MESSAGE FROM THE STEERING COMMITTEE
During the months of April, March and June Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus (DAHC) has continued working on its mission to focus on issues concerning the U.S. Hispanic community, and help engaging U.S. Hispanic voters living abroad and ensure that their needs are met within the Democrats Abroad community.
In this respect, we keep working on our legislative priorities: (i) Immigration Reform, (ii) Access to healthcare, (iii) Voting access/voters' right: (iv) Tax Reform for Americans abroad; and (v) Statehood for Puerto Rico.
We are very happy to welcome the new two Bills presented in April to the House: (i) the Dream and Promise Act and the (ii) the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. We remain dedicated to the passing of these bills as they will greatly benefit immigrant communities. We recognize that many families in the Hispanic community are mix-status, which is why we welcome initiatives that support equality for immigrants from all walks of life.
In particular, we believe in providing a path to citizenship to the Childhood Arrivals that call the U.S. their home. As President Biden said, “Dreamers are American.”
Also, within the DACH we continue committed with our entirely support for the Statehood for Puerto Rico. Democrats Abroad delegation co-sponsored at the DNC in 2017 a resolution that, for the first time, declared the Democratic Party’s support for statehood for Puerto Rico. DAHC will be sponsoring a webinar on Statehood for Puerto Rico, so save the date and join us.
We are thrilled that during this period, we have continued to work in several exciting initiatives. Voting access has been discussed as we have teamed up with DA Spain to speak about bilingual outreach, during the EMEA May Meeting: Focus on Chapters.
DAHC remains dedicated to the wide variety of issues that we as Hispanics and Latinos are personally impacted by. We hope you will be inspired by the diligent work that our members have put into each cause. There is always room in our comunidad for growth and discovery- we welcome everyone, allies alike, to take part with us.
Immigration reform event!
Hosted by: Global Hispanic Caucus, in partnership with the AAPI, LGBTQ and Youth Caucuses, DA Canada, DA Spain and DA Germany
The Immigration Reform package presented by President Biden can create a better and more stable future for millions of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, but passing it will require efforts from all of us.
In April, two key immigration bills are going through the House: (i) the Dream and Promise Act and the (ii) Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
DAHC joined with the Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus (AAPI), LGBTQ Caucus, DA Canada, DA Spain and DA Germany to host this immigration reform event, where these two bills and topics related to them, such as the Ten-Year Ban, were discussed, and where were honored by the participation of the following guest speakers:
- Eun Suk Hong: Co-Founder of Departed Dreamers. Speaking on Dream and Promise Act.
- Nicole Salgado: Educator and author of Amor and Exile. Speaking on her 15 years immigration exile.
- Tawheeda Wahabzada: Co-founder of Departed Speaking on Ten-Year Ban.
- Nicole Salgado: Educator and Author of Amor and Exile. Speaking on her 15 years in immigration exile.
- Edgar Franks: Political Director of Familias Unidas por La Justicia. Speaking on the FarmWorkforce Modernization Act
Using BillTrack50 to Follow legislation!
On Sunday, April 11th, Karen Suhaka from Democrats Abroad United Kingdom (“DAUK”) shared how to take action on the political issues that you care about the most.
Karen is the founder and catalyst behind Billtrack50 and has worked on American legislative state and federal data management for many years. She has been most generous in giving Democrats Abroad a free subscription to billtrack50.com to research our key policy interests and develop plans to reach legislators and make policy become a reality.
Karen walked us through the basic steps that a bill goes through to become a law, talked about how bills are numbered to help us figure out who to call, explained when states are in session so you know when you should call, provided resources to look up who your representatives and their staff are, and helped figure out what’s the best action to take when tracking a certain bill.
This event was sponsored by the Hispanic, Asian American & Pacific Islander, Global Black, LGBTQ+, ProDA, Veterans & Military Families Caucuses, the Taxation Task Force, and the Texans Abroad Squad.
BETWEEN TWO STIGMAS: THE INTERSECTION OF BEING LGBTQ+ AND AN IMMIGRANT
Pride celebrated who we are and the power of coming out. It was also a time to acknowledge the risk associated with coming out for many LGBTQ+ people around the world and in our communities.
