Newsroom

10/12/17: Ruiz, Cruz-Perez, and Pou Decry Trump Threat to Abandon Puerto Rico Recovery Effort

posted Oct 13, 2017, 5:43 AM by Nellie Pou   [ updated Oct 13, 2017, 5:45 AM ]

TRENTON – Senators M. Teresa Ruiz, Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Nellie Pou today issued the following statements in response to President Trump’s threat to pull aid from Puerto Rico as conditions on the island continue to deteriorate in the wake of Hurricane Maria:

 

“The President’s threat to abandon Puerto Rico and the millions of Americans struggling to obtain the basic necessities for survival on the hurricane-ravaged island is inhumane and un-American,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “It’s been 22 days since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and 90 percent of the island remains in the dark. Thousands of people are living in shelters and entire communities are gone. Three weeks after the disaster, people are still boiling drinking water and there are threats of a health crisis at a time when half of the hospitals are running on generators. Abandoning Puerto Rico when it is most in need is simply unacceptable. Congress must do everything it can to ensure the relief effort continues. The assistance FEMA and the federal government provide is of paramount importance for the reconstruction and recovery of the island and the health and safety of the 3.5 million Americans that live there. This is about saving lives.”

 

“When the President visited the island, there were 16 fatalities. Today, there are 44. Hurricane Maria devastated the island, but the conditions are now worsening. Recent rains have caused more flooding, and there are still areas where emergency responders have not reached hurricane victims because of collapsed roads and bridges. The crisis is escalating, and pulling FEMA and the National Guard from the island would be unfathomable. It will mean leaving Puerto Ricans for dead,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “The people of Puerto Rico need help now more than ever. I am urging the President and our congressional representatives to make sure the residents are protected.

 

"I read the President's tweets this morning with sadness and disgust. President Trump pledged to be with the people of Texas and Florida for as long as it took to restore those communities, but for the people of Puerto Rico he expresses limits to his ‘generosity.’ We must make sure that all people living in areas ravaged by natural disasters get the aid they need – in Texas and Florida, and in California but also in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen and Passaic). “The residents of Puerto Rico should not be treated as second-class citizens. In the United States of America, the federal government has a responsibility to all of its residents. Just as in other parts of the country, the relief effort must go on in Puerto Rico for as long as it takes.”

10/12/17: Pou Receives Legislator of the Year Award from NJ Chamber of Commerce

posted Oct 13, 2017, 5:36 AM by Nellie Pou   [ updated Oct 13, 2017, 5:36 AM ]

TRENTON – Last night, Senator Nellie Pou attended the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Legislative Awards Reception where she received the award for Legislator of the Year

She was one of four state legislators -- two Democrats and two Republicans -- named as recipients of the Chamber's biannual Legislators of the Year Award. The award ceremony also honored two members of the business community for their advocacy and leadership.

“I am beyond thrilled to have received this award,” said Senator Pou. “We recognize that businesses are our job creators and as a state we need to ensure that our state is making it easier for businesses to succeed. It is so important that we not only have a skilled workforce, but also a transportation system in place that allows businesses to move people and products. That is why replenishing the Transportation Trust Fund was critical and I am proud of the work we did to see this effort through.”

The Chamber selected Senator Pou and the other lawmakers based on their voting records, bill sponsorships and committee votes. All six recipients were honored by the Chamber for their overall history of supporting the business community and for their work advancing New Jersey as a more business friendly state, and as a great place to live and work.

“The State Chamber applauds and congratulates the strong advocacy of Senator Pou during the 217th Legislative Session in helping us with our priorities in improving the economy, retaining and creating jobs and enhancing the overall business climate of New Jersey,” said Tom Bracken, president of the NJ State Chamber of Commerce. “We especially recognize and appreciate Senator Pou’s support for the replenishment of the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund and the passage of the comprehensive tax reform package that will go a long way in achieving those priorities.”

In addition to Senator Pou’s support for the replenishment of the Transportation Trust Fund and the tax reform package, the Chamber cited legislation she sponsored, S-1761, which directs the Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development to promote basic skills training through organizations dedicated to the economic empowerment of specific segments of society, such as the African American Chamber of Commerce and the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“A skilled workforce is essential for further economic growth and is a priceless asset to business owners,” added Senator Pou.  “I was proud to sponsor legislation to require additional organizations to be included in the effort to promote workforce training. This is essential to making sure we are reaching all of our communities to ensure that residents have the skills and training they need to not only meet expectations but exceed them as well.”

