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Legislative Platform

2013-2014 LULAC National Policy Platform

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
LULAC supports equal opportunity for employment, promotion and contracting, and opposes discrimination of any form in the workplace and supports affirmative action as a set of positive steps that employers use to promote equal employment opportunities. LULAC remains committed to fighting efforts to overturn decisions that have upset affirmative action programs across the country.

LULAC will ensure that information on affirmative action will be updated to reflect the latest changes from the Office of Personnel Management. OPM shall provide LULAC with pertinent data affecting affirmative action policies. If such data is not received LULAC will request such information from the Hispanic Senior Executive Service members and/or using Freedom of Information Act requests.

CENSUS AND DATA COLLECTION
Based on the 2010 Census, over 50 million Latinos reside in the United States. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, the majority of states underestimated the increase of Latino residents, and, overall, the Hispanic population count was 1.9% higher than expected. Because of these major demographic shifts, LULAC urges local, state and federal government agencies to employ and train staff to serve this growing and diverse population.

As a national partner, LULAC supports the efforts of the Census Bureau to obtain an accurate Census count. LULAC encourages the Bureau to reach out to community-based organizations between decennial census counts in order to build and maintain trust with hard-to-count populations, such as Latinos, whom are wary of giving personal information to the Bureau. In addition, LULAC strongly urges the Census Bureau to emphasize in all materials – both print and online – that all information gathered is completely confidential.

LULAC also proposes that the Census Bureau provide stipends to community-based organizations who commit to assisting with the Census count outreach, as partners need more than co-branded materials to reach hard-to-count populations.

Furthermore, LULAC encourages the Bureau to produce both Spanish language materials, as well as English language materials marketed towards Hispanics. Coupled with ongoing education campaigns, and easy-to-read information online, LULAC believes that the Bureau can succeed in reducing the undercount of hard-to-count populations and achieve a more accurate snapshot of the United States of America.

LULAC advocates for more attention to be paid to the undercount, as each resident left out of the Census count negatively affects every aspect of daily life in the United States. Overcrowded emergency rooms, underfunded public schools, missing sidewalks, inadequate roads, and other public resources are direct results of disproportional federal funding allotments from decennial census undercounts.

Lastly, LULAC urges the Census Bureau to establish a system to assess the persistent underrepresentation of Hispanics in the Bureau, as well as identify effective strategies to increase future problem-solving capacities. LULAC strongly supports a standardized review of the Bureau’s managers and supervisors based, in part, on their performance with respect to EEO issues, such as hiring a diversified work force, including Hispanics.

CHILD LABOR AND THE EXPLOITATION OF MINORS
LULAC strongly supports ending child labor through education by supporting the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) international programs to eliminate child labor worldwide. LULAC opposes the exploitation of children working anywhere for low wages and under hazardous conditions. LULAC deplores any and all exploitation of minors, whether psychological, physical, political, or sexual.

CHILD WELFARE
Recognizing that children and youth from communities of color are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system, and who experience a high propensity of entrance into the juvenile and criminal system, LULAC calls on Congress to reform the child welfare system. LULAC is opposed to legislation that will proliferate the entrance of children and youth from communities of color into the juvenile and criminal systems, and supports the process for investigating cases of racial profiling and discrimination in the child welfare systems by the U.S. Justice Department and Department of Health and Human Services. LULAC encourages Federal and State protections for victims of child abuse in the education system.

