Calif. Delegation Meets With Dreamers

October 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

California members of Congress were in Los Angeles Wednesday where they held a roundtable discussion with young immigrants currently protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and by Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) — joined by Congress members Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Judy Chu (CA-27), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and other local leaders — said during a post-discussion press conference at the headquarters of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights CHIRLA, that federal lawmakers are working to pass  “clean” legislation that would give the young immigrants, often referred to as “dreamers,” permanent legal status, but not tied to construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pelosi and the Democrats said by the end of the year they hope to have the votes needed to pass the Dream Act 2017, a bipartisan bill introduced by Roybal-Allard, a Democrat, and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican.

“All we need is to vote,” said Pelosi, adding that “dreamers” have led a dignified crusade to get support for the bill. “The president must support this legislation because the American people are supporting it,” Pelosi said.

Twenty Republican votes are needed to move the Dream Act forward, according to Pelosi, who pointed out that some of the votes belong to Republicans from California. She said it’s a “marathon race” to the goal, suggesting that a vote could come before Thanksgiving Day.

Roybal-Allard said failure to pass the Dream Act would cause dreamers, who “have lived in this country” … and “built their lives here,” to “continue to live in fear of deportation, and … to “live in a world where they will not be able to grow and to contribute to their communities.”

“They gave their information, they signed up for DACA, believing in this country. And to do anything else but to protect them by passing the Dream Act is a betrayal, and would be a disgrace and a very ugly mark on this country,” Roybal-Allard said.

For Congressman Jimmy Gomez, who represents a large number of dreamers, Pelosi’s remarks are not only about a political strategy but also about public opinion in the country, including among conservatives.

“We know that 82 percent of Americans support ‘dreamers’, the debate will not end until this bill has been approved,” Gomez said.

“Definitely, the only weapon is to put pressure on these (Republican) congressmen who have already expressed their support and are repenting,” said DACA recipient and roundtable participant Mariana Villafaña.

Although Villafaña is not completely convinced public opinion can change the minds of Republicans, she believes the key is to target districts whose legislators are at risk of losing their seat to a Democrat.

CHIRLA Executive Director Angélica Salas asked that the immigrant community to not miss this “crucial” moment and to continue the struggle for “dreamers.”

Pelosi said she understands the frustration of dreamers who say they reject any strategy to legalize their status that does not also include legalization for all 11 million immigrants in the country without authorization, but stressed that as of now there is not enough “political capital” to achieve that goal.

“I would have liked to hear a little more force in the demands of the conservatives, but I understand that this is a strategy and we have no choice but to continue this struggle. December is the goal,” said Villafaña.

Democrats have threatened to block in the coming months any legislation Congress needs to keep the government going, such as the new federal budget for which Trump needs the support of Liberals if he wants to avoid a government shutdown.

Pelosi was optimistic Wednesday, going so far as to say she is “confident that President Trump will accept the negotiations and sign the law.”

Languidece la esperanza de los “soñadores” tras el plan migratorio de Trump

October 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Ángeles –Tras conocerse las prioridades migratorias del presidente Donald Trump y que condicionan de manera notable el dar estatus permanente a los beneficiarios del programa Acción Diferida (DACA), las esperanzas de lograrlo sin convertirse en un botín político languidecen para miles de “soñadores”.

“No sé que es lo que estamos haciendo mal en los ojos del presidente para que nos quiera tratar así a los ‘soñadores’, no entiendo”, indicó a Efe Marisol Hernandez, amparada por DACA.

El plan Trump enviado este domingo al Congreso establece que para legalizar a los “soñadores” se deben lograr tres objetivos: garantizar admisiones a EEUU “seguras y legales”, defender “la seguridad” del país y “proteger a los trabajadores y contribuyentes estadounidenses”.

Bajo estos alineamientos, que incluye la construcción del polémico muro con México, la posibilidad de lograr un acuerdo para legalizar a los “soñadores” sin lastimar a otros miles de inmigrantes parece desvanecerse, opinan jóvenes indocumentados.

“Ese señor no nos quiere, lo dijo desde el principio, no es que sea pesimista, soy realista”, insiste Hernandez, de 31 años, y oriunda de Ciudad de México.

La mujer, madre de dos pequeños nacidos en Estados Unidos, cree que como ya pasó con anterioridad finalmente nadie escuchará las voces de los indocumentados.

El plan Trump incluye además la contratación de más agentes migratorios y jueces, un sistema de méritos para conceder visas y un proceso más rápido en el retorno de los menores centroamericanos no acompañados que llegaron al país en los últimos años, entre otras medidas.

“El fiscal Jeff Sessions y el consejero Stephen Miller están detrás de este plan que emitió la Casa Blanca, ellos saben que con estas píldoras venenosas pueden acabar con el Dream Act, pero todavía no esta todo perdido”, advirtió Sheridan Aguirre, miembro del grupo de “soñadores” United We Dream.

Aguirre, que está protegido por DACA, entiende la frustración de muchos de sus compañeros de lucha, especialmente de aquellos que ya perdieron el beneficio.

Horacio R, un joven mexicano que se quedó sin el amparo de DACA, coincide con Aguirre en que no deben rendirse, aunque deban esperar de nuevo en las “sombras”.

“Trump no va a ser para siempre, dice mi papá, y yo creo lo mismo”, indicó.

Para Ivan Ceja, fundador y director de Undocumedia, el plan revelado por Trump reafirma la necesidad imperante de defender a todos los migrantes. El joven, amparado por DACA, cree que es hora de cerrar filas y no dejarse vencer por el temor.

