July 22, 2009

Latino Clergy Opposes Senator Schumer's National I.D. Initiative

Washington, DC - National Latino Clergy are very concerned regarding Senator's Charles Schumer Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) initiative and the latest discussions on the issue of requiring a "National ID" for American workers as a deterrent for employers to keep hiring undocumented immigrants.

Hispanic Pastors are often the first point of contact with undocumented immigrants in our communities and a trusted source. Pastors have a in depth understanding of the discrimination and human rights violations that undocumented immigrant workers and laborers experience every day.

"We believe that Senator Schumer has the intention to work on a Congressional solution to the immigration problem that includes legalization; nevertheless we urge that any initiatives he proposes be fair, humane and protect workers against discriminatory employment practices," said Rev. Miguel Rivera, Chairman of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christan Leaders (CONLAMIC).

CONLAMIC Latino Evangelical Pastors around the nation are soon expecting to see legislation for Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will pass in both chambers of Congress and will be signed by President Barack Obama before April 2010.

"We question the constitutionality of a National ID initiative as primary component of CIR legislation and our attorneys view it as a "poison pill" that may derail CIR efforts and give Congress another opportunity to procrastinate on addressing the whole problem of the broken system of immigration," said Rev. Rivera.

In a letter to be sent to Senator Charles Schumer, Rev. Miguel Rivera conveys a message of support for his CIR efforts and urges him to abandon the National ID component from any CIR legislative initiative. Rev. Rivera believes this initiative has the potential to become a complicated legal issue that will entangle and deprive thousands of minority workers in a losing bureaucratic battle where compliance requirements to obtain so called "permanent workers national identification cards" will deter them from gaining employment, or worst, becoming legal in the country.

CONLAMIC leaders stand firmly as concerned Pastors when it comes to the thousands of undocumented immigrants, members in good standing of our congregations. Their commitment to spiritual and social well being they are urging undocumented congregants not to participate at next year's Census count unless a path of legalization is accomplished and the fears of arrests and deportation is no longer a reason for hiding.

Undocumented immigrant workers are willing to become legal and enjoy the benefits of being active partners with the rest of us and to work hard to achieve the American Dream.

We urge Members of Congress to do what is right and moral, which will help President Barack Obama fulfill his promise to all of us by honoring the integrity of more than 70% of Latinos who voted for him in 2008," concluded Rev. Rivera.

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July 14, 2009

National Labor Union Joins Census 2010 Boycott

Washington, DC - Today, during a live daily radio show and news analysis (CONLAMIC Informa) with the Reverend Miguel Rivera, the National Union Leader Nativo Lopez from Los Angeles, CA affirmed his commitment to the Latino faith leader's call on a Census Boycott, in absence of comprehensive immigration reform.

"Our union members concluded that there is no purpose at all in participating with a government census, while the same government castigates members of our families for being undocumented and to make matters worst, not taking seriously the moral need of true, fair comprehensive immigration reform," said Nativo Lopez, President of MAPA (Mexican American Political Association) and the Brotherhood Of Workers International Union, based in Los Angeles, CA.

"After careful consideration by all our Board Members and Affiliates it is our decision to stand firmly with CONLAMIC National Latino Faith Leaders and move forward with what is to be considered an excellent strategy based on non violence and non participation, until all our families are delivered from the bondage of an unjust and broken immigration policy that only pursues law enforcement, racial profiling, incarceration and deportation of our brothers and sisters,"said Nativo Lopez.

The National Coalition Of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) the largest Latino evangelical pastor's advocacy organization in the Country, will be hosting several "Faith Leaders For Comprehensive Immigration Reform Forums" in Los Angeles CA, Phoenix AZ, Dallas TX, Houston TX, Chicago IL, Atlanta GA, Nashville TN, Boston MA, Charlotte NC, Greenville, SC and East Meadows NY, during July, August and September.

CONLAMIC Faith Leaders will meet in Washington DC October 1-2, 2009 for the General Annual Conference where further advancement of the Census 2010 Boycott will be discussed, including need for Latinos to join in solidarity and boycott of Census 2010 until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform.

