PRESIDENT OBAMA IS SET TO APPOINT EDITH RAMIREZ AS CHAIRWOMAN OF THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

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THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

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President Obama is set to appoint Edith Ramirez as the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), making her the top Latina with oversight over matters such as consumer protection, fraud prevention, deceptive and unfair business practices, and online privacy protection. Ms. Ramirez is a former law school colleague of President Obama and since 2010, she has served as a commissioner at the FTC where she has been a driving force in maintaining robust competition and innovation in the high-tech marketplace.

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Before joining the commission, she was a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in Los Angeles, where she represented clients on matters of antitrust, intellectual property and unfair competition. As a commissioner, Ms. Ramirez has spoken strongly in favor of self-regulation and voluntary codes of conduct among companies involved in international trade. At a commission workshop on cross-border consumer protection in November, she said that self-regulation was “an important tool for consumer protection that potentially can respond more quickly and efficiently than government regulation.”

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Edith Ramirez will replace Jon Leibowitz as chief of the FTC and her new role leaves an opening for a third Democratic member on the five member commission.

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SUPREME COURT HEARS ARGUMENTS CHALLENGING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT

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THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

The Supreme Court in Washington

PHOTO: The Supreme Court. REUTERS

Today the Supreme Court hears arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).  In 1965, following a civil rights movement demonstration in Selma, Alabama, which ended in bloodshed, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act and catapulted the civil rights movement by making discriminatory practices that disenfranchised voters illegal.

 

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The 15th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited states from denying a male citizen the right to vote based on “race, color or previous condition of servitude.” However, continuing discriminatory practices like poll taxes and mandatory literacy tests prevented African Americans from voting and in 1965 Congress passed the VRA. Section 5 of the VRA prohibits discrimination based on race, critical in specific states with historical and documented discriminatory restrictions on voting.

 

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These particular jurisdictions are prevented from making changes in their election requirements without first getting pre-approval from the federal government. Section 2 of the VRA bars the use of voting practices or procedures that discriminate against minority voters.

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During the 2012 Presidential election there were many attempts to disenfranchise voters with attempts to pass voter ID laws that prevented minorities and elderly people from exercising their Constitutional right to vote. Long voting lines and last minute changes to polling sites are every bit as oppressive as the poll taxes that dominated past elections before the passing of the VRA of 1965.
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“Texas, for example, proposed a stringent voter ID law that had the purpose to prevent minority voter participation which the Supreme Court found violated Section 5 of the VRA,” said LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “It’s outrageous to minority voters to suggest that the VRA is outdated in light of recent attempts by states to disenfranchise voters. The progress we’ve made has been solely because of the protections offered by the VRA, and any distinctions made are attempts to manipulate the law for political advantage.” The League of United Latin American Citizens is rallying on February 27th on the steps of the Supreme Court in order to reinforce to the Court that the Voting Rights Act protects real voters from discrimination.

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NEW YORK FARM BUREAU IS FOCUSING ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

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Gordon M. Grant for The New York Times

“Immigration is a key issue for New York farms and employees and for consumers who want to continue to enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products,” said NYFB Public Policy Director Julie Suarez. “Without a stable workforce, food doesn’t get picked, cows don’t get milked and farms don’t have products to take to market.”
NYFB is pushing for a program that provides legitimate visa status for workers already here but may sometimes have questionable documentation and who are willing and able to do the work that farmers depend on. These are workers who come from other countries for jobs that farmers try to fill first with local employees but are often unsuccessful. These reforms, the Farm Bureau said, should include both contract and non-contract options for the flexibility that farmers and workers need for labor protections, especially for the state’s fruit and vegetable growers.
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Farms in upstate New York: Photo by Keturah Stickann/John Menier (CC)

Speaking to reporters during a press conference, NYFB outlined three key areas it is targeting including the passage of a new Farm Bill, substantial immigration reform that recognizes New York’s farm needs, and funding for disaster assistance.
NYFB is also focusing on making sure New York’s farmers are represented in any immigration reform package that works its way through Washington, and is promoting changes that address both short and long term farm labor needs in New York.

