The State of America’s Hispanic Families Bush’s Policies Leave Hispanics Worse Off

George W. Bush has spoken extensively about his commitment to issues that affect Hispanics and likes to pepper his speeches to Latino audiences with Spanish phrases. Yet, the fact remains: Hispanics are worse off under Bush, and his actions on policies such as immigration, education, homeownership, small business, access to health care, and tax cuts for the wealthy continue to be more hurtful than helpful for Hispanic families.

IMMIGRATION: Companies Get Cheap Labor; Workers Get Deported
Bush Plan Skews More Toward Businesses Than Toward Immigrants. Bush’s immigration plan would provide exploitable labor for companies and hurt workers, according to major unions and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The president of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeney, said the plan would “do nothing to strengthen protections for wages, benefits and other rights… while undermining wages and labor protections for all workers.” The head of the CHC, Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, said the plan “would create a generation of second-class citizens.” And Eliseo Medina, the executive vice president of SEIU, said the plan “gives tremendous power to the employer. The minute your value is over, you've got to go home.” [AP, 1/14/04; AFLCIO press release, 1/7/04] Bush Plan Virtually Guarantees The Deportation Of Millions Of Working Immigrants, Who Must Return Home When Their Visas Expire. Bush’s immigration plan would force any undocumented immigrant who registered as a guest worker to return home if their employment ends or they are not renewed in the program after three years. The president of the National Council of La Raza, Raul Yzaguirre, criticized the plan, saying “You are asking people who are undocumented to come forward, declare the fact that they're undocumented, and then expose themselves to possible, perhaps even probable, deportation after a period of time.” [White House Press Briefing, 1/7/04; National Council of La Raza, 1/7/03; New York Times, 1/8/03; CNN, 1/7/03, emphasis
added]

Bush Would Leave Millions of Workers Stuck in Current System Where Residency Is Nearly Impossible. The Bush immigration plan would not provide any new means of putting immigrants who currently are living, working and paying taxes in the United States on a path to legal residency. The plan does not change the eligibility requirements to make it easier for current undocumented workers to obtain a green card. Immigrants currently working in the US would have to apply under the current green card lottery, in which there are only 5,000 available for unskilled workers, and only 140,000 total available for all employment-based immigration.
[White House Press Briefing, 1/7/04; New York Times, 1/8/03]

Bush’s Call for More Green Cards Still Would Not Help Undocumented Immigrants in the US Today. Bush’s call for increasing the number of green cards available would likely be of little help to current undocumented workers. With only 140,000 employment-based green cards it is unlikely that any increase
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would supply enough for the majority of the 8 million undocumented immigrants. [AP, 1/7/04; White House
Background Briefing, 1/6/04]

Bush Plan Ignores Family Sponsored Immigration Backlogs and 245(i). Bush plan keeps families apart by not dealing with the tremendous backlog family sponsored immigrants face and not addressing 245(i) or cutting the current ban on re-entry. Backlogs faced by siblings of US citizens currently range from 12 to 21 years, and other family sponsored categories have similar waits. The plan does not address reinstating 245(i), which allowed qualified immigrants to gain legal status without returning home, or cutting the current 3 year, 5 year, or permanent reentry bans imposed on those who came to the US illegally. [White House Press Briefing, 1/7/04;
American Immigration Lawyers Association, www.aila.org; National Immigration Forum, www.immigrationforum.org]

BUSH ECONOMY: Bush’s Economy Leaving Hispanic Families Behind
265,000 Hispanics Unemployed Since Bush Took Office. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 265,000 more Hispanics have become unemployed since Bush took office in January 2001. [Bureau of Labor
Statistics, www.bls.gov]

Unemployment Rate for Hispanics Stands at 6.6. The national unemployment rate for Hispanics stands at 6 percent, a 14 percent increase since Bush took office. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey,
www.bls.gov]

EDUCATION: Programs Underfunded, Hispanic Students Neglected
Bush Ending or Cutting Many Public Education Programs
Bush Proposed Killing Successful Head Start Programs, Which Serve Nearly 300,000 Hispanic Children Each Year. Bush proposed dropping the federal government’s responsibility to provide quality preschool programs through Head Start and handing it off to states. Head Start teachers and proponents note that most states are unprepared to offer the same quality of programs as the federal government, due to budget problems, lack of infrastructure and oversight capability, and the fact that many states have been cutting social spending. The National Head Start Association said that Bush’s proposal would “dismantle” Head Start “within 5 years.” Head Start prepares 270,000 Hispanic children to attend school every year. [Washington Post, 2/1/03; 5/23/03;
National Head Start Association, Dismantling Head Start, www.nhsa.org, 4/16/03; HHS Head Start Bureau, Head Start Program Fact Sheet, 2003, www2.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/hsb]

