Absent since 2009: A History of Broken Promises with Hispanic-Americans
The President’s approval rating has fallen more among Hispanics than any other group – from 75 percent to 52 percent in a year, according to a recent Gallup poll. There are many reasons for this decline, but the top reason is the Administration’s continued broken promises to the Hispanic community that impacts their daily lives and puts the ability of this group to prosper, provide a better future for their families, and achieve the American Dream in peril.
BROKEN PROMISES IN HEALTH CARE
Perhaps the biggest broken promise of all is telling Americans that if they liked their health insurance they could keep it - when in fact, they couldn’t. But again, perhaps no group will be more negatively impacted by this health care law than the Hispanic community. The exchanges created by The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as “Obamacare” are based on the young and healthy paying more, which is a huge burden for Hispanics, who are a decade younger than the rest of the nation, and also the largest uninsured population. With a median age of 27, the program relies on Hispanic youth to pay more to prop up the plan.
Like other Americans, Latinos who do not comply with the Obamacare mandate will be forced to pay a tax penalty. It is not surprising that polls show even Latinos – who once strongly supported the President – now disapprove of his handling of health care reform.
While the failed roll-outs of both English and Spanish websites is bad, a more serious concern is the tens of millions who will likely lose their health insurance coverage this year - just as millions did last year - because of Obamacare. For some, losing insurance and losing access to doctors will be catastrophic.
Because enrollment under the ACA is ongoing, complete data is not available. In California however, a state where Latinos are on track to surpass whites by March 2014 - only 20% of enrollees through the end of December described themselves as Latino – despite the fact that more than half of the state’s uninsured population is Latino.
BROKEN PROMISES IN THE ECONOMY
We have all been impacted by a weak U.S. economy, but perhaps no other group has suffered the brunt of it worse than the Hispanic community. The President promised to bring the unemployment rate down to 5 percent by July 2013, but it remains well above that target. The average Hispanic unemployment rate is 11.1 percent since 2009, compared to 8.7 percent for the entire population - a difference of nearly 2.4% over the national rate since 2009. This has come during a period of “recovery,” as the recession ended nearly 5 years ago. The current Hispanic unemployment rate is 8.3% - significantly higher than the current national rate of 6.7%.
Unemployment Rates for Hispanics in select states in 2012:
- Arizona: 10.6%
- California: 12.7%
- Colorado: 12.6%
- Florida: 9.4%
- Nevada: 13.6%
- New Mexico: 8.9%
The problem of long-term unemployment requires real solutions: 4.1 million Americans have been unemployed for more than 6 months. That includes 729,000 Latinos. The average unemployment period for a Hispanic today is 7.35 months, with 49.5 percent of Hispanics remaining unemployed for 15 weeks or more.
Hispanics also continue to be pushed into part-time employment for economic reasons at rates higher than the national average: 7.6 percent for Latinos vs. 5.5 percent nationally.
Since 2008, 2.5 million more Hispanics have fallen into poverty. Hispanic children in particular are being pushed into poverty at an alarming rate — 6.1 million in 2010. That’s more than children of any other racial or ethnic group.
The collapse of the housing bubble hurt Hispanic communities most, according to a study by Zillow. Home values in Hispanic neighborhoods fell average of 46 percent from the height of the bubble to the bottom. Hispanics and other minorities are less likely to benefit from home lending rebound, according to a study.
BROKEN PROMISES IN IMMIGRATION
President Obama broke his campaign promise to make immigration reform a priority in his first year in office, and five years into his tenure, he has failed to work with Congress to deliver on his promise. Recently the White House clarified that the President will not compromise with the approach that the House of Representatives is taking on immigration. Instead, the President has claimed credit for a historic high rate of deportations that continues today despite the disapproval of Latinos.
Nearly 2 million people have been deported during President Obama’s five years in office. That nears President Bush’s eight-year total and is almost as many as in the 108 years between the administrations of Presidents Benjamin Harrison, when Department of Homeland Security records begin, and Bill Clinton.