Posts By Sylvia Puente

Summer 2016 Newsletter

  ·  Sylvia Puente

Dear Friends,

Despite the festivities and warmth that make this time of the year special for everyone, there’s a cloud hanging over the state brought on by the failure of government officials to pass an operating budget at the end of the state legislature’s spring session for the second straight year. 

While much of state government continues to function through court orders and consent decrees, children and families are unnecessarily suffering due to the lack of state funding for human services and higher education.  According to a recent survey conducted by the United Way of Illinois, nearly 1 million people are without services because... Continue Reading

Posted In: Education, Infant & Toddler Services , K-3, Parent Engagement, Preschool, Families & Communities, Housing, Foreclosure, Housing Education, Affordable Housing, Homelessness, Immigration, Immigration Reform & Policy, Immigrant Integration, Leadership, Strengthening Leadership, Representation in Government, State Investment, Access & Resources, Educators
This blog post was originally published in the NiLP Report on Latino Politics and Policy February 22, 2016. The NiLP Report asked a number of Latino opinion leaders across the United States to respond to the issues raised by journalist Roberto Suro in his January 2nd New York Times opinion piece, "Whatever Happened to Latino Political Power?"
 
 
As it seems to happen every election year—Latinos as a voting bloc suddenly become the 'it' topic for national conversation. Big media and political pundits take turns musing over why Latinos are 'stuck' on the issue of immigration; the root of their apathy for candidates on either side of the party... Continue Reading

"[Let's] make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind," President Barack Obama said in his call to action for universal pre-K.

And as Latinos have the lowest preschool attendance rate of any group in the U.S., there's ample opportunity for the president's call to focus on boosting access for these young learners. There's also urgency: Illinois Latinos are up to six months behind their peers in cognitive measures before they even begin kindergarten, the start of a gap that develops into frustratingly low high school graduation rates. (This national report points to an eight-month gap for Mexican-American kids.)

I applaud the spirit of the federal plan to connect all American children with high-quality... Continue Reading

Posted In: Education, Access & Resources

This time last year, my hometown of Chicago was poised to make headlines across the country as Chicago Public Schools (CPS) was on the verge of one of its most tumultuous school years in recent history, kicking off with a tense teacher strike and wrapping up with the heartbreaking closure of nearly 50 community schools. The eyes of the nation were fixed on our corner of Illinois -- not just to follow the controversy, but also because as one of the country's global, diverse cities, Chicago is litmus test of educational realities across the country.

This blog was originally posted on the Huffington Post. Click here for the full entry. 

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Posted In: Education

The Senate passed S744, the immigration reform bill, with a bipartisan vote of 68-32 this afternoon. Today’s vote punts legislation over to the House of Representatives. While S744 passed with much to celebrate—a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, an opportunity for the reunification of families of those who have already been deported, and encouraging provisions for DREAM-eligible childhood arrivals—it also included several troubling amendments, most notably provisions for a “border surge” that will pump an additional $30 billion into border security and a double the number of agents along the US-Mexico border. Today’s victory is bittersweet, leaving advocates wrestling with a difficult reality: supporting immigration reform increasingly means also supporting increased militarization along our southern border.

While the... Continue Reading

Posted In: Immigration Reform & Policy, Immigration

SB744 (also known as the immigration reform bill) will soon be put to a vote on the Senate floor after a nod from the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Meanwhile, the media is busy touting the still-unrealized legislation as "the biggest victory for advocates of immigrant rights in a generation" because a so-called "path to citizenship" provision for the undocumented -- the "centerpiece of the legislation"-- remains intact.

We at Latino Policy Forum are some of the very advocates who should be celebrating this supposed victory. But, rooted in reality, we've yet to break out the champagne flutes. Why? Should SB744 pass, the "pathway" will be far from straightforward for most immigrants. Meandering at best and labyrinthine at worst, the bill is... Continue Reading

Posted In: Immigration, Immigration Reform & Policy

As a community advocate working in the complex field of policy, I constantly wrestle with striking a balance between my idealism and my pragmatism. How does one reconcile die-hard beliefs in what is best for one's community with hard-learned lessons in the art of political compromise?

This blog originally appeared in the Huffington Post. Click here for the full entry. 

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Posted In: Immigration, Immigration Reform & Policy
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