August 29, 2007

Rev. Rivera Debates House Rep. Randy Terrill on Lou Dobbs Show

Terrill Confidently Announces Intention to Create Strongest Law in America

New York, NY- Today, CNN’s Lou Dobbs television show featured a spirited debate between Rep. Randy Terrill (R-OK) sponsor of Oklahoma’s Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007 and the Reverend Miguel Rivera, President of the National Coalition of Latino (CONLAMIC) about efforts to fight this anti-immigrant policy in the state of Oklahoma and other similar policies around the nation.

CNN’s report this afternoon called “Broken Borders” spoke about the states of New Jersey, Virginia, and Oklahoma. States that CONLAMIC has offensively mobilized national, state and local leaders against anti-immigration legislation that has been implemented by certain local policymakers who have recklessly taken the immigration problem on themselves after Congress failed to develop a solution.

CONLAMIC’s President, Rev. Miguel Rivera said, “We are a conservative organization that represents a conservative Christian constituency. We believe the American borders must be strengthened and secured, but our nation cannot possibly deport 12 million undocumented people and this issue must be addressed.”

Rep. Randy Terrill, with an overly confident smile said “We intend to create the toughest immigration law in the nation that will cut access to jobs and benefits to illegal aliens and that will allow local officials to ask people to prove their legal residency. If those people are not illegal – they have nothing to worry about.”

Rev. Rivera steadfastly opposed him by pinpointing the fact that Rep. Terrill authored a law that opens the door for racial profiling and other injustices because he wants to score points with voters in Oklahoma. Terrill said that “it’s complete nonsense”, however had no definitive answer to current reports of the problem nor to the reporters prompting that he could “write the legislation in a way to avoid racial profiling and other injustices” except to say “yes I can do that”.

Rev. Rivera and the National Coalition of Latino Clergy intend to hold Rep. Terrill accountable for just that and stated CONLAMIC’s intention to file a lawsuit against the state for its careless policy.

“Clearly, this young state legislator intends to make a name for himself in creating a law that could be used as a model for other states. The current legislation is not a good model – if it were, we would be supportive. As an elected official he has the responsibility to the American people and his constituents to protect ALL citizens, including people of color. He needs to go back to the drawing board and get this right the first time,” stated Rev. Rivera.

CONLAMIC Legal Defense Fund plans to take legal action in response to Oklahoma’s immigration policy.

CNN’s Lou Dobbs show posted a viewer’s question during today’s show that asking, “Why do Christians and Churches support breaking the law? They should follow the Bible, which says to follow the law.”

The response to this is simple. Faith leaders have the responsibility to bring the TRUTH and the Bible supports this. This issue affects the civil rights of Americans, immigrants and even the hardworking undocumented people who live in this country. Faith leaders feel the responsibility to bring the truth to Americans regardless of whether or not it’s popular opinion.

August 28, 2007

CONLAMIC President to Face Oklahoma House Rep. Randy Terrill on Lou Dobbs Show

Debate Heats up over Terrill’s Anti-immigrant Legislation

New York, NY- Wednesday, August 29, 2007, at 6pm EST, CNN’s Lou Dobbs television show will feature what promises to be an interesting if not heated debate between Rep. Randy Terrill (R-OK) sponsor of the Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007 and the Reverend Miguel Rivera, President of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) who have lead efforts to fight this anti-immigrant policy in the state of Oklahoma and other similar policies around the nation.

The Washington based CONLAMIC; the largest Latino Christian Advocacy in the United States teamed up with the Oklahoma based American Dream Coalition to address reports of racial profiling and other instances of discrimination by local law enforcement as a result of Rep. Terrill’s Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007.

Hispanic ministers from throughout the state of Oklahoma have come together to address a growing fear from not only their undocumented congregants but also from a growing number of American born Hispanics who feel their being targeted as a result of the color of their skin by a law enacted by their own state policymakers.

