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

Monday, June 11, 2007

Xenophobia Wins, Reason and Compromise Lose

Press Release

Contact: For Immediate Release
Diana Arenas June 8, 2007
Press and Media Director, NHCLC

(Washington DC) June 8, 2007
Nation’s Largest Hispanic Christian Organization Calls
Failed Cloture Vote a Victory for Xenophobia, Extremism and Polarization

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which is the National Hispanic Association of Evangelicals, serving 15 Million Hispanic Born Again Christians and 18,000 Evangelical congregations, calls the Senates vote yesterday which resulted in a failed cloture motion, an egregious assault on the immigrant community, national unity, and family values. “Yesterday, political expediency, xenophobia and extremism defeated reason, compromise and reconciliation,” stated Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Conference President.

In addition, he added that unless there is immediate intervention on behalf of the White House in respect to Republican Senators and the House Leadership, 12 million people will hide deeper in the shadows, Anti Latino, and immigrant animosity will increase, our nation will continue to be polarized, and our borders will continue to be vulnerable. As a sister organization of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Hispanic NAE is mobilizing approximately 18,000 churches to contact members of Congress and pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform

legislation that will protect the borders, protect all families and protect American values.

“Immigration Reform is not a Political, Democratic, or Republican issue; it is above all a Moral issue. Congress just said no to Leviticus 19 and to Romans 13. Congress said no to treating the immigrant in a humane and biblical manner and to applying the rule of law,” declared Rodriguez. The Hispanic NAE led the moral and religious campaign calling for comprehensive immigration reform. Sidney Blumenthal credited the organization for derailing the Republican plan to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants.

White House Reacts to Senate Failed Procedural Motion on Immigration

What They're Saying:

Commentary On The Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill
"Doing Nothing … Is The Worst Possible Outcome"; This "Issue Can And Will Be Resolved"

"Inaction On Immigration Carries A Brutally High Price"

The Washington Post: "Having derailed immigration reform favored by a clear majority of Americans, the Senate may want to consider the effects of its resolute inaction. Proponents say that they have not given up. But assume, for a moment, that efforts to repair the nation's broken immigration system will not be revived for at least two years. Given current trends, that means 800,000 to 1 million additional immigrants will enter the country illegally or overstay their visas, drawn by the great magnet of the American economy to fill jobs that most Americans won't do." (Editorial, "Getting To No," The Washington Post, 6/10/07)

Los Angeles Times: "Reid's feelings may be hurt, and his skills as a negotiator are now seriously in doubt. But this is about more than face or partisan advantage. The Senate owes it to the millions of people whose futures hang on this legislation to try again. It is those futures – and the nation's – that rest on this bill." (Editorial, "Stuck On Immigration," Los Angeles Times, 6/8/07)

The New York Times: "The country cannot leave an unlawful, chaotic system to fester, with legal immigration channels clogged, families split apart, crops rotting and state and local governments dreaming up ways to punish 12 million people whose identities are unknown to the authorities, and who aren't leaving, no matter what Congress does." (Editorial, "A Failure Of Leadership," The New York Times, 6/9/07)

USA Today: "It's simply not feasible to go back two decades to start over – or to suddenly make it so difficult for illegals to work here that at least 12 million people magically self-deport, leaving restaurants, hotels and millions of small businesses with a crippling labor shortage. The critics should instead focus their efforts on a more legitimate goal: Making sure this reform includes both the means and the funding to keep millions more illegal immigrants from coming." (Editorial, "Amnesty? What Amnesty?" USA Today, 6/8/07)

"Doing Nothing Is Simply Not An Option"

The Albuquerque Journal: "…[F]or all its warts, it's hard to imagine how senators could argue the proposal is worse than the completely broken system we have. … Why should a status quo that encourages breaking the law, exploiting fugitive immigrants and leaving America vulnerable be perpetuated by continued congressional inaction? This legislation should be revived this week." (Editorial, "Revive And Pass Immigration Bill," The Albuquerque [NM] Journal, 6/10/07)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker: "Though the diehard nativists denounce as 'amnesty' any proposal that offers a path to legalization to the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already here, the comprehensive immigration reform bill, now stalled in Congress, had offered a practical approach. It combined tough border enforcement with a path to legalization that included penalties. It was no easy forgiveness. If we don't pass such legislation, what's the alternative?" (Editorial, "Bright Young Immigrants Deserve Break," Atlanta [GA] Journal-Constitution, 6/11/07)

