Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Latinos Want – Immigration Reform Bill

The results of the 2012 election have awakened the Republican Party to their impending demographic disaster. Substantial growth in the size and power of the Latino vote—and an overwhelming tilt in that vote against their nominee—paints a bleak future for Republican electability. Coupled with startling Democratic vote share among Asian Americans (73%), and an ever more resolute and motivated African American vote, demography may be destiny for the GOP.
For both Latinos and Asian Americans, immigration looms large as an impediment to GOP improvement in these communities. This reality—long denied by both parties—has become abundantly clear. In impreMedia/Latino Decisions’ Election Eve polling 57% of Latino voters said that Romney’s positions on immigration made them “less enthusiastic” about the Governor. Among Asian American Voters in our Asian Decisions Election Eve survey, an identical number, 57%, reported favoring comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. In our collaborative poll for the NAACP, 80% of African American voters in four battlegrounds states favored the same comprehensive approach.
In the immediate aftermath of the election, Senators Schumer and Graham announced that they had reinitiated negotiations, while pundits as surprising as Sean Hannity announced that the GOP had to get the immigration issue “behind” them.
This development inevitably raises the question of what Latino voters want in an immigration reform effort. To accomplish Hannity’s hope of putting the issue to rest, it would do the GOP little good to deliver an immigration outcome with widespread Latino opposition. That will be a difficult temptation to resist, however, since strong resistance to immigration and immigration reform among certain quarters of the GOP will push to have the legislation deliver as little as possible.
Over the last 18 months, impreMedia and Latino Decisions repeatedly polled Latino registered voters specifically about their preferences regarding changes in US immigration policy. Based on that poll and our more recent work, here are our observations regarding the “must haves” in any comprehensive reform.
Meaningful adjustment of status with a path to citizenship. Latino voters, indeed ALL voters, prefer a comprehensive reform plan that includes a path to citizenship. For non-Latinos, the preferred path is an “earned” citizenship, which likely includes provisions regarding back taxes and learning English. But the bottom line is that the creation of a permanent alien class, guest workers or another form of residency that never turns into full social membership, is a non-starter.
In our June 2011 poll, 75% of Latino registered voters wanted a comprehensive approach with a path to citizenship while only 14% preferred a “guest worker” approach. In November of 2011, we asked the same question to a sample of all American registered voters, regardless of race and ethnicity. We found then that 58% of all registered voters (including 53% of self-identified Republicans) favored a path to citizenship, while only 14% preferred the guest worker approach and only 25% favored deportation. Curiously, Fox news repeated our question on their December 2011 poll and found the same results—although support for a path to citizenship was actually higher in Fox’s poll among all citizens and Republicans alike!
Immigration Policy Preferences
Latinos voters are simply not going to be happy with an outcome that keeps Latino immigrants on the margins of society. And if the GOP is identified as the key obstacle stopping a path to citizenship for Latino immigrants, the party will have accomplished little towards Sean Hannity’s goal of getting the issue behind them. Should the GOP lead a bill with too many punitive measures, or should the bill pass with little GOP support, any electoral advantage that might come to the GOP from moving the immigration issue forward could be lost or, worse, backfire.  Our election eve poll found that 31% of our respondents would be more likely to support a Republican if the party took the lead on reforming immigration.  Electoral benefits, alas, will require constructive action.
Reasonable, but not excessive, prerequisites to status adjustment: The debate over comprehensive immigration reform is also likely to produce considerable disagreement regarding the requirements to adjust status for those already living in the US without documents. In June 2011, we asked a sample of Latino registered voters what their views were with respect to several of the provisions debated in the 2006 and 2007 efforts.
Specific Immigration Reform Policy Preferences Among Latino Voters
Latino voters are very comfortable with requirements regarding old or outstanding taxes, criminal background checks, continuous residence in the US and the learning of English. The community is more or less evenly divided on a provision for directly fining people, and a majority oppose touch-back provisions that requires undocumented residents of the US to return to nations of origin to complete the paperwork process.
More generous treatment of “Dream”-eligible youth. By now, the polling in all aspect of American society is well understood. Americans by very large margins are uncomfortable and unhappy with subjecting minors with punitive measures when they committed no violation of their own. In November of 2011, 58% of all voters regardless of race or ethnicity supported the Dream Act, compared with only 28% opposed. Among Latinos, the numbers were 84% support to 11% opposition.
The Dream Act as a stand-alone measure is popular but would not, by itself, solve the GOP problem with Latino voters. In the presence of a more comprehensive reform, however, young people brought to the US by their parents, who are achieving, should receive more favorable treatment under a comprehensive plan.
Majorities of all Americans, even a majority of all Republicans, favor a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that includes a path to US citizenship. Similarly, large majorities of all Americans see immigrant youth—blameless for their presence is the US –deserve more favorable treatment. And there is considerable consensus among Latino voters regarding reasonable requirements for status adjustment.

