Recently, some of our NAHREP leaders were asked: “How would you describe NAHREP to elected officials?” I think the most important thing to remember in answering that question, is that when you describe NAHREP to elected officials or to any community leader in general, it is important to establish what we are, what we stand for, and why we matter in 30 seconds.
First of all, Happy Veterans Day to all of our amazing veterans in our NAHREP familia. Thank you for your service, your sacrifice and your dedication to this country. All of you are our heroes and you are the embodiment of service to others. Today’s blog is about negotiations. My dad is an expert bargainer, I think its inherent in our culture. I used to get embarrassed by how much he would bargain for everything, but he taught me some valuable lessons.
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Well, at NAHREP, every month is Hispanic Heritage Month. T-minus 13 days until NAHREP at L’ATTITUDE! For those of you who have attended the NAHREP at L’ATTITUDE conference in San Diego before but have never left downtown, please make it a point to go to our beaches! They are truly some of the greatest gems we have in the country and given everything we have all been through these past two years, lost loved ones, life turned upside down, we all need some TLC.
I like to think of the NAHREP National Advocacy Committee (NAC) as an organization within the larger NAHREP organization. For those of you who care about making a difference for Latinos, and care about policy, there is a home for you within NAHREP and I have every intention of working with all of you to make NAHREP the most powerful Latino organization in the country. The NAC, like most of NAHREP, is made up mostly of volunteers – passionate individuals who want to work together, learn together, and grow our voice together. On the national staff we have a small but mighty group of people who are dedicated full time to supporting these efforts. The team consists of two rock stars, Jaime Smeraski and Dustin Robinson, as well as myself. But there’s another group that is critical to our efforts: our lobbyists.
The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 was released last week by Senator Bob Menendez in the Senate and U.S. Representative Linda Sanchez in the House of Representatives. We’ve waited for this moment for a long time familia, a real shot at passing comprehensive immigration reform. If you look at every single one of our State of Hispanic Homeownership Reports, you’ll find that passing a sweeping immigration bill has been a consistent cornerstone of our policy priorities for the past decade. You may ask, what does immigration have to do with housing and advancing sustainable Hispanic homeownership? Everything.
Let’s talk about immigration today. I am declaring it into the universe: We will pass comprehensive immigration reform by the end of the year. Who is with me here? I’ve had a front row seat to two previous attempts at passing an immigration reform bill in Washington D.C. The reason these bills haven’t passed is because immigration is HARD. Immigration is what is known in politics as a wedge issue, or issues that invoke strong responses from both sides.
I was in middle school when Prop 187 passed in California. I vividly recall being in P.E. class in my smelly gym clothes overhearing a group of teachers discussing what the proposition meant for the school and for its students, a majority of which were Latino. I remember watching a group of girls roll their eyes at the demonstration a group of Latino students had organized to protest the proposition.