United We Dream mantiene la necesidad de promover una legislación “limpia” que los proteja sin perjudicar a otros inmigrantes, incluidos sus propios padres.

Este miércoles, integrantes de UWD en Arizona visitarán la oficinas del senador John McCain para pedirle que apoye una legislación “limpia” que le permita a los soñadores un camino a la ciudadanía.

“La idea es poner un proyecto de ley bipartidista y limpio frente a Trump, a ver que hace”, dijo Aguirre.

California Dream Network hará cabildeo con los congresistas y senadores de la región de en Los Ángeles.

Melody Klingenfuss, vocera de la organización, aseguró que el objetivo es conseguir 218 votos de respaldo del proyecto Dream Act 2017 presentado por la congresista demócrata Lucille Roybal-Allard y la republicana Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

El objetivo es conseguir una legislación que dé estatus permanente a los miles de jóvenes indocumentados que llegaron al país siendo niños y lograrlo antes de que expire el programa creado por el ex presidente Barack Obama el próximo 5 de marzo de 2018, después de que Trump anunciase su cancelación para esa fecha.

Hasta entonces, el presidente espera que el Congreso apruebe una legislación en este sentido, aunque con su duro plan del domingo ha dificultado esta posibilidad.

“Puede que no sea en diciembre, o que pasemos del plazo de marzo para pasar un legislación, pero si nos mantenemos unidos y demostrando nuestro valor lo vamos a lograr”, consideró Aguirre.

100 Turkeys Donated Through Operation Gobble

November 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Over a dozen local organizations and families in need received Thanksgiving turkeys last week in Huntington Park during Golden State Water Company’s annual Operation Gobble.

The company donated 100 turkeys and an anonymous donor donated 137 gift certificates for turkeys. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) was at the event at the Oldtimers Foundation, where she greeted local organizations receiving donations.

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (center) greets a representative from Soledad Enrichment Action, which received donated turkeys as part of Operation Gobble. (Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard)

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (center) greets a representative from Soledad Enrichment Action, which received donated turkeys as part of Operation Gobble. (Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard)

Turkey recipients included A Place Called Home, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Eastmont Community Center, East Los Angeles Community Service Center, Edison Middle School, Gage Middle School, Garfield High School’s University Prep Program, Life After Uncivil Ruthless Acts, Elizabeth Learning Center, Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles, Gage Middle School, Oldtimers Foundation, Our Lady of Victory Parish, Soledad Enrichment Action, and Volunteers of East Los Angeles.

 

Southeast L.A. County Leaders React to Election

November 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

By the time the polling booths closed Tuesday in California, Southeast Los Angeles County residents attending a “Bad Hombres and Nasty Women” election night party were already glued to their phones and TV screens, anxiously watching the electoral votes tally up against their candidate, Hillary Clinton.

The tongue-in-cheek event, hosted by Democrat Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia at The Bicycle Casino Hotel in Bell Gardens, was supposed to be a victory celebration, after all, almost all the polls earlier in the day had signaled victory for Clinton. Instead, a Donald Trump piñata sat untouched at the bar and a solemn mood persisted throughout the night.

At a Democratic "victory party' at The Bicycle Casino Tuesday, Hillary Clinton supporter Evamarie Balderas watches in disbelief as numbers fall into the win column for Donald Trump. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

At a Democratic “victory party’ at The Bicycle Casino Tuesday, Hillary Clinton supporter Evamarie Balderas watches in disbelief as numbers fall into the win column for Donald Trump. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Garcia kicked off the evening by asking attendees to stay focused and hopeful, despite Trump’s early lead.

“Irrespective of what happens we must show unity,” she told the crowd.

Yet, as the clock moved closer to midnight and projections for key battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Iowa brought Trump closer to the 270 electoral votes he needed to secure the election, the bar got busier as attendees struggled with disbelief.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” one person said.

“How did it get like this,” asked another in shock.

The local elected officials, campaign strategists and residents tried to do the math and tally the numbers, hoping for a Hail Mary victory for Clinton, but it was increasingly clear the night would not end as they’d hoped, and the impact would be far-reaching.

“This is a wake up call for our community and for our state,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard told the crowd as Trump’s lead continued to grow Tuesday. (EGP Photo by Nancy Martinez)

“This is a wake up call for our community and for our state,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard told the crowd as Trump’s lead continued to grow Tuesday. (EGP Photo by Nancy Martinez)

“Even if she wins, it’s very disappointing that someone who has dishonored our culture, insulted every minority, talked [disparagingly] about immigrants – and in spite of all that, so many people supported him …even Latinos,” a dismayed Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard told EGP .

The cloud from the presidential race made it difficult for elected officials at the event to celebrate their own victories: Garcia was reelected to serve the 58th District, Sen. Ricardo Lara will contine to serve the 33th District, Rep. Linda Sanchez, chair of the Hispanic Caucus, will once again represent District 38 in Congress and Roybal-Allard, the first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress easily held on to her seat in the 40th District.

“This is a wake up call for our community and for our state,” Roybal-Allard told the crowd as Trump’s lead continued to grow. “Take tonight, regardless of turnout and use it as a foundation for building awareness, strengthening our community and being proud of being American.”

