Vice-Chair - DA Hispanic Caucus

I am passionate about doing whatever it takes to elect and defend Democratic members of Congress. Being a member of Democrats Abroad-Australia gives me that opportunity to stay engaged in domestic politics.


  • published A Year In Review & Forecasting 2018 in News 2018-01-01 22:59:04 -0500

    A Year In Review & Forecasting 2018

     

    Democratic Brothers and Sisters,

    Another year gone, another full agenda on our activist radar. So what’s been happening and what can you expect the Hispanic Caucus to be involved in? Please keep reading for answers…

    Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

    There are four relevant bills currently pending in Congress that affect DACA enrollees, one of which, the Dream Act, is the ideal legislation Democrats have been pushing Republican leaders to hold a vote. Protecting Dreamers is simply the right thing to do, and their stories are indisputably and uniquely pro-American. To summarize the issue, Obama created DACA through executive order, Trump utilized his presidential authority to rescind the program, and now the fate of nearly 800,000 Dreamers lies in the hands of congressional Republicans. We must not stop fighting for these individuals. Why is passing the Dream Act critical? Gracias to our DNC rep, Orlando, for passing along this great video explaining it.

    Keep in mind that comprehensive immigration reform is still urgently needed, but don’t expect Republicans to work in a bipartisan manner anytime soon as their go-to policies include “build the wall,” “no funding for sanctuary cities,” “increased border patrol,” “ban refugees from Muslim countries,” etc.

    Tax Reform

    Unfortunately for many Americans and indeed for all Americans living abroad, the GOP Tax Scam is now law (P.L. 115-97). Don’t be misled – the new law is a massive giveaway to millionaires, billionaires, Republican campaign donors, and corporations already sitting on massive record profits. Instead of actually helping America’s working-class, congressional Republicans voted to put America over a trillion dollars in yet more debt, open up drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, kill the health care mandate in the Affordable Care Act which essentially means healthier people will not voluntarily pay for coverage and therefore destabilize the insurance market and increase everyone else’s health premiums, and the list goes on and on. The absurdity alone of this new tax law is enough to justify booting out every single Republican in the next election.

    Other Important Issues

    Sheriff Joe Arpaio – President Trump pardoned this highly-controversial Arizonan. From blatant racial profiling to false accusations about President Obama’s birth certificate to total abuse of power in office, Arpaio is a symbol to many Americans of who should be jailed, not entrusted with elected office and enforcing the law while disrespecting civil rights.

    Charlottesville, VA – The president of the United States failed miserably to adequately denounce the hateful rhetoric and detestable violence of Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists.

    Cabinet – Pitifully, there is only one high-ranking person of Hispanic descent in the Trump White House: U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta.

    Virginia’s House of Delegates – Latinas were elected for the first time, increasing much-needed diversity in the commonwealth’s legislature representation.

    Puerto Rico – The devastation from the summer’s hurricane season led to mass dysfunction from the White House leadership and—quite despicably—rolls of paper towels being thrown by our Commander-in-Chief to fellow U.S. citizens desperately pleading for help. Keep an eye on Carmen Yulín Cruz, currently mayor of San Juan, as a rising Democratic star.

    Congressional Hispanic Caucus – The CHC consists of all Democratic members of Congress. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) attempted to join the caucus but was rejected after it was determined he was doing it simply to appear more “bipartisan” in his own tough congressional race. The Democratic Party does not have an official position on this particular issue, but several persons I’ve spoken with have mixed feelings on this occurrence. Perhaps this topic merits further discussion if anyone is so inclined..?


    Congressional Legislative Scorecard for 2017

    Please take a few moments to see how your members of Congress voted on key bills affecting the Hispanic community.

    (Methodology: How is this scorecard determined? Only items voted on by the full House or Senate chamber are included. Not included are other congressional actions or inactions such as co-sponsoring particular bills, speaking out on an issue, committee votes, or condemning Republicans.)

