FACT SHEET: The President’s Priorities in the Latino Community
President Obama took on big challenges Washington had ignored for decades. He brought our economy back from the brink by rebuilding America from the middle out; increased investments in education from cradle to career; made health care and a college education more affordable; and helped Latinos realize their dream of home ownership. The Obama Administration’s record of supporting and expanding opportunity for Hispanics includes:
Ensuring All Young People have the Opportunity to Reach Their Full Potential
- Our nation’s high school graduation rate is the highest in history—at 81 percent. Hispanic students have made significant gains in graduation rates. Over the last decade, the Latino dropout rate was cut in half, and from 2011 to 2013 the graduation rate of Latinos increased 4 percentage points to 75%; Hispanic girls increased their graduation rate by more than 14 percentage points between 2003 and 2013.
- The Administration invested more than $12 billion in research grants for Hispanic-serving colleges, scholarships, training programs, and other resources that will help Hispanic students enroll in college.
- The Department of Education has also simplified the FAFSA for families seeking financial aid and provided tools like the College Scorecard to help students and families make informed decisions when choosing a college.
- States receiving Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants cover more than 2.6 million Hispanic children from birth to age 5 -- or 52 percent of Hispanic children under age 5 in the U.S.
- The President increased funding for Head Start programs by $1.025 billion, restoring the cuts from sequestration to provide quality early learning for more children across the country. 38% of Head Start recipients are Latino.
Expanding Access to Affordable, Quality Health Care
- As the major coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have taken effect, 4 million more Hispanic adults have gained access to quality, affordable health care, reducing the uninsured rate for this group by 11.5 percentage points
- Under the ACA, 8.8 million Hispanics with private insurance now have access to expanded preventive services, including immunizations and certain cancer screenings with no cost-sharing.
- ACA invested $11 billion in Community Health Centers (CHCs) increasing access to health care for Hispanics since 34% of CHC patients are Hispanic.
Expanding Job Opportunities and Pathways to the Middle Class
- Job growth remains strong, and today we have had 67 straight months of private-sector job creation and added 13 million new jobs.
- While there is more work to be done to continue our economic progress, the Latino unemployment rate has dropped from its peak of 13.1% in August 2009 to 6.4% in September 2015.
- Since the President called for a minimum wage increase during his State of the Union in 2013, 17 states and the District of Columbia have increased their minimum wage – including four states where voters approved minimum wage increases on Election Day in 2014. The President and the Department of Labor (DOL) support raising the federal minimum wage to $12/hour that would benefit 35 million workers, 24% of whom are Hispanic.
Supporting the Growth and Development of America’s Businesses
- The number of Hispanic –owned businesses increased 47% between the years of 2007-2012 (from 2.3 million to 3.3 million). In fiscal year 2014, the MBDA facilitated $2.8 billion in contracts and financing for Hispanic-owned firms. Those transactions supported the creation and retention of approximately 13,000 jobs.
- SBA has increased overall lending, including to Hispanic entrepreneurs, and increased access to small dollar loans which are effective at expanding access to capital for Hispanic entrepreneurs.
Making the Dream of Homeownership Within Reach
- Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reduced the annual premiums for new borrowers by half of a percentage point, making home ownership more affordable for responsible Latino families.
- It is also helping save an average of $900 annually for more than 2 million borrowers over the next three years. More than 50 percent of Hispanic first time homebuyers use an FHA insured loan.
Taking Action to Fix Our Broken Immigration System
- President Obama remains deeply committed to the passage of commonsense immigration reform. Last November, he took steps within his authority to fix as much of our broken immigration system as he could through executive action. While the new deferred action policies announced in November 2014 have been temporarily put on hold pending litigation, the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy remains in place and has positively impacted over 680,000 young Dreamers since USCIS began accepting DACA requests in 2012.
- The President’s immigration accountability executive actions prioritize the deportation of convicted criminals, recent border crossers, and individuals who pose a national security threat. They also include steps toward modernizing our legal immigration system to support high-skilled workers, entrepreneurs, students, and families.
- President Obama established the White House Task Force on New Americans to support the integration of immigrants and refugees into our communities, including linguistic, civic, and economic integration.
- The President launched the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness Campaign, which aims to promote the rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of citizenship among the 8.8 million lawful permanent residents potentially eligible to become U.S. citizens.
Addressing Climate Change and Protecting Public Health
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, finalized an historic plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants—the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. Clean air is critical to the Latino community, since approximately 1 in 4 workers working in outdoor jobs are Latino and Latino children are 40% more likely to die from asthma, as compared to non-Hispanic whites.
- The EPA recently released its worker protection standard to protect the nation’s two million farm workers and their families from pesticide exposure. Each year, thousands of potentially preventable pesticide exposure incidents are reported that lead to sick days, lost wages, and medical bills.
Strengthening our Relationship with Latin America
- President Obama took action to chart a new course in U.S. relations with Cuba that will engage and empower the Cuban people. The Administration is taking steps to increase travel and people-to-people contact, support civil society in Cuba, and enhance the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people.
- The Administration has also played an active role in supporting the Northern Triangle’s Alliance for Prosperity Plan – an initiative that aims to address economic, political and institutional challenges in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. This effort is closely coordinated with President Obama’s $1 billion request from Congress for the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America.
To read more about the President’s policies and the Latino community, visit WhiteHouse.gov/Hispanic