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ICYMI: FWD.us Sponsors Georgia State of Latinos Conference and Facilitates Bipartisan Conversation

Posted on 02/12/2019

ATLANTA, GA – FWD.us was proud to serve as a Gold Sponsor for the State of Latinos Conference hosted by the Latin American Association of Georgia on Monday. The annual conference brought together business leaders, researchers, practitioners, elected officials, thought leaders and other stakeholders from across Georgia to share ideas and experiences around the topic of civic engagement for Latinos.

FWD.us helped to ensure a bipartisan event and is particularly proud to have helped facilitate the participation of representatives from the Georgia House Republican Caucus. We thank Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, House Majority Whip Trey Kelley, Senators Brandon Beach, P.K. Martin IV, and Chuck Payne, and Representative Timothy Barr for their participation.

House Majority Whip Trey Kelley and Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller addressed conference attendees as part of an afternoon reception. President Pro Tempore Butch Miller spoke to the diversity of his Gainesville district, stressed the importance of personal relationships in effectively changing the legislative process and thanked FWD.us and Latin American Association leaders for working to create a strong network.

FWD.us is working with legislators in Georgia, both Republicans and Democrats, to ensure fair treatment of Latinos across the state, and to help policy makers understand how Latinos have helped make Georgia the number one state in the country to do business for five straight years.

“FWD.us understands that the issues facing Latinos are too diverse, too important and too great to encompass just one side of the political spectrum or to be addressed by a single political party,” said FWD.us Georgia State Director Samuel Aguilar. “To that end, we were pleased that representatives from the General Assembly’s Republican Caucus agreed to participate in the conference.”

Aníbal Torres, executive director of the Latin American Association, added:“As the culmination of a full day’s agenda, this evening’s legislative reception goes a long way to increase the civic engagement of Latino leaders. We’re proud to work with FWD.us on shifting the cultural dialogue around immigration by working with our state leaders.”

In January, FWD.us announced an expanded focus to include support for smart immigration policy changes in Georgia that would make Georgia’s streets safer, encourage entrepreneurship, and contribute to sustained economic growth across the state. Read more about that commitment HERE.

FWD.us Joins Diverse Coalition Calling for Bipartisan Solution to Protect Dreamers

Posted on 02/04/2019

Today, FWD.us joined a diverse coalition by signing onto a letter expressing support for a bipartisan solution that pairs a permanent solution for Dreamers with border security funding, and calls for elected leaders to work urgently to avoid another partial government shutdown.

The letter is below. FWD.us President Todd Schulte also issued the following statement:

“We are proud to join a diverse, bipartisan coalition calling for a way forward to permanently protect Dreamers while increasing border security. As Congress convenes to pass a long term deal to keep the government funded, FWD.us strongly believes that any agreement funding immigration enforcement, and specifically border security, should also include permanent protections for Dreamers and TPS holders, whose lives have been thrown into chaos due to the actions of the Trump Administration.

“There are serious legislators on the conference committee with a history of working across the aisle, and we urge them to produce a narrow bill without delay that doesn’t include poison pill amendments that cut legal immigration, radically change the asylum system, or ramp up interior immigration enforcement. We also recognize the political realities of this deal are challenging, but as we have been saying for more than a year, a narrow compromise is the only solution that can earn bipartisan support and Senate Republicans must bring forward actual legislation. This bipartisan solution is supported by a huge majority of Americans and would be a huge win for the country. It is time to finally get this done.”

Expanding Access to Driver’s Licenses: Good for New York’s Bottom Line & Economy

Posted on 01/30/2019

ALBANY, NY – By permitting undocumented residents to apply for a standard driver’s license, New York State would realize more than $57 million in annual revenue and an additional one-time windfall of $26 million, according to testimony provided by the Green Light NY coalition to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee on Transportation today in Albany.

“New York thrives when it supports policies that build a vibrant, inclusive, welcoming environment for immigrants of all backgrounds.,” said Eddie A. Taveras, New York State Immigration Manager for FWD.us. “There are some 752,000 immigrant New Yorkers age 16 and over who are currently ineligible to become licensed drivers. By issuing licenses to undocumented New York residents, we would not only increase financial stability for families, but also improve public safety for immigrants and citizens alike. The time to adopt the provisions of the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act is now.”

Twelve other states, in addition to Washington DC and Puerto Rico, currently permit undocumented residents to obtain driver’s licenses, with additional states poised to adopt similar policies.

Based on a 2017 study by the Fiscal Policy Institute, an estimated 265,000 new drivers would bring in a total of $57 million in annual revenue with a one-time revenue windfall of $26 million. New York State would receive $24 million in one-time revenue from license plate and title fees and $28 million in annual revenue from car registration fees combined with gas and sales taxes. The FPI also projects the measure will generate another $8.6 million in annual revenues and $2.2 million in one-time revenue for the MTA from surcharges on car registration, gas tax, and sales tax, and driver’s licenses within the greater metropolitan area. These revenue projections would completely offset the costs of implementing the bill.

