March 10, 2008

The real story behind Senator Sweeney's actions..!

By Rev. Miguel Rivera

Once again in the midst of a "budget fight", Governor Jon Corzine is being the victim of a political assault by the "South Jersey Democratic leadership". Senator Stephen Sweeney is a "subordinate legislator" of such "southern faction" of the Party.The same happened two years ago, when Governor Corzine decided to have the government "closed down", due to the conflicts and misunderstandings with the "Democratic bosses" of "south jersey". This time the plan is to "ridicule the Governor and the Blue Ribbon Immigration Panel" (a Governor Corzine's effort), even before such task force has rendered an opinion on issues regarding the undocumented immigrants and their impact, in New Jersey.Senator Sweeney is "imitating" others around the Country (like Randy Terril from Oklahoma) who are taking advantage of such a sensitive and controversial issue, to score political points with their constituencies. For these "type" of legislators, the undocumented immigrants issue, is their best source of political fund raising and momentum, on an election year.Even an increase in "hate groups" and hate crimes against latinos, is being published by independent think tanks around the Country, due to the inflammatory "rethoric" and the non-expensive easy political opportunism, that, such legislative actions provide. Without wearing a "klan's hood", Senator Sweeney is fueling such animosity with such a legislative initiative, that even tries to question the authority of the Attorney General's guidelines, which were well received by the Latino Community, as a prudent and sensible approach to such a controversial issue.Mr. Sweeney's intentions are not only to embarrass the Governor but also, to escalate the anti-latino immigrant sentiment in the State of New Jersey, which will bring the same economic consequences that the Township of Riverside, NJ (a southern enclave) is going thru, after a deliberate and discriminatory Ordinance that was later rescind against the Honduran, Ecuadorian and Brazilian immigrant residents.By the same token, Sweeney's actions are a "wake-up" call to the members of the immigration advisory panel, to not "disconnect themselves" with the reality of the undocumented immigrants.Latino Evangelical Pastors know, because, thousands of members of our Churches around the Nation, are undocumented latino immigrants, who are not seeking "welfare benefits or hand-outs". Their main concerns are to work hard, earn some money, help their families here and abroad and love this Country.For many of them, being paid low wages and waging discrimination working jobs that other American workers do not want, is not an issue to be concerned.Many of them are just grateful to have such "job" and pursue happiness.I urge the Latino Evangelical Clergy in New Jersey to advocate against the "Sweeney's Bill" and let's pray that GOD will bring peace to our hearts even when as victims of such endeavors, in the midst of the Christian Holy Week, Good Friday and Resurrection of Our LORD, we pray for forgiveness toward our adversaries and wisdom to carry on our fight for Social Justice and a real solution to this dilemma, Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

*The Rev. Miguel Rivera, is President of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) the largest latino evangelical pastors advocacy organization with over 16,000 affiliates in 34 States. For additional information please visit;

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