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A discussion on the challenges facing Hispanic education today

A Q&A with David Park of Learning Heroes: parents are the key to education

Last week, during President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress, he declared education to be “the civil rights issues of our time,” echoing similar statements by past Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. I couldn’t agree more.

Hispanics and other minorities comprise a growing proportion of the student population in America, and yet their test scores continue to lag dangerously behind white counterparts. As such, education equality is the frontline of the battle for America’s future. That’s why this week I want to highlight the incredible work of David Park of Learning Heroes, to get his perspective on this critical issue. My hope is that his insights will give parents practical tools they can use to help ensure their child’s success in the classroom.

SR: What do you see as the greatest challenges in education today?

DP: There are certainly challenges in education, but there are also tremendous opportunities – so let’s start there. We know from our national survey, Parents 2016, that K-8 parents and guardians have high aspirations for their children. 83% of African American parents and 90% of Hispanic parents believe that a two- or four-year college degree is very important.
A big challenge, however, is that too many young people are still unprepared for success after high school. In fact, 60% of first-year college students need to take remedial courses to help them catch up to a college level. Research also shows that parents play a critical role in their child’s academic progress – and that’s where Learning Heroes comes in.

SR: How does Learning Heroes help parents to get involved?

DP: At Learning Heroes, our number one goal is to equip parents with information, resources, and simple actions to take to support their children’s success. According to a RAND study, families may have four-to-eight times more impact on student achievement than teachers (and teachers are obviously incredibly important). But many parents need some help identifying what they can do to best support their child in school.

The first step for parents is to understand where your child excels and where he or she needs additional support. As a group, 87% of Hispanic parents believe their child is at or above grade level in math (NAEP scores tell us reality is 26%); and 84% in reading (reality is 21%).

SR: How can parents get a more accurate picture of their child’s academic achievement?

DP: Together, teacher feedback, grades, parent observations, and the upcoming annual state test results can give parents a good picture of whether their child is performing at grade level and whether he or she will be prepared for success next year. Our website, BeALearningHero.org features tools and resources in English and Spanish from trusted organizations all in one place – organizations such as Scholastic, National PTA, GreatSchools and others.

SR: After so many states adopted new standards, how are we now testing students?

DP: The Common Core debate has left a lot of parents confused about testing standards. The bottom line is that each state must measure every child’s progress in reading and math in grades 3-8 and at least once during grades 10-12.

SR: Why is the annual state test so important?

DP: Annual state test results help parents understand how prepared their child will be for the next grade. Combined with grades and classroom work, the state test can help a parent know how well their child is meeting grade level expectations in math and English Language Arts.

SR: What are some tips for parents as they help their children get ready for the annual state test?

DP: Parents can help reduce anxiety and uncertainty by checking out sample test questions or even reviewing a practice test, all of which are available at our website. We’ve also created an online guide, “Ready for the Test,” which is available in English and Spanish. “Ready for the Test” includes lots of other state specific information and tips – from looking at last year’s test results, to talking to the teacher about the test, tackling test nerves and more.

SR: What are some other Learning Heroes resources in English and Spanish? How have you seen these strategies benefit both children and parents?

DP: Most of our resources are available in both English and Spanish. A good example of a helpful English/Spanish resource is our Readiness Roadmap, which was developed in partnership with Univision and National PTA. The Readiness Roadmap is a guide that helps parents understand each stage of their child’s development—from what children are expected to know each grade year and how parents can support social, emotional and academic learning at home, to starting the college planning process and more.

Based on an initial study conducted earlier this year and from what we’ve seen in communities where we’re working, we know that the strategy of meeting parents where they are and providing them with actionable resources is having a very significant and positive impact in terms of parent knowledge, skills and actions on behalf of their child’s academic success. The fact of the matter is, parents are the key and the data supports this. That’s why Learning Heroes exists, to help parents help their children succeed.

Faith and Education Coalition is an initiative of the National Hispanic Christian Leaders Conference (NHCLC), with 2,568 members representing almost 3,000 local churches in 44 states.

Original article can be read here: http://www.univision.com/univision-news/opinion/a-discussion-on-the-challenges-facing-hispanic-education-today

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Los padres son la clave de la educación

La semana pasada, durante su discurso ante la sesión conjunta del Congreso, el presidente Donald Trump declaró que la educación es “el tema de los derechos civiles de nuestro tiempo,” haciendo eco a declaraciones similares emitidas por los presidentes anteriores, Barack Obama y George W. Bush. Sobre este tema, yo no podría estar más de acuerdo.

Los hispanos y otras minorías son una proporción creciente de la población de estudiantes en Estados Unidos, sin embargo sus resultados académicos siguen siendo peligrosamente inferiores a los de sus compañeros blancos. Como tal, la equidad educativa es la línea del frente en la batalla para el futuro de Estados Unidos. Por esta razón, esta semana quiero resaltar el increíble trabajo de David Park, de Héroes de Aprendizaje, para conocer su perspectiva sobre este tema tan crítico. Mi esperanza es que sus ideas provean herramientas prácticas a los padres para que puedan asegurar el éxito de sus hijos en el salón de clase.

