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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