State of the Union address gives glimmer of hope will Washington Act?

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Washington, DC¬–In the midst of the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression, President Obama sought to reassure the country tonight in his State of the Union address that a renewed emphasis on job creation would help rebuild our nation’s struggling economy. NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, welcomes the glimmer of hope in the President’s speech, but urges Congress and the administration to follow through with bold leadership and targeted action to address the needs of the nation’s hardest-hit communities.

“The Latino community is living the devastating effects of the recession. We are experiencing acute and escalating rates of unemployment, foreclosures, and lack of access to health care. This is an alarming trend that must be swiftly addressed. Washington’s inaction is our community’s biggest obstacle,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía.

Congress must help America create jobs in the hardest-hit communities, implement programs that prevent those who have lost their jobs from also losing their homes, and act on real health care reform. Americans can no longer afford broad and diffuse initiatives that fail to help those in crisis meaningfully and directly. The President spoke to these issues, and progress can only be achieved through concrete and targeted investments.

“We must do everything we can to get our economy back on track, and doing so includes passing comprehensive immigration reform that levels the playing field for all workers and restores dignity and the rule of law to our system. The President acknowledged that we must continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system. Reform will get immigrants legalized, on-the-books, and regulated by the same labor laws as everyone else and will help our economy. It will also help us put a stop to the hateful rhetoric that tears at the fabric of our nation,” Murguía said.

“Tonight’s address was hopeful, yet we have had our hopes raised before. The outcomes need to be real, and America will hold accountable those who continue engaging in obstruction or avoidance,” said Murguía. “Latinos, like other Americans, have been doing their part to get this country back on the path to prosperity. It’s due time for Congress and the administration to do their part to build a stronger America.”