David, ¿cuál crees que es el desafío más grande en la educación hoy en día?
Ciertamente hay desafíos en la educación, pero también hay tremendas oportunidades, así que empecemos por allí. Sabemos por nuestra encuesta nacional Parents 2016 que los padres de estudiantes K-8 tienen altas aspiraciones para sus hijos. Un 83% de los padres Afro-Americanos y un 90% de los padres hispanos creen que una licenciatura en un colegio de dos o cuatro años es muy importante para ellos.

Pero, un gran desafío es que muchos jóvenes no están preparados para la educación superior. De hecho, el 60% de los estudiantes universitarios tienen que tomar cursos correctivos en su primer año para poder llegar al nivel básico de aprendizaje en la universidad. Las investigaciones nos dicen que los padres tienen un rol critico en el progreso académico de sus hijos, y es allí dónde Héroes de Aprendizaje les puede ayudar.

¿Cómo ayuda Héroes de Aprendizaje a los padres para que se involucren en el proceso de aprendizaje?
En Héroes de Aprendizaje, nuestra meta número uno es equipar a los padres con información, recursos y acciones sencillas para que ellos puedan apoyar bien a sus hijos. Según un estudio de RAND, la familia puede tener cuatro a ocho veces más impacto sobre el desempeño académico del estudiante que los maestros (y por supuesto los maestros son muy importantes). Pero muchas veces los padres necesitan ayuda para identificar lo que pueden hacer para apoyar a su hijo o hija en la escuela.

El primer paso que los padres deben dar es entender las áreas donde su hijo o hija sobresale y las áreas donde necesita ayuda. Como grupo, el 87% de los padres hispanos creen que su hijo está al nivel adecuado o más arriba en matemática (pero los resultados de NAEP nos dicen que en realidad solo el 26% de los estudiantes hispanos son competente en matemática). El 84% de padres también creen que sus hijos son están a un nivel alto en lectura (pero en realidad solo 21% son competentes).

¿Cómo pueden los padres tener una mejor idea de los logros académicos de sus hijos?
Como un solo paquete, las reflexiones del maestro, las calificaciones, las observaciones de los padres y los resultados de los exámenes anuales estatales pintan un panorama del estado académico de sus hijos. También ayudan a clarificar si él o ella está al nivel adecuado para su grado y si estará preparado(a) para el año que viene. Nuestro sitio web, BeALearningHero.org provee herramientas y recursos en inglés y en español, en un solo lugar, de organizaciones en las cuales podemos confiar, como Scholastic, National PTA, GreatSchools, entre otras.

Después de que muchos estados adoptaron nuevos estándares académicos, ¿cómo estamos evaluando ahora a los estudiantes?
El debate sobre el “Common Core” ha dejado a muchos padres confundidos sobre los estándares para los exámenes. La conclusión es que cada estado debe medir el progreso de cada niño en lectura y matemáticas en los grados 3-8 y por lo menos una vez durante los grados 10-12.

¿Por qué es tan importante el examen estatal?
Los resultados de los exámenes estatales ayudan a los padres a entender qué tan preparados están sus hijos para el siguiente año escolar. Combinada con las calificaciones y el trabajo de salón, la prueba estatal puede ayudar a los padres a saber qué tan bien está cumpliendo su hijo con las expectativas de su grado en matemáticas y artes del lenguaje inglés.

¿Qué consejo le puede dar a los padres mientras ayudan a sus hijos a prepararse para los exámenes estatales?
Los padres pueden ayudar a reducir el estrés y la incertidumbre por medio de pasos simples, como revisar con ellos las preguntas de exámenes modelo. Aún más, ellos pueden practicar con un examen disponible en nuestro sitio web. También hemos creado una guía en línea, “Prepárate para el Examen,” la cual está disponible en inglés y español. “Prepárate para el Examen” incluye mucha información específica por estado y una variedad de consejos –desde cómo entender los resultados de las pruebas del año anterior, cómo hablar con el maestro sobre el examen, cómo enfrentar los nervios y mucho más–.

¿Cuáles son algunos otros recursos de Héroes de Aprendizaje en inglés y español? ¿Cómo han visto que estas estrategias hayan beneficiado a los estudiantes y a los padres?

Muchos de nuestros recursos están disponibles en inglés y en español. Un buen ejemplo de un recurso en inglés/español es “Ruta al Futuro” que fue desarrollado en asociación con Univision y el National PTA. La “Ruta al Futuro” es una guía que ayuda a los padres a entender cada temporada del desarrollo de su hijo –desde qué debe saber un niño cada año escolar y cómo pueden los padres dar apoyo social, emocional y académico en casa, hasta como iniciar el proceso de planificación para el college–.

Basándonos en un estudio preliminar realizado a principios de este año y de lo que hemos visto en las comunidades en las que estamos trabajando, sabemos que una estrategia que busca a los padres donde están y les proporciona recursos tiene un impacto muy positivo en términos de incrementar el conocimiento, habilidades y acciones de los padres para que ellos ayuden al desarrollo académico de sus hijos. La realidad es que los padres son la clave, y los datos apoyan esto. Es por eso que Héroes de Aprendizaje existe, para que padres puedan ayudar a sus hijos a tener éxito.

