"He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water." Isaiah 49:10

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Give the DREAM Act one more Chance

By Fidel "Butch" Montoya

A little too late to try and amend the DREAM Act in Congress. Below is an article circulating condemning and calling for the military option to be dropped from the House version that was recently passed. The reason Senator Reid pulled the bill after the vote in the Senate, was so that when he brings up the DREAM Act again, it will be more in line with the House bill version. There will be no major changes to the bill as demanded by Alejandra Juarez in her article shown below.

Any efforts to change or amend the bill will only create more confusion and chaos for a two week lame session of Congress. All of our efforts must go to attract the two or three votes we need to pass the version of the bill that passed the House. Please work to pass the present version passed out of the House.

In over ten years that the Congress has debated and discussed the military strings option, we are left with what we have. There is no time left to try and create changes that potentially could cause the existing bill to lose support for the present bill. While I appreciate your enthusiasm, we must be realistic and understand that the present bill is most likely the only bill that will be considered.

Push for support and for the Senate to endorse the present legislation. Don't create excuses or changes that will only doom a bill that presently does not have adequate support to pass the Senate. That should be our focus and all of our efforts should be to get this bill passed.

I am sorry many supporters of the DREAM Act don't like the military option, but time for debate on that one issue has long passed the time to change it. It is time now to support the DREAM Act and to get more Senators to support this present bill.

While I may agree with your statements, "Undocumented youth are tired of the vast inequities and limited opportunities afforded to them because of their citizenship status.

We fight for the right to education for all, the right to have a job that helps our families get out of poverty, the right to live without fear of incarceration and deportation, the right to keep families together.

We denounce the Democrats for their political maneuvering offering empty promises in exchange for our vote. "

#1: "Undocumented youth may be tired of the vast inequities and limited opportunities afforded to them because of their citizenship status," but let us not forget that presently they have no "citizenship status" in our country. That is one of the benefits of the DREAM Act to provide them a legal citizenship status so that they can participate fully in the political and social debate in our country.

#2: We too "fight for the right to education for all, the right to have a job that helps our families get out of poverty, the right to live without fear of incarceration and deportation, the right to keep families together." Unable to pass "comprehensive immigration reform" through the Congress, the DREAM Act is essentially a token prize at meeting some of the promises made by the President and GOP and Democratic politicians alike. Too bad, many of the GOP politicians have forgotten their promises to support this bill and have turned their backs and reputations on the undocumented students expecting their support for the DREAM Act.

#3: We must not only "denounce the Democrats for their political maneuvering offering empty promises in exchange for our vote," but also the Republicans who at one time supported this legislation. In fact, it has been the Republicans who are preventing the DREAM Act from being enacted in the Senate. Blame the Democrats for what you call "political maneuvering offering empty promises in exchange for out vote," but don't forget to also denounce the Republican politicians who gave us their promises to support this legislation as well. As I stated earlier, it is their lack of support that prevents our side from getting the magic number of 60 in the Senate. The DREAM Act passed the House with a simple majority. In the Senate, the Republicans have imposed a super majority of 60 votes to pass legislation in the Senate.

It is imperative that we push for the present version of the DREAM Act. Please don't propose or add any confusing amendments or changes, only creating more chaos to a very dynamic piece of legislation. It is time to support the version which passed the House and allow students to dream of all the opportunities they will have to achieve their lifetime goals and ambitions.

Fidel "Butch" Montoya

----- Original Message -----
From: To: "A.beltran
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2010 8:08 PM
Subject: [isn] A DREAM Act With No Military Strings Attached

A DREAM Act With No Military Strings Attached Papers for all Undocumented Youth!

by Alejandra Juarez

On Wednesday, November 10th just one week after the Midterm elections, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came out in support of the DREAM Act.

Along with Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Pelosi has promised to push for its passage during the lame duck session.

Both legislators are keenly aware of their party’s dubious standing without Latino support.

Certainly, it was the Latino vote which helped Reid maintain his congressional seat.

Likewise, as Pelosi seeks to become House Minority Leader, her announcement to push for a vote on the proposed legislation is meant to rally support from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and progressives.

But what are they offering us?

In 2008 Barack Obama won the presidency by securing the Latino vote on the promise of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) during his first year in office.

Yet almost two years later 11 million undocumented immigrants continue to wait for a path to legalization.

Worse yet, they wait in fear as the number of raids and deportations have skyrocketed under the Obama administration, a record 400,000 this past year alone.

The intensification and institutionalization of repressive measures like S-Comm, 287(g), E-Verify, and the militarization of the border have all created an atmosphere of terror in immigrant communities.

