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Voter ID Laws Tackle Non-Existent Problem of Immigrant Vote Fraud It is election season and voter-fraud hysteria is in the air. A raft of restrictive voter ID legislation from coast to coast is aimed primarily at one imaginary problem: fraudulent voting by immigrants who are not U.S.citizens. Supporters of these laws like to pretend that [...]
Washington, DC [CapitalWirePR] June 28, 2012 – Among the 50.7 million Hispanics in the United States, nearly two-thirds (65%), or 33 million, self-identify as being of Mexican origin, according to tabulations of the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
No other Hispanic subgroup rivals the size of the Mexican-origin population. Puerto Ricans, the nation’s second largest Hispanic origin group, make up just 9% of the total Hispanic population in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Overall, the 10 largest Hispanic origin groups—-Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, Colombians, Hondurans, Ecuadorians and Peruvians—-make up 92% of the U.S. Hispanic population. Six Hispanic origin groups have populations greater than 1 million.
Hispanic origin groups differ from each other in a number of ways. For instance, U.S. Hispanics of Mexican origin have the lowest median age, at 25 years, while Hispanics of Cuban origin have the highest median age, at 40 years. Colombians are the most likely to have a college degree (32%) while Salvadorans are the least likely (7%). Ecuadorians have the highest annual median household income ($50,000) while Dominicans have the lowest ($34,000). Half of Hondurans do not have health insurance—-the highest share among Hispanic origin groups. By contrast, just 15% of Puerto Ricans do not have health insurance.
Hispanic origin groups also differ in their geographic concentration. The nation’s Cuban population is the most concentrated—-nearly half (48%) live in Florida’s Miami-Dade County. Miami-Dade County is also home to the nation’s largest Colombian, Honduran and Peruvian communities. For Mexicans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans, Los Angeles County in California contains each group’s largest community. The largest Puerto Rican and Dominican communities are in Bronx County, New York. The largest Ecuadorian community is in Queens County, New York.
Hispanic origin is based on self-described family ancestry or place of birth in response to questions in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. It is not necessarily the same as place of birth, nor is it indicative of immigrant or citizenship status. For example, a U.S. citizen born in Los Angeles of Mexican immigrant parents or grandparents may (or may not) identify his or her country of origin as Mexico. Likewise, some immigrants born in Mexico may identify another country as their origin depending on the place of birth of their ancestors.
The data for this report are derived from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey, which provides detailed geographic, demographic and economic characteristics for each group.
Accompanying this report are profiles of the 10 largest Hispanic origin sub-groups and an interactive graphic showing characteristics and top counties for each group.
The report, “The 10 Largest Hispanic Origin Groups: Characteristics, Rankings, Top Counties,” authored by Seth Motel and Eileen Patten, both Research Assistants at the Pew Hispanic Center, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center’s website, www.pewhispanic.org.
Young Ambassadors Program Focuses on Arts, Sciences and Humanities.
Washington, DC [CapitalWirePR] June 28, 2012 – The Smithsonian Latino Center has selected 22 graduating high school seniors from throughout the country and Puerto Rico to participate in the Young Ambassadors Program, June 24 through Aug. 3.
This interdisciplinary, leadership development program fosters the next generation of Latino leaders in the arts, sciences and humanities. Students spend a week in Washington attending seminars and skill-building workshops and participating in site visits to Smithsonian and area museums and cultural organizations. Each student then spends the next four weeks interning at a museum or cultural center in a local community.
This summer program encourages youth to explore and understand the Latino experience through visits to the Smithsonian’s Latino collections and through personal interactions with Smithsonian experts, artists, journalists, scientists and other museum professionals. Special presenters include artist Christina Fernandez, filmmaker Alberto Ferreras, social media expert Elianne Ramos, science imager for the Chandra X-ray Observatory Joseph De Pascuale and Latino leaders such as Jose Zayas from the Department of Energy, Roel Campos of Locke Lorde LLP and The New America Alliance and Rocky Egusquiza of AARP, among others.
The internship provides a hands-on opportunity to gain practical skills and promote Latino outreach at the local level. Participants represent nine states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico and include aspiring anthropologists, artists, scientists, health and medicine leaders, civic and community leaders, diplomats, designers and engineers. In addition to their academic achievements, these students have demonstrated civic responsibility and community service. The Young Ambassadors Program is made possible through the support of the Ford Motor Co. Fund and Community Services, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Co.
