Julie Rodriguez, The White House


The White HouseBuenas Tardes,

Last week, the President embarked on his sixth trip to Latin America, traveling to both Mexico and Costa Rica. This trip was an important opportunity to reinforce the deep cultural, familial, and economic ties that so many Americans share with Mexico and Central America. At the invitation of President Enrique Peña Nieto, the President traveled to Mexico City on May 2nd and 3rd to discuss the broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues that bind the United States and Mexico, including economic competitiveness, people-to-people connections, global and regional leadership, and citizen security.

To read the full joint statement, click here. The White House also released a fact sheet on the U.S. and Mexico’s partnership which underscores the bilateral relationship between both countries. Read it here. After giving a speech at the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, President Obama traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, where he participated in a bilateral meeting with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla at Casa Amarilla.

President Obama Visits Costa Rica

President Barack Obama and President Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica participate in a cultural event with Costa Rican youth at Casa Amarilla, San Jose, Costa Rica, May 3, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In his May 3rd meeting with the Presidents of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, and the Prime Minister of Belize, President Obama discussed citizen security cooperation and the importance of building safe communities that contribute to a favorable business and investment climate, highlighting our comprehensive regional partnership to improve citizen security and our support for economic growth and development in Central America.

President Obama and President Chinchilla also participated in a joint press conference, as well as a working dinner. During the press conference, the President spoke about the friendship and economic ties between our two countries:

“Costa Rica shows the benefits of trade that is free and fair. Over the last few years, under the Central America Free Trade Agreement, our trade with Costa Rica has doubled, creating more jobs for people in both of our countries. Our partnerships are creating more opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs, including young people and women. As I told President Chinchilla, the United States will continue to be your partner as Costa Rica modernizes its economy so that you’re attracting more investment and creating even more trade and more jobs.”

Upon his return to Washington, President Obama published an Op-Ed in the Miami Herald and the Nuevo Herald about improving our partnership with Latin America. On Sunday, the President released a statement in honor of Cinco de Mayo in which he reflected upon his trip to the region and the need for common sense immigration reform:

“This week, I was proud to visit Mexico to reaffirm our vision for the Americas as a region of shared opportunity and prosperity.  I left even more convinced that we have historic opportunities to expand trade and make our economies even more competitive, so that we continue creating good jobs in both of our countries [. . .] I also emphasized the need to pass commonsense immigration reform that lives up to our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, including generations of Mexican Americans who have enriched our country [. . .] Cinco de Mayo reminds us that America’s diversity is America’s strength. Today, as we celebrate the contributions and history of Mexican Americans and Hispanics in America, let us celebrate the larger story of America and our unique immigrant heritage.”

This week we officially launched our “Mensaje Semanal de la Casa Blanca” featuring Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, on the President’s trip to Mexico and Costa Rica and the imperative to pass immigration reform this year.

Watch the video or download the audio here.

As always, please share with your networks and have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!

Julie Chavez Rodriguez Associate Director White House | Office of Public Engagement

Agency Updates

CMS Announces Opportunity to Apply for Marketplace Navigator Grants April 9, 2013 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the availability of new funding to support Navigators in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. Navigators are individuals and entities that will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Court Approves Plan To Provide Comprehensive Services To ELL Students In Denver Public Schools April 16, 2013 A federal court in Denver approved a comprehensive consent decree between the Department of Justice, the Congress of Hispanic Educators (CHE), and the Denver Public Schools (DPS) that requires DPS to provide language services to the more than 28,000 English Language Learner (ELL) students enrolled in the district’s 170 schools. The consent decree is the product of compliance monitoring by the department and the CHE, and DPS’s recognition that the 1999 order no longer reflected the district’s own best practices for serving ELL students.

HHS releases blueprint to advance culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health and health care April 24, 2013 Health and Human Services (HHS) today released enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care – a blueprint to help organizations improve health care quality in serving our nation’s diverse communities.

Fact Sheet: Administration Partners with Industry to Get Service Members Credentialed for High-Demand Jobs April 29, 2013 At the White House Forum on Military Credentialing and Licensing, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the IT Training and Certification Partnership, a new public-private partnership that will enable thousands of service members to earn industry-recognized information technology (IT) certifications before they transition from military service. The Administration also announced a new grant program through the Department of Health and Human Services that will help veterans with health care experience pursue professional nursing careers and earn a nursing license.

Obama Administration Simplifies, Significantly Shortens Application For Health Insurance April 30, 2013 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced that the application for health coverage has been simplified and significantly shortened. The application for individuals without health insurance has been reduced from twenty-one to three pages, and the application for families is reduced by two-thirds. The consumer friendly forms are much shorter than industry standards for health insurance applications today.

Blog Highlights

President Obama Visits Mexico and Costa Rica President Obama made his fourth visit to Mexico and continued on to Costa Rica on what was also his sixth visit to Latin America. On this journey, the President highlighted and reinforced the deep cultural, familial, and economic ties that so many Americans share with Mexico and Central America. Disponible en español aquí.