Obama's delayed promised of immigration reform also allowed for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s strike, enacting SB 1070, which represents a widespread attack on the immigrant community not only in Arizona but throughout the nation.

Democratic leaders including President Obama have declared CIR dead.

Instead they offer piecemeal legislation like AgJOBS and the DREAM Act.

The numbers don’t add up

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact number of undocumented youth living in the United States, estimates are in the millions.

According to studies only around 2.1 million would potentially be eligible to apply for legal status under the DREAM Act.

However, the Migration Policy Institute reports that a merely 825,000 or 38% of these 2.1 million would meet all the requirements for legal permanent residency (LPR).

This is a tiny minority who would actually benefit from the DREAM Act, leaving the overwhelming majority with no way to legalize their status and vulnerable to deportation.

Furthermore, one of the requirements for gaining LPR is attending college or university for at least two years; an unlikely proposition taking into account the costs of higher education and the discrimination inherent in our national educational system.

Nationally, the cost of attending college has increased 439% from 1982 to 2007 (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education).

In California, tuition fees at the UC’s and CSU’s continue to increase from 32% last year to 15% this year and a scheduled 8% and 10% increase next year for UC’s and CSU’s respectively.

The community colleges are no different.

Last year they saw a fee increase of 54% and course offerings shrink.

Along with that grant and scholarship offerings are also shrinking.

And contrary to popular belief “students from lower-income families, on average, get smaller grants from the colleges they attend than students from more affluent families” (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education).

Likewise, DREAM Act students would not be eligible for federal financial aid -- only loans and work study.

Moreover, the DREAM Act gives states the prerogative to decide if these students qualify for in-state tuition (repealing Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996).

Moreover, the barriers to socio-economic progress are stack such that racial and ethnic minorities have a slim chance of success in this country.

For example, although Latino, black, and Native Americans accounted for 29% of high school graduates, they only made up 13% of incoming freshmen at the UC’s in 2007.

And that number has decreased in recent years.

The national high school drop-out rate among Latinos is around 40%.

In California the drop-out rate is 36%.

In addition, a significant percent of the 1.5 generation coming to the United States without papers arrive with very little schooling and come to work to contribute to the family income.

These undocumented youth would not even qualify for conditional LPR status.

* Guns for papers *

The other option the DREAM Act offers in order to gain LPR status is two years of military service.

Given the new higher education framework, the military option then becomes the de-facto choice to gain LPR status for most undocumented youth.

Those non-citizens already fighting overseas have gained very little as permanent residency is not guaranteed and posthumous citizenship brings no benefits to families of the deceased.

Besides, the threat of deportation even for those in uniform is still a possibility.

With the continued occupations in the Middle East and elsewhere, as well as the increased militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, it is very likely that those joining the military under the DREAM Act will see combat.

And although the DREAM Act asks for only two years of military service, we must be aware that there is no such thing as a two-year military contract.

Since the National Call to Service Plan passed in 2003 all enlistment requires a minimum of eight years.

For a DREAM Act with no military strings attached!

Undocumented youth are tired of the vast inequities and limited opportunities afforded to them because of their citizenship status.

We fight for the right to education for all, the right to have a job that helps our families get out of poverty, the right to live without fear of incarceration and deportation, the right to keep families together.

We denounce the Democrats for their political maneuvering offering empty promises in exchange for our vote.

We should not be asked to assist in the continued occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, or in any new militaristic adventures in Latin America, Iran, or elsewhere in order to obtain papers for our immigrant brothers and sisters.

Nor should we have to subjugate our Peoples in their native lands or on the border.

We in the immigrant community are not discouraged by the lack of political will in Washington.

We will continue to fight for a new and just immigration policy based on human and workers' rights.

More than ever, it is necessary to (re)build an independent mass movement for legalization.

It will take huge mobilizations and strikes like those that took place in the spring of 2006 to force the ruling elite to grant our just demands.

More than ever, the passing -- and the content -- of the DREAM Act depends on our independent struggles today.

The future of the DREAM Act depends on us being able unify and push forward in united action!

Students, parents, community activists and their organizations are mobilizing on December 3 in front of the Federal Building in San Francisco to demand papers for ALL!

Join the anti-military, pro-legalization contingent calling for a DREAM Act with No Military Strings Attached!

And join us in San Francisco or organize a solidarity action in your community.



