This past week was a glorious one as the 4th of July celebra-tion fell in the middle of the week. There is nothing like a few extra days off during a hot summer. Many of us enjoyed the baseball All-Star game, a weekend barbecue, previews of the start of a nice football season right around the corner, and best of all the wonderful summer days which provide us with the opportunity to just relax.
This summer is a little nicer in that Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. This decision went a long way in saying in what kind of Nation we are, a Nation that takes care of the less fortunate. How is it that the richest nation in the world is unable to take care of the health needs of its poorest people? We are a nation that uses billions to bail out mega corporations, banks, and the auto industry but fails to ensure the basic needs of its people, the ability for individuals to see a doctor about their health needs?
What the Affordable Care Act provides is an opportunity for those who were shut out from health care coverage to attain health insurance at a reasonable rate. For the Hispanic community, a community that boasts the largest population of uninsured, this is welcome news. It is an opportunity for folks to achieve a basic need for a healthy life in the modern era – health insurance coverage – that is, as long as your state takes advantage of the Medicaid expansion established under the Affordable Care Act.
Also this summer, the Supreme Court struck a majority of Arizona’s offensive SB 1070. We have recently published commentaries that saw their ruling as a failure by allowing the most offensive piece of the legislation to stay intact (the provision which allowed the police to stop persons and request documentation, aka the “Show me your papers” provision). While we agree that the “show me your papers” provision is a failure on its face, it is not a failure that SB 1070 was gutted as a standing state law.
That was a positive step in the right direction. And while the Supreme Court did not strike down the “show me your papers” provision, the court did leave the door open to challenge the provision on civil rights grounds. They stated that constitutional concerns may arise once provision is actually enacted, which opens the door for more litigation against the law. “This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect,” Justice Kennedy wrote.
Lastly, in June, President Obama finally made a positive move in regards to immigration by allowing some immigrant children and young adults the opportunity to live their dream by deferring immigration action, allowing these young people the opportunity to attend and complete their education in the United States. Yet again, another small step, but a step in the right direction.
Taking all these recent developments as a whole, there have been positive steps taken for the Hispanic community which begin to address some of the basic needs of our community. But these steps are only a few of the many that need to be taken. For example in Arizona, despite the fact that while the majority of SB 1070 was struck down with the “show me your papers” provision still intact, the Hispanic community has come together, bolstered by the partial victory, to continue the fight until the racial profiling ruling is overturned.
All small steps of progress for the Hispanic community, who should be enjoying all the fruits that the July 4th celebration represents for our community. So far a great summer!