La Coalición de Fe y Educación es una iniciativa de la Conferencia Nacional de Líderes Hispanos Cristianos. Con 2,568 miembros que representan casi 3,000 iglesias en 44 estados, la Coalición de Fe y Educación aboga por la igualdad y la alta calidad de la educación para todos los estudiantes en Estados Unidos.

Nota: La presente pieza fue seleccionada para publicación en nuestra sección de opinión como una contribución al debate público. La(s) visión(es) expresadas allí pertenecen exclusivamente a su(s) autor(es) y/o a la(s) organización(es) que representan. Este contenido no representa la visión de Univision Noticias o la de su línea editorial.

Original article can be read here: http://www.univision.com/noticias/opinion/los-padres-son-la-clave-de-la-educacion

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What does comprehensive immigration reform mean in Trump’s America?

Do we enforce the letter of the law regarding people who have entered our country illegally, or do we compassionately assimilate undocumented peoples seeking a better life despite the laws they broke getting here in the first place?

Since the Gang of Eight bill was first passed in the Senate in 2013 – and later stalled in the House of Representatives – it’s safe to say that much has transpired both socially and politically.

Like any expression that is often used but seldom defined, what politicians and immigration advocates actually mean by Comprehensive Immigration Reform is up for interpretation, and is usually more rooted in political party and ideology rather than any agreed upon baseline policy measures.

Politically speaking, comprehensive immigration reform is perhaps the ultimate Catch 22. Do we enforce the letter of the law regarding people who have entered our country illegally, or do we compassionately assimilate undocumented peoples seeking a better life despite the laws they broke getting here in the first place? In America, the answer must be yes and yes.

President Trump has indicated that now is the time to once again pursue immigration reform and it’s critically important that the Hispanic Community assume a leading voice in the debate. In fact, I believe there are 5 essential policy points that must be included in any serious, comprehensive immigration reform bill that seeks to bridge the two sides’ seemingly incompatible goals.

1. Secure Border:
As a sovereign nation, the U.S. must reserve the right to determine who crosses our borders and who is allowed to stay. We must establish a clearly defined certification process that once satisfied, would enable those that are here in an undocumented capacity to have the opportunity to get permanently right with the law. In the meantime, improved border security and enforcement will help to disincentivize future migration surges as well as slow human and narcotics trafficking.

2. No Amnesty:
We should not simply allow the undocumented population to have a free pass, or amnesty, which would enable them to stay here in America ahead of people that are lawfully in line to immigrate to the United States. However, we understand that this large population will neither be deported, nor will most self-deport.

Therefore, we must legislate a process by which these people can admit to their wrongdoing, submit to and pass rigorous state and federal background checks, pay a fine to get right with the law, and prove their financial viability.

If they meet all these criteria, they would be able to stay legally as Guest Workers, but they will not be able to adjust their status to permanent resident or citizen unless and until all of the legal immigrant applications already in process have been adjudicated, (they would go to the end of the line for immigration purposes).

3. Guest Worker Visas:
Currently undocumented individuals should initially be able to adjust their status to that of a Guest Worker. They could choose to remain in the United States as Guest Workers indefinitely, so long as they passed the requirements as listed above, and remain current on their tax liabilities.

However, should they choose some day to pursue permanent residency or citizenship, they must pay additional fees, and would not be able to adjust their status unless and until all legal applications previously filed by aspiring immigrants are adjudicated.

4. Deport Serious Criminals
Any and all undocumented individuals engaged in nefarious activities such as murder, rape, assault, drug trafficking, and gang related activities should and must deported as expeditiously as possible.

However, a clear distinction must be made between these individuals and others who illegally obtained driver’s licenses, social security cards and other documents necessary for employment and basic survival.

The latter, with families raised in America and currently employed, should be protected from deportation as promised by President Trump in interviews with both 60 Minutes and TIME Magazine in addition to phone conferences we at the NHCLC have had with the transition team.

5. Integration process:
Newly legalized undocumented individuals must be encouraged to assimilate into the mainstream of American society. They must learn English, as well as American Civics.

As a nation of immigrants, we know that immigrants arrive in our country seeking opportunity and liberty. As long as these people obey the laws going forward, they must be treated fairly, and with the dignity that God has bestowed upon all people equally.

There will be some on both sides of this contentious debate that will disagree with me because I’ve either gone too far or not far enough.

As a leader in the Hispanic Community who is personally and professionally tied to this incredibly emotional issue, I have had to confront the simple truth that there are no easy answers – at least none that have a real chance of being passed into law. But if we honor the rule of law as well as the sanctity of all life, we can find a way forward together.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. He has been named by CNN and Fox News as “the leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement.”

Faith and Education Coalition is an initiative of the National Hispanic Christian Leaders Conference (NHCLC) and advocates for high-quality education options for all of America’s children.

