WASHINGTON D.C. - Today, by a unanimous decision members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) respectfully declined an invitation by the President to participate in Hispanic Heritage activities, due to a lack of response by the White House to meet with Members regarding serious legislative and policy concerns. Below is the text of a letter sent to the President:
October 2, 2003
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), I write to respectfully decline your invitation to participate in the ceremony today proclaiming Hispanic Heritage Month. We agree with you that this long-standing celebration of Hispanic contributions to our great nation is worthy of recognition. However, while we appreciate your acknowledgement of our community through this event, we feel strongly that the challenges facing our Hispanic Americans deserve more attention than a photo opportunity.
Unemployment in the Hispanic community is on the rise as is the number of those without health insurance. Our schools are facing a crisis and many of our college students must make hard choices about whether or not they can afford to continue their education. Hard-working immigrants and their families face an uncertain future and difficult challenges that we must address. Working together, we believe we can look for solutions to address these and other issues that face Hispanics and all Americans.
As you may be aware, the CHC has three outstanding requests to meet with you. To date, we have received no response to any of them. I would like to reiterate our desire to dialogue with you on the ways to address these challenges outlined in those letters.
We look forward to your response and to the opportunity to meet with you.
Ciro D. Rodriguez
Congressional Hispanic Caucus