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On Wednesday, May 12, Axios Latino co-authors, race & justice reporter Russell Contreras and Telemundo reporter Marina Franco discussed jobs and the economic impact of federal legislation around infrastructure and climate change with Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president & CEO Ramiro Cavazos. Sen. Padilla discussed the impact of infrastructure legislation and the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act, a pathway to citizenship for any undocumented immigrant that has been an essential worker during the pandemic.

  • On redefining the future of infrastructure: "We can't be shy given the infrastructure needs of California and the nation...It's not just addressing deferred maintenance; it's how can we be smart about investing in our infrastructure that improves our economic position and competitiveness in the years ahead."
  • On the need for immigration reform: "[The] undocumented that have been here, working here, paying taxes here, they deserve security and a pathway to citizenship...We know the data is there. When immigrants naturalize and become citizens, it leads to an economic boost for them and their families and for our nation as a whole."

Ramiro Cavazos unpacked the state of the economy for the Latino community, highlighting the impact of COVID-19 and the importance of investing in small businesses.

  • On the economic impact and scope of the Latino community in the US: "There are 4.7 million Hispanic-owned businesses in America, and they drive the present economy and the future economy of this nation."
  • On progress to be made: "We need to make sure that capital is in the hands of our small business owners, all of them, especially Hispanic-owned businesses...We feel that they need to be connected and have the connections to contracts at the US government to make sure that we also do business with Fortune 1000 firms."

Axios Senior Vice President of Client Partnerships Jon Otto hosted a View from the Top Segment with Bank of America President of Business Banking Raul Anaya who discussed his observations on the impact of the pandemic on Latino-owned businesses.

  • "One of the biggest things that we saw was the digital transformation of all businesses, of all sizes, where they had to very quickly adapt and adjust their operations in order to be able to manage their business on an online basis."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Scoop: Pelosi, White House officials plot infrastructure path

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and senior White House officials met for 90 minutes on Tuesday to strategize how to ensure passage of major infrastructure spending, people familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: With the president's top legislative priority facing resistance among a Democratic caucus that's divided about how to proceed, top Biden aides and Pelosi (D-Calif.) are seeking to present a unified front.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.