Hispanics and Immigration Reform Must be Part of the Economic Agenda

Reports from the Pew Hispanic Center and others, released at the end of 2008, show disturbing data on the impact of the economic crisis on minorities, and I hope Tim Geithner is up to speed on this information and keeps minorities in mind as he helps map the course for economic recovery.  We hope Geithner's confirmation hearings over the next few days will pass to a speedy confirmation so that he can get to the business of governing "for all Americans," along with President Obama.

Data show that minority workers have fewer employment opportunities, lower wages, or both as compared to their white counterparts. As a result, they tend to have lower incomes and slower income growth.  And because minorities are less well suited than white families to save and build an economic cushion, hard economic times place them in tougher conditions sooner than is the case for white families.

Hispanics are currently suffering a percent of unemployment much higher than that of their white counterparts, 9.2% in January, up from 8.9% unemployment in December 2008.  In addition, the unemployment rate for Hispanics rose faster than for any other group, increasing by 3.1% from December of 2007-December of 2008, while the unemployment rate for whites rose by 2.1% and for blacks, 2.9%.

Even during a period of employment gains enjoyed by Hispanics from 2001-2007, poverty increased among Hispanics over the same period, which only highlights the low wages at which Hispanics tend to work. In 2007, 8.2 percent of whites lived below the poverty line, up from 5.4 percent in 2000, but well below the 21.5 percent of Hispanics who lived below the poverty line in 2007.

Lastly, personal and family income has steadily declined for Hispanics.  From 2001-2007, family incomes for whites were about 30 percent greater than for Hispanics and that gap has increased over time.  Hispanics' median family income declined by an average of 0.5 percent per year from 2000, the last full year before the last recession started, to 2007, the last year for which data are available, falling to $38,679 from $39,935, or by a total of $1,256 (in 2007 dollars). In comparison, whites' median family income fell at a much lower rate of just 0.003 percent per year, for a total decline of $12 between 2000 and 2007, to $54,920 from $54,932 (in 2007 dollars).

Large disparities in health insurance coverage also persist.  In 2007, 32.1% of Hispanics lacked health insurance coverage, compared to 10.4% of whites.

Additionally, Hispanic home ownership rate was only 49.7% for Hispanics in 2007, compared to 75.2% for whites.  While the annual average increase of homeownership was greater among Hispanics, many were also victims of bad-actor lending companies and they ended up purchasing high-cost mortgages, as opposed to market rate mortgages.  Nearly 29% of home purchase loans made to Hispanics in 2007 were high cost, as opposed to only 11% for whites.

We encourage Secretary Geithner and President Obama to show courage and leadership in developing an economic stimulus and economic recovery that addresses these discrepancies and includes financial literacy for minorities.  In addition, we encourage President Obama to take the lead on fixing our broken immigration system in order to help stem this economic crisis.  As long as the trap door of undocumented immigration remains, we will not be able to achieve economic recovery.  It is vital that Congress and the Administration realize that as long as we continue the race to the bottom fostered by our broken immigration system, we will not achieve economic recovery.

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Moja wie i daje mu duzo na te tegoroczne wczasy w egipcie. Ten woli oddawac i nic nie mowi, bo last minute drogo w tym roku.