“CONLAMIC has battled anti-immigrant ordinances in Riverside, New Jersey and other cities that divide communities, cause chaos and fear, and result in injustice and violations of civil rights. Oklahoma’s case is clearly one in which a policymaker was careless to develop a policy that provides local officials with a free pass to practice racial profiling of citizens based on the color of their skin,” said Rev. Rivera.

“We believe it’s time to give a voice to the voiceless and to stand up and fight for our people. We are working with the U.S. Department of Justice at the federal level, through the local courts system, and at the grassroots level with Church and community leaders in a united voice against injustice. We are at a time where our nation should not tolerate racial discrimination, yet in states such as Oklahoma and Georgia, this is an everyday occurrence,” said Rev. Rivera.

Since this policy was enacted earlier this year by Terrill and policymakers in Oklahoma, the states minority communities have erupted in anger about the injustices that have resulted by this careless policy that has failed to protect all citizens in the state. Rev. Victor Orta, President of the American Dream Coalition joined forces with CONLAMIC to mobilize grassroots Latino voters in prayer vigils in Tulsa, rallies and press conferences against the injustices caused by these sloppy policies,” said Rev. Rivera.

“CONLAMIC has a strong grassroots network that advocates for the civil rights of its Christian members but we also fight through the court system to combat the unconstitutionality of these local and state policies,” said William Sanchez, Attorney and President of the CONLAMIC Legal Defense Fund.

CNN’s Lou Dobbs program has helped create an anti-comprehensive opinion about immigration reform among its audience nationwide that earlier this year created an outcry from many vocal Americans who felt that Congress should not create a solution to fix the broken immigration system and to help an estimated 12 million undocumented access a path to residency that would allow them to be law abiding taxpaying citizens. As a result, America is where it started with no hopeful solutions to the problem and only an increased sense of fear, anger, hostility, and division amongst ethnic communities that has toppled us back to the days of the American Civil Rights Movement.

Rev. Rivera looks forward to addressing Mr. Dobbs and Rep. Terrill. Tune in at 6pm eastern standard time.

August 25, 2007

Oklahoma Hispanic Ministers Rally Against Anti-Immigrant Laws

Tulsa, OK- The Reverend Miguel Rivera, President of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders and Attorney William Sanchez will meet local attorneys in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the to discuss the possibility of legal action against the State of Oklahoma regarding legislation known as 1804.

"We are at the point of making a decision regarding our response to this issue within the next few days. Our plans include a large rally hosted by the Latino evangelical church on Saturday, August 25th at 1:30pm in Tulsa and again later during the week,” announced the Rev. Rivera to members of the press at a local radio station today.

"The Tulsa County Sheriff stated that many Latinos have been deported to their countries, even Puerto Ricans! This is according to local television reports. We’ve asked the Department of Justice in Washington, DC to launch an investigation regarding the possibility that U.S. citizens have been racially profiled and their rights as American citizens violated, “ added Rev. Rivera.

At noon today, more than 100 evangelical pastors from throughout the state of Oklahoma will organize in a “Calmor a Dios” rally, the first ever in this state, to be held at the steps of the capitol in Oklahoma City.

The chapter of CONLAMIC-Oklahoma is officially announcing its establishment today as the Rev. Victor Orta steps forward as the officially appointed State Coordinator. Rev. Orta will represent the state of Oklahoma within the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC).

Oklahoma Native American leaders were invited to support the advocacy efforts of the Latino evangelical pastors and to provide assistance of matters regarding the racial profiling data base and other issues that are being disclosed to the CONLAMIC attorneys.

"We are creating a state database which includes the name, badge number and patrol car plate identification of each local police officer that intervenes with any member of the community as a result of what is believed to be racial profiling. This gathering of evidence will assist as we gather evidence for our federal reports and case development,” said Rev. Rivera.