    House of Representatives

    6/29/17 – H.R. 3003, No Sanctuary for Criminals Act. This bill is an extreme enforcement proposal which blurs the lines between federal immigration enforcement and local police.
    Democratic position: VOTE NO.
    Click here to see how your representative voted.

    6/29/17 – H.R. 3004, Kate’s Law. This bill is another unnecessary measure which expands already-severe penalties for immigrants who re-enter the U.S., and thus waste resources and simply lead to an increase in the prison population without addressing other aspects of overdue immigration reform.
    Democratic position: VOTE NO.
    Click here to see how your representative voted.

    9/14/17 – H.R. 3697, Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act. This bill creates new rules for preventing entry to or deporting immigrants based on the mere suspicion of gang affiliation.
    Democratic position: VOTE NO.
    Click here to see how your representative voted.

    12/20/17 – H.R. 1, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This bill is possibly the worst to come out of Congress in a decade. It would have been more accurate to call it the “Tax Cuts Only for the Wealthy, No Tax Reform for Americans Abroad, and Massive Giveaway to Corporations Act.”
    Democratic position: VOTE NO.
    Click here to see how your representative voted.

    Senate

    2/7/17 – Confirming Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education

    Democratic position: VOTE NO. She was and still is completely unqualified, is simply a long-time Republican donor, does not believe in LGBT fairness and equality in schools, and remains unclear as to whether she even believes in wanting the U.S. public education system to succeed.
    Click here to see how your senators voted.

    2/17/17 – Confirming Scott Pruitt as U.S. Administrator to the Environmental Protection Agency.
    Democratic position: VOTE NO.
    Click here to see how your senators voted.

    4/7/17 – Confirming Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court
    Democratic position: VOTE NO. Gorsuch is an arch-conservative who has consistently sided with corporations over workers, and has an overall record of unpopular judicial decisions.
    Click here to see how your senators voted.

    12/20/17 – H.R. 1, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
    Democratic position: VOTE NO.
    Click here to see how your senators voted.


    There were many other issues of importance which were also voted on in the first half of the 115th Congress – raising the debt ceiling, the continuing resolution, appropriations, the numerous attempts to gut ObamaCare and more, but for the sake of keeping the above list short, I just focused on those bills.

    Of course, there were some happier moments from 2017 which brought pride to the Hispanic community and raised awareness of Latinos. Disney’s “Coco” was (and still is) a box office smash, “Despacito” rocked the air waves, the Latino cast of Broadway’s “Hamilton” toured the U.S., and other notable moments happened in politics, the arts, and education.

    Things to do in 2018

    The new year brings a few special congressional elections, must-pass spending bills to keep the federal government operating, reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, “entitlement reform” (this is GOP code for slashing Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and Social Security—expect several take-action items from us on this), possibly another #GOPTaxScam v. 2.0 in April, and likely a huge transportation-infrastructure bill in Congress. Although transportation is not necessarily an expat issue, it is massively relevant to the Hispanic community which deserves its fair share of public transportation service with taxpayer dollars. Expect Congress to work on a massive “farm bill,” too. We will keep an eye on these and all other issues that could pop up which directly affect us living abroad. In addition, we will continue to closely monitor issues affecting the U.S. Hispanic community.

    Starting with winning gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, Democrats all across the country—with our help—have been winning state legislative seats, local races, and even a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama—something unthinkable to political experts even a year ago. We will need to carry on this momentum and redouble our efforts in 2018 in order to take back Congress. This starts with repealing and replacing Republicans.

    For items shown below which pertain to you, please mark these dates on your calendar (hopefully you’re now using the fantastic DA Women’s Caucus calendar!).

    * Jan. 2018 – Every single member of the DA Hispanic Caucus should triple-check and update your voter registration status to ensure your eligibility to vote, and also request a ballot for the upcoming several primary elections. Please don’t delay this action! And similar to changing the battery in your ceiling fire detector, it’s that time of the year where you should log on to the DA web site and update your details if anything’s changed, such as your U.S. voting address and which newsletters you want to subscribe to.