CONLAMIC leaders have been advised that the newly confirmed Census Bureau Director Dr. Robert Groves will support a partial moratorium a call to stop the raids while the Census operatives will conduct their job, but such "band-aid" approach to our concerns is not enough.

"We will respond firmly with our new slogan; NO LEGALIZATION, NO ENUMERATION!" concluded Rev. Rivera.

CONLAMIC Informa live broadcast is available on www.conlamic.org at 7:30am(EST) Monday through Friday.

July 13, 2009

Hispanics Divided Over Census Boycott

by Jennifer Ludden for National Public Radio

What do Camden County in North Carolina and Kendall County in Illinois have in common? They're among the U.S. counties with the fastest-growing Hispanic populations. An interactive map developed by the Pew Hispanic Center shows this data as well as Hispanic population by county in the U.S. since 1980.

All Things Considered, July 13, 2009 · The Census Bureau is waging an extensive campaign to make sure that minorities, including millions of illegal immigrants, are counted in next year's census.
But some in the Hispanic community are trying to undermine that effort. They want undocumented immigrants to boycott the census to send a protest message to Congress about the need to overhaul immigration laws.

A Stake In The Census. The Rev. Miguel Rivera heads the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, which comprises 16,000 churches in 32 states. For years now, his pastors have been hearing complaints about the effects of stepped-up immigration enforcement.

Rivera estimates more than a third of his group's congregants are undocumented. One day, he says he had a flash of insight about all the local crackdowns and arrests they were facing.

"Law enforcement has been very effective in areas where the data of Census 2000 has been used," Rivera says.

That census made clear Hispanics were growing in numbers, but Rivera says they were far from feeling empowered.

Then Rivera thought about who has a really big stake in the upcoming census. He realized that members of Congress do — their very seats and billions of dollars in funding depend on the decennial count. The government distributes some $300 billion to states each year based on what is learned from the census.

"So if they don't want lacking of funding for their constituents, maybe losing seats at the congressional level, then what they have to do is roll their sleeves and move forward with comprehensive immigration reform," Rivera says.

To Boycott Or Not?

Nativo Lopez, who heads the Mexican American Political Association, has told his members for four decades that they should take part in the census.

Initially he thought that the boycott idea was well intentioned but "not the appropriate tactic for the moment."

But then Lopez found himself intrigued.

He took the issue to member forums and says he had an epiphany: Latinos are in no mood to support a federal undertaking like the census when they feel that government has betrayed them. As Lopez would go around the room seeking opinions, Latinos told him that President Obama seems to be merely continuing the Bush administration's immigration crackdown. And they felt that government concern about the recession's impact does not extend to them.

Lopez says one man who lost his home to foreclosure suspected fraud, but when he sought help at a legal aid society he was turned away because he's undocumented.

Member after member at forums stood up with a story to tell, Lopez says, leading him conclude that "there is no incentive for me to cooperate with the federal government to conduct this count unless we get relief from the federal government on the types of issues that are devastating our families socially and economically."

Leading the opposition against the boycott effort is the Rev. Luis Cortes, who heads Esperanza, a community organization with its own network of churches. Cortes doesn't think the boycott will make any difference to Congress.

Visit NPR's website to Read the full story or listen to the live broadcast of this interview.

July 12, 2009

Latino Leader States Census 2010 Not Important To Congress

New York, NY - Today, prominent national leaders, Angelo Falcon, President of the National Latino Policy Institute (NLPI) and Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) were interviewed by Joe Torres on New York's WABC-TV's program "Tiempo", a news analysis and opinion program. Mr. Falcon stated that that "politicians and members of Congress do not think about the Census."

"Its seems that leaders who are opposed to the census boycott are trying to isolate the issue and pretend that our strategy is not a concern now; their new approach is to tell the Latino community the Census is of no importance for Congress," said Rev. Rivera.

