Blog Posts Related to the Hispanic Community

  • What They're Saying: Task Force on New Americans

     “For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities — people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.”

    — President Barack Obama, November 21, 2014

    On Tuesday, April 14th, the White House unveiled the Task Force on New Americans report, “Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents: A Federal Strategic Action Plan on Immigrant and Refugee Integration” The Task Force represents a critical step toward realizing President Obama’s goal of better integrating the 41.3 million foreign-born individuals living in the United States.  To most effectively help immigrants and refugees contribute fully to our economy and their communities, the Task Force offers key goals that the federal government will attempt to address through 48 recommended actions it will take. The goals and recommended actions cover four areas, including civic, economic, and linguistic integration as well as efforts to build welcoming communities.

    The Obama Administration will work closely to engage with business, community, and faith leaders, as well as State and local elected officials to implement these actions and determine additional steps the federal government can take to ensure its programs and policies are effectively serving diverse communities. Mayors and local officials from across the country have vocalized their support for the Task Force on New Americans, and many business leaders and community organizations have pledged to join the President in building welcoming communities.

    This report is an important step. But there is much more to be done, including through passage of comprehensive immigration reform, which President Obama continues to strongly support.

    Here is a look at what business leaders, local elected officials and community leaders are saying about the Task Force on New Americans.

    “As a very fortunate immigrant who became a citizen years ago, I understand the challenges that my immigrant employees face when applying for citizenship. The work that my hotel does to help them earn citizenship is critical, but the work the Task Force is doing has the opportunity to help millions of green-card holders become citizens.”   

    — Robert Hill, General Manager, Intercontinental Miami

    “With more than 500,000 employees eligible to become citizens, Miami is one of the cities that stands to benefit the most from the goals outlined by the White House Task Force on New Americans. In order to help our city reach her fullest potential, we must be willing to commit to helping new Americans attain the opportunities, skills and status they need to reach their fullest potential.”

    —    Wendy Kallergis, President and CEO, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association

    “Our hotel has been helping its immigrant employees earn citizenship for over a year now, and we’ve been doing it partly because it’s good for our bottom-line. Helping more lawful permanent residents with the citizenship process through these findings will help the Miami economy grow and help maintain and grow our city’s workforce.”

    — Jonathan Plutzik, Chairman and Owner, The Betsy – South Beach

     “The Task Force's recommendations provide a smart framework to advance the economic, linguistic and civic integration of new Americans into every aspect of our society. From Boston to Los Angeles to New York to Seattle, cities worked in close collaboration to contribute to this report, and we are thrilled that it reflects the lessons from our shared experiences on the front lines. Our cities are taking action, and looking forward to the full implementation of President Obama's executive actions on immigration, which are critical to the continued growth of our economy and the vitality and strength of our communities.”

    --- Cities United For Immigration Action

    "As a global city, Los Angeles' economic success depends on integrating our hard-working immigrant communities into our civic tapestry, and that's why I established a Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs.  I am honored by the White House's recognition of my commitment to keep our city and country prospering and proud that our work serves as a model for other cities."

     —Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, CA

    “Boise is a city built by immigrants, including my own Basque ancestors. That process is still happening today through our city’s three decade-long role as refugee resettlement community. The White House’s recognition today of the Neighbors United partnership confirms what Boiseans have long known – that our city’s vision for supporting the integration of all of our residents into the fabric of our community and our economy makes us all stronger. Boise has long been a place where people came from around the world to find economic opportunity and build a better life.”

    Mayor David Bieter, Boise, ID

    “Our neighborhoods are stronger and safer when every individual feels valued and included in their city’s social and economic fabric and every child has access to the American dream. Today’s report released by President Obama’s Task Force on New Americans focuses on actionable steps communities can take to build bridges between long-time residents and newcomers and I look forward to incorporating the Task Force’s recommendations to support our local integration efforts in Atlanta.”

     — Mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta, GA

    “The City of Boston is proud to be a city of immigrants, and I am proud to be a son of immigrants. Through the Mayor's Office of New Bostonians, our City has extensive experience in promoting the integration of our foreign-born residents. Therefore, with the input of multiple City departments, I submitted recommendations to this Task Force focusing on Public Health, K-12 Education, Economic Development & Small Business, and Adult Education & Workforce Training. I am honored that the White House has recognized Boston as a leading City in fostering a welcoming environment so that all members of our communities have opportunities to contribute and thrive.”

    Mayor Marty Walsh, Boston, MA

    “This report reaffirms what we in Dayton already know, our cities and economy are stronger when we allow people to fully integrate into our communities. We are proud to again be recognized as a model for the national Welcoming movement that is vital to the Country’s success.”

    — Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton, OH

    “Our goal, since the creation of Welcome Dayton, is to ensure all of our residents, including new Americans, feel welcomed, have access to needed services and can take advantage of Dayton’s many opportunities.”

    — Commissioner Matt Joseph, Dayton, OH

    “We applaud the White House for recognizing that immigrant and refugee integration make our country stronger and that the federal government can and should do more to support the burgeoning movement of welcoming communities across the country. These efforts are at the cutting edge of helping our country remain economically competitive and culturally vibrant – the kind of place that people from around the world want to come to start a business, invest in communities, and make a better life for themselves and their families. This national policy is the first of its kind and affirms our nation’s leadership as a beacon of freedom and opportunity for all.”

    Welcoming America

    “NPNA applauds the Task Force for their thoughtful report, including chapters on welcoming communities, citizenship, and economic and linguistic integration.”

    — National Partnership for New Americans

    “This is the absolute right step – as a country we must focus on providing solutions for the 8.8 million lawful permanent residents who are eligible to become citizens today. It’s important for our business leaders, their workers, and our communities. I urge the White House Task Force on New Americans to make good on actions like these that will help new Americans attain the opportunities, skills and status they need to reach their fullest potential.”
     

    — Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum

    The transformative potential of this action plan can hardly be overstated. For the first time in our nation’s history, it institutionalizes the principles of immigrant integration in the highest office of our land, the White House, thus enshrining in deed what our words across the ages have often said — that immigration is a core part of this nation’s character, of its exceptional place on the world stage.”

    — Eva Millona, Executive Director, Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition

    “Community colleges stand at the forefront of immigrant integration – we provide ESL and civics classes, guidance, and citizenship help to immigrants in our communities. The citizenship process can be complicated which is why these recommendations by the White House Task Force on New Americans are so critical. We’re committed to the social, civic, and linguistic integration of immigrants.”

    — Teresita Wisell, Vice President and Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, Westchester Community College

    “We are pleased with the Task Force’s initial set of recommendations to promote the successful incorporation of millions of new immigrants into the fabric of our society, and we are anxious to see them turned into action.”

    — Victoria Benner, Senior Legislative Analyst, NCLR

    “The recommendations proposed by the Task Force on New Americans are a critical first step in moving our nation forward by making the naturalization process more accessible for the 8.7 million eligible legal permanent residents living here today. It is important that we continue to uphold our values as a nation by continuing to strive to provide new Americans with the opportunity to contribute fully to our nation’s rich civic and economic life.”

    —    Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund

     “There is a crucial element of the immigration story that is too often ignored – the barriers preventing millions of eligible immigrants from becoming American citizens.  The New Americans Campaign applauds the efforts to encourage naturalization and to help lawful permanent residents achieve their American dream.”

    — Eric Cohen, Executive Director, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, which leads the New Americans Campaign

  • Una nueva era de compromiso de EE.UU. en el continente americano

    Cuando el Presidente participó en su primera Cumbre de las Américas hace seis años, se comprometió a impulsar una era de cooperación entre EE.UU. y la región como socios en igualdad de condiciones y en una relación fundamentada en intereses comunes y el respeto mutuo. Después de seis años de compromiso ampliado y lazos económicos y culturales más fuertes, el Presidente ha cumplido su compromiso.

