Many of our host committee organizations belong to the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a nonpartisan association of 40 national Hispanic organizations. NHLA brings together Hispanic leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. NHLA releases its Hispanic Public Policy Agenda every four years to coincide with the election of a President. The following list of issues is taken from the latest Hispanic Public Policy Agenda. Click on the link under each issue to download the two-page executive summary of our principal policy recommendations for that issue. We look forward to working with the incoming Biden Administration on these and other important issues impacting the Latino community.
Economic Security and Empowerment
Despite progress, Latinos continue to face a wealth gap and other financial obstacles that inhibit the realization of their full economic potential. NHLA proposes a range of policies to empower the economic well-being of Latino communities across the country.
With Latinos comprising more than 25 percent of the public school student population, future U.S. economic competitiveness depends in great part on Latinos’ educational attainment. While progress has been made, much work remains to be done.
In recent years, immigration from Latin America has generally been on a decreasing trend, with the exception of Central Americans who have been seeking a safe haven from violence. Although immigration rates have declined, anti-Latino and anti-immigrant fervor has increased in the media, and from elected and appointed officials in the Executive Branch and Congress. In addition, the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession on communities of color, low-income communities, and immigrant communities highlight the persistent vulnerabilities that immigrants face in the United States. NHLA calls on the current Administration, and any future administration, to reverse the cruel treatment of Central Americans seeking safe haven, to end family detention practices, and to treat those seeking refuge in a manner consistent with human rights principles. NHLA also calls on Congress to pass substantive immigration reform.
NHLA is committed to improving the representation of Hispanics in the federal government career workforce, in appointments to state and federal political positions, and in federal procurement.
Today’s obstacles to the full civic engagement of the Latino community come from both institutional and purposefully discriminatory actions. NHLA is dedicated to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all persons within the United States. Environment and Energy
At this moment, we are facing an existential climate emergency that, if not sufficiently and urgently addressed in the next several years, could seal the devastating fate of our planet, our families, our children, and generations to come. The majority of U.S. Latinos live in areas that have experienced devastating impacts of such extreme events, such as Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico, longer and stronger wildfires in California, flooding from sea level rise in Florida, and historic drought and heatwaves in Texas. NHLA strongly supports action, taken at all levels, to protect the health of communities and the planet, and to mitigate the growing climate crisis.
Latinos face barriers to healthcare, especially with high numbers of uninsured, a lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare professionals and services, and decreasing Federal support for programs that affect the health of our communities. NHLA strongly supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as leadership, policies, and programs that can improve the health of Latinos across the nation.
Puerto Rico is home to over 3 million people who are denied some of the basic rights and federal benefits of citizens living on the U.S. mainland, despite paying billions of dollars in federal taxes each year. As U.S. citizens and taxpayers, people in Puerto Rico deserve the same treatment as those living on the U.S. mainland. Puerto Rico has been plagued in recent years by natural disasters that have resulted in widespread death and devastation to outdated infrastructure. The island’s recovery has been slowed by ineffective federal response and assistance and an overreliance on public debt by the local government. Our federal government has a moral and legal responsibility to help Puerto Rico recover. Congress and the federal government must enact a “Marshall Plan” to systematically invest the resources necessary to rebuild, revitalize, and revive Puerto Rico.
Today, Puerto Rico is hit by extreme austerity due to the PROMESA federal law, which resulted in the closure of hundreds of schools and proposals to take money from the university system, cut pensions, and undermine worker protections by allowing workers to be paid less than the federal minimum wage. It is time for Congress to repeal PROMESA.
Latina Rights and Well-Being
While the NHLA policy agenda seeks to address issues that impact all individuals in our communities, we also recognize that Latinas often encounter additional systemic barriers to advancement. To reduce these barriers, NHLA has committed to also bring a gendered lens to the impact of policies and to highlight a range of policies aimed at improving the conditions of Latinas through increased access to opportunities and improved access to safety and well-being.
LGBTQ Rights and Well-Being
The Hispanic (Latinx/Latine) community in the United States includes at least 1.4 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) adults and several hundred thousand children and youth. LGBTQ rights vary greatly depending on the location of the workplace or residence, with some states, territories, and cities offering comprehensive protections against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, family relations, and credit, while others offer almost no protection at all. Federal courts recognize the rights to same-sex marriage and employment protections but the federal government lags in other key areas, with transgender Americans, particularly those serving in our Armed Forces, and new transgender Hispanic immigrants. NHLA is committed to eliminating the systemic barriers placed on the LBGTQ community.