    * Jan. 2018 – Please consider answering our chair’s call for assistance in either writing a testimonial or recording a short video about why you plan to vote. Contribute in either English or Spanish!

    * Jan. 30, 2018 –Trump will make his first official State of the Union address. (Last year was an “address to the nation” type of speech.)

    * Feb. 27, 2018 – Primary for special election for Arizona-8 congressional seat.

    * Mar. 13, 2018 – Special election for Pennsylvania-18 congressional seat. The Democratic candidate is Conor Lamb – let’s get him some support!

    *Apr. 24, 2018 – Special election for Arizona-8 congressional seat.

    * May 2018 – The DA Hispanic Caucus will turn 1 year old. Pat yourself on the back and eat some “Freedom Fajitas” or “Tío Sam Tamales.”

    * May 24-27, 2018 – DA international annual general meeting (open to all members of DA). Are there any Hispanic Caucus members planning on attending? Please let Ana and I know!

    * June 2018 – U.S. expat taxes and FBAR forms due.

    * Aug. 7, 2018 – Primary for special election for Michigan-13 congressional seat.

    * Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, 2018 – Hispanic Heritage Month

    * All throughout 2018 – Always a great cause if you can spare any donation is to contribute money on the DA web site. No other organization supports both the work of U.S. Democratic interests and the interests of Americans living abroad.

    * Nov. 6th (Tuesday) – ELECTION DAY

    ___

    I will resist, rise, organize, and commit to vote. Will you join me in this New Year’s resolution?

    Michael Ramos
    DA Hispanic Caucus


  • Inaugural GBC General Membership Meeting

    General_Meeting.png

    Please join us for the inaugural GBC general meeting. 

    Tentative Agenda:

    • Introductions, Steering Committee and Members
    • Voter Registration and verifying your information
    • Volunteering
    • Plans for the future

    Because we are in many time zones we will be moving the meeting time around so everyone can attend at a convenient time for their locations. We hope you will join us for some of the meeting.

    Meeting times by time zone

    Meeting_times.jpg

     

     

     

    WHEN
    January 28, 2018 at 2:30pm
    WHERE
    Online - Zoom
    NA
    Na, NA 36433
    Germany
    Google map and directions
    45 rsvps rsvp

  • Upcoming Congressional Tele-Town Halls – Mark Your Calendar!

     

    Amigos – If you are a voter from within any of the below congressional districts, please consider joining your member of Congress’s tele-town hall.

     The upcoming tele-town halls are for voters in: Utah; North Dakota; Colorado-6; Pennsylvania-3; Texas-17; and Texas-30.

    An essential part of political activism involves engaging directly with elected officials. In this case, the next best thing from an in-person meeting is a “tele-town hall.” Remember, members of Congress are accountable to us, the American people, regardless of where in the world we live. This is your chance to get some straight answers out of congresspersons live on-air and in a public forum.

    If you need any guidance in trying to figure out what to ask your elected official, feel free to use any of the following:

    For Latino-related items:

    *What are you doing for the Hispanic community in your district?
    *Will you support the Dream Act? If no, then why not?
    *Every article I’ve seen talks about the negative effects on Hispanic-Americans if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. How would this be a positive thing for your Hispanic constituents?
    *To cut taxes for the richest individuals and corporations, the Republican tax bill increases taxes for graduate students by 300 to 400 percent. These students typically earn $30K per year. Latino and African American students are more likely to receive Pell Grants & many take student loans. How is this good for your constituents, especially Latinos?

     For general overseas items:

    *I support residency-based taxation for American citizens living abroad to be included in the Republican tax package. This would replace the current and unfair system of citizenship-based taxation. Why was this not included?
    *As your constituent, I would appreciate it if you joined the Americans Abroad Caucus. Will you join? If no, then why not?
    *As an overseas voter, what have you done to support your constituents living abroad?

     If you have a U.S.-based mobile or Skype phone number, it’s best to use that.  If you have a foreign phone number only, you can notate that in parentheses in the name or address field in the congressperson’s registration page.

