Obama’s Executive Action Is a Good Start

This post originally appeared on www.discors.com

Obama’s Executive Action Is a Good Start

But a broader solution is needed

Ben Monterroso, Executive Director of Mi Familia Vota

Republicans’ decision to block comprehensive immigration reform has led to the crisis we face today. Families live in fear of being separated and our economy needs a stable immigration policy.

President Obama is addressing the moral and economic shortcomings of the current system by using his executive authority until Congress finds the courage to act. While we cheer on behalf of those who will be covered by temporary administrative relief, we need legislation that lets more people to apply for legal status and citizenship under long-term programs.

The GOP’s irresponsible attacks of the president and his program are attacks against Latinos.

Most U.S. voters – especially Republican and Democratic Latinos – demand reform, and GOP leaders are courting political disaster if they don’t act. In a recent Latino Decisions poll, 4-in-5 Latino voters said they oppose congressional Republicans’ efforts to block the president’s relief for millions of people.

Congress needs to stop hiding behind its inability to do its job by pretending that the president is acting outside of his authority – the same authority used by all presidents during the last half-century.

Our nation will be in a better place when Republicans end their “deportation only” strategy and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Ben Monterroso is executive director of Mi Familia Vota (@MiFamiliaVota), a national non-profit organization that unites Latino, immigrant, and allied communities by promoting citizenship, voter registration, and voter participation.

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Voter Registration Events October 3 - 5

As the voter registration deadline in most states approaches, Mi Familia Vota will be out in full force making sure as many Latinos as possible are registered to vote.

Here’s where we’ll be:



Saturday, October 4
  • Community Canvass
        9 a.m.-2 p.m.
        Mi Familia Vota  Office
        439 N 6th Ave Suite 201
        Tucson, AZ 85705
  • Community Canvass
       Mi Familia Vota and One Arizona Partners (ACE, CASE)
       Mi Familia Vota  Office
       1710 E Indian School Rd.


Sunday, October 5

  • Feria de la Familia (hosted by Telemundo)

        12 p.m.-6 p.m.

  • Florida Fairgrounds

        4800 Highway 301 North

        Tampa, FL 33610



Saturday, October 4 

  • Reno, Nevada

        University of Nevada, Reno

        1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Las Vegas, Nevada

        Cardenas Super Market

        8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.




Friday, October 3

  • Chicano Fest

        Miller Outdoor Theater

        6000 Hermann Park Dr.

        7:00 p.m - 11:00 p.m.        

Saturday, October 4

  • Tour de North Side (cycling race)

         Post-race gathering at Leonel Castillo                         

  • Community Center

        2101 South Street

        10:00 a.m.        

San Antonio

Saturday, October 4

  • AARP Member Resource Fair 

           9am – 2pm

  • Traders Village Marketplace

        9333 SW Loop 410

        San Antonio, TX 78242

  • San Anto Cultural Arts 5K Run/Walk

         6:30am – 8:00 a.m.

         Leon Creek South Greenway

         4700 Old Pearsall Rd

         San Antonio, TX 78242

  • San Anto Cultural Arts Huevos Rancheros Gala

         9:00am – 12:00pm

         Plaza Guadalupe

         1314 Guadalupe Street

         San Antonio, TX 78207

  • TSA Football Tailgating Party

        10:30am – 2:00pm


         6900 N. Loop 1604 W.

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5 things You Need To Know About Immigration Reform and Labor Day

By Juana Esquivel 

8 million undocumented workers form 5.2% of the U.S. labor force. That means roughly 1 in 20 workers are undocumented immigrants. 



Unauthorized workers currently contribute net positive of $13 billion to Social Security fund but cannot get any benefits.








 Photo Credit: Gebe Martinez


More than 25% of the foreign-born work in service occupations.




Immigrant entrepreneurs are currently starting businesses at a rate roughly twice that of native-born business owners. Companies such as Google, Kraft, AT&T, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, eBay and Yahoo were all started by immigrant entrepreneurs.




