Expanding The Power of U.S. Latinos

2014 News & Articles

  • 11/20/2014 10:56 AM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    Alivios migratorios desatarán batalla entre Obama y los republicanos

    Republicanos amenazan con frenar la confirmación de
    nombramientos y retener fondos para las medidas.

    November 20, 2014
    By: María Peña

    Washington — A falta de una reforma migratoria, el presidente Barack Obama anunciará esta tarde una serie de órdenes ejecutivas para proteger a millones de indocumentados, consciente de que desatará una feroz batalla política con los republicanos en el Congreso.

    Presionado por una comunidad inmigrante que le exige cumplir una vieja promesa de 2008, Obama llega a este momento coyuntural de su presidencia porque la Cámara de Representantes se negó a votar la reforma migratoria que aprobó el Senado en junio de 2013.

    “Tanto el presidente como los republicanos del Congreso han trazado sus límites sobre  las órdenes ejecutivas, y los republicanos creen que con este anuncio el mandatario se está pasando de la raya.  Hay una posibilidad muy real de que esta pugna domine todo el proceso legislativo el próximo año”,  advirtió Marc Rosenblum, subdirector de programas de Inmigración del Instituto de Política Migratoria (MPI).

    Los republicanos, opuestos a una “amnistía”, alzaron las espadas desde antes de recuperar el control del Senado en los comicios pasados.

    Antes del receso de agosto se negaron a votar los $3,700 millones que Obama pidió para responder a la crisis humanitaria en la frontera sur, pero aprobaron entablar una demanda en su contra por presunto abuso de poder.

    Algunos, como el legislador republicano por Iowa, Steve King, han sugerido iniciar un “juicio político” contra Obama.

    El senador republicano de Texas, Ted Cruz ha dicho que si Obama pone en marcha sus medidas unilaterales, los republicanos del Senado deberán frenar la confirmación de nombramientos y retener fondos para las medidas.

    En el pasado, esfuerzos para un “juicio político” o un cierre parcial del gobierno solo ha perjudicado al partido de oposición.

    Ante la tormenta política que se avecina, Héctor Barreto, presidente de la Coalición Latina y exdirector de la Administración para la Pequeña Empresa (SBA) durante la presidencia de George W. Bush, subrayó que las órdenes ejecutivas “no corregirán nuestro maltrecho sistema de inmigración.

    “Eso solo puede suceder a través de una legislación y yo insto a los republicanos y demócratas a que pongan de lado sus diferencias y trabajen juntos para empezar este proceso ya”, dijo.

    Con el rótulo de “deportador en jefe” a cuestas, Obama sabe que está en juego su legado con los hispanos, y por eso desafía las amenazas republicanas.

     

    Cited: La Opinion

  • 11/18/2014 10:57 AM | TLC Team (Administrator)
    IMMIGRATION REFORM: A CONSERVATIVE OPPORTUNITY WITH HISPANICS
     
    November 18, 2014
    By: Daniel Garza and Hector Barreto
    America’s immigrant voters are increasingly becoming a larger part of our nation’s electorate. Although immigrant citizens have at times been portrayed as adhering to liberal values, we know that like all Hispanics, immigrant citizens are not monolithic and possess values across the political spectrum. Conservatives should not overlook these newly minted voters and understand the common ground they share on many important issues.

    Of the immigrant citizens in the U.S. who are eligible to vote, 50 percent do not identify with either major political party. And immigrants who do identify with a party often identify less strongly with their party of choice than American-born voters.

    Religious values among immigrants also provide a common ground on which to connect with this group. In the last several years, the number of Hispanic immigrants who identify as Evangelical or born-again Christians has surged. Young immigrants are also increasingly religious with forty-one percent of immigrants age 18 to 29 ranking religion as “very important” to their lives, compared to only 32 percent of native-born Americans.