The panelists shared what it is like to be at the intersection of two stigmatized communities: being an immigrant, being undocumented, and being LGBTQ+.
We heard about how undocumented immigrants created and concealed parts of their identity to cope with discrimination and negative stereotypes. We highlighted pending legislation and how DA members can forward the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 and the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021
This event was part of our all day PRIDE marathon and was cohosted with the DA Hispanic Caucus.
Our Moderator was Juan Cerda of DA-Paris. Speakers included Departed Dreamers: Tawheeda Wahabzada and Monsy; DACA applicant Yari; immigration lawyer and former DemsAbroad DNC Representative, Bob Bragar.
DAHC Supports PUERTO RICO Statehood!
Orlando Vidal, DAHC Steering Committee, DNC Member, UAE Chair, UAE Legal Counsel, DA International Counsel
On May, the House passed a bill to admit Washington, DC as the 51st state of our Union. Though Senate approval will be difficult, it is the right thing to do. With statehood, our citizens in DC will finally have voting representation in the House, and Senators like all other states (they secured the right to vote for President and Vice President through constitutional amendment in 1961).
But there are approximately 3.5 million more Americans who still today are denied the right to vote for President, Vice President, Representatives, and Senators merely because of where they live. I’m, of course, referring to the residents of the five major US territories (Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa).
Together with Guam, Puerto Rico is the longest held US territory, having been first acquired in 1898, which means Puerto Rico has been part of the US for half the history of our country (since our Declaration of Independence in 1776). It is also the most populous of all US territories, with 3.1 million citizens.
In the last three local plebiscites (held in 2012, 2017, and most recently in 2020), Puerto Ricans have overwhelmingly chosen statehood.
Our Democrats Abroad delegation co-sponsored at the DNC in 2017 a resolution that, for the first time, declared the Democratic Party’s support for statehood for Puerto Rico.
In June, the Global Hispanic Caucus will be sponsoring a webinar on Statehood for Puerto Rico, in which the lead presenter (and a good friend to Democrats Abroad) will be the Chairman of the Puerto Rico Democratic Party, former Puerto Rico Senate President Charlie Rodríguez. More details will follow soon. We hope everyone can attend.
Statehood for Puerto Rico will bring legal equality to our US citizens there by fully enfranchising them at the federal level and thereby ending the separate “but equal” territorial segregation to which they have been confined for the past 123 years.
Adam Toledo, Statement by the DAHC Steering Committee!
On March 29, 2021, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by an officer from the Chicago Police Department. Body-worn camera footage was released on Thursday, April 16 showing the shooting.
This tragedy has shown that when it comes to children of color, the presumption of guilt is often prematurely conceived, and often wrong. We as a community mourn the loss of a young boy whose dreams and hopes for the future parallel those of other Latino boys in our families.
This atrocity exposes the need for greater assistance for kids of color, the need for social workers in these communities, and above all greater investment in training that would prevent these situations from happening in the first place.
Democrats Abroad extends our heartfelt condolences to the Toledo family during this time of unimaginable pain. We wish them great strength and healing. This is not the first tragedy to arise from police incompetence, incompetence that negatively affects, in particular, the black members of the Hispanic and Latino community.
This year has been one of grief and fury for underrepresented communities in the United States. We have seen not only a continuation of fatalities, but an escalation in hate crimes and police brutality. The AAPI and African American communities have experienced similar tragedies – a bitter reminder that this struggle is not exclusive to one group.
Across communities in the United States, policies to prevent death by the police are uneven, inadequate, and unacceptable. Improved standards need to be established for use of force and training on these standards must be implemented across the country. The implementation of racial and ethnic respect should be a key component of law enforcement training.
We call for every police officer to be held accountable and for increased meaningful communications between underrepresented communities and law enforcement. We demand an end to the vilification of victims of police violence. We demand protection.
We demand justice for Adam Toledo, and all youth of color!
TAXATION TIME… Don’t forget that within Democrats Abroad we are always advocating for reforms towards a residency-based taxation system!