    _____________________

    Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Democrat-TX-30). November 28th, 7:00 p.m. CST. To participate, dial +1-877-229-8493 a few minutes before the start of the event. Then, dial the PIN number 114175.
    (click here)

    Rep. Bill Flores (Republican-TX-17). November 28th, 6:55 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., and November 30th, 6:55 p.m. – 8:00 pm. To participate in either of his “multimedia town halls,” dial +1-877-229-8493 a few minutes beforehand, and then PIN number 111954 (same number and PIN for both dates).
    (click here

    Rep. Mike Kelly (Republican-PA-3). November 28th, starting at 7:10 p.m. EST. To participate, dial +1-877-228-2184 the night of the event. From there, enter the ID event number 19013.
    (click here)

    Rep. Mike Coffman (Republican-CO-6). November 29th, 6:30pm-7:30pm MST. To participate, you must register for the event beforehand.
    (click here)

    Rep. Kevin Cramer (Republican-ND-At-Large). November 29th, 10:00-11:00 a.m. CST. The congressman hosts radio-based “town halls” on a regular basis. There are several avenues for you to submit questions, but I recommend sending them straight to the congressman over his email form, or you can submit questions (even over social media) to one of the radio outlets intended for the congressman.
    (click here).

    Sen. Mike Lee (Republican-Utah). December 13th at 6:00 p.m. MST. To participate, you must first register on the senator’s web site beforehand.
    (click here).

    ________________________

     If you are able to get on the line with your congressperson, please let us know how it went!

     Keep in mind that the congressional tax debate is about to re-convene and we should all be wary of the #GOPTaxScam / #TrumpTaxScam.

    ¡Sí se puede!

    -Michael Ramos
    DA Hispanic Caucus

     


  • Hispanic Caucus: Update on DACA & Tax Reform in Congress

     

    Hola amigos,

    I'd like to update you briefly on two things: DACA and tax reform. Unsurprisingly, congressional Republicans have not taken any action to protect the future of Dreamers. However, there is a Democratic effort to force a vote on the Dream Act in the House of Representatives, and all hands on deck are needed to urge representatives to support it. ...As for the tax package moving through Congress, I have an update for you on where it stands, what it means for U.S. expats and Hispanic Americans, and why we should all oppose this so-called "reform." Please see the below information on these two important issues.

    DACA

    ​Our Chair, Ana, recently polled some of our members on which issues you'd like us to focus on. One of the biggest responses was related to the DACA/Dreamers issue. As a reminder, "Dreamers" are those persons who immigrated to the U.S. at a young age -- mostly through no fault of their own -- and ended up becoming "American" in every sense of the word - except having a U.S. birth certificate. Around 800,000 Dreamers contribute enormously to the U.S. economy. They're our neighbors, colleagues, friends, students, doctors, and even military service-members. Through executive order, President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to give Dreamers legal status and enable them to come out of the shadows. In an absolute flip-flop, President Trump scrapped the DACA program, leaving Dreamers emotionally in chaos with their now-uncertain future, and leaving Congress with little time to rectify the issue before the mass deportations begin.

    So what are we going to do about it? Let's first quickly review what's been happening in Congress.

    Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives realize the importance of helping Dreamers. Because that's what Americans do: we always lend a helping hand to those needing assistance -- unlike congressional Republicans, who appear to enjoy throwing concrete lifesavers to drowning victims. Fortunately, legislation exists which corrects this grave injustice. The Dream Act, legislation introduced in both chambers of Congress, stands a real chance of passing -- but only if it's brought up for a vote. Democrats have cosponsored bills, given floor speeches, and appeared in the media - all in support of Dreamers. Despite overwhelming support for allowing Dreamers legal immigration status, Republicans refuse to listen to their constituents and continue to re-name post offices and congratulate high school football teams as their "priority." 

    Now it’s time to kick it up a notch.