Original post can be read here: http://www.univision.com/univision-news/opinion/what-does-comprehensive-immigration-reform-mean-in-trumps-america

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Hispanic Evangelical Leader Rejects Univision Anchor’s Anti-Trump Rant

Univision’s Jorge Ramos tried – but spectacularly failed – to get one of the nation’s top Hispanic evangelical leaders, Rev. Samuel Rodríguez, to sign on to the left’s tireless campaign of calling presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump a racist.

In fact, in an interview on the Univision anchor’s weekly Al Punto show, Pastor Rodríguez did more than just refuse to assent to Ramos’ characterization of Trump as a racist. He also admonished Ramos to be more careful about his fast and loose use of the term, as well as acknowledge other insidious forms of racism.
REV. SAMUEL RODRÍGUEZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: Is it not racism to have multiple generations depending on the government for their income without giving them opportunity to rise above and succeed? Is that not that racism? There is implicit and explicit racism, and I have suffered from both racisms. So for me, we have to be careful in describing that every word is racist, because in both campaigns I would be able to evaluate comments that could be evaluated as racist comments or political myopia.

Rodríguez was grilled by Ramos as if he were a Trump surrogate, despite previous clarifications made by the Pastor that he does not endorse any of the presidential candidates. The interview was remarkable because it was one of the rare moments when one of Ramos’ invited guests, with class and aplomb, challenged the activist-anchor’s slanted narrative, and did not fall for Ramos’ usual race-baiting.

Rodríguez was among the group of religious leaders who recently met with Trump in New York, and he told Ramos he was pleased with the exchange he had with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Rev. Rodriguez went on to say that he would like to see both changes in Trump’s rhetoric, as well as changes in rival Hillary Clinton’s policies and legislative priorities, mentioning that he will continue to seek and engage in dialogue with both sides.

According to the Pew Research Center, Hispanic evangelicals are growing as a group, and both Hispanic Catholics and Hispanic Evangelicals are pro-life by large margins, and pray often. Should you decide to wait for Jorge Ramos to acknowledge truths such as these when he trumpets the power of the Hispanic vote as a virtually monolithic, “immigration-only” voting bloc, you may very well die waiting.
Below is the transcript of the relevant cited portions of Jorge Ramos’ interview with Rev. Samuel Rodríguez, which aired on the July 3 edition of Univision’s Al Punto.
JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO: …one of the Latino leaders who met with Trump is the Rev. Samuel Rodríguez, who is followed by millions of Christian believers, many of them Latinos. But meeting with Trump does not mean supporting him. Pastor Rodríguez accompanies us via satellite to tell us what he told Trump. Reverend, thanks for being here with us.

REV. SAMUEL RODRÍGUEZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO: Let’s start with the basics: You met with Donald Trump. What impression did he make on you?

REV. SAMUEL RODRÍGUEZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: That’s right, I had two meetings with him. One, with a more personal dynamic, a smaller group, 30 people, and then with about a thousand pastors and leaders. The impression I received: the purpose in meet with him was not to endorse him or give him my support. I’m not endorsing either Hillary or Donald. I am supporting and endorsing Christian values ​​and our Latin American people. But I was worried, obviously, about the rhetoric of the past. I wanted Mr. Trump to understand the vitality of our community, what we have to offer to the American people as a whole, for the political process in this election, and I had this conversation with him. And I’ll be honest with you: privately, he was very keen, he listened to me really well. There was a very strong, impressive statement, I tell you clearly, and then, at the public meeting, with about a thousand people present I asked him. I said to him, ‘Mr. Trump, you have spoken of building a wall, a wall between here [the United States] and Mexico, but how are you going to build a bridge? Can you build a bridge with the Latin American people? Are you be able to build a bridge with Hispanic American people?’ and he said yes. He said, ‘Pastor Samuel, my commitment is to help Hispanics with jobs, with better education, with opportunities, and I want to stop what is illegal immigration, but I want to support and lift the Hispanic people,’ and he said like two or three times ‘the Hispanic people are going to love me, the Hispanic people are going to love me, the Hispanic people are going to love me.’ That’s how we ended the conversation.

JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO: Well, the reality is that, according to the Washington Post, 89% of Latinos have a negative opinion of Donald Trump. For you, pastor, is Donald Trump a racist?

REV. SAMUEL RODRÍGUEZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: Well, I am a pastor, right? And as a pastor, I do not like to involve myself in phraseology, or words that are not properly raised on a platform with clear evidence. That is to say, one of my mentors, my heroes, has always been Martin Luther King Jr., and I follow his steps. His daughter, who is part of my board and one of my counselors, Bernice King. And to use that phrase, I, who have suffered racism, I know what it is to have [been discriminated against], have had eggs thrown at what is my house and on my car for being Latino. They have spoken badly of me for being Latino. I’ve experienced racism from elementary school in a very Anglo-Saxon neighborhood. That phrase is very strong to put on a human being without having all the clear evidence…

JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO: But is it not racist, Reverend, to say that Mexicans are criminals and rapists? Is that not racism? Is it not racist to say that 1.6 billion Muslims should not enter the United States simply because of their religion? Is that not racism?