Gary Segura is co-founder and principal of Latino Decisions. He is a Professor of American Politics at Stanford University, where he is also Chair of Chicana/o Studies, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

llinois People’s Action – Lobbies for Drivers Licenses

Over 70 IPA leaders wait outside the office of Senator Bill Brady at the State Capitol in Springfield, IL.
-November 27, 2012
November 28, 2012- Illinois Peoples Action – IPA took over 70 leaders to Springfield on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 to lobby for drivers licenses for aspiring citizen in the state of Illinois. IPA is part of a statewide coalition called the “Highway Safety Coalition” that is trying to get legislation passed that would grant drivers licenses to an estimated 250,000 drivers who don’t currently qualify to get a legal drivers license. If passed, Illinois would become the largest state in the nation to pass this sort of legislation.
The Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL) is an existing document that is now available to many foreign‐born individuals living in Illinois. Since 2005, Illinois has issued TVDLs to individuals who do not have SSNs but who have a lawful immigration status. Such individuals include foreign students, spouses and children of temporary workers, long‐term visitors, and others who are not authorized to work under our immigration laws. Many of these individuals still need to drive on a regular basis to get to classes, shop, take their children to school, or attend to other family and personal business.
TVDLs are visually distinct from regular licenses: TVDLs currently use a purple color scheme, as opposed to the red scheme used for regular licenses. TVDLs are also clearly marked as “not valid for identification.” Because of these elements, TVDLs already comply with the federal REAL ID Act, which is set to take effect in January 2013.
Making TVDLs available to undocumented motorists would still require these immigrants to pass all applicable tests (vision, written, and road) and require them to purchase insurance for their vehicles. TVDLs would not brand people as undocumented, since unlike a driver’s certificate, the document is available more broadly to other individuals who cannot get regular licenses. The risk of profiling associated with certificates should not exist with TVDLs.
Any proposal to extend TVDLs to undocumented motorists could require additional steps to ensure security and prevent fraud, including:
 submitting an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) issued by the Internal Revenue Service;
 submitting a valid and verifiable passport or consular identification card
 providing additional proof of Illinois residence to deter individual
IPA leaders met with Dan Brady (R), Bill Brady (R), Keith Sommer (R), Jehan Godon (D) , Raymond Poe (R), David Leitch (R), Dave Koehler (D), and Naomi Jackobsson (D) in  an effort to get support for the passage of this legislation. All of them agreed to vote yes or were leaning yes on the proposed bill.
IPA plans on following up with all of these elected officials as the day for the vote draws nearer.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dust Off Those Old Immigration Reform Deals? Not So Fast - COLORLINES

Documento en English, para leerlo en Espanol utilize el traductor localizado el final de la pagina.

