Latino members of President Joe Biden’s Cupboard defended his insurance policies to manage the pandemic, saying he is improved vaccination charges and restricted immigration on the southern border to guard public well being in america.
The coronavirus has disproportionately impacted Latino households, decimated many roles and small companies, and threatened latest beneficial properties in Latino instructional attainment — specifically, faculty completion charges.
The administration has been beneath fireplace for denying entry to the U.S. to hundreds of Haitians and different principally Central People, persevering with a Trump-era public well being order to expel migrants and their households.
Whereas defending these insurance policies, the Cupboard members touted administration initiatives on healthcare and training entry, and progress on infrastructure and help to working households.
MSNBC “American Voices” anchor Alicia Menendez interviewed Alejandro Mayorkas, Xavier Becerra, Miguel Cardona, Isabella Casillas Guzman, and White Home administrators and key staffers Emmy Ruiz, Julie Chávez Rodríguez and Carlos Elizondo concerning the points they’re tackling, in addition to their Latino roots, for a Hispanic Heritage Month particular, “American Voices: Latinos Contained in the White Home” airing Sunday at 7 p.m. on MSNBC.
The 4 Latino Cupboard members and key White Home staffers every have origin tales which are a part of what they’re drawing on, together with years of presidency and govt expertise.
Under are excerpts from their interviews.
Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Division of Homeland Safety:
On returning to Haiti a few of the hundreds of Haitians who gathered beneath a bridge in Texas final month: “A brand new authorities took energy and the scenario is extra steady. We’re very aware, after all, of the tragedy of the earthquake that occurred. That earthquake occurred in a selected space of the nation. It was distinct from the tragic Jan. 10, 2010, earthquake.”
On the rule of legislation and immigration: “We’re a nation of legal guidelines, our legal guidelines present for humanitarian reduction, and we’ll see these legal guidelines come to life, to their fullest, within the ensuing days and weeks of this administration.”
On whether or not he’s denying immigrants on the southern border the welcome his immigrant dad and mom bought: “We settle for so many people right here in america. We do handle asylum claims. We’re in a really distinctive place proper now, addressing a worldwide pandemic, and the general public well being imperatives … It isn’t essentially a differential of our humanitarian embrace, however relatively a differential born of the circumstances that our nation and the world is confronting now.”
On his Cuban heritage and being half of a bigger American Latino neighborhood: “When my father spoke in English, he tended to be a relatively severe individual. When my father spoke in Spanish, there was a of pleasure of life in his voice and in his mannerisms. by way of that distinction, I understood very profoundly, not solely my heritage and its significance, and the truth that I’m a part of a selected neighborhood in America, nevertheless it additionally spoke of the influence of displacement, and what it means to lose one’s nation of origin.”
Secretary Xavier Becerra, Division of Well being and Human Providers:
On therapy of immigrant kids in HHS care and allegations of abuse: “I’m the son of immigrants. I perceive properly the immigrant expertise … There are allegations. We examine each reported allegation … Kids should not solely surviving, they’re being vaccinated. They’re getting well being and psychological assist. We’re placing them with accountable custodians.”
On the problem of vaccinating extra Latinos within the U.S.: “We’ve made main efforts — seeing nice strides in getting a lot of our communities which are typically left behind, vaccinated at no cost … Too many people in our neighborhood have been ripped off. That is free, take it.”
On his expertise at Stanford College and a realization about his household: “I assumed I used to be center class rising up as a result of we ate actually good meals. Mother’s a fantastic prepare dinner … Driving to Stanford, get to Palo Alto, I do know I’m not center class, as a result of I see what center class may appear to be…”
On how his Mexican American household instilled “ganas”: “I inform folks the phrase ganas (drive, motivation) … don’t look it up within the dictionary as a result of the dictionary’s definition by no means hits it on the mark … I by no means noticed my dad and not using a job … He rose for the solar and he didn’t come house till the solar set. It was a type of issues the place you determine daily. ¡Ten Ganas¡, as a result of they had been in America. They had been going to have higher. Their youngsters had been going to have higher.”