Bush Shortchanged His Own Education Initiatives; Cut Many Programs Affecting Hispanics Cut. Bush shortchanged his No Child Left Behind law by $9 billion in 2004. Bush outlined specific cuts for important programs including school reform, rural education, dropout prevention, school counseling, technology training for teachers and class size reduction in his latest budget. Bush even cut teacher quality programs- originally a centerpiece of his education proposal. [www.ed.gov; Office of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, 6/9/03] Bipartisan Governors Association Condemned Bush’s Failure to Fund Education Programs. In February 2003, the bipartisan National Governors Association voted unanimously to label Bush’s No Child Left Behind act an unfunded mandate. Nearly 9 in 10 superintendents and principals nationwide opposed NCLB’s lack of funding, according to a November 2003 survey. States and localities have struggled to keep up with the new requirements. Between fiscal years 2002 and 2004, education spending in 35 states was unable to keep pace with increases in inflation and enrollment. [The Wallace Foundation, www.wallacefoundation.org; Education Week, 1/7/04]

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Bush Financial Aid Policies Leave Hispanic College Students Behind
Bush Has Never Raised the Amount of the Pell Grant; Even Tried to Lower it. The Pell Grant has remained stagnant at a $4,000 maximum award while Bush has been in office, despite the pleas of schools, students, and parents. In 2002, Bush proposed reducing the Pell by $100, to a maximum of $3,900. This year, he opposed a plan by Senate Democrats to raise the maximum by $100. Over the same period, tuition costs have been soaring and the real buying power of the Pell has been declining. [Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/10/03;
2/14/03; Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov; House Ed Wkfc Cmte, The State Budget Crisis & Higher Education; Associated Press, 5/2/02]

Bush Abolished Another Student Aid Program and Tried to Raise Costs for Student Borrowers. Bush eliminated the $67 million Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships (LEAP) program in his 2004 budget. The program helps 90,000 low-income students attend college every year. In 2002, Bush proposed a plan to require student loan consolidations at variable rates rather than the current fixed rate consolidations, which would have cost the average borrower nearly $3,000. Under fire, the plan was ultimately dropped.
[National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs, www.nassgap.org; Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/14/03; New York Times, 4/28/02; 5/3/02; Washington Post, 4/30/02]

Bush Cut Bilingual Ed and Language Acquisition Programs
Bush Proposed Cutting Millions From Education Programs That Teach Children English. Bush proposed $665 million for language acquisition in his 2004 budget, a cut of nearly $21 million from the previous year.
[Department of Education, 2004 Budget, www.ed.gov]

Bush Opposed Programs that Increase Diversity in Higher Education
Bush Opposed Affirmative Action in Higher Education. Bush opposed the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policies in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court. In a speech explaining his position, Bush stated, “The motivation for such an admissions policy may be very good, but its result is discrimination and that discrimination is wrong.” [George W. Bush Makes Statement On Affirmative Action Case, 1/15/03] Bush Incorrectly Referred to Affirmative Action Using the Negative Code-Word “Quotas.” Bush called affirmative action at Michigan’s law schools “quotas,” saying, “students are being selected or rejected based primarily on the color of their skin.” [George W. Bush Makes Statement On Affirmative Action Case, 1/15/03]

HEALTH CARE: Bush Neglects 18 Million Uninsured Hispanics
Bush Overlooking Hispanics Without Affordable Health Care
Number of Uninsured Hispanics Rising Under Bush. More than half of the non-elderly Hispanic population, 18.6 million, was uninsured for all or part of 2001-2002. The number of Hispanics uninsured for the entire year was 12.8 million in 2002, up over 300,000 from 2001. [Families USA, Going Without Health Insurance, 3/03,
covertheuninsuredweek.org; US Census Bureau, www.census.gov]

Even Many Hispanics With Full Time Jobs Find Themselves Uninsured. Thirty eight percent of Hispanic full-time workers go without insurance. [US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, Health Insurance Coverage
Status and Type of Coverage by Selected Characteristics: 2001, www.bls.census.gov/cps]