By 2024, immigration reform will add a net of $284 billion to the Social Security trust fund. Over the next 36 years, this adds up to $606 billion that will help fund a lifetime of retirement benefits for 2.4 million Americans. 


Photo Courtesy: National Council of La Raza (NCLR) 


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My Experience Meeting Congressman Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan By: Carla Castedo, Mi Familia Vota Colorado State Director 

When I found out that Congressman Paul Ryan was coming to Colorado, I was excited to have the chance to see him and to ask that he please honor his word and move immigration reform forward. I went with my friend, Salvador, a DACA recipient, and one of the thousands of DACAmented youths who were targeted in the House bill that would defund DACA which was approved by House Republicans, including Congressman Ryan.

We arrived at Barnes and Noble and were directed by a friendly staff member to get in line to purchase Paul Ryan’s book and get a wristband to speak to him and get our book signed.

After the line was moving at a decent rate, we heard some commotion. It turns out United We Dream organizers were questioning Ryan’s lack of action on immigration reform. Congressman Ryan was escorted to a private room, with the United We Dream organizers closely following to ask him questions about immigration.  Congressman Ryan did not respond or come out. When the Thornton police arrived, the group was asked to leave and was escorted out. People in the crowd started yelling,  ”Deport her!” “You already get too many food stamps,” “If you want to see your dad, then go back to your country.”

After about 15 minutes of waiting in line, a Barnes and Noble staffer apologized for the inconvenience and asked us to be patient. With the DREAMers out of sight, Ryan came out and the crowd started clapping for him.

When it was our turn to meet the Congressman, there were two police officers on each side of him,  two other police officers roaming the line, and a commander standing nearby. I certainly did not expect excessive use of force by police by their mere presence. We went up to the Congressman and he cheerfully greeted us and asked who he should sign the book for. Salvador started to tell him about how DACA has affected him, but the congressman didn’t want to hear it. “Please don’t do this,” he said. We told him we didn’t want to cause any trouble and he said, “Let’s just take a picture.” I posed for the photo, as I truly was not looking for any trouble, and Salvador continued to talk to him because he knew he would not get this opportunity at a later time.

As soon as the photo was taken, we were swarmed by police officers. We knew our time was out. One of the police officers came behind me and pushed me with his chest. Astonished, I turned around and asked the officer to please be respectful and not to push me. He continued to push me again with his chest as if he was some type of gorilla. I again turned around and asked him to not push me. Seeing that I was speaking out against the lack of respect, the police officer screeched, “All right, you want to get arrested? Let's go,” and he proceeded to hold both of my hands behind my back, while pushing my right arm closely to my ribs. I asked why I was getting arrested and I let him know that he was hurting me.

When Salvador turned around, he was also apprehended and escorted away, dropping Paul Ryan’s book to the ground. Congressman Ryan did not say anything. He did not speak out for us. He. Just. Stood. There.

While being led out, I repeatedly told the police officer that he was hurting me. I tried to adjust my arm to a less forced position and the police officer asked me why I was resisting arrest. I told him I was not resisting. Being profiled, and then escorted out with such force left me wondering what had gone wrong? I later realized, of course, that the officers saw we were sympathetic to the pain that our United We Dream sisters conveyed and then we immediately became targets.

The people in front of us knew the Congressman. They chatted for some time. The people before them were able to provide comments. Why were we not? We did not come in with the intention of disrupting  anything, but only to ask Congressman Ryan, as an elected official, to honor his word and support immigration reform for our families. While he goes on his book tour, thousands of families are separated each day. Contrary to the shouts of the people in line, people who are undocumented are not on food stamps. Good, hard working people are the ones who are getting separated from their families.

Although the congressman did not answer our question, the message we got was clear: to advocate for our families was a big no-no, to ask a question was a big mistake, and to try to calmly reason with the police was met with force. 

Salvador and I brought his cousins to the book signing. When they started to record the encounter, they were blocked by the police and were later asked to delete the recording. As obedient children, they did. When we were outside of the bookstore, a gentleman screamed, “You too have rights!” We do, or at least we thought we did. The same police who protected a politician pushed us around for trying to exercise our right to freedom of speech.

