Congress' Attack on Our Children: 100 Days of Punishment for Latinos and the Poor

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Congress' Attack On Our Children: 100 Days of Punishment for Latinos. and the Poor

LOS ANGELES -- The first 100 days of the new Republican-led Congress are over, and so much is already at stake for our nation's children -- especially Latino kids. All under the guise of personal responsibility, welfare reform, and tax cuts. Consider this:

2.2 million school lunches will be eliminated;

1.2 million summer jobs will be eliminated;

378,000 children will no longer receive child care assistance;

1.3 million children will no longer receive cash aid;

13 percent of the California's disabled children will lose eligibility for federal SSI benefits; only children with severe physical or mental impairment will be eligible, not children with "age-inappropriate behavior," which is found to be associated with abuse.

And now, consider this:

Legal immigrant children will no longer be eligible for most services and programs funded by the federal government, including child care, Medicaid, maternal and health services, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), public housing, child protection, emergency food and shelter.

Unmarried minor mothers and their children will no longer be eligible for federal services and programs, like those described above.

Because Latino children are the fastest-growing child population with the fastest growing poverty rates, and because so many are documented and undocumented residents, proposals such as this one are indeed a direct assault on Latino kids and Latino families.

At a time when child poverty in America is at its highest level in 30 years -- with one in four children now living in poverty -- Congress has retreated from its responsibility to ensure the well-being of all children. Instead, its members chose to cut billions of dollars in essential child investments to finance a $700-billion tax cut for the rich. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 35 percent of American children won't see a dime of benefit from the tax cuts -- 1 percent because their parents earn too much, and 34 percent because their parents earn too little. Yet millions of children will pay a price for this latest political game for powerful special interests and the rich.

Further, the speed at which legislation was being passed to meet the 100-day pledge has served as an obstruction to the democratic process, with little or misleading information to the public. The proposals under the so-called Personal Responsibility Act have been publicized as "welfare reform," with value judgments and false assumptions about what people need to get off Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC or "welfare") and back to work. …

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