    The midterm election proved Republicans who properly engaged and included the Latino community directly into their messaging gained support among Latino voters, and we believe candidates who do the same with new immigrant voters will be rewarded as well. Still, it must be said, many have turned away from the Republican Party in recent years due to the charged rhetoric and perceived hostility surrounding the issue of immigration. By enacting immigration reform, Republicans cannot only boost the economy, but also neutralize an issue that is currently alienating foreign-born Americans.

    In a time when naturalized citizens make up 8.1 percent of the eligible voting age population, and 4.2 million newly naturalized Hispanics and Asians are projected to become eligible voters by 2020, conservatives cannot take immigrant voters for granted. By focusing on their shared common ground of conservative values and the principles of economic freedom, Republicans can close gaps with this key constituency and boost their party’s supporters in future elections. Passing meaningful immigration reform is not only right for the country economically, but it makes good political sense for conservatives as well.

    The Conservative & Economic Hispanic Leaders for Immigration Reform was launched as part of PNAE’s Hispanic Engagement Campaign. It serves as a critical effort in coalescing conservative Hispanics who are calling for market-based, sensible reform with a strong, loud voice, a voice that will only get louder in 2016.

    Hector Barreto is Chairman of The Latino Coalition and the former U.S. Small Business Administrator.

    Daniel Garza is the Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative.
     
    Cited from
    : The Washington Times
  • 11/17/2014 11:00 AM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    BAD FOR BUSINESS BILLIONAIRE BILL ACKMAN
    WILL KILL AMERICAN JOBS WITH ANTI-HERBALIFE CRUSADE, FOCUS ON BOTTOM LINE.

    November 17th, 2014
    By: Allen Gutierrez

    As the economy continues to rebuild, it is now more important than ever to strengthen and empower America’s small businesses, which employ half of all private-sector employees and create two-thirds of new jobs in this country. In order to reach that goal, it is imperative that we pursue policies and initiatives that benefit American business. At the Latino Coalition, we look for partnerships with Hispanic entrepreneurs, public-sector partners, private companies and others committed to building a strong business environment that supports American enterprises.

    As a small-business owner, I understand that paying attention to the bottom line is the most important responsibility of any entrepreneur. However, I object to business practices where an insatiable desire to make money at any cost clouds judgment and leads to actions that harm legitimate American businesses. For that reason, I continue to question the behavior of investment fund manager Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management.

    A quick rundown of Ackman’s investments reveals a troubling pattern of behavior that confirms one thing: Ackman is willing to do whatever necessary to make money – even at the expense of the livelihoods and well-being of hardworking Americans. This summer, Ackman described Pershing Square’s investment strategy as making investments that are “good for America.” However, considering Ackman’s involvement in JC Penney, Burger King and Allergan – where his company is actively destroying American jobs – clearly this does not hold true.

    In my home state of California, Allergan is fighting a hostile takeover from Pershing Square and Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals. In response, Allergan has eliminated 1,500 research and development jobs in Southern California.

    This summer, many Americans were outraged to hear about Burger King’s plan to reincorporate in Canada after purchasing the Canadian coffee shop chain Tim Hortons Inc. A close review of this deal reveals that Ackman, a Burger King investor, stands to benefit from moving this iconic American company. In fact, when the news went public, Pershing Square’s stake in Burger King increased in value by $249 million.

    Equally troubling is Ackman’s previous investment in Corrections Corp. of America, the largest private prison company in the United States that also manages deportation facilities. By 2009, Ackman had become CCA’s largest investor, effectively capitalizing on the increased detention of immigrants. His profits continued to rise as more immigrants were detained. When Ackman divested his CCA shares in 2011, they were worth $200 million.

    Finally, in one of the most blatant efforts to bring down a U.S. company, Ackman has publicly declared his personal crusade against the nutrition company Herbalife of Los Angeles. (Full disclosure: Herbalife is a sponsor of the Latino Coalition.) The company, which provides products that support a healthy, active lifestyle and offers an opportunity for financial empowerment, has been accused by Ackman of being a pyramid scheme that takes advantage of thousands of Latinos. But don’t be fooled – as his history demonstrates, Ackman is no do-gooder. His claims are another tactic in his $1 billion attempt to bring Herbalife’s stock to $0, and in so doing destroy thousands of jobs and tens of thousands of more small businesses that entrepreneurs depend on.