More licenses means greater safety for all New York residents on the road because drivers can pass a variety of written knowledge and road tests, become licensed and purchase insurance. For example, since the state of New Mexico passed legislation in 2003 that granted licenses to undocumented residents, the state has experienced significant drops in both its traffic fatality rate and the rate of uninsured vehicles traveling on its roads. Furthermore, expanding access to driver’s licenses will allow law enforcement officers to concentrate on true public safety priorities, instead of wasting time and resources bringing unlicensed drivers to stations for booking.

ICYMI: Rep. Soto Introduces Legislation to Help Military Families from Deportation, Alejandra Juarez Private Bill

Posted on 01/24/2019

We wanted to make sure you saw this press release from Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), who yesterday introduced the Protect Patriot Spouses Act as well as a Private Bill for the Relief of Alejandra Juarez. During a press conference yesterday, FWD.us Grassroots Communication Manager Katie Aragón joined members of Congress and Alejandra’s daughter, Pamela, to advocate for these important pieces of legislation.

Rep. Soto Introduces Legislation to Help Military Families from Deportation, Alejandra Juarez Private Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Darren Soto introduced the Protect Patriot Spouses Act (H.R. 557) in support of the Juarez family and military spouses facing deportation by allowing for adjustment to immigration status, as well as a Private Bill for the Relief of Alejandra Juarez (H.R. 581), which once passed it would allow Mrs. Juarez to return to the United States.

In August 2018, Alejandra Juarez, a Polk County resident of over 20 years, was deported from the United States back to her home country of Mexico. Alejandra’s husband, Sgt. Temo Juarez, is an Iraq combat veteran who served in the Marines and the Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard, and together they raised their two U.S. born daughters Pamela, 17, and Estela, 8 in Davenport, Florida. In a press conference at the U.S. Capitol today, their oldest daughter, Pamela Juarez, joined Members of Congress to share how President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy separated her family.

Stated Rep. Darren Soto: “Alejandra’s departure from the United States was heartbreaking. I joined the Juarez family at the airport the day of the deportation and witnessed how devastating Trump’s immigration policies can be, literally tearing families apart. Since that day, I made a promise to the Juarez family to never give up fighting to reunite them. Just like Temo Juarez defended our country abroad and never gave up when we needed him most. Now, he needs us. That’s why I’m proud to re-file this legislation to help, not only the Juarez family, but the over 11,800 military families who are at-risk of deportation. This continues to be the perfect opportunity for both political parties to come together and act to make sure we’re standing by our military families. Now in the majority, we are optimistic this legislation will move forward, giving Alejandra hope to soon reunite with her family in her home, the United States.”

Stated Rep. Ruben Gallego, (AZ-07): “As a Marine, I know that you cannot give your all to serve our country without a support system back home. Military families sacrifice so much in order to support their loved ones as they serve our nation in uniform, and to help them readjust to civilian life once they return home. It’s our duty as a nation to support them in turn. I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation to support our service members, who only want their families to remain together.”

Stated Katie Aragón, FWD.us Grassroots Communications Manager: “FWD.us applauds Congressman Soto’s tireless efforts to protect people like Alejandra Juarez, the wife of a military veteran and mother of two U.S. citizen children who was deported last year. We support his bill, the Protect Patriot Spouses Act, which would ensure that future military spouses aren’t subjected to her same fate by providing them with an opportunity to adjust their immigration status, and separate legislation that would enable Mrs. Juarez to apply for permanent resident status. For decades, lawmakers in Washington have been unable or unwilling to pass legislation to fix our broken immigration system. As a result, millions of people like Alejandra who are living and working as our neighbors, raising their children in our communities, and filling the congregations of our churches have no opportunity to get in line and earn a chance at citizenship. This bill is a good start and we encourage members on both sides of the aisle to work together to finally pass comprehensive reform legislation so that people like Alejandra are treated as the Americans they truly are.”

Stated Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chair of VoteVets: “When we talk about military readiness, and ability to perform duties effectively, that includes doing all we can to let our troops know that when they’re deployed, their families are safe, at home. If one of our troops is worried about their loved one being deported, then they’re not 100 percent focused on the job, at hand. This hurts not just our troops, but our security. But, this isn’t just a matter of military readiness, it’s about whether we honor our troops and veterans, and the sacrifices they have made for America. It is gratuitously cruel to split up families, at all, but especially so when they are military families. We fully support Rep. Soto’s bill, to give our troops peace of mind, and to do what’s right.”

The full press conference livestream is available here.