Fidel "Butch" Montoya is Director of H. S. Power and Light Ministries - Latino Faith Initiative. He was the Vice President/News Director of KUSA - TV Channel 9 News from 1985-1990, and worked at the news station for 24 years as a journalist. Montoya also served as Deputy Mayor of City and County of Denver from 1995-1999; and in law enforcement as the Manager of Public Safety, responsible for the Denver Police Department, Denver Fire Department, and Denver Sheriff Department for the City and County of Denver from 1994-2000. Montoya was Licensed to preach in 1972. He serves on the Executive Council for the Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pray for Bernard Pastor

By Fidel "Butch" Montoya

As part of the effort to push for passage of the DREAM Act, the dilemma surrounding the case of Bernard Pastor, an 18 year old young man has come to light. Pastor is perhaps one of the best reasons why we must push for passage of the DREAM Act. He is an example for other young people to follow.

The Associated Baptist Press, in a news story entitled, "Christians join in last ditch effort to pass immigration reform for youngsters," used Bernard Pastor as one of the most pressing reasons why this legislation must be passed in Congress:

"Troy Jackson, an evangelical pastor in Cincinnati, cited the case of 18-year-old Bernard Pastor, a 2010 graduate of the Cincinnati-area Reading High School. Pastor -- a standout soccer player in school and volunteer Pentecostal youth pastor -- was brought illegally to the United States 15 years ago when his parents fled civil war and religious persecution in their native Guatemala. On Nov. 17, he was arrested and detained by immigration authorities after being involved in a minor car accident.

Pastor's high-school friends and classmates have been protesting his detention and deportation proceedings since, and have set up a website, Pray for Bernard, http://www.prayforbernard.com/ to publicize his case and the DREAM Act."

I encourage all of you to go to http://www.prayforbernard.com/, and join with thousands of others in pledging to pray for Bernard Pastor, and join in prayer across this country on Saturday, December 4th, at 1 p.m. (Central time).

"At 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 4th at the Butler County Jail in Hamilton, students and other supporters will be praying as they conclude a pilgrimage and prayer vigil for their long-time friend, Bernard Pastor. At the same time, committed people of faith and conscience from all over the nation are called to join together in prayer for Bernard, for the thousands living in fear of facing deportation, and to pray for the passage of the Dream Act."

Please join with me and thousands of other committed persons in prayer for Bernard Pastor. As a "volunteer Pentecostal youth pastor," there is no question in my mind that Pastor understands the power of prayer and that God will play a major role in his situation, as well as the thousands living in fear of facing deportation. I urge you to click on Pray for Bernard and sign the pledge of prayer.

It is time that WE PUSH THE DREAM ACT FORWARD in our prayers as well!

Fidel "Butch" Montoya

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pass the "New" DREAM Act

By Fidel "Butch" Montoya

In an effort to pass the DREAM Act in the current session of Congress, the DREAM Act has been changed to meet some of the concerns of Republicans and reluctant Democrats who have voted against the bill in the past. The changes may mean that a bipartisan effort may actually take place in the Congress.

But, it is absolutely critical that you contact your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support the "New DREAM Act" being proposed. There are some changes, but overall it still will allow many deserving undocumented young people to seek an opportunity to continue with their education, dreams, and a journey to citizenship. The young people affected by this bill are children who were brought into this country as small children. They had no choice in the matter and came with their parents seeking a new life and opportunities to better themselves.

For the most part, undocumented immigrants have contributed to the success of our economy and country. In many cases, they have been good workers, good neighbors, and hard working individuals seeking a better life for themselves as their families.

Now with the "New DREAM Act," their children will finally get an opportunity to continue their dream of a better life. Opposition to the DREAM Act is being instigated by rumors, hate emails to Congress, and lies about what the bill will eventually mean to many young people seeking only to improve their lot in life.

We are asking that you contact your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support the DREAM Act today. It is urgent that you please do this so we can put a stop to the thousands of emails, letters, and calls being made by individuals who want this legislation to fail.

Here is a link that will show you the changes made in the DREAM Act.

It is going to take bipartisan support to pass the DREAM Act, please encourage members of Congress to work together to pass this important legislation.

Please pray for bipartisan support and that the bill will pass. It is time that WE PUSH THE DREAM ACT FORWARD!


Fidel "Butch" Montoya

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Now it is Facebook!

Now it is facebook! This might create an interesting debate and discussion in your church or with your governing board. It is an interesting and very controversial look at facebook.

Read this article and let me know what your opinion might be about this new controversy? Will you encourage your married church officials to delete their facebook accounts as Pastor Cedric Miller has requested of his church officials?

He is now considering asking married congregants to give up their facebook accounts because 20 couples of his 1,100 membership church have run into martial problems after a spouse has contacted an ex-flame in Facebook over the last six months.

Read the article and you decide what you think is best for your church. To Facebook or not Facebook. The new 11th Commandment: "Thou shalt not use Facebook." Let me know what you think?