Dust Off Those Old Immigration Reform Deals? Not So Fast - COLORLINES
ust 48 hours after the election was called and exit polls had fully confirmed that Romney pulled fewer Latino votes than the Republican candidate in any recent election, GOP congressional leaders, tails between their legs, began promising a new push for immigration law reform. But as the once-stalled reform process lurches back into action, familiar and vexing questions are quickly emerging: What qualifies as “reform,” for whom and at what price?
The votes weren’t even fully counted when Republican leaders signaled they were ready to return to the negotiating table. On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner said he would support changing immigration laws. “This issue has been around far too long,” he told ABC’s Diane Sawyer. And on Sunday, the promises began to take some form when Sen. Lindsay Graham, the South Carolina Republican who two years ago fled all reform efforts in protest of Obamacare, announced a reinvigorated bipartisan effort.
In a coordinated blitz, Graham and New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer appeared on separate morning shows. Graham said on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that he would sit down with Democrats to craft a plan for undocumented immigrants to “come out of the shadows, get biometrically identified, start paying taxes, pay a fine for the law they broke.”
Two years ago, Graham joined Schumer, who’d just taken the immigration reform reigns from Ted Kennedy, to draft a blueprint for change. President Obama said their plan “should be the basis for moving forward.” And until Graham jumped ship, it was on its way. Now, the two senators are trying to take the country back to that March 2010 moment.
But as in 2010, both senators said on Sunday their plans would be heavy on enforcement and avoid anything that sounds like amnesty. They would include tougher border enforcement; a new, tighter identification system for all workers; a limited number of visas for a select group of new immigrants and a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants if they learn English and pass a background check.
Many immigration reform advocates were not impressed.
“The paradigm has shifted and we can do better,” said Kica Matos, the immigrant rights director for the Center for Community Change, which coordinates FIRM, a national coalition of state immigrant advocacy groups. “Dusting off a plan that is years old isn’t going to cut it.”
Where to Begin?
Pollsters and election watchers say there’s no doubt that the Republicans’ rightward move on immigration helped propel the steady decline of their Latino support. The Romney campaign drew votes from an historically low proportion of Latinos, a demographic that ranks immigration among the top issues of concern. Only 27 percent of Latino voters supported Romney on Tuesday, according to exit polls, down from the 31 percent who supported John McCain in 2008 and 44 percent who voted for George W. Bush in 2004.
Graham acknowledged on Sunday that the GOP’s anti-immigrant tone “has built a wall between the Republican Party and Hispanic community.”
“This is an odd formula for a party to adopt,” he said of the GOP’s strongly anti-immigrant stance. “The fastest growing demographic in the country, and we’re losing votes every election. It’s one thing to shoot yourself in the foot, just don’t reload the gun.”
But many immigrant rights advocates say that a plan that looks like the one Schumer and Graham proposed in 2010 is too close to a loaded gun to be acceptable.
The 2010 Graham-Schumer plan was the result of protracted bipartisan wrangling that pulled many Democrats to the right. Critics say the bill overemphasized deportation and border enforcement and didn’t do enough to open pathways for new immigrants to lawfully come to the country.
Ultimately, despite all the Democrats’ concessions, the bipartisan bill still failed to become law. But in the last two years, the enforcement part of the bill came true—not through hard cross-aisle agreement, but because Obama’s Department of Homeland Security rapidly expanded enforcement operations in local jails and deployed more border patrol agents than any previous administration. The result? Record numbers of non-citizens deported.
As a result, in the opening days of a renewed conversation of about immigration reform, many advocates say they’re unlikely to fall in line with a bipartisan plan that slow down the Obama pace of deportations.
“While Republicans do their soul searching,” said Pablo Alvarado, the director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, “we’ll be pushing for solutions for all our community. The Schumer-Graham plan is unacceptable; we’re still fighting Obama’s deportations.”
Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program brought hundreds of thousands of young people, so-called DREAMers, out of the shadows. But while polls showed the administrative program gave Obama a boost, young undocumented activists say that they’re not content with a deportation deferral alone, nor with any system that deports their parents.
“By having this relief and having access to greater resources we can begin to push harder for relief for the entire community,” said Lorella Praeli, advocacy director of the group United We Dream, a coalition of young undocumented immigrants. “This fight for DREAMers in our community has never been about ourselves…. It’s been about our families.”
United We Dream plans to release its own blueprint for immigration reform soon and will be bringing their demands to whomever will listen in Washington.
Schumer said on Sunday, “The Republican Party has learned that being anti-immigrant doesn’t work for them.” But in the face of a growing Latino electorate that’s claiming the election results as its own, the same old compromises from Democrats may not be enough either.