REV. SAMUEL RODRÍGUEZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: I do not endorse nor support, and I have chastised and condemned negative rhetoric about Muslim people, about our Mexican people, about the comments about those who are rapists and who enter here to kill, that kind of thing. At the same time, we can put that and compare it to other comments from other campaigns that one can also evaluate and say in an implicit way,this may also be racism. The treatment of the Hispanic American community with some schools where they teach Anglo children one thing and a very cheap, very minimal thing [education] to Latino children. Is that not racism? Is it not racism to have multiple generations depending on the government for their income without giving them opportunity to rise above and succeed? Is that not that racism? There is implicit and explicit racism, and I have suffered from both racisms. So for me, we have to be careful in describing that every word is racist, because in both campaigns I would be able to evaluate comments that could be evaluated as racist comments or political myopia.
JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO: As you know, Donald Trump has insulted women. He has called some of them ‘dogs’, he has called them ‘pigs’, has called them ‘animals’. How do you respond to that? That is…

REV. SAMUEL RODRÍGUEZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: Horrible, horrible, horrible, terrible, and that’s why, my purpose again in meeting with Donald Trump, and as well my inclination is to do the same with Hillary Clinton, too, is talking about the vitality of our community, and change the rhetoric not a little, change the rhetoric in a very positive way…

JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO: But do you think he is listening, Reverend? Do you think Donald Trump is listening to you? Because many are concerned that if you… at least 16 million Christians in the United States follow you, and if you meet with Donald Trump, in some way… do you not worry that Donald Trump is using you, Reverend?

REV. SAMUEL RODRÍGUEZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: Jorge, one of the things that motivates me, again, forgive me for repeating this, is not only the teachings of Jesus Christ, who had a lot of meetings, lots of controversial meetings with people that even his own disciples would tell him ‘Don’t meet with them’. At the same time, Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about meeting with people with whom we do not agree, with people that have said or done things that do not correspond with our values, but that meetings is important. Conversation changes lives and hearts. I believe in being a light in the darkness, and people will not change if there is no relationship, if there is no interaction. And I would like to see changes not only with Donald Trump’s rhetoric, but with some of the legislative initiatives of Hillary Clinton. I would like to see changes in both campaigns. And the only way those changes are going to take place is through a conversation or an engaged civil interaction with love and mutual respect.

JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO: Did you agree to meet again, Reverend, you and Donald Trump?

REV. SAMUEL RODRÍGUEZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: There… there is an inclination to continue the conversation. We managed to say there that we will continue our conversation, yes.

JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO: Are you worried about Donald Trump as President?

REV. SAMUEL RODRÍGUEZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: I worry… I worry… I worry about the rhetoric of Donald Trump, some of the things he’s projected as his political initiatives, and also with Hillary, I’ll be clear with you. I have great concern with Hillary Clinton at this time, and I have concerns with the rhetoric of Donald Trump. So, I am concerned person at this time…

JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO: But you’re not supporting anyone. You’re not supporting any candidate. And do you plan on support one [of them] before November?

REV. SAMUEL RODRÍGUEZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: No, no. I’m going to be clear with you: I will not endorse any candidate, either Hillary or Donald Trump. But I will communicate with both to present the importance of the Latino people and Latino people of faith. The meaning, the transforming political vitality that our community carries with it. It’s something very strong, very powerful, and I want both campaigns to respect our community and endorse our values.

JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO: Because you know, Reverend, that millions follow you, so what you do is politically very important.

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It’s going to take more than protesting, get a suit and tie

Protesting over the Trump administration’s immigration policies without concrete action only causes more noise, and more controversy. We must meet our protesting with equal political action. One – without the other – is insufficient.

This has been a disorienting week for immigrants around the country, and justifiably so.

Immigrant communities are scrambling for answers after reports have surfaced of ICE raids in various U.S. cities, the detention of Dreamers like Daniel Ramirez Medina in Seattle and the deportation of parents of U.S. citizens like Guadalupe Garcia De Rayos of Arizona. While recent DHS guidelines indicate that DREAMers will be protected – which I applaud – these guidelines also give alarming mixed-signals and expanded discretion to a growing number of immigration enforcement officers.

Let me be clear, I have publicly commended the President after his decision to reinstate the Mexico City Rule and I applauded President Trump’s intention to dismantle the Johnson Amendment. I celebrated when just two hours after a meeting we had with the administration in December, the President issued a statement promising to “work something out” with respect to Dreamers. I have been honored to work with this administration when called upon and I will continue do so as asked.

But, I have also been expressly clear, both privately with the administration as well publicly in recent interviews, that I cannot and will not condone or defend any immigration policy that tears families apart.

In keeping with that pledge, last week I issued a statement urging President Trump to more clearly define and confine his immigration enforcement policies to only target violent criminals—such as drug dealers, murderers and gang members—who pose a clear and immediate threat to public safety. To deport the undocumented parents of U.S. children represents an affront to the sanctity of life and our shared American values.

