Latino Advocates Convene in Texas State Capitol to Urge Action on Education and Immigration Reform
February 05 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:
February 5, 2013 Julian Teixeira
NCLR Texas Latino Advocacy Day participants meet with legislators to urge increased state education funding and bipartisan effort for national comprehensive immigration reform
AUSTIN—More than 200 advocates from throughout Texas, representing NCLR’s (National Council of La Raza) regional network of 25 Latino-serving organizations, converged on the state capitol today to urge state and federal legislators to take immediate action on immigration and education reform. The groups collectively serve over 900,000 people in San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Midland, Lubbock, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley.
Texas Latinos number over 9.5 million, and the population is growing rapidly. Since 2000, the Hispanic child population in Texas has grown by more than 41 percent—meaning that Latino children now compose nearly half of all the children in the state, and more than half of all children under the age of five.
“Clearly Texas’s future prosperity relies heavily on ensuring that our Latino youth are receiving a quality education and that they and their families have opportunities for upward mobility,” said Sonia Troche, Texas Regional Director, NCLR. “In the coming weeks, the state and federal leadership in Texas will make critical decisions on immigration reform and school funding that will impact Hispanic youth and families, as well as the state as a whole, for years to come. Our purpose today is to ensure that the priorities of the Latino community are not lost in these discussions.”
The state’s Latinos have been severely impacted by education cuts and a lack of progress on such touchstone issues as immigration. In 2011, the state legislature cut over $5.4 billion in funding from Texas schools that resulted in mass teacher layoffs, increased class sizes and drastic cuts to bilingual education and parental involvement programs. While low-income Latino youth disproportionately suffer the consequences of such a drastic slash in funding, the state sits on an $8.8 billion surplus.
“The state’s lawmakers need to realize that Latinos will soon make up half of the state’s population. If this future labor force is not equipped with the proper education, skills and training, it will severely harm the state’s economic future—and that’s not in anyone’s interest,” continued Troche.
A growing Hispanic electorate, fueled by an average of 890,000 Latino citizens turning 18 each year, has become increasingly engaged and vocal about the need for reform in these two critical areas—immigration and education. In economic and political terms, movement on both issues seems vital for anyone vying to represent the community at the local, state or federal levels.
“Given recent momentum to push for immigration reform, Texas congressional representatives have an opportunity to join bipartisan efforts to advance comprehensive, commonsense immigration reform that strengthens Latino and immigrant families who contribute to the local, state and national economies. The time for immigration reform is now—we want the Texas delegation to get behind a national reform package and give their best efforts to ensure that we fix our broken immigration system. It is critical for our community that any reform package features a pathway to citizenship which fully integrates our Latino youth and hardworking families into the American fabric, so they too can fully participate and contribute to the success of this great nation,” concluded Troche.
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.
Issues: Advocacy Initiative, Education, Immigration, Policy, Texas