Fidel "Butch" Montoya

Pastor to church leaders: Get off Facebook or step down
By NANCY SHIELDS . STAFF WRITER . November 17, 2010

NEPTUNE - Rev. Cedric A. Miller has had it with what he says Facebook is doing to couples coming to him for help and is giving his married church leaders until Sunday to get off the social-network website or resign their posts.

Miller, senior pastor at Living Word Christian Fellowship Church, the popular interdenominational and evangelical church on Route 35, said a large percentage of his counseling over the past year and a half has been for marital problems, including infidelity, stemming from Facebook.

Miller said there was no problem when people just met with friends from high school in a platonic way.

But that has changed, he said, and now people are reigniting old passions and connecting with people who should stay in the past. He said a marriage can be going along fine when someone from the past breaks through and trouble begins.

"It's to the point now that this Sunday, anyone in our church in a leadership position and who is married and is on Facebook has to resign their church position if they do not give up Facebook," Miller, 48, said Tuesday.

He plans to speak on the subject at the 9:30 a.m. Sunday service, getting up to preach about 10:15 a.m.

"I spoke on it a few weeks back, and just admonished people that there's a reason why your past is the past and hopefully you have grown in the Lord, matured to not link up with a past that for many people is a Christless past," Miller said.

"Married couples are going on Facebook and what happens can end up in my office," the pastor said. "I know from where we stand in the Christian perspective, the connection is inappropriate."

Miller gave examples of church officers as the associate pastors, deacons, ministers, and auxiliary leaders. "I do have authority over the leaders - not the congregation at large," he said.

"The average citizen is going to see my action as controlling, not that I care about that," Miller said. "I'm not concerned with being politically correct. I'm trying to save families and marriages."

"He has been heartbroken over this situation" said Hazel Samuels of Asbury Park, who chairs the church's board of trustees. Samuels is single and not on Facebook. "It's a misuse of Facebook. People just don't use it properly."

Miller said has a Facebook account and that his wife has his password as well as one of the church elders. He has six children and uses Facebook to follow what they're doing, he said.

But he will drop off Facebook by Sunday as well.

Miller said that often the people he counsels go to another church but want to keep their marriage problems as private as possible, so they come to him. Often, it requires months of counseling to keep a couple together, he said.

Facebook, founded in 2004, has more than 500 million users worldwide.

"I wouldn't say Facebook is the problem," said William Rosenblatt, an Ocean Township psychologist and therapist. "What I would say is we live in a rapidly changing world, and we are facing stresses and opportunities that we've never had to face before.

"Facebook doesn't create dissatisfied marriages," Rosenblatt continued. "People who are dissatisfied now have better means of creating support systems and networks that are much more vast, and it's much easier to connect with people that way.

"I would see the pastor's decree as sort of another example of how, when we as a group are faced with dramatic change, there are three paths people take," Rosenblatt said.

"One path is we need to go back to the way things were, the conservative path," he said. "Another group are those who just want to rush ahead and change everything. Then a third group says, let's not paint this black and white. Let's be mindful and thoughtful how we do this."

Miller and his wife, Kim, also a pastor, started Living Word in their home in 1987. It has grown to about 1,100 people on the rolls and 500 to 600 attending Sunday services, Samuels said.

Miller has played a significant community role as a pastor and is a leader in the ongoing Asbury Park-Neptune relief efforts for Haiti.

"I've had people come to me in trouble because of the computer in general - a lot of computer widows - but not Facebook," said the Rev. Porter Brown, overseer at Faith Baptist Tabernacle in Asbury Park.

Brown said he's contemplating setting up a Facebook site to increase the church's communication with his congregation and community. At the moment, he said he sends e-mails to young people to let them know about the upcoming Sunday sermon so they can send him questions ahead of time.

"We continue to share with our folks that the Internet can be a good thing to use, but it has its own kind of dangers. Any access to people unfiltered may not be good."

Nancy Shields: 732-643-4229; shields@app.com

Fidel "Butch" Montoya is Director of H. S. Power and Light Ministries - Latino Faith Initiative. He was the Vice President/News Director of KUSA - TV Channel 9 News from 1985-1990, and worked at the news station for 24 years as a journalist. Montoya also served as Deputy Mayor of City and County of Denver from 1995-1999; and in law enforcement as the Manager of Public Safety, responsible for the Denver Police Department, Denver Fire Department, and Denver Sheriff Department for the City and County of Denver from 1994-2000. Montoya was Licensed to preach in 1972. He serves on the Executive Council for the Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blue is Beautiful

By Fidel “Butch” Montoya

The Red Wave of the Tea Party missed Colorado as it stood in stark contrast to the Red States in the Rocky Mountain region. Colorado elected a Democratic Governor, electing Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper who crushed two challengers, the infamous undocumented immigrant crusader Tom Tancredo, and political unknown Dan Maes. Tancredo ran as a third party candidate, who was unable to sell his extremist views to Colorado voters, and hopefully has reached the end of his extremist political career.