The case of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos is certainly complicated, and to claim otherwise is contrary to the facts. Nearly a decade ago, during a workplace raid, Garcia de Rayos was convicted of criminal impersonation, a class 6 felony. In other words, she used a stolen Social Security number to gain employment. She had also been using a stolen Resident Alien Card number. Garcia de Rayos pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years probation and community service.

While common among undocumented immigrants, it’s important for the Hispanic community to acknowledge that these are not victimless crimes. Identity theft can impact the victim’s tax history and credit scores for years. It also has an aggregate effect on all of us in the form of higher credit card fees, interest rates and even the distribution of tax dollars. We are a country of laws and when immigrants break laws it put the immigrant and our broader community at risk.

But hers was not a repeat violation and demonstrated no malicious intent whatsoever. While there should be consequences for her crime—for which she did receive two years probation and community service—she was simply working to provide for her family.

Furthermore, the family she was providing for includes two children, both of which are U.S. citizens. This is the crux of the issue! You can argue, as some have, that children of undocumented immigrants should not be given birthright citizenship, but that is not the way the Fourteenth Amendment, nor the prevailing laws of the land are interpreted or applied. This interpretation of the law has been supported by countless court decisions.

So where then, does this leave us?

A strict interpretation of the administration’s executive order would absolutely tear apart loving families, throwing the futures of thousands of American children into dangerous uncertainty. Not only would this be among the most destructive policies ever enacted by the U.S. government, it would also result in an incredible burden for the state. Countless American children would be rendered parentless, leaving local officials and taxpayers responsible for their care and wellbeing. This is a lose-lose scenario with potentially horrific consequences.

But, here’s the problem: our elected officials, unless they are latinos, largely do not understand the experiences of our community.

Our community is very good at protesting injustice. We have been doing it all week, but we are not so good at real, political action. We have to educate our congressmen on the actual implications of this order, and we have to help them find better solutions. We have to call their offices and show up in Washington DC. We have to walk through the halls of the U.S. Capitol. We cannot expect them to ignore the law, but we can help them improve it.

Protesting without concrete action only causes more noise, and more controversy. Each side will dig in their heels, and – in the end – it can hurt us more than help us. We must meet our protesting with equal political action. One – without the other – is insufficient.

As America’s fastest growing minority community we need to learn to work the system in our favor, and to persuade legislators one-by-one to be on our side. For every 10 of us raising a sign on a street corner there ought to be 100 of us walking up and down the corridors of power meeting with those who might actually take action in our favor if they understood the issues and knew we cared enough to show up in their offices to explain them to them.

We need to keep our children in their high schools, universities and law schools getting trained to fight for another generation (and off the streets), and we need to lead by example … dusting off our suits and ties and showing up. The fight of black civil rights in this country involved sit-ins, protests and symbolic actions, for sure. But, it was more than that. It involved hard, smart political and legislative, action.

This week, we’ve been very loud, but I’m not sure we’ve been very effective. It’s not for a lack of power. We’re too big to be ignored.

It will be for a lack of strategy if we are left behind. Join me in calling upon our elected officials to quickly correct course before more families are hurt.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Faith and Education Coalition is an initiative of the National Hispanic Christian Leaders Conference (NHCLC). With 2,568 members representing almost 3,000 local churches in 44 states, the Faith and Education Coalition advocates for high-quality education options for all of America’s children.

http://www.univision.com/univision-news/opinion/its-going-to-take-more-than-protesting-get-a-suit-and-tie

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Las medidas migratorias: van a tomar más que una protesta, hay que ponerse un traje y una corbata

Las medidas migratorias: van a tomar más que una protesta, hay que ponerse un traje y una corbata
“Los latinos somos buenos para oponernos a la injusticia y protestar. Lo hemos estado haciendo toda la semana. Pero no somos muy buenos en la acción política”.

Esta ha sido una semana desalentadora para los inmigrantes en toda la nación, y no sin motivos.

Las comunidades de inmigrantes están buscando respuestas después de la publicación de reportes de redadas migratorias por ICE en varias ciudades dentro de Estados Unidos; de la detención de soñadores como Daniel Ramírez Medina de Seattle, y la deportación de
padres de ciudadanos estadounidenses como Guadalupe García de Rayos de Arizona. Aunque las recientes directrices del DHS indican que los dreamers serán protegidos –lo cual aplaudo–, las nuevas directrices mandan señales mixtas y aumentan la discreción
para deportar que tienen los oficiales de migración.

Permítame ser muy claro. Elogié al Presidente públicamente después de su decisión de reinstalar la “Política de la Ciudad de México” (que prohíbe usar fondos federales estadounidenses para apoyar a organizaciones civiles que promueven el aborto) y aplaudí la intención del Presidente Trump de desmantelar la Enmienda Johnson (una cláusula que estipula que entidades libres de pagar impuestos, como iglesias u organizaciones caritativas, no pueden participar, directa o indirectamente, en ninguna campaña política a favor o en contra de un candidato). Celebré cuando solo dos horas después de una reunión que tuvimos con la administración en diciembre el Presidente emitió una declaración prometiendo “hacer algo” con respecto a los dreamers (o soñadores). Me siento honrado de trabajar con esta administración cuando me lo han pedido y continuaré haciéndolo si me lo piden.

