October 24, 2007

CONLAMIC Legal Defense Fund Amends its Legal Claim Against Oklahoma's HB-1804

Hispanic Ministers won't give ground on injustices affecting Oklahoma's Immigrant Families

Washington, DC- Today, attorneys for the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders Legal Defense Fund are expected to file an amended grievance against the Governor and the State Attorney General of Oklahoma, regarding legislation HB-1804. A lawsuit filed last week was dismissed by Federal District Court Judge Payne due to lack of standing on grounds that there is a need to further prove cognizable injury suffered as a result of the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act. The CONLAMIC Legal Defense Fund intends to prove otherwise.

"Today, we reaffirm our commitment to our members in Oklahoma who are experiencing the effects of the discriminatory anti-immigrant sentiment that has resulted from this state law. The signing of HB 1804 has incited rhetoric in the state that looks much like open season against Latinos,” said Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

“Members of Oklahoma’s Latino churches have been forced to leave their apartments and families have been rendered homeless because of their undocumented status. Small and mid sized business owners who are also members of our churches are losing revenue,” said Rev. Rivera.

“HB 1804 has created an atmosphere of fear, tension, and most serious of all, a forced exile of thousands of Latinos from the State of Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s citizens are subject to polarization and animosity as this anti-immigrant sentiment continues to rise in every neighborhood. HB 1804 even prior to being implemented has energized and motivated government employees and police officers around the state to take action and denounce the presence of undocumented immigrants,” says Rev. Miguel Rivera.

"Its important to note that after we reviewed the opinion of Judge Payne, we concluded that this decision is a temporary order of dismissal that will provide us with time to amend the complaint and that it is not a rejection of our claim regarding the lack constitutional standing of HB-1804,” stated William Sanchez, lead Attorney for the CONLAMIC Legal Defense Fund.

"We will not retreat from our moral duty to bring the truth to the American people and seek a remedy through the courts on this frivolous and un-American law that has discriminatory undertones carelessly brought forward by policymakers who tragically seek to utilize this sensitive issue for political gain,” said also the Rev. Rivera.

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