Latino Group Wants More Obamaphones
According to The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), more low-income Latinos must be encouraged to use Obamaphones, despite increasing fraud in the program. “Probably about 30 to 35 percent of the people who qualify for Lifeline would be Latino, and yet only about 15 percent of the users of Lifeline are Latino,” said Brent Wilkes, executive director of LULAC. He added, “From our perspective, it’s not that there’s too much use, it’s actually too little.”
Wilkes admitted that fraudulent activity was common, but said that drug dealers should be able to pay for Obamaphones: “I don’t have a lot of evidence about drug dealers using the phone and things like that, I mean, if anything they should be able to pay for them.”
Nicholas Sullivan of the Center for Emerging Market Enterprises at Tufts University’s Fletcher School pushed the notion that Obamaphone increases could help the economy: “$3.7 billion in fresh income could be generated for the poor by making Lifeline-subsidized free cell phones available to all eligible low-income Americans, including Latinos.” According to the FCC, 41 percent of Lifeline phone recipients hadn’t been verified.