Rep. Linda Sanchez speaks to room full of Democrats Tuesday at the "Bad Hombres and Nasty Women" election night party in Bell Gardens. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Rep. Linda Sanchez speaks to room full of Democrats Tuesday at the “Bad Hombres and Nasty Women” election night party in Bell Gardens. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

In the early hours of the morning, business mogul and TV personality, and now President-Elect Donald Trump would rule the night, beating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, receiving 279 electoral votes to Clinton’s 228. Clinton was ahead in the popular vote.

Excerpts from EGP’s Election Night interviews:

Senator Ricardo Lara on electing more “nasty women and bad hombres:”

“We’re used to fighting,” he said. “We’re looking to elect more women and Latinos to state legislator.”

Rep. Linda Sanchez on being proud of California Democrats:

While campaigning in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona there were always “busloads of California Democrats [trying] to help turn those states blue,” she told the large crowd of Democrats. “As we’re still waiting for election results I know I did everything in my power before November to bring it home for Hillary Clinton.”

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard on Hillary Clinton’s Challenges:

“Part of what happened was the press and FBI Director [James] Comey,” she told EGP. “It was hard to recover from misinformation that was out; the FBI really undermined the election.”

On the U.S. Senate Race: “Its kind of sad that in the most Latino state we didn’t elect the Latina,” she said. “Southern California will not have reps in Washington.”

On Prop 64: “Given what’s happened in Colorado and facts from reputable, proven science that have shown marijuana negatively impacts the brain, there is just not enough research and safety regulations in place.”

On a Trump Presidency: “The reality is if Donald Trump wins the election I don’t know if he will follow through on what he promised like the wall and getting rid of immigrants,” she told EGP. “Everything is up in the air.”

Senator Tony Mendoza on what election means for State: “California will not change one bit, it stands alone and is trendsetter,” he said. “We have to set the example, nationwide we still need a lot of work to do.”

“Next session we have a lot of untouched issues, many that revolve around transportation.”

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia on increasing the number of women and minorities in the State Legislature: “I made a commitment to uplift other women,” she told EGP. “For women and women of color the work starts today to make sure our country looks more like California.”

On Prop 64: “There needs to be a change in the system,” she said. “My community is more likely get in trouble.”

Commerce Mayor Ivan Altamirano on Measure M:

“If it passes I’m hoping it will create a win-win and we can all sit at the table and start to fix our neighborhoods,” he told EGP. “In a way the repair of the 5 freeway was the main concern for Commerce, the expansion of the freeway needs to happen right, not 20 years from now.

Montebello Unified School Board Member Joanne Flores on Prop 51: “It will help us with funding tremendously,” she told EGP. “It will compliment funds we already have from our local bond that passed.”

Latinos en las Urnas

October 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Cuando Donald Trump, el nominado republicano a la presidencia, empezó su campaña llamando a los mexicanos “violadores y traficantes de drogas” los latinos fueron empujados hacia el frente de la retórica política. Todo, en una búsqueda de marginalizar la importancia del grupo y de su valor al país y por ende, causó que múltiples campañas empujen a los latinos hacia las urnas.

El poder del voto latino, en años recientes, ha sido arraigado como un posible punto de inflexión en las elecciones nacionales. Esto es tanto que los Demócratas como los Republicanos han mencionado la importancia que éste voto tuvo en la victoria de Barack Obama a la presidencia hace 8 años.

Esfuerzos para persuadir a los residentes permanentes latinos a convertirse en ciudadanos, para que puedan votar en noviembre, subieron significativamente, al igual que las campañas para registrar a los votantes elegibles.

De los 27 millones de votantes elegibles, más de 13 millones son esperados a que se dirijan a las casillas de votación en noviembre, de acuerdo al Centro de Investigación Pew.

En ésta serie de dos partes, EGP habló con varios oficiales latinos electos, de California, acerca de la historia, poder e influencia que los latinos han tenido en la política. Ellos describieron las luchas y discriminaciones a que los latinos se han enfrentado tanto como en el pasado como en el presente. Tambien admitieron que ha habido progreso, como el numero de “primerizas en la política” las cuales incluyen a latinos encabezando grupos legislativos en California y a más latinos que ahora sirven en comités poderosos en el congreso y en el gabinete presidencial. Sin embargo, todos acordaron de que todavía hay un gran camino por recorrer para fortalecer el poder político latino.

Ellos también hablaron acerca de la evolución de lo que significa ser un candidato latino, o el ser digno del apoyo latino.

En California, la carrera para el Senado de Estados Unidos, entre la representante Loretta Sánchez y de la fiscal estatal de estado, Kamala Harris, en varias maneras resalta esos cambios e indica la complejidad del poder y la influencia. Esa elección tiene el potencial de producir una “primeriza política”. Si es electa, Sánchez sería la primer latina en servir como senadora de Estados Unidos. En cuanto Harris, se convertiría en la primer mujer afro-americana y la primera asiática-americana al mismo puesto, si es electa.

La segunda parte de ésta serie analizará más a fondo lo que está en juego para los latinos el Día de Elecciones y lo que significa para los latinos postularse como candidatos.

La Voz Latina

La Elección Presidencial a polarizado a muchos y las encuestas demuestran que aun permanece reñida. Al igual, ha impulsado a docenas de organizaciones sin lucro y a grupos de derechos humanos a lanzar campañas de alcance intentando registrar a latinos elegibles para votar.

De acuerdo a un reporte del Centro de Investigación Pew, los latinos componen alrededor del 15% del electorado en Florida, Nevada, Colorado, todos estados decisivos y disputados. En noviembre, se proyecta que los votantes latinos llegaran o totalizar 27 millones de personas, un 11.9 por ciento de los votantes elegibles en el país, de acuerdo al reporte.