CITIZENSHIP AND VOTING
LULAC promotes active participation of all eligible Latinos in the democratic process by registering to vote and voting, and encourages all legislative, judicial and educational efforts to promote voter participation and advocacy. LULAC encourages all eligible immigrants to become US citizens and demands that the Citizenship and Immigration Services streamline and expedite the processing of citizenship applications pending in a backlog for up to two years or more. LULAC aims to assure that voters’ rights are safeguarded on election-day by preventing potential voting rights violations, such as intimidation at the polls, unworkable voting equipment, and other civil rights violations.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
LULAC advocates reform of the criminal justice system to reduce the disproportionate number of Latinos who are incarcerated. LULAC supports reform of the court system to ensure fair sentencing guidelines that do not discriminate among race or socio-economic backgrounds. LULAC opposes the incarceration of youth in adult prisons and supports preventive education and social programs to reduce incarceration and recidivism. LULAC supports the repeal of legislation harmful to Latinos to redress disparate treatment of minorities, such as the elimination of the death penalty. LULAC also supports ensuring that statistical data of inmates in the state and federal prison systems is gathered for Hispanics/Latinos, of any race. LULAC supports lowering funding of the prison industrial complex.

DISCRIMINATION AND RACIAL PROFILING
LULAC denounces any form of discrimination on the basis of national origin, race, religion, language, sexual orientation, age or disability. LULAC strongly condemns racial profiling, and supports a strong statutory definition of racial profiling along with the institution of data collections systems by law enforcement. LULAC is concerned with the growth of hate groups and encourages Congress to strongly monitor agencies and their enforcement of hate-crime laws. LULAC opposes any effort to amend the U.S. Constitution in any manner that reduces protection of any individual’s rights on the basis of national origin, race, religion, language, sexual orientation, age or disability.

DRIVER LICENSES
LULAC supports legislation to grant licenses to immigrants under any status. LULAC supports innovative provisions for the issuance of a license such as passing a criminal background check, endorsement by a citizen, or requiring a pledge by immigrants to apply for legal residency.

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
LULAC urges companies and government agencies to embrace diversity in all aspects of business, whether employment, promotion, or contracting, as well as to support representation of Hispanics at all levels, from day-to-day management and governance to the boardroom. LULAC encourages the expansion of programs and policies that provide funds to stimulate business, job growth and training, and opportunities for venture capital.

LULAC supports the implementation of the Community Reinvestment Act by commercial banks and savings associations to promote economic stimulus to low-income minority communities. LULAC encourages the federal government to reform the federal tax code to address the financial challenges regarding our federal budget and subsequent funding for programs and services that are important to the Latino community.

EDUCATION
LULAC believes that universal and quality public education is the foundation for lifelong success, and strongly opposes any measure that denies education as a fundamental right, including that of immigrant children. School curricula and textbooks should reflect culturally based teaching methods grounded in research. LULAC supports legislation and policy decisions targeted at decreasing the Hispanic dropout rate and closing of the achievement gap. LULAC urges Congress to increase funding to implement targeted programs to encourage Hispanic students to remain in school.

LULAC supports efforts to fully engage and educate the Latino community on the adoption, implementation, and oversight of Common Core State Standards. LULAC expects that the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards at the state level, be backed up with robust resources, training, development, and support for schools. In addition, LULAC supports efforts at the state level to ensure Latino students have access to high quality education that prepares them for college and career.

Federal funding for LULAC National Education Service Centers (LNESC) should be continued so as to address the specific needs of our community, as well as to expand into geographic areas not currently served. Federal funding for Head Start, Migrants and Seasonal Head Start, Gear Up, TRIO, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), HEP-CAMP, Title I and Title III programs should be increased and access should be expanded to ensure high participation of Latino children. LULAC supports increased funding for Title I, Title III and Title VII programs to address adult basic educational programs, bilingual education and dual language instruction through graduation. LULAC also supports an effective and appropriate bilingual education program, and dual language instruction through graduation for all English Language Learners.

LULAC strongly opposes vouchers and any other funding method that will limit public education resources. All Latinos should have access to safe, quality and desegregated public education. Public schools should be improved and rehabilitated, and be provided with adequate funding to do so. LULAC supports full-funding of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and urges Congress to reauthorize ESEA with community input and with fidelity to its original civil rights intentions. LULAC supports an increase in funding for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) of higher education. LULAC supports an increase in the number of Latino educators at all levels of education, administrators and school board members, as well as teacher training and development programs to encourage Latinos to become teachers. LULAC will fight against discriminatory and harsh discipline practices, including suspensions and expulsions, and zero tolerance policies that remove students from the classroom and keep them from learning.