The Baltimore Sun: "That the Senate's so-called grand bargain should have met this swift end is particularly tragic because doing nothing about the nation's broken immigration system is perhaps the worst possible outcome. … Figuring out how to control the borders to effectively and humanely manage the flow of immigrants is an ongoing proposition that will require constant readjustment even after legislation is enacted. First, though, this bit of hard work must get done." (Editorial, "Too Heavy A Lift," The Baltimore Sun, 6/10/07)

Boston Globe: "Twelve million illegal immigrants were living and working inside US borders before Senators John McCain and Edward Kennedy presented their bipartisan immigration reform bill last month, and 12 million are here now. How can the 'amnesty' opponents in the Senate who helped derail the bill Thursday possibly call that a victory?" (Editorial, "An Amnesty For Lousy Politics," Boston Globe, 6/9/07)

The Boston Herald: "…[T]o waste this opportunity, to see the human sorrow that results – as we did not long ago in New Bedford – would be tragic. … Surely common sense demands a solution – and the sooner the better." (Editorial, "Let's Not Give Up On Immigration Bill," The Boston Herald, 6/9/07)

The Denver Post: "Lawmakers from both parties must renew their efforts for a compromise. If not, Americans could be stuck with a broken immigration system for several more years, which is unacceptable. We need a law that goes beyond fence-building and acknowledges the economic realities of our growing immigrant workforce." (Editorial, "Renew Immigration Efforts," The Denver [CO] Post, 6/8/07)

The [Greensboro, NC] News & Record: "This bill was far from perfect, but it contained important and necessary improvements in immigration policy. … This issue is worth another try." (Editorial, "Dole Helps Break Deal, But That Solves Nothing," The [Greensboro, NC] News & Record, 6/9/07)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: " …[I]mmigration reform is not a luxury; it is a necessity. To have 12 million illegal immigrants permanently living in the shadows – and who can't all realistically be deported – makes no sense as social policy. … Mr. Reid and the Senate need to go back to work on this and not quit until they are done." (Editorial, "No Quitting," Pittsburgh [PA] Post-Gazette, 6/11/07)

Rochester [NY] Democrat And Chronicle: "If Congress walks away from the bill now, chances for passage in either the short or long term become extremely problematic." (Editorial, "Deal Still Possible," Rochester [NY] Democrat And Chronicle, 6/11/07)

San Antonio Express-News: "The legislation would benefit both immigrants and citizens, giving employers an opportunity to hire much-needed workers without depressing the wages of their U.S. counterparts. 'The bill is on life support, but it is not dead,' Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said, according to the Express-News. We hope not. If it is, the result will be what neither side wants – a problem that continues to grow. And that is unacceptable." (Editorial, "Bickering Threatens Immigration Reform," San Antonio [TX] Express-News, 6/9/07)

The San Diego Union-Tribune: "…[T]here is still hope for a solution to America's illegal immigration problem, if for no other reason than because there remains one thing on which all sides agree: Doing nothing is simply not an option. For Congress to chicken out on fixing this problem would … put off solving a serious problem that is never going to get any easier and may actually get more difficult as time goes on." (Editorial, "All Is Not Lost," The San Diego [CA] Union-Tribune, 6/11/07)

"This Issue Can And Will Be Resolved"

Senate Republican Whip Trent Lott (R-MS): "The Senate has two choices on immigration reform: Do something now to curtail illegal immigration. Or do nothing, accept the status quo and hope it doesn't get worse." (Trent Lott, "Immigration Bill: Can The U.S. Senate Proposal To Curtail Illegal Immigration Be Saved?" [Jackson, MS] Clarion Ledger, 6/10/07)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): "I don't think we should give up. … We have a failing system out there. … Even if it got 25 percent better it would be better than it is today." (Dena Bunis, "Immigration Bill Off The Floor, For Now," The Orange County Register 6/8/07)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): "We're inside the 10-yard line, and we've got four downs… Within a matter of weeks, this issue can and will be resolved." (James Rosen, "Graham Unfazed By Immigration Defeat," McClatchy Newspapers, 7/9/07)