“One of our goals has always been to offer learning opportunities to Latino students so they can contribute to the advancement of their communities,” said Joedis Avila, community outreach manager, Ford Motor Co. Fund and Community Services. “We are proud to support these Young Ambassadors for the fifth year in a row and trust that their week in Washington and their respective internships prove to be fruitful in their educational and professional careers and beyond.”
“Unlocking the mysteries of the universe, understanding and sustaining a biodiverse planet, valuing world cultures and understanding the American experience are the Smithsonian’s four Grand Challenges, said Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center. “Our Young Ambassadors Program addresses these goals by providing a rich and culturally relevant experience to these high school seniors.”
The following organizations will host interns for this year’s Young Ambassadors Program: Museum of Latin American Art (Calif.), California Science Center, Chabot Space and Science Center (Calif.), Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (Fla.), Miami Science Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art (Ill.), Adler Planetarium (Ill.).
Also, the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NM), Explora (NM), Arizona Science Center, National Museum of the American Indian—George Gustav Heye Center (NY), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Austin Children’s Museum (Texas), San Antonio Museum of Art, International Museum of Art and Science (Texas).
Moreover, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Texas), Talento Bilingüe de Houston, Children’s Museum of Houston (Texas), National Museum of the American Indian (DC) and The Museum of Flight (Wash.).
The Smithsonian Latino Center is a division of the Smithsonian Institution that ensures Latino contributions to art, science and the humanities are highlighted, understood and advanced through the development and support of public programs, scholarly research, museum collections an educational opportunities at the Smithsonian and its affiliated organizations across the United States and internationally. For information about the Young Ambassadors Program visit www.latino.si.edu.
By Ari Berman
Few politicians know as much about healthcare as Howard Dean, a former physician, five-term governor of Vermont and president candidate. Dean has long been an advocate for universal healthcare, although he was critical of the Obama Administration’s handling of healthcare legislation in 2009-2010, particularly the lack of a public insurance option in the final bill (which Dean ultimately supported). I interviewed Dean today about the political and policy ramifications of the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act.
Ari Berman: What was your reaction to the healthcare ruling?
Howard Dean: I was surprised. Like many people, I was shocked that Justice Roberts sided with upholding the bill and somewhat surprised and disappointed that Justice Kennedy voted to get rid of the entire thing along with the three right-wing justices.
I was glad that the president won a victory. But this pretty much ends the debate about the nature of the private sector in the healthcare business—it’s here to stay in a very big way. This is, after all, a Republican bill. Not the Republicans that we see today, but the moderate Republican wing under Mitt Romney in Massachusetts—this is their bill. For the foreseeable future there will be those who wish we had a single-payer healthcare system, but that’s not going to happen in Washington anytime soon.
Will the Affordable Care Act be implemented as drafted following the ruling?
For the most part. There’s still a lot of work to be done—this does not insure everyone, first off. Secondly, the Medicaid decision is extremely concerning [the justices ruled that the government could not withhold all Medicaid funds for states that refuse to implement the law]. We would have been better off as a people if the Medicaid provision had been upheld fully and the individual mandate had gone down. The Medicaid expansion insures more people than anything else in the bill. The expansion is still real, but there’s no real stick for the federal government to use against the states.
I wish the law was more comprehensive, but it’s much better than having the bill repealed.
Should the president campaign on the issue of healthcare? We’ve seen a lot of polls showing that the bill has remained relatively unpopular—can the president do anything to change that now?
He can’t. It’s too late, the Republicans have out-branded him on this one. But I do think the president can talk about the individual provisions when they come up.
If I were Obama, I probably wouldn’t talk about healthcare all that much. Why try to climb a hill? Why not just hammer the daylights out of Romney every day for his car elevators, his Cayman Islands bank account and the fact that he’s a classic 1 percenter who doesn’t care about the 99 percent.
Does Romney have any credibility to attack Obama on healthcare given his own record in Massachusetts?
No, I don’t think he does, but he’s trying to appease his base. What Obama did was adopt Romney’s bill. I don’t see how you can pretend otherwise.
Will this ruling energize conservative activists?
No, they’re so energized anyway it won’t make any difference. Although it’s going to be a little hard for conservatives to say that John Roberts condoned a socialist plan.