LULAC membership advocates that scholarship awards be provided to qualified persons regardless of their citizenship status.

ENERGY SECURITY
LULAC dramatically supports increasing federal funds spent on the development of clean, renewable, and environmentally friendly energy sources. LULAC opposes drilling for oil on federal lands, especially in those areas deemed necessary to the ecological well-being and quality of life of its inhabitants and neighbors.

As a means to promote energy security, LULAC supports and advocates for the expansion of efforts to curb abuses to the environment through the “green jobs,” recycling, and through the creation and sustainability of rooftop and community gardens. LULAC recommends that “green jobs” create employment opportunities for Latino families. Educational and technical support must be provided to include the development of green jobs for Latinos.

ENGLISH PLUS
LULAC strongly opposes all legislation that designates English as the official language of the United States or of any individual state. LULAC supports bilingual education to ensure English proficiency while encouraging students to retain proficiency in their native language. English language acquisition is imperative, but bilingualism and multilingualism are assets to be valued and preserved. LULAC supports increasing programs and funding for ESL for adult students.

ENVIRONMENT
LULAC opposes the practice of locating environmentally damaging or dangerous sites in Hispanic and other disadvantaged communities, and opposes the disposal of nuclear, chemical waste or other toxic waste in or near Hispanic communities. LULAC encourages the clean up of “brownfields” (contaminated sites) in Hispanic neighborhoods. LULAC supports the Clean Air Act to reduce emissions that are harmful to Latinos of all ages and opposes any effort to loosen its regulations placed on the coal-burning power plants in the United States.

FARMWORKERS, MIGRANT AND SEASONAL WORKERS
LULAC urges Congress to pass legislation that protects farm workers from employer abuse and that guarantees safe working conditions, housing, and access to schooling and training for farm workers. LULAC opposes legislation that may be considered for passage by Congress that relates to new guest worker programs that do not meet these criteria.

LULAC opposes the expansion of agricultural guest worker programs that do not provide adequate labor rights protections, health benefits and housing. LULAC supports a national holiday honoring Cesar Chavez and commemorating the contributions of farm workers to the United States. School curriculum should include a historical perspective of the farm worker struggle and community service in his honor. LULAC supports the continuation and expansion of the National Farmworkers Job Program. LULAC urges Congress to pass legislation that protects female domestic workers from employer abuse and that guarantees safe working conditions as well as the same rights afforded to workers in other industries.

FOREIGN RELATIONS
LULAC urges a strengthening of partnerships with Latin America. We urge the US government to include Latin American nations as partners for the war on terrorism and the creation of multilateral agreements on such important cross-border issues as health, labor, education, immigration, environment and sustainable economic development. Although LULAC supports trade and economic integration with Latin America, it is imperative that trade agreements should be equitable and balanced. LULAC supports efforts to renegotiate trade agreements to raise the standards of living for the labor force and protect our environmental standards so as to reduce displacement of workers and consequent mass migration. LULAC supports efforts to grow sustainable economic development programs in Latin America and the Caribbean, along with social development programs.

HATE CRIMES
LULAC urges Congress to pass laws that provide stronger sentencing and more aggressive prosecution for hate crimes. The federal government’s role should be expanded in the prosecution of hate crimes by being allowed to assist state and local efforts to prosecute a broader scope of hate crimes.

HEALTH
Universal health care is a priority for Latinos and it should include affordable and accessible primary, preventive, and emergency room health care that is administered in a culturally competent and linguistically appropriate manner. Latino mothers should have access to pre-natal care, health and nutrition education, and access to healthy foods, anti-hunger programs, and medical services. Latino children and adolescents must have access to immunizations, medical services, prescription medications, health education on topics such as substance abuse, body image and mental health, and should have access to safe spaces for physical fitness. LULAC urges pharmaceutical companies and medical research facilities to increase the inclusion of Latinos in their clinical trials and focus groups in order to better provide accurate health information for this population group.