READ MORE: North Country Now

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THE TEA PARTY BEGINS ITS LATINO OUTREACH INITIATIVE

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The Tea Party group that sponsored a prime-time response last week to President Obama’s State of the Union address is the latest group recognizing the power of the Latino vote. Officials with the Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest Tea Party political action committee, have been discussing their own Latino outreach, said Sal Russo, the group’s co-founder.
“We’ve been trying to do a bus tour that would focus on communities that we don’t normally talk to,” Russo said.
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Sal Russo Co-Founder of the Tea Party

Russo, who worked for Ronald Reagan when he was California governor, said the former president had a rule that any campaigning should include voters who didn’t traditionally pick Republicans.  “He believed in going to labor unions, going to places where you don’t normally go, so people could hear his message about cutting taxes and growing the economy,” he said.
Officials of Tea Party groups — national and smaller, local ones — like to point out these days that some of the nation’s most prominent Latino politicians, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, of Florida, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, were Tea Party candidates

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The plans by the Tea Party, widely viewed by many liberals as being antithetical to the interests and well-being of minorities, follows an announcement last week by House Republicans about a new, ambitious Latino outreach campaign.  On Feb 11, the House Republican Conference, which essentially represents the chamber’s GOP, launched a Spanish-language Twitter account, @gopespanol. The account is part of a broader plan – still being hashed out – to reach out to Hispanics, and repair their image with them.

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“It’s a recognition that we, as Republicans, did not do as well as we hoped in the 2012 elections with a number of groups – with young people, with women, and with Hispanics,” said Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is chairperson of the conference and was the House GOP liaison to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Not all Republicans and conservatives are on board with the efforts to court Latinos, particularly when it involves relying on Spanish. Some the most conservative Republicans in the House, for instance, see it as pandering.
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Representative Steve King

In an interview with the National Journal, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said he is opposed to trying to reach out to Latinos in Spanish. “There’s a conflicting message that comes out from the Republicans if we want to recognize the unifying power of English, and meanwhile, we send out communications in multiple languages,” said King, who has one of the most hard-line approaches to immigration. “Official business and documents needs to be in English.”

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The 2012 presidential elections, and the critical role that Latinos played in the victory of President Barack Obama, led to soul-searching on the part of many Republicans. Romney won only 27 percent support from Hispanics and even less from Asians in the 2012 presidential election. And an AP-GFK poll last month showed 62 percent of voters want to let otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants eventually become citizens — up 12 percentage points from 2010.
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Tea Party members say Latinos, and other minorities, are as critical to their future as the Republicans are finding they are to the future of their party. “The bus tour is the iconic symbol of the Tea Party,” Russo said. “When we’ve gone to some states, like Texas, we’ve had good Hispanic participation. We’re trying to do a [national] bus tour that would be more directed that way.” “We want to try to get our email communication and our website in Spanish,” Russo said. “The Tea Party movement has been successful using social media – emails, Twitter, Facebook. That’s how people found out about us. We have to communicate directly”
READ MORE: FOX NEWS LATINO

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RUBIO SAYS PRESIDENT’S IMMIGRATION PLAN WOULD BE “DEAD ON ARRIVAL”

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U.S. SenatorMarco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding new details about President Obama’simmigration plan, as first reported by USA Today:
“It’s a mistake for the White House to draft immigration legislation without seeking input from Republican members of Congress. President Obama’s leaked immigration proposal is disappointing to those of us working on a serious solution. The President’s bill repeats the failures of past legislation. It fails to follow through on previously broken promises to secure our borders, creates a special pathway that puts those who broke our immigration laws at an advantage over those who chose to do things the right way and come here legally, and does nothing to address guest workers or future flow, which serious immigration experts agree is critical to preventing future influxes of illegal immigrants.

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“Much like the President’s self-described ‘stop gap’ Deferred Action measure last year, this legislation is half-baked and seriously flawed. It would actually make our immigration problems worse, and would further undermine the American people’s confidence in Washington’s ability to enforce our immigration laws and reform our broken immigration system.
“If actually proposed, the President’s bill would be dead on arrival in Congress, leaving us with unsecured borders and a broken legal immigration system for years to come.”

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