CONLAMIC National Latino Pastors and Evangelical Leaders have called for undocumented immigrants who are members of their churches to boycott the Census 2010 as a means to place political pressure on Congress, Governors, and local elected officials to work on and achieve comprehensive immigration reform. If meaning full progress is made, there will be an assurance of an accurate count; leading to equitable benefits for all.

If their assumption were true, then why are the major Latino organizations such as NALEO, NCLR, LULAC and the majority of the Spanish language media working working together to oppose CONLAMIC and MAPA's efforts on behalf of achieving freedom and legalization for millions of undocumented immigrants? Their strategy does not makes sense at all," said Rev. Miguel Rivera.

During today's televised debate, Mr. Falcon stated, "The Census is the only mechanism for undocumented people to fully participate in the political process." Rev. Rivera's response was "There was a time in our nation's history when the slaves were also counted for the Census while they were denied the most basic civil rights and benefits."

Latino Evangelical Pastors around the Country are expecting Latino advocacy organizations, Spanish language media and the Latino community, to unite and help empower undocumented immigrants thought this boycott. This boycott will give these individuals a voice in a time in which they have none. Participating in the Census will not give them a voice. Political organizing around Congressional elections will not give them a voice (they cannot vote). This boycott will allow them to take an action that will demonstrate the urgent need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

"By not disclosing individual information about their whereabouts and numbers, the undocumented will also protect themselves and their families from volunteering data that soon becomes public and is used to support funding for the implementation of the 287-G program, which hires more police officers to enforce such anti-immigration efforts," said Rev. Rivera.

A series of local public forums are to begin around the Country in the next few weeks, with special attention to States such as Texas, California, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee and Massachusetts, hosted by Latino faith community and churches, moving forward with their message Antes de contar, Nos Tienen Que Legalizar (Legalization before Enumeration).

"In contrast to what the opposition thinks about the moral standing of the Latino Evangelical church on this issue, our honest commitment is to thousands of our church members, strong family values, hard working employees, decent employers, a true and accurate count for the Census 2010 and the United States of America, all partners for comprehensive immigration reform," concluded Rev. Rivera.

To view today's Census Boycott debate visit http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news&id=5790398 and click on the July 12th program.

July 09, 2009

Major Spanish Media Censors the Census 2010 Boycott!

By, The Reverend Miguel Rivera

Thousands of dollars are being paid to Spanish media outlets, just to try to stop our call to (Antes de Contar Nos Tienen Que Legalizar) "Boycott"the National Census 2010, unless Congress pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

As Pastors and Clergy Leaders, we have no quarrel with the Census Bureau and its Constitutional responsibility to have "every person counted".

But (YES), we have a profound concern with members of Congress who have procrastinated for years and only stop by our Churches when elections are near, making promises to fix a broken immigration system, returning the to Washington DC, to come with their best political strategy so far;"E-Verify desktops raids and called those people good to be counted, formally ILLEGALS".

And here comes a historic and most effective opportunity, the Census 2010 compliance time and the same "politicos" that had promised so much, are only concerned that even "institutionalized slavery" of the undocumented immigrants, need to be counted without any concern for them, knowing that after all census data is made public, just because their legal status, these same people, are being targeted with State and Municipal anti-immigrant laws, their families broken apart, business destroyed and Deported.

But even with so much at stake, Spanish Media bows to the millions of dollars becoming "clients" of the Census Bureau, because some of these "politicos", happens to be also Latinos and the opportunity is too much of a sinful lure to cash now and forget about their viewers or worst, demonstrating a lack of commitment to be "honest to their social communication standing" with the Latino community.

The truth is that, the same scenario where slaves were being counted centuries ago, just for political empowerment of a limited class of Americans (women and blacks were not allowed to vote), is being repeated at present.

Undocumented Immigrants cannot vote or hold "those politicos" accountable.
Many electoral districts are only in existence today, because of the numbers provided by the counting of undocumented immigrants, working at the fields in most farming and agricultural States.