Democrats Abroad has filed this submission to the Senate Finance Committee making the case for our GILTI reform recommendation
Carmelan Polce, Chair, Taxation Task Force Democrats Abroad
Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force advocates for reforms to tax laws and regulations that cause personal and financial harm to Americans abroad. Discussions in Congress about using increases in tax on the profits of the foreign subsidiaries of U.S. multinational corporations gives us a great opportunity to seek relief from the Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI) taxes that have double-taxed the profits of small to medium sized businesses of Americans abroad registered in the countries where they live. Democrats Abroad has published a submission to the Senate Finance Committee making the case for our reform recommendations.
The Task Force is also leading on a Democrats Abroad campaign to increase membership in the Congressional Americans Abroad Caucus. Growing the Caucus grows the number of allies we have in the House of Representatives in progressing our reform recommendations. We urge you to reach out to your Representative about joining the Americans Abroad Caucus. To participate:
COVID stimulus payments updates - We continue to hear from members who are chasing their U.S. Government Economic Impact Payment (EIP). This post has updates on EIP #3, the $1,400 payments included in the Biden American Rescue Plan, and includes advice on how to reach the IRS with questions.
Taxation and COVID stimulus payments webinar - DAUK hosted a webinar on Thursday 22 April with advice on tax filing and COVID stimulus payments. This is a recording of the webinar.
The new $3,000 Child Care Tax Credits - we are beginning to get a lot of questions about the new $3,000 child care tax credits established in the American Rescue Plan Act. Contrary to earlier statements, the IRS announced in hearings last week that they are prepared to begin making payments starting in July. DA is planning a webinar for parents interested in understanding what is happening and what they need to do. More soon.
More Taxation Task Force Treasury outreach - Like with the stimulus payments, Americans without a U.S. bank account on file with the IRS will be sent USG checks, with the same risk that the checks go missing in the post or are difficult/impossible to cash in the country where the recipient lives. We are reaching out to Treasury again to persuade them to make payments into the foreign bank accounts of non-resident taxpayers using the IBAN.
Go to the Taxation Task Force webpage on the Democrats Abroad website for information on our work and to sign up for regular updates on it.
Send comments or questions to [email protected].
for information on our work and to sign up for regular updates on it.
Send comments or questions to [email protected].
… And new BILLS coming! We are always on the track!!
Michael Ramos, DAHC Steering Committee
We are always working and advocating for relevant reforms to help our Country and the Latino community. Our Steering Committee Member, Michael Ramos, highlights some of these bills that we are keeping a close eye on:
H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act. This bill would create a process for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, otherwise known as “DREAMers,” to earn permanent resident status and eventual citizenship. It also includes a path to citizenship for people with temporary protected status (TPS) and beneficiaries of deferred enforced departure (DED).
- (Status: Passed the House, currently pending in the Senate)
H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. This bill would:
- establish a program for agricultural workers in the United States to earn legal status through continued agricultural employment and contribution to the U.S. agricultural economy;
- reform the H-2A program to provide more flexibility for employers, while ensuring critical protections for workers; and
- focus on modifications to make the program more responsive and user-friendly for employers and provides access to the program for industries with year-round labor needs.
- (Status: Passed the House, currently pending in the Senate)
- (Status: Currently pending in House and Senate committees)
H.R. 1182, the Veteran Deportation Prevention and Reform Act. This bill would prevent non-citizen veterans from being deported, improve tracking of noncitizen veterans in immigration proceedings, and bring certain eligible deported veterans back home.
- (Status: Currently pending in 3 House committees)
H.R. 1522, a bill to provide for the admission of the State of Puerto Rico into the Union.
- (Status: Hearing held on 4/14/21. Currently pending in a House committee)
H.R. 2070, a bill to recognize the right of the People of Puerto Rico to call a status convention through which the people would exercise their natural right to self-determination, and to establish a mechanism for congressional consideration of such decision.
- (Status: Hearing held on 4/14/21. Currently pending in 2 House committees)
H.R. 1976, a bill to establish a Medicare for All national health insurance program.
