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The national political backlash against illegal immigration has created new divisions among Latinos and heightened their concerns about discrimination against members of their ethnic group–including those who were born in the United States or who immigrated legally.
About four-in-five of the nation’s estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants are of Hispanic origin. A new national survey finds that Latinos are divided over what to do with these immigrants. A small majority says unauthorized immigrants should pay a fine but not be deported, while a small minority says they should be deported and a larger minority says they should not be punished. Hispanics are also divided about the impact of illegal immigration on Hispanics already living in the U.S. Some 29% say the impact has been positive, down from 50% who said the same in 2007.
Today, more than six-in-ten (61%) Latinos say that discrimination against Hispanics is a “major problem,” up from 54% who said that in 2007. Asked to state the most important factor leading to discrimination, a plurality of 36% now cites immigration status, up from a minority of 23% who said the same in 2007. Back then, a plurality of respondents–46%–identified language skills as the biggest cause of discrimination against Hispanics.
Despite rising concerns about discrimination against Latinos, the new survey finds no increase over the past year in the share of Latinos who report that they or someone they know have been targets of discrimination. And the survey finds a decrease in the share of Latinos who say they have been stopped by the authorities and asked about their immigration status.
While the survey finds differences among Latinos on several questions related to illegal immigration, it also finds many points of broad agreement.
- Fully 86% of Latinos support providing a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants if they pass background checks, pay a fine and have jobs.
- On birthright citizenship, nearly eight-in-ten (78%) say the Constitution should be left as is.
- When it comes to who should enforce the nation’s immigration laws, more than three-quarters (77%) of Latinos say it should be the exclusive responsibility of federal authorities.
- The vast majority of Latinos–79%–disapprove of the first-of-its-kind Arizona law enacted this year that gives police broad powers to check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons whom they suspect may be in this country illegally.
These and many other findings emerge from a national survey of 1,375 Latino adults conducted by landline and cellular telephone, in English and Spanish, from August 17 through September 19, 2010 by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
The report, “Illegal Immigration Backlash Worries, Divides Latinos,” authored by Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director, Pew Hispanic Center, Rich Morin, Senior Editor, Pew Research Center, and Paul Taylor, Director, Pew Hispanic Center, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center’s website,www.pewhispanic.org.
Recent immigrants encounter many challenges as they seek to integrate into American society and make a better life for themselves and their families. Today’s economic downturn has stalled the rapid rise of Hispanics in the workforce, however, according to a report by the Population Labor Bureau, by 2050, the Hispanic population is projected to reach 24 percent of U.S. the labor force. Hispanics whether foreign born or not, need access to quality tax information to comply with the legal obligation of accurately submitting their taxes to the IRS each year.
Latinos are a strong part of our nation’s workforce and need greater access to information about their tax obligation and the possibility that they may be eligible for a tax refund
Hispanic Access Foundation’s information and referral hotline has received hundreds of calls from individuals nationwide requesting information about taxes- many having had experiences with fraudulent tax preparers. In response to this, HAF partnered with H&R Block, the largest and most trusted tax preparation firm in the United States, having served 50 million through its more than 13,000 locations in the past 50 years. H&R Block also offers 2,100 bilingual office locations serving Spanish-speaking consumers.
H&R Block’s values of respect, responsibility and integrity are shared by HAF and its network of faith based partners. Through a win-win collaboration; HAF created broader awareness of H&R Blocks’ trusted and quality tax preparation services within the immigrant workforce, reaching this special population to increase the number ITIN tax returns. Individuals and families benefited from expert advice from H&R Block employees to learn about the ITIN, fulfill their tax obligation, in some cases to receive a tax refund, and to acquire an important tool, which can be used to open a bank account or when purchasing a home.
H&R Block and HAF joined forces to implement a 6-week pilot project in June and July of 2010. The primary goals of this project were to increase knowledge about the ITIN, the importance of meeting one’s tax obligation regardless of immigration status, quality tax preparation services and its benefits, and to assist individuals in locating bilingual tax preparation services. Houston, Texas was selected as the pilot city due to its concentration of Spanish-speaking individuals who are eligible for the ITIN.
HAF worked in close partnership with local faith based networks and Tierra Prometida to develop and launch a culturally sensitive grassroots faith-based outreach project that mobilized 62 Houston Hispanic evangelical churches to achieve the goals of the project. We tracked data throughout this project to measure our impact and learn more about the challenges and successes we experienced along the way. Our results included:
- Partnerships: 62 Hispanic evangelical churches engaged in pulpit communications, materials distribution, and in hosting and promoting ITIN education workshops with Block bilingual tax experts.
