January 27, 2009

CONLAMIC Urges Senate Leaders to Include Legal Immigrant Children and Pregnant Women Coverage in SCHIP Program Reauthorization

Washington, DC – As early as today, the Senate may vote to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a program that is critical to ensuring the health of our nation’s children. Upon learning that amendments may be offered to eliminate coverage for legal immigrant children and pregnant women, Latino pastors, members of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) took action in a rapid response effort urging Senate leaders to not exclude legal immigrant children and their mothers from this valuable program.

"We are alarmed that there are leaders in the Senate who would oppose basic health coverage to legal immigrant children and pregnant women. Our leaders in Congress will hear from us today as we ensure the voice of the voiceless is represented by the strength of Latino Clergy throughout the nation," said Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

Senator Robert Menendez, a champion for health care reform and the right of legal immigrant children and pregnant women to have access, alerted CONLAMIC that this critical program risks excluding millions of children who live in poverty in the United States.

“Aside from life, the most important asset we have as individuals is our health – this must not be stripped from the immigrant children who are American’s and the future of our nation!” said Rev. Rivera.

Senate leaders must not remove this vital asset from legal immigrant children and their pregnant mothers with the insertion of a few words into the policy that will guide the SCHIP program. Latino ministers, urged by CONLAMIC, are mobilizing to urge Senate leaders to include immigrant children and pregnant women in the critical SCHIP program re-authorization.

"When families are healthy our nation is strong – may our leaders in Congress and President Obama embrace change that will strengthen us and fight those who deny basic health to legal immigrant children and their mothers," concluded Rev. Rivera.

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January 25, 2009

CONLAMIC Leaders Opposes President Obama’s Reversal U.S. Foreign Abortion Policy

Washington, DC – President Obama's decision to reverse U.S. policy toward pro-abortion foreign guidelines comes as a blow to the Latino Evangelical Christian community and all American’s who believe in the sanctity of human life. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) finds this reversal, carried out quietly behind closed doors alarming.

“President Barack Obama's Executive Order will now direct tax payer’s money toward pro-abortion foreign policies and supporting a culture of terminating life- contrary to the traditional values held by many American’s,” said Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

The Christian conservative church stands up for the right to life. With this understanding, President Obama may have had no other choice but to execute this behind closed doors and away from the Press to avoid fanfare and minimize a political backlash.

“If this is President Obama’s first order of business, then American’s should be fearful of what’s to come with regards to traditional values. This will certainly have spiritual consequences for our nation,” said Rev. Rivera.

Latino evangelicals are asking, what’s next? We are deeply concerned that similar actions will continue to jeopardize traditional values and the right to life. More than ever, we will strongly advocate for the preservation of traditional family values, including family, marriage, and life.

“Our Hispanic Evangelical leaders have the utmost respect for our new President, nevertheless, our moral obligation is to speak up for alienable rights and the sanctity of life that is the foundation of our country,” concluded Rev. Rivera.

The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) is the largest Latino Christian advocacy organization in the nation, representing 16,000 churches in 32 states. For more information, visit www.conlamic.org or www.conlamic.net.

January 20, 2009

CONLAMIC Joins Latino Leaders in Demanding Cease to Deportations and Raids

Washington, DC: The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) will support the efforts of Washington-based Latino faith and nonprofit leaders in demanding a cease to the raids and deportation resulting from the 287-G program executed by ICE. Leaders will gather at 11:00am on Wednesday, January 21st at Banneker Park, at 10th and G Streets Southwest in Washington, DC. Leaders will move in procession to the offices of ICE at 500 12th St., SW at the intersection of 12th and D streets.

"Our churches have seen families torn apart, undocumented immigrants treated inhumanely, and documented immigrants - even citizens become victims of racial profiling. ICE must put an end to the raids and deportations until Congress brings a comprehensive solution to America's dismal immigration system," said Rev. Rivera.

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January 12, 2009

Hispanic Ministers Urge GOP to Rethink Views about Immigrants

Washington, DC - Today, President George Bush called for his party to be "open-minded" in their views on immigration reform. The Republican Party has been seen as anti-immigrant and narrow-focused on the issue. Leaders of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) agree that the GOP must consider a more compassionate and decent view of immigrants in our nation and take effective action in 2009 towards a comprehensive solution to immigration reform policy.