Despues de todo, los migrantes no son tan malos

Después de todo, los migrantes no son tan malos

Cualquier duda sobre la importancia que el voto de la comunidad latina tuvo en la reciente elección para que el presidente Barack Obama se religiera, se disipó con las declaraciones que más de un alto dirigente del Partido Republicano hizo sobre la necesidad de aquilatar el verdadero significado de ese sector de la población para el futuro de ese partido. Por lo pronto, algunos de ellos han llamado a revisar la actitud republicana en torno a la reforma migratoria.
En este contexto, la Organización de Funcionarios Latinos Electos expresó su satisfacción porque la creciente participación de ese sector también se plasma en una ganancia neta en el Congreso. Un nuevo senador fue electo, por lo que ahora los latinos contarán con tres. Seis nuevos representantes fueron elegidos, por lo que ahora habrá 28 latinos en la Asamblea de Representantes. Si bien su participación en las elecciones no se ha traducido aún en una representación proporcional en el Congreso, lo más importante es que su presencia es cada vez más significativa en la actividad pública y privada de la vida en este país.
Desafortunadamente, ese crecimiento no se ha traducido en mejores condiciones salariales. Los latinos, o buena parte de ellos, están empleados en trabajos de baja calificación, en los que reciben remuneraciones que en promedio están 30 por ciento por debajo de las que recibe la población blanca y 10 por ciento de la población negra, según informe del Departamento de Trabajo. Una de las razones es el bajo nivel educativo, particularmente de la población de origen mexicano que, incluso, está por debajo del de centroamericanos y sudamericanos, según un revelador artículo que Jorge Durand escribió en estas páginas hace algunas semanas. Por eso es importante que cada vez más legisladores de origen latino lleguen al Congreso. Su presencia garantiza no sólo una gestión para mejorar condiciones de vida y mayores recursos para sus comunidades, sino también es un ejemplo y un aliciente para que los jóvenes de origen latino aumenten su participación en actividades de la vida pública. Sin lugar a dudas, una de las consecuencias del incremento de su participación política es la reacción de quienes siempre han obstaculizado una reforma integral que incluya un capítulo para regularizar la situación migratoria de millones de indocumentados. Como atinadamente se dijera en un editorial del New York Times, al día siguiente en el que los latinos y asiáticos rechazaron por un margen de tres a uno al candidato y al partido que prometió deportarlos, los republicanos súbitamente descubrieron que, después de todo, los migrantes no son tan malos.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reforma Politica y elecciones Municipales( una experiencia de Brasil pero similar a MN)

Reforma política y elecciones municipales ( Entendamos el poder y los que estan detras de este)


Es una ingenuidad querer obtener el poder para autorreformarse. Poder y gobierno son como el frijol: sólo funcionan en la olla presión. El fuego que calienta y provoca modificaciones en su contenido tiene que venir de abajo: de la presión popular.

Por eso el Congreso empuja a trancas y barrancas la reforma política. Por miedo a que cualquier alteración en las actuales reglas del juego vaya a disminuir el poder de quien ahora ocupa el centro de la escena política. Tal como está ahora es floja, pero podría quedar peor para quien intente proponer su reforma.

A falta de reforma política, lo que vemos alrededor no es nada animador. La democracia reducida a mero ritual delegatorio, los partidos cada vez más parecidos entre sí, los discursos llenos de palabras vacías, y el elector votando a A para elegir a B, teniendo en cuenta el cociente electoral.

En verdad ni siquiera es justo hablar de democracia, sino de dinerocracia, puesto que el dinero ejerce, sumado el tiempo disponible en la tv, el poder de elegir candidatos.