10/06/17: Pou, Cruz-Pérez y Ruíz introducen resolución instando al Congreso exonerar permanente a Puerto Rico de ciertas disposiciones de la Ley Jones

posted Oct 6, 2017, 8:45 PM by Nellie Pou   [ updated Oct 6, 2017, 8:46 PM ]

Trenton- Las Senadoras Nellie Pou, Nilsa Cruz-Pérez, y M. Teresa Ruíz presentaron ayer una resolución en la que instan al Congreso y la Administración Trump a exonerar permanentemente a Puerto Rico de ciertas disposiciones de la Ley de la Marina Mercante de 1920, conocida como la Ley Jones.

 

"Pedimos al Congreso de los Estados Unidos que exonere permanentemente a Puerto Rico de ciertas disposiciones de la Ley Jones", dijo la Senadora Pou (D-Bergen / Passaic). "Debido a la Ley Jones, la gente de Puerto Rico paga al menos el doble por alimentos, agua potable, suministros e infraestructura. Esta ley ha sido excesivamente onerosa para Puerto Rico y es inaceptable en estos momentos de  desastre. No imponemos requisitos adicionales para el envío a las Islas Vírgenes, por lo que no hay razón para seguir imponiéndolos para Puerto Rico. Esta legislación reduciría los costos de envío y el costo de bienes y servicios para los consumidores estadounidenses”.

 

"Esta ley ha contribuido durante mucho tiempo al alto costo de vida en la isla, y es un gran obstáculo en la distribución de entrega de suministros para la población de la isla y  para su reconstrucción", dijo la Senadora Cruz-Pérez (Camden / Gloucester). "Puerto Rico ha estado luchando con la deuda y una economía catastrófica, traída en parte por la Ley Jones. Esta resolución insta al Congreso de los Estados Unidos y al Presidente Trump a exonerar a Puerto Rico de ciertas disposiciones de esta ley”.

 

"No debemos suspender temporalmente la Ley Jones para Puerto Rico, sino absolverlo de forma  permanente al territorio de sus dañinas provisiones", dijo la Senadora Ruíz (D-Essex). "Ningún estado en la nación está obligado a pagar altos costos por los productos básicos, sin embargo esta ley impone una política onerosa sobre Puerto Rico el cual aumenta sustancialmente el precio de las cosas. Esto perjudica a la gente de Puerto Rico y afecta negativamente a la economía de la isla. Exonerar a Puerto Rico de ciertas disposiciones de la Ley Jones no sólo es necesario para su recuperación de este desastre, sino también para el futuro crecimiento económico de la isla”.

 

Un estudio de 2010 en la Universidad de Puerto Rico concluyó que la isla perdió $ 537 millones al año  como resultado de la Ley Jones.

 

El 28 de septiembre de 2017, el Presidente Donald Trump tomó medidas para suspender por 10 días la ley Jones para Puerto Rico a petición de su gobernador. Oficialmente titulada como la Ley de la Marina Mercante de 1920, la Ley Jones estipula que todas las embarcaciones que operan en aguas de los Estados Unidos sean de construcción estadounidense, de bandera estadounidense y 75% de tripulaciones estadounidenses.

 

Según el Departamento de Agricultura, Puerto Rico es un territorio crucial para las compañías navieras porque alberga a 3,5 millones de residentes que importan el 85 por ciento de sus alimentos y finalmente pagan el costo del transporte. Por el contrario, los territorios de Guam, las Islas Vírgenes de los Estados Unidos, las Islas Marianas del Norte y Samoa Americana están total o parcialmente exentos de las restricciones de estas leyes marítimas.

 

Foto adjunta al comunicado. 

10/05/17: Pou-Vitale Introduce Resolution Urging Congress to Codify DACA

posted Oct 5, 2017, 3:17 PM by Nellie Pou   [ updated Oct 5, 2017, 3:18 PM ]

TRENTON – Senator Nellie Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Senator Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) today introduced a resolution urging Congress to enact legislation to codify the provisions of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program into law. The Senators’ call for action in Washington, D.C. comes as Dreamers face today’s deadline set by the Trump Administration to file DACA renewal applications.

“Putting an end to DACA is divisive, counter-productive and mean-spirited,” said Senator Pou. “The Administration’s actions possess a looming threat to the 800,000 Americans and the 22,000 New Jersey Dreamers who could be targets of deportation because of a vindictive political agenda. I urge Congress to codify the protections that are embodied in DACA so they can be enacted into law.”

