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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