Colorado also elected appointed Senator Michael Bennet to a full six year term, squeaking out a victory over Tea Party favorite Weld County D. A. Ken Buck. Buck was expected to win according to the political pundits who felt Bennet would be unable to withstand the Red Wave that drown Democratic control of the House, and came within four or five candidates of submerging the Senate in a Tea Party tsunami.

While Republicans were able to defeat two Democratic Congressional candidates, Democrats were able to re-elect three Congressional incumbents in spite of an angry atmosphere toward President Obama’s agenda and Democratic incumbents.

Looking at what happened in other states on election night to Democratic incumbents and candidates, Colorado withstood the anger and Tea Party addiction. Colorado Democratic candidates were able to hold their own on a night that President Obama even admitted was not a good night for his administration, telling the nation, “I feel bad.”

Senator Bennet fought the outside money that pushed Ken Buck to the brink of victory with a get out the vote strategy that even pushed his own voter projections beyond his own expectations. In many bell weather counties, Bennet was winning with larger voter percentages that came out to help Senator Bennet defeat Buck with about a total of 15,000 votes or less. While many national news media refused to call the race on election night, KUSA-TV political consultant, Floyd Ciruli called the race in Bennet’s favor on Wednesday morning after a long night of analyzing voter results.

Latino voters played a pivotal role in several key races for Democrats. In Colorado, Bennet pulled 81% of the Latino vote, which gave Bennet the edge he needed to defeat Buck. Polling by Latino Decisions projected that Latinos in Nevada supported Senator Reid with 90% of the Latino vote. California Barbara Boxer enjoyed the support of 86% of Latino voters.

All in all, it was a night that demonstrated that when Latino voters are engaged, they can make the difference. It was clear the misdirected attempt by GOP Latino operatives to discourage Latino voters from going to the polls to vote, backfired and instead, angered Latinos into turning out to vote and supporting three important Senatorial races that kept control of the Senate in Democratic hands.

Without strong Latino get out the vote strategies, there is no question that Reid, Boxer, and Bennet would have been defeated by their challengers. While political pundits have claimed that Latino voters could change the outcome of elections, there is no doubt these three senatorial races dynamically demonstrated the strength of the Latino voter. No longer just a political theory, Latino voter participation is now considered a potent political weapon that other candidates will seek to duplicate in the future if they want to win the tight race.

As we face the uncertainty and dynamic change in political power in Congress, Latinos are positioned to play a key role in determining and changing the outcome of voter expectations.

While the Tea Party influence also played a key role in electing Republican Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Republican Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada, and Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Latinos also demonstrated that they do not speak with one voice or are of one political persuasion. Martinez was elected as the first Hispanic female Republican Governor. Sandoval defeated Rory Reid, Senator Reid’s son for the governorship of Nevada. Rubio, who claims to be a son of exiled Cuban immigrants, is considered one of the strongest foes of immigration reform.

In spite of political party or favorite political beverage, Latinos are positioned on the national stage to govern and bring about change for the Latino community. Latino voter turn out in the future will need to be a priority for any group wishing to change the outcome of elections. While major emphasis has been given to voter registration, it is clear that we cannot neglect to follow through and engage in broad based get out the Latino vote in future elections.

If we neglect to push Latino voter participation in 2012, we will be failing to utilize the most important voter outcome weapon that has shown in the mid-term elections, that the Latino voters do make a difference.

Fidel "Butch" Montoya is Director of H. S. Power and Light Ministries - Latino Faith Initiative. He was the Vice President/News Director of KUSA - TV Channel 9 News from 1985-1990, and worked at the news station for 24 years as a journalist. Montoya also served as Deputy Mayor of City and County of Denver from 1995-1999; and in law enforcement as the Manager of Public Safety, responsible for the Denver Police Department, Denver Fire Department, and Denver Sheriff Department for the City and County of Denver from 1994-2000. Montoya was Licensed to preach in 1972. He serves on the Executive Council for the Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vote Republican? Not Hardly

By Fidel "Butch" Montoya

I was recently reading an article by Steve Sailer, movie critic for The American Conservative entitled, "What GOP Should Say to Hispanics - Vote like Americans." Sailer used information from the Hispanic Pew Center study released on October 5th. The survey - "Latinos and the 2010 Elections: Strong Support for Democrats; Voter Weak Motivation" attempted to explain Latino issues that might affect how Latinos vote.

The Pew survey polled Hispanics on the top seven issues which Latinos felt were the extremely important to the Latino community. Several earlier polls have shown immigration to be one of the top issues that Latinos want addressed by consistent governmental policy and legislation.