Algunas estimaciones indican que, en São Paulo, sólo dos candidatos a la municipalidad -Serra y Haddad- gastarán juntos unos US$ 50 millones.

¿De dónde sacarán tanto dinero? Es obvio: de quienes disponen de grandes fortunas: bancos, empresas, compañías mineras, etc., creándose así un círculo vicioso: usted invierte en mi elección y yo luego en su protección. He ahí la verdadera unión entre lo público y lo privado. Como se constata en la CPI de Cachoeira y en los miramientos que se gastan los parlamentarios cuando se cita a la Constructora Delta.

La pasteurización de la política hace que, en cada elección, pierda parte de su naturaleza de movilización popular para transformarse en un negocio administrado por asesores y líderes partidarios. Los apaños se hacen por debajo, los principios ideológicos son olvidados, la militancia es sustituida por trabajos electorales remunerados, los acuerdos se cierran teniendo a la vista cuotas de poder y no programas de gobierno ni metas administrativas.

El elector es quien menos pinta, pues la ciencia del mercadeo sabe cómo manipularlo. Todos sabemos que la mercadotecnia consigue inducir a las personas a creer que la ropa de marca es mejor que la de la costurera de la esquina; que el refresco con sabor a jabón es mejor que el jugo de frutas; que el bocadillo de salchichas insípidas es mejor que un plato de ensalada.

Del mismo modo, los candidatos son maquillados, entrenados, orientados y preparados para ocultar lo que realmente piensan y planifican, y para manifestar lo que agrada a los ojos y oídos del mercado electoral.

La falta de una reforma política impide incluso el mejorar nuestro proceso democrático. En el Congreso, en las decisiones importante, como la casación de algunos mandatos, el voto es secreto. Lo cual es absurdamente constitucional. Principio que hiere la misma naturaleza de la democracia, que exige transparencia en todos sus actos, ya que los representados tienen siempre el derecho de saber cómo actúan sus representantes.

Hoy, en el Brasil, el diputado o senador que usted ayudó a elegir puede votar a favor y declara haber votado en contra. O sea, mentir descaradamente. Y actuar según intereses mezquinos, tan frecuentes en ese régimen de dinerocracia.

Sin embargo hay una novedad que escapa al control de los asesores y de los líderes partidarios: las redes sociales. A través de ellas los electores dejan de ser pasivos para convertirse en protagonistas y formadores de opinión.

Le doy una sugerencia al lector (o lectora): en las elecciones municipales escriba en un papel 10 ó 20 exigencias o propuestas a quien a usted le gustaría ver elegido concejal y alcalde. Analice qué prioridades merecen ser privilegiadas en su municipio: saneamiento, educación, salud, casas cunas, transporte colectivo, áreas de descanso y cultura…

En caso de que tenga contacto directo con algún candidato pregúntele, sin enseñar el papel, si está de acuerdo con lo que usted propone para mejorar el municipio. Si dice que sí, enséñele el papel y pida que lo firme. Ya verá usted el resultado.
Frei Betto es escritor, autor de “Calendario del poder”, entre otros libros. twitter:@freibetto.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Viernes Negro/Black Friday

Viernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black Friday
Viernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black Friday
Viernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black Friday
Viernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black FridayViernes Negro/Black Friday

Viernes Negro/Black Friday, a set on Flickr.

Luchas de los trabajadores por mejores salarios y prestaciones sociales.

Minnesota-Latino Cumbre de Empleos- Un documento creado por la Representante Estatal Sen. Patricia Torres y otros Latino Lideres( version Ingles)

Minnesota Latino Jobs Summit
October 25, 2012
Plaza Verde
1516 E. Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55407
Prepared by:
Office of Senator Patricia Torres-Ray 100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

With help from:
Luz María Frías
Felipe Illescas
John Keller
Blanca Martinez Gavina Carla Soto