Mientras que los números siguen creciendo, la participación electoral entre los latinos no ha sido impresionante. A pesar de que 11.2 millones de latinos, un número récord, salieron a votar en el 2012, este número representó menos de la mitad del grupo elegible para votar.

“Sí, los latinos pueden determinar la elección ya que tenemos la cantidad necesaria”, reconoció la representante de Estados Unidos, Lucille Roybal-Allard. “Mi temor es que [ellos] no salgan a las urnas”.

En cambio, los votantes afro-americanos y blancos son más probables en aparecerse el día de la elección. En 2012, 64 por ciento de los votante elegibles de la comunidad blanca y el 66.6 por ciento de los afro-americanos salieron a votar.

Alex Padilla, secretario estatal de California, se está uniendo con colegios y universidades al igual que otras organizaciones a lo largo del estado para motivar a los votantes a que se registren. Él dice que la importancia de votar es usualmente impuesta cuando los padres llevan a sus hijos a las casillas de votación, una experiencia desconocida para muchos inmigrantes latinos.

“Mis padres nunca me llevaron a votar, no fue nuestra experiencia”, le dijo a EGP. “Demasiadas familias carecen de ésta tradición”.

Ya que casi la mitad de los votantes elegibles para votar, en la comunidad latina, son de las edades 18 a 35, un grupo ya predispuesto a no votar, atención especial se ha dirigido hacia ellos, los llamados “mileniales” (o Millennials en inglés). La organización sin lucro, Voto Latino, busca empoderar a los latinos mileniales a participar en compromisos cívicos y reportan a más de 101,000 latinos registrados. La próxima batalla será motivarlos a que se hagan presente el día de la elección.

“Ésta elección es sumamente importante” para los latinos, le dijo a EGP Hilda Solís, supervisora del Condado de Los Ángeles. Especialmente “cuando se escucha a Donald Trump decir ese tipo de cosas”, dijo la hija de inmigrantes, refiriéndose a los comentarios despreciativos hacia las mujeres, inmigrantes, especialemente a los mexicanos.

La exsecretaria de labor, ha estado trabajando en campañas a favor de la candidata presidencial demócrata y exsecretaria de estado, Hillary Clinton. Ella considera a Clinton una “buena alternativa para nuestra comunidad”.

“Creo que tiene un buen récord en su representación de nuestra comunidad y creo que nombrará a más latinos a posiciones en su gabinete presidencial”, dijo Solís.

Roybal-Allard le digo a EGP que a menudo escucha que los latinos dicen que “para qué” deberán votar, pero espera que consideren las consecuencias de no hacerlo en estas elecciones.

“Si se quedan en casa es como que estén votando por Trump”, agregó.

El lunes, un grupo de votantes registrados asistieron al taller, “Voting Basics” en Commerce para mejor informarse antes de las elecciones del 8 de noviembre.

“A estas alturas, simplemente estoy votando por el menor de los dos males”, dijo Ivette Sandoval.

Miembros de la comunidad en el taller "Voting Basics" en Commerce el pasado lunes. Foto de EGP por Nancy Martínez.

Miembros de la comunidad en el taller “Voting Basics” en Commerce el pasado lunes. Foto de EGP por Nancy Martínez.

De acuerdo al Centro de Investigaciones Pew, un factor principal en quien recibirá el apoyo de los votantes es su desagrado por el otro candidato.

Rep. Sánchez le dijo a EGP que no importa por quien voten, los latinos necesitan preocuparse en ser representados en las urnas.

“Cuando nuestra comunidad no vota, le damos el poder a los que sí”, dijo ella.

El Ser Latino es Importante, Pero no lo es Todo

Según los reportes de EGP, en la primera parte de ésta serie, durante los años pasados cuando habían pocos latinos en posiciones electas, el ser latino era a veces la calificación más importante para obtener el apoyo de la comunidad. La creencia de que un candidato latino tendría una comprensión mayor y sensibilidad a los temas relacionados con los latinos era importante.

Antes, no se escuchaba de que latinos apoyaran a candidatos que no fueran latinos, dentro del mismo partido. Sin embargo, la carrera hacia el Senado entre Sánchez y Harris, muestra que las cosas han cambiado.

En su mayoría, el hecho de que Sánchez es latina es un factor, pero no es el motivo principal del apoyo que ha recibido.

“Es una persona trabajadora, dedicada y conocedora”, dijo Roybal-Allard, quien ha trabajado con Sánchez por casi dos décadas. “He presenciado su dedicación no solo a la comunidad latina sino que a nuestro país”.

Roybal-Allard le dijo a EGP que también apoya a Sánchez para asegurarse de que aya alguien en el Senado que sea sensible a las necesidades del Sur de California.

“El hecho de que es latina es una ventaja adicional”, dijo.

Sánchez misma admitió que a veces no siempre se necesita elegir al latino.

“Miren a la carrera presidencial, yo no iba a votar por Ted Cruz”, dijo ella.

En lugar, Sánchez le pide a los votantes a que analicen sus calificaciones, enfatizando que durante los 20 años que sirvió en el Congreso, ella fue parte del Comité de Servicios Armados y el Comité de Seguridad Nacional. Ella también votó en contra de la Guerra en Iraq y apoya a la reforma migratoria y a los negocios pequeños.

