The New America Alliance Institute laid out a report of important issues affecting the nations 54 million Latinos and made recommendations on behalf of this vastly growing population.
The report, titled American Latino Agenda Report, was released at the NAA Institutes American Latino National Summit, which was held in San Antonio on Wednesday and Thursday. It was put together by a number of Latino organizations with expertise on various issues, like education, health care and immigration.
We dont try to reinvent the wheel, Ana-Maria Fernandez Haar, chair of the NAA Institute board, told VOXXI. What we try to do is bring different experts from different fields so that we can take advantage of the best of each others thinking.
The way in which the report was put together falls in line with the NAA Institutes vision, which former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros explained at the opening day of the summit. Cisneros is one of the co-founders of the NAA Institute.
The original idea was to bring people together whove had an opportunity to be successful in their lives so that they could network and share ideas and give back to the community of ours, Cisneros said.
The report comes as the November midterm elections approach. NAA Institute members say they hope the report will help candidates understand that immigration is not the only issue Latinos care about. They also say the report is meant to spur a more strategic and informed dialogue on the full integration of American Latinos in the national agenda and priorities.
A look inside the American Latino Agenda Report
One of the first main issues addressed in the report is the need to build the power of the Latino vote. Put together by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, this portion of the report calls for more outreach and engagement efforts focused on low-propensity voters as well as the need to modernize and strengthen federal voting rights protections. In addition, NALEO calls for the need to build a political infrastructure that provides Latinos an opportunity to run for office and have access to resources that will mount to viable campaigns.
At a time when the immigration issue has been making headlines, the report calls for an immigration system that would maximize the economic contributions that immigrants make and that would legally admit more immigrants who can fuel the U.S. economy. This portion of the report, put together by the American Immigration Council, also calls for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants with strong ties to the U.S.
On education, several different organizations pitched a menu of recommendations. For example, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics advocates for better access to early learning programs and more investment to make college more affordable for low income, first generation and undocumented students.
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities also calls for addressing the socio-economic issues the create barriers to educational attainment for Hispanics. It also calls for the need to increase federal funding for Hispanic-Serving Institutions and making Hispanic educational access and success a national priority.
And Excelencia in Education states that there should be more investment in evidence-based strategies that increase college and career readiness as well as college completion. It also highlights the need for more ways to increase financial literacy and opportunities for financial aid to make college more affordable for Latino students.
On health care, the National Hispanic Medical Association states that there are systematic barriers to health care access, availability and affordability for Latinos. It also notes that health care disparities among Latinos exist due to lack of culturally competent care and education about disease prevention programs. Among the groups recommendations are increasing Latino representation in major health professions and filling the void in Congress education regarding the health care issues that impact Latinos.
To view the full American Latino Agenda Report, visit the NAA website or click here.