Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

The Serrano Report - Volume XVI, Issue #18

Sep 11, 2017
The Serrano Report

In Washington, DC

Congressman Serrano Reaffirms His Commitment to Protecting DREAMers 

Congressman Serrano spoke out against President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  The program has  allowed over 800,000 young undocumented individuals to work legally in our country. Congressman released the following statement after the Administration made the announcement:

“Hundreds of thousands of young people who know of no other place as ‘home’ woke up to a cruel and heartless decision by President Trump.  They now face severe uncertainty and the reality that in only 6 months they may lose their capacity to earn a living, be separated from their families and face deportation to a place where they have barely lived. Many of these children and their families live in my district and I know firsthand how much they are suffering under this administration.  For DREAMers, the DACA program was the only option many young people have to solve their complex immigration status. The President’s actions undermines their potential, their hopes, and their dreams. I also know how much they contribute to our economy and the prosperity of our communities. Hundreds of our nation’s most important companies agree-- including Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and General Motors – which is why they sent a letter to President Trump on how important DACA recipients are to the US economy. 

“This was a cruel choice by the President.  He now says that Congress must act, but only after deciding to end the program.  The DACA program was legally put in place under existing laws, and he could have chosen to maintain it.  The President also clearly knows that members of his own party have blocked any immigration reform measures from reaching the floor for a vote, including previous efforts to help DREAMers. Now unless Congressional Republicans allow us to take action to pass legislation making up for President Trump’s cruel decision, these children will be subject to deportation to a place they barely know.  It is time for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to make this issue a priority and do the right thing by passing legislation immediately, before DREAMers end up being uprooted from their lives after facing deportation.  As a member of Congress, I will continue to fight alongside immigrant communities in the Bronx to protect those programs, like DACA and TPS, that protect immigrants from needless and cruel deportation efforts,” said Serrano.

Congressman Serrano encourages any constituents affected by this decision to feel free to reach out to our District Office to seek assistance. DACA recipients should also know that:

1) DACA is valid until its expiration date.
2) No new DACA applications will be accepted or processed.
3) If their DACA expires between now and March 4, 2018, individuals MUST submit their renewal application by October 5th.
4) Advance parole to travel across seas is no longer available.

Congressman Serrano joins Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and other Democratic colleagues to demand a vote on the DREAM Act.

Congressman Serrano Speaks Out On Charlottesville Tragedy and Introduces Amendment to FY 2018 Appropriations Bill that Seeks to Help Better Address Hate Crimes in Our Nation

Last week, Congressman Serrano proposed an amendment that seeks add $10 million to the Department of Justice to address hate crimes. The amendment was offered to H.R. 3354 – the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, and would have allocated $10 million for State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance grant programs to provide support for the criminal investigation and prosecution of hate crimes at the state and local level.  Republicans refused to make the amendment in order.

“The events in Charlottesville last month made clear that hate speech and hate crimes simply cannot be overlooked and need to be properly addressed at every level of our government. As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science under the Appropriations Committee I see it as part of my responsibility to ensure that the Department of Justice has the resources it needs to combat bigotry and hate. Our amendment would have helped states and localities investigate and prosecute hate crimes, and shown that we in Congress take this rising tide of intolerance seriously.  I’m deeply disappointed that Republicans once again failed to recognized the importance of this issue and refused to help our law enforcement agencies have the resources they need to keep our communities safe and fight one the most alarming issues we are experiencing as a country,” said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman Serrano and Congresswoman Velázquez Urge Puerto Rico Fiscal Control Board Chairman For Transparency of Expenses and Disbursements

Troubled by reports of over $30 million in expenses in only one year of operation, Congressman Serrano and Congresswoman Velázquez sent a letter to the Chairman of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico last month expressing their concerns over the lack of transparency and independent supervision over the spending decisions made by the Board. The members pointed to several reforms the Board should look to implement, including the use of Congress’ quarterly Statement of Disbursements for expenses incurred by Congressional offices. Serrano and Velázquez also urged the Board to have a Chief Financial Officer to make sure that the services rendered are obtained at the best price possible; to ensure all contracts are competitively bid; and to agree to undergo an annual audit to ensure independent oversight over these processes.

“It has come to our attention that the Oversight Board has spent over $30 million—which comes from Puerto Rican taxpayers—for salaries, equipment, and services during its first year of operations.  At a time when the government of Puerto Rico and its people have had to endure financial sacrifices, it is incumbent upon the Board to do the same and lead by example.  As part of that process, the Board must be transparent and accountable by disclosing all of its disbursements.  For example, in Congress we have a quarterly Statement of Disbursements for each expense incurred by a Congressional office.  This system—which has been in place for decades—maintains transparency and accountability while at the same time encourages good stewardship of public funds,” Serrano and Velázquez wrote.

