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Gus West: Immigration Not a Crisis, It's An Opportunity

-- from the Sun Sentinel (Florida) :

Concern about immigration recently tripled, thanks largely to the surge of unaccompanied minors across the nation's southern border, according to the latest Gallup poll. Yet Congress is hopelessly deadlocked over what to do.

Republican leaders have deferred to the most anti-immigrant members of their caucus — who are effectively calling for mass deportations. Democrats, meanwhile, have refused to even discuss immigration until after this fall's election.

This political gamesmanship must end. Our leaders must welcome the immigrants who have made their way here — not just for humanitarian reasons but for economic ones, too.

Since last October, nearly 60,000 unaccompanied immigrant children have entered the United States from Mexico. Most are fleeing Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador — three nations wracked by unthinkable levels of gang violence and poverty.

Chair Gus West Discusses THI's Bilingual PSA & Voter Program on ABC New York's "Tiempo"

The Hispanic Institute's Chairman Gus West appeared on ABC New York's Tiempo program Sunday, October 5th to discuss the Institute's bilingual PSA and voter program:

Recommended browser: Google Chrome

Part One

Watch on Tiempo's Home Page

Part Two

Watch on Tiempo's Home Page

The Hispanic Institute Launches Bilingual PSA for Get-Out-The-Vote Campaign

The key to reaching Hispanic voters? Speak both their languages!

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 22) -- Today, The Hispanic Institute launched a bilingual public service announcement video encouraging Hispanics to vote in this November's midterm elections. The video -- which transitions seamlessly between English and Spanish -- is part of the Institute's 2014 Get-Out-The-Vote campaign.

Our Responsibility to Vote! from Aalia Network on Vimeo.

"America's 54 million Hispanics owe it to themselves and their families to make their voices heard at the polls this November," said Gus West, Board Chair of The Hispanic Institute. "Our video appeals to Hispanic Americans' sense of civic duty -- whatever their preferred language may be."

Historically, Hispanics have been under-represented politically. That's largely because they've voted at rates 25 percent lower than blacks and whites.

The Hispanic Institute's video aims to change that. And reaching Hispanics requires bilingual outreach. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts the use of Spanish as the primary language will decrease among Hispanics in the coming years. Already, a quarter of Hispanic Americans speak only English at home.

The Hispanic Institute is looking to air its Get-Out-The-Vote video in five states with the most competitive elections this fall: Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, and Iowa.

"With the mid-term elections just six weeks away, Hispanics have a historic chance to influence policy on the issues that matter most to them," said West. "Our campaign will call on them to seize that opportunity."

Taxes and Fees: Barriers to Hispanic Connectivity

WASHINGTON (November 14, 2012) – A new report “Taxes and Fees: Barriers to Hispanic Connectivity” released today by The Hispanic Institute calls for Congress to pass bi-partisan legislation that would require uniform tax rules for online purchases of digital goods and wireless phone services.

The report supports passage of the Digital Goods and Services Fairness Act, which would prohibit the imposition of taxes by multiple jurisdictions on the same digital purchase, and the Wireless Tax Fairness Act, which would impose a five-year moratorium on new, discriminatory state or local taxes on mobile services, providers and property.

"Right now, thanks to a regressive patchwork of state and local taxes, Americans are paying more than they should for their phones and the products they buy online," said Gus West, Board Chair of The Hispanic Institute. "This unfair tax burden hits hardest those who can least afford it, including many Hispanics.”

Both measures would deliver significant savings for all Americans, including the many Hispanics who rely heavily on digital devices for employment, education, commercial and other economic and social interactions.  

Read the Full Study [PDF]

Soda Size Cap Cuts Calories Most in Kids, the Overweight, Study Finds

-- by Melissa Healy, The Los Angeles Times:

A day after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Health Department went to court to defend its proposed cap on the sale of super-sized sodas, a published study has offered evidence that Bloomberg's plan would reduce average calorie intake among those most likely to buy large drinks, and would have its greatest effect on overweight and obese kids.

The study, conducted by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, also found that low-income consumers were no more affected by a portion cap than were those of higher income -- a major challenge to opponents of the proposed cap, who have argued it unfairly targets the poor.

The research was published Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition...

... At the same time, the finding that low-income consumers pared about the same number of calories from their daily intake as those with higher incomes may undermine an argument mustered by many opponents of soda restrictions or taxes: that such measures restrict poor people's choices but not those of higher-income consumers.

Gus K. West, president of the Washington-based Hispanic Institute, says it's time for that argument to lose its power anyway. In low-income communities and Latino communities disproportionately affected by obesity and diabetes, measures that drive down sugar-sweetened beverage consumption should and will have a heavy impact -- for the better, West says.

Read the Full Story

Gus West: Immigration Reform Bill Still Denies Basic Rights

-- for the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

May 6, 2013

Is this the year Washington finally tackles immigration reform?

The bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators just released a proposal for "comprehensive immigration reform."

But the "comprehensive immigration reform" on offer serves to legally deprive undocumented immigrants of fundamental civil rights — in spite of their outsized contributions to the U.S. economy.

The basic plan from the Gang of Eight has not changed much since the last time Washington showed an interest in immigration reform, in 2007.

It starts with stern promises to "secure the border." A guest worker program would follow.

The Gang of Eight proposal would enable undocumented immigrant workers to remain here legally after a criminal background check, a hefty registration fee, and a number of other onerous requirements.

Read the Full Piece

 

FROM THE "VANGUARDIA" NEW BLOG

Changing Demographics Are Creating an Electoral Battleground

-- by Alexa Ura, The New York Times:

In the southeastern part of this Dallas suburb, the signs of an increasingly diverse population are unmistakable.

There is No Surge in Undocumented Immigration

--by Bettina Chang, Pacific Standard Magazine:

The overall rate of illegal immigration has actually decreased significantly in the last 10 years. The time is ripe for immigration reform.

Do Latino Voters Matter in the Midterm Election?

-- by Rebecca Caplan, CBS News:

Since President Obama trounced former GOP nominee Mitt Romney among Latino voters, 71 to 27 percent, in 2012, many a political prognosticator has warned that Republicans would be doomed in future national elections if they did not take steps to win over the Hispanic community.

In North Carolina, Latino Voters Could Decide Tight Senate Race

-- by Michel Martin, NPR:

Ahead of the midterm elections, Michel Martin is visiting Charlotte, N.C., to learn more about Latino voters' growing influence in the state. Join Michel fo ra Facebook chat from 4:30-5 p.m. ET today as she answers questions and shares more on her reporting.

Book Review: "Latino America" by Gary Segura

-- by Dante Chinni, The Washington Post:

It’s all but impossible to read any story about the state of politics in America that does not discuss Latino voters. There’s a reason for that. Since 1990 the percentage of the U.S. population that identifies as Hispanic or Latino has gone from 9 percent to about 17 percent. If that is not an important demographic and political trend, what is?

Latinos, Labor Tell Obama: Pick Tom Perez for Attorney General

By Edward-Isaac Dovere, Carrie Budoff Brown and Seung Min Kim, Politico:

Hispanic lawmakers, immigration advocates and labor allies are lining up to lobby President Barack Obama to nominate Labor Secretary Tom Perez as attorney general.

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