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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."

THI letter to The Members of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

March 3, 2014

The Honorable Greg Walden, Chairman, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Anna G. Eshoo,  Ranking Member  Subcommittee on Communications  and Technology  Committee on Energy and Commerce  U.S. House of Representatives  Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Eshoo:

The Hispanic Institute works on issues important to the Hispanic community and we are disappointed to see the interests and profits of pay-TV providers coming before the Hispanic consumer.

A proposed change to the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) would give pay-TV providers the freedom to remove broadcast channels from the most affordable option in subscription services, basic tier service. Moreover, a Spanish-speaking household wanting the full range of Spanish language networks may have to subscribe to higher-priced tiers because the provision would give pay-TV providers the freedom to split up these popular channels to maximize their profits. In the Hispanic community, Spanish-language networks not only provide popular programming, but also serve as important community resources and trusted advisors on a wide range of issues from the importance of the Census to the need for Hispanic political participation. And like every other TV viewer in the country, our communities turn to these local channels for up to the minute information on weather conditions and other emergency information. Allowing these changes to basic tier service would make monthly cable bills- already an affordability issue given constant rate hikes-even costlier for Hispanic consumers.

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

FROM THE "VANGUARDIA" NEW BLOG

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.

Report Documents Latino Voting Power & Issues in Midterms

-- by Chris Adams, McClatchy:

A record 25 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, and if history is a guide they will also cast a record number of votes, according to a new report.

But if history holds true as well, Latinos will leave far more votes on the table than they cast, due to participation rates that significantly lag those of whites or African-Americans.

Thousands Released After Immigration Holds Denied

- by Amy Taxin, The Associated Press:

Immigration officials say local authorities across the U.S. released thousands of immigrants from jails this year despite efforts to take them into federal custody, including more than 3,000 with previous felony charges or convictions.

The numbers are the first time federal immigration authorities have publicly detailed how many times local agencies have refused to comply with their requests.

Opinion: Supreme Court Should Rule for Workers in Overtime Case

-- by Paul A. Reyes, Fox News Latino:

Nobody likes waiting in line. Not at the movies, not at the DMV, not at the airport. Now imagine that you have to wait in line every day after work as part of your job. Should you be paid for your time? That’s the issue that the Supreme Court is considering in Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk. 

Courts Block Voter ID Laws in Texas and Wisconsin

-- by Will Weissert and Todd Richmond, TPM.com:

 A federal judge likened Texas' strict voter ID requirement to a poll tax deliberately meant to suppress minority voter turnout and struck it down less than a month before Election Day — and mere hours after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a similar measure in Wisconsin.

The twin rulings released Thursday evening represent major and somewhat surprising blows to largely Republican-backed voter identification rules sweeping the nation that have generally been upheld in previous rulings.

Hispanic Wireless Users Survey: Fewer Taxes, More Spectrum

-- from Politic 365:

Recently McLaughlin & Associates partnered with Penn Schoen Berland to develop and conduct a bipartisan national online survey of 417 adult Hispanics, and the 2014 Hispanic Consumer Survey reveals a lot about Hispanic wireless phone users.

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