Huong Nguyen Angela Gonzalez
Special appreciation to The Minneapolis Foundation and The Northwest Area Foundation for their financial support.
During the 2012 Legislative Session, Governor Mark Dayton invited leaders of the Latino community, including Senator Patricia Torres Ray, Representative Carlos Mariani, John Keller and Luz Maria Frias, to organize a job summit to identify practical ideas to increase economic prosperity and create jobs for Latinos in Minnesota.
In  response  to  the  Governor’s  invitation,  Senator  Torres  Ray  convened  a  series  of  meetings  with   The Minneapolis Foundation, The Northwest Area Foundation, The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota and community experts to develop a practical report with key policy recommendations.
Five key policy priorities were identified as a result:
  1. Expand educational opportunities for young Latinos.
  2. Increase access to capital for small business development and growth.
  3. Review economic status and social conditions of Latinos in rural communities.
  4. Improve Latino business participation in State/Public Contracts.
  5. Expand trade opportunities between Minnesota Latino businesses and Mexico and other
    Latin American countries.
Latinos in Minnesota: Demographic Overview Demographic data and projections
Economic impact of Latinos in Minnesota
From Lake Street in Minneapolis to Worthington, Latinos have contributed tremendously to Minnesota’s  economy  by  starting  businesses  and  working in areas once considered desolate or void of minority-owned businesses. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the State’s  labor  force  participation  rate  for  Latino  workers  is  83.8%,   the highest of any ethnic group in the State, and well exceeding the national rate of 68.8%.2 The Selig Center for Economic Growth ranks Minnesota among the ten top states in terms of growth rate in Latino buying power. Latino buying power in Minnesota is currently at $5.1 billion, an unbelievable 909.5% increase since 1990.3
1 2 ew.aspx
The Latino population is growing at a rapid pace locally and nationally. In Minnesota, the Latino population increased over 74% from 143,382 in 2000 to 250,258 in 2010. As of 2010, Latinos accounted for 4.7% of the population in the state.1
By comparison, according to 2010 census figures, the Caucasian population in Minnesota had the slowest growth rate at 11%.
Latino entrepreneurship rates and job creation
In   2007,   the   U.S.   Census   Bureau’s   Survey   of   Business   Owners   indicated there were 5,011 Latino-owned firms in Minnesota4, a 25.8% increase over the 3,984 reported in 2002.
Latino Impact in Rural Minnesota
rural school administrators acknowledge that some public schools in their communities would be shuttered but for the enrollment of Latino students.8
Moreover in Southwest Minnesota alone, Latino workers generated $45 million in state and local taxes in 2000 and added nearly $500 million to the economies of South-central Minnesota, through labor force contributions, consumer spending, and increased demand by employers for regionally supplied goods and services.9
Unemployment data
Latinos are highly regarded for their hard work ethic; however, there are still a considerable number of unemployed Latinos in Minnesota. In 2011, the unemployment rate in the general population in Minnesota was 6.3%, while the unemployment rate among Latinos was 8.6%10 and 5.9%11 among the Caucasian population.
Disparities in Minnesota are not confined to unemployment rates. In 2010, the overall poverty rate in Minnesota was 11.6%. Of that, the poverty rate among the Caucasian population was 8.4%, while the poverty rate among Latinos was 24.4%12. These figures highlight the need to close the unemployment gap as well as the income disparities gap.
4 (Table C)
12 household-income-declines/#.UHMAik2knpg
businesses comprise approximately about 16% of all minority-owned businesses in the state;
employing nearly 6,000 people and having sales of more than $1.6 billion, an increase of 248%
since 2002.5 Latino businesses have become an engine of growth for our local economy.
Since 2001, approximately 75% of all school districts in Minnesota have experienced a decline
in enrollment, with particularly severe decreases in rural districts.6 Contrary to the general trend,
Latino student enrollment has increased by more than 38% overall.7 Acutely aware of per-pupil
Key Policy Priorities
1. Expand Education Opportunities for Young Latinos
Education is a top priority for Latinos. There is consensus among Latinos that economic prosperity is directly tied to academic attainment. However, Latino students are more likely than their peers to drop out of school and become underemployed. In Minnesota, the achievement gap between Latino students and their Caucasian peers has remained constant in the last decade.
Specifically, high school completion and high school graduation rates among Latinos are the second lowest in the state. For the 2011-2012 school year, 7.1% of the enrolled population in Minnesota were Hispanic, totaling 59,625 students. Out of those enrolled in high school, the four year graduation rate is 50.5%. This is the second lowest graduation rate in the state compared to 83.4% for Caucasian students and 49.1% for Black students. Of the remaining 49.5% of Hispanic students, 24.8% are still working on their high school diploma after four years, 13.5% dropped out, and 11.1% had no available information.
The State of Minnesota must prioritize high school graduation and college enrollment among Latino students.
The Governor should adopt a goal to increase the high school graduation rate of Latinos from 50% to 80% by the year 2018.
Proposed Solutions:
