"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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dreams or Nightmare?

By Fidel "Butch" Montoya

Once again the Republican Party defied the Latino community by refusing to consider the DREAM Act. The GOP stalled consideration of the defense spending bill by voting 56 to 43, with two Democrats joining the GOP in effect killing the DREAM Act. Just shy of the 60 votes needed to push the debate forward, the GOP's dirty politics alienated Latino voters and blocked the bill.

The DREAM Act was added as an amendment to the defense spending bill and is part of Department of Defense's effort to maintain a strong "All Volunteer Force." The DOD has included the DREAM Act in its Office of Personnel Readiness FY2010 - 2012 Strategic Plan. "We must be able to recruit, retain, develop and motivate a high-quality, diverse, and properly sized workforce." Republicans claim the DREAM Act has nothing to do with national defense and was a political move by Democrats to energize the Latino vote before the mid-term elections.

Perhaps the real reason the DREAM Act failed is the Senate's failure to reconsider repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell, the right of gay service people to serve openly in the Armed Forces which was also attached to the defense spending bill.

But what troubled me even more than the Republican's motive to kill the bill, is what some Dreamers have expressed since the defeat of the bill. The accusation that we are trying to criminalize their parents for crossing the border without proper documents, is offensive.

The impertinent attacks by some undocumented youth who believe that serving in our Armed Forces is not an admirable or alternative service to our country are troubling.

This debate concerning the DREAM Act has been on the table for several years and rarely have I heard any sustained effort to keep "community service" as an option. Now, we hear from disenchanted Dreamers they had been left out of the debate. Yet because of the strong presence of Dreamers with fasts, sit-ins, and public protests were reasons we came close to passing the bill.

I believe the argument of not wanting to serve in the military is one sure basis of giving opponents reason to oppose this bill. It is the wrong argument to make as thousands of Americans have given their lives for freedom. Furthermore, it is disgraceful to service men and women and their families.

For a Dreamer who literally has no legal right to be in this country to accuse supporters of the DREAM Act of being inconsiderate or unsympathetic to their beliefs because "we do not understand what it means to be an undocumented student" shows lack of integrity and maturity. To criticize supporters of the DREAM Act as being out of touch and indifferent to their concerns is disingenuous.

I hear the questionable allegation that the Democrats are forcing undocumented youth to renounce their loyalty and love for their parents because Democrats are using the argument that parents crossed the border illegally, bringing their young children with them. Excuse me for not understanding, but these are the facts. No one is asking any young adult to turn their back on their parents.

The intention of the DREAM Act is to create opportunities for youth, who parents crossed the border without the proper documentation, to gain a pathway to citizenship, continue with their education in college, or serve in the military for two years, be given an opportunity to get a driver's license, a Social Security number so they can work, and contribute to the success of our country.

If some of the 850,000 undocumented youth find these provisions unacceptable, no one is going to force them to participate in the benefits of the DREAM Act. They can continue to live their lives in the shadows, threatened every single day with the fear of deportation.

I support comprehensive immigration reform and have been a strong proponent of reform working with faith leaders to fight for justice and righteousness. I support the DREAM Act because I feel it provides unprecedented opportunities for youth who are basically "Americans" in every sense of the word, except by the fact they were not born in this country.

When I read that undocumented youth do not want to serve in the Armed Forces because of their belief our government is at war for unjust or immoral reasons, I am convinced that they need to read the history of this country and for example, how it fought against Germany and Japan when they tried to enslave the world with their totalitarian ideology.

I am confused and dismayed that as proponents of the bill, we are called inconsiderate by Dreamers who claim their status is being exploited simply for political reasons. If we are using the wrong tactics, what are the acceptable arguments needed to pass this bill?

Apparently, it comes down to the fact some undocumented youth in our country want to enjoy the benefits of citizenship, but don't agree with the military alternative, and are taking out their frustration on supporters who support the DREAM Act, with the military option.

If the present bill is unacceptable, don't take your dissatisfaction out on your allies and friends who are working to pass the DREAM Act. Work to change it, but don't take out your frustration on supporters trying to make your life better.

Is there unfairness toward undocumented immigrants in our country? Absolutely, and that is why we must continue our fight to overcome injustice. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, "justice too long delayed is justice denied." But in order to overcome this hate and paranoia, we need to work together against a common enemy, not against each other.

This unjustifiable outcry that we are criminalizing the parents of Dreamers or forcing them to serve in the military as young Americans have done in the past is disheartening. The DREAM Act offers options, and provides a very virtuous way to citizenship.