Secretary Miguel Cardona, Division of Training
What college students want: “We want to verify, as we’re reopening colleges, we’re giving college students a possibility to have social and emotional helps, entry to psychological well being helps … particularly in areas the place there was extra loss … We have to ensure that once we reopen our colleges, we’re occupied with the holistic wants of our college students, not simply the tutorial ones.”
On constructing instructional fairness into college reopening funding: “We despatched out two-thirds of the funds that Congress requested us to ship out and we held again a 3rd. We mentioned that final third will go to the states once we see a plan that has fairness and stakeholder engagement in it.”
On biculturalism’s advantages: “I all the time say I’m the identical individual from the barrio to the briefing room … I grew up bilingual and bicultural … Biculturalism to me is an asset that I feel as a rustic we have to do a greater job embracing.”
On sharing his Puerto Rican tradition as a instructor: “We had been celebrating Three Kings … we had a parranda (a vacation neighborhood stroll with singing and music) … that introduced folks collectively to find out about totally different cultures, by way of music, values I used to be raised with … That have by way of the bicultural lens allowed me to acknowledge that once we see college students for who they’re, what they bring about to the desk, and have a look at that as belongings, we’re extra more likely to create a neighborhood the place we would like our kids to attend.”
Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, Small Enterprise Administration
On the pandemic’s influence on companies: “At present about one-third of our companies are at the least briefly shut down, so we’re persevering with to attempt to assist them with reduction, particularly for our high-impacted industries…”
On the Latino small-business panorama: “The charges of entrepreneurship within the Latino neighborhood are actually excessive … however so a lot of them lack entry to capital or networks to essentially assist their small enterprise develop … It’s one of many issues President Biden and I spoke about, that not each small-business proprietor has that lawyer, or the accountant, or the guide on pace dial.”
On her Mexican American heritage: “I’m positively a Californian, born in Burbank, California. However my household has an extended historical past in Texas, and we’re multigenerational right here in america. It’s been an unbelievable expertise to see all of the entrepreneurs which have come out of my household in Texas and California as properly.”
On being underestimated: “In highschool, I used to be a type of youngsters that was additionally advised to not shoot for that one faculty I used to be decided to go to as a result of I wasn’t going to get in.”
White Home employees:Emmy Ruiz, White Home director of political technique and outreach
On Biden’s vaccination technique: “A part of what has been attention-grabbing in that technique has been that it’s not simply your conventional, you recognize, bureaucratic method. It’s one the place we’re doing every little thing we will to take assets to communities.”
On being a homosexual, Latina mother within the White Home: “I feel it’s actually essential for these of us which are, you recognize, actually honored to stroll these halls to convey our a number of identities … I additionally convey the identification of being a daughter, and being a caregiver, being a good friend, being an organizer … My purpose right here is to convey my complete self — and create alternatives.
Julie Chávez Rodriguez, particular assistant to the president, senior deputy director of public engagement
On working on the White Home regardless of not agreeing on each coverage determination: “After we have a look at issues just like the little one tax credit score and the chance to chop out little one poverty amongst Latinos by 45 p.c, that’s type of what retains me right here. After we take into consideration the chance to proceed to offer reasonably priced well being care to the Latino neighborhood and to be part of … selections which are being made about how we attain our neighborhood or what assets we’re getting for our neighborhood, that’s what retains me right here … I feel this administration has achieved an amazing job … guaranteeing that illustration of our neighborhood is admittedly all through…”
Carlos Elizondo, White Home social secretary
On a plate from his mother being within the White Home’s 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month exhibit: “This plate right here is extremely private and particular pottery that’s referred to as Talavera that’s made in Mexico, which is my ancestry. My pricey dad and mom … despatched me this 34 years in the past, after I first moved to Washington to start out … it’s all the time a fantastic reminder of not solely my private connection to my household, however to my heritage and to the place I got here from.”
The Hispanic Heritage Month particular, “American Voices: Latinos Contained in the White Home” airs Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on MSNBC.