May 25, 2007

Secretary Carlos Gutierrez Reaches Millions of Hispanic Christians on Immigration Reform

Spanish Language Christian Radio Opens the Airways for Sec. Gutierrez

Washington, DC - Today, Secretary Carlos Gutierrez joined the national broadcast of CONLAMIC Informa, a daily Spanish language legislative news and information radio program hosted by Reverend Miguel Rivera, President of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders. This broadcasts originates in Washington, DC at 1030am Radio Poder and reaches 16 states in the nation. Secretary Gutierrez spoke to millions of Latino Christians about the fierce debate and hopeful progress of the current Senate comprehensive immigration reform consensus.

Hispanic ministers from Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Oklahoma and other states called the program to join the open dialog offered by Secretary Gutierrez and Rev. Rivera on an issue that has been a priority in their congregations.

Rev. Jose Rodriguez from Nashville, Tennessee asked "Many of our church leaders and members are American citizens. What can we do to support you and the other leaders who are fighting to bring a solution to the immigration crisis?"

Sec. Gutierrez responded, "As a citizen, it's important to be informed about the process and progress of this effort."

Rev. Augustine Reyes, who oversees a network of radio stations based in Dallas, Texas called in with a fellow minister to thank Sec. Gutierrez and Rev. Rivera for keeping them informed about this fierce debate. "Our members are holding prayer vigils in their congregations.."

"Its not everyday that Hispanic ministers get the opportunity to have an dialog with a key member of President George Bush's cabinet," said Rev. Rivera. "We're humbled by this. CONLAMIC has worked very hard to bring a voice to the Latino church, not only the big and more powerful church's but also the small storefront churches that must also have a voice in Washington, DC. After all, its our community that is most affected by the current broken immigration system."

CONLAMIC has called upon its 16,000 church leaders to contact their Senators in support of the consensus reached by the White House and the bipartisan effort in the Senate in order to accomplish the fundamental goals, which are to legalize the estmated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States in addition to increasing border security.

May 24, 2007

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Under Fierce Attack

Washington, DC- The comprehensive immigration reform initiative S-1348 (Kennedy/Kyl) continues to be under fierce attack by unions, including the AFL-CIO and other special interest groups and partisan groups as the strong anti-immigrant sentiment continues. Senate leaders are reporting more than 300 phone calls an hour to their offices calling them to abandon this legislation despite its moral and just cause.

Several amendments have been introduced in the Senate, many created with the intention of derailing the process of achieving a workable and comprehensive solution to the immigration crisis.

The first of these amendments, which was not approved, was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer of California who was determined to eliminate the second component of the comprehensive bill S-1348 - the guest worker program. If this amendment had been approved,Senators Dorgan and Boxer may have succeeded in ending all possibility of achieving a much needed comprehensive immigration reform during this legislative session. Boxer and Dorgan have both given into the workers unions, which have taken the position not support the fundamental element that will legalize the estimated 12 million undocumented people residing in the United States.

Senator Lindsey Graham, bill sponsor and a great friend to comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), presented a much more practical amendment that penalizes those who cross the border illegally with jail time after the comprehensive immigration reform law is in place. Senator Graham has taken tremendous heat for his firm position in support of CIR. He and his colleagues who have spearheaded this consensus are proof that true leadership still exists in the Senate.

Indeed, this effort has removed the haze in the Senate and clearly separates the leaders who have the courage to do what is right for America and those who have who have shown less than leadership and integrity by making it a priority to appease the special interests over over that of saving human lives.

Senator Bingaman from New Mexico succeeded in obtaining 74 votes in favor of his amendment. This version was certainly a victory for the workers unions, including the AFL-CIO which contributes millions to the political activities of Senators such as Bingaman.

This afternoon, Senator Hillary Clinton presented another amendment that contains an ingredient (guest worker family reunification) that can serve as another political game piece that can provoke the derailment of these critical Senate negotiations.