    Estamos en un nuevo capítulo de nuestra relación con el continente americano. La evidencia de un mayor compromiso está en todas partes: en el número de viajes de alto nivel y visitas a la región, en nuestro comercio creciente y las cifras de inversión, y en la forma en que atraemos a nuestros socios regionales en temas globales como el cambio climático y el aumento de oportunidades educativas para la gente joven.

    Este es el mensaje que el Presidente Obama llevó a la 7a Cumbre de las Américas, destacando avances significativos incluida la nueva política hacia Cuba que representa un punto de inflexión para toda nuestra región. En la Cumbre, el Presidente Obama se reunió con el Presidente Castro -el primer encuentro entre los dos países después de más de 50 años de una política de aislamiento- para debatir maneras de abordar nuestro futuro juntos. El Presidente Obama se centró en las maneras de promover mayores oportunidades para el pueblo cubano y nuestro trabajo continuo hacia el establecimiento de relaciones diplomáticas. El Presidente Obama y el Presidente Castro reconocieron que aunque nuestros gobiernos siguen teniendo diferencias, podemos seguir avanzando hacia nuestro interés mutuo de mayores oportunidades y prosperidad para nuestros pueblos.

    El Presidente también se reunió con los líderes del Sistema de Integración de Centroamérica (SICA) para discutir maneras de perseguir la integración económica y el crecimiento, la prevención de la violencia, la transparencia y el buen gobierno en Centroamérica. Reiteró su compromiso de trabajar con el Congreso para asegurar $1,000 millones para apoyar la estrategia de Estados Unidos para conseguir una mayor seguridad y prosperidad en Centroamérica como una forma de abordar los factores que contribuyen a una importante inmigración de la región.

    En colaboración con nuestros socios del Caribe y Centroamérica, también tomamos nuevas medidas para invertir en energía limpia y combatir el cambio climático. El Fondo de Financiación de Energía Limpia para el Caribe y Centroamérica (CEFF-CCA) -un fondo de $20 millones- fomentará la inversión en proyectos de energía limpia y reducirá las emisiones de carbono en toda la región. Se proporcionará financiación en la fase inicial para promover el aumento de la inversión del sector privado y público en energía limpia en el Caribe y Centroamérica.

    En la Cumbre, el Presidente Obama también se reunió con la Presidenta Rousseff de Brasil. Como dos de las democracias más grandes del mundo, los líderes debatieron una amplia gama de temas como el cambio climático, la energía, la cooperación en defensa, el mantenimiento de la paz de la ONU y la educación. El Presidente Obama anunció que Rousseff visitará Washington el 30 de junio, lo que proporcionará una importante oportunidad para fortalecer aún más el carácter estratégico de nuestra asociación. En su reunión con el Presidente Santos de Colombia, ambos líderes expresaron su agradecimiento por el nivel de compromiso y cooperación entre EE. UU. y Colombia en los ámbitos de seguridad, tecnología, educación y, en particular, el apoyo de los EE. UU. durante las conversaciones de paz en curso, a través de un enviado especial de Estados Unidos.

    Estados Unidos está centrado en una agenda inclusiva, basada en la oportunidad en las Américas. Antes de llegar a Panamá, el Presidente Obama visitó Jamaica, donde anunció la Iniciativa de Líderes Jóvenes del Continente Americano (YLAI) Esta iniciativa ayudará a los jóvenes emprendedores y a los líderes de la sociedad civil en toda la región a acceder a la capacitación, los recursos y las conexiones que necesitan para crear nuevos emprendimientos, incluyendo pequeñas empresas que crean puestos de trabajo.