How worried are you about Republicans now calling the healthcare law a tax over and over and over again?
They were using that line anyway. I don’t think it’s going to be any worse than it already was.
What can Obama say in response to that?
He can say what he said today. He can tell the story of individual Americans who are going to benefit from it. And the truth is that the Congressional Budget Office says the law will save money and save jobs. He can talk about that too.
What is the importance of the Supreme Court going forward?
The Citizens United decision essentially put American politics up for sale.… Let’s not make a mistake about it: we have five right-wing judicial activists on the Supreme Court. That’s one of the reasons I decided early in the year to vigorously support the president’s re-election campaign. I believe there’s a huge difference between Scalia and Alito, and Sotomayor and Kagan.
Mary’s Center Celebrates Supreme Court Decision to Uphold
President Obama’s Health Care Law.
Its 24,000+ participants will be positively impacted.
Washington, D.C. – Mary’s Center, a community health center that provides health care, social and educational services to thousands of families in the DC metropolitan area, celebrates the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
“The United States is in desperate need of health care reform. We congratulate President Obama and his team for their leadership to create a more just health care system,” said Maria Gomez, Mary’s Center President and CEO. “Now, we need to work together to create mechanisms for successful implementation. We are ready!”
Of the 24,000 individuals served by Mary’s Center in 2011, 41% were uninsured, 39% had Medicaid, 19% were covered by DC Health Care Alliance (insurance provided by the District to low income residents), and only 1% had private insurance.
Some Mary’s Center participants have already benefited from expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Mary’s Center participant Susannah Plocher took advantage of extended coverage under her parents’ insurance, another provision of the Affordable Care Act. “While I was able to find a job right out of college, I wasn’t making enough money to afford health insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act, I can now stay on my parents’ plan until age 26.”
The Affordable Care Act enables Mary’s Center to provide preventative care to a larger community. Health promotion and screenings are a significant component of the Mary’s Center mission to save lives and strengthen communities, one family at a time. Furthermore, federal subsidies for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act will enable more Mary’s Center participants to undergo prescribed treatments.
“There is a direct relationship between a community’s wellness and a healthy economy. We believe that investing in healthy bodies and minds sets individuals and families on the path of success, enabling them to move up the economic ladder,” said Maria Gomez. “The Affordable Care Act is a positive step toward ensuring that families are able to meet basic needs.
”USHRN Informational Call on the Human Right to Health
A Human Rights Response to the Supreme Court’s Decision on
Health Care Reform
Today, the Supreme Court issued its decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act! This decision means that millions of people in the United States, many who were previously denied healthcare, will have an opportunity to access health insurance.
The Supreme Court decision today is a victory for human rights but does it guarantee comprehensive and high-quality healthcare for all people in the United States? Does it address inequities in health outcomes? Please join members of the US Human Rights Network to learn more about the decision, discuss its human rights implications, and how we can mobilize for the right to universal healthcare in the United States.
With Supreme Court Ruling, Big Decisions Ahead for Congress
This morning, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, but the really big decision on health care won’t come until late this year in Congress.
The most controversial provision of the law, known as the individual mandate, was affirmed by the court as a valid exercise of Congress’s power to tax. The decision ensures that implementation of state health insurance exchanges can go forward and that millions more Americans will have access to health insurance in 2014.
As important as this decision is, the $7.3 trillion fiscal cliff looming at the end of the year could have even greater impact. With the sequester and Sustainable Growth Rate provider rate cuts scheduled for January, and continually growing health spending that puts pressure on governments, businesses and families, Congress will have to act on health care. The question is how.
Some would have the strapped federal government shift more of its costs onto state governments, consumers or providers. This approach might give the appearance of fiscal responsibility, but it allows hundreds of billions in waste to remain in the health system. Simply shuffling costs from one budget to another does not help to put our fiscal house in order in the long term.
There is another way. It boils down to a simple principle: spending our health care dollars wisely. That means taking a look at the third of every health care dollar that isn’t improving anyone’s health. It means transforming today’s sick care system into a health care system that can fight the rising prevalence and cost of chronic disease.