I wonder if we are fighting a losing battle against the racists and extremist Republicans, knowing that from within the DREAM Act movement, I am considered the enemy by some of the very same young adults I am trying to help.

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.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Day After

By Fidel “Butch” Montoya

The day after the Glenn Beck “revival meeting” at the Lincoln Memorial, I found myself thinking that Beck might be on to something good. I was troubled however, because something seemed lacking from his message.

It took Bill Press, national radio talk show host, by condemning Beck to put the day after into perspective for me. “We don’t need a Mormon to teach Christians what the Gospel is all about.”

Press’s criticism wasn’t haughty or boastful, but the truth that most of us have neglected to comprehend. Mormonism is not Christianity. It is a cult that has many beliefs that simply don’t add up to Christianity.

Press clarified his condemnation of Beck after some critics were quick to condemn Press as being too judgmental. “As a Christian; however, I would never dare tell a Jew how to practice Judaism, nor a Muslim how to practice Islam. And I repeat: We don’t need a Mormon, especially one named Glenn Beck, to teach Christians what the Gospel is all about.”

Beck’s parade of what some pundits called the “Black Robes” or Evangelical leaders was a charade.

It was shameful for Evangelical leaders to lend their support at a nationalistic rally threaded throughout the day with code for hate, fear, and outright bigotry for many people in our country.

The music and some of the words and slogans about returning to God sounded like a revival meeting. But nationalistic rallies are not the way.

The predominantly white audience had very few Blacks or Latinos. It doesn’t mean that just because it was a white audience that it was bad, but it does cause me to wonder why the Beck message does not resonate with people of color?

Many Americans were appalled that Beck would stand in the very same spot a real Christian stood 47 years ago. Dr. Martin Luther King exalted in his ‘I have a Dream’ speech the true meaning of serving the poor, and those forgotten by society.

Beck has allowed guests on his show to do more to divide our country with lies and urban myths about immigration. For months now, Beck has criticized President Obama about his faith. He has criticized faith leaders who are fighting for comprehensive immigration reform as extremists. In short, Beck has not delivered on his revival message at the D.C. Mall – I believe it is called walking the talk.

Beck’s lack of understanding of the Gospel is what brought the strong rebuke from Press. Press is a theologian in his own right and if anyone understands the Gospel, it is Press.

At the center of the controversy is what does the Gospel teach us about reaching out to the poor or neglected? Beck’s distorted view is that “liberation theology” or the essence of the Gospel is “Marxism disguised as religion.” In fact, the Gospel teaches it is compulsory to help the needy.

As many of you may know, Priest Gustavo Gutierrez led the movement of liberation theology that was born in Latin America during the 1950’s. With social unrest in many Latin American countries, courageous priests of the Catholic Church disgruntled with the Catholic Church’s support of deceitful military dictatorships, taught that the Gospel required the Church to serve the poor. In collaboration with Protestant religious leaders, the Gospel became a reality in the lives of the poor and neglected who often were abused by governments who only sought to serve the powerful and corrupt.

Press explained, “While priests and nuns worked among the poor in the barrios, bishops and cardinals hung out with the generals, CEO’s, and dictators in their palaces, while supporting their suppression of the poor.” The Gospel teaches us the purpose of the Church is to serve, not ignore the poor or marginalized.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25, Jesus explains his new theology – teaching those who listened how on Judgment Day the Father would punish those who neglected the poor.

Jesus went on to explain, “For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged me.”

“I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care; I was in prison and you came to see Me.”

Christ made clear the path we are to take in order to serve as his followers.

On the other hand, Beck misses the clear directive of the Gospel. Serving the poor, the neglected, the marginalized, or the sick is not Marxist ideology, but inspiration of the Holy Spirit on what the Gospel instructs us.

I am shocked that some “Christians” would follow the false theology of Beck in the name of returning our nation to God. How can they follow a man who refuses to love those who disagree with his perverted world view?

I believe it is essential that we not be misled by the false prophet Beck and his teary words of hypocrisy.

It is time to call out our lying politicians, talk show hosts, and faith leaders who are seeking to cover up the sin of hate and justification for racism of undocumented immigrants, the poor, and others in need.

It is wrong for politicians to make repulsive and false statements about Social Security, undocumented immigrants, and the jobless. President Obama just signed into law $600 million dollars based on fear and false perceptions on border security at the expense of neglecting the poor and needy.