Various States have been deprived of Congressional seats, due to the fact that, counting undocumented immigrants for the "Census Purpose Only", hinders representation for many American voters.

Such a negative effect is a "political partisan delight" in States where American Latino "citizens" are a strong voters force, such as Texas, California, Florida and New York.

The truth also is that, federal funding that comes back to the States, thanks to the numbers revealed by the Census data, is mostly to benefit legal Americans citizens.

Even legal residents and temporary protected legal workers, are always considered first, to be "kicked out" from benefits, when politicians are seeking budget cuts. In some cases like in California, retained paid up unemployment taxes, were at some time considered not to be paid to legal unemployed workers.

But, with so many facts that are available to be published, for the sake of bringing a "moral standing" to the need of a just and true comprehensive immigration reform legislation, Spanish Media outlets are caving to the Census Bureau agenda, not to let the debate go further.

It is even worst, when the American viewers, are being deprived of how the undocumented immigrants think, after "getting the fiasco message", about how they are, "good to be counted for up to $3,000 thousand dollars in federal funding per person, but Not Good To Be Legalized".

Spanish Media, due benefit of the millions of dollars that the Latino community represents and its consumerism power. It is very disappointing that, so called "tu canal Latino para toda la familia" are the same ones at this very much needed time and effort, to let all Latinos down, as "Judas Iscariote did for the richness of 30 coins of pure silver".

But for now, a Census Boycott is our main focus, with lots of prayers and faith that somewhere inside the hearts of all members of Congress they will find the strength, to do what is right, just and moral.

Latino Evangelical Pastors are looking forward and very much like to have the opportunity to spread the "good news" by next March 2010, to all our congregations.
"Everybody can make yourselves available to open the doors of your homes to "those federal operatives (strangers) and let yourselves be counted".

But to spread that message, the Spanish Media outlets need not,to loose the trust of their Latino viewers;

And most importantly, Congress Needs To Work On A True Comprehensive Immigration Reform Initiative, NOW!

NiLP Latino Census Network: The Great Census Boycott Debate - Rivera vs. Falcón Boycott

New York, NY - This Sunday at 11:00am, tune in for "The Great Latino Census Boycott Debate" on WABC-TV. Rev. Miguel Rivera (Pro), Chairman of the Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) versus Angelo Falcón (Con), President of National Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) on ABC TV's Tiempo Show and Hosted by ABC Eyewitness News Reporter Joe Torres Sunday, July 12, 2009,11:ooam. Also on the show, meet the New President of Hostos Community College Felix V. Matos Rodriguez. Tiempo on WABC-TV New York airs Sundays at 11am.

Latino Evangelical Pastors Oppose Permanent Mandatory E-Verfy Program

Washington, DC - The National Coalition Of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, the largest Latino evangelical pastor's advocacy organization in the Country, "vehemently opposes the Senator Jeff Sessions (Republican from Alabama) Amendment #1371, that calls for Mandatory and Permanent E-Verify compliance for Federal Contractors.

"This Amendment has one and only one intention and that is to derail momentum in Congress for true Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Workers, Businesses and the Economy will be hurt seriously if Senator Session's amendment is included on the Homeland Security Appropriations Act (HR:2892) which is to be consider and voted on by the Senate," said the Rev. Miguel Rivera, CONLAMIC Chairman.

CONLAMIC Latino Evangelical National Church Leaders are concerned that, the Sessions Amendment will make the Homeland Security appropriations process a referendum on immigration reform.

"This move by Senator Sessions, seek to undermine comprehensive immigration reform efforts in Congress. The E-Verify program is confirmed to be flawed and making it permanent further accelerates what we call DESKTOP RAIDS, which are forcing employers to terminate thousands of honest hard working employees around the Country," said Rev. Rivera.

"We are alerting our National Board Members to call from every state (CONLAMIC represents over 20,000 Latino evangelical churches in 34 States) addressing this issue with each Senator and Member of Congress urging them to vote NO on such initiative," concluded Rev. Rivera.