“The President’s decision to end the DACA program was wrong, and puts 800,000 productive members of this country at risk. We will not stand by while 22,000 DACA recipients in New Jersey, who were brought here at a young age by their families, have their status revoked,” said Senator Vitale.  “Congress must take action to protect our neighbors and the many well-meaning, innocent children, who came here through no fault or decision of their own, so that they can continue to learn, work, and thrive in the only home they have ever known.”

The DACA program was established in 2012 by President Barack Obama through executive action.  Under the program, undocumented immigrants who were between the ages of 16 and 30 in 2012, who entered the United States before their 16th birthday, and who met certain other requirements were provided with temporary relief from deportation.  DACA also provided these young people with a social security number and a work permit. Although the program did not provide legal immigration status, the benefits provided by DACA allowed those under its protection to secure a driver’s license, obtain employment, and earn the funds necessary to attend college.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Sept. 5 but gave those whose two-year work permits would expire before March 5 the chance to renew them one last time. The deadline for filing renewal applications is today.

Since Sept. 5, about 54,000 more DACA recipients have applied for renewals, aided by millions of dollars in donations to help pay the renewal fees, according to published reports. If DACA is not renewed by March 5, recipients’ work permits will expire at a rate of roughly 30,000 a month, leaving them unable to legally work and putting them at some risk of deportation.

In New Jersey, more than 87% of DACA participants are working and contributing more than $66 million in State and local taxes each year.  Ending DACA would cause an immediate 32% reduction in those tax payments.  Some studies also suggest that if DACA is eliminated, the State would lose an estimated $1.6 billion each year in State gross domestic product.

“Our moral duty as public servants to protect Dreamers should be clear, but also our own interest is only enhanced by the DACA program continuing,” said Pou. “The Dreamers are vital and valued members of our community and as a legislator I will do everything I can to support them and to keep them here in our communities.”

“Failing to renew DACA will undoubtedly be detrimental economically to our state and country,” said Senator Vitale. “More importantly, this is an issue of human decency and human rights. The forced removal of young people who have done nothing wrong, and have known no other country than the United States, is cruel and contrary to the American values and ideals of compassion, inclusion, and opportunity.  Yet despite these facts, the Trump Administration announced last month that it is phasing-out the DACA program over a six-month period. Congress must act to prevent what would be a sad chapter in American history.”

10/05/17: NJ Senate Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

posted Oct 5, 2017, 3:16 PM by Nellie Pou   [ updated Oct 5, 2017, 3:16 PM ]

TRENTON — Honoring Hispanic leaders and Hispanic Heritage Month, today Senate President Steve Sweeney along with Senators M. Teresa Ruiz, Nellie Pou and Nilsa Cruz-Perez presented a joint resolution to Latino leaders recognizing their work and contribution throughout the state. The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration runs from September 15 through October 15 each year.

“Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the countless contributions of Hispanics who help make our country prosperous,” said Senator Sweeney. “The Hispanic population is the largest minority in the United States and plays a key role in our country’s socio-economic, political and cultural development and it is important to recognize their achievements and valuable contributions.”

The Latino community is a vital part of our state andits contributions not only make New Jersey great, but also ensure that we continue to grow stronger,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Today, the Senate honored leaders that are making a difference every day within our communities, including those who are organizing recovery and relief efforts for Puerto Rico. To all of them, we say thank for your tireless efforts.”

“Hispanic Heritage Month comes at a time when so many of our Latino brothers and sisters are struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic).  “The way our communities are coming together is a tribute to our resiliency, but we must continue to do more and not to forget in the upcoming weeks and months about our people in Puerto Rico.”

“As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, I want to recognize Latinos who live in every community in New Jersey for their valuable contribution to our state,” said Senator Cruz-Perez. “Now is a time of great uncertainty for many Latinos. Many of us have been attacked and impugned, and our families are being threatened with being torn apart. The Latino community is an essential part of our communities and our country. They are vital to our history, as well as our future.”

The senators presented the ceremonial resolution for the Hispanic Heritage Month, to Ivonne Diaz-Claisse from HISPA; Alejandro Roman, President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, New Jersey Chapter; Lydia Valencia, CEO of Puerto Rican Congress of NJ, Inc.; Ralph Padilla, executive director of Puerto Rican Action Committee of Southern New Jersey; and Johnny Torres from Save Latin America honoring their work, and that of Latinos throughout the state.

