As Hispanics continue to drive the growth in the labor force in coming decades, the recovery from the recession will have immediate and long-term effects for the country's overall economy.
Several senior Obama administration officials representing the military, health, and the economy gathered on Tuesday at the Center for American Progress in Washington to talk about how the president's policies have affected Hispanics in the past four years. Those in attendance included Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis; Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; and Mayra Alvarez, director of Public Health Policy at the Health and Human Services Department.
Alvarez said that the Affordable Care Act is among the most important laws passed during this administration because Hispanics are more likely than other Americans to be uninsured. Currently there are 9 million uninsured Hispanics.
Also on Tuesday, the White House released a summary of the administration's strategies that address the needs of some of the nation's 50 million-plus Hispanics. The booklet, dated Aug. 7, is called "An America Built to Last: President Obama's Agenda and the Hispanic Community." It is soon to be available on the White House's Hispanic website.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the booklet says, has been vital to this community because unemployment rates among Hispanics are higher than the national average. In efforts to strengthen Hispanic education, the $4 billion Race to the Top program was designed to provide incentives to eligible states for improvement in various key areas such as assessment and teacher retention.
The new 11-point agenda supersedes one from March 2011 with nine specific targeted areas. The top six items on the new agenda are strengthening the economy; ensuring access to education; "fixing our broken immigration system"; immigration enforcement; affordable health care; and home ownership.
Since the previous agenda, the administration has added immigration enforcement and improving infrastructure and transportation.