LULAC urges greater awareness among health care providers of the disparities in the health care system so as to eliminate bias and stereotyping of Latino patients. Information on how to provide medical care services to Latinos in a manner that is both culturally competent and linguistically appropriate, including the utilization of translation services should also be included. LULAC advocates for patient education programs to increase patients’ knowledge about the Affordable Care Act and its benefits to encourage uninsured and/or underinsured Latinos to enroll into a medical plan, seek routine medical services, and/or treat chronic diseases at the onset rather than at later stages of the disease. It is crucial to educate, train and build the capacity of health care providers on the benefits of the ACA and the impact that it will have on patients, their medical care, and on the medical health care system. LULAC advocates for an increased awareness on preventative and proactive health care. Patient education programs should focus on preventing diseases disproportionately affecting Latinos, such as diabetes, obesity, coronary diseases, hypertension, Alzheimer’s and HIV/AIDS, and about ways to prevent the onset of these diseases by seeking routine medical care.

LULAC also urges an expansion of insurance coverage for children in poverty, as well as increased funding for programs to promote self-esteem and prevent teen pregnancy. LULAC supports guidelines that improve the nutritious quality of meals served in schools and that provide increased eligibility access to Latino children in poverty. Because of the disproportionate number of Hispanics who are uninsured and under-insured, LULAC is committed to working with the Latino community to ensure that those who are eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, are enrolled in a medical insurance plan. Due to the different trends and gaps in medical care expenses, such as prescription drug coverage, and to the differences in treatment options for patients with pre-existing conditions, LULAC calls for an increased need to educate Latino communities about the new benefits provided under the Affordable Care Act. LULAC supports the expansion of state and federal funding for programs focused on mental health and mental disabilities. LULAC supports parity for Medicare Part D, for residents of Puerto Rico.

In addition, LULAC strongly supports the expansion of the Medicaid program as part of the Affordable Care Act.

LULAC is committed to addressing the environmental injustices that poor Latino families face which prevent them from having complete access to healthy and nutritious foods, safe spaces for physical exercise, and from being able to access medical services in a facility in their neighborhood.

HISPANIC REPRESENTATION
LULAC promotes public service and strongly urges the Administration to review and update Executive Order 13171 to ensure that the federal government reflects the most current demographic and statistical information of Hispanics at all levels of the federal government. LULAC urges local, state, and federal agencies to increase their outreach to Hispanic organizations, i.e. LULAC and others, since they are the ones that can supply the agencies with qualified applicants. We urge the administration to work closely with Hispanic members of Congress to develop strategies that will increase the representation of Latinos in the local, state and federal government. LULAC urges the US Senate to provide a level playing field for Hispanic judicial nominees to ensure that Hispanic representation in the judicial system increases proportionally to the numbers of Latinos in the general population.

LULAC supports the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Diversity Office, which seeks to develop a government-wide strategy to support Federal agencies in improving outreach to and hiring of diverse groups of candidates including Hispanics.

HOUSING
LULAC supports an increase in the nation’s stock of affordable housing. The federal government should increase resources to build, rehabilitate and preserve housing for low and extremely low income households in both the rental and purchase markets. In addition, LULAC supports the development of more housing for the elderly; the creation of additional emergency shelter to permanent housing for victims of domestic violence; the development of integrated permanent supportive housing for people with disabilities and an increase in funding for programs and services to end homelessness. LULAC also supports investments in green affordable housing. LULAC supports increasing services and affordable housing units for America’s rural poor. It strongly encourages the development of housing options for migrant farm workers and their families.

