The Fair Housing App: the Newest Tool for Community Service Leaders

By Jossie Flor Sapunar on 03/21/2013 @ 01:14 PM

Latinos, especially newcomers, continue to face housing discrimination. It is often not reported in part because discrimination victims do not know it has occurred or that what they have faced actually violates the Fair Housing Act.

This app puts into the hands of LULAC council members all the information they need and can pass on to others in the community on their rights against housing discrimination and the housing providers' responsibility under the Fair Housing Act and enables them to file a discrimination complaint from their IPhone.

HUD, LULAC, and community based organizations have participated in community forums in places like North Carolina, Georgia, Nebraska, and Virginia where many newcomers live, and HUD has brought significant housing discrimination cases on behalf of Latino victims of English-Only policies and illegal limitations on renting or buying.

We know community members turn to local LULAC council leaders for advice and help. This app helps LULAC helps community members in need.

Immigration Reform is an American Issue: Blog Carnival

Posted on 02/13/2013 @ 04:02 PM

Published at the LULAC Legislative Conference and Awards Gala, this blog carnival coalesces diverse organizations into a united voice that reflects what this country has long known: America needs immigration reform.

Now is the time to fix our nation’s broken immigration system, which denies a pathway to citizenship, rips families apart,and backlogs millions of immigrant applicants. The participating organizations and think tanks offer different facets that all uphold the eternal truth: immigration reform is an American issue. It is at the core of our society and affects every aspect of our country's well-being.

Click on the links below to read blogs.

Center for American Progress

By: Angela Maria Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy, and Ann Garcia, Research & Policy Associate, Immigration

Creating a Road to Citizenship Will Advance Our Nation’s Core Interests

Center for Community Change

By Kica Matos, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice

The Faces of Immigration Reform

Farmworker Justice

By: Adrienne DerVartanian, Director of Immigration and Labor Rights, Farmworker Justice

Why Farmworkers Support Immigration Reform and So Should You

Immigration Equality

By: Ameesha Sampat,Communications and Operations Coordinator

Time for Fair and Just Immigration – for Everyone

LATISM

By: Elianne Ramos, Principal and CEO of Speak Hispanic Communications and Vice-Chair of Communications and PR for Latinos in Social Media (LATISM)

Immigration Reform: Let's Get This Done

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

By: Wade Henderson, Esq., President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund

Immigration Reform Must Be Humane

Mamiverse

By: Lorraine C. Ladish, Editor-in-Chief

On Immigration: What if the Tables Were Turned?

MomsRising.org

By: Mary Olivella, Chief Strategy Officer

Who Will Speak Up for Melanie?

National Association of Manufacturers

By: Joe Trauger, Vice President, Human Resources Policy

Manufacturers Support CIR

National Restaurant Association

By: Angelo Amador, Vice President, Labor & Workforce Policy

Is it déjà vu all over again?

NDN

By: Kristian Ramos, Policy Director of the 21st Century Border Initiative, Immigration Reform

After Investment Our Southwest Border Safer, Pathway to Citizenship In Sight

Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism

By: Rabbi David Saperstein, Director and Counsel

Loving the Stranger

Illinois Driver’s Licenses: A Small Step in the Right Direction

Posted on 02/01/2013 @ 09:03 AM

Written by Michael Mandel, AILA Media-Advocacy Committee, American Immigration Lawyers Association

Kudos to Illinois for joining Washington and New Mexico as the only states to allow undocumented immigrant motorists to apply for driver’s licenses. Last week Governor Pat Quinn promised to sign a bipartisan bill that will allow approximately 250,000 undocumented immigrants to obtain a three year, renewable Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL) if they have lived in Illinois for at least one year and provide proof of residence and auto insurance. Illinois’ decision to make these temporary licenses – which are currently available for foreign nationals living in Illinois with authorization but who are not eligible to receive a social security number – accessible to all drivers regardless of immigration status is good policy and makes sense for public safety, economic and moral reasons. And the fact that it was supported by a large bipartisan majority shows that politicians can work together to pass sensible reform that benefits everyone – immigrants and native born citizens alike.

