One Stop Career Center of Puerto Rico: Helping Ex-offenders Gain the Power to Rebuild Their Lives

The One Stop Career Center of Puerto Rico (OSCC), founded in 2000, has a mission that benefits a community not often talked about: the reentry population.

Since 2000, OSCC has helped approximately 14,000 ex-offenders find meaningful employment and rebuild their lives. OSCC’s participants have an 85% rate of successful job placement and a recidivism rate of approximately 12%, in significant contrast to an average 76.6% recidivism rate across 30 states.

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After Hurricane Maria, UnidosUS Affiliates Assist New Arrivals from Puerto Rico

Latino Leadership in partnership with Turin Aviation taking provisions to La Perla in Puerto Rico.

According to Puerto Rico’s government’s website, only 17% of Puerto Rico’s residents have electricity and only 64% have water. As Puerto Rico continues to struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, organizations on the mainland are preparing for the unexpected relocation of family and friends to the states. As many as 200,000 of the 3.5 million Americans in Puerto Rico could resettle in states where they have family ties, including Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania, according to Dr. Edwin Meléndez, Director of Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños and a member of UnidosUS’s Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.

UnidosUS Affiliates are leading work to help families make a smooth transition to the states.  Latino Leadership in Orlando, Florida was among the first to bring our attention to these families’ needs, and is spearheading efforts to support those who arrive in Orlando, where they expect as many as 100,000 from the island. Through a partnership with the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latino Leadership established the Puerto Rico Family Response Center at the Orlando airport, in order to help reunify families in Florida, and provide adequate services to help them transition and restart their lives. This partnership brings together a unique network of resources as well as the support and trust of the Latino community in Florida.

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Unidos for Houston and Miami: The Role of Community-Based Organizations in Disaster Relief Efforts

UnidosUS Affiliates are helping families rise stronger after devastating Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

 After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit Texas and Florida, community-based organizations—including members of the UnidosUS Affiliate Network—worked with affected families to fill the gap between the resources available through the national and local government and the communities in need. These local organizations, as trusted members of their communities, served as crucial local partners to disaster relief agencies like the American Red Cross to deliver culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate services to families.

Latino families—especially newcomers or those living in rural or remote communities—faced unique difficulties in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. For example, not all families were aware of the assistance and resources available locally to communities through U.S. government programs such as FEMA, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and local Department of Children and Family Services divisions, or knew how to navigate the process of disaster relief. As affected families tried navigating the system to request assistance, local organizations such as the American Latino Center for Research, Education and Justice (ALCREJ) in Houston, Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations (COFFO) in Homestead, and Hispanic Services Council in Tampa—all UnidosUS Affiliates—stepped in. In many cases, these organizations became advocates and liaisons for families. They worked tirelessly to disseminate information on resources, conducting individual check-ins to understand specific needs and direct families to the appropriate organizations for assistance. The impact in each community was immense.

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Mr. President: Puerto Ricans Are Americans Too

Hurricane Maria deserves the same response as Harvey and Irma.

By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, UnidosUS

Once again, we need to remind our federal government that our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico must not be forgotten.

The lack of swift, decisive, and highly visible presidential and congressional action as 3.5 million American children and families suffer the effects of Hurricane Maria is inexcusable. In the past month, three hurricanes have hit different parts of the United States—including Puerto Rico. Within days, the president and other leaders responded in Texas and Florida. However, the president was silent for six days on Puerto Rico—and it was only after pressure from the public that the president responded, announcing yesterday that he would visit the island next week. This delay in response demonstrates that millions of our fellow American citizens are being treated differently. This is wrong.

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How You Can Help Our Fellow Citizens in Puerto Rico

UnidosUS is urging everyone to contact their members of Congress and tell them to demand a plan to provide relief to our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. Tell them we demand relief for Puerto Rico NOW.

Call the White House: 202-456-1111

Call Congress: 202-224-3121

There are a number of disaster relief efforts underway by both local groups in Puerto Rico and by UnidosUS Affiliates.

Here’s a link to local efforts on the ground in Puerto Rico:

Here’s a list of UnidosUS Affiliates who are raising funds for victims: Bilingual  English  Spanish

Weekly Washington Outlook — June 27, 2016

U.S. Capitol 1793-1863 Washington, DC, USA

U.S. Capitol 1793-1863 Washington, DC, USA

What to Watch This Week:



The House is in recess, returning Tuesday, July 5.


On Monday, the Senate will consider the nomination of Robert F Rossiter to be U.S. District Judge for the district of Nebraska. On Tuesday, Majority Leader McConnell has scheduled a vote on a vehicle for funding to combat the Zika virus. Later in the week, the Senate will resume consideration of the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill and could vote on a gun-related provision sponsored by Senator Collins (R-Maine). The Senate also plans to vote on PROMESA, House-backed legislation to help Puerto Rico’s financial and humanitarian crisis.

White House:

On Monday, the president will welcome the 2015 WNBA Champions, the Minnesota Lynx, to honor the team and their WNBA championship victory.

On Tuesday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House.

On Wednesday, the president will travel to Ottawa, Canada for the North American Leaders’ Summit, where he will meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico. While in Ottawa, President Obama will also address a joint session of the Parliament of Canada.

On Thursday and Friday, the president will attend meetings at the White House.

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Answering Concerns about Zika and Preparing Our Families for the Summer Months

NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía, talking with residents of Plaza Gran Victoria in San Juan, PR.

NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía, talking with residents of Plaza Gran Victoria in San Juan, PR.

Puerto Rico is leading our nation in Zika infections, although expectations are that cases will increase in the continental U.S. with travel to and from countries and territories where there is an outbreak. Recently, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía traveled to Puerto Rico with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro and a delegation of U.S. Latino leaders. They learned firsthand about the threat of Zika, in addition to the social and economic crisis in Puerto Rico today. The delegation visited with an expectant mother and her family in a local public housing development and learned about efforts to protect families from Zika in and around the home.

As of June 1, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the case count for the Zika virus is 618 in Washington, D.C. and U.S. states and 1,114 in U.S. territories. In addition, in the U.S. and U.S. territories, a total of 341 pregnant women show symptoms of possible Zika virus infection, according to lab evidence. Zika is a virus transmitted by infected mosquitos and presents symptoms that are usually mild. The consequences for pregnant women and their families, though, can be especially serious since Zika infections sometimes lead to microcephaly, a condition in which a baby is born with a much smaller head than expected. Continue reading