July 29, 2006

CONLAMIC Declares Support for Stem Cell Research

Washington, DC –The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC), the largest Latino Clergy advocacy organization in the nation announced their support of embryonic stem cell research. “We applaud efforts of Senator Bill Frist for making this issue not only one for the research community but one for the United States Senate,” said Reverend Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC. “Embryonic stem cell research needs strict ethical safeguards and for this we must have the federal government’s involvement not only to create these safeguards but also to protect them.”

CONLAMIC supports the use of federal funds to advance embryonic stem cell research. “While we advocate life at conception and do not support abortion, we believe there are sufficient theological grounds to support stem cell research per the legislative initiatives that will be brought forward on Monday in the Senate, when considering the scientific benefits with such great live-saving potential.” said Reverend Rivera. CONLAMIC believes this research will potentially improve the health of the many who suffer from disease in the United States without the destruction of life in the process. CONLAMIC supports H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, S.3504, the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act; and S.2754 the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act.

CONLAMIC’s affiliates united in support of embryonic stem cell research conducted under strict ethical guidelines, the prohibition of fetal farming, and the exploration of adult stem cell research. “This is a moral choice that can hold the key to saving lives and to our nation’s medical progress and we urge President Bush not to veto this legislation.” proclaimed Reverend Rivera.

July 27, 2006

Riverside Officials Use Segregation Tactics

CONLAMIC Voices Opposition of Anti-Immigrant Ordinance

Riverside, NJ –On July 26th, the President of the National Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) hundreds of Latino Christian congregation members from churches in and around the Riverside Township vicinity, were waiting outside City Hall to attend the public hearing to voice their opposition on an anti-immigrant ordinance. This ordinance is meant to punish business and property owners who aid undocumented immigrants. What Latino leaders found at the steps of City Hall was straight out of the pages of history – tactics used against African Americans during the times of segregation. All in efforts to bring an ordinance to Riverside that CONLAMIC believes will breed hostility and increase discrimination within this community that can spread to other parts of the state.

“Last night as Pastors and other Latino’s were gathered at the door of City Hall, we were informed without prior notification that the hearings had been moved to another location. This tactic had been used during the times of segregation against African Americans, “said Reverend Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC. “It was clearly the intention of Riverside officials to fool Latino’s who came to the hearing because it took us time to walk several blocks to the school auditorium and when we arrived there were over 1,500 white residents already seated at the hearing.”

It was obvious that the Riverside officials made a concerted effort to mobilize residents of this small town, in order to assure passage of ordinance 16, the so called Immigration Relief Act, aimed at punishing undocumented residents in addition to business and property owners who assist or aid them.

Mayor Charles Hilton highlighted four issues in the ordinance, (1) that thousands of illegal immigrants are residing in Riverside and were not counted in the last census leading to thousands of public discretionary dollars lost to the community; (2) A major increase in public expenses such as school water and road restorations dollars have resulted due to this “illegal” immigrant community (less than 4% of the community are immigrants); (3) these individuals cause traffic problems such as lack of parking spaces for residents and the bring the constant presence of PA vehicles into town; and (4) an increase of building and occupancy violations due to the renting of apartments to a high volume of people, was to be considered a safety concern to the community.

The Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC, the largest Latino Christian advocacy organization in nation, testified "let me first commend the members of the Riverside City Council for bringing attention to what we have being saying in Washington D.C. for the last three years, that present immigration laws are deficient and that immigration reforms are needed in order to bring a comprehensive solution that affects the legal residents of our nation and over 12 million hard working, tax paying undocumented people in this country.” Hostile members in the hearing were escorted out of the building by police as the Reverend went on to say, “be assured that we as Clergy and Christian leaders strongly support fair enforcement of the law, however, housing or occupancy violations are due to be corrected by a fair implementation of the existing codes in Riverside. These efforts need to be applied not only to those sections of the community where new immigrants reside, but all over the boundaries of Riverside.”

While CONLAMIC supports enforcement of traffic and other community laws, there is concern that this ordinance will lead to racial profiling and other policing abuses. Racial profiling has been battled in the state of New Jersey. Every town should be committed to eradicate this practice. Furthermore, business and property owners should be very concerned about the economic future of a community whose leadership is anti-immigrant.

