September 04, 2004

Congressional Democrats released a new report on how Hispanic Americans have fared in the last four years, and outlining proposals by Congressional Democrats to advance the prosperity of Hispanic families. The report was released at the 5th Annual Hispanic Leadership Summit on Capitol Hill.

The Summit was attended by more than 170 Hispanic community leaders from across the country, including Arturo S. Rodriguez, President, United Farm Workers of America and actress Rosario Dawson Co-Founder, Voto Latino.

"Beyond photo-ops and political rhetoric, Republicans have done little or nothing to advance Hispanic priorities," said the report, entitled, Democrats and Hispanic Americans: Working Together to Secure America's Future.

"Democrats have a different vision for America's future -- one that reflects American values and the voices of the hard-working Hispanic families." House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who spoke at the event, said: "We are proud to release this Democratic report today on how Hispanic Americans have fared in the last four years, and outlining proposals to advance the prosperity of Hispanic families. House Democrats last week unveiled our New Partnership for America's Future, which reaffirms our commitment to six core American values for a strong and secure middle class: prosperity, national security, fairness, opportunity, community and accountability.

"Now, Republicans are playing politics with our national security, and are including extreme immigration provisions in their intelligence reform bill. We will not let them divide us, when we should be working together to defend our country. We support fair immigration reform policies that will enhance our security. Together, we can give everyone in this nation -- whether they have been here for generations or just arrived -- the opportunity to realize the American dream," Pelosi said.

According to the report, since President Bush took office, the quality of life has deteriorated in the Hispanic community. The jobless rate among Hispanics has increased one-fifth to 6.9 percent, which means 1.4 million Hispanics are out of work. Currently 9.1 million Hispanics live in poverty -- 22 percent of the Hispanic population. The median income of Hispanics has dropped by $2,432. More than 4 million Hispanic children are excluded from the child tax credit because their parents' incomes are below the income threshold for the credit. The Hispanic homeownership rate is only 29 percent -- 21.8 percent below the national average. And nearly 33 percent of Hispanics have no health insurance, which is almost double the national average.

Throughout the 108th Congress, Democrats have worked with Republicans whenever possible, but also worked to defeat Republican proposals that would harm middle-class families, including Hispanic families. In fact, last year, we unveiled the Compromiso Democrata con el Pueblo Latino. This report highlights Democratic efforts to secure America's future and provide greater opportunities for Hispanic families:

* Support Hispanic economic empowerment and provide economic security;

* Provide real resources to support real reforms and educational opportunities;

* Ensure access to health care for Hispanics;

* Make new progress on civil rights;

* Promote family unity, fundamental fairness, and economic opportunities for immigrants;

* Reestablish our historic commitment to Latin America;

* Strengthen national security;

* Support our nation's veterans; and

* Protect the environment and public health.

Congressman Ciro D. Rodriguez (D-TX), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said: "On behalf of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I want to thank Senator Daschle and Senator Clinton for taking the leadership in organizing this event and thank our House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for her commitment to helping make this event happen.

"The Hispanic Caucus has always depended on our friends and colleagues in the House and Senate to help us accomplish our mission. We are partners, because we share the same values: We support Hispanic economic empowerment.

We want better schools and educational opportunities for our community. We work to ensure better access to health care and the elimination of health disparities. We want humane treatment of immigrants that are vital to our economy. And we want our country to re-establish our historic commitment to Latin America. Today's Summit theme, In Our Hands -- Increasing Latino Civic Participation, is so fitting because truly the future is 'en nuestras manos.'"

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