Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Latinos Still Lag in Federal Employment Despite Citizenship

U.S. Hispanics may be seen as a pivotal force in the upcoming presidential election and marketing campaigns aimed at their collective economic strength, but it is still harder for a Galindo or a Lopez to land a job with the feds.

And arguments that citizenship – or lack thereof – is what holds Hispanics back are beginning to ring false.

While Latinos make up more than 16 percent of the U.S. population, they only make up less than 8 percent of the federal workforce (that goes down to under 4 percent for management levels). The disparity has led to some to place the blame on the fact that 25 percent of Hispanics counted in the U.S. Census are not citizens, a requirement for federal employment.

But Jorge Ponce, director of Policy and Evaluation Division at the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Commerce, challenged that argument Monday in a commentary he wrote for the National Institute for Latino Policy.

Ponce did the math. And once the non-citizens are subtracted from the civilian working pool of 24 million, there was still a workforce pool of almost 19 million Hispanics for the feds to consider.

More importantly, that number accounts for 12 percent of the U.S. workforce. Which means there is still a 4-point gap between that figure and the number of Hispanics under federal employment.

What there isn’t any more, Ponce said, is room for excuses.

“It defies logic that … federal managers can’t find enough qualified Hispanics,” Ponce wrote in the piece published Monday. “This is a challenge that has remained unsolved for the last 42 years.”

Rather than come up with excuses or rationalizing the obvious gap, Ponce said it was time for the U.S. government to take the matter seriously. He cited President Barack Obama’s 2011 White House Proclamation on National Hispanic Heritage Month, in which Obama said that “the future of America is inextricably linked to the future of our Hispanic community.”

Ponce said: “It is about time that the federal government did a little less conversation, and a little more action!”

This article originally appeared on VOXXI.