The ordinance was unanimously approved. CONLAMIC is encouraging litigators to explore this case and this may lead to overturning the ordinance. “Council Members of Riverside should bring together religious leaders and the community of this beautiful township of Riverside, and work toward a sound and lawful implementation of real solutions that will unite communities rather than divide them,” said Rev. Rivera.

July 26, 2006

Latino Organizations Bring Protest to Riverside

By TODD MCHALE - Burlington County Times

RIVERSIDE — A national Latino organization and more than a dozen supporters from across the state came to Riverside last night to voice their opposition to an immigration ordinance proposed by the Township Council.

Members of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders and numerous others held a prayer vigil in front of the township's municipal building to protest a township ordinance aimed at punishing those who aid or abet illegal immigrants.

“Mayor (Charles) Hilton's intentions with this ordinance are clearly anti-immigrant and discriminate against Latinos, especially since this would only be enforceable by adopting racial profiling and would be a tool placed in the hands of Riverside Township police and other city officials,” said the Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of the coalition.

Hilton and other council members said they introduced the “Illegal Immigration Relief Act” last month in order to deal with an influx of illegal immigrants who have made Riverside home in recent years.

If adopted, the ordinance would prohibit an illegal alien from leasing or renting property in town. Any property owner, renter, tenant or lessee who knowingly allows an illegal alien to use, rent or lease their property would be in violation of the ordinance and could be fined an amount no less than $1,000.

Any for-profit business, or its subsidiaries, that hires or attempts to hire an illegal alien or funds or establishes a day labor center that does not verify legal work status would be in violation of the ordinance.

In addition to a fine of no less than $1,000, businesses found in violation of the ordinance, whether it be in Riverside or anywhere else in the United States, would be denied a business permit, the renewal of a business permit, township contracts or grants for a period not less than five years from the time of the last offense.

Angela M. Gonzales, director of Servicios Latinos de Burlington County, said she is concerned about what this will do to numerous families that have established roots in the community.
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“What are these families going to do?” Gonzales asked. “Some have been here for 10 years.”
Gonzales said enforcement of the ordinance is likely going to result in many families being displaced.

“My main concern is for the children who were born in the U.S.,” Gonzales said. “What are we going to do with the children? It's going to be devastating.”

Members of the coalition, the largest Latino Christian advocacy organization in the nation, said they stand against the ordinance due to its “hostile nature and the fact it discriminates against Latinos ...”

“It's going to create more division in the community,” Rivera said. “It's a great shame that Mayor Hilton is unable to see the economic advantage that hardworking immigrants bring to our communities, which keep Riverside Township and our nation competitive. If this ordinance passes, it will not only increase discrimination, it will also punish business and property owners, which will hurt Riverside Township's economic growth.”

Committee members have said illegal immigration has led to overcrowding in some residences and in the township schools, and to a diminished quality of life for legal residents.
Gonzales and Rivera said they understand there's a need for immigration reform, but believe the township's proposed ordinance oversteps its authority.

“This is a federal problem,” Gonzales said. “The federal government is currently debating the issue. They should be the one to implement immigration reform.”

Earlier yesterday, Rivera contacted the state Attorney General's Office and sent a letter to Gov. Jon Corzine in hopes of some intervention on the matter.

He said if the ordinance is passed, the coalition would likely take the matter to court.

“Constitutionally, they do not have the right to do this,” Rivera said of the implications of local officials enforcing immigration laws.

July 25, 2006

CONLAMIC Informa Sobre Reforma Migratoria Integral

Washington, DC--La Coalicion Nacional Latina de Ministros Cristianos (CONLAMIC), organizacion representativa de mas de 15,000 Iglesias Cristianas Latinas en 32 Estados de Estados Unidos, ha iniciado una "avanzada informativa" para llevar decenas de conferencias a pastores latinos por todo el pais, en el mejor intento de provocar una respuesta masiva de votantes en contra de aquellos miembros de la Camara de Representantes norte-americana, que iniciaron la debacle presente la cual ha descarrilado el esfuerzo de una "reforma migratoria integral".

