FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Efforts that have Expanded Opportunities for the Hispanic Community
Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate the important cultural contributions of our nation’s Mexican American – and Hispanic - community. Throughout his presidency, President Obama has worked to expand opportunities for all Americans, including the Hispanic community. He has 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 people across the country realize their dream of home ownership.
Expanding Job Opportunities and Pathways to the Middle Class
- Under President Obama, 14.4 million private-sector jobs have been added over 73 consecutive months, including 2.7 million jobs over the last 12 months - the longest streak of private-sector job growth on record.
- Hispanic unemployment rate has dropped from its peak of 13 percent in August 2009 to 5.6 percent in March 2016.
- Since President Obama called for a minimum wage increase during his 2013 State of the Union, 18 states and the District of Columbia have increased their minimum wage. The President and the Department of Labor support legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $12/hour by 2020. According to the Economic Policy Institute, this bill would raise wages for millions of Hispanic workers.
- Hispanic entrepreneurs started more than one million small businesses, growing the number of Hispanic-owned firms by 47 percent to more than 3.5 million companies. These businesses contributed more than $75 billion to the U.S. economy.
- Through its two main loan programs, the U.S. Small Business Administration increased its lending to Hispanic entrepreneurs by nearly 21 percent in the past year, alone. For small-dollar loans (under $350,000), the Small Business Administration increased its lending to Hispanic entrepreneurs by 27 percent.
Increasing Access to Affordable, Quality Healthcare
- Due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the uninsured rate among Hispanics adults dropped by 27 percent, corresponding to more than four million Hispanic adults gaining coverage.
- Under ACA, 8.8 million Hispanics with private insurance now have access to expanded preventive services, including immunizations and certain cancer screenings with no co-pay or deductible.
- ACA invested $11 billion in Community Health Centers, which increased access to health care by almost 35 percent to Hispanic patients who rely on these centers.
- Teen birth rates fell nearly 50 percent among Hispanic teens, dropping the national teen birth rate to an all-time low.
Ensuring Our Youth Can Reach their Full Potential
- President Obama invested an additional $4 billion in Head Start programs to provide quality early learning for more children across the country. Thirty-eight percent of Head Start recipients are Hispanic. President Obama has also expanded Early Head Start over the course of his time in office. Today, more than double the number of Hispanic infants and toddlers are in Early Head Start programs, compared to 2008.
- More than 2.6 million Hispanic children, close to half of Latinos under the age of five, have benefited from Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants.
- The Administration will release the first federal policy statement on better supporting dual language learners in high quality early childhood programs. The policy statement will highlight the evidence on the benefits of bilingualism and provide a set of state and local recommendations.
- At 82 percent, our nation's overall high school graduation rate is at an all-time high, due in part to significant gains made by Hispanic students. Over the last decade, Hispanic students’ dropout rate was cut by more than half and graduation rates have risen to 76 percent.
- The Obama Administration has invested more than $12 billion in research grants for Hispanic-serving colleges, scholarships, training programs, and other resources that will help Hispanic students enroll and succeed in college.
- College enrollment for black and Hispanic students is up by more than a million students since 2008.
- More Hispanic students are graduating college than ever before; now, 70,000 more students are completing a bachelor’s degree, annually. In the 2013- 2014 academic year, more than 200,000 Hispanic students completed their college degree.
- Millions of young Americans can afford college due to historic investments, including increasing the maximum Pell grant award by more than $1,000 and creating the American Opportunity Tax Credit that is worth up to $10,000 over four years of college; keeping interest rates low on federal student loans; and helping borrowers manage debt after college with plans like Pay as You Earn (PAYE) that caps monthly loan payments at 10 percent of income.
- The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has been revamped and simplified, making it easier for students to apply for financial aid. Now more than six million families can electronically retrieve their income information from the IRS when completing their 2014-2015 FAFSA, an improvement on speed and accuracy. Students and families on average fill out the FAFSA in 20 minutes, one third of the time it took seven years ago.
- President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. Since 2014, nearly 250 communities in all 50 states have accepted the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge and the effort has leveraged more than $600 million in private sector support, philanthropic grants, and in-kind resources.
Making the Dream of Homeownership Within Reach
- The Federal Housing Administration reduced the annual premiums for new borrowers by half of a percentage point, making homeownership more affordable for responsible Hispanic families. More than half of Hispanic first-time homebuyers use an FHA insured loan.
- In the past year, the Administration worked on behalf of Hispanic individuals and families to ensure equal access to housing opportunities, securing more than $200 million that benefitted 1,800 individuals in alleged housing discrimination against members of the community.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development launched “ConnectHome,” a program providing nearly 275,000 low-income households – and nearly 200,000 children – with at-home Internet access and opportunities to build a brighter future.
Taking Action to Fix our Broken Immigration System
- President Obama remains deeply committed to commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform. In November 2014, he took steps within his authority to fix our broken immigration system. The deferred action policies he announced would provide greater opportunities for immigrants who came to our Nation as children and parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have lived here for years. The Administration continues to defend these policies in court in order to be able to implement them.
- Since 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has allowed more than 700,000 young Dreamers to go to school and work legally. The vast majority of DACA recipients are Hispanic.
- The actions announced by the President also include steps to modernize 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. More than 50 cities and counties have joined the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign to create welcoming environments in local communities.
- 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. More than 3 million of these eligible individuals are Hispanic.
Strengthening our Relationship with Latin America
- President Obama’s trip to Cuba marked a historic milestone in the normalization process between the United States and Cuba. The Administration has worked with the Cubans to ease travel restrictions, facilitate commerce, enhance people to people engagement, expand business and commercial ties, and continue the call and support for human rights and civil society in Cuba.
- The President has prioritized support to Central America in an effort to see an economically integrated Central America that is fully democratic, provides economic opportunities to its people, enjoys more accountable, transparent, and effective public institutions, and ensures a safe environment for its citizens.