The UnidosUS Action Fund Responds to the State of the Union Address
March 2, 2022
WASHINGTON -- Statement from Rafael Collazo, the Executive Director of the UnidosUS Action Fund, on President Joseph R. Biden’s State of the Union address
“Last night, President Biden laid out a vision for the country amid the backdrop of Europe’s largest war since World War II. We fully support the President in providing Ukraine with the resources they need to defend themselves against this unprovoked Russian aggression. We must support democracies across the globe, while protecting the freedoms and liberties that we as Americans hold so dear.
“Despite the challenges over the last few years – from the attack on our nation’s capital to COVID-19 – our country has made significant progress, in which the Latino community has played a significant role. President Biden deserves credit for enacting health measures that have helped to curb the spread of COVID by providing access to tests and vaccines. Latinos stepped up to ensure that they and their families took precautions against COVID-19. By the end of 2021, three out every four eligible Latinos across the nation had received at least one dose of vaccine – a critical marker for the entire country.
“In addition, the Latino workforce was and continues to be on the frontline of the COVID recovery effort, accounting for one out of every six workers of the nation’s labor force. From healthcare and transportation to service workers and teachers, Latinos over index in these jobs. It is critical that we address the burdens that this community – specifically Latinas – has been carrying over the last two years by implementing Paid Leave for All.
“While our battle with COVID and its economic toll raged early on, President Biden helped to usher in the fastest job growth and economic recovery in nearly 40 years by working to pass The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Latino families felt the economic relief of ARPA in part due to the refundable Child Tax Credit, which reduced Latino child poverty by 30% last November. We applaud the President for calling on Congress to extend this important tax break that helps 36 million families afford groceries, pay bills, and make ends meet.
“However, many Latino families will not feel safe until our lawmakers and the President finally provide a pathway to citizenship. We thank the President for his forceful call to finally provide immigration relief for Dreamers, TPS holders, farmworkers and many other immigrants who help make this country stronger and call it their home. Latino and immigrant families understand the fear of separation and displacement. In the same way we should support and embrace Ukrainian refugees, we need to fairly and humanely treat our immigrant neighbors and refugees in our own backyard.
“As the President said, immigration reform has a broad base of support from labor unions to private corporations, and it is the right thing to do for our country and smart for our economy. Inversely, we condemn Republican lawmakers who used the backdrop of the State of the Union to continue their racist dog whistles and undertones to characterize hard-working immigrant communities and breed fear into their base.
“While the progress made over the last year is encouraging, our community, like many others, continues to be concerned about the future of our democracy. We join the President and the chorus of others urging Congress to once and for all pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act given the myriad of voter suppression laws that are being passed across state legislatures. We fervently believe that there can be no true democracy or justice when citizens are disenfranchised from their Constitutional right to vote.
“The reality is that the Latino community currently represents 19% of the overall U.S. population and Latino youth are the fastest growing demographic nationwide, making them critical to our future economic growth and sustainability.
“We are unified in our commitment to lifting up all communities because we understand that the only way to build back better is to ensure that no community is forgotten.”