Hispanic Programs

A Conversation with Colombian Ambassador Carolina Barco

Please join us for a conversation with Colombian Ambassador Barco on January 19th, 2010.  Stay tuned for more information on this event!


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Senate Votes to Reject Vitter-Bennett Amendment

This afternoon, the United States Senate voted 60-39 on the motion to invoke cloture on HR 2847, Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, rejecting the harmful amendment proposed by Senators Vitter (R-LA) and Bennett (R-UT).  NDN, along with 20 other leading advocacy organizations worked relentlessly over the past weeks to defeat this divisive amendment.  The Vitter-Bennett amendment would have irresponsibly disrupted the census next year and threatened the accuracy of the national reapportionment process in the years that follow.

Today's important vote would not have been possible without Harry Reid's strong leadership and commitment to justice.  NDN would also like to thank the strong coalition of advocacy groups that joined together to lead this effort.

Andres Ramirez, Senior Vice President at NDN and a leading voice in this debate said, "The Vitter-Bennett Amendment would have irresponsibility disrupted the census process next year.  We are proud of Senator Reid and the Senate for voting it down.  It is now much more likely that we have a clean and accurate census count next year."

Simon Rosenberg, President of NDN, said "I want to thank the 60 Senators who voted for cloture today, and for the dozens of groups who worked so far to defeat this irresponsible amendment. There is no doubt that if it had passed it would have disrupted the census next year, and reapportionment the years after.  I don't think this fight is over but this was an important victory for common sense and good government today."

For more information, follow this link to NDN's backgrounder on Census 2010, Immigration and Reapportionment.


A Census worker was found dead earlier today, hanging, with the word "Fed" on his chest.  He was just a Census worker, a productive member of society, and NOT a minority. Thanks to the insane fear mongering causing disturbing levels of paranoia against "Obamacare" and "the government," we can add hate crimes against government workers to the list. 

Over the last few days, our campaign to DropDobbs.com has taken off, and the media has taken to covering campaigns against Dobbs and other "MadMen" of tv like him.  These men do not argue based on reason, one cannot have a debate with them, and when impartial data is brought up to disprove their theories, they dismiss it as an "attack" on their first amendment right. 

Many have asked us what they can do to help, you can Watch the video, Sign the petition, and Share the site!! 

Watch, Sign, Share. 

After having over 50,000 views to our video soon after launch, we are excited about what this campaign will accomplish once it's really in full gear.  Just this week, one mad man, Glenn Beck, was featured in Time magazine, and countless articles in media outlets and the HuffPo have covered our DropDobbs campaign. Additionally a story broke over Lou Dobbs' discussion of secession from the Union on his radio show.  

I enjoyed this excerpt of a posting by Roberto Lovato in HuffPo:

Not surprisingly, Dobbs is waving the First Amendment flag to change the subject, which is not about disagreement on immigration policy, and has nothing to do with free speech. Dobbs has the right to his opinions; but there's nothing in the Constitution that says he deserves a "news" platform to disseminate hurtful and dangerous myths about immigrants.

Dobbs' suggestion...is both sad and comical given what passes for facts and ideas on his show. For Dobbs, immigrants are "invaders," and he regularly uses debunked statistics to paint them as disease-carrying criminals. He reports on conspiracy theories like the "Reconquista" and the "Birthers" as if they were legitimate topics of discussion. And worst of all, he provides a regular platform to the most extreme anti-immigrant groups like FAIR and the Minutemen, trotting them out as experts.


Hispanic Lawyers' Conference Brings Big Names and Uncovers Even Bigger Challenges

Albuquerque, NM - Reflecting on the 2009 Hispanic National Bar Association's (HNBA), it is of note that public policy and social justice issues (primarily immigration) were such prevalent topics during this conference, aptly themed, "Opening Doors."  And open doors we have, with the first Latina to sit on the Supreme Court soon to hear arguments in that chamber.  However, a report released this week by the HNBA based on a nine month study of Latinas in the profession uncovered some disturbing facts that show how far we still have to go.

During the opening day of the conference Governor Bill Richardson reflected on how Latino lawyers have opened doors for so many to come, and on the importance of this demographic as a group and as an electorate.  In the same fashion, he touched on the responsibility of Latinos to influence younger generations to be involved, to do more.

For his part, Attorney General Eric Holder recognized the role of Hispanics as he addressed the conference: 

The founders of the HNBA used the law to change lives for the better.  For in the final analysis, the law serves as the great equalizer of our society – and it is still our job to make it so.  As we gather for your 34th annual conference, your membership rolls are larger – and your influence is greater – than ever before.

In light of some of the most shocking displays of racism in a generation against Hispanics in the context of the immigration debate, health care debate, etc. and given the dramatic increase in hate crimes against Latinos (which are not always punished or adequately persecuted),  Attorney General Holder highlighted the importance of DOJ and particularly the "crown jewel" of the Civil Rights division:

We seek diversity not just for its own sake, but because our nation is stronger when people from all backgrounds participate in the administration of justice.  When I was confirmed as Attorney General, I made it clear that during my tenure, we would restore luster to the Justice Department’s “crown jewel” -- our Civil Rights Division.  I promised that the Civil Rights Division would fight discrimination as fiercely as the Criminal Division fights crime -- and that we would once again honor the spirit of the movement that inspired its creation.