“Conozco los problemas y mi oponente no tiene la experiencia necesaria” para ponerse a trabajar inmediatamente, dijo Sánchez, quien se ha ganado el apoyo de varios de sus colegas. “Si tenemos a una latina calificada y no la escogemos, entonces hasta cuando vamos a obtener a otra?”

El número creciente de Latinos en cargos oficiales es lo que talvez ha causado el cambio en perspectiva.

“Se necesita tener calidad y buen liderazgo”, dijo Solís, quien apoya a Harris. Ella dijo que Harris está al lado correcto de los temas de importancia para los latinos californianos.

“Conozco a personas que no son latinas que lucharan por nuestros derechos”, dijo. “Hemos evolucionado más aya del ver nada más el color de piel de alguien y ahora nos podemos enfocar en lo que la persona ofrece”, agregó.

Otros lideres latinos prominentes incluyen al senador pro tem, Kevin de León y al vocero de la asamblea, Anthony Rendón, quienes junto con Solís apoyan a Harris. Esto, a pesar de que muchos esperaban de que ellos apoyaran a la latina con experiencia en el Congreso.

Roybal-Allard le dijo a EGP que esto fue una sorpresa para ella.

Puede ser una falta de conocimiento de lo que significa ser miembro del Congreso”, dijo ella. “Hay un set de reglas diferentes y Loretta [Sánchez] es alguien que empezaría con fuerza”, dijo la congresista, notando la importancia que se le pone a la precedencia y a los reemplazos establecidos.

Sánchez le dijo a EGP que piensa que aquellos que no la apoyan, a pesar de sus calificaciones, fueron probablemente influenciados por políticas norteñas llegadas desde Sacramento.

“No se trata de ser la latina”, dijo Sánchez. “En este caso, se trata de que soy la capacitada y tengo la experiencia”.

Los respaldos exhibidos en la carrera también demuestran que el tema de inmigración no es lo único que les importa a los latinos.

Héctor Barreto, presidente del Instituto, “Hispanic Business Roundtable”, le dijo a EGP que apoyan a Sánchez porque han trabajado con ella, personalmente, por décadas.

“Loretta [Sánchez] siempre ha sido apasionada en ayudar a los negocios pequeños”, dijo él. “Fue una decisión fácil”, agregó.

El grupo tiende a inclinarse al lado centro derecho, apoyando a candidatos conservativos como el senador John McCain y el senador Marco Rubio, durante ésta elección.

Barreto dijo que el grupo está preocupado de que Harris redoble los esfuerzos que ya han perjudicado a los negocios que pasan dificultades, poseídos por latinos, apoyando el incremento de impuestos y costos de seguros médicos más altos. De acuerdo al Instituto, “Hispanic Business Roundtable”, hay cuatro millones de negocios de latinos a lo largo del país, que generan $700 billones en ingresos cada año.

En cambio, Sánchez ha sido campeona en el Congreso, luchando por obtener mas contratos para negocios pequeños, ayudándolos con su acceso al capital, dijo Barreto.

“Si podemos apoyar al candidato hispano, lo haremos, pero no apoyamos a un candidato [simplemente porque] sea hispano”.

Para aquellos que no estén seguros por quien votar, la asambleísta, Cristina García, espera que últimamente escojan el nombre de Sánchez.

“Hicimos nuestras investigaciones por nuestra parte para traer a este miembro a la balota; ella es la capacitada”, dijo García.

El congresista Xavier Becerra le dijo a EGP que decidió en no mandar su apoyo al senado, y en lugar se está concentrando en apoyar a los latinos que están corriendo para tomar puestos en la Cámara de Representantes. Él le dijo a EGP que está contento en ver que los latinos no están ausentes y que a veces hasta hay más que uno.

“Sin duda, cuando escucho que hay alguien latino en la carrera me cuasa interes”, dijo.

Solís predice que los latinos tendrán otra oportunidad cuando la senadora Diana Feinstein se retire.

Algunos observadores políticos especulan que tratos se hicieron, desde temprano, para que un latino recibá el puesto cuando Feinstein se retire.

Mientras tanto, Padilla le dijo a EGP que su oficina eligió en no apoyar a nadie en ésta elección pero dijo que la carrera al Senado refleja la diversidad del estado.

“No importa si es la carrera para el Senado o para el gobernador de California el año entrante, estoy seguro que no habrá ninguna elección estatal sin un nombre latino”.

Latino Factor: Changing the Face of Politics

September 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Much is being made these days of the potential power of the Latino vote, both here in California and on the national stage.

Political strategists point to the role Latinos played 8 years ago in tipping the presidential race in Barack Obama’s favor, and continue to say that if Latinos register and show up to vote they could again have sway in the 2016 Presidential Election pitting GOP candidate Donald Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Click here to read Part 2 of Latino Factor: Changing the Face of Politics

At more than 57 million strong, or nearly 18% of the total U.S. population, and with the largest growth in recent years taking place in areas that according to the Pew Research Center previously had very few Latinos, like North Dakota, there’s good reason to see political opportunity.

But it wasn’t too long ago that the influence of Latinos was more dream than reality. Latino elected officials were rare and for many Latino political and civil rights activists the most important credentials for a candidate was that they have a Spanish surname and be a Democrat, and you always supported the Latino in the race. And for more than a decade, immigration has been the top issue in nearly every campaign to reach Latinos.

For this two-part story on the influence of Latinos in politics today, EGP reached out to a number of Latino elected officials from California to get their views. What we repeatedly heard is that there has been progress, but there’s still a long way to go. We also heard that immigration will continue to be an important issue to Latinos, but these days “every issue is a Latino issue.” And while being Latino is important, in the political arena it alone may no longer be cause for endorsement.