The International Influences of Cinco de Mayo Favorites Over the years, Cinco de Mayo has become more mainstream, with celebrations that bring together music, art and cuisine shaped by the rich culture and international influences of Mexico and Latin America. Avocados, cilantro, and chili peppers are a few key ingredients for traditional Cinco de Mayo dishes.  Each of these sees significant retail and sale activity during the holiday week, and each come with its own unique story.

Supporting Local Communities by Building Capacity and Cutting Red Tape One year ago, the President established the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) that established an innovative new model of federal-local collaboration dedicated to assisting communities get back on their feet and create jobs by helping them better leverage federal resources and form key partnerships to implement economic visions. Teams of federal employees are embedded with seven Mayors across the country to provide tailored technical assistance to cut through red tape, increase government efficiency, and build partnerships to help local leaders implement sustainable economic plans.

For Guatemalan Workers, a Ray of Hope Trade agreements between the United States and other nations are not just about the free exchange of goods and services; they’re also about protecting the workers who produce and provide them. In a global economy, protecting workers’ rights abroad helps protect workers’ rights here at home by ensuring a fairer global playing field.

Secretary Napolitano Meets With Counterparts From Mexico Recently, Secretary Napolitano met with Mexican Secretary of the Interior Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, furthering the collaboration between the United States and Mexico on our shared responsibility for issues related to migration, border security, and facilitating legitimate travel and trade.

Get Involved

Apply for the Fall 2013 White House Internship Program The application for the Fall 2013 White House Internship Program is now open. This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate today’s young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office of the President and engage them in public service opportunities. Learn more about the program and the application process. The deadline to apply is May 12, 2013.

USCIS Hosts Spanish-language Enlace Sessions On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Eastern), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will conduct a national Spanish-language Enlace session as part of an ongoing series of quarterly public engagements to provide agency updates, discuss immigration-related topics, and answer your questions. USCIS representatives will be available for participants to discuss regulations, policies, operations, and forms, but will not offer legal or case-specific advice. The event will be broadcast live from USCIS Headquarters and you can participate by:

Get Updates

Your Weekly White House Latino Update


 

  Buenos Dias,I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season! Although many are enjoying time with family and friends, we know there is a lot at stake and a lot to do to resolve the fiscal issues our country is facing in a balanced way.#My2K

To that end, recently, President Obama renewed his call to prevent a tax increase on the middle class. “If Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their taxes automatically go up at the beginning of next year,” the President said. “A typical middle-class family of four would see its income taxes go up by $2,200. That’s $2,200 out of people’s pockets. That means less money for buying groceries, less money for filling prescriptions, less money for buying diapers. It means a tougher choice.”

As a major force in our economy and as a community who will have much at stake if our nation does not reach a balanced deal by the end of this year, Latinos will surely feel the effects immediately. To read more about what middle-class tax cuts mean to Hispanic families check out our new Middle-Class Tax Cut’s Impact on Hispanic-American Families fact sheet, also available in Spanish HERE. Personally, I know what this impact will mean for my family, but we want to hear from you. The President asked the American people to speak loudly by sharing what $2,000 means to them online on Facebook and via Twitter using the hashtag #My2k. Join the conversation and share your story.

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico in the Oval Office, Nov. 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico in the Oval Office, Nov. 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama also recently welcomed President-elect of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto to the Oval Office. They discussed the close relationship between Mexico and the United States, and the President noted that President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto’s reform agenda is one that Americans will watch closely. Watch their full remarks here.

A giant red AIDS ribbon is put on display in honor of World AIDS Day on the North Portico of the White House, Nov. 30, 2012. (Official White House Pho

A giant red AIDS ribbon is put on display in honor of World AIDS Day on the North Portico of the White House, Nov. 30, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Lastly, 2012 has been another busy and inspirational year in our collective efforts to prevent and treat HIV. A few days ago, the White House hosted Rosie Perez, key scientists, policymakers, and community stakeholders to commemorate World AIDS Day. For HIV positive Latinos, there are many challenges to making sure that they live healthy lives. Treatment for HIV is very expensive, and Latinos are the most uninsured racial/ethnic group in the US. With the passing of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans will have access to no co-pay HIV education and screening services. Clearly, there is much work to be done—and changing people’s lives for the better is often an incremental process – but trust that we will continue making strides to make this an AIDS-free generation. To read more about World AIDS Day at the White House, click here.

As always, please share with your networks and we hope you have a happy and safe holiday season!

Julie Chavez Rodriguez
Associate Director
White House | Office of Public Engagement

Agency Updates

Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Webinar Series
November 27, 2012
The Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program at the U.S. Department of Education provides grants to assist HSIs to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the academic attainment of, Hispanic Students. Please join members of the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Division for an informational webinar addressing preparation for a possible grant competition in 2013.

NASA Announces Leadership Changes At Glenn And Johnson
November 16, 2012
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced leadership changes Friday for the agency’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and Johnson Space Center in Houston. Ellen Ochoa will succeed Michael Coats as Johnson’s center director. Ochoa has served as Johnson’s deputy director since September 2007. She is a four-time space shuttle astronaut who previously served as director and deputy director of flight crew operations at Johnson.