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ): "Everyone has their own definition [of amnesty] … I think it is a dead-end debate. … We have tried to do as many things as we can to ensure that for those that get to stay, they pay a price, and I don't think it's amnesty. For those who say, 'This bill is amnesty, we shouldn't pass it,' one of my responses is, 'OK, so do you like what we have?'" (Collin Levy, "The 'Amnesty' Canard," The Wall Street Journal, 6/9/07)

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): "The status quo is de facto amnesty… So for us to do nothing and celebrate the fact that we stopped this legislation, well then those who have a better idea can give it to us. We can consider it and move forward." (Henry C. Jackson, "McCain: Time Short for Immigration Bill," The Associated Press, 6/9/07)

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO): "Our Nation badly needs the reform. Failure is not an option." (Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO), Statement On The Vote For Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Press Release, 6/7/07)

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA): "We're going to get it done. … We have a road map. We know where we're going." (Jerome L. Sherman, "Specter Remains Optimistic About Immigration Overhaul," Pittsburgh [PA] Post-Gazette, 6/9/07

Confessions of a Migrant Worker

It is almost amusing to me the political rhetoric that is taking place concerning immigrants. It is a complicated issue no matter how you look at it but I would like to offer a personal perspective. As an evangelical leader who grew up working the fields of Eastern Washington and Idaho I cringe when I hear that immigrants are taking jobs away from citizens.

When I was working as 11yr old I saw no protests, I saw no human rights activists, I saw know debates and no forums. What I did see is families refusing to be fed by a system that traps the poor in welfare and social programs. My father taught one principle and it is a value to this day. If you don't work you don't eat! One issue that cannot be avoided is that millions of people are working so that millions of people can eat. Argue about the law, or argue about policy, but don't paint all Latino immigrants with one broad stroke.

For every dollar spent on social medicine how many dollars are saved from your food bill? There is a Latino work ethic that at times gets ignored. While we are working hard to find answers let's make sure we are asking the right questions. By the way, out of 11 children my parents produced: A farmer, 2 school administrators, 3 teachers, one minister, 4 medical field professionals, and some of the greatest citizens these United States have seen. I know there are many stories. Let's just remember that not all of them can be written off by referring to an entire ethnic group as illegal.

By Nick Garza

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Hispanic and The African American Connection

The Hispanic Indian & The African Slave - Two brothers, two prophets choosen for this hour:

I grew up in New York City and the only people that lived around us were either Hispanic or African American. we really didn't get to see to many Anglo people unless it was the police raiding our block; they were all white. So from a very young age I had African American friends and we considered ourselves brothers.

When I became a Christian I found a new challenge in my life; our Christian churches were segregated according to their races and there was no room for those "other kind of folk." So my Christian walk was influenced by my culture and my people- everything was viewed for a Hispanic perspective.

We sang only our kind of songs with our Latin beat to it (which by the way is pretty good) . Our preaching was laced with Spanish fraces and in a basic sence we stay within our own. When we would come out of church on any given Sunday we would look across the street to that other church, which was black, and wondered if they were Christians like us. I mean I could hear they singing and praising. But if they were brothers in Christ; How come we never get together? I imagine that they were thinking the same thing about us.
Dr. Angel L. Nunez
Senior Vice-president NHCLC

More next week

Friday, June 1, 2007

Ending Chain Migration


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 1, 2007

Ending Chain Migration
Bipartisan Immigration Bill Reforms System To Focus Family Migration On Nuclear Family And Parents

Three Key Points On The Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill's Plan To End Chain Migration

1. The Bipartisan Immigration Bill Reforms The Immigration System To Better Balance The Importance Of Family Connections With U.S. Economic Needs.
2. The Bill Will End Chain Migration, Which Allows Legal Immigrants To Bring Extended Family Members To The U.S., And Focus Future Family Immigration On The Nuclear Family And Parents. There will still be more family-based than merit-based visas, and the existing decades-long backlog of family-based applications will be eliminated within eight years.
3. Green Cards For Extended Family Will Be Rebalanced To The New Merit-Based System To Select Future Immigrants Based On The Skills And Attributes They Will Bring To The United States.

The Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill Will Focus Future Family Migration On The Nuclear Family And Parents

In Place Of The Current System Where Nearly Two-Thirds Of Green Cards Are Awarded To Relatives Of U.S. Citizens, The Bill Reforms Our Immigration System To Better Balance The Importance Of Family Connections With The Economic Needs Of Our Country.
· Green cards for parents of U.S. citizens are capped, while set-asides for the siblings of U.S. citizens and the adult children of U.S. citizens and green card holders are eliminated.
· A new Parents Visitor visa is created to ensure that parents are allowed to visit their adult citizen children in the United States regularly and for extended periods of time.
· The Diversity Lottery Program, which is susceptible to fraud and grants green cards through random chance, is ended.

The Bill Will Clear The Current Decades-Long Backlog Of Family-Based Applications Within Eight Years And Continue To Uphold The Importance Of Family Connections. During this time, the majority of green cards issued will go to family members. Even after family backlogs are cleared and the rebalancing of visas is complete, there will be more family-based green cards issued than merit-based green cards.

After The Backlogs Are Cleared, Rebalanced Green Cards Will Be Applied To The New Merit-Based System For Immigration. Once the backlogs of employment-based and family-based applications are cleared, there will be 380,000 green cards available under the merit-based system – up from 140,000 employment-based green cards today.

Family Members Of Z Visa Holders And Temporary Workers Will Not Receive Preference For Green Cards

Z Visa Workers May Not Petition To Bring Family Members To The U.S. Family members of Z visa workers must compete for green cards under the merit-based system, which awards points for attributes that further our national interest, including: skills and work experience, with added points for U.S. employment in a specialty or high-demand field; education, with added points for training in science, math, and technology; employer endorsement; ability to speak English; and family ties to the U.S.

Temporary Workers In The "Y" Program Face Strict Restrictions On Bringing Immediate Family Members To The U.S. The new "Y" temporary workers are eligible only for three, two-year terms in the U.S. and must spend at least a year outside the country between each term. To prevent Y's from setting down permanent roots in the U.S., the bill provides that these workers may be accompanied by their families during only one of these terms – and then only if they have the financial means to support them and if their family members will have health insurance. In addition, any Y who brings his or her family will be entitled to only two terms rather than the standard three. Finally, the bill caps the overall number of family members that Y visa workers may bring into the U.S.

The White House and Immigration


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 1, 2007


Room 350
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

1:26 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. First, I thank you very much for your hard work on a comprehensive immigration bill and your concern about our country. And the two go hand-in-hand. I believe that now is the time to address the issue of immigration. I think it's in our national security interests, and I think it's in the interest of making sure America never loses sight of who we are.

This is a difficult issue for a lot of folks. I understand that. But because it's difficult probably means we need to work doubly hard to get it done. And now is the time to get it done. No matter how difficult it may seem for some politically, I strongly believe it's in this nation's interest for people here in Washington to show courage and resolve and pass a comprehensive immigration reform.

My administration is deeply involved in this issue. I feel passionate about the issue. I believe it's in this country's interest to solve the problem. I believe it's in our interest when we find a system that is broken to fix it, and the immigration system today is broken. And I've asked Michael and Carlos Gutierrez to work the issue on the Hill, and these men are doing good work. They understand the issue, they understand the bill, and they understand they need to work with the Republicans and Democrats to get the job done.

I say the system isn't working because there's a lot of Americans who say that the government is not enforcing our border. I say the system is broken because there are people coming into America to do work that Americans are not doing, and there are good, decent employers who unknowingly are hiring them, which is against the law.

The system is broken, in my judgment, because there are 11 million to 12 million people living in the shadows of a free society. The system is broken because there are people who are exploiting human beings for material gain. There are coyotes-- those are human smugglers -- charging decent people large sums of money to come and work to put food on the table for their families.

There's a document forgery industry in place, because the system is broken, providing people with false documentation so they can do work that Americans are not doing in order to provide for their families. There are so-called innkeepers providing substandard hovels for people who are smuggled into our country. In other words, we have got a system that is causing people -- good, decent people -- to be exploited. And therefore, now is the time to get it fixed.

For those concerned about border security, this bill focuses on border security. For those concerned about making sure that we have workers available to do jobs -- decent jobs to make sure our economy continues to grow, this bill addresses that issue. For those concerned that we must enable 11 million to 12 million people to come out of the shadows of our society, this bill addresses that. To those concerned about whether or not America will still have the capacity to assimilate the newly arrived, it addresses that issue, too.