- (Status: Currently pending in 7 House committees)
H. Res. 332, a resolution recognizing the Federal Government has a duty to create a Green New Deal.
- (Status: Currently pending in 11 House committees)
H.R. 3493, the Family Reunification Act. This bill would provide a path to legalization for individuals with family or employer ties and shields individuals from removal proceedings while waiting for a visa.
- (Current status: pending in the House Judiciary Committee)
H.R. 1177, the U.S. Citizenship Act. This bill would provide millions of hardworking, undocumented immigrants with a pathway to earned citizenship, including Dreamers, Temporary Protective Status (TPS) recipients, and essential workers who have made enormous sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic; prioritize family reunification and keeping families together; bolster the country’s long-term economic growth; equip the country to responsibly and effectively manage the border with smart and effective investments; address root causes of migration that force people to leave Central America; and restore the United States’ commitment to human rights.
- (Current status: pending in 12 House committees)
H.R. 1333, the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act. This bill would strengthen the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion.
- (Status: Passed the House; currently pending in the Senate)
H.R. 1573, the Access to Counsel Act. This bill would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to allow individuals subject to secondary immigration inspection at U.S. ports of entry to consult with an attorney, accredited immigration official, family member, or immigration sponsor during the inspection.
- (Status: Passed the House. Currently pending in the Senate)
S. 1517_____, the Freedom for Families Act (Not to be confused with the Republican tax bill of the same name currently pending in the House). This bill would:
- Ensure that no federal dollars will be used for the operation and construction of family detention facilities.
- Create a 30-day phase out of currently operating family detention centers.
- Transfer funds currently used to operate family detention centers for the implementation and development of appropriate community-based non-detention programs
- Instruct the DHS Secretary to review the feasibility of transferring case management programs out of the purview of ICE and DHS.
- (Status: Currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee)
- expand automatic voter registration and same day registration
- strengthen vote by mail, early voting and ballot access,
- combat voter intimidation and voter suppression,
- protect elections from foreign interference,
- fix partisan gerrymandering,
- promote digital ad transparency,
- force disclosure of dark money,
- rein in lobbyist influence,
- enforce ethics and conflict of interest rules for all government officials, and
- empower small donors with matching funds paid for by lawbreakers, not
- (Status: Passed the House, currently pending in the Senate)
Alma Young, Georgia Systemic Change Coordinator with the United Farm Workers Foundation (UFW)
Our DAHC Steering Committee Members Onélica Andrade interviewed Alma Young, Georgia Systemic Change Coordinator with the United Farm Workers Foundation (UFW).
For 15 years, the UFW Foundation has mobilized farm workers and their organizations across the country to advocate for more equitable policies, such as immigration reform, pesticide protections, heat standards, hazard pay, and other worker protections(https://www.ufwfoundation.org/)
Hola, Alma happy to have you here and thank you very much for the interview, could you please be so kind to introduce yourself?
My name is Alma Young, I am currently the Georgia Systemic Change Coordinator with the United Farm Workers Foundation (UFWF). I am an immigrant and a former farm worker. While I spent part of my childhood in the Texas Valley, I consider myself a Georgian.
My family moved here following the crops. Since I experienced many abuses, inequalities, and bigotry as a farm worker as well as a Chicana living in the South, I turned my personal experience into a lifelong career.
I was an educator in Higher Education for 14 years and worked in various roles to provide access to education to migrant, Latinx, DACA, and undocumented students of Georgia and Florida as well as their families.
- How did you start working for UFW Foundation?
In my previous role, I directed a program at a university in South Georgia that supported migrant students through their first year of college. Through my direction, we established and coordinated a campus-wide celebration of the National Farmworkers Awareness Week. One of the highlights of our 2018 event was the keynote speech of then UFW President and successor of Cesar Chavez, Arturo Rodriguez. While I had briefly met Arturo on several occasions, the opportunity to have him in South Georgia was a huge deal! After that, me, Arturo, as well as other UFW staff kept in touch, but it was a few months after the COVID-19 pandemic started that I reached out to Arturo and asked about the UFW and my interest in the Union/Non-profit work.
