Dear ILACHE members,
The election is over, and there are some encouraging signs for issues important to our constituents. It is clear from all analyses that the Latino vote played a crucial role in securing the re-election of President Barack Obama. This was a result not only of the votes Latinos cast in favor of Obama but of the decline of votes denied Romney that Latinos traditionally cast for the Republican Party.
This new reality of Latino weight in the election has important consequences. Even before the election we saw the implementation of the Deferred Action Plan, and now there are serious talks about passing the Dream Act and comprehensive immigration reform. Washington is listening because it now knows that our voices are backed with real power in the form of votes.
But 2012 was also a difficult year. The financial crisis continues and talks of a fiscal cliff could severely impact Pell grants, Title V and other forms of federal funding for Latinos in higher education. Twenty-twelve was the year when affirmative action policies once again took center stage in political discussions. So we must continue to be active and make sure that our voice is heard. We are in a better position than before, but there is much to do.
At a local level, the state of Illinois’ fiscal crisis is not easing. In terms of higher education funding, the most immediate priority is the MAP award. Every year more people apply than receive it, and the cut-off date is earlier and earlier. I encourage all of you to develop a strong campaign at your institutions and in your communities to assure that all college bound individuals complete the FAFSA for the year 2013-14 by March thereby assuring that all Latinos who require MAP support can receive it.
We hope that 2013 will be a better year for Latinos in higher education. We look forward to seeing you at the ILACHE conference on April 19, 2013 at Roosevelt University.