Illinois’ TVDLs are visually distinct from regular driver’s licenses and can only be used for driving. They cannot be used for identification purposes or to buy guns, vote or board a plane. Undocumented immigrants with a TVDL cannot obtain state or national benefits that they otherwise are not entitled to receive, as these licenses do not confirm legal immigration status, which still must be shown to receive such benefits.

Like all drivers applying for a license, undocumented immigrants in Illinois will need to demonstrate good driving skills by passing a driving test. Studies have found an increasing trend in the proportion of fatal car accidents involving unlicensed drivers, while noting that unlicensed drivers are several times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than licensed drivers. At the same time, law enforcement officers waste a significant amount of time dealing with issues stemming from unlicensed driving – time that could be spent on more pressing public safety issues. These are some of the many reasons why law enforcement supports TVDLs.

Another benefit of making driver’s licenses available to undocumented immigrants is that taxpayers will save on their insurance rates through reduced premium costs associated with uninsured motorist coverage. When New York considered offering driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, the NY State Department of Insurance estimated that it would have saved taxpayers $120 million each year. It is estimated that Illinois taxpayers spend $64 million annually to cover uninsured damage claims.

Although preventing car accidents and reducing crime while saving money should be reasons enough to support an expanded driver’s license program, the main reason I have always been an enthusiastic supporter is simple: it’s the right thing to do. Driver’s licenses are symbolic of the larger issue of how immigrants are viewed: either as equal members of our community, deserving of the same dignity and respect that U.S. citizens expect, or as easily exploitable drains on society. I am appalled that parents are terrified of driving their children to school, and I will support any communities as anyone else. Of course, temporary driver’s licenses are not the solution to all the immigration problems that plague our country. They are simply a small step in the right direction. It is also clear that making temporary licenses available to undocumented immigrants in a largely immigrant-friendly state is not nearly as difficult as convincing a normally immigrant hostile Congress to embrace the type of large scale pro-immigrant reform necessary to ensure justice for all immigrants – legal and undocumented. Yet many commentators have noted that November’s election was a game changing wake up call to politicians. The electorate will no longer tolerate their inflexibility and failure to pass meaningful immigration reform. The only way for politicians – and their parties – to stay politically relevant in the coming years is to take immediate action to support sensible and systemic immigration reform. Fortunately, Congress can look to Illinois as proof that it can be done.

Read the post on the AILA Leadership Blog here.

LGBT Youth on Why the First-Ever latino Institute is Important

Posted on 01/25/2013 @ 10:08 AM

My name is Ivan Aguilar. I am 21 years old and I live in Maryland. As someone who is a youth and who works with youth, I’m tremendously excited to attend Creating Change and the first-ever Latino Institute.

Empoderate Royal Court Dupont Circle, DC Youth Pride 2012

Not only will it be a learning experience that will benefit me greatly, but it will definitely have an impact on the youth I work with. As Mr. Empodérate 2012-13 (Mr. Empower Yourself), I work as an HIV prevention educator for gay and transgender youth at the Clínica del Pueblo Youth Center in Washington, DC. Many of us, including myself, are from communities where accessing quality education, jobs and health services is an incredible obstacle. And although I, like so many other LGBT Latinos, have enormous amounts of love and support from our families and friends, many still face rejection for our sexual orientation or gender identity.This is why the Latino Institute is important to me. There are many advocates like myself around the country—in urban and rural areas--doing all we can with limited resources to create a better life for LGBT Latinos/as and our families, and this Institute will help take our work to the next level.

I want to be a better advocate and a better mentor to the LGBT youth I work with; and my hope is that they pay it forward so that we can create a larger community of advocates working together to make a difference. After the Latino Institute, I will surely be better equipped to do that than ever before.

For more information on the Latino Institute at Creating Change, please visit the fully bilingual Institute website. Follow the conversation using hashtag #CC13.

Ivan Aguilar is a Maryland-based youth advocate who is a volunteer for the Latino LGBT History Project and is on the DC Latino Pride planning committee.

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