According to the Pew Research Center, Hispanics represent 19 percent of the state population which ranks 9th in the country.

In September 1968, the United States Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week. This celebration was extended by the Congress in 1989 to last a whole month (from September 15 to October 15).

The United States celebrates the culture and traditions of its residents with roots in Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

September 15 was chosen as the beginning of the celebration as the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their Independence Day on September 16 and 18, respectively.

09/29/17: Pou Statement on New Jersey's Hurricane Maria Relief Effort

posted Sep 30, 2017, 10:28 AM by Nellie Pou   [ updated Sep 30, 2017, 10:29 AM ]

TRENTON – Senator Nellie Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic) today issued the following statement on the state’s plan to aid the Hurricane Maria rescue and recovery effort in Puerto Rico. Governor Christie today announced plans to deploy National Guard members and emergency responders to Puerto Rico under the state’s effort, designated as the Puerto Rico Integrated Deployment Effort (PRIDE):

 

“New Jersey is deeply connected to Puerto Rico and it is critical that we provide support to our fellow citizens as they work to recover from this natural disaster. I am grateful the governor is marshaling state resources, and ask that the administration do everything it can to get assistance to the island as soon as possible.

 

“The people of Puerto Rico are facing extremely dire circumstances and while they continue to hear that help is on the way, residents in many parts of the island have not yet received aid. Food, water and fuel supplies are dwindling and for many, particularly those with health conditions that require medical attention, this is becoming an issue of life or death.

 

“We are still in response mode, in the life saving stages of this crisis, and sending additional emergency responders during this most critical time to the island of Puerto Rico could make all the difference. I want to thank the administration for its work to mobilize manpower and equipment. I especially want to thank the men and women in our National Guard, our law enforcement and our first responders who courageously respond to the call for assistance in times of crisis.

 

“We have seen an outpouring of support from New Jerseyans, including from law enforcement in Paterson and Passaic and Bergen counties who are preparing to mobilize as part of this effort. I know we will continue to see our residents stepping up to help our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico for weeks and months to come.”

09/22/17: Pou Editorial on DACA

posted Sep 25, 2017, 1:11 PM by Nellie Pou   [ updated Sep 25, 2017, 1:12 PM ]

When President Donald Trump acted to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program –  the federal program that has succeeded in protecting young immigrants who came to the United States as children from being summarily deported – he sent a traumatizing message to a large segment of Americans who are contributing members of society.  Abolishing DACA is nothing less than an assault on the American Dream and a repudiation of the values and principles that are central to our country’s history. The president’s actions were an extremely disturbing manifestation of the xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric that Trump and others have employed to polarize the electorate.


Since then, the president has signaled more of a willingness to treat DACA participants humanely and to work with Congress on a plan that would allow them to remain in the only country they have known. While I am supportive of these efforts and want to be hopeful that they will succeed, the president’s history on this issue, his inconsistent positions and erratic behavior are reasons for concern. The threat has not gone away. The fate of more than 800,000 Americans and 22,000 New Jerseyans who are part of the DACA program is on the line as this controversy continues.


As one of the most diverse states in the nation, New Jersey understands the importance of welcoming Dreamers to our state and our country and the value of their contributions; foreign-born residents make up 21 percent of the state’s population.


We need to understand the context of this debate and how DACA has succeeded. President Barack Obama created DACA through executive order in 2012 because Congress continually failed to implement more comprehensive immigration reform.  The program allows children who were brought to the United States illegally at no fault of their own to remain in the country. As DACA participants, the applicants cannot have serious criminal histories and need to have arrived in the U.S. before 2007 and be under the age of 16. They must live and work legally in the United States and qualify for renewable two-year periods.


The DACA program has been a resounding success with more than 90 percent of the participants in school or in the workforce nationwide. These Dreamers all grew up in our great country, registered with our government and submitted to extensive background checks.


By ending DACA, New Jersey would undoubtedly feel the impact in our economy. Without a pragmatic immigration reform approach in Washington, New Jersey will lose those contributions made by DACA recipients financially, as well as those who are students and faculty members at our institutions of higher education throughout the state.


According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, on a national level our economy would lose $460 billion from our national GDP and $25 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions if these Dreamers were to have their dreams cut off.


In New Jersey, they bring in $66 million annually to our state, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective. Dreamers are on the payrolls of our hospitals, law firms, universities, hotels, restaurants, nursing homes and just about any other industry in New Jersey.


