National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

NCLRfinal.jpgThe National Council of La Raza (NCLR)—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. Through its network of nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations (CBOs), NCLR reaches millions of Hispanics each year in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. To achieve its mission, NCLR conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas—assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its Affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families.Founded in 1968, NCLR is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCLR serves all Hispanic subgroups in all regions of the country and has operations in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Citizenship Beyond Reach

While our country aspires to achieve the full integration of immigrants into American society, undue barriers on the path to naturalization threaten this national goal and place it out of reach for many eligible immigrants. The nature of these barriers is varied, ranging from the inadequate availability of English-language classes to the lack of both accurate information and assistance for immigrants to navigate this process. This paper focuses on the cost of the naturalization application fee, which has become a prominent barrier to citizenship for many eligible applicants.

America’s Invisible Children: Latino Youth and the Failure of Justice

From the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the Campaign for Youth Justice, the report examines the most recent information available about Latino youth in the justice system, with a particular focus on youth tried as adults.  The report finds that Latino youth are treated more harshly by the justice system than white youth, for similar offenses, at all stages in the justice system.

2009 Public Policy Briefing Book

This publication is not meant to provide a detailed, comprehensive analysis of complex policy issues, but rather an overview of the salient topics; further detail about the issues and NCLR’s analyses of them are available on our website ( and in other publications. Major topics are presented in alphabetical order, followed by specific concerns that NCLR has identified as important to Latinos. These may or may not be addressed by current legislation. Pending legislation or major reauthorizations are included when applicable. In addition, the reference materials included serve as a resource and are helpful to advancing NCLR’s position on the issues. NCLR materials are listed in “Selected References.”

Averting Disaster

Averting Disaster: What the California Wildfires Can Teach Us about Reaching Latinos in Times of Crisis is a report that identifies the limitations of disaster management with regard to Latinos and immigrants, and explains factors that have contributed to a failure to adapt disaster response policy in consideration of these communities. The research is based on the activities conducted by community-based organizations after the fall 2007 California wildfires.

Fractures in the Foundation: Latino Worker’s Experience in an Era of Declining Job Quality

Based on an in-depth analysis of death on the job, wages, and employer-based benefits, the report exposes the severe erosion of job quality in America. The report calls on Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor to restore fairness and dignity to hard work by strengthening enforcement efforts, modernizing labor laws, and collaborating with community-based organizations to empower low-wage and immigrant workers.

Missing Out: Latino Students in America’s Schools

A statistical snapshot that provides information on a student population whose academic outcomes will define the success of our public education system and indicate whether our nation is prepared to compete in a global economy. Latino children constitute one-fifth of the under-five population and are the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority; as such, they represent the very future of the American workforce. However, Latino students continue to miss out on critical learning opportunities and perform at lower levels than their peers. We need to make investments in their learning now to ensure their future success as students and as productive members of the U.S. economy.

Strengthening Relations Between Local Police and Immigrant Communities

As national pressure builds to crack down on illegal immigration, those working at the local level know that strained relationships between police and immigrant communities can be counterproductive to achieving public safety goals. With their experience working to minimize intergroup conflict and to eliminate discrimination, human rights and human relations organizations are equipped to partner with law enforcement officials to encourage effective working relationships between immigrant communities and police. The paper sets out ways in which human rights organizations can work with police departments to address community tensions surrounding day laborer hiring sites, gang violence, and ethnic and racial profiling.

A Renewed Head Start: New Opportunities for Latino Children

On December 12, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-134). This was the first reauthorization of Head Start in nearly ten years. Given the growing diversity and rapidly changing demographics across the country, Latino children and families had a lot at stake in the reauthorization process of the nation’s premier early childhood education program. This white paper highlights the new provisions found in the bill which, if well implemented, could significantly improve services for Latino children.