For this approach to succeed, however, consumers, providers and policymakers each have a part to play. More consumers will have to take responsibility for managing their own health and choosing high-quality, low-cost providers and care. Providers will have to move beyond fee-for-service payments and transition to new, coordinated models of care that deliver better care at lower costs. Policymakers will have to craft viable policy solutions that enhance competition in health care markets, curb waste and fraud in public programs and adjust a range of agriculture, education, taxation and medical liability policies that impact our health costs.
For all the partisan debate over the Affordable Care Act, leaders in both political parties recognize that the current rate of growth in health spending is unsustainable. Now that the Court has settled the legal dispute, it is time for Republicans and Democrats alike to come together around common ground strategies that attack waste and ensure all of us are getting the most from our health care dollar.
“The court battle over the Affordable Care Act may be over,” said President and CEO John Rother, “but when it comes to curbing health costs, the real work has only just begun.”
AFGE Statement on Supreme Court Health Care Ruling
WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming the Affordable Care Act:
“The Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act is a victory for everyone who believes all Americans are entitled to affordable, quality health care.
“Millions of Americans are already benefiting from the law, including federal employees, and the court’s decision ensures that all of the law’s provisions will become reality. Because of the Affordable Care Act, 3.1 million young adults have already received health coverage through their parents’ insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act, 17 million children who are sick no longer are in danger of being dropped from coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
“And because of the Supreme Court’s ruling affirming the individual mandate and Medicaid provisions, health care coverage will now be extended to 30 million uninsured Americans – including up to 200,000 federal employees who can’t afford insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
“Now that this historic legislation has been upheld by the highest court in the land, it’s time for Republican leaders in Congress to stop their campaign to repeal the law and to focus instead on improving the economy and creating jobs.”
Millennial Opposition to President Obama’s Health Care Law
High as Concerns About Loss of Individual Freedom and Violations of Basic American Liberties Escalate
Washington, DC – 06/27/12 .– Intense debate and opposition to President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) have escalated the growth of Generation Opportunity’s Facebook page, “The Constitution by GO,” to over 1 million young adult fans. Millennials (young adults ages 18-29) have become much more vocal in their opposition to a law they increasingly view as a threat to and a violation of their individual freedom and basic American liberties.
Generation Opportunity created the Facebook page, “The Constitution by GO,” over a year ago as an online platform for Millennials to discuss and organize on issues related to the rights of all Americans as outlined in founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution.
Generation Opportunity presently has over 3.4 million fans on its Facebook platforms and works through social media and grassroots strategies to organize and mobilize young adult voters. The organization has a vigorous field operation that has already engaged hundreds of thousands of young Americans directly and has established a sophisticated network of activists across the country.
“The lack of enthusiasm among Millennials for this law is based in part on their growing sense of disillusionment with leaders in Washington and the crass, transparent calculation that young people would trade their basic American rights for a political promise of purportedly free healthcare. Young Americans are savvy and see this as yet another example of the pervasive arrogance coming out of Washington which insists government knows best,” said Paul T. Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and former Chief of Staff for the United States Office of Personnel Management, the agency responsible for managing the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program which covers most of the Executive Branch, as well as Members of Congress and their staffs.
Conway also served as Chief of Staff of the United States Department of Labor and previously served as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“Young Americans know their rights as guaranteed in both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. They are increasingly vocal and active in their opposition to this law, seeing the unprecedented threat they believe it represents to their basic freedoms and liberties, including religious liberty, fought for by our founders and the generations that followed. They know full well that this health care law would create a precedent for future federal intrusions into their personal lives and the institutions affiliated with their respective religious faiths,” added Conway.
Since the launch of the Facebook page over a year ago, the ACA has been a dominant issue among the young adult fans of “The Constitution by GO.” However, in the past several months, as the United States Supreme Court moved closer to making a ruling on the legislation championed by President Obama as a centerpiece of his domestic policy agenda, the activism of the fans on the page has increased markedly. A recent poll of fans on the page (unscientific) indicated that 91% are opposed to the healthcare law.
In recent weeks the platform has hosted an intense, vigorous debate among members of the key 18-29 demographic over the ACA, with the individual mandate specifically being the subject of frequent discussion among members of the page. The provision requires all Americans to purchase a health insurance policy or face a stiff penalty. Many young Americans view the compulsion as a flagrant assault on personal liberty and are apprehensive about the precedent it establishes; if the government can force its citizens to buy one product or service, it is unlikely to stop with health insurance.