The negative effect on the economy is important, but it does not compare to the profound impact that ending DACA will have on the lives of young people, their families and their communities. The decision to end the program will result in turning the lives of enterprising immigrant youth upside down, stealing their economic futures and putting them in desperate fear of being separated from their families and communities. Putting an end to DACA would be divisive, counter-productive and mean spirited.


So far, 15 states have announced that they will sue the president on his decision to end DACA.  Washington State will lead this multi-state lawsuit against the Trump administration. I support these efforts and I wrote to the state attorney general asking that New Jersey joins in the lawsuit. If the Christie administration refuses to support the effort, I hope and expect the next administration to take up the challenge. New Jersey needs fair solutions at this time, and by alienating and penalizing individuals who are contributing members in our communities, as a way to gain political points is simply un-American.


Dreamers are vital and valued members of our community. As a legislator I will do everything I can to support them. Our moral duty as public servants to protect Dreamers should be clear, but it is also undeniable that the strength of our country – and our state – is only enhanced by the DACA program continuing.


Nellie Pou, D-North Haledon, represents the 35th Legislative District in the state Senate.

09/20/17: FY18 Democratic Budget Priorities- Behind the Numbers

posted Sep 22, 2017, 6:22 AM by Nellie Pou

"The children served by CASA have suffered unimaginable trauma, and it is because of this program that they have advocates who are working to ensure they get the resources and assistance they need." ~Senator Nellie Pou


YouTube Video


09/15/17: Pou Statement on Hispanic Heritage Month

posted Sep 15, 2017, 2:14 PM by Nellie Pou   [ updated Sep 15, 2017, 2:16 PM ]

TRENTON — Senator Nellie Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic) released the following statement in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month to honor the history, culture and contributions of the Latino community in this great state and our great nation. The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration runs from September 15 through October 15 each year:

 

“As you know, our nation has found strength in the diversity of our people, our hard work and above all our deep loyalty to this nation.

 

“This month serves not only to celebrate and recognize the rich contributions that Latinos have made to our communities in New Jersey and across the country, but also to recognize that we are a vital part of the success of this country. The Latino Community is woven into the fabric of our American history and I am proud that we have influence in this State and in this nation, from business owners and elected leaders to students and to professionals that work in our hospitals, news rooms, hotels, in law firms and art studios and more. We have much to celebrate this month.

 

“We want Hispanic Heritage Month also to be a time during which we can promote citizen participation to ensure that we have a voice in the decisions that are made within our communities.”

09/11/17: Pou Statement on the Anniversary of 9/11

posted Sep 11, 2017, 4:34 PM by Nellie Pou   [ updated Sep 11, 2017, 4:40 PM ]

TRENTON – Senator Nellie Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic) released the following statement today on the 16th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks and in remembrance of a Paterson native who lost his life that day:  


“Today, we reflect on the tragic day that forever changed our country and thousands of lives, but we also remember the spirit of love and unity that we saw in the days after. What I remember most about the time period immediately following the morning of September 11 was the incredible demonstration of American pride that was shown from coast to coast as well as around the world. Our country was united in a way I had never seen before.

 

“The attacks on American soil really hit home for me. On September 11, the city of Paterson lost Kenneth Lira. Kenneth was working on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center’s south tower. He was a native of Paterson who was 28 years old when he died. Kenneth was a young man, in the prime of his life who had a lot to offer and a heart of gold. My heart goes out to his family and all those who lost loved ones that day, in Manhattan, in Washington D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

 

“There was no shortage of heroes who emerged that day, from those passengers aboard Flight 93 who rushed the cockpit, to the first responders who ran toward the disaster knowing the danger that was ahead. Many of those responders died that day or years later after facing health issues from breathing in the debris and smoke. This is a day to remember those sacrifices.

 

“One day made a life-changing difference for thousands of people across this country. On September 10, children went to school, parents went to work, lower Manhattan functioned as normal as did the Pentagon. A field in Pennsylvania was just a vacant field. One day later, our world was forever changed. Families like the Lira family experienced a pain like never before, the Manhattan skyline was transformed and a quiet Pennsylvania town would become known as a memorial.

 

Sixteen years later, the events of September 11, 2001 are still fresh in our minds. Today is a day to reflect and remember how our country came together and it serves as a reminder that we are a nation that is better when we are united.”  

1-10 of 153