    In the House, Democrats can force Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to hold a vote on the Dream Act, but only if 218 members of Congress sign on to what's known as a "discharge petition." We're at 195 right now, so we really need to keep up the momentum and push representatives to sign on to it. Please check here to see if your representative is already signed on. If he or she isn't on there, send them an e-mail or call his or her office and 1) inform them that you are a constituent, and 2) ask that the representative "sign on to the House discharge petition for the Dream Act," especially if he or she is a Republican. If you do one tiny bit of activism today, this should be it. 

    Tax Reform

     Secondly, I'd like to talk to you about the tax "reform" happening in the Republican-led Congress. If you're not following this topic in the news, the first thing you should know is IT'S NOT TAX REFORM AT ALL. 

     So how do we respond? I'd like to echo the call-to-action previously mentioned by Ana in that it's time to pick up the phones to call your senators and demand that they vote NO on the Senate tax bill.

     ​I ​also ​want to embed these phrases in your mind for ​u​se ​i​n social media: #GOPTaxScam and #TrumpTaxScam. ​ Spread the word on why senators should oppose these sorry excuses for tax legislation.​

     ​As you're celebrating Thanksgiving, undoubtedly your Republican friend or family member will ask you, "​Why are the two Republican bills "scams? ​"​​ ​Here's why: Both the House and Senate tax bills 1) body slam Latino families harder than a congressman from Montana, 2) ​significantly ​add to the ​national debt, 3) do indeed create millions of jobs -- OVERSEAS, 4) only benefit the wealthiest of Americans, 5) ​include absolutely zero reforms for Americans living abroad, 6) and in the Senate bill, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis ​showing that it ​would result in 13 million fewer Americans with health insurance​ -- and the list goes on and on.​ But the House and Senate tax bills are being "sold" to the American people with patriotic phrases like, "pro-growth," "stimulate the economy," "everybody's taxes are lowered," and "bipartisan reform." ¡Mentiras!

     As someone originally from urban areas, I know con artists and scams when I see them. Both the House and Senate tax bills are scams. Here is some additional information on how the Republican House/Senate tax bills would affect the U.S. Hispanic community and why we should all oppose these scams:​

    * Newsweek article on the the impact of the #GOPTaxScam on Latinos

    ​* ​Remarks by DNC Chair Tom Perez on why this is a #TrumpTaxScam, especially for Latinos

    ​* ​Press release by Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham

    ​* Press release by the former CHC Chair Raúl Grijalva​

    ​* Blog post by Latino advocacy group UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza)

    Read more

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    Join Mayor Pete Buttigieg Webinar

    Please join us for an online broadcast with Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, the keynote speaker at the Democrats Abroad fundraiser in Berlin.

    This is a great opportunity to come together to show support for Democrats Abroad and to raise funds for our global Get Out the Vote efforts in 2017 and 2018 targeted at the 9 million Americans living overseas.

    Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 8 PM CET (2 PM EDT)

    Mayor Pete Buttigieg with Democrats Abroad DNC members in Atlanta.

    This year, Pete campaigned for Chair of the DNC and made quite an impression with party leaders, DNC members, grassroots activists, and the press. His extensive background at home in the US and abroad as a Rhodes Scholar and a Naval Officer in Afghanistan has earned the respect and appreciation of Democrats Abroad and we're glad to have a chance to host him in Berlin. 

    Democrats Abroad invites you to get to know Mayor Pete and contribute toward DA's global get out the vote initiatives. So please join the Mayor by signing up for the online broadcast of the event below.

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  • commented on Contact 2016-02-22 15:52:31 -0500
    Hello — I saw that someone from Dems Abroad recently posted on facebook that there are 8.7M Americans residing abroad. May I ask where that number came from? I am currently doing research on this topic and I haven’t been able to find an accurate number anywhere.

    Contact

    Our leaders live all around the world, but to send a postal mail please write the following address: 

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Member of DA-Australia, DA-Taxation Task Force, DA-Black Caucus, and DNC Labor Council. Founder of DA-Hispanic Caucus.