    Direct Insult

    With Herbalife, Ackman goes beyond undermining people’s jobs and livelihoods, and attacks the integrity of an entire people. He directly insults Latinos – the people he claims he’s trying to “protect.” His July 2014 presentation on Herbalife included the following direct quotes about Latinos: “Many of these people (Latinos) are uneducated” and “They (Latinos) are unlikely to complain culturally, or because in many cases these are undocumented residents.” These comments obviously lack a real understanding of our community, and are both patronizing and offensive to Latinos and to all people.

    When his comments are coupled with his CCA investment, it is clear Ackman has no real interest in protecting the Latino community. How can Ackman pretend to have our community’s best interests at heart when his actions only serve to push better wages, healthier lifestyle choices and more employment opportunities further out of reach? What he is protecting is his own bottom line. And in the case of Herbalife, his sole intent is to bring down a strong American business with more than 35 years of serving and improving the lives of its consumers.

    In these challenging economic times, now is the time to support companies like Herbalife and the business opportunities it creates, not to destroy American enterprises for personal gain. There is much more at stake than one billionaire’s bet and it is time entrepreneurs and Latinos across the country call Ackman out on his irresp–onsible, destructive tactics.

    Allen Gutierrez is the national executive director of the Latino Coalition, one of the largest membership and advocacy organizations for Latino-owned small and midsize businesses. It is based in Washington, D.C., and Irvine. In May, the coalition and Herbalife announced an expanded partnership in which an Herbalife executive would serve on the Latino Coalition Advisory Board, which is dedicated to increasing opportunities for Latino entrepreneurs.

    Cited From
    :  Los Angeles Business Journal

  • 11/13/2014 11:01 AM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    LATINO CONSERVATIVES LAUNCH IMMIGRATION GROUP AS W.H. CLOSE TO EXECUTIVE ACTION

     November 13, 2014
    By: Suzanne Gamboa

    The president appears to have closed in on steps he wants to take on immigration through executive action, while a group of Latino conservatives announced a coalition advocating for immigration reform, but urged action through Congress.

    Reports from the New York Times and Fox News say that executive action could come from President Barack Obama as soon as next week, although the reports differ on some of the steps he’ll take.

    Both media outlets said the action would include deferral of deportations for immigrant parents of U.S. citizen and legal resident children. Another group of immigrants who have been in the U.S. 10 years or more also could be included and more young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children could be given deferrals.

    Both also reported possible changes to Secure Communities, under which fingerprints collected by local law enforcement officials are checked for immigration and citizenship status.

    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a news conference from Myanmar that Obama is close to a decision on what steps he’ll take on immigration, but had not made one yet. In response to questions on the Fox report, which was based on a draft document the network obtained, the White House had said the president had not received final recommendations from the Department of Homeland Security.

    However, Obama met recently with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to discuss the status of options that Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder have been hashing out, Earnest said. The New York Times reported details were still being finished and the president could push off the announcement until next month, but will do it by the end of the year.

    Meanwhile, Earnest challenged Republicans in Congress to move as swiftly with immigration reform legislation as they have with a vote on the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline.”There’s no reason the fact that the House is in lame duck session, that that should affect their ability or even interest in bringing to the floor bipartisan legislation that’s already passed the United States Senate to deal with immigration reform,” Earnest said. Obama is in Myanmar for the East Asia summit and then goes to Australia for a trip that wraps up Sunday.

    House Republicans have refused to take up the bipartisan Senate bill that was passed in June 2013 and failed to advance to a vote any of their own immigration reform bills drafted since then.