    La Cumbre de las Américas 2015 demostró la importancia de la región a nivel internacional y el progreso que hemos realizado en las últimas dos décadas en mejorar la vida de la gente. En este nuevo capítulo de compromiso con el continente americano, los líderes de nuestra región deben continuar trabajando juntos y centrarse en los temas apremiantes que precisan nuestra atención y acción, con el objetivo de redoblar nuestro compromiso para tener un hemisferio occidental más próspero, seguro, sostenible, igualitario y democrático. 

  • Fortaleciendo a las Comunidades al Dar la Bienvenida e Integrar a los Inmigrantes y Refugiados

    Los inmigrantes y refugiados han venido a nuestro territorio en búsqueda de oportunidades y libertad desde antes de la fundación de nuestra nación. El proceso de integrarse en una tierra nueva —lograr autosuficiencia, participación política y cívica e inclusión social— puede ser difícil pero las recompensas pueden ser inmensas. Ambos somos hijos de inmigrantes y podemos atestiguar el éxito que surge de la integración completa en la fábrica de nuestra nación.

    Esta mañana, tuvimos el honor de presentarle al Presidente Obama un reporte del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Nuevos Estadounidenses, llamado Fortaleciendo a las Comunidades al Darle la Bienvenida a Todos los Residentes: Un plan de acción federal y estratégico sobre la integración de inmigrantes y refugiados. Este plan describe una estrategia sólida federal de integración de inmigrantes y refugiados que desarrollará nuestra competitividad global y que identifica maneras de asegurar que las personas diversas de nuestra nación contribuyan de forma plena a sus comunidades, y que se les dé la bienvenida en ellas.

    El Grupo de Trabajo, establecido por el Presidente Obama como parte de las acciones ejecutivas de responsabilidad de inmigración en noviembre de 2014, está compuesto por 16 departamentos federales, agencias y oficinas de la Casa Blanca. Su trabajo fue extensivo, de ritmo rápido, pero lo más importante es que fue gratificante. Para preparar esta plan de acción, realizamos una evaluación de las iniciativas federales actuales de integración, participamos con las partes interesadas a nivel local y nacional y solicitamos recomendaciones del público.

    Nuestro plan inicial de acción estratégica proporciona, para la consideración del presidente, recomendaciones específicas que tienen la intención de ayudar a:

    • construir comunidades que den la bienvenida;
       
    • fortalecer los caminos existentes para la naturalización y promover la participación civil;
       
    • apoyar el desarrollo de habilidades, fomentar las iniciativas empresariales y proteger a los nuevos trabajadores que viven en Estados Unidos; y
       
    • expandir las oportunidades para la integración y educación lingüística.

    Una de las maneras más efectivas de obtener un sentido de pertenencia es ayudar a aquellos que lo necesitan en la comunidad. El Grupo de Trabajo, que reconoce el impacto positivo del servicio de voluntarios y nacional, ha revitalizado un nuevo proyecto para personas que viven en Estados Unidos para alentar al voluntariado entre todas las personas que viven en Estados Unidos, incluidos los ciudadanos de EE. UU. y aquellos que son nuevos en la nación. Puede apoyar la iniciativa al visitar www.whitehouse.gov/New-Americans. Este sitio web proporciona un código postal con base en el motor de búsqueda que identifica organizaciones locales que necesitan voluntarios.

    Si bien la presentación de este plan de acción ante el presidente fue un hito importante, es tan solo el comienzo de nuestro trabajo. Los miembros del Grupo de Trabajo comenzarán implementando las recomendaciones descritas en el plan de acción en los próximos meses. Nuestros socios pueden anticipar nuestro compromiso continuo con las partes interesadas clave —aquellos que trabajan de forma diligente cada día en las comunidades de todo el país— a medida que refinamos y revisamos más el plan. Esperamos con interés proporcionarle al presidente una actualización de los esfuerzos del Grupo de Trabajo en noviembre del 2015.

