A few thoughts on a deceitful article

Posted March 20, 2012 by floreshacu
Categories: Uncategorized

The article, “The Hispanic Vote: An Insult Latinos Can Do Without“, by Otis Graham of the Center for Immigration Studies, is simply a malicious attempt to divide Latinos on the issue of immigration reform. Mr. Graham fails to recognize the existence of millions of undocumented immigrants that are parents, grandparents, children, or grandchildren of legal residents or U.S. citizens; does he expect children to turn against their parents or grandparents, or vice-versa? Beyond this obvious contradiction, he also disregards the main reason immigration to the U.S. happens: the major wage disparities between sending countries and the U.S. As long as severe economic opportunity gaps between sending and receiving countries persist, immigration (documented and not) will continue.

Mr. Graham’s use of labor concerns by the UFW in the last century is also disingenuous. The advent of NAFTA and increased globalization, along with right-to-work laws in many agricultural states, have made those issues irrelevant. What we need is a component of comprehensive immigration reform that would allow migrant workers from abroad to work under humane conditions and fair compensation, a sound guest worker program. This program could be extended to all service workers with the option to apply for permanent residency after a number of years under this program.

The quote attributed to Roberto Suro in Mr. Graham’s piece is totally off-base. Latinos cannot reject immigration in any of its manifestations. What we need to reject is the broken immigration system in place that forces law-abiding and hard-working immigrants to come without a visa because the available options to achieve legal residency are virtually impossible for them to exercise. We want them all to come legally under a new immigration framework that works. Ours is a nation of immigrants and we cannot deny this essential dimension of America.

Mid-term election results and HACU’s legislative agenda

Posted November 8, 2010 by floreshacu
Categories: Federal Legislation, Hispanic Higher Education

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) expects that the 112th Congress will continue to support its legislative agenda on behalf of Hispanic higher education success and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). Support for education, especially for HSIs and Hispanic-Serving School Districts (HSSDs), has usually been bipartisan and progressive. HACU remains committed to working in that manner with all members of Congress, both Hispanic and other.

But before the 111th Congress ends in December, HACU is also hopeful that the unfinished business of passing the DREAM Act and approving much-needed funding requests for HSIs will be completed. The leadership of the current Congress has publicly reiterated their commitment to acting on the DREAM Act during the lame duck session, which begins on November 15. HACU continues to work hard with 27 other national organizations that comprise the Act on the DREAM Coalition for this to become a reality. Please urge your members of Congress to pass this legislation by selecting “take action” to send an instant message from www.actonthedream.org.

HACU is also pushing for greater funding support for HSIs as Congress turns to approve appropriations for fiscal year 2011. As it stands, HSIs receive only 52 cents for every dollar that all other colleges get annually from all federal sources per student. This gap must be closed without delay. Visit www.hacu.net for more information on HACU’s legislative agenda.

If, as expected, the 112th Congress takes up the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, or No Child Left Behind), HACU will be advocating for the inclusion and support of HSIs and HSSDs for the preparation of quality teachers and for greater collaboration between K-12 and higher education. We’ll keep you posted on developments.

The United States once led the world in college degree attainment but has now fallen to number 12. To regain its leadership and remain competitive in the global economy, Hispanics, the fastest-growing and youngest demographic in the nation, must attain much higher educational success — and the schools and colleges that have the lead role in educating them must be funded accordingly. This is what HACU expects from both the 111th and the 112th Congresses.

While we applaud intent, we should also demand action

Posted October 20, 2010 by floreshacu
Categories: Hispanic Higher Education

Yesterday, President Obama signed an Executive Order to renew the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. We commend the President for reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to Hispanic education success. We hope this Presidential decree will foster greater federal investments in the education of the youngest and fastest-growing national demographic, which unfortunately remains the most underserved and undereducated part of our population.

Paradoxically, Hispanic Americans are the only identifiable racial/ethnic community that is underrepresented in the federal labor force at approximately seven percent, compared to an estimated 16 percent of the nation’s general population. The Executive Order should provide the basis to hold all Cabinet members accountable for the expeditious bridging of this persistent gap. Hispanics in professional and management positions are essential for federal agencies to serve effectively the national needs, including the allocation of resources for K-12 and higher education. The federal workforce must reflect the changing face of the nation.

