“RAISE ACT” HARMS THE LATINO COMMUNITY, IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY, AND ECONOMY
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 45 of the nation’s most preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, expresses deep concern with and opposes the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE Act), which is yet another attack on the Latino and immigrant communities and a disrespect for the diversity that immigrants bring to the United States. Requiring that immigrants meet a “merit-based” set of criteria will not boost the economy. Rather our economy would be set back, and we would lose out on the wide range of skills that immigrants bring to the workforce.
Furthermore, to prioritize English-speaking applicants is a form of discrimination against language minorities that firmly contradicts NHLA’s policy priorities. NHLA supports efforts to include English instruction in workforce training programs; however, language does not define one’s ability to contribute to the workforce or our society. Despite the spin that this Administration puts on its favoritism to English speaking immigrants, in reality it serves as a barrier that will disproportionately exclude Latino and other non-European immigrants. We will continue to fully support the immigrant community and advocate against all efforts to limit immigration and to attack the people who are a driving force of our economy.
“The only thing that the ‘RAISE Act’ raises is the level of concern for our nation’s economy if this legislation is enacted. Already, there is opposition on both sides of the aisle to the RAISE Act and we want to make it clear that we strongly oppose the RAISE Act and any legislation that attempts to limit our workforce due to discrimination and attacks on immigrants,” said Hector Sanchez Barba, Chair of NHLA and Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.
“The bill proposed by Senators Cotton and Perdue, and endorsed by the White House, betrays an extraordinary ignorance of history, of the needs of our economy, and of the contributions being made by immigrant workers to the stability of our national safety net,” said Thomas A. Saenz, NHLA vice chair and MALDEF president and general counsel. “Extended families have been an extraordinary economic engine in this country, and immigrants who did not speak English before coming here have filled the ranks of our most successful entrepreneurs and innovators throughout our history.”
"The RAISE Act is nothing more than a return to the failed and cruel quota system of the early 20th century when anti-immigrant leaders in Congress closed our country off to immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe,” said José Calderón, Co-Chair of NHLA's Immigration Committee and President of Hispanic Federation. “The focus now is to shut the door for immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa. And, then as now, sponsors of this shameless bill are trafficking in bias to keep families apart, punish the poor, and hurt the American economy."
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ABOUT THE NATIONAL HISPANIC LEADERSHIP AGENDA
The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is composed of 45 of the leading national and regional Latino civil rights and public policy organizations and other elected officials, and prominent Latinos Americans. NHLA coalition members represent the diversity of the Latino community – Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Latino Americans. NHLA’s mission calls for unity among Latinos around the country to provide the Latino community with greater visibility and a clearer, stronger influence in our country’s affairs. NHLA brings together Latino leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. For more information, please visit: www.nationalhispanicleadership.org.
NHLA MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS
Alianza Americas | American G.I. Forum | ASPIRA Association | Avance Inc. | Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network | Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute | Farmworker Justice | Green Latinos | Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities | Hispanic Federation | Hispanic National Bar Association | Inter-University Program for Latino Research | Labor Council for Latin American Advancement | LatinoJustice PRLDEF | League of United Latin American Citizens | MANA, A National Latina Organization | Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund | Mi Familia Vota | National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures | National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives | National Association of Hispanic Publications | National Day Laborer Organizing Network | NALEO Educational Fund | National Association of Latino Independent Producers | National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc. | National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators | National Hispanic Council on Aging | National Hispanic Environmental Council | National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts | National Hispanic Media Coalition | National Hispanic Medical Association | National Institute for Latino Policy | National Latina/o Psychological Association | National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health | Presente.org | SER Jobs for Progress National | Southwest Voter Registration Education Project | UnidosUS | United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce | United States Hispanic Leadership Institute | United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce | U.S.- Mexico Foundation | Voto Latino