 

To Understand the Present, You Have to Know the Past

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, the first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress, is excited to see the new batch of Hispanic leaders on both sides of the aisle in Congress.

She just hopes these new lawmakers understand the discrimination their predecessors faced, the struggles to get Latinos elected in the first place, and the significance of having one of their own sitting at the table where the country’s most important decisions and policies are made.

“We must not forget the past, we must not take for granted the struggles of those before us and revisit our history,” she told EGP. “Don’t forget there were once signs that read ‘no dogs, no Negros, no Mexicans.”

Roybal-Allard witnessed first hand the discrimination against Latinos brave enough to run for office, and determined to pave the way for future leaders despite their poor treatment. Her father, Edward R. Roybal, the first Latino elected to the Los Angeles City Council and one of the first Latinos to represent California in Congress, was one of them.

U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, with her late father Rep. Roybal R. Roybal during a committee hearing. (Courtesy of Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard)

U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, with her late father Rep. Edward R. Roybal during a committee hearing. (Courtesy of Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard)

Getting elected at a time when many people would just vote against a candidate because they were Hispanic was difficult, and it took a strong grassroots effort in the Latino community and help from labor unions to win Roybal a seat on the LA City Council. Even then, he was not treated as an equal because of his Mexican heritage. The discrimination continued when he was elected to the Congress, and invitations were not extended his way.

“We would go to places and people would spit on us and tell us to go back where we came from,” she recalled, noting that his position was no guarantee they would be treated with respect.

But he persevered and during his 30 years in Congress, Roybal co-founded and chaired the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and chaired a powerful Appropriations subcommittee, and always advocated for Latinos.

Roybal-Allard had her own encounters with discrimination as an elected official. She told EGP that during the early 1990s she and the other Latinas in Congress were routinely stopped at the door of the House of Representatives, the assumption being they could not possibly be members of Congress.

“Many of my colleagues didn’t know what it meant to be Hispanic,” Roybal-Allard said, pointing out that African-Americans were the only minority some of her Congressional colleagues had ever met.

“Absolutely we have made some progress, but we still have a long way to go,” she added.

As a female, minority and often the youngest person in the room, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis says she faced similar obstacles on her way to the White House.

Her high school counselor advised her to skip college and to go work as a secretary, ironically, years later she would became the first Latina to serve as Secretary of Labor, appointed by President Barack Obama. In another first, Solis was the first Latina elected to the California Senate.

“People underestimate you,” she told EGP, referring to those who doubted her capabilities. “I was fortunate, to always resist that.”

Congressman Xavier Becerra is the first Latino to serve on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and is today the highest-ranking Latino in Congress. He told EGP there were only a handful of Latinos in Congress when he was first elected in 1992. Latino leaders used to feel like outsiders, he recalled. “To have a Latino in a high office was a very proud moment.”

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the first Latino and youngest person elected president of the Los Angeles City Council, told EGP that the rhetoric in this year’s presidential campaign reminds him of the political climate that existed in 1994 when Proposition 187 – which proposed to prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving public benefits ¬– was on the ballot.

It was then, years before he ran for office, that he says he realized it wasn’t easy for Latinos in government.

Although both sides of the aisle are now courting Latinos, for too long Latinos were often on the outside, says Becerra.

“A lot of us worked within the system with the perspective of being outsiders,” he said. “It’s changing and now we are seeing what it feels like to be included.”

 

Wider Influence Today

Republican and Democratic political pundits and strategist across the country have repeatedly said that winning the 2016 Presidential Election will require winning a majority of Latino votes.

Yet one need only look at the number of “political firsts” in recent years – Sonia Sotomayor’s becoming the first Latina on the U.S. Supreme Court, Antonio Villaraigosa’s election as Los Angeles’ first Latino mayor in over a hundred years, and for the first time in modern history, Latinos now hold the top two leadership roles in the California Legislature – to understand the relative newness of Latino political influence at the ballot box.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis pictured with President Barrack Obama and other White House officials during her time as Secretary of Labor. Solis was the first Latina to serve on a President’s Cabinet. (Courtesy of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis )

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis pictured with President Barrack Obama and other White House officials during her time as Secretary of Labor. Solis was the first Latina to serve on a President’s Cabinet. (Courtesy of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis )

All the Latino leaders we interviewed, however, said you have to celebrate these milestones, not just look at the deficits.

As an example, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Congressman Becerra were all touted as possible running mates for Hillary Clinton.

More Latinos now serve on the most powerful congressional committees that decide which bills move forward and get funding, and in the case of Roybal-Allard, the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Committee, how we will pay for our national security.

Only 37 of the 535 members of Congress are Latino, but according to Roybal-Allard, many of them are better prepared for the rigors of the office then their predecessors.

“The more Latinos get elected the more input and influence we have on policy,” she stresses, adding that the hope is more Latinos will be elected in November.

In California, where about 15 million Latinos call home and make up 39 percent of the population, many leaders still see Latinos as “underrepresented.” Of the 120 members in the Assembly and Senate, only 22 are Latino. However, the leaders of both bodies are Latino: Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

But the small number does make it harder for “for us to be a voice for Latinos,” says Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who represents a number of Latino majority cities in southeastern Los Angeles County, including Bell Garden and Commerce. “We need to be at the table,” she said, explaining her desire to see more Latinos and Latinas elected to office.