    Earnest said the president’s decision timeline is not timed to when Congress might act, but he said if Congress takes up the bipartisan Senate bill, he would “happily sign that bill into law in a way that would supersede any executive action that he took just weeks prior.”

    Angela Kelley, an immigration expert at the liberal Center for American Progress, said the proposals are all issues that advocates have pushed during the Obama administration. Kelley said the proposals suggest that the administration had listened to arguments advocates have made over the years on the various issues.

    “I think the big question will still be whether the deferred action is going to be big enough to satisfy people’s appetites,” Kelley said.

    Separately, a group of conservative Hispanics announced Thursday they were launching the Hispanic leaders for Immigration coalition, made up of right of center Hispanic leaders who want to see immigration reform “addressed in a conservative way by the U.S. Congress.”

    The launch of the group came with the release of a study by the conservative groups arguing that the Latino vote is in play politically for 2016 and Latino voters tend to be more conservative and is “a vote that deserves to be courted aggressively by all parties.”

    Al Cardenas, former chairman of the American Conservative Union, noted the midterm elections marked the fourth time in four years that American voters have turned the government over to a different party. That shows that voters have both parties on a “short leash” and have been growing frustrated with inaction by Congress, he said.

    Congress needs to find a permanent solution for immigration, but he said the new Congress needs to address it next year.

    “We’re going to do everything possible in our sphere of influence to see to it that this issue is fairly debated and brought to the floor for a vote,” Cardenas said.

     Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principle, said Obama’s plan to take executive action is a bad idea. But he said the Republican response should not be to only criticize or to rescind the order. He said they also have to pass some form of immigration reform.
    “If they don’t, it’s going to put us in a very tough position. A tough position that it will be difficult to win the White House. It will be very difficult for Repubicans to maintain the majority in the Senate,” he said. “I think it’s the message we are sending our fellow conservatives. It’s not enough to oppose unilateral action. We need to lead on this issue. We have to reclaim it.”

    Hector Barreto, chairman of the Latino Coalition , said the Hispanic vote lost by Democrats doesn’t necessarily automatically go to Republicans, many Hispanics are independent and instead are looking at “who’s going to fix this problem.”

     
    Cited From
    : NBC News

  • 10/09/2014 12:04 PM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    The Latino Coalition (TLC) and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce (LALCC) will be hosting the Latina Procurement and Small Business Summit on October 9th, 2014 at the City Club Los Angeles. At the summit, TLC, one of the largest membership and advocacy organizations for Latino-owned small businesses in the country, will be announcing a new partnership agreement with the LALCC, a trade group corporation seeking to organize and unify Latino business owners by advocating and providing improvement member services for small and mid-sized businesses.

    “The LALCC is looking forward to partnering with The Latino Coalition to help surround the small business community with critical information and resources needed to succeed in the entrepreneurial world today,” said Theresa Martinez, CEO, LALCC. “The Latina Procurement & Small Business Summit promises a diverse, experienced and talented group of leaders sharing valuable insight about the world of business, technology and a path to leadership. This will be a very exciting partnership.”

    The exclusive one-day summit promises to present an exciting blend of speakers and pioneering entrepreneurs who will discuss ideas and innovations for evolving businesses.

    “The Latina Procurement & Small Business Summit will fuel professional development opportunities, as well as provide small business owners with tangible benefits and the tools necessary to succeed,” said Hector Barreto, TLC Chairman and former Administrator to the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Our participants will gain better technology skills, capacity, capital and cost cutting strategies to navigate their current economic challenges.”

    The day will focus on the economic influence of women and how they have been opening doors in a competitive workforce by encouraging opportunity. This year’s summit will feature a Latina Purchasing Power presentation by Nielsen and an exciting town hall format with Ibi Fleming, Senior VP and Managing Director of Herbalife North America; Pamela Gibbs, Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion for the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission; Anna Caballero, Secretary of the California Business Consumer Services and Housing Agency; Jeanette Prenger, President of EccoSelect; and Maria Salinas, Chairwoman of ProAmerica Bank.