As the country’s school- and college-age population grows increasingly Hispanic, it is also urgent to close funding gaps. For instance, Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) receive a meager 52 cents for every federal dollar going to all colleges and universities annually per student. The Executive Order should compel federal agencies that provide funds for higher education to erase this wide and pernicious disparity without further delay.

President Obama should also appoint a Presidential Advisory Board on HSIs. Such boards have been in place for many years for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and for Tribal Colleges and Universities. To keep HSIs without a comparable board further erodes their standing with federal agencies and the White House, and sends the wrong message to the nation.

In short, we applaud President Obama for signing the said Executive Order but we urge his administration to take prompt action on the three preceding points for the good of the nation. As Hispanic America goes so goes all of America.

HACU President & CEO on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Posted October 2, 2010 by floreshacu
Categories: Immigration Reform

Dr. Antonio Flores has issued a statement regarding Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Eloquence and Ambiguity in the Age of Conviction and Action: President Obama’s Speech on Immigration Reform

Posted July 2, 2010 by floreshacu
Categories: Immigration Reform

With his usual eloquence, President Obama spoke yesterday on why comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) is necessary and what it means for the country. But he didn’t say how or when it should be achieved.  His discourse was not new, for it has been a recurrent theme of politicians on both sides of the aisle for a long decade. In 2007, his predecessor George W. Bush enlisted the help of Senators Kennedy and McCain to advance a bipartisan CIR bill but failed. Let’s remember that the U.S. economy was at its peak then.

Today, our economy is shaky at best and not yet gaining much traction to pull itself out of the 2008 deep hole.  Major states like California, Florida, Illinois, and others that are home to large numbers of undocumented immigrants are among the most economically challenged in the nation, some with long-term structural deficits and constitutional budget-balancing mandates. With the burden of incumbency and control of all houses, many a Democrat is running for cover from CIR. This might explain why the President was careful not to suggest how or when CIR should be passed.

Despite the uplifting and compelling tenor of his speech, President Obama’s latest address to the nation on CIR left the impression that he really doesn’t have a game plan yet. So, why do it? Why try to raise hopes if the vision and conviction are not clearly set? Because Democrats are fearful that a disenchanted Hispanic electorate may not show up in November and further deepen their anticipated losses in Congress. And of course 2012 is just around the corner.

There were glimmers of conviction in his speech, however, about the feasibility of passing at least a couple of parts of the CIR package: the DREAM Act and Ag Jobs. The president highlighted his support of the former when he was a Senator and his continuing hope for its expeditious passage if other aspects of CIR are not done. He made a similar pitch for Ag Jobs. He did this while emphasizing the strengthening of border security already achieved and the stringent requirements to be imposed on the 11 million undocumented immigrants that stand to be processed under CIR. The net impression left by his remarks was that the DREAM Act and Ag Jobs are doable now, but not CIR.

After all, barely two months ago (April 28) the President declared that there may “not be an appetite” in Congress to deal with CIR. In that sense, his latest speech is consistent with his stated beliefs, but he had to deliver a more ambiguous message to ease Democrats in heavily Hispanic states and congressional districts.

Eloquence without proactive action is of no consequence. Lacking a blueprint for CIR action, the President’s address at least hinted at his confidence in the feasibility of the DREAM Act and Ag Jobs but offered no time line for either.   At the very least, the President should push for enactment of these two pieces of legislation (NOW!) as a down payment on CIR. The momentum generated by these victories could create the conditions in Congress for the rest of CIR to have a chance in the 112th Congress, even as the next Presidential election looms over the nation.  Or some might say, because of it, as the Census count and its impending redistricting are likely to boost Hispanic political clout over the national landscape.

Who said that eloquence and ambiguity cannot coexist with conviction and action, at least for what is doable?

Antonio Flores
President & CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
San Antonio, Texas
July 2, 2010