Aunque la Casa Blanca insiste que las negociaciones continuan vigentes, en el dia de ayer el Rev. Miguel Rivera quien participo en una reunion de orientacion por Ejecutivos de la Mansion Presidencial, declaro lo siguiente a la Prensa local de Washington DC."Hacemos responsables a cada congresista republicano y democrata que han convertido la necesidad de legislar a favor de una reforma migratoria, en un pantano de opiniones polarizantes anti-imigrantes y han inflamado la opinion publica en contra de la comunidad latina indocumentada, quienes estan pagando un precio muy alto de atropello social y repudio humano. Especificamente queremos ver la derrota en las proximas elecciones de aquellos congresistas republicanos que ejecutaron un acto de traicion politica en de los deseos generosos y humanos del Presidente Bush, en lograr una legislacion que pudiera traer solucion legal a mas de 12 millones de hermanod indocumentados".

CONLAMIC ha concluido que segun las estadisticas actuales las cuales declaran un alto porcentaje de apatia entre los votantes norteamericanos, "es el momento mas propicio para los latinos salir a votar y demostrar nuestra fuerza e inteligencia politica la cual trasciende ambos partidos politicos".
CONLAMIC repudia energicamente el estado de "demagogia" que algunas organizaciones mantienen dando la apariencia de apoyar una reforma migratoria, sin embargo a conveniencia financiera "les conviene a estos" mantener rehen toda gestion de avance, para lucro y beneficios organizacionales."

Nuestros hermanos indocumentados han sido victimas de un estado de anarquia legislativo, la demagogia hipocrita de quienes se benefician economicamente de su status legal y ahora de los atropellos e insultos provocados por legislaciones municipales que abiertamente buscan amendrentar y desaforar la presencia de inmigrantes indocumentados predominantemente latinos, en sus comunidades". Ejemplo de esto es la hemorrajia de mas de mil ciudades y municipios que actualmente consideran imitar la implementacion de leyes indenticas a Hazelton, PA, municipio que ha declarado no gratos a nuestros hermanos indocumentados.

CONLAMIC ocupara su cadena radial matutina www.wwgb.com para llamar a miles de radio oyentes a comunicarse con las oficinas de aquellos congresistas que han perturbado este debate, y dejarles saber de nuestro repudio incondicional. Por igual hemos decarado el Sabado 23 de Septiembre un "dia de Clamor a Dios" frente al Capitolio en Washington DC, donde se espera la presencia de miles de miembros de nuestras iglesias.

July 23, 2006

Latino Pastors in New Jersey Respond to Mayor Charles Hilton Support of Anti-Immigrant Resolution

Riverside , NJ – On Monday, July 24th, more than thirty Latino Pastors from all over the state of New Jersey will hold a press conference at the entrance of Riverside's City Hall, 1 Scott St., at 7pm. This press conference will be held in response to Mayor Charles Hilton and the Riverside's City Council's intention to vote on and pass an anti-immigrant resolution similar to the one approved in Hazleton, PA. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC), the largest Latino Christian advocacy organization in the nation stands firmly against this resolution because of its hostile nature and the fact that it discriminates against Latinos and will hurt Riverside's business community.

In a letter sent to Mayor Charles Hilton of Riverside, CONLAMIC urged the mayor to stop this resolution, which is scheduled to come to vote on Wednesday, July 27th by Riverside's City Council. CONLAMIC has also urged Governor Jon Corzine to consider authorizing the Attorney General's Office to seek a federal court order to stop this legislative action by Riverside's Council Members on grounds that immigration policy is only related to Federal Government policy and action. "Mayor Hilton's intentions with this resolution are clearly anti-immigrant and discriminate against Latino's, especially since this would only be enforceable by adapting racial profiling and would be a tool placed in the hands of Riverside police and other city officials," cautioned Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

"It's a great shame that Mayor Hilton is unable to see the economic advantage that hardworking immigrants bring to our communities, which keep Riverside and our nation competitive. If this resolution passes it will not only increase discrimination, it will also punish business and property owners, which will hurt Riverside's economic growth," said Rev. Rivera.

As of today, no response has been issued by the Riverside Chief of Police regarding a request of permit for the press conference requested by CONLAMIC's New Jersey Pastors.

"We are coming to Riverside to hold a prayer vigil on behalf of our nation, which is being torn apart by the irresponsible actions of members of the House of Representatives in Washington, D. C. by not acting prudently during the current legislative session in seeking a compromise with the U.S. Senate and bring comprehensive immigration reform that will allow millions of undocumented, hard working families continue their strong and positive contributions to the economy of the United States," said Rev. Miguel Rivera.