Pero he sido muy claro también, en privado con la administración y en publicó en entrevistas recientes, en que no puedo condonar o defender una política migratoria que separa familias.

Manteniendo esa promesa, la semana pasada emití una declaración urgiendo al presidente Trump que defina y limite sus políticas migratorias a criminales violentos –narcotraficantes, asesinos, y miembros de pandillas– que son una amenaza clara e inmediata para la seguridad pública. Deportar a los padres indocumentados de hijos ciudadanos representa una afrenta a la santidad de la vida y a nuestros valores compartidos como estadounidenses.

El caso de Guadalupe García de Rayos es complicado, y decir otra cosa es contrario a la realidad. Casi una década atrás, en una redada migratoria en su lugar de trabajo, García de Rayos fue declarada culpable de suplantación de identidad, un delito grave de clase 6 criminal. En otras palabras, ella usó un número de seguro social robado para poder emplearse. También estaba usando un número de residencia robado. García de Rayos se declaró culpable y fue condenada a dos años de libertad condicional y servicio comunitario.

Aunque comunes entre inmigrantes indocumentados, es importante que la comunidad hispana reconozca que estos no son crimines sin víctimas. El robo de identidad impacta el historial de impuestos de la víctima y afecta su crédito por años. También tiene un efecto agregado en todos nosotros, en la forma de tasas más altas de tarjetas de crédito e incluso en la distribución de los dólares de los impuestos. Estados Unidos es un país de leyes, y cuando los inmigrantes violan las leyes se ponen en riesgo a sí mismos y a la comunidad en general.

Pero lo de Guadalupe no se trató de violaciones repetidas de la ley y ella no demostró ninguna intención maligna. Debía de haber consecuencias para su crimen –por el cual recibió dos años de libertad condicional y servicio comunitario– pero García de Rayos simplemente estaba trabajando para proveer a su familia.

Además, la familia que estaba sosteniendo incluye dos hijos que son ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos. ¡Y este es el centro de esta situación! Puedes argumentar, como algunos lo han hecho, que los hijos de inmigrantes indocumentados no deberían de recibir ciudadanía al nacer en este país, pero esta no es la manera en que la Enmienda 14 ni las leyes del país son interpretadas ni aplicadas. La actual interpretación de la ley ha sido apoyada por una innumerable cantidad de decisiones judiciales.

Entonces, ¿dónde quedamos?

Una interpretación estricta de la orden ejecutiva de la administración separaría familias amorosas, llevando el futuro de miles de niños estadounidenses a una incertidumbre peligrosa. No solo sería una de las políticas más dañinas jamás promulgadas por el gobierno de Estados Unidos, también resultaría en una carga increíble para el estado. Un sinnúmero de niños quedarían sin padres, dejando a los funcionarios locales y a los ciudadanos que pagamos impuestos responsables por su cuidado. Este es un escenario en donde todos pierden y que tiene consecuencias potenciales horribles.

Y aquí está el problema: nuestros funcionarios, a menos de que sean latinos, no entienden las experiencias de nuestra comunidad.

Los latinos somos buenos para oponernos a la injusticia y protestar. Lo hemos estado haciendo toda la semana. Pero no somos muy buenos en la acción política. Tenemos que educar a nuestros congresistas sobre las implicaciones de esta orden, y tenemos que ayudarles a encontrar mejores soluciones. Tenemos que llamar a sus oficinas e ir a Washington D.C. Tenemos que caminar por los pasillos del Capitolio. No podemos esperar que ignoren la ley, pero podemos ayudarles a que la mejoren.

Protestar sin acción concreta solo causa más ruido y controversia. Cada lado se indigna, y al final nos puede lastimar más que ayudar. Tenemos que acompañar nuestras protestas con una medida igual de acción política. Lo uno –sin lo otro– es insuficiente.

Como la comunidad con el crecimiento demográfico más rápido de Estados Unidos, los hispanos necesitamos aprender cómo usar el sistema a nuestro favor y como persuadir a los legisladores, uno por uno, a que se pongan de nuestro lado. Por cada diez de nosotros que levanta pancartas en la esquina, debería de haber cien de nosotros caminando por los corredores de poder, reuniéndose con quienes podrían tomar medidas a nuestro favor si tan solo entendieran nuestros asuntos, y si supieran que nos preocupan tanto que nos tomamos el tiempo para ir a sus oficinas a explicarles lo que es importante para nosotros.

Necesitamos mantener a nuestros hijos en escuelas secundarias, universidades y escuelas de leyes (y sacarlos de las calles), para que sean entrenados para pelear por la siguiente generación. Y necesitamos liderar con el ejemplo… quitémosle el polvo a nuestros trajes y corbatas y digamos presentes. La pelea por los derechos civiles de los negros involucró huelgas, protestas y acciones simbólicas. Pero fue más que eso. También involucro acción audaz, política y legislativa.

Esta semana, hemos sido muy ruidosos, pero no estoy seguro de que hayamos sido muy efectivos. No es por falta de poder. Somos demasiado grandes para ser ignorados.