Congressman Serrano and Congressman Crowley Press National Science Foundation on Implementation of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Grant Program

Congressmen Serrano and Joseph Crowley sent a letter to National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France Córdova asking for an update on the agency’s implementation of the new Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) grant program. The program is key for educating and giving Hispanic students greater access to opportunities in the STEM fields.

“The new National Science Foundation’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) grant program will play a key role in giving Hispanics greater access to education, training and professional opportunities in the science and technology fields. We need to make sure that the NSF is quickly moving forward with the planning process for the funds that were appropriated for FY2017 and that they let the public know about funding availability. As the nation’s largest minority group, it is important to expand our efforts to reach Hispanic students interested in STEM fields and ensure they have the tools needed to thrive and succeed in the future,” said Congressman José E. Serrano, Ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the National Science Foundation.

“The fields of science, technology, engineering, and math are critical for our country to compete and for Americans to succeed in today’s global economy. But the dearth of Latinos in these fields is a serious problem we must address,” said Chairman Joe Crowley.

“Establishing a grant program to help Hispanic-Serving Institutions of Higher Education (HSIs) build capacity in their STEM programs would be a critical first step toward helping Hispanic students obtain these good-paying jobs. I’m glad to join with Rep. Serrano in urging the National Science Foundation to follow Congress’s direction and implement of the Hispanic-Serving Institution program to expand access to STEM education to more Hispanic students across our country.”

Congressman Serrano Announces New Federal Funding for HIV/AIDS Dental Services in The Bronx

Congressman Serrano announced over $374,000 in federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Ryan White HIV/AIDS Dental Reimbursement Program for three health facilities in The Bronx. The awards were as follows: Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center received $304,997; St. Barnabas Hospital and Healthcare System received $67,169, and New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation received $1,901.

“I am thankful for the Department of Health and Human Services' continued commitment of funding through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which helps provide high-quality health care services to so many patients in need,” said Congressman Serrano. “Because of this funding, these fine institutions will be able to continue providing oral health care services to many patients in my District living with the disease. While considerable progress has been made in dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic nationally and around the world, places like The Bronx continue to experience persistently high rates of HIV transmission. As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue fighting everyday in Congress to make sure we provide adequate funding, not only to programs and policies that are proven to help lower rates of transmission, but also to programs like Ryan White that provide life-saving treatment, and social and health services for those living with the disease.” Said Congressman Serrano.

The Dental Reimbursement Program is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. It provides crucial reimbursements to institutions with accredited dental or dental hygiene education programs to help defray the costs of providing dental services to patients living with HIV/AIDS. The Program was first funded in 1994.

In the Bronx

Congressman Serrano, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and Governor Cuomo Announce Over $2.4 Million in Federal Funding for New Regional Food Hub in the Bronx

Congressman Serrano, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $2,484,746 in federal funding for GrowNYC. The funding was allocated through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and will allow GrowNYC to move forward with construction of a new Greenmarket Regional Food Hub in the South Bronx. The new facility will include a new wholesale farmers’ market, USDA compliant cold storage facility, a food-processing center, and other infrastructure upgrades to support local food businesses.

“From its start, I have been a strong supporter of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Regional Food Hub. I am glad that we were able to obtain this much-needed funding. This $2.5 million grant will allow the Food Hub to expand its operations to help local farmers, provide families with access to healthy food, and bring permanent living wage jobs to the Hunts Point neighborhood in the Bronx,” said Congressman Serrano. “By increasing access to fresh and healthy produce, the Greenmarket Regional Food Hub will help improve the health and quality of life for Bronx residents, while expanding jobs and economic opportunities in our borough,” said the Congressman.

The Greenmarket Regional Food Hub would provide small and mid-sized farmers access to New York City’s wholesale marketplace and expand GrowNYC’s food access programs like Youthmarket and the Fresh Food Box located in the Bronx. The new facility would provide nearly 20 million pounds of local produce a year and create approximately 131 new jobs.

Congressman Serrano Attends National Night Out Events in the District

Last month, Congressman Serrano participated in this year’s National Night Out, a series of annual community-building events that promote police-community partnerships. The initiative aim to build a bridge between law enforcement officials and local residents to promote local security and strengthen the community. 

Congressman Serrano speaks at various events. This years’ events included: Assembly Member Victor Pichardo, Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, Assembly Member Latoya Joyner, Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, and New York State Senator Jeffrey Klein. 

Congressman Serrano joins local elected officials, NYPD officials, and members of the community for National Night Out events.