May 15, 2007

U.S. Senate to Reach a Consensus on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Washington, DC - The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders/CONLAMIC, the largest christian pastors advocacy organization in the nation sent a letter today of appreciation to the Honorable Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), for being the most influential Hispanic Senator on the present discussions and to accomplish a consensus for a "true" comprehensive immigration reform bill.

"Today or tomorrow the latest, we should have a Bill in the Senate, that will have sufficient bi-partisan support," says the Reverend Miguel Rivera from Capitol Hill. "This bill has been written in acordance with the main principals of the STRIVE Act (the Luis Gutierrez/Jeff Flake, House of Representatives legislation) and our understanding is that it will have the full support of the White House," said Rev. Rivera.

Since yesterday, Republican Senators have been meeting behind closed doors at the Capitol and by most accounts a consensus has nearly been reached and will be confirmed before the Memorial Day recess and a vote will be taken in the Senate. Sources near to Senator Mel Martinez, the most influential Republican Senator on this issue also confirmed that a comprehensive immigration reform bill will pass in the Senate.

Rev. Miguel Rivera and National Latino Evangelical Leaders, will host a Press Conference this week at the U.S. Capitol. The purpose of the press conference is for CONLAMIC leaders to call on the Latino Christian Church to support the Senate and White House CIR efforts and to request that the House of Representatives do the same.

""We must not release any of the pressure we've placed on this Congress, in fact, we must increase the pressure until a true comprehensive immigration reform bill is passed and sent to President Bush for his signature," urged Rev. Rivera.

May 08, 2007

Evangelical Leaders Hold a National Forum on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

CONLAMIC Addresses Leaders in Support for the STRIVE Act

Baltimore, MD – The National Association of Evangelicals and World Relief have invited Reverend Miguel Rivera, President of the national Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) to serve as a key speaker at a forum that will address comprehensive immigration reform. This meeting will be held at the Sheraton Hotel at the Baltimore airport on Wednesday, May 9th from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

Rev. Rivera will speak during a panel discussion with prestigious national leaders such as Rev. Luis Cortez, President of Esperanza-USA and Juan Hernandez, the former Special Assistant to Mexico’s President, Vicente Fox and author of “The New American Pioneers”.

There are high expectations of this event, since for the first time, the Anglo and Hispanic churches who are affiliated to the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) will be addressed by the leadership of CONLAMIC who has for years lead the fight for the Latino church to obtain a comprehensive solution to immigration reform. CONLAMIC has given its strong support for the STRIVE Act, an immigration bill sponsored by Congressmen Luis Gutierrez and Jeff Flake, a proposal that contains the key elements needed to provide a workable solution to this problem.

Rev. Rivera will be supporting the STRIVE Act project during his speech, which he considers the only workable alternative in the negotiations with the White House, who have taken a very conservative view of the issue in order to maintain open lines of communication with the Republican leaders on this debate.

“President George Bush who has never expressed opposition to the STRIVE Act, and has obtained the support of Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez, in efforts to keep the issue active among Republicans. This needs to see results during the next two weeks. The faith community is a critical supporter of the measures introduced in the STRIVE Act because it has the necessary ingredients for successful reform and will assist in providing legal status to our undocumented brothers and sisters,” declared Rev. Rivera.

Until now, the evangelical groups in general have maintained two positions, one is neutral and the other is in support of a generic form of comprehensive immigration reform. CONALMIC leaders see this as the moment for evangelicals to abandon both positions and unite in support of the STRIVE Act. It’s time to take action and stop the anti-immigrant special interests and political dividers that have derailed efforts to obtain comprehensive immigration reform.

”We are closer than ever to an answer that will help millions of undocumented people in this country and will correct the problems along the border of human contraband and exploitation of human labor of Hispanic immigrant. It's critical that we not fixate ourselves on positions that will detain this process, but instead must be on the offensive in seeking a strategy that will release the millions of families who have been trapped in a situation that subjects them to racial intolerance and exploitation,” said Rev. Rivera.