The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) hosted an event today to release “Latino Financial Access and Inclusion," a new report that examines the relationship between comprehensive immigration reform and household financial stability for U.S. Latinos. At the event, experts from NCLR, Citi, the American Bankers Association, and a Chicago-based organization, The Resurrection Project, explored the report's findings on financial inclusion within the Latino immigrant community. The report analyzes data from a survey of roughly 1,000 low-income Latino-identified individuals across California during 2012.
Janet Murguía, President of NCLR, began the event by discussing the historical exclusion Latino immigrants have faced in the mainstream financial services marketplace. Despite myriad barriers to accessing financial services and some significant economic challenges, this report found that Latino consumers were actively prioritizing saving, utilizing a range of financial products to meet their needs, and displaying savvy engagement with financial service providers.
The report also builds the case for comprehensive immigration reform and ensuring a path to citizenship by demonstrating the variance in financial stability and engagement by citizenship status. For example, among immigrants who had been in the U.S. the same amount of time, naturalized citizens were more likely to be engaged in the mainstream financial services sector than their non-citizen counterparts. As Murguía put it, U.S. citizenship opens the doors to not only better job opportunities and education, but also greater financial inclusion. When combined, these resources create a path to upward economic and social mobility. Thus, the report explicitly frames citizenship status as an asset and calls for the current immigration reform conversation to better reflect the economic needs and opportunities of the Latino immigrant community.