February 27, 2009

Latino Evangelicals Send a Clear Message to Washington in the Midst of Raids by ICE and Lack of Immigration Solution

ATLANTA, GA – As preparation was underway this week for what is expected to be one of the more sizable events held by Congressman Luis Gutierrez and Familias Unidas in Atlanta, GA, the leadership of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC), were astonished by the total omission of any reference regarding the issue of immigration reform by President Barak in this week’s state of the union speech. To boot – ICE held its first major workplace raid in Washington State since the new administration took office.

“Our leaders have had such hope in President Obama, having turned out in great numbers to vote in the elections for a leader who has promised to seek a compassionate solution. We we’re concerned that his speech that clearly outlined a broad agenda with many clear goals had nothing for the hard-working undocumented families who have been a loyal and key part of America’s economic backbone,” said Reverend Miguel Rivera.

The Latino immigrant community, not only the undocumented but extended close families that include naturalized citizens and American born children youth and children have suffered deeply at the hands of the broken immigration system that President Obama, just last week in a Spanish language radio interview, promised to fix.

“Latino pastors in Atlanta, Providence and throughout the nation are standing strong and are committed to fighting for the millions who are suffering. We’re not going to wait in hopes that comprehensive immigration reform suddenly happens – we know it will take time to find the right solution but in the meantime, Napolitano must stop the raids rather than allowing ICE continue its business as it has these past several years,” said Reverend Antonio Mansogo, Georgia based Vice President of CONLAMIC.

CONLAMIC in collaboration with Congressman Gutierrez and his Familias Unidas coalition expect thousands of families to gather Saturday, February 28th at Templo Tabernaculo in Atlanta, Georgia at 12pm. They are expecting families to make the trip from 14 cities throughout the state. In Georgia, the implementation of the 287-G plan and passing of the law 526 has criminalized undocumented workers in Georgia and has wiped out communities.

February 23, 2009

Latino Evangelical Leaders Demand A Stop to Raids and Deportations

WASHINGTON D.C.- CONLAMIC Leaders once again provide a venue for members of Congress to hear the real voices of church members regarding the need for a comprehensive solution to immigration reform.

Thousands of church members have been deported and entire families are being displaced, resulting in financial and emotional misery due to the "enforcement only" strategy that the only government response to the undocumented immigration issue.

In a joint effort with Congressman Luis Gutierrez from Illinois, two "Familias Unidas" events will be held this week. A tour of another 14 cities will follow during the months of March and April.
These events are scheduled for February the 27th. in Providence Rhode Island at the Trinity United Methodist Church (375 Broad Street) and on Saturday the 28th. at the Tabernaculo de Atlanta Church (6394 Buford Highway, Norcross) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Hispanic Evangelical Pastors and their Church members will welcome Congressman Gutierrez to advocate on behalf of thousands of undocumented immigrants and family members.
These events will give an opportunity to American citizens, members of Hispanic Christian and Evangelical churches the opportunity to testify and speak about their frustrations and the agony of having their families torn apart due to the incarceration and deportation of their love ones.
Children, wives, husbands, and other family members will offer their version of real events that have happened when the doors of their homes are suddenly pounded at 5:00am by immigration authorities. They will provide testimony to what happens to decent, hard working families in the community as a result of the rage and lack of professional discretion displayed by many so called "immigration law enforcement agents" who are actually local police officers that have been duly empowered under the 287-G program.

Hundreds of local communities are harassed by road blocks, racial profiling and flagrant violations of human and civil rights due to the severe discriminatory environment that has developed as constant animosity toward Latinos.

In the midst of a serious economic crisis facing our nation there is no benefit at all to have billions of dollars of taxpayer money spent on law enforcement efforts designated only to target undocumented, hard working, strong family values immigrants that have no criminal record are not a threat to our country.

CONLAMIC supports an immediate "Legalization and Registration Plan" that will bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows pay a fine and comply with rigorous guidelines in order for them to be considered eligible for permanent residency status in the United States.

Labor unions will benefit almost immediately with dues paid by thousands of new laborers and payroll tax revenues will increase dramatically. New small business and job creation will be developed.

Most important; Children will no longer become victims of separation from their parents or worst; Children American citizens will not be forced to live in a strange Country, exiled by force from their own.

The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) the largest Hispanic pastor's advocacy organization in the Country, sent a letter to President Barack Obama on November 6, 2008 asking for his leadership during his first 100 days in Office, providing legislation to move forward in Congress on behalf of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

We commend Congressman Gutierrez and those Members of Congress who are willing to address this matter, with a integrity and moral responsibility.

February 12, 2009

National Hispanic Evangelical Leaders Respond to Judicial Decision on Oklahoma HB-1804

WASHINGTON, DC - Those who were expecting to be comforted by a compassionate and morally acceptable judicial decision in Oklahoma regarding the anti-immigrant law HB-1804, were disappointed as Oklahoma's justice system makes decision to uphold this law that has positioned this state as the most racially intolerant, politically opportunistic, sensational, and anti-Latino immigrant in the nation.