    Estamos orgullosos del trabajo que hemos realizado para identificar y establecer soluciones de sentido común que cambian la visión del Presidente Obama de construir comunidades de Estados Unidos que den la bienvenida e integren a los inmigrantes y refugiados para progresar. La inmigración es un problema que es crítico para el éxito económico continuo de nuestra nación y para el liderazgo global. Al darle la bienvenida a inmigrantes y refugiados, reflejamos nuestras orgullosas tradiciones y características distintivas. Al fin y al cabo, somos una nación de inmigrantes.

  • Strengthening Communities by Welcoming and Integrating Immigrants and Refugees

    Immigrants and refugees have come to our shores in search of opportunity and freedom since before the founding of our nation. The process of integrating into a new land – to achieve self-sufficiency, political and civic involvement, and social inclusion – can be difficult but the rewards can be immense. We are both children of immigrants and can attest to the success that stems from successful integration into the fabric of our nation.

    Yesterday, we had the honor of submitting to President Obama a report from the Task Force on New Americans entitled Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents: A Federal Strategic Action Plan on Immigrant and Refugee Integration. This plan outlines a robust federal immigrant and refugee integration strategy that will advance our global competitiveness and identifies ways to ensure our nation's diverse people are fully contributing to their communities, and welcomed into them.

  • César Chávez Day: Celebrating my abuelo’s legacy

    Eighty-eight years ago, a man of extraordinary heart, courage, and understanding was born. On March 31st, we celebrate not only the birthday of my grandfather, César Estrada Chávez, but more importantly the spirit of civic engagement and social justice he espoused throughout his life.

    César Chávez was raised amongst migrant farm workers who experienced difficult conditions working in the agricultural fields. Men, women, and children received little pay for backbreaking labor and dreadful environments. These farm laborers lacked simple necessities such as access to drinking water, health care, and a livable wage. Many lived in scanty shacks made of tin, without electricity and cramp, unsanitary conditions. Children were raised into a vicious cycle of poverty. Life expectancy for farm workers was 49 years.

    My grandfather dedicated his life to organizing and giving a voice to these voiceless laborers, who were often too afraid to advocate for themselves, for fear of punishment or losing their job. Many did.

    Organizers had previously tried to unionize to create more humane conditions for farm workers but unfortunately were largely unsuccessful. Yet, César Chávez believed in an idea that America is all too familiar with – that with hard work, determination, and purpose, our dreams of a more prosperous and just society can become reality. Despite the widely conceived notion that the status of farm workers would never improve, my grandfather developed a “yes we can” or what he coined a “Si Se Puede” attitude. That attitude was contagious. He galvanized a movement that captured the attention of an entire country and even internationally.

    For decades, despite setbacks and difficulties, he preserved that spirit. Due to this, I consider myself to have lived a privileged childhood, not in wealth, but in experience. Surrounded by some of the country’s top organizers, I spent my childhood at incredible meetings, participating in picket lines, and right beside my grandfather handing out leaflets outside of super markets. It was tough work, but we made an impact in the lives of people. And that’s what it was always about, “it’s not about grapes or lettuce, it is always about people” he once said.

    In many ways, César Chávez’s spirit is alive and well across the country. The fact that people are organizing and using non-violent action to raise awareness about critical issues facing our nation is a testament to the legacy my grandfather left. Today, we must continue to strive to ensure that everyone, regardless of where they’ve come from or the community they reside in, can have access to quality education, a living wage, and affordable healthcare. We must continue to fight for an immigration system that protects immigrants from labor abuses and celebrates the invaluable contributions they make to our local economies and communities. Our work is not finished and the road to progress is not easy, but we have and will continue to make progress.

    On César Chávez Day we celebrate the legacy of a champion for social justice and we acknowledge the determination of those who continue his work today. As we endure through the setbacks and rejoice during the impactful victories, we might find comfort and motivation in the words of my abuelo, César Estrada Chávez:

    “It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity.”