Others have expressed grave concerns over coverage requirements that the Obama administration has demanded of religious institutions, including the provision of health services contrary to the basic principles and teachings of their faith. As an example, Catholic Charities faces a choice between violating their intrinsic principles or providing what the federal government deems the acceptable range of insured health services for their employees.
Many young Americans fear that religiously affiliated institutions may be forced to shut down altogether, leaving millions of people without access to care. Catholic hospitals alone account for 15.6 percent of all admissions and 14.9 percent of all hospital beds in the country, according to the American Hospital Association. In addition, almost a third (32 percent) of these hospitals are located in rural areas, where patients have fewer options for health care.
Generation Opportunity commissioned a poll with the polling company, inc./WomanTrend (April 16 – 22, 2011, +/- 4% margin of error) and a highlighted result for all young Americans ages 18-29 appears below:
Millennials – Attitudes toward Washington:
56% believe the wrong leadership is in Washington and 61% will vote on a candidate’s record, not charisma.
Only 31% of those 18-29 approve of Obama’s handling of the youth unemployment.
57% said they will learn more about the policy positions of Presidential candidates in the 2012 election than they did in 2008.
69% say political leaders do NOT reflect the interests of young Americans.
Millennials – Delayed Dreams from a Poor Economy and the Lack of Opportunity:
77% of young people ages 18-29 either have or will delay a major life change or purchase due to economic factors:
44% delay buying a home;
28% delay saving for retirement;
27% delay paying off student loans or other debt;
27% delay going back to school/getting more education or training;
26% delay changing jobs/cities;
23% delay starting a family;
18% delay getting married.
First international volunteers to support the National Literacy Program.
On June 25, El Salvador’s Vice-President and Minister of Education, Salvador Sánchez-Cerén, welcomed a volunteer delegation from CISPES, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, at a press event held at Ministry headquarters.
The team of twenty-eight delegates represents the first international volunteer brigade to accompany the National Literacy Program, an initiative of the Salvadoran government that began in 2010, following the election of the FMLN and President Mauricio Funes in 2009.
In two years, over 130,000 adults have graduated from the program, mostly older adults from the rural areas of El Salvador who were denied access to formal education. “The idea is to educate people throughout their lives,” said Minister Sanchez-Cerén. “We’ve discovered that nothing is impossible.”
Over 16,000 Salvadorans – mostly youth between the ages of 15-18 – have already contributed to the program’s success as volunteers. The youngest volunteer teacher, 9-year old Lindsay, spoke eloquently of the importance of community involvement, saying “There are no obstacles to teach nor to learn; everyone can learn.”
The government of Cuba, which successfully eliminated illiteracy in their country through brigades to marginalized areas starting in 1961, has also supported El Salvador’s Literacy Program. A team of specialists from Cuba, which, according the United Nations Development Programme, maintains one of the highest literacy rates in the world, at over 99%, has been working in El Salvador to help adapt the curriculum and methodology to the needs of the Salvadoran population.
As Aida Guerrero, one of the Cuban specialists, explained, “This is the first time that the three peoples of El Salvador, Cuba and the US will work together. We are all Americans and this historic collaboration between our peoples is of immense importance.”
CISPES program director Lisa Fuller presented the Minister of Education with donated school supplies and reading glasses collected by the delegation, stating, “We recognize that the national literacy program has achieved incredible results with limited resources, and for this reason it is a great honor for us to respond to the Ministry’s call for international solidarity.”
The delegates hail from six states in the US, including Washington, DC, Virginia, New York, California, and Massachusetts. Among the diverse group of students, teachers, parents and retirees, over half are of Salvadoran origin, while others have roots in Honduras, Mexico, Cuba, Chile and several other countries.
The CISPES brigade will remain in El Salvador for several weeks, working alongside volunteer teachers in both rural and urban communities.
On October 5, 2009, Ernesto and his wife Maria came to CARECEN to request foreclosure prevention and budgeting counseling. Three years after purchasing their dream home in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC, the couple found themselves struggling to pay their mortgage on time and in danger of losing their home.
CARECEN’s Housing Counselor, Anabell Martinez, recalls that when the couple came to CARECEN they were “very frustrated.” Their two home loans required monthly payments of over $4,000, leading Anabell to believe that Ernesto and Maria had been the victims of predatory lending.
