Latino voices critical in budget talks

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the largest and oldest membership-based Hispanic organization in the country, held a press conference Thursday in Chicago regarding the proposed federal budget cuts.LULAC urges the Latino community to alert Congress that budget cuts are necessary but sacrifices cannot be made on the backs of hardworking middle-class families. As the largest and fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, now is the time for all Latinos to speak up for the needs of our families, our neighborhoods, and our future. "We stand with President Obama in ensuring that key investments in education, innovation, infrastructure development and government reform are protected," sid Margaret Moran, LULAC national president, "but Congress needs to compromise in order to eliminate wasteful spending, close corporate loopholes, and save essential federal programs. We are the largest group among the uninsured, with 38.9% going without coverage in 2010, and we comprise 14% of all Pell Grant recipients. Now is not the time to roll back funding that is crucial to the advancement of our students, our families or our most vulnerable community members." "If budget negotiations aren't reached by midnight on April 8th, the government will shut down and many critical services would likely cease," explained Brent Wilkes, LULAC national executive director. "Congress can and must come to a compromise for the sake of the Latino community and other minority populations. The effects of the proposed budgets cuts are far-reaching and endanger crucial programs, such as Head Start, WIC, resources for students striving towards attaining higher education, and Hispanic health services." "We cannot afford to sacrifice the needs of women and children at a time when they need us to speak up for them the most," added Regla Gonzalez, LULAC national vice president for women. "The Hispanic community must realize that their voices are crucial in this fight to save programs and services that empower our community. This is the only beginning and we must start pushing back now."

********** Published: April 14, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 52