1. The State of Minnesota should create a program to offer Latino students the opportunity to work while attending high school. According to a report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 32% of young people who dropped out of school said they left school because they had to earn money to support themselves or their families. According to anecdotal information from parents and teachers from key districts in the State of Minnesota, Latino students, particularly male, are leaving high school because of a financial necessity to contribute  to  their  family’s  household  income.  
To respond to this challenge Minnesota should:
A. Create opportunities for high school internships in the public and private sectors e.g., the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Health, and Minnesota Department of Human Services should create a fund to train and hire high school and college interns. Students participating in these internship programs should make a commitment to obtain their high school diploma and enroll in a post-secondary institution as an eligibility requirement of their internship.
B. The State Demographer has projected a workforce shortage as a result of the Baby Boomer wave of retirements. Current retirement projections in different state agencies should be reviewed and goals should be adopted to replace those individuals with diverse staff. Given the changing demographics of our state, the Governor should adopt serious goals to hire an increased bilingual and diverse workforce.
  1. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education and technical colleges should expand their resident tuition rates to include Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DREAMers) and increase financial aid options for Latino students, regardless of their immigration status.
  2. The Administration should review the criteria for funding youth employment programs. Many programs receive  funding  to  refer  students  to  employment  opportunities  that  don’t   exist. The State needs to invest in creating employment opportunities, not simply investing in referral and training programs. Agencies such as the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) need to pursue more funding to open employment opportunities for youth, especially youth living in poverty. Young people want to work and most of them are likely to acquire and advance their working skills on the job.
    Improve access to higher education.
The State of Minnesota needs to increase Latino student participation and enrollment in higher education.   The   Minnesota   Department   of   Education   needs   to   better   monitor   school   districts’   efforts to increase Latino student participation in college credit programs. Colleges and high schools that establish partnerships to enroll large number of Latino students in college credit programs should receive incentives/rewards.
2. Increase Access to Capital for Small Business Development and Growth
The Latino entrepreneurial spirit is well known and appreciated in Minnesota. We need to build on the assets that exist in the Latino community. There are significant numbers of small businesses owned by Latinos across the state. According to the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), people of color and immigrants who own businesses tend to hire people of color and immigrants at a rate 7 times higher than majority owned businesses.
The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC), the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), and other organizations that work with immigrant owned businesses have documented that Latino business owners are more likely to hire individuals who are under skilled and less fluent in English, opening opportunities so that these individuals will be prepared to enter the broader labor market.
Latino-owned businesses in the United States increased by 43.7 % to 2.3 million, more than twice the national rate of 18.0 % between 2002 and 2007. In addition, 89 % of
Latino-owned businesses are operated by single owners 13 with small startup capital. According to a 1992 Characteristics of Business Owners survey, 59 % of Hispanic- owned businesses require less than $5,000 of startup capital.14
Latino owned businesses represent the highest percentage of businesses within the low barrier sectors and low-technology sectors; the lowest percentage of businesses within the medium and high-technology sectors compared to Asian, Black and Caucasian owned businesses.15
Prior wealth is vital for Latinos to start a business because it is almost always the unique source.16 Latinos were significantly more likely to use informal funds (such as from family, friends) compared to Caucasians.17 In addition, it is argued that in the U.S, Latino business owners used substantially fewer formal funds compared to Caucasian.18
In Minnesota, the Urban Initiative Loan Program dispersed a mere 3% of its loans in 2010 to Latino owned businesses.
Compared with the rest of the country, Minnesota has one of the highest percentages of employer based health insurance (78% in 2010)19 and a very low rate of uninsured
14 U.S. Bureau of the Census 1997
15 Ruben O. Martinez et al., 2011; Bates et al., 2011
16 Survey (2004) in Iowa showed that 88% of Latino business owners used their own money for startup capital while only 24% used loans from bank or credit union
17 Rate of Latino businesses utilized informal funds was 22.5% compared to 14.7%, 21.9% and 21.8% of Caucasian, African and Asian owners, respectively. Ruben O. Martinez et al., 2011. See more Granier, 2006; Onochie & Lee, 2008; Raijman & Tienda, 2000
18 Haynes, Onochie, & Lee, 2008; Cavalluzzo & Wolken, 2005; Grnier, 2006; Blanchard, Zhao, & Yinger, 2008.
19 U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2009 to 2012 Annual Social and Economic Supplements
African American Latino
Asian American