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Bush Ignored Plight of Legal Immigrant Expectant Mothers and Children
Bush Opposed Bipartisan Plan to Restore Medicaid Benefits to Legal Immigrant Children and Moms-toBe. The Bush administration spoke out against a provision inserted into the 2003 Medicare bill that would have restored health care benefits to legal immigrant children and expectant mothers, saying “these provisions contradict current welfare reform policy and should not be undone in Medicare reform legislation.” Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson also criticized the provision. Over 200,000 expectant mothers and children who are legal residents go without health care every year. The provision was passed by a bipartisan majority of the Senate Finance Committee, and restores benefits that were cut in 1996 in a barrage of GOP anti-immigrant legislation. [Miami Herald, 6/20/03; Washington Post, 6/20/03; New York Times, 6/13/03; Congressional
Budget Office, cost estimate, H.R. 4737, www.cbo.gov]

National Council for La Raza: Bush Administration Stance on Prenatal Care “Calls Into Question the President’s Commitment to the…Growing Latino Community” The National Council for La Raza criticized Bush, saying, “the Bush Administration made it abundantly clear that it does not support improved access to health care for a substantial portion of Latino children in this country,” and said that Bush’s stance “calls into question the President’s commitment to the health priorities of this country’s growing Latino community.” [NCLR press release, 6/19/03, www.nclr.org]

SMALL BUSINESS: Bush Cut Aid to Hispanic Business Owners
Bush Decided to Stop Awarding Small Business Loans That Help Hispanic Businesses. In January 2004, Bush decided to halt the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program. The Small Business Administration stated it had run out of money only three months into the fiscal year. The 7(a) program is the most commonly used SBA loan, and backs over $10 billion in loans to small businesses each year. An SBA spokesperson noted the program especially helps business owners who could not qualify for traditional bank loans. In 2000, the 7(a) loan program helped more than 3,200 Hispanic businesses with over $660 million in loans. After a public outcry, SBA announced that it would reinstate the program, but with a 63 percent cut in the maximum loan. [Chicago Tribune, 1/8/04; Washington Post, 1/8/04; SBA, 1/13/04; emphasis added] Bush Has Track Record of Attacking Small Business Programs. Bush has repeatedly attacked the 7(a) program, having proposed an over 50 percent funding cut, from $11 billion to $5 billion. Bush also proposed increasing fees for SBA loans by $168 million to cover other proposed cuts in his 2002 budget, which would have raised fees on individual loans by as much as $2,400. [Newhouse News Service, 5/7/02; Las Vegas Business Press,
4/22/02; House Democratic Policy Committee, 4/10/01]

HISPANIC HOMEOWNERS: Ownership Gap Has Grown Under Bush
The Hispanic Homeownership Gap Has Increased Over 12 Percent Under Bush. The difference in homeownership rates between Hispanic and white homeowners increased by over 12 percent since Bush took office in January 2001. That ownership gap was 26.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2000, while it most recently stood at 29.6 in the third quarter of 2003. [US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, US Housing Market
Conditions, www.hud.gov]

Hispanic Homeownership Rate Steadily Dropped in 2003. The rate of Hispanic home ownership fell in every reported quarter in 2003. In the 4th quarter of 2003, 48.3 percent of all Hispanics owned their own home, and at the close of September, 2003, only 46.1 percent of all Hispanics did, a nearly 5 percent drop. [US Dept. of
Housing and Urban Development, US Housing Market Conditions, www.hud.gov] A product of DNC Research – www.democrats.org

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TAX CUTS: Bush Cuts Left Out Many Hispanic Families
2003 Tax Cut Left Out Hispanic Families. According to an analysis by National Council of La Raza, most Hispanics received “little or no benefit” from the 2003 Bush tax cut. NCLR noted that “far too many [Hispanics] work for wages that are too low to qualify.” NCLR also criticized Bush’s dividend giveaway, saying it “bypass[es] the vast majority of Latinos entirely.” The League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation’s oldest Latino organization, said “Hispanics are not the beneficiaries of this tax cut… NCLR predicted that the Bush tax cuts would ultimately “divert funding away from the domestic programs that help Latino workers provide for the needs of their families.” [NCLR, letters to the House and Senate, 3/19/03 and 3/20/03,
www.nclr.org; LULAC, press release, 5/9/03]

4.1 Million Hispanic Children Left Behind on Bush’s Child Tax Credit. According to the Center for Community Change, the families of 4.1 million Hispanic children (1 in 3) will not receive rebate checks for the child tax credit as enacted by the Bush and Congressional Republicans. [CCC Press Release, 7/22/03,
http://www.communitychange.org]

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