    “In recent years, the number of women-owned businesses in this country has been increasing at a dramatic rate.  From 1997 to 2013, the number of women-owned businesses in the United States increased by 59 percent, significantly outpacing the overall 47 percent growth in business.  These women are not only rising to the top, but they are leveraging professional gains to fulfill their potential and will continue expanding the imprint they have on the economy and our country,” added Barreto.

    Knowledgeable speakers, high-impact panels, networking opportunities and related activities will create an interactive environment between industry leaders and government officials. Panels during the conference will spotlight: Latina’s Success in Business, Digital Solutions, Procurement, Energy and Healthcare/Regulations. Sessions with top executives from domestic and global corporations will discuss technologies and strategies to help grow small business, access capital, new opportunities and existing challenges facing the Latino business community.

    Featured speakers during the Latina Procurement & Small Business Summit include national business leaders such as: David L. Cohen, Executive VP of Comcast Corp.; Matt Koch, VP of the U.S. Chamber 21st Energy Institute; and John Walls, VP of Public Affairs for CTIA The Wireless Association to name a few.

    “These women are not only rising to the top, but they are leveraging professional gains to fulfill their potential and will continue expanding the imprint they have on the economy and our country,” said Hector Barreto, Chair at The Latino Coalition.

     

    Cited From: Latinasinbusiness.us


  • 10/01/2014 12:03 PM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    October 1, 2014
    By: Austin Alonzo

    Hector Barreto Jr. wants to see more diversity on the boards of the nation’s most prominent companies.

    On Thursday morning, Barreto, former administrator of the Small Business Administration, will appear at an event at Union Station on restructuring the boardroom, co-sponsored by the National Association of Corporate Directors Heartland Chapter, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the win|win campaign.

    Barreto will sit on a panel alongside Neeli Bendapudi, dean of the University of Kansas School of Business, and Janice Kreamer, chairwoman of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, aimed at exploring the business case for adding more minorities and women to boards.

    Barreto, now chairman of Washington-based Hispanic advocacy group The Latino Coalition, said the need to bring men and women of different backgrounds onto boards reflects on a larger issue facing the Hispanic community in Kansas City — the lack of a seat at the table.

    Barreto, who is originally from Kansas City and now lives in Southern California, said the recurring problem for the Hispanic community in Kansas City is the perception that it is excluded from seats of power in politics and business. He said things like Thursday’s event help chip away at that issue, though much work is left to be done.

    Although companies need to work to promote cross-cultural understanding, Barreto said Hispanic entrepreneurs need to focus on building networks and pursuing more education.

    One force that may lead to more inclusion of Hispanics in the halls of power is their ever-increasing population and buying power. Hispanics represent more than $1 trillion in purchasing power, Barreto said, and companies are taking note of the group’s ability to help or hurt their bottom lines.

    Barreto, whose father, Hector Barreto Sr., founded the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said Hispanics make up the fastest-growing section of small business owners. He said that number only will increase in the future.

    As for those Hispanic entrepreneurs, Barreto said they should use every resource at their disposal, including business organizations like the Hispanic Chamber and the SBA, to get a leg up.

    Small business owners in general don’t know what they don’t know, and he encouraged them to join and take advantage of professional networks to increase their business acumen.

    Cited From:
    Kansas City Business Journal

  • 09/02/2014 12:06 PM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    By: Margaret Talev
    September 2, 2014

    Shalom, Jerusalem. Hola, Mexico City.

    The Middle East has long been a required stop for presidential hopefuls wanting to prove their foreign policy chops. Now, Latin America is becoming an “it” destination for Republicans with an eye on 2016.

    In shaping visits and connections with neighboring countries to the south, they’re weighing how to build political goodwill with Latinos who — at 17.1 percent of the U.S. population and growing — are increasingly key to winning future elections. They need to distinguish themselves from escalating anti-immigration rhetoric by Republicans in Congress while preserving an ability to secure nomination from their activist base.