There is no doubt that comprehensive immigration reform remains one of the issues that Latinos have demanded from President Obama, and is seen as one of the main reasons his positive polling numbers among Latinos has plunged dramatically.

Sailer on the other hand took the latest Hispanic Pew survey to misrepresent the feelings of the Latino community, and used his article to demonstrate that Latinos are losing interest or steam when it comes to immigration reform. His premise was that among the top seven most important issues facing the Latino community, "Immigration reform" only placed 5th in order of importance.

Using that misdirected premise, Sailer goes on a mission to demonstrate that if the GOP reached out to Hispanics, and asked to them to vote "like Americans," Latino Democrats might consider the message, because most Republicans concur with Latino preferences as well. The Hispanic Pew study states their polling shows that while Latinos generally support the Democrats, there is little motivation to vote come the mid-term elections. It gets back to that "enthusiasm gap," that generally is being touted by the GOP as affecting all Democrats.

Sailer's main rationale is simple, but clearly out of step with reality and any sense of what the Latino community feels about immigration reform. I don't know of any Latino leader who proposes to have open borders and leave the border unsecured. Most believe that an acceptable pathway to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants who want citizenship should be part of any immigration reform.

I don't find most immigration reform proponents demanding that undocumented immigrants be deported in train box cars like "our American government," did during "Operation Wetback" in the 1950's.

What Sailer proposes is, "My conclusion: After a Bush-blighted decade, it's time for Republican candidates to address Hispanic voters directly over illegal immigration. As a general rule, human beings respond more constructively to being challenged than to being pandered to. Hence, GOP candidates should forthrightly ask for the support of Hispanic voters in opposing illegal immigration."

What an idiotic proposal and void of any political reality that anyone would actually think that Latinos would vote for Republicans, especially how in practically every race in the country, they have demonized and dehumanized undocumented immigrants, and now Sailer thinks we would even consider voting "like Americans," and vote for Republicans?

Looking back at the top issues that registered Latino voters find extremely important start with Education at 58%. Jobs at 54%. Healthcare at 51%. Federal Budget Deficit at 35%. Immigration at 31%. Environment at 29%. And finally the war in Afghanistan at 27%.

When you understand that while the American economy has edged closer to the brink of bankruptcy for the last two years and unemployment and loss of jobs has affected most Americans, it is understandable that Jobs and Federal Budget Deficit are among the top five concerns. While the Obama Administration claims national unemployment figures top out at about 9.2%, many economists will tell you, in the Black and Latino communities the unemployment rates are anywhere from 12% to 15%.

For over forty or more years the Latino community has demanded that something be done with the great social equalizer, education. Education rates first at 58%. With 50% or more Latino students dropping out of school, it is a national crisis that most Republicans probably don't even recognize.

The same concern also rises in the Latino community when it comes to a lack of affordable healthcare. Most Latinos or immigrants will stay away from the doctors and hospitals because medical care is not affordable. The problem is when most Latinos finally go the doctor; their health problem is far more serious than if they had taken care of the health problem earlier.

No Mr. Sailer, it should not surprise you that at this point in time, while most Americans deal with the Great Recession, most people of color, including Latinos are dealing with the Great Depression of 2010.

The Hispanic Pew survey should not be misleading, because consistently in other Pew surveys, most Latinos want comprehensive immigration reform taken care of. But when you can't find a job to put food on the table of a hungry family, pay the rent or mortgage, deal with higher prices for transportation or keeping the old car drivable, and worrying about what happens when one of the kids gets sick, or how to deal with the costs of healthcare, it is no wonder these issues float to the top of the extremely important issues facing the Latino community.

Also, don't be so ignorant as to think that if Republicans simply "challenge Latinos instead of pandering to them," by asking Latinos to support the GOP's hate campaign against undocumented immigrants will resonate in the Latino community. Demonizing, dehumanizing, and calling people "illegals," is not going to drive as you call Latinos, "unmotivated Democrats," to vote for Republicans.

In fact, your misguided attempt to challenge Latinos to vote for the GOP candidate because of our "Hispanic patriotism," is like asking us to commit treason.
Fidel "Butch" Montoya is Director of H. S. Power and Light Ministries - Latino Faith Initiative. He was the Vice President/News Director of KUSA - TV Channel 9 News from 1985-1990, and worked at the news station for 24 years as a journalist. Montoya also served as Deputy Mayor of City and County of Denver from 1995-1999; and in law enforcement as the Manager of Public Safety, responsible for the Denver Police Department, Denver Fire Department, and Denver Sheriff Department for the City and County of Denver from 1994-2000. Montoya was Licensed to preach in 1972. He serves on the Executive Council for the Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Menendez/Leahy Immigration Bill of 2010

By Fidel "Butch" Montoya

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the US Senate that includes some provisions that are certain to stimulate considerable debate among proponents of immigration reform. The coming days will determine a better perspective on whether the immigration reform coalition will continue to work together to push immigration reform forward.