August 16, 2007

CONLAMIC Leaders Stand Against Anti-Immigrant Ordinance in Virginia

Hon. Craig Gerhart
County Executive
Prince Williams County
One County Complex Court
Prince Williams, VA 22192

Dear Mr. Gerhart;

Latino Evangelical Pastors and Christian Leaders from Prince Williams County will be holding a prayer vigil and press conference at the Prince Williams County circle this coming Saturday the 18th at 12:00 noon. Our President, Rev. Miguel Rivera will be leading us in prayer and a press conference.

The purpose for this event is to support the Latino immigrant community that has been the main target of an anti-immigrant ordinance recently voted on and passed by the County Commissioners.

As a result of the lack of effective legislative actions by Congress, local communities are very concerned with issues regarding the undocumented immigrants in their midst, however, many of these local ordinances have been recognized by Federal District Courts as unconstitutional on the basis that, "immigration issues are the legislative responsibility of the Federal Government and Congress".

Latino evangelical churches is committed to work in partnership with county leadership to seek viable solutions to these matters and avoid the animosity and distress that these ordinances bring. An anti-immigrant ordinance of this kind always causes chaos and divides the community, resulting in harmful repercussions to business, property owners and the larger economy.

Please be advised that the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Justice has been informed of our intentions and a copy of this letter has been forwarded to the Prince Williams County Sheriff Office.

Please feel free to join us at this event in prayer. Be Blessed!

Very Truly Yours;

Rev. Rafael Guevara, Vice-President

cc: William Sanchez, Esq
cc: Prince Williams Sheriff Office
cc: Civil Rights Division, Justice Dept.

August 01, 2007

Latino Pastors around the Nation Object to House Committee Chairman Miller’s View on NCLB

Washington, DC- Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representative Education Committee Chairman, Rep. George Miller (D-CA) called for serious changes to the No Child Left Behind law, including additional ways to measure school performance. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC), the nations leading Christian advocacy organization responds with fervent objection to Rep. Miller’s claim that most people view the current NCLB law as ‘unfair’. "Thanks to NCLB, for the first time ever, parents are beginning to see some transparency in our public school system. Schools are required to make their tests scores available to all and now parents can see how well schools do in educating their children,” said Reverend Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

“NCLB has provided parents with children in persistently dangerous and low performing schools with options to transfer to better schools or receive free tutoring, another first, which empowers parents to make decisions that can directly impact their child’s academic achievement,” said Rev. Rivera.

“Adding new ways to measure school performance only waters down this law, diminishing the accountability and transparency. Lawmakers must instead further strengthen this law by adding teeth to the current measurement rather than making it more flexible,” added Rev. Rivera.

In response to the alarming school drop out rate of Hispanic students (more than 40%), CONLAMIC leaders have committed to establishing 100 new Christian private schools by 2017, an initiative they call their “Education Ministry”. They seek to provide a quality option for parents that will do a better job in educating the youngest generation of Hispanic children, while the “broken public school system gets fixed”. However, they are concerned to see that the bright light that has shined hope for inner city minority children, called NCLB is now at the hands of leadership such as Rep. Miller, who are seeking to make changes that may halt the progress that we’ve seen in the law.

“The only promising thing that Rep. Miller has introduced in his proposal is teacher pay based on performance", said Rev. John Muniz, Chairman of the CONLAMIC Education Committee.In the last two years, CONLAMIC has worked collaboratively with the Hispanic Council for Reform & Educational Options (Hispanic CREO) to educate thousands of Latino parents, members of the Latino evangelical churches to understand the benefits and tools the NCLB legislation offers.

"Latino parents are learning that they have the responsibility of being involved in their child’s education and that they also have the right to hold schools accountable for their performance. School transparency leads to parent empowerment and parents are the only ones who will truly hold schools and lawmakers alike accountable for the needed change and this is has been the most promising benefit of NCLB,” said Maite Arce, Vice President of Hispanic CREO.

“A quality education should not be a benefit for American children, but must be a basic civil right," concluded Rev. Rivera.