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Maria was working with an office cleaning service and Ernesto, a landscaper, was getting only a few hours of sleep each night because he had taken on a part-time second job. Still, the couple
could barely pay the monthly interest on their home loans. Fearful that their mortgage payments could soar even higher and that they would fall behind on their payments, the couple came to CARECEN for help.
At CARECEN, the couple received not only foreclosure prevention assistance but also credit and financial literacy counseling. Ernesto and Maria attended several of CARECEN’s foreclosure and financial literacy workshops to become better informed about their situation, and Anabell helped them develop an action plan that included budgeting assistance. Ernesto and Maria worked hard to reduce their expenses by cutting telephone costs and buying groceries at less expensive supermarkets.
While the homeowners sought to limit their expenses, Anabell conducted negotiations with the bank to modify their interest-only loans. She spoke with bank officials nearly every week on the couple’s behalf. When the bank repeatedly claimed to have misplaced the couple’s financial documents, Anabell patiently resubmitted every required form.
Her perseverance finally paid off two years later, in December 2011. In that month Ernesto and Maria received a modification agreement that reduced the monthly payments on their first loan from $3,165 to $1,276. After further negotiations, in April of 2012 Anabell was also able to secure a modification for their second loan that reduced their monthly payments from $970 to $254.
Ernesto and Maria were excited and relieved to receive these modifications. “Maybe now he will stop working his part-time [second] job,” Anabell recalls Maria saying.
After two and a half years, Ernesto and Maria can now be confident that they will be able to make their mortgage payments and preserve their house. As for Anabell, she is also glad that her hard work helped the couple to save their home. “All of these hours that I have been working have had a good result,” she says with a smile.
Denial Leaves in Place Ninth Circuit Ruling Rejecting Arizona’s Attempt to Suppress Voter Registration.
WASHINGTON, DC, June 28, 2012.- Today, the United States Supreme Court issued an order rejecting the State of Arizona’s attempt to avoid a Ninth Circuit ruling that the state must accept the federal voter registration form in advance of the coming 2012 elections. The order denied an emergency stay requested by Arizona to block the Ninth Circuit’s decision, which compels Arizona to allow voters to register with the federal voter registration application provided by the National Voter Registration Act. MALDEF hails today’s order by the Supreme Court as a victory for all voters and a vindication of the rights of voters improperly rejected by Arizona’s unlawful state registration process.
“This decision is of tremendous importance to Arizona voters preparing for the upcoming November elections, stated Nina Perales, Vice President of Litigation for MALDEF, who successfully argued for use of the federal form before the en banc Ninth Circuit. “The use of the federal voter registration form in Arizona will help ensure that eligible voters are not unlawfully turned away and that their votes will count,” continued Perales.
The Supreme Court vacated the stay in Arizona v. Abeytia (previously known as Gonzalez v. Arizona). In the original case, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling struck down critical provisions of an Arizona law that restricted voter access. The ruling affirmed that the National Voter Registration Act, a comprehensive law enacted by Congress to combat discriminatory and onerous state voter registration schemes, supersedes additional documentation requirements that Arizona has imposed on voter registrants. MALDEF had challenged the 2004 law, also known as Proposition 200, as unconstitutional and in violation of federal law, because it forced many new U.S. citizens to register to vote twice and forced all U.S. citizens to produce unnecessary paperwork in order to register to vote.
Following the Ninth’s Circuit’s en banc decision, the State of Arizona filed an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the mandate from the Ninth Circuit. Justice Kennedy entered a stay temporarily and today’s decision, by the full court, lifts the stay and allows the Ninth Circuit to issue its mandate and give effect to its decision. The state may still ask the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit decision, but in the meantime, Arizona must accept the federal form before this fall’s election.
MALDEF originally filed this case on behalf of individual voters and voter registration applicants as well as the following organizations: Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, Valle del Sol, Friendly House, Chicanos Por La Causa, the Arizona Hispanic Community Forum, ACORN, Project Vote, and Common Cause. Danny Ortega of Ortega Law Firm P.C., and Karl Sandstrom of Perkins Coie are co-counsel with MALDEF in the case.
The program offers $20 Million for Job Growth through Partnership with Local Community Banks.
