Latino Leaders Meet Obama Officials Face-to-Face

In an event that is a Washington DC first, 160 Latino leaders will meet face-to-face with Obama administration officials for a wide-ranging two-day conference geared toward connecting Latinos directly with those who run programs that most affect the community.

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The Hispanic Policy Conference is being live-streamed as Latino community organizers, college presidents, professional organization representatives and others meet with some 100 officials in rotating small groups at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House.

“This is a powerful moment,” said Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House. We’re not invisible anymore and today is a reflection of how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.”

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In question and answer sessions, officials have tackled topics including immigration, job training, workforce development and civil rights. At an education session, Carmel Martin, assistant secretary for Policy and Planning answered questions about topics including high school completion efforts and about the DREAM Act, saying that she and Obama had recently lobbied a congressional subcommittee about passing the bill.

“It’s the right thing to do from a fairness perspective,” Martin said. “These are kids who were brought by their parents and have done everything right. They deserve a chance to go to college or the military and be successful. It’s also in the country’s self-interest that they be successful.”

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The conference wraps up Tuesday.