“It’s helpful to our community when we have people that have personal experience with the needs of our areas,” agrees Roybal-Allard.

Which leads back to the belief that every issue is a Latino issue.

“Latinos are not just interested in immigration,” emphasizes Roybal-Allard. “Latinos care about all issues.”

There is no difference between what a Latino wants and what their non-Latino counterparts demand from the government, says Becerra.

“They want a good job, good education and a safe place to live,” he told EGP.

Roybal-Allard believes that in some states where the Latino population is growing, fear and misunderstanding are contributing to the mistaken belief that Latinos will only fight for their interests, and somehow those interests are different.

Solis acknowledges she acts as voice and advocate for the Latino community in Los Angeles County. She points out, however, that the issues and policies she has fought for, including increasing the minimum wage, enforcement of wage theft laws and for environmental justice, do not only help Latinos, but everyone.

“Every issue is a Latino issue,” says Rep. Loretta Sanchez. “I don’t think our agenda is any different or should be defined by immigration.”

 

 

In part 2 of this two-part series, EGP will delve deeper into the November election and the potential of the Latino vote.

‘Set Goals High,’ Chancellor Tells Students

September 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

COMMERCE – Getting local students and their families ready for college has long been a city goal in Commerce.

As far as the city is concerned, it’s never too early to start planning for college or too late to get a college degree.

Each year, the city’s Public Library and Education Commission holds a college fair where middle to high school aged students and adults heading back to school are able to meet with representatives from a wide range of colleges and universities and take part in workshops on everything from admission criteria to college life and finding financial assistance and scholarships.

Commerce’s latest college resource fair took place Saturday at Veterans Park and despite scorching temperatures it again attracted residents from Commerce as well as nearby cities like Bell Gardens.

Most Commerce residents attend schools in the Montebello Unified School District, but some do attend Los Angeles Unified schools. There is no high school in Commerce, however, so once students complete middle school they move on to high schools in other cities, including Bell Gardens and Montebello.

Los Angeles Community College District Chancellor Dr. Francisco C. Rodriguez was the keynote speaker Saturday at Veterans Park where this year’s college fair was held.

“My speech is mainly four words,” Rodriguez told participants, showing the audience the white index card where he’d written those words.

“Those four words are ‘No Fear’ and ‘No Borders.’ Don’t be afraid of dreaming big and don’t be limited by anything in this world,” the Chancellor said.

“I shared a bit of my story as a first-generation college student, growing up in a household where my immigrant parents spoke no English and had limited formal education,” Rodriguez told EGP in an email. “Today, I serve as Chancellor of the largest community college district in the nation,” he said, pointing out that obtaining a college education is what made a difference in his life.

L.A. Community College District Chancellor Dr. Francisco C. Rodriguez, pictured, encouraged students to “dream big” during the Annual Commerce to College Fair Saturday at Veterans Park. (Courtesy of the City of  Commerce)

L.A. Community College District Chancellor Dr. Francisco C. Rodriguez, pictured, encouraged students to “dream big” during the Annual Commerce to College Fair Saturday at Veterans Park. (Courtesy of the City of Commerce)

Rodriguez told students not to be afraid to go to college or to ask for help when they need it.

“We live in the ‘century of no excuses’ and students should utilize the vast resources available to them through their schools and libraries,” Rodriguez told EGP, adding that he warned students against setting limits on themselves or setting their goals “too low and reaching them.” He encouraged students to instead set their goals high, “even though they may appear unreachable.”

“Students have untapped potential that they are not even aware of” the Chancellor told EGP in his email.

In 2017, in partnership with the city of Los Angeles, the LA Community College District (LACCD) will offer a free year of tuition to seniors graduating from an LA Unified public or charter high school. LACCD Board President Scott Svonkin said last week that the college district hopes to expand the “L.A. College Promise” program in future years, with the eventual goal being to provide free community college to all.

In the meantime, while the program is being spearheaded by the city of L.A., Commerce families with a senior graduating in 2017 from an LA Unified high school can qualify for the free year of college tuition.

Also speaking Saturday was Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) who represents Commerce and many of the surrounding southeast cities. Recognizing that paying for college can be challenging, Roybal-Allard and her staff shared information about her “Paying for College Student Resource Guide.” The guide contains a directory of scholarships, internships, fellowships, and other educational opportunities for students.

According to Roybal-Allard’s Office, the guide can be downloaded from her website at http://roybal-allard.house.gov/uploadedfiles/student_resource_guide.pdf.

Commerce public libraries offer other college preparedness workshops to residents throughout the year, including SAT prep courses and financial aid workshops. For more information, visit the library website at www.cityofcommercepubliclibrary.org.

 

Feria Universitaria Insta a Jóvenes a Soñar en Grande

September 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Cada año, la Biblioteca Pública de Commerce junto con la Comisión Educativa, ofrecen una feria universitaria en dónde estudiantes de escuelas intermedias y secundaria pueden hablar con representantes de colegios y universidades.

La feria tomó lugar el sábado en el Parque Veterans en dónde Francisco C. Rodríguez, el canciller de el Distrito de Colegios Comunitarios de Los Ángeles fue el orador principal.

“Mi discurso consiste básicamente de cuatro palabras”, dijo Rodríguez al enseñarles el papel en dónde había escrito esas palabras.

“‘Ningún miedo’ y ‘Ninguna frontera.’ No tengan miedo de soñar en grande y no se limiten por nada en este mundo”, dijo el canciller.