Montgomery County today announced an early July launch of the “Small Business Plus!” program. Through a unique collaboration between Montgomery County and community banks headquartered in the County, “Small Business Plus!” was developed to promote job growth through small business lending and earn a competitive rate of return for the County on its investment. Ten million dollars in County funds will be invested in participating community banks which will commit an equal amount, with the result that $20 million will be lent to local small businesses to further promote the creation of new jobs.
“Small Business Plus!” will establish partnerships with community banks to provide County deposits for those banks to lend to local businesses to create new jobs that lower the County’s unemployment rate and improve the County’s economy.
“We have a number of strong community banks headquartered in Montgomery County and it makes good sense to partner with them to generate jobs and business that benefits County residents and at the same time broaden the County’s tax base,” said Montgomery County Finance Director Joseph Beach. “This is an opportunity for Montgomery County to do ‘well’ — and do ‘good’ at the same time.”
“Small business is big business in Montgomery County, said County Council President Roger Berliner. “This initiative literally puts our money where our mouth is — in the hands of local banks to help small businesses. We are using our county assets to help a linchpin of our local economy. I am pleased that this effort, years in the making, is now being launched.”
“I am very pleased that Montgomery County will be investing with our local community banks so that they will be able to make small business loans to help with job creation and economic development in our County,” said Councilmember Nancy Floreen.
Banks are eligible to participate if they meet the following criteria: they must be headquartered in Montgomery County; must have assets greater than $200 million and less than $5 billion; and meet certain safety and soundness standards established by the County.
Under the program, a participating bank must originate the loans within 12 calendar months of the commitment by the County to make a program related deposit in that bank. All of the funds deposited will be covered by FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insurance. Montgomery County will produce an annual report documenting the loan activity and estimating the number of jobs created through the program. This program is similar to a very effective program that has been successful in the State of Massachusetts and another program for which legislation has been introduced in the District of Columbia. Earlier this year the Maryland General Assembly approved a “Lend Local Act” to boost small business lending.
Among the banks who have agreed to partner with the County are Capital Bank, Congressional Bank, EagleBank, Monument Bank, and OBA Bank.
“This program is the right thing to do,” stated Scot Browning, President of Capital Bank. “County money, derived from our local tax base, should remain in our community to support our community. By depositing taxpayer dollars in local banks to be lent back into the community is a win-win.”
“We are proud to participate in the Small Business Plus! Program,” stated Ronald D. Paul, Chairman & CEO of EagleBank. “It is a unique opportunity to partner with the Montgomery County government to enhance lending programs for small businesses located in the County. We have committed to lend into the community twice the amount of funds that we receive from the Small Business Plus! Program,” Mr. Paul added. “This support allows these local businesses to grow, create new employment opportunities and thereby improve the County economy.”
“The county and the community banks have developed a deposit program that will benefit both taxpayers and the local economy,” said Jeffrey A. Lipson, President & Chief Operating Officer of Congressional Bank. “Congressional Bank is pleased to participate in this initiative, and looks forward to additional partnership opportunities that support Montgomery County small businesses.”
“This program shows a lot of promise for leveraging county assets into local job creation. I applaud the Executive for moving forward on this,” said Councilmember Hans Riemer.
NCLR (National Council of La Raza) praised the U.S. Supreme Court decision today to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a 5 to 4 vote.
“Today’s decision is a victory for those of us who believe that health care for all is an essential right, not a luxury,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “The health care legislation was an important step forward and these court challenges were an unfortunate distraction that both distorted the purpose of the law and inhumanely slowed down its implementation. The Supreme Court has spoken. It is time to move forward and make the entire law a reality.”
The Court’s decision upheld implementation of the core of the law, though it limited the federal government’s role in states’ adoption of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The law will have dramatic implications for Latinos and their ability to gain meaningful access to health care. A minimum of six million Latinos will become newly insured under full expansion of the law—the single-biggest jump in health insurance levels for Latinos in American history. NCLR will continue working to ensure that the benefits of the law are fully realized within the Hispanic community.
Chairman Charles Gonzalez (TX-20):
“The Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for all Americans, including the 16 million uninsured Hispanics. Access to healthcare has been a longstanding concern to the Hispanic community, as Latinos are far less likely to get preventive services but have a greater chance than whites of being diagnosed with diseases like diabetes.