While I was helping migrant families through education, I felt that there was not enough being done by our state government to protect farm working families. As the pandemic progressed, I kept hearing about students being hospitalized, some of the families who I had developed close relationships with had family members who died.
As an educator, I felt powerless to help unless I switched careers, and that’s what I did. The conversations between me and the UFW Foundation started because my interest fit perfectly with their expansion efforts. They had already sent staff to Georgia on several occasions to investigate deaths of H2A workers, so they understood the need of having an organization in Georgia whose focus was 100% on farmworkers, then I came along. So yeah, the rest is history.
- Could you give us a brief summary of what the Farm Workforce Modernization Act proposes, including what specific parts of the bill will be most beneficial and what area(s) might need some more work/improvement in the future?
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603) is a bipartisan bill and the product of months of negotiations between farmworker organizations (United Farm Workers, UFW Foundation and Farmworker Justice), agricultural employers, as well as Democrats and Republicans. There are three major components of the bill. The first is legalization for farmworkers currently in the US. The second component is reform to the H-2A program to improve protections for guest workers and include efficiencies for employers. The third and final component of the bill is verification of employment authorization in the ag sector.
The legalization component if obviously the most beneficial aspect of the bill because most of the issues that we see in regard to the farmworkers legal, health, financial struggles stem from their lack of legal status, so legalization alone will change the farmworkers lives dramatically.
In my opinion, the verification component is the most problematic aspect of the bill because companies will be using E-verify to verify the legal status of the employees. This is controversial because of what we have experienced in the past, especially here in Georgia. For example, in 2011 Georgia enacted the House Bill 87 (Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011) which required businesses in Georgia with more than 10 employees to use E-Verify to verify that prospective employees are eligible to work in the United States legally. I personally saw many farmworkers leave the area due to fear of being of being deported, however, even though we highly disagree with this aspect of the bill, the difference is that this time E-Verify comes along with a work permit, therefore, protection from deportation. Again, this was a compromise we had to make just like legalization was a compromise for the other side.
- What kind of work did the UFW Foundation do to shape and pass the bill through the House?
The UFW Foundation has been heavily involved almost every aspect of this bill along with other organizations who were involved in the negotiation process. Since the UFW Foundation strongly believes in the power of organizing and empowering communities, those of us in the UFWF Systemic Change Department are in the frontlines speaking, assisting, and engaging with farmworkers. Every single one of the UFW Foundation Systemic Change Organizing Coordinators are extremely involved in the communities, most of us were former farmworkers/immigrants, which is key in work that we do. So while the UFW Foundation did a lot of background work, the work that mattered came from the workers themselves. They called their representatives and shared their personal stories as immigrants and farmworkers, they took time from work to attend meetings with representatives. They did it all! We were mostly there to motivate and support the farmworkers.
- The next step for the Farm Workforce Modernization bill is to pass the Senate. How can we, as Americans Abroad, help to get this bill passed? Are there certain senators we should focus on reaching out to?
There is so much American Abroad can help us do! While democrats currently have the Senate majority of 50 democratic senators plus the vice president, in order to ensure the bill passes we need to have the support of at least 10 republican senators, should they decide to filibuster. Since we just finished the House work, we are still waiting to hear from our leadership on what are the next steps. In the meantime, follow our social media pages, such as Instagram, twitter, and Facebook for news on the bill and next steps. We have Facebook live events about the FWMA that are recorded for those who are not able to join us at that time. Also, please donate to our efforts! We will really take all and any help that we can.
Thank very much Alma, it was great having you on board and congratulations for your excellent job and for helping farmworkers.
In Solidarity with our DA Black Caucus brothers and sisters!
Statement by Angela Fobbs, Global Black Caucus Chair, and Julia Bryan, Democrats Abroad Global Chair
Justice has been delivered to George Floyd and his family, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief - for now.
We must take this moment to not only deliver justice for the dead but to protect the living. We must help make our country a place where we can all breathe freely, a place where the color of our skin does not put us at risk.
Philonise Floyd said after the verdict, "As an African American, we usually never get justice."