    In the latest move, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is traveling to Mexico
    tomorrow on a state trade mission, avoiding a border stop while focusing on the economy.

    “A trip to Latin America is becoming just as much of a requirement for candidates as a trip to Israel has been,” said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California and a former Republican political consultant. Christie’s only other foreign trip as governor was to Israel in 2012.

    “For a lot of us in the business community, especially the Mexican-American business community, this is a long time coming,” said Hector Barreto, chairman of The Latino Coalition, a nonpartisan advocacy group organized by Hispanic business owners, which helped Christie arrange his Mexico itinerary.

    Jewish Model

    Barreto led the U.S. Small Business Administration under President George W. Bush and has advised President George W. Bush and past Republican nominees
    Arizona Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney. Barreto recalled how his late father, a founder of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, decades ago identified the Jewish community’s political activity as an example Hispanics should follow.

    “He used to say the Jewish community is doing something very, very important for Israel and we can play a similar role for our native countries in Latin America,” said Barreto.

    Jews comprise 2 percent of the U.S. population, making their voting bloc considerably smaller than Hispanics nationally. At the same time, Jewish voters are influential in the swing states of Florida and Ohio, and Jewish donors and activists play significant roles in both parties.

    Jewish voters traditionally back Democrats and voted twice for President
    Barack Obama. At the same time, billionaire Sheldon Adelson and other Jewish Republicans have been working to peel those votes away. For Jews from both parties, presidential candidates’ support of Israel has been a litmus test.

    Latino Voters

    Over the next generation, Latino voters are projected to surge, with eligible voters growing 40 percent by 2030, to 40 million from 23 million, according to the Pew Research Center. That greatly outpaces the growth of white, black and Asian eligible voters.

    Latinos were 8.4 percent of all voters in the 2012 presidential election, Pew found, and the president won their support over Romney, 71 percent to 27 percent. That was a bigger margin than in 2008, when Obama carried Latinos 67 percent to McCain’s 31 percent.

    Without a legislative record to demonstrate affinity with those voters, Republicans are heading south of the border to create sympathetic images and talking points.

    Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, an eye surgeon, went to Guatemala last month as part of a pro-bono medical team that performed operations to restore the sight of poor patients. Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor, has been asking Mexico to open a consulate in his home state.

    Rubio Recalibration

    Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Governor Rick Perry of Texas, both clipped by their party’s base for appearing too supportive of illegal immigrants, have re-engaged with Latin American leaders even as they’re recalibrating their stances to ease critics within their party.

    In July, Rubio met with leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to discuss the dangers of unaccompanied child immigration, while Perry deployed the National Guard to the southern border to try to blunt illegal crossings by many of them.

    Meanwhile, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who made his own border visit in July, is seeking to push his party toward a more aggressive anti-immigration stance.

    The 2016 calculations are complicated by congressional Republicans’ conclusion they are are better poised to take back control of the Senate in November’s midterm elections if they block passage of an immigration overhaul, deny Obama a political victory and paint Democrats in swing states as weak on national security.

    ‘Political Death’

    “The short-term approach on immigration that could help Republicans win back the Senate this year is almost certain political death if it’s the platform their presidential nominee takes in 2016,” Schnur said.

    Advocates for immigration reform said overtures by Christie and Paul are unlikely to translate into significant support in the next presidential election as long as the party’s leadership in Congress continues to block legislation that would create a path to citizenship or legal residency for undocumented immigrants.

    “For presidential candidates, it’s good to have some background in foreign policy,” said Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America’s Voice. “Obviously, that’s not going to do anything to help change their image with Latino, Asian and immigrant voters in the U.S. who believe this is an anti-Latino, anti-Asian, anti-immigrant party.

    ‘‘You can put perfume on it but it still stinks,’’ she said.

    Barreto said that overlooks a genuine understanding by many Republicans, especially governors, of the importance of Latin America to the U.S. economy and national security. He said Democratic and Republican governors alike are in regular contact with leaders in Mexico and visits across the border are increasingly common.

