February 03, 2010

Latino Evangelical Leaders Condemn Census Robert Groves and Congressman Henry Cuellar's Visit To Texas Colonias

McAllen, TX - The National Coalition Of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) and the Valle De Rio Grande Conference Of Latino Pastors (CONLAMIC-TX) condemn the recent visit by Congressman Henry Cuellar and Census Bureau Director, Robert Groves, to the Texas Colonias, Latino barrios located in southern Texas, to promote census participation.

"We consider this visit to the Texas Colonias by Congressman Cuellar and Robert Groves to be a hideous act of cynicism and political opportunism," said Rev. Miguel Rivera, Chairman of CONLAMIC.

The primary question at hand that Latino Pastors have asked is "Where are the federal funds that have been allocated to Las Colonias due to the Las census count? Where are the funds allocated to Congressman Cuellars district? Latino Pastors would like an answer from Congressman Cuellar.

"In the Texas Colonias there is no water or sewer system, no public parks, no infrastructure, or public works services. We know that the residents of the Colonias were counted during the census 1990 and 2000 yet there has been no improvement no change. How can Congressman Cuellar and Mr. Groves visit to promote the census asking for participating, see with their own eyes the great need of these communities and leave with a clear conscience?" said Rev. Rivera, who also serves as the lead spokesperson for the Latino evangelical Legalization Before Enumeration campaign, a census boycott effort on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform.

CONLAMIC leaders see this as an appalling example of how disconnected public and government officials can be in their effort to push their agenda without regard for human decency and compassion. Unfortunately, this is one more example in our nation's history of seeking cooperation from underrepresented and under served populations to push a government agenda that requires voluntary provision of personal information that may expose the most vulnerable members of the Latino community to the harsh dysfunction and cruel strong arm of our dismal immigration system.

Many of these residents in the Colonias are legal temporary workers in the United States who send money to their families from Texas, Washington State, and Oregon, from the "colonies" where they settle during to work.

"Local politicians do not pay attention to the needs of the people of Las Colonias because these people cannot vote," says Dr. Antonio Bolainez, CONLAMIC Regional Vice-President based in Southern Texas.

The UNIVISION weekly TV documentary, "Aqui Y Ahora" was televised last night exposing the visits of Mr. Cuellar and Mr. Groves to the Texas Colonias where residents (women and children) were filmed carrying water from a public well to their homes because neighborhood (along the border region) has no public services whatsoever.

CONLAMIC leaders agree that Mr. Groves lacks of understanding regarding the daily struggle experienced by underrepresented immigrants experience, regardless of their immigration status in this country as do most of our nations leadership in Washington. It exposes the urgent need for a comprehensive solution to immigration reform.

Thanks to UNIVISION, a leading Spanish-language media provider and a Census 2010 partner, last night Americans witnessed the truth about the daily struggles experienced by some of the immigrants most in need, as they continue to hope and wait for President Obama to deliver his promise to fix a broken immigration system.

"Congressman Cuellar needs to apologize to Latinos who live in his district and throughout the Texas Rio Grande Valley for his role in this embarrassing visit to Las Colonias. He needs to show some humility and compassion, particularly as we near the mid-term elections," concluded Rev. Rivera.

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