- Mobilizing Congregations: HAF worked with and through Hispanic clergy to inform 33,522 individuals who were in attendance when faith leaders made pulpit announcements during church services regarding the ITIN education program activities.
- Building Capacity: Training was conducted by H&R Block experts to build the capacity of 65 volunteers around the ITIN. HAF partners, volunteers and field staff then distributed 23,157 Spanish-language materials to individuals.
- Increased Awareness: HAF and its partner, DIME Communications developed and launched a Spanish radio campaign that aired on both secular and Christian Spanish language stations throughout the project period. Radio spots were developed and aired 100 times on Que Buena FM radio, 920AM Las Ondas de Amor, and KLAT AM radio Univision. Live radio and television interviews of participating clergy and lay educators were broadcast on Vision Celestial.
- Information & Referral: HAF’s bilingual hotline received calls in response to the media campaign and referred callers to our local workshops and Blocks bilingual offices throughout Metro Houston.
- Special Events: HAF’s field team, our faith partners, and Block bilingual tax experts held (21) 2-hour training workshops for 490 individuals during the 6-week pilot program.
Source: National Council of La Raza Profiles of Latino Health: A Closer Look at Latino Child Nutrition
More than a third of Hispanic families with children in this country suffer from food insecurity. Meaning 32.1% of Hispanic heads of families are, at times, unsure they will be able or are unable to acquire enough food for all members of the household due to insufficient money and resources for food.
For some households with very low food insecurity, “one or more children were also subject to reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns.” Hispanic children are more than four times as likely (2.7%) as non- Hispanic white children (.6%) to be living with this level of food insecurity. With Hispanic families experiencing some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the U.S.; Latino childrens’ healthy growth and development, scholastic success and mental health and well-being are at risk
Hispanics in 2008 had an average household income of $48,955 after taxes compared to $66,590 for non- Hispanic whites. Though Hispanics spend less than whites do overall, their average food spending represents a greater share of total household expenditures 15.3% compared with that of whites 12.5%. With larger average household sizes, and lower average median incomes, Hispanics are more at risk to be food insecure.
Consistently high rates of food insecurity among Latinos, have increased with the economic crisis. The cost of food rose, which caused a sharper increase in the share of food spending among Hispanics, a 6.5% increase between 2007 and 2008, more than double the change for non- Hispanics who experienced a rise of 3.2% in food spending.
A rise in household utility costs, such as energy and fuel costs, which make up a larger proportion of Hispanic expenditures, means cuts to discretionary costs. Food spending suffers further cuts and as a result Hispanics’ may spend too little to meet the nutritional needs of their family.
To see NCLR profiles of Latino health click here.
HAF helps communities to integrate “green thinking” into their homes, workplaces, and local environments. Poverty and other factors marginalize Hispanics in this country, and as a result, Hispanics are disproportionately affected by changes in energy costs, rising food prices and other impacts of climate change.
Hispanics’ quality of life is being negatively affected by pollution. Poor air quality is disproportionately harming Hispanics.
According the American Lung Association, Hispanic-American children have a higher rate of asthma than Caucasian children. In the Northeastern United States, Hispanics have an asthma death rate more than twice the rate of Caucasians.
HAF’s beneficiaries from around the country have called in to express their interest around the following environmental issues:
- clean water
- reducing waste/ proper waste disposal
- cleaner transportation options
- green construction
- energy savings
- healthy food production and consumption
- and green jobs that grow out of the demand for all of the above.
HAF increases Hispanics’ access to information, natural resources, environmental benefits, participation in decision making, and access to justice in cases of environmental injustices.
Follow these easy steps to find assistance programs that will help with costs of healthcare.
Look for Low-Cost Medicine Programs
- Programs called PAPs (patient assistance programs) provide free or low-cost medicine to low-income people who are uninsured or under-insured. Programs exist for BRAND NAME DRUGS and GENERIC NAME DRUGS
- On the NeedyMeds.org one can click on the first letter of the name of your medicine in the alphabet bar to learn about the programs designed to save money on that particular medication.
- Look for all of your medicines, not just the most expensive. If your medicine is not on either list, it is not available through a PAP. Call the program if you have questions.
Look for Additional Assistance Programs
Click on the blue words to learn about finding other assistance programs.
- Application Assistance is a resource of organizations that will help you find and apply for PAPs for free or a small fee.Disease-Based Assistance is a database of programs that help with the costs associated with specific diseases or conditions.
- Government Programs are state and federal programs that assist low-income residents.
- Discount Drug Cards lists several categories of cards.
Check all the categories and look for all your medicines.