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.

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