LULAC supports the improvement in the quality of life of residents of the Southwest border colonias, including access to such basic amenities as electricity and potable water. LULAC opposes all forms of housing discrimination and calls for stronger enforcement of fair housing laws and the elimination of predatory lending practices. LULAC seeks higher funding to increase the capacity of Hispanic organizations to conduct fair housing education and enforcement activities. LULAC supports foreclosure intervention programs and efforts to help stop foreclosures. LULAC calls for the creation of programs to help tenants of foreclosed rental properties remain in their homes.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING
LULAC supports state and federal efforts to combat international and domestic trafficking of human beings and the full implementation of the Victims Protection Act (TUPA) of 2000. LULAC encourages the continued monitoring of anti-trafficking programs including expansions of criminal provisions. LULAC supports the issuance of non-immigrant t-visas for foreign born victims of human trafficking in the U.S.

IMMIGRATION
LULAC demands an end to all deportations, excluding individuals convicted of a violent felony, while comprehensive immigration reform legislation is being considered. LULAC opposes any legislation that threatens the rights of immigrants, criminalizes them or those who provide them assistance, and harms Latino communities. Legal residents and naturalized citizens should have the same benefits due native-born citizens. LULAC opposes the militarization of the border and vigilante attacks on immigrants, as well as the mistreatment of immigrants in the United States, and their territories, regardless of their status. LULAC supports comprehensive immigration reform that provides an avenue for undocumented workers to legalize their status and expands the number of legal immigrants allowed into the U.S. to meet our needs. LULAC opposes any efforts to construct a border wall.

LULAC opposes immigration legislative language that preconditions status adjustment on border security triggers. LULAC favors a prompt avenue to citizenship. LULAC will continue strong opposition to the harsh and inhumane treatment of documented and undocumented persons in private prisons, detention centers, and makeshift holding centers. In addition, LULAC strongly opposes the holding of documented and undocumented minors in any facilities, be it public or private that separates them from their parents and/or caretakers.

LULAC supports strong family reunification standards and fair and balanced immigration processes to take into account future flows of workers. Though LULAC does not support guest-worker programs, should they pass, LULAC endorses full worker protections including the right to organize and to apply for citizenship on their own right without depending on their employer. LULAC opposes the use of local law enforcement in immigration enforcement.

LULAC strongly supports the passage of the DREAM Act. We oppose any acts such as not allowing DREAMERS permission to obtain driving licenses as barriers to DREAMERS pursuing their goals and living their lives. LULAC urges all states to pass laws that allow undocumented immigrant children who have completed high school, are of good moral character, and reside in the state to be admitted to colleges and universities as residents and eligible for in-state tuition. LULAC also urges the federal government to grant these students citizenship after they graduate from college or university.

LULAC demands that the federal government grant citizenship to any members of the Armed Services that have been honorably discharged, as well as spouses and loved ones of Veterans.

LULAC encourages every LULAC council to engage in advocacy activities consisting of letter-writing and media campaigns, and rallies to encourage congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

LULAC supports comprehensive immigration reform legislation that:

  • Allows undocumented workers already in the U.S. to contribute to the U.S. economy and society by providing them with a pathway to citizenship;
  • Reduces the backlog of individuals seeking residency or citizenship;
  • Recognizes that immigrants are an integral part of the U.S. labor force by addressing employment-based immigration needs and reforming the visa system for issuing permanent and temporary visas for high-skilled & low-skilled workers – this will allow workers to fill jobs already available to them and will better position the U.S. in the global economy and the global labor recruitment arena;
  • Ensures strong worker protections are in place before any "guest worker" type provisions are considered,
  • Reunites American families by allowing a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their same-sex partner for immigration to the U.S., a right which is currently denied - this will not redefine marriage and would not repeal the Defense of Marriage Act law – however, it will benefit both these American citizens and the companies which employ them here in the U.S.; and
  • Addresses our enforcement needs in a manner that is just, and consistent with our existing due process and civil rights laws.
LAW ENFORCEMENT
Taser Guns were classified by the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) on Friday November 23 rd 2007 as a "Form of Torture" and "Can even provoke Death." The Use of these weapons provokes extreme pain that can go as far as causing death. Reliable studies and recent facts occurring in practice have revealed “the consequences to the physical and mental state of the persons targeted are of a nature to violate" the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Torture. Over 300 people have been killed by police Taser since their use began in the year 2000; most of the victims of Taser torture and death are Hispanics and people of color. National LULAC opposes Taser use by Police Officers and Law Enforcement personnel and calls for Tasers to be removed from use by Police Officers and Law Enforcement agencies all together.

