The Serrano Report, Vol. VIII, #27

Nov 4, 2011 Issues: Environment, Immigration, The Bronx

On Capitol Hill

Serrano Appalled at Family Separations

In response to a new report out this week on families separated by deportation, Congressman Serrano expressed his profound disgust with a system that has left more than 5000 citizen children in foster care because their parents were deported. Serrano called the policies “un-American” and “deeply troubling.”

The report, Shattered Families: The Perilous Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System, was released by the Applied Research Center and, among other concerns, found “there are at least 5,100 children currently living in foster care who are prevented from uniting with their detained or deported parents.” 

“An immigration policy that separates children from their parents is inhumane and un-American, and should not be an outcome of our immigration policy,” said Congressman Serrano. “Keeping families united is a basic human right, and a fundamental principle in our nation. I am deeply troubled that our nation is implementing policies which could end up permanently separating families and causing children to end up in adoption proceedings. 

“When I introduced the Child Citizen Protection Act for the first time several years ago, I warned that a rigid deportation policy would end up separating children from their parents for no good reason. Today we have learned that that dire prediction is turning out to be true. 

“I call on DHS Secretary Napolitano to immediately halt and review all deportation proceedings where a child is being held by child protective services as a result of ICE actions. This indiscriminate and harmful policy outcome is wrong, and it must end immediately. A parent should never lose their child simply because of deportation proceedings.”

Serrano Meets with NALAC

On Wednesday, Congressman Serrano met with Rosalba Rolón, Artistic Director of Pregones Theater, and Maria De Leon, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion, advancement, development, and cultivation of Latinos in the arts. They, along with other members of NALAC, were in Washington for NALAC's 2011 Leadership Institute. During the meeting, Serrano pledged his continued support for the arts, particularly in underrepresented communities. Serrano is a member of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, important sources of grants for organizations such as NALAC and the Pregones Theater.

Serrano meeting with members of NALAC

Serrano meeting with Rosalba Rolón (in front of Serrano), Maria De Leon (far left) and other members of NALAC

In the Bronx

Serranos, Salazar Announce New Bronx & Harlem River Initiative

Congressman José E. Serrano and State Senator José M. Serrano hosted Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at the Roberto Clemente State Park last week to announce a new program by the Department of the Interior and other federal agencies to supplement local efforts to develop new recreational facilities and increase public access to the Harlem River. 

The event served as the local announcement of the Bronx & Harlem River Watersheds’ selection as one of seven pilot locations in the Urban Waters Federal Partnership—an effort by 11 federal agencies to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve quality of life, and protect Americans’ health by revitalizing urban waterways in underserved communities across the country.

Secretary Salazar, Congressman Serrano, and State Senator Serrano

Secretary Salazar (at left) and Congressman Serrano listening to State Senator Serrano

Serrano and Salazar were joined at the park by National Park Service (NPS) Director Jon Jarvis; Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Regional Administrator George Pavlou; New York City Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland, and other officials from the City of New York and the NPS.

“We are so gratified to have Secretary Salazar here to launch the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, which will improve upon our efforts to clean and revitalize rivers in the Bronx,” said Serrano. “The setting for this announcement at Roberto Clemente State Park is fitting because there is such a need for increased access to the Harlem River here. It is illustrative of the efforts we have been making for years to connect communities to restored natural resources in their own neighborhoods. We will also now have the partnership and resources of the federal government to revitalize our rivers and the surrounding communities—and show the rest of the nation how this can be such a powerful tool for community and environmental development.”

“Roberto Clemente State Park is one of the top conservation priorities for the Obama administration, and we believe that the partnership we have with Congressman Serrano, the state of New York and New York City will be successful in reconnecting Americans with the great outdoors here along the Harlem River,” said Salazar. “This park is poised for a restoration that will make it a hub connecting neighborhoods and landscapes with the river.”

"Waterways like the Harlem and Bronx Rivers have the potential to be places where residents can connect to nature, relax and come together as a community," said George Pavlou, EPA Deputy Regional Administrator. "Thanks to efforts like those under the auspices of the Urban Waters Initiative, these rivers have the potential to be clean and beautiful areas where local businesses set up shop and hire workers, where fitness enthusiasts can bike and run and hike."

Roberto Clemente Park is situated in the middle of a developing greenway along the Harlem River. The state-run park serves an economically challenged community and hosts more than one million visitors annually.  Unfortunately, there is no public access to the Bronx side of the Harlem River because the only historic access in the park to the river is closed. 

For more information on the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, click here.

Serrano Marches in South Bronx Halloween Parade

Last Friday, Congressman Serrano marched in the 26th Annual South Bronx Halloween Parade along Westchester Avenue and Southern Blvd in the Bronx. Serrano greeted children and community members dressed in colorful costumes along the parade route. The parade, which was hosted by Community Board 2, ended with a musical presentation by young adults from the community.  

Serrano marching in the South Bronx Halloween Parade

Serrano Marching in the South Bronx Halloween Parade

Serrano Meets with Members of Dutch Parliament

Recently, Congressman Serrano met with Members of Parliament from the Netherlands. In addition to Members of Parliament, the Dutch delegation included representatives from a youth group, a women’s rights organization and a labor union. The Point CDC hosted the meeting, in which members of the delegation talked to Serrano about economic development in the Bronx, the integration of immigrants in the United States, and the political status of Puerto Rico.

Serrano with Members of the Dutch Parliament

Serrano with Dutch Members of Parliament


Humanities Research Grants

Deadline: December 8, 2011

The National Endowment for the Humanities is inviting applicants to apply for a Collaborative Research Grant to support group research into the humanities, archaeology, and how the humanities can inform research in social science and other disciplines. The grants are designed to fund up to three years of research, and all grantees are expected to communicate the results of their work to the appropriate scholarly and public audiences. Non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, state, local and tribal governments are encouraged to apply.

For more information about this grant please visit the website of the National Endowment for the Humanities

For more information about other federal grants please visit