Latino 3%
American Indian
White (male/female/couple)

population (about 9% in the period 2007-2011).20 Nevertheless, access to health insurance coverage is highly inequitable across ethnicities. A surprising 19% of the uninsured were Latinos, despite the fact that Latinos make up roughly 4% of the State’s   population.21 Data also showed that only 10.7% of Latinos are covered by their employers, compared to 72.2% of non-Latino Caucasians.22
Improve access to capital and expand Latino business growth by:

Implementing innovative microfinance models through community based lending institutions. These programs should focus on borrowers who have little or no credit and should not require collateral.
Helping Latino businesses expand coverage of employer-sponsored health insurance. Establish a working group to help small businesses understand the federal health credit for small business and other opportunities to expand health coverage to business owners and their employees.
Establishing a cross-agency office to provide one-stop shop services to small businesses. The state should contract with culturally specific community based agencies such as the Latino Economic Development Center to provide increased practical/technical support to businesses in areas such as licensing, training, translation and connection to existing opportunities.
Creating incentives for commercial banks to encourage immigrant lending as well as strictly enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act.
Expanding the Urban Initiative Program loan fund. The Urban Initiative Board should develop a strategy to increase access to loans to Latino owned businesses that proportionately represent the population. Increased culturally responsive lenders and loan requirements that reflect the reality of Latino owned small businesses are additional strategies to consider.
Increasing  DEED’s  focus  on  and  commitment  to  minority business development.
20 U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 American Community Survey
21 MDH & School of Public Health, 2008.
22 The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. quoted in CLAC Fact Sheets Series Health care/ Summer 2009 page 1
3. Economic Growth in Rural Communities
There are many Latinos working on rural farms in Minnesota. Workers from these farms are very skilled in their trade but are often isolated and underpaid. Centro Campesino and other organizations are working very effectively to connect farm workers with one another to provide training and support. Latino farm workers have also expressed a desire to become farm owners and apply their knowledge in areas such as organic farming. The State should develop effective strategies to support Latinos working in rural communities.
4. Improve Participation in State/Public Contracts
This sector presents a challenge and an opportunity. Contracting with minorities is proscribed by law, but the state lacks oversight. The state should increase the monitoring and oversight of these laws as well as outreach to expand opportunities for Latinos. One strategy would be to expand  the  Commissioner  of  Human  Rights’  capacity  to  oversee  and  enforce  this  area.
5. Expand trade opportunities between Minnesota and Mexico as well as other Latin American countries.
The State of Minnesota should recognize the opportunities available to and from Latin America and create a stronger Latin American trade program. This program should work with Latino entrepreneurs to maximize the trade potential between Minnesota, Mexico and other Latin American countries. The program should explore trade missions, seminars, professional exchanges, workshops and cultural exchange.