For example, conservatives for immigration reform have called extending family based immigration or reunification for same sex couples as a "deal breaker." This particular provision has been discussed in the past, and perhaps making it more active to other groups seeking immigration reform, it may well create a barrier to continued support for some religious groups seeking to push reform in the Congress. While it is expected that this provision will ignite considerable debate, it will depend on the art of politics and compromise to see if the Menendez/Leahy Bill goes forward.

The enforcement provisions will also provoke considerable debate over what constitutes a "secure border," or is this simply a unattainable goal being used by the opponents of immigration reform to keep the security standard unreachable so that many provisions of the bill are not activated or triggered? At some point, enough is enough in terms of the dollars and human resources placed on the border. It is time to allow some provisions of the bill to put an end to the sacrifice and injustice suffered by many immigrant families without having to jump through so many Republican loop holes intended to delay or kill any effort for reform.

Already experiencing the failure of not being able to garner the support of any member of the "Party of No" to support the DREAM Act just last week, many critics are wondering why Senator Menendez would introduce an immigration bill that "probably will go not go anywhere in the Congress anyway." Senator Menendez has countered that criticism with the fact that this bill demonstrates the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. While Democrats are willing to push the debate on comprehensive immigration reform with a new proposal, the voters who have overwhelming indicated support for immigration reform, will see that it is clearly the Republicans who continue to refuse to consider any new proposals on reform and remain the impediment to passing comprehensive immigration reform any time soon.

In the coming days, as we all review the details of the Menendez/Leahy Bill, it will be clear that the debate over immigration reform will continue to point out the urgent need once and for all the importance of all parties affected by the legislation to sit down and find a bill that will be a just and righteous approach to extending a pathway to protecting and legalizing the status for undocumented immigrants who wish to remain in the USA.

Regardless of the potential barriers to a just reform bill, it is critically important that we all review the bill and join in the debate so our fight for comprehensive immigration reform is not perceived as a stumbling block to families separated and affected by a broken immigration system that penalizes and punishes their efforts to find a better life.

Fidel "Butch" Montoya

Here for your reading enjoyment are the fundamental points related to the Menendez/Leahy Bill on immigration reform:

Introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D‐NJ) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D‐VT)

Title I – Border Enforcement
 Establishes border enforcement “triggers” that must be met before any unauthorized immigrants can apply for permanent residency.
 Requires DHS to review assets and staffing needed for border security and enforcement.
 Funds port of entry improvements and tools and technology, in line with this review.
 Expands Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staffing, in line with this review.
 Improves training and accountability for DHS border and immigration officers.
 Enhances cooperation with Canada and Mexico, as well as local law enforcement agencies, to improve border security and coordinate crime fighting.
 Clarifies that the power to regulate immigration resides with the federal government, not states and localities, and that state and local police do not have the “inherent authority” to enforce federal immigration laws (outside of 287(g) agreements).
 Involves border communities in enforcement policy through creation of a U.S.‐Mexico Border Enforcement Commission and a Border Communities Liaison Office.

Title II – Interior Enforcement
 Requires DHS to track the departure of noncitizens to ensure that individuals do not overstay their visas.
 Denies “visa waiver” privileges to countries whose citizens attempt to overstay visas.
 Refines existing law on illegal entry, illegal reentry and voluntary departure of noncitizens to ensure enforcement of those provisions and heighten penalties for those who commit serious offenses.
 Funds and expands the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program to cover additional criminal justice costs borne by state and local governments.
 Enhances efforts to ensure that DHS does not mistakenly deport U.S. citizens and residents.
 Expands penalties for passport, visa, and immigration fraud; unlawful flight from immigration or customs controls; and gang activity.
 Expands other civil penalties and grounds of inadmissibility for certain criminals.
 Provides common‐sense rules governing the detention of families, elderly or ill immigrants, crime victims, and other “vulnerable populations” like torture survivors, as well as enforcement actions that involve children.
 Improves detention conditions to meet basic standards; expands secure alternatives to detention.
 Ends the waiting period for refugees and asylees to obtain green cards.