It is time in America for liberation theology to break the bonds and chains that hold Americans hostage to lies of ego driven cable talk show hosts and dangerous politicians.

Beware America of the wolves in sheep clothing who come seeking your heart and soul. Beware America of the greed and corruption that has led this nation to not only of the brink of economic disaster, but to the abyss of immorality.

El Semanario

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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Crazy Talk on the 14th Amendment?

By Fidel “Butch” Montoya

There is an interesting Politico.Com Op-ed entitled GOP flirting with disaster on Latinos by Janet Murguia, President and CEO of National Council of La Raza that outlines reasons why the NHCLC Voter Registration Drive is so critically important for each of us to participate in today. Unfortunately, the Republican Party is doing whatever they can to alienate the Latino vote by using Latinos and undocumented immigrants as a scapegoat for our nation’s ills. This strategy is not only going to hurt the party in the short term, but also in the long term as the Latino population continues to grow.

Murguia states the reality of the present GOP strategy to scare it base into action. “The real question is whether the GOP realizes the cost of its actions. The party is mortgaging its future. Republicans’ tunnel-vision focus on 2010 could mean they're flirting with permanent minority status.”

Interestingly enough, if the Republican Party was not out to scapegoat Latinos and undocumented immigrants, most Latinos would probably register as Republicans because of the conservative values many share with the GOP. Whether it is abortion, marriage, or other conservative issues, many Latinos share those conservative values. Yet, Republicans continue to alienate the Latino voter, and thus the party's future draws bleaker by driving Latinos to turn their backs on the Republican Party.

It is no wonder that according to a recent Gallup Poll, more Latinos identify with the Democratic Party by 53 percent, and only 21 percent with the GOP.

But to make it clear, the NHCLC is not an effort to register more Republicans, Democrats or Independents. It is a national objective to register more voters who will vote their values and beliefs and hold politicians who promise to uphold those values accountable. We must endeavor to involve more Latinos in the political process and involve them in helping to change the deteriorating morality and evilness in our country. By giving Latinos a powerful voice and political influence in taking a stand for our Christian values and beliefs, we can make a difference in the future outlook of our nation.

Janet Murguia makes two interesting points in this Op-ed:
• This Latino vote has already been credited with turning several red states blue, or at least purple. Yet, because of increasingly anti-Latino positioning, the Republican Party has been hemorrhaging Latino support since 2004. That was the high-water mark - when President George W. Bush won 43 percent of the Latino vote.
• Latinos are the youngest and fastest-growing group of voters in the country. What does that mean? In 1994, 3.5 million Latinos went to the polls. By 2008, that number was 10 million. There are still nearly 8 million Latinos who are eligible but have not yet registered to vote. Moreover, a half-million young Latino citizens will turn 18 every year for the next 20 years, according to Democracia U.S.A.

This is perhaps one of the most important reasons why we must do what we can to get unregistered Latinos to register to vote. I don't suspect we are encouraging anyone to register as a Democrat, but to register and vote the values they share with politicians running for public office. We need to ensure that the politicians we support for public office are sincere, honest, and will uphold their word to vote our agenda

But in order to have more influence in the election process, we have to get more Latinos REGISTERED to VOTE. "Imagine if there are 8 million Latinos who are eligible but have not yet registered to vote? Moreover, a half-million young Latinos CITIZENS will turn 18 every year for the next 20 years, according to Democracia U.S.A. "Imagine the potential political power and influence our community would have if we registered more Latinos who are eligible to vote if they registered.

The NHCLC Voter Drive is an opportunity that we must not squander or ignore in our haste to ensure that as Latino Evangelicals we not only preach justice and righteousness from the pulpit, but that we also walk our talk. This is our time to share the Gospel by standing up for justice and due process. Our values represent the values of justice, due process, and the rights of citizenship.

Registering and encouraging more individuals from the Latino community to vote can have a dramatic impact on every election they participate in. We must motivate them to register, and challenge them to vote in the elections. One of our problems has been getting Latinos to the polls to vote. We must inspire them this year to vote for candidates who represent the interests of our community.

One of the most important steps we must take is to ensure that pastors are aware of the issues and how they affect our Spanish speaking communities. We must not just expect Latinos to enter the four walls of our churches, but we must reach out to them by advocating the truths of the Bible that call for justice, righteousness, and adherence to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But to do that effectively, pastors must understand the issues and oppose the hypocrisy and lies of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party who are doing their best to create Latino monsters out of undocumented immigrants and Latinos.