"We applaud President Bush for encouraging his party to seek a broader view on immigration reform and warning against the Party's negative message seen as anti-immigrant while debating the issue," said Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

"Latinos are people of faith and have values that are consistent with the Republican Party, however, these recent years, we differ greatly in our views of immigrants, including undocumented immigrants and frankly, common sense towards immigration policy," said Rev. Rivera.

CONLAMIC Latino Evangelical Pastors are committed advocates for social conservative issues that are currently in jeopardy, including traditional marriage, abortion and conservative nominees to the Supreme Court during a Democrat controlled era of our American government.

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January 11, 2009

CONLAMIC: How Will Hispanics Fare in Television Digital Switch?

WASHINGTON, DC –The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) sees it as vital to inform Latino’s nationwide about preparing for the upcoming switch from analog to digital television transmission. According to media research provider, Nielsen Company, 17.3% of Hispanic households are not digital ready compared to 8.8% of Whites making Hispanics the largest segment of the population that is unprepared for the switch. Nielsen reports that 99% of American households have television and 93% of households own at least 1 television that can receive a digital signal. So we ask, how much of an impact will this have on Hispanics when the transfer becomes effective?

CONLAMIC leaders worked with and through state and local pastors associations to coordinate dissemination of Spanish-language materials to churches to ensure its members are well informed.

"Upon first hearing of the switch from analog to digital transmission of television signals, we immediately took action. Television is a dominate factor in the way Latino’s receive information – not only news and entertainment, but health and education that is critical to the well-being of families," said Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

Spanish media also played an important role in spreading the word to its audiences about the need to prepare for the upcoming switch. There is a concern that as many as 4.5 million could lose their TV transmission when the transfer becomes effective. A combination of media and grassroots outreach have been critical to effectively inform Hispanic households about this issue.

“Continued education will ease this transition. We have encouraged pastors to share resource information, particularly for the older church members as they are likely to be the ones who will have the most trouble making the switch,” said Rev. Rivera.

The U.S. Hispanic population was been slower to catch on to new technologies, including the Internet, but now, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center, more than one in two Latino’s goes online and many of those who do not are connecting to the Internet via cell phone.

“The Latino community understands that technology plays a critical role in our daily lives. Although the upcoming change in television transmission may have an impact initially, Latino pastors and members of CONLAMIC are confident that our community will step up to support each other in making the transition to the digital age,” concluded Rev. Rivera.

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January 09, 2009

CONLAMIC Leaders Condemn Attorney General Mukasey's Decision to Deny Deportation Detainee's Right to Legal Representation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The President of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders issued a statement yesterday on behalf of 16,000 Latino ministers condemning the decision made by Attorney General Michael Mukasey to deny undocumented immigrants the right to legal counsel and due process prior to deportation.

"This decision is major blow to America's civil rights movement. The right to legal representation is one of the most basic provisions that the American constitution allows and Mukasey's decision adds to the dysfunction of an already dismal American immigration system," said Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC).

"The decision to deny due process and the constitutional rights of legal representation is completely unacceptable and we urge the Attorney General to reverse this decision immediately," said William Sanchez, President of the CONLAMIC Legal Defense Fund.

Undocumented immigrants are suffering great hardship within the broken U.S. immigration system. Latino ministers nationwide have heard the cry of families within their churches that have been defrauded by corrupt attorney's and public notary's after spending hard earned money trying to navigate the complex immigration system. As a result, hundreds of thousands of hardworking and law abiding individuals have lost their way within the system and face deportation, loss of their homes, families and are at the hands of abuses within the system. The decision to deny these individual their last hope of due process and legal representation is a cruel blow to human rights in America and will only allow for greater abuses.

"Our church members are people of great faith. As a minister and leader of ministers, I believe that most undocumented individuals are good and have contributed greatly to our nation; it is wise for our nation to support them in their quest to become permanent residents. At the very minimum, our immigration system must treat those held for deportation humanely and with the respect that they deserve. I am outraged at the immoral decision of Mr. Mukasey. The undocumented immigrants must have access to our basic right to legal representation," said Rev. Dr. Kittim Silva, Bishop of the Council of Pentecostal churches and Vice President of CONLAMIC.

CONLAMIC has joined Congressman Luis Gutierrez in a nationwide effort to collect signatures from American citizens who will sponsor undocumented families, an initiative started by Rep. Gutierrez.

"We are confident that Attorney General Mukasey's decision will be overturned quickly and that President Elect Barack Obama's Administration will ensure the protection against such disregard for fundamental principals of due process of law," said Rev. Rivera.

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