Unemployment -Poverty- No Immigration Reform, 2013

The Year of Our Lord 2013 A.D. is rapidly ending. Has it been a good year for American Hispanics? Will 2014 be better?
Unemployment…Fewer Hispanics are unemployed compared to a year ago, 8.6% in contrast to 9.8%.
Among 16-19 year olds of both sexes, however, the Obama unemployment disaster continues; 23% of 16-19 year olds of both sexes are unemployed compared to a catastrophic 30.1% a year ago. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Unemployed Hispanics rose from 12.1% in Obama’s first year, to 12.5% in 2010, then started down to 11.5% in 2011 and 10.3% in 2012. These percentages are records.
Among 16-19 year olds, 22.4% were unemployed in Bush’s last year. That spiked upwards to 30.2% in Obama’s first year, 32.2% in his second year, 31.1% in 2011 and 28.6% in 2012.
All in all, the five years of Obama have been a disaster for Hispanic employment with marginal improvement this year over the past four Obama years. With the Mexican American median age of 26, there are far more Hispanic 16-19 year olds proportionately than among any other group.
We can expect minimal improvement in 2014 because the economy is growing slightly at about 1.5-2.0% which, is better than the first five years of President Obama.
Jobs, jobs, jobs, are primary Hispanic concerns. Hispanics suffered immensely since 2008 on the job front; that helped drive poverty rates up during the Obama years.
Poverty…In Obama’s first year, 18-64 year old Hispanics suffered a 21.4% poverty rate; non-Hispanic White poverty was 9.7%. In the plus-65 bracket, Hispanic poverty was 18.3%; 6.8% for non-Hispanic whites. In 2012, the 18-64 Hispanic poverty rate was 21.6% compared to 2009’s 21.4% and the non-Hispanic White rate increased to 9.7% from 2009’s 9.3%.
Poverty is up. Slightly over one in five Hispanics lives in poverty while slightly under one in ten non-Hispanic Whites live in poverty. Poverty statistics source: the Census Bureau.
Political influence of Hispanics has increased under Obama. Hispanic voters voted in higher proportion for President Obama in 2012 than non-Hispanic Whites. 71% of Hispanics voted for Obama in 2012 while the majority of White voters voted Republican. The 2010 election of two Mexican American governors in Nevada (Brian Sandoval) and New Mexico (Susana Martinez) while Obama carried those two states (in both ’08 and ’12) indicates a political ability (desire?) by Mexican Americans (two thirds of all Hispanics) to split ballots.
Both governors are heavily favored to win in November; no name democrats have indicated interest in challenging them.
Mexican Americans are well placed to influence the 2014 election as Cubans are in Florida with a governor’s race in which they can affect the outcome by solidly backing Republican Governor Scott or challenger, former Republican governor, now Democrat Charlie Crist.
Immigration Reform…Though immigration reform is a hot political issue for some Hispanics it is not the top issue most are concerned about. Nonetheless, enough are concerned about reform for it to be an issue that Hispanics can influence.
The U.S. Senate approved a massive immigration reform bill that will never become law despite a bi-partisan origin and passage by a 68 to 29 vote. It cannot pass the Republican House of Representatives because it includes a “path to citizenship” for people who entered the country illegally.
However, giant political events have occurred in recent days that indicate that several Judiciary committee-passed Republican reform bills will pass the House and a conference will be held with the Senate to produce an immigration reform compromise approved by the Republican House Leadership.
Speaker Boehner is the key, along with Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) who is pushing a bill that looks like a final product, sans a “path to citizenship. It includes legalization and work permits.
The proof this is possible was the budget compromise engineered a pro-immigration reform congressman Paul Ryan that Speaker John Boehner supported and passed through the House with an overwhelming bi-partisan vote of 332 to 94.
Outside conservative groups unanimously and vocally opposed the budget bill. It did them no good and the groups like Club for Growth and Heritage Action were lambasted by Speaker Boehner who has had enough of outside ultra-conservative interference in the Republican House. They also oppose immigration reform.

Hispanic Republicans can look forward to an immigration reform push by Speaker Boehner after congressional filings are completed that will result in a vote similar to the 332 to 94 budget vote.
It appears Immigration reform will pass in 2014 absent an unpopular President Obama whose pro-reform efforts would be the kiss of death. More jobs will be created as the economy grows albeit slowly by historical standards. Poverty will start downhill. All Hispanic-heavy troops will return from Afghanistan in 2014.
2014 looks to be a better year for 53 million Hispanic Americans than 2013 which was only marginally better than 2012.


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