Pastors supporting the ideology of the Tea Party or laws like SB 1070 must understand these are ideologies of hate, fear, and created to scare the average white Evangelical in believing Latinos and undocumented immigrants are criminals, or part of the drug cartel culture, gang members, immigrants wanting to rip off social services, or wanting to bring a hostile cultural heritage to our country.

Senator Lindsey Graham accuses undocumented immigrant Latinas for "dropping babies" in our country so they can be citizens is so outrageous, he should apologize to every Latina for such demagogy. "Dropping babies" as if our children were animals. It is time we make sure our pastors and faith leaders are not following the hate doctrine being used to divide our country and stand up and condemn the false accusations of these hate mongers.

The debate whether or not the Congress holds hearings to change the 14th amendment to prevent "immigrant babies" from claiming American citizenship is being used to create the false scenario that Latinos are invading the country by "dropping babies." As you may know, the 14th Amendment was adopted to give slaves and their children the right to citizenship. It would give people the right to get out of slavery and bondage and give them freedom and due process under the law.

I cannot even imagine that our country was a country that approved of slavery and bondage for other human beings and denied them and their children the right to claim their own personal dignity and citizenship. It was a point in our country’s history of immoral values and disrespect for African Americans who were forced to cross the ocean in slave ships, held in chains, and treated as less than human beings.

The history of our country is not always the shiny example of democracy that we claim to hold dear in our country. We should be ashamed of how we treated Blacks in the early history of these United States. Today, descendants of this immorality have found a new “slave” and someone to deny the dignity of humanness. We must never allow the American way of life to allow the immoral enslavement of any group as we did the African Americans.

Novelguide.com best describes one of the more important aspects of the 14th Amendment: “It also bestowed on U.S. citizens equal rights under the law. The result was to limit drastically the power of states to define citizenship or to treat their citizens in a discriminatory fashion. Thus, the states were prohibited from denying a person equal protection under the law. The meaning of this development in the long-term debate over federalism versus states' rights was that henceforth the federal government would assume the ultimate responsibility for protecting the civil rights of citizens. As part of this ruling, the Fourteenth Amendment also declared that states must respect every person's right to due process of law.” In some instances, it is clear that the 14th Amendment is not being enforced, particularly when it comes to protecting the rights of many Latino citizens “right to due process of law.”

But another thing the 14th Amendment allowed was the Confederacy, those persons who disavowed their citizenship to the U.S.A. and in place, became ex-citizens and should have been charged with "treason" by our own Constitution for becoming part of the Confederacy. In other words, after disavowing their citizenship to the U.S.A., the Confederates were no longer citizens of these United States.

Knowing our country’s history and its propensity to create a civil war for slavery, treat Chinese as non persons, using “Operation Wetback” to send back Latino citizens and Mexican undocumented immigrants by cattle cars on the railroad back to Mexico, to strip Japanese of their American rights and send them to encampments in places like the lonely wind swept prairies of Southeastern Colorado, almost wiping out the Native Indian nations from their lands, and fighting another illegal war like the war against Mexico to steal land from the Mexicans, some ask, why worry about this crazy idea to change the 14th Amendment? What more American history do you need to read, because there is a lot more that should scare you in taking your place at the polls on Election Day?

If we do not confront the hate, the “crazy idea” of amending the 14th Amendment, enacting more laws like SB 1070, allowing outright lies and rumors that are false being perpetuated by members of Congress about undocumented immigrants, many good citizens begin to accept the lies as truth, a truth so warped by hate and racism.

Harold Meyerson, columnist for the Washington Post put it more concisely. "The Confederates had renounced all allegiance to the United States. They made war on the Untied States -- the Constitution's definition of treason -- and, in an effort to keep 4 million Americans enslaved, killed more of our soldiers than any foreign army ever did."

I believe if the Congress holds hearings to consider taking away the right of undocumented immigrants’ babies from becoming citizens, we should also consider taking away the right of citizenship from people who renounced their American citizenship and disavowed their right to citizenship not only for themselves, but for their children, and their children, and their children.

The Confederates were basically charged with treason for fighting a civil war that fought to maintain a way of life that included the right to keep slaves. Imagine our country had to fight a civil war in order to eliminate the right to keep slavery in this country. Instead of addressing these issues in the Congress, our country’s leaders chose to fight a civil war, against one another, and fighting one of the bloodiest wars in our history. Out of hate and racism, we ended killing thousands of men than any foreign enemy has ever done on the battle fields.

