latino running for office.”

 

Loretta Sánchez se Enfrentará a Kamala Harris en Noviembre

June 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

La candidata de origen mexicano Loretta Sánchez pasó este martes la primera prueba para competir en noviembre por una plaza en el senado federal, lo que deja abierta la posibilidad para que California tenga por primera vez una senadora hispana.

La demócrata Sánchez, hija de inmigrantes mexicanos y quien cuenta con más de 20 años de experiencia en la Cámara de Representantes, obtuvo cerca de 942.000 sufragios, equivalentes a 18,5% del total de votos, en las primarias de este martes.

Su principal contrincante, Kamala Harris, quien recibió el apoyo de la Convención Demócrata en febrero, consiguió un poco más de 2 millones de votos, lo que representa el 40,3 % del total con el 99,7 % de precintos escrutados, según datos de la Registraduría estatal.

En las elecciones primarias de California los dos candidatos con mayor número de votos, sin distinción de partido político, ganan el derecho a competir en la elección de noviembre.

“Los ojos del país están sobre nosotros y sé que estamos preparados para que nosotros mismos, nuestro estado y nuestros colegas californianos estén orgullosos”, dijo Harris al celebrar su primer puesto.

Sánchez, por su parte, logró la aspiración de ir a la votación de noviembre y mantuvo su enfoque en su experiencia de dos décadas en el Congreso en Washington, donde ha formado parte de importantes comités de seguridad y defensa nacional.

“Yo sé cuál es mi posición en los temas más importantes, tengo 20 años de votos”, aseguró Sánchez ante sus seguidores luego de clasificar en una competencia que contó con 34 candidatos para reemplazar a la demócrata Bárbara Boxer, quien se retirará al terminar su período este año.

Además en las votaciones del martes fue aprobada la Proposición 50 que permite a los legisladores cortar los privilegios y beneficios, incluyendo los salarios, de los senadores o asambleístas que hayan sido suspendidos de sus funciones.
La propuesta logró más del 75% de respaldo superando los 3,7 millones de votos a favor. Cerca de 1,2 millones de electores votaron en contra.
La iniciativa surgió como respuesta a varios casos de legisladores investigados por las autoridades, que fueron suspendidos de sus funciones pero continuaron recibiendo su pago.

No obstante, oponentes de la medida han resaltado que la Proposición 50 elevó el número de votos necesarios para suspender a un legislador, llevándolo del 50% actual a dos tercios del total de los miembros del cuerpo legislativo correspondiente.

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