Published in the National Journal, by Naureen Khan
Mauricio Lim Miller was all too familiar with poverty’s merciless persistence.
His mother immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1954 with only a third-grade education; she used all of her ingenuity to make ends meet and ensure a better life for her children. Although Miller managed to graduate from college, his sister got pregnant at 16. A generation later, his nieces and nephews were also struggling.
Miller spent his career in nonprofits trying to help families like his own. Although the antipoverty programs he led for two decades in California were widely lauded (he sat in President Clinton’s box at the 1999 State of the Union address), Miller was certain they weren’t working. The same people came into his office year after year. Down the line, he had the disappointment of getting to know their children.