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against North Carolina Company
November 30, 2012
The Justice Department announced that it reached an agreement with Gamewell Mechanical Inc., a subsidiary of Woodfin Heating Inc., based in Salisbury, N.C., resolving claims that the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), when it terminated three employees based on the incorrect assumption that they were undocumented foreign nationals when they were in fact U.S. citizens.

Blog Highlights

Cecilia Muñoz: Hispanic-American Families Just Can’t Afford Tax Increases
As the debate over the so-called “fiscal cliff” in Washington continues, much of the conversation centers on deficit reduction, revenues, and tax rates. But what is easily lost in that conversation is the very real meaning this has for Hispanic-American families all across America. Download the fact sheet and spread the word regarding the implications of the Fiscal Cliff on Hispanic-Americans. (Also available in Spanish HERE.)

Honoring the Memory of My Grandfather, César E. Chávez
In October, the President traveled to Keene, California to honor the memory of César Estrada Chávez, by designating the property at Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz as a National Monument. As a granddaughter to César E. Chávez, read why this dedication was especially powerful and moving to Julie Rodriguez. You can also read the President’s remarks, and find more information from the Department of the Interior on the National Monument.

The Untold Story About the U.S.-Mexico Border Violence
Narco-trafficking. Illegal Immigration. A place of great insecurity. Listen to the national media and these are the images they would have you believe define and characterize the U.S.-Mexico Border. Though Mexico confronts serious security challenges and works hard to tackle them, the benefits derived from scale and magnitude of our economic partnership with Mexico literally dwarfs those challenges.

Get Involved

Apply for the Summer 2013 White House Internship Program
The application for the Summer 2013 White House Internship Program is now open. This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate today’s young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office of the President and engage them in public service opportunities. Learn more about the program and the application process. The deadline to apply is January 27, 2013.

Apply for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellowship
CHCI Fellowships seeks to enhance participants’ leadership abilities, strengthen professional skills and ultimately produce more competent and competitive Latino professionals in public policy areas. This fellowship offers the opportunity to gain hands-on experience at the national level in the public policy area of their choice. The deadline to apply is February 15, 2013. The deadline to apply is February 15, 2013 and this fellowship offers the opportunity to gain hands-

What Does $2,000 Mean to You?


Surrounded by Americans who had written into the White House in support of his plan, President Obama today renewed his call to prevent a tax increase on the middle class:

“If Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their taxes automatically go up at the beginning of next year,” the President said. “A typical middle-class family of four would see its income taxes go up by $2,200. That’s $2,200 out of people’s pockets. That means less money for buying groceries, less money for filling prescriptions, less money for buying diapers. It means a tougher choice between paying the rent and paying tuition. And middle-class families just can’t afford that right now.”

To help find an agreement President Obama pledged to keep up the pressure — meeting with lawmakers, labor leaders, and business executives. And he called on the American people to speak up and add their own voices to the debate.

Add your voice – tell us what $2,000 means to you and your family.

Add your voice.

In Case You Missed It
Here are some of the top stories from the White House blog:President Obama Welcomes Mexico President-Elect Enrique Peña Nieto
Yesterday afternoon, President Obama welcomed Enrique Peña Nieto, the President-elect of Mexico, to the Oval Office.Giving Tuesday
America has a tradition of generosity. Yesterday was Giving Tuesday, a new nationwide effort to raise attention and motivate action for the common good. It’s a trend worth encouraging.

Fighting Human Trafficking in Cambodia
On each leg of his trip to Southeast Asia this week, President Obama raised with foreign leaders one of his priority human rights issues: ending human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery

The Untouched Landscapes of Antarctica​


 

The Untouched Landscapes of Antarctica
The Untouched Landscapes of Antarctica
Does Africa seem tame to you, with its conga lines of safari vehicles and camps with crystal chandeliers? Do you long for that frisson of the in&#64257nite? Then Antarctica is the place for you&#8212immense, unowned, unspoiled, and populated by some of the world’s most enchanting (and brutal) creatures.

Conde Nast Traveler

the CBO : Unemployment Insurance : Recession


H.R. 6429, STEM Jobs Act of 2012

As posted on the Web site of the House Committee on Rules (Committee Print 112-34) and later amended on November 28, 2012

Estimate of the statutory Pay-As-You-Go effects for H.R. 6429 and Effects on Direct Spending and Revenues for H.R. 6429

Unemployment Insurance in the Wake of the Recent Recession

The unemployment insurance (UI) system is a partnership between the federal government and state governments that provides a temporary weekly benefit to qualified workers who lose their job and are seeking work. The amount of that benefit is based in part on a worker’s past earnings. CBO estimates that UI benefits totaled $94 billion in fiscal year 2012 (when the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent, on average), a substantial increase over the $33 billion paid out in fiscal year 2007 (when the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, on average).

CBO Releases a Report on Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance benefits topped $150 billion during 2010—when the annual unemployment rate peaked at 9.6 percent—up from $33 billion in fiscal year 2007.

As discussed in today’s CBO report—Unemployment Insurance in the Wake of the Recent Recession—benefits grew not only because of increased layoffs of workers, but because of several changes to the unemployment insurance (UI) system over the last few years.