This is a good piece of legislation. I'm sure some of you in the audience here will say, well, it's not perfect, there are some aspects of the bill that I would like to see changed. On a piece of legislation this complicated, the question people have to answer is, are we going to sacrifice the good for the sake of the perfect? And my call to you is, is that we need to work on a comprehensive bill together. First of all, I know you're already doing that, so I'm really here to thank you.

I want to address a couple of the key issues that people are addressing. If you want to kill a bill, then you just go around America saying, this is amnesty. In other words, there are some words that illicit strong reactions from our fellow citizens. Amnesty is when a person breaks the law and is completely forgiven for having done so. This bill isn't amnesty. For those who call it amnesty, they're just trying to, in my judgment, frighten people about the bill.

This bill is one that says, we recognize that you're here illegally and there's a consequence for it. We can argue about the consequences, but you can't argue about the fact that there are consequences in this bill for people who have broken our law.

People say, well, the bill is really -- is not going to do much to enforce the border. Well, the truth of the matter is, certain aspects of the law don't come into be until certain border measures are taken. But I would remind people that you cannot fully enforce the border so long as people are trying to sneak in this country to do jobs Americans aren't doing. You can try, but doesn't it make sense to help the Border Patrol do their job, by saying, if you're going to come and do a job, there is a legal way to do it, so you don't have to sneak across in the first place? If you're interested in border security, you've got to recognize that giving people a chance to come and work here on a temporary basis makes it more likely the border will be enforced.

There are some who -- I don't know if they say this explicitly, but they certainly allege or hint that probably the best way to deal with 11 million to 12 million people is to get them to leave the country. That's impossible. That's the kind of statement that sometimes happens in the political process aimed to inflame passion, but it's completely unrealistic. It's not going to happen. And therefore, the fundamental question for those who disagree -- and there's some good folks who disagree on both political parties, I might add -- is, what's the solution?

This bill is not amnesty, but it recognizes that it is impossible for this country to rout people out of our society and "send them home." It's just not going to happen. And so good people have come together and derived a solution based upon compromises that addresses this problem in a humane way.

I recently gave a speech at the Coast Guard Academy, and I was preceded by a young man, a Latino, who stood up as the head of his class, addressing his classmates and their families and the President of the United States. And he talked about his migrant grandfather, how proud the migrant grandfather would be. It struck me again what a remarkable country it is where a person with a dream for his immediate family and future family could come to this country, work hard, make sacrifices, and have his grandson address the President and his class.

This has been the American story for decades and decades -- waves of people looking for a better life, seeking something better for themselves and their families, willing to sacrifice and work hard. And we've got to understand -- and great successes have resulted from that spirit. And this country must never lose sight that what has made us unique and, in my judgment, great is that we welcome people like that in a legal way; that throughout our history there have been the stories of people who have enriched our soul and lifted our spirit by coming to America.

One of the great things about our country is we've had the capacity to welcome people throughout our history. And we've become all Americans. We've got different backgrounds, different heritages, our forefathers may have spoken different languages, but we're all American. We've been able to assimilate under the laws and traditions of our country. And as a result, we're a stronger nation for it.

America must not fear diversity. We ought to welcome diversity. We ought to have confidence in what we have done in the past, and not lose confidence about what we will do in the future.

And so I want to thank you all for joining on a really important piece of legislation. It's the right thing to do. It's the right approach to take. It is right to address a problem. It is right to work with people in both political parties. It is right to argue for what you believe, and recognize that compromise might be necessary to move the bill along. And it is right to take political risk for members of the United States Congress.

I say -- I don't think this is risky, frankly. I don't view this as risk reward. I, frankly, view it as doing what you ought to do. See, people ought to be running for office to do what's right for the United States of America. That's what I believe people run for office for. And so I want you to know that you've got an administration that looks forward to working with people. I will do my best to make sure that this debate does not denigrate into name-calling and finger-pointing. And we'll spend energy and time and effort to help you advance a really important piece of legislation for the good of this country.

I've come by to say thanks. Chertoff and Gutierrez can tell you how the bill has gotten this far and what we see in the future. But I'm looking forward to signing a bill, and I think we will. I truly believe that when people with goodwill and good heart, and focus on helping this country come together, that we can get a good piece of legislation out. And I'm looking forward to signing it. I hope you'll be there when I do.

God bless. Thank you. (Applause.)