This inequality cannot stand. The House has passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. It is time for the Senate to do so too. Democrats and Republicans must rise to the challenge of our times, unite our United States behind this issue, and transform policing in America.
Our moral compass is bending towards justice. It’s time to put policies in place to make this transformation complete. The time is now.
DAHC stands together with the Asian American community in these terrible moments of sadness and pain!
Cory Lemke and Emily Lines
Global AAPI Caucus Cochairs
On March 17th, 2021, a shooter murdered eight people in Atlanta-area spas, six of whom were women of Asian descent. As Asian American and Pacific Islanders, we are concerned with the growing normalcy of anti-Asian sentiment and rhetoric in the United States. Hate crimes against AAPI people have increased 150% in the past year, and this was stoked by the previous administration as COVID-19 spread across the country. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were scapegoated to mask the blatant failure of the Trump administration. Let us be reminded that words have as much consequence as elections.
Anti-Asian actions continue daily in the United States. Please join our Online Vigil here and add your voice to those speaking out against hat.
Why I vote!
Why I Vote -- by Amerika Garcia-Grewal
Since I turned 18 I've lived in Texas, Tennessee, Kansas, and New York. I've been to each state capital and to Washington, DC to visit my legislators and share my concerns about different issues over the years. Voting is more than "something to do" every four years; it's a way of building up our country's leadership, beginning at the local level, and supporting them all the way to the White House.
My move to Fiji in 2014 made it more challenging to participate in local elections. Because of the lengthy mail times I have never received a ballot from my hometown election office in time to vote on that ballot. Luckily, the tools at VoteFromAbroad.org make it easy to make sure I'm registered to vote and that I'm using the right ballots to vote.
So why do I vote? I vote because I love my country. I vote because I saw my parents vote when I was a child. I vote because I want my voice to be heard. I vote because I am a role model for my family. I vote because I know that not every country allows its citizenry to participate in democratic elections.
I vote because it matters.
Por qué voto! Carlos Colao, DHAC Steering Committee
Votar representa la consagración de nuestra libertad sobre cuyo derecho se constituye y plasma la máxima manifestación democrática de nuestra Sociedad, y sobre la que erige y levanta nuestra Constitución americana como norma suprema en la que poder someter la corrupción, la avaricia y la maldad encarnada en los pecados más amargos del poder.
Es en esa libertad donde la propia esencia del ser humano se puede ver inconmensurablemente completa, donde nació y creció el sueño americano; sí, ese sueño de poder ser al fin todos iguales y donde es nuestra propia voluntad la que marca nuestro destino.
Nunca olvidemos que votar es nuestro derecho más sagrado sobre el que nuestros antepasados lucharon y murieron por conseguir. Es, al fin y al cabo, la representación máxima del pueblo americano, y que requiere siempre el mayor respeto y responsabilidad posible, ya que, sobre ese derecho, construimos nuestro futuro.
Por eso, VOTO.
Puerto Rico Statehood webinar!
DAHC will be sponsoring a webinar on Statehood for Puerto Rico, in which the lead presenter (and a good friend to Democrats Abroad) will be the Chairman of the Puerto Rico Democratic Party, former Puerto Rico Senate President Charlie Rodríguez.
Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus at a Glance
Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus of Democrats provides a forum for all Democrats Abroad members to better understand the issues and concerns affecting the U.S. Hispanic community, to help engage with U.S. Hispanic voters living abroad, ensure that their needs are met within the Democrats Abroad community, and, where needed, to advocate for reforms to political issues. Therefore, DAHC is integrated with US Hispanic citizens and their allies from all over world.
Democrats Abroad (DA) is the official arm of the Democratic Party for the 9 million Americans living outside the United States. DA strives to provide Americans abroad with a Democratic voice in our government and elect Democratic candidates by mobilizing the overseas vote
DAHC currently counts with nearly 1,500 members with members from in 82 countries from Argentina to Zambia, representing all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC, with the most members coming from California, Texas, Florida, and New York.
Amerika Garcia Grewal / Chair
Email: [email protected]