“Already we have seen the benefits of these reforms in the Latino community. Nearly 750,000 young Latinos have been able to get coverage through their parents’ plans and by 2014, when the reforms are fully implemented, 9 million more uninsured Latinos will be eligible to receive coverage. With the decision, America moves closer to lightening the burden on working families and ensuring that all our citizens will have a brighter future.
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard:
“This ruling is wonderful news. The Court has decided, and now we can move forward and get people the coverage they need. Today, if you have a pre-existing condition, you can rest assured that you will always have access to health care. If you need preventative care—a cancer screening, diabetes test, a flu shot—these services will be covered. Beginning in 2014, your insurance company can no longer charge you more for being a woman and if you lose your job, or your employer doesn’t offer insurance, you will be able to buy affordable coverage.
This ruling is particularly important for minorities in our country, who make up 30% of the population, but are 50% of the uninsured. Every year more than 83,000 racial and ethnic minorities die because they don’t have access to high quality health care. The Affordable Care Act is a landmark health equity law that extends health coverage to 32 million more individuals and provides the critical investments and reforms necessary to eliminate health care disparities, especially in minority and underserved communities.
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On the other side, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
“What’s important to remember is that what the Court rules on is whether something is constitutional or not, not whether it’s a good idea. And while the Court has said that the law is constitutional, it remains a bad idea for our economy, and I hope that in the fall we will have a majority here that will not just repeal this law, but replace it with real solutions that will insure more people and cost a lot less money.”
By Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
As we await for the Supreme Court ruling on the health care reform, Latino families across the nation raise their voices to protect access to health care. In fact, according to the Herndon Alliance/Protect Your Care, over 85% of informed Latinos oppose repealing the health care reform — more than three times among voters in general.
For MomsRising.org, an online and on-the-ground family-oriented advocacy group of more than one million members, we are not surprised by the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stating that 3.1 million young adults have gained health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. We know that since the implementation of the health care reform, the quality of life of American families has drastically improved as noted by MomsRising Latino members who share their personal stories.
Take the case of Tracy and Carlos Muñoz from Norfolk, Virginia, a couple who has been able to keep their two adult children covered under their employer plan due to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. For their oldest son, having health coverage means he can stay in graduate school and secure his professional future rather than having to leave school and find a job that provides health care coverage.
Striking down the law would roll back gains for millions of Americans, including those who can now remain on a parent’s health care plan until age 26, as shown in the case of the Muñoz family.
The law also prevents insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 in 2 Americans, including Latinos, have some type of pre-existing health condition.
Eliana Tardío, a MomsRising member from South Florida and mom blogger, gives testimony on this aspect. Eliana has two children with Down syndrome, Emin and Ayelen. For her, the health care reform means that her children cannot be dropped by a health care provider due to their pre-existing condition. “Having the assurance that by law my children will always have access to health care is an amazing feeling that’s very hard to put into words,” explained Eliana Tardío. “As moms, we want to see our children well; knowing that their pre-existing condition is no longer an obstacle to obtain care is a victory in the fight to keeping families healthy and strong.”
For Laura Tellado, a passionate Puertorican writer and health blogger, access to health care is a matter of life and death. This Central Florida resident has since 2009 challenged the public in her blog, “Holdin’ Out for a Hero,” where she chronicles her experience as an individual with Spina Bifida – the number one cause of paralysis in children. “The health care reform means the protection of our human right of having access to health care, and live,” explained Laura Tellado. “Throughout my life, I have relied on healthcare access in order to keep living with my pre-condition. Striking down the health care reform would be a moral crime against those of us who have so limited options.”
We also have the stories of those families who have filed for bankruptcy due to the high cost of health care. Meet Elisanta “Lisa” Batista from Derry, New Hampshire. Her youngest daughter, Nelsy, was born premature. Then, Lisa’s husband lost his job and their health care insurance. “The medical bills for Nelsy kept piling up and at times we couldn’t even pay for the phone bill; eventually, we were forced to file for bankruptcy,” explained Lisa Batista. “I support the health care reform because it expands coverage to millions of families so they can make ends meet at home while having health care access. This reform is a vital necessity for families.”
Striking down the health care reform would be detrimental to our working families. The Affordable Care Act will protect some of our most vulnerable citizens, including children and seniors. Its benefits are already being felt by millions of American families. The Supreme Court, under its constitutional authority granted to Congress, should uphold the law.
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is the Executive Director/CEO of MomsRising.org