I experienced police abuse, intimidation, and almost got arrested for trying to ask Congressman Paul Ryan a question. His lack of action,by standing there seeing how we were treated, reminded us of his inaction on immigration reform. Both are equally disappointing. That is what I will always remember about the day I met a politician who thinks he can lead our country. 

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Work Over Family? Why Family Values in the Workplace Matter To Me

This post originally appeared on www.mLizette omsrising.org

This week I had the opportunity to attend the White House Summit on Working Families, where I got to meet advocates, labor leaders, media, and other working mothers, all looking to address issues of workplace flexibility, equal pay, workplace discrimination, opportunities for low-wage workers, and other issues.

The summit was particularly significant to me because it focused on women as breadwinners. As a single mother of an energetic 4-year-old, I know the difficulty of balancing a demanding career while single-handedly providing for my daughter, and making time to enjoy the first years of her young life.

As much as I was overcome with joy when I first held her in my arms, I also understood that the decision to be a single mother and head of household would require many difficult choices and sacrifices such as putting my career growth on hold.  But I was prepared for the challenge. Those difficulties began just before my daughter was born.

When I was eight months pregnant with my daughter I faced a difficult choice between my job and my Masters in Management program because it became harder and harder to get approvals at work to leave early to make it to class on time or arrive late due to morning doctor’s appointments. I could quit my job to pursue a graduate degree or give up on my educational goals and keep working to have health insurance to cover my prenatal care and the assurance that my daughter would be born into a financially stable single parent home.

Thanks to the enactment of California SB 1661, I was eligible to apply for Paid Family Leave through the state’s Family Temporary Disability Insurance program to bond with my newborn. Under this paid leave policy however, I was only granted a portion of my salary, which was not sufficient to make ends meet. Also, according to income guidelines I made a little too much money to qualify for any other type of assistance. Add to that the cost of diapers and baby formula, student loan, rent and car payments, and I found myself calling creditors to ask for payment extensions and lower payments on my bills. The financial stress of that time took away from my joy as a new mother.

To minimize my financial hardships I worked until three days prior to giving birth to my daughter and went back to work exactly six weeks later. My heart ached because I missed her -- she was only 40 days old -- but job demands and the commitment to my community forced me to get back to work. I had a Census enumeration campaign I had to help lead to ensure Latinos were counted and our communities received the proper representation.

Through my current work with Mi Familia Vota Education Fundand the Family Values at Work coalition I learned that there are some states that do not offer any type of paid leave. This reminded me of the many hardships my parents had to endure as we were growing up.

My mother was a stay-at-home mom my and my father never spoke up at work as a manual laborer because of his limited English and his fear of losing his job that supported five children. Years into his work, my father was injured but continued working with a fractured back because any time off to go to the doctor, if approved without pay, would mean an incomplete rent payment, no groceries that week, or requesting another extension on those past due payments. He eventually had three surgeries and was declared permanently disabled.

I work as an immigrant rights advocate for a nonprofit organization and see immigrant women facing similar discrimination because of their status. They fear losing work and hourly pay due to pregnancy. Women in mixed status families worry daily whether a family member -- usually a wage earner -- will suddenly disappear, spirited away by an immoral immigration enforcement program that carries out needless deportations. What happens to them, as immigrant women, is an injustice

It is because of my experiences as the daughter of one of the millions of over-worked and under-paid immigrant workers, and as a single mother and head of household, that I understand the importance of paid family leave and paid sick leave.

Working families need support for The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, a proposal that would provide workers with up to 12 weeks of partial income when they face a serious health condition, including pregnancy and childbirth recovery; a serious health issue involving a child, parent, spouse or domestic partner; the birth or adoption of a child. It also would guarantee access to paid sick days, something that many workers in the U.S. -- including immigrants -- do not have.

I advocate for these issues because I want my daughter to grow up in a society that provides and protects workers through fair and equitable policies.

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