"Once again the echo of racial intolerance and social injustice has broken through the victims silence as the state's justice system upholds the anti-immigrant law in the nation," said Reverend Miguel Rivera, President of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) who lead efforts to fight the law through the litigation in 2006.

HB-1804 has been enacted as a result of broken immigration system that breeds injustice and denies undocumented hard working, immigrants with traditional family values from being able to fix their legal status in this Country," said Rev. Rivera.

Both judicial opinions by Judge Payne and Judge Sellers were passed down despite lawsuits filed to stop the consequences of the Oklahoma State Law HB-1804, further demonstrating an opportunistic political and populist approach instead of upholding the constitutional rights of individuals. This is considered by Latino ministers to be a gross violation of human rights due to the traumatic and destructive effects on families and in particular, children. The law empowers local law enforcement to continue its siege of the Latino community; posting roadblocks at main avenues, in front of Churches and commercial strip malls and harassing undocumented immigrants that remain in Oklahoma," concluded Rev. Rivera who will visit the City of Tulsa for a comprehensive immigration reform rally on May 1st.

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February 03, 2009

U.S. Losing Valuable Human Capitol: Federal Authorities Pursue Non-Threatening Undocumented Immigrants

Hackensack, NJ – Today, Latino ministers throughout New Jersey, and members of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) denounced efforts by federal immigration authorities to order deportation of Gisell Torres, a Rutgers University graduate born in Peru who has been living in the United States since the age of 3 who is married to an American citizen. Despite the unimaginable harm to families, the U.S. immigration “enforcement-without-reform” strategy is diverting resources and attention to the pursuit of non-threatening immigrants who contribute to improving America’s competitiveness and much needed economic stability.

“We are beyond words as we hear of the story of Gisell Torres who represents an all too common case at the hands of our dysfunctional U.S. immigration system, which is in dire need of reform. This young college graduate and wife of an American citizen is an asset to our nation not a threat,” said Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC).

CONLAMIC is working closely with Congressman Luis Gutierrez to hold prayer vigils, press conference, and town-hall meetings in cities around the nation to urge Congress to demonstrate moral courage by enacting legislation this year that will protect immigrant families and provide a path to legalization.

Giselle Torres’ family immigrated to the United States in the 1988 due to the political instability and lack of safety in their home country of Peru. Other immigrants who are undocumented are drawn by the U.S. industry, which depends on the labor of undocumented immigrants. It’s well known that the U.S. lacks the educated workforce to fill many skilled jobs – so why target a college educated, bilingual, bi-cultural, National Honor Society member rather than those who can be a threat to America’s safety?

“Giselle’s story adds to the breakdown of America’s economy, efforts to strengthen families, and a clear example of immigration enforcement that does not work,” said Rev. Miguel Rivera.

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February 02, 2009

Interfaith Press Conference held with Congressman Luis Gutierrez Supporting Legalization of Immigrants

Washington, DC - The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) together with Congressman Luis Gutierrez will hold a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, February 4th. This inter-faith effort is only the beginning of what will be a nation-wide effort by faith leaders who will hold town-hall forums, prayer vigils, and press conferences around the country to urge Congress to demonstrate moral courage by enacting legislation this year that will protect immigrant families and provide a path to legalization.

“Congressman Luis Gutierrez has empowered leaders of faith nationwide to unite and serve as the voice for immigrant families who are suffering injustices at the hands of a broken U.S. immigration system,” said Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

Immigrants look to their churches and places of worship as a safe place and first call for help, particularly during these difficult times during which they or their family members are suffering detainment and deportation. Leaders of faith, including Evangelical, Pentecostal, Catholic, Protestant, and others are uniting to represent that critical voice that is essential to America’s future, economy, and rich cultural heritage.

“We urge Congress and President Barak Obama to demonstrate moral courage by enacting a comprehensive solution to immigration reform that includes legalization for undocumented immigrants during the first 100 days of the new administration,” said Rev. Rivera.

Wednesday’s event begins Wednesday, February 4th, with a Prayer Vigil at 12:00PM followed by Press Conference with Congressman Gutierrez. The gathering will occur at the Cannon Building Front Steps, of the U.S. Capitol (Independence Ave/ New Jersey S.W.).

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February 01, 2009

CONLAMIC Praises Senate for Passing State Children’s Health Program Including Immigrant Children

Washington, DC - The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) applaud the Senate’s reauthorization of the State Children Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a program that is critical to ensuring the health of our nation’s children. Senate leaders did not include amendments that would eliminate coverage for legal immigrant children and pregnant women. Instead, they reauthorized the program and for the first time in many years, included coverage for millions of legal immigrant children and their mothers.

“This is a great victory for the families we serve in our churches. We believe healthier children will lead to the well-being of families, which makes our nation stronger. Senate leaders demonstrated compassionate leadership by including legal immigrant children and pregnant women in this vital program,” said Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

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