La congresista, Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) quien representa a Commerce y a muchas ciudades alrededor también asistió al evento.

Ella compartió información acerca del manual “Paying for College Student Resource Guide”, compilado por ella, ya que reconoce lo difícil que es pagar por una educación universitaria. El manual provee un listado con información detallada de becas, pasantías, agrupaciones y otras oportunidades educativas disponibles para los estudiantes.

La Bibliotecas Pública de Commerce también ofrece talleres de preparación a los residentes a lo largo del año, incluyendo cursos para el examen SAT y de ayuda financiera. Para más información puede visitar el sitio Web de las bibliotecas aquí. 

Durante su visita a la Feria Universitaria de Commerce, la congresista Lucille Roybal-Allard se reunió con (de Izq. a derecha) la concejal de Commerce Lilia, León, Martha Cabral y el Senador Estatal, Tony Mendoza. Foto: Cortesía de la Oficina de Lucille Roybal-Allard.

Durante su visita a la Feria Universitaria de Commerce, la congresista Lucille Roybal-Allard se reunió con (de Izq. a derecha) la concejal de Commerce Lilia, León, Martha Cabral y el Senador Estatal, Tony Mendoza. Foto: Cortesía de la Oficina de Lucille Roybal-Allard.

June 7, 2016 Primary Election Preliminary Results

June 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

United States President
Democratic Party
Hillary Clinton    1,940,773 (55.8%)
Bernie Sanders     1,502,187 (43.2%)

Republican Party
Donald Trump    1,175,270 (75.3%)
John R. Kasich    176,655 (11.3%)
Ted Cruz        144,173 (9.2%)

United States Senator
*Kamala D. Harris    2,051,252 (40.3%)
*Loretta L. Sanchez    943,091 (18.5%)
United States Representative
32nd District
Grace F. Napolitano    41,423 (51.73%)
Gordon E. Fisher        19,439 (24.27%)
Roger Hernandez        19,219 (24%)

34th District
Xavier Becerra        52,349 (79.61%)
Adrienne N. Edwards     13,410 (20.39%)

38th District
Linda T. Sanchez        63,037 (70.45%)
Ryan Downing        18,572 (20.76%)
Scott Michael Adams    7,870 (8.8%)

40th District
Lucille Roybal-Allard      43,809 (76.66%)
Roman G. Gonzalez      13,336 (23.34%)

State Senator
33rd District
Ricardo Lara        72,151 (100%)

State Assembly
51st District
Jimmy Gomez        45,075 (100%)

53rd District
*Miguel Santiago        16,316 (47.04%)
*Sandra Mendoza        13,727 (39.57%)

58th District
Cristina Garcia        41,082 (100%)

63rd District
*Anthony Rendon    32,700 (77.83%)
*Adam Joshua Miller    9,317 (22.17%)

*Runoffs

Measures
State Measure 50 – Suspension of Legislators
Yes        3,756,975 (75.3%)
No        1,234,537 (24.7%)

Montebello City Measure W – Sale of the Montebello Water System
Yes        3,984 (48.95%)
No        4,155 (51.05%)

Montebello Unified School District Measure GS – $300 Million Bond
Yes        13,652 (77.08%)
No        4,059 (22.92%)

Los Angeles County
District Attorney
Jackie Lacey    941,391 (100%)

Los Angeles’ 2024 Olympic Bid Getting Support in Capitol

April 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The city’s effort to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games got a boost on Capitol Hill Wednesday thanks to a bipartisan resolution supporting the effort.

Mayor Eric Garcetti joined members of Congress in Washington, D.C., including Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, to unveil a House resolution expressing general support for the bid.

The resolution, which has not yet been introduced and still needs approval by Congress, would reflect Congress’ “sincere hope that the United States will be selected as the site for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and pledges its cooperation and support toward their successful fulfillment in the highest sense of the Olympic tradition.”

The resolution does not address security-related funding, which would be discussed by Congress at a later date.

“Our country knows from experience that hosting the world’s greatest sports event can have profound and positive sporting, social and economic impacts,” Roybal-Allard said. “I urge my congressional colleagues to follow the sun to LA, and help us bring the Olympic Games back to the City of Angels.”

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, also expressed his support for the resolution, saying the 2024 Olympics is “the right event in the right city at the right moment for the United States, and that is why it has earned bipartisan backing in Congress.”

Garcetti thanked the Congressional representatives for their support, which adds to backing from President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

“L.A. is a city with the Olympics in its DNA, and we are honored to have been selected as the U.S. bid to bring the Games back to our country for the first time in 28 years,” Garcetti said.

LA 2024 bid committee chair Casey Wasserman and Olympic swimmer Janet Evans also participated in today’s announcement.

“With every show of support we get, we are demonstrating more clearly LA 2024’s alignment with the future of our city, our state and the rest of the United States,” Wasserman said. “To us, LA 2024 is an opportunity to welcome the world back to America for a celebration of unity and humanity in the new Los Angeles.”

Los Angeles, which also hosted the Summer Olympics in 1932 and 1984, is competing with Paris, Rome and Budapest. The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to select a host city for the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics during a meeting in Lima, Peru, in September 2017.

Garcetti was in Washington, D.C., this week to take part in Access Washington D.C., an annual event organized by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce in which Southland business people and officials get the opportunity to meet with White House officials and members of Congress.

He attended a reception Tuesday and took part Wednesday in an Access Washington D.C. breakfast and a White House event to recognize two Los Angeles residents.

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