Title III – Worksite Enforcement
 Mandates the use of an employment verification system for all employers within five years. 2
 Creates a new fraud‐resistant, tamper‐resistant Social Security card; requires workers to use fraud‐ and tamper‐resistant documents to prove authorization to work in the United States.
 Requires the Social Security Administration to create a reliable and secure way of verifying Social Security numbers and work authorization.
 Adds criminal penalties for fraud and misuse of Social Security numbers.
 Provides protections for workers to prevent fraudulent use of social security numbers, correct government database errors, and combat employment discrimination.
 Creates a voluntary pilot program using biometric identifiers to demonstrate work authorization.

Title IV – Reforming America’s Legal Immigration System
 Creates a Standing Commission on Immigration, Labor Markets, and the National interest to evaluate labor market and economic conditions and recommend quotas for employment based visa programs that Congress and the President would act on. The Commission will be made up of the Secretaries of DHS, State, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture, as well as the Attorney General, Social Security Commissioner, and seven nongovernmental members appointed by the President.
 Creates the structure for a new nonimmigrant visa program (H‐2C) to address gaps in existing worker programs that have lead to undocumented migration. The number of H‐2C workers admitted to the program is completely dependent upon the Commission’s recommendations regarding the impact on the labor market and economy. Workers must have a job offer and meet various application requirements. Once in the U.S., H‐2C visa holders are able to change jobs, provided their new employer is authorized to hire H‐2C workers.
o The H‐2C program has various features to protect U.S. workers, such as: bars to use of the program in high‐unemployment areas; requirements for employers to recruit and hire American workers first; employer‐paid program fees; employer banishment from the program for improper use or misrepresentation; etc.
o H‐2C workers are eligible to apply for green cards after having worked in the U.S. for
four years, or immediately if they are sponsored by their employer.
 Significantly expands labor protections in current H‐2A, H‐2B, H‐1B, and L‐1 visa programs.
 Ensures that the number of family and employment green cards authorized by Congress do not expire because of processing delays; expands the share of visas that each country can access within existing quotas that limit overall immigration.
 Exempts certain immigrants from counting against the annual green card quotas so that they can immediately reunite with loved ones in the U.S., including spouses and minor children of green card holders.
 Revises unlawful presence bars to immigration so that individuals with family ties are not permanently banished from the U.S.
 Incorporates the AgJOBS bill, which provides a path to permanent residency for farm workers and revises agricultural employer sponsorship requirements.
 Incorporates the Uniting American Families Act, which allows permanent partners to access the family‐based immigration system.

Title V – Legalization of Undocumented Individuals
 Creates Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI) status for non‐criminal undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. since 9/30/10. Requires applicants to submit biometric and biographical data, undergo security and law enforcement checks, and pay a $500 fine plus application fees. LPI status lasts four years and can be extended. It includes work authorization and permission to travel abroad; immediate family members are also eligible for status under the program.
o Immigrants may apply for LPI status even if they are in deportation proceedings at the time of application or have an outstanding removal order.
o In order to transition from LPI status to Legal Permanent Residency (i.e. a “green card”), applicants are required to wait at least six years; pay taxes and a $1000 fine; learn English and U.S. civics; and undergo additional background checks. They will not obtain green cards before those who were waiting “in line” to immigrate as of date of enactment.
o The LPI program includes a level of administrative and judicial review, confidentiality protections for applicants and their employers, and fraud prevention measures.
 Incorporates the DREAM Act, which creates a path to legal status for individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, provided they meet age and other criteria and enroll in college or the U.S. military.

Title VI ‐ Immigrant Integration and Other Reforms
 Enhances programs and policies to help immigrants learn English and U.S. civics, such as: tax credits for teachers of English language learners and businesses who provide such training for their employees; a revamped DHS Office of Citizenship and New Americans to assist with immigrant integration; and grants for states who work to successfully integrate newcomers.
 Provides humanitarian immigration visas for Haitian children orphaned by the 2010 earthquake; Liberian nationals who fled civil strife and received Temporary Protected Status in the U.S.; and the immediate relatives of September 11th terrorism victims.
 Establishes a Commission on Wartime Treatment of European Americans and a Commission on Wartime Treatment of Jewish Refugees to review the country’s immigration and foreign policies during World War II.
 Improves access to interpreters in state courts.
 Evaluates the factors that drive undocumented migration from key sending countries and requires the State Department to develop a strategy to reduce migration pressures.
Fidel "Butch" Montoya is Director of H. S. Power and Light Ministries - Latino Faith Initiative. He was the Vice President/News Director of KUSA - TV Channel 9 News from 1985-1990, and worked at the news station for 24 years as a journalist. Montoya also served as Deputy Mayor of City and County of Denver from 1995-1999; and in law enforcement as the Manager of Public Safety, responsible for the Denver Police Department, Denver Fire Department, and Denver Sheriff Department for the City and County of Denver from 1994-2000. Montoya was Licensed to preach in 1972. He serves on the Executive Council for the Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.