    ‘‘The perception of being in D.C. and being part of the problem is toxic to anybody who has any future aspirations,’’ he said. ‘‘I think these individuals are saying, ’I’m going to be my kind of Republican. I’m not going to depend on
    Washington to tell me what the playbook is going to be’.”

    Cited From:  Bloomberg

  • 07/23/2014 12:10 PM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    Hector Barreto
    July 23, 2014

    As a Latino who is also a patriotic American, I am painfully aware of the tendency for the United States to look at Latin America as a problem. The current border crisis is clearly exacerbating that tendency, and I can appreciate why.

    In fact, it’s difficult to ignore how many negatives – cultural, political and otherwise – are highlighted or aggravated by the fact that tens of thousands of children have suddenly come to our country without homes or parents, putting the U.S. in what seems like an unwinnable position of either absorbing a huge cost (and likely encouraging more illegal border crossings and more future cost) or abruptly deporting these vulnerable children, sending them back to what we know must be a multitude of threats and dangers.

    The situation is actively highlighting the facts that an unsecured border puts the U.S. at physical and financial risk, and that immigration reform is both desperately needed and completely stuck at partisan crossroads.

    The crisis – with its void of solutions – also serves as a vivid example of why 70 percent of Americans feel the U.S. is on the wrong track. The people are seeing a situation that cries – literally cries, with the heartbreaking tears of children – for a solution, but the only message they are hearing from their leaders in government is the irritating squawk of politics: “It’s the other guys’ fault; that’s why you should vote for my side in November.”

    I often tell lawmakers that they need to change their view of Latin America from “problem” to “opportunity.” I also remind them that immigration is not a Latino issue, it’s an American issue.

    I’d like to encourage a similar shift in mindset when it comes to the current border crisis. I think everyone can readily agree that what’s going on right now is an American challenge, requiring solutions that will impact all Americans.

    But I recognize that opportunities may be harder to see. My belief is that one single-but-significant opportunity is staring our lawmakers in the face: This is a moment ripe for leadership.

    So far, the only true leadership I’ve seen is from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas – two men who reached across the aisle this week with a realistic, tough-but-fair proposal that would quickly change immigration law to treat unaccompanied children from every Central American country they way children from Mexico and Canada are already treated.

    I find it shameful that his colleagues in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus immediately criticized Cuellar for this act of bipartisanship. Instead of criticism, I believe both Cuellar and Cornyn should be applauded. In a situation that has no great answers, they are brave enough to put forward ideas that might provide some answers.

    We won’t achieve a perfect solution to the current crisis, but we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. True leaders know that perfection can never be the goal of government.

    True leaders also have faith in the people. In the current situation, we need leaders to emerge who have confidence that Americans will accept imperfect actions and just-adequate solutions.

    Sometimes you have to amputate a limb to save a life, and people understand that concept. In fact, they admire those strong enough to make that kind of difficult choice.

    Finally, true leaders don’t rely on blame to get through a crisis. As a Republican and former Bush appointee myself, I can tell you how tired Republicans are of hearing the Obama administration blame George W. Bush for everything that is ever wrong in the world.

    But I’m also ready to say that blaming President Obama for the current border crisis isn’t getting us anywhere. I have confidence that Americans know where to place blame. They don’t really need a lot of help with that.

    Instead, they want leadership. In fact, if the president came forward with concessions and real bipartisan efforts on immigration reform, right now, I think Americans would absolve him of some of the blame for the current crisis.

    Again, alongside problems, I see opportunity. Putting ego and politics aside to work out a bipartisan solution on immigration reform could ameliorate blame; does this not sweeten the pot, Mr. President? We’re watching, waiting and hoping for you to lead.

    Hector Barreto is chairman of the Latino Coalition and former head of the U.S. Small Business Administration

    Cited From: Washington Examiner 

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