Let me say this very clearly:  The Civil Rights Division is once again open for business.

Senator Bob Menendez also spoke as eloquently and passionately as always at the Conference, but I should highlight his less-known contribution - of all the panels occurring during Friday afternoon (all important topics) he quietly stepped into the panel on the findings of a report just released by the HNBA "The State of Latinas in the Legal Profession."  Dressed down in kakis, with no staff and no fuss, he quietly stepped in through the back of the room, sat down and listened intently to the panel as they revealed the findings of the HNBA Commission on Latina Lawyers.  As a Latina and as a woman lawyer, it meant a heck of a lot to me that the Senator 1) made time to attend the conference and, 2) chose to spend his time in that panel of all panels.

This report was 100% a labor of love by these Latina lawyers and other collaborators, as the HNBA did not have a grant to cover costs.  At the end of the presentation, as questions surfaced and discussion ensued, Sen. Menendez raised his hand, inquired as to whether the government had supported this important endeavor.  It did not, and so he pledged his help to this group of Latina lawyers to guide and support this Commission as they seek to obtain grants and assistance from the federal government.  

And we need all the help that we can get.  This report uncovered a drastic situation; despite the appointment of Justice Sonia Sotomayor (who sent a moving videotaped message to the HNBA) and the nation’s growing Hispanic population, Hispanic women make up only 1.3% of all lawyers in the United States.  That is the lowest representation of any racial or ethnic group (overall and within their own gender) as compared to their overall presence in the nation - Latinas make up over 7% of the country's population.  Justice Sotomayor shines as a beacon of light to the Judges who served on the bench with her, and/or lawyers who argued before her and can now clearly envision new possibilities in their profession and in themselves, but the reality of today is that Latina lawyers are only a few hundred of the over 1 million lawyers currently in the U.S. 

Senator Edward Kennedy Speaks at NDN's Bicameral Immigration Event

On March 7, 2007, NDN hosted a bicameral event focused on comprehensive immigration reform. This is video of Senator Edward Kennedy's remarks at the event in the LBJ room in the Capitol.


Patadas de Ahogados - Los Republicanos Ven la Tempestad y No Se Hincan


Hoy surgió una serie de artículos que resaltan la condición tan peligrosa en la que se encuentra el partido Republicano.  El partido se encuentra sin una agenda de políticas públicas clara, sin propuestas específicas para resolver los problemas más agravantes, mientras que al mismo tiempo ahuyenta cada vez más sectores de la población con su retórica alarmante y a menudo ofensiva.  En Tejas, el Dallas Morning News comenta sobre la elección a Gobernador del estado y estipula que si Kay Bailey-Hutchinson piensa tener alguna probabilidad de ganar la elección, tendrá que ampliar el partido.  Siendo que Rick Perry disfruta de mayor apoyo entre la base Republicana, Kay Bailey tendrá que acudir a los grupos y demográficas que se encuentran fuera de su base – principalmente los Hispanos/Latinos.  Lástima que se paso casi un año entero en el 2007 presentando enmiendas que lograron derrumbar un acuerdo para reforma migratoria – tema que le importa a muchos Tejanos ciudadanos con familia inmigrante. 

En Oklahoma, Ponca City News escribe, “La renuncia del Senador Mel Martínez de Florida cierra el último capítulo en el esfuerzo de la última década por parte del partido Republicano para ganarse a más votantes Hispanos.” Es decir, el partido falló, y hasta le falló a uno de los suyos.  Martínez se va, desilusionado con el comportamiento y la retórica de su partido, dejando a los Republicanos sin un solo Senador Hispano, y con sólo tres cubano-americanos en la Cámara Baja.  Simon también ha escrito sobre lo que la renuncia de Martínez y la llegada de Sotomayor significa en términos del voto Hispano para los Republicanos.

Por último, un artículo en el Wall Street Journal sobre el Censo (y lo que implicará a la hora de redistribuir escaños en el Congreso en base al conteo de personas) alude al tipo de campaña anti-inmigrante y anti-Hispana que podemos esperar de los xenofóbicos y conservadores en el 2010.  Por ejemplo, conforme a cálculos del Censo, se espera que Tejas obtenga 4 escaños más de representación en la Cámara baja.  Este crecimiento se debe en gran parte a los hispanos, ya que aproximadamente 60% del crecimiento en el estado ocurrió en la comunidad Hispana.  Siendo que en estos momentos la mayoría de hispanos se alinean con el partido Demócrata, los Republicanos le temen a que esta demografía sea contada en el Censo.  Asi que a ambos partidos: OJO, mucho ojo, para ser un partido viable en el siglo 21, ya no se vale insultar y distanciarse de la “minoría” más grande en este país. 


More on the Health Care Debate and Immigration Reform

Yesterday I wrote a few points drawing clear distinctions between the debate for health care reform and for a fix to our broken immigration system.  To complement the arguments, here is a great piece on "Four Health Care Debate Takeaways For the Immigration Reform Fight."  Essentially: 1) folks won't stick to the issue, 2) you have the same Congressional targets for passage, 3) the Minutement will act as the militia de facto, and 4) we must not waver, we must have courage.  

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