LULAC opposes the continued enforcement of the Secure Communities Act on people with less than a felony charge. LULAC opposes the detainment and deportation of anyone charged with less than a felony. LULAC does not honor the detainer policy in the Secure Communities Act. LULAC encourages State, County, and local law enforcement officers to be trained on the appropriate enforcement intended by the secure communities Act.

MEDIA
LULAC strongly advocates increasing Hispanic-oriented programming that includes positive portrayals of Latinos and that recognizes their contributions to the cultural breadth of our country. We are also advocates for ensuring more Hispanics are placed in high-level positions among the leading broadcast networks.

PUERTO RICO
LULAC reaffirms its strong support and will continue to fully and actively support these and any other efforts by their fellow United States citizens who reside in Puerto Rico regarding their legitimate right as U.S. citizens to be able to vote for the President and Vice President of the United States of America, as well as for their corresponding voting members of Congress.

SENIORS
LULAC strongly advocates for programs and legislation to protect the quality of life of Latino seniors, for fair cost housing, transportation for those with special needs, in homecare, employment opportunities, access to medical care and treatment services and health coverage, and the reduction of elderly abuse and fraud. LULAC seeks a reduction of costly prescription drugs and a streamlining of Medicare prescription drug coverage.

SOCIAL SECURITY
LULAC opposes the privatization of Social Security and any tax cut plan that would compromise its future stability. Individual accounts and tax cuts should not be substituted for Social Security’s currently defined system. LULAC supports stronger benefits for lower income groups, women, and the disabled.

TECHNOLOGY
LULAC strongly believes that universal broadband access is the key to empowering Latinos to advance their education, careers and quality of life. A home broadband connection is vital to the economic success of Latinos.

We advocate for online content that assists consumers with important priorities, such as educational attainment, homeownership, health resources, and worker’s rights, among others. The content needs to be meaningful to our communities and provide useful and culturally relevant support. We request that government agencies modify their websites to address the concerns and needs of the growing Latino population.

LULAC supports the preservation of a free and open Internet that does not inadvertently shift the massive costs of increasing access, capacity and bandwidth onto the backs of consumers who can ill afford it in these dire economic times.

As a high percentage of computers in America are infected with malware and spam, LULAC encourages our legislative leaders to refocus their online security efforts to fight these security threats.

LULAC strongly supports modifications of the Lifeline program and insists that the plan not only focus on rural communities but also prioritize urban communities where high numbers of Latinos reside. In addition, LULAC fully supports the expansion and modernization of programs like E-rate.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS
LULAC strongly supports legislation that would guarantee pay equity for women, strong penalties for sexual harassment, and support for women who file complaints against their employers. LULAC supports the expansion of leadership development programs for women of all ages and encourages more Latinas to run for public office. LULAC strongly supports programs to protect women and their children from domestic violence and sexual abuse, and strong penalties for abusers that include but are not limited to community service, appropriate time in jail and mandatory anger management training. LULAC is concerned with the ongoing findings that Hispanic women fare worse in health and health care than other populations of women and strongly encourages better access to health benefits, literacy, and improved doctor-patient relationships.

WORKER’S RIGHTS
LULAC strongly supports the rights of working men and women to organize under the law and form labor unions dedicated to continuing the struggle for equality, social and economic justice. LULAC supports extending the benefits of a bountiful society to all workers, without regard to age, sex, race, nationality or creed, and to improve the working and living conditions of all workers worldwide.


The terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are used interchangeably by the U.S. Census Bureau and throughout this document to refer to persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central and South American, Dominican, Spanish, and other Hispanic descent; they may be of any race.

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