I don’t know if you have visited the sacred and solemn place called Gettysburg. I remember it as an eerie and quiet place as I stood listening only to the wind blow across the meadow where so many soldiers died defending our United States. As I looked across imagining the bursts of gunfire, cannon balls, shouts of soldiers running toward the enemy, the shouts of pain and death, and those who thought of loved one as they fall to the ground dying on the immortal fields of Gettysburg. How could “Americans fight Americans” in such an ugly war of hate, anger, and for the wrong moral values and beliefs? If we did it once, could we do again?

Meyerson also clarifies the one most troubling problems facing our country after the Civil War. What to do with a nation where about half were charged with treason? Meyerson writes, "Yet Lincoln was determined to make it easy for Confederates to regain their citizenship. By taking an oath to support the United States and its Constitution, Confederates were made Americans again." No fines, no taxes to be paid, no indoctrination classes on American civic government, and especially, no requirement to learn the English language.

Keep in mind that Abraham Lincoln was perhaps one of the greatest Presidents in our country’s history having to bring a nation torn apart by war and slavery. Meyerson again shares his insight on the contradictory sense of political philosophy from Lincoln to one present day Republican United States Senator who should be ashamed for his hateful words uttered toward undocumented immigrants. Graham, once a man of reason, now considered a man of hate and injustice.

Don’t think extreme options are not being used by Republican candidates for office; just ask Sharron Angle of Nevada who appealed to her extremist Tea Party base that at some point we might have to use our “2nd Amendment remedies.” What does “2nd Amendment remedies” mean? Angle refuses to answer that question from Nevada news journalists, but we all know the 2nd Amendment allows us the right to bear arms to protect ourselves and our property. But when used in the same context and sentence that ends by saying, “and we need to take to Harry Reid out,” what is she talking about? Talk about scary and reality if candidates of the extreme right are appealing to followers to start thinking of “2nd Amendment remedies.”

“Suppose, though, that Lincoln had been filled with the spirit of today's Republicans. The crimes that Republicans ascribe to today's illegal immigrants pale next to those of Confederate leaders and supporters (chiefly, treason). A Lindsey Graham-like Lincoln would never have let the Confederates regain citizenship. Moreover, he would have denied citizenship to their children and their children's children. A large share of the nation, certainly of the white South, would have drifted endlessly in a legal limbo.”

And yet this is exactly what Senator Graham is proposing to happen to every “undocumented immigrant baby” born (or dropped) in the United States. They would be relegated to a state of legal limbo, with no rights or claim to citizenship of any country.

Meyerson also references a study recently completed by the Center for American Progress that tracked the demographic changes within the political parties. It shows the Republican percentage of white Christians will fall to about 35 percent of the population by 2040. Who will be largest group as time moves forward?

With the hate rhetoric and by supporting the anti immigrant movement by endorsing laws like SB 1070, using Latinos and undocumented immigrants as scapegoats for our nation’s problems, and claiming that Latinos are responsible for crime waves when FBI crime stats show that violent crimes and crime in general are down, even in Arizona, is immoral and should get the attention of every Latino so that we can work to rid our Congress of these people who despise Latinos and “dropped babies”.

Perhaps the best question that columnist Meyerson asks Senator Graham is one that we all should be asking or at least contemplating. "So, the question for Lindsey Graham is: Are you serious about revoking the citizenship of 4 million children, their children and their children's children? How about a package deal: Stripping their citizenship in return for stripping the citizenship of Confederate descendants. A sort of Missouri Compromise for our times. Bipartisan in action."

With the positive future demographics on our side, let's join the NHCLC effort to ensure we are diligent in our efforts to get more of the 8 million Latinos who are eligible but who have failed to register so far this year and to encourage them by telling them their vote in the 2010 mid-term elections in November is critically important. By registering more Latinos, we can dictate our agenda in the political process, and you can believe the politicians will be listening for our agenda for a better America.

For more on the Center for American Progress study, go to this link:


GOP flirting with disaster on Latinos
By: Janet Murguia
August 12, 2010 10:00 AM EDT
The National Council of La Raza honored Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in 2007 for his work on immigration. “We are going to solve this [immigration] problem,” Graham said that night. “We're not going to run people down. We're not going to scapegoat people. We're going to tell the bigots to shut up, and we're going to get this right.”

Now, Graham talks about immigrant women giving birth in the United States as a “drop and leave” calculation — as if describing animals. This is the surest sign yet that the Republican Party has written off the Latino community in the midterm elections.