Será por falta de estrategia si nos quedamos atrás.

Únete a mi para pedir que nuestros funcionarios públicos actúen rápidamente y corrijan el curso antes de que más familias sean lastimadas.

Rev. Samuel Rodríguez es Presidente de la Conferencia Nacional de Liderazgo Cristiano Hispano. Ha sido nombrado por CNN y FOX News como “el líder del movimiento Hispano Evangélico,” y la revista TIME lo nominó entre los 100 líderes más influyentes en Estados Unidos.

Nota: La presente pieza fue seleccionada para publicación en nuestra sección de opinión como una contribución al debate público. La(s) visión(es) expresadas allí pertenecen exclusivamente a su(s) autor(es) y/o a la(s) organización(es) que representan. Este contenido no representa la visión de Univision Noticias o la de su línea editorial.

http://www.univision.com/noticias/opinion/las-medidas-migratorias-van-a-tomar-mas-que-una-protesta-hay-que-ponerse-un-traje-y-una-corbata

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Why religious freedom is the number one human rights issue of our time

The sad reality is, people of all faiths including Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and other religious minorities, are experiencing increased persecution.

Fr. Thomas Loya (R) speaks at a rally in support of religious freedom after the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby, contraception coverage requirement case on June 30, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images

It’s startling but true: religious persecution is on the rise around the world, and it constitutes the number one human rights issue of our time.

In case you think I’m overstating the issue, consider the facts.

According to the most recent Pew report on religious persecution and restrictions, roughly three-quarters of the world’s population lives in a country with high or very high restrictions or hostilities on religion.
Just as disturbing, the report concludes that Christians were harassed in 108 countries in 2014, up from 102 in 2013, and Muslims in 100, compared to 99 in 2013. And although they make up just 0.2% of the world’s population, Jews were harassed in 81 countries, up from 71 in 2012.

And if you think this phenomenon is limited to the developing world, you’d be wrong. Forty percent of Jewish leaders in Western Europe cite anti-Semitism as the most dangerous threat facing their community – up from only 10% in 2008.

As a pastor, I am especially troubled by the rising tide of hate against Christians. As reported by the World Watch Monitor, Christians are being killed for their faith in more countries than ever before. And while genocide against Christians in Syria and Iraq made headlines last year, the fastest growing region for Christian intolerance and persecution is not the Middle East. Instead, the rise of religious nationalism in Asia and Islamic radicalization in Sub-Saharan Africa account for the two fastest year-over-year increases in Christian persecutions.

The sad reality is, people of all faiths including Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and other religious minorities, are experiencing increased persecution. Regardless of whether you are a person of faith, an agnostic or an atheist, these facts should cause us all to shudder. It pains me just writing this.

But I am also reminded of how fortunate I am to be protected by the religious freedoms we enjoy in America, and how critically important it is that we continue to defend this most sacred human right. After all, the very ideas of freedom of speech and religious expression—two rights forever linked together—are revolutionary concepts that debuted on the world stage with the U.S. Constitution.

When it comes to religious freedom, how America goes, so too goes the world. We have, for centuries now, successfully assimilated diverse people groups with wide-ranging belief systems, all while respecting each person’s freedom to believe as he or she chooses.

Does America have a perfect record? Of course not, but by contrast, it is clearly a legacy we should be proud of. In fact, it was largely a result of America’s leadership in the post WWII era that led the UN to ultimately enshrine the freedom of religion and belief in Article 18 of the United Nations (UN) Declaration of Human Rights.

Unfortunately, mirroring worldwide trends, America too has experienced a rise in religious intolerance. A report from the Public Religion Research Institute and Brookings indicates that nearly half of Americans feel discrimination against Christians is as big of a problem as discrimination against other groups, including Hispanics, Blacks and other minorities. And while comprising a much smaller percentage of the population, Muslims and Jews have also experienced a similar spike in intolerance.

While this discrimination does not usually result in torture or death, it does lead to increased stereotyping and marginalization. Whether it’s on television shows, in the news media or inside public classrooms, people of faith are expected to keep their convictions out of the public sphere. If not, they are often ridiculed, isolated and ostracized.

You see, we must not allow religious intolerance and persecution of any kind—against any faith—to go unchecked. Complacency or complicity only leads to increasingly dangerous and violent ends, further entrenching us in our prejudices and divisions. America has long been a beacon of hope to the rest of the world, and we must do everything in our power to uphold this most basic and precious of human rights.

For the sake of believers everywhere, that battle must begin right here at home.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization. It serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals assembled in over 40,000 U.S. member churches and another 500,000 congregations spread throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora. He has been named by CNN and Fox News as “the leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement” and TIME Magazine nominated him among the 100 most influential leaders in America.

Faith and Education Coalition is an initiative of the National Hispanic Christian Leaders Conference (NHCLC). With 2,568 members representing almost 3,000 local churches in 44 states, the Faith and Education Coalition advocates for high-quality education options for all of America’s children.

Original post can be read here: http://www.univision.com/univision-news/opinion/why-religious-freedom-is-the-number-one-human-rights-issue-of-our-time

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