It’s your prerogative, Republican leaders, but let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, long, long ago, in the state of California , there lived a Republican governor who had abysmal approval ratings and was facing reelection. He, too, decided that Latino-bashing was his way out. And so he foisted Proposition 187 upon the land.

Yes, he won reelection. But his success placed a curse on his fellow Republicans. Not one could win a major office in the state. Until Arnold Schwarzenegger — an immigrant with moderate and pragmatic positions on immigration — broke the curse in 2003 by winning the gubernatorial race.

Now, we know 1994 was long ago. But there are several reasons why the tale of Gov. Pete Wilson and his legacy’s impact on California Republicans should serve as a wake-up call for today’s Republican Party:

The Numbers: Latinos are the youngest and fastest-growing group of voters in the country. What does that mean? In 1994, 3.5 million Latinos went to the polls. By 2008, that number was 10 million. There are still nearly 8 million Latinos who are eligible but have not yet registered to vote. Moreover, a half-million young Latino citizens will turn 18 every year for the next 20 years, according to Democracia U.S.A.

This Latino vote has already been credited with turning several red states blue, or at least purple. Yet, because of increasingly anti-Latino positioning, the Republican Party has been hemorrhaging Latino support since 2004. That was the high-water mark — when President George W. Bush won 43 percent of the Latino vote.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) received just 30 percent in 2008. A recent survey by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials shows support for this year’s California Republican candidates for senator and governor is in the teens.

The Issues: Immigration, though traditionally not at the top of Latino concerns, always has an energizing effect on voter participation because a candidate’s stance here offers Latinos a proxy for how he or she views their community. This is not surprising — considering the level of anti-Latino sentiment the immigration debate has unleashed on the Latino community, regardless of immigration status.

For years, Latino voters’ top concerns were remarkably consistent: jobs and the economy, education and health care. Today, several recent polls tell a different story — Latinos now rank immigration as either No. 1 or No. 2. And Latino voters, who overwhelmingly support comprehensive immigration reform, are likely to be looking at how candidates talk about and act on this issue.

The Voters: The anger Wilson and Prop. 187 provoked in the Latino community and its consequences are well-documented. The well-worn admonition that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it still holds. The NALEO poll reveals that strong majorities of Latino voters in five key states believe that Republicans were not making or were not interested in making an effort to reach the Latino community.

One major conclusion of the Hispanic Federation/League of United Latin American Citizens poll is that Latino voters feel that their community is “under attack.” So the party leading that systematic attack — from Arizona , to Virginia , to revising the 14th Amendment — should not think you can just come back in the next election wearing a different face, as if nothing happened..

On immigration, Republicans are choosing to trade sound national policy for cheap political points. Yet they are sacrificing more than that. If they continue, they are likely to receive little support from Latinos not just this year but for many elections to come.

Rather than trying to win hearts and minds, Republicans have chosen to scapegoat the Latino community in hopes of energizing their base.

The real question is whether the GOP realizes the cost of its actions. The party is mortgaging its future. Republicans’ tunnel-vision focus on 2010 could mean they're flirting with permanent minority status.

Janet Murguia is the president and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza, the largest U.S. Latino civil rights and advocacy organization.
Politico.com © 2010 Capitol News Company, LLC

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. Montoya also served as Deputy Mayor of City and County of Denver from 1995-1999; as the Manager of Public Safety 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, August 11, 2010

Only One Constitutional Hearing Needed

By Fidel "Butch" Montoya

There is no getting around it; some members of the Republican Party, along with some members of the Democratic Party are bent on causing as much trouble for undocumented immigrants and Latino community as they can. It is strange in this day and age to see a political strategy which sole purpose is to bend the laws to create situations of injustice and intimidation for Latinos.

For a party whose calling card has been, “what part of illegal don’t you understand?” it is hard to understand how easily they can manipulate the law to meet their own goals of unrighteousness and injustice. Arizona Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is perhaps the best know sheriff to abuse the law to intimidate, create fear and confusion, and profile Latinos for non-violent crimes. His ethnic profiled sweeps and raids in Spanish-speaking communities are appalling and a discredit to credible law enforcement officials.

While some faith leaders are quick to criticize officials in law enforcement, we shouldn’t forget many are fighting against laws like SB 1070, federal immigration programs like 287 (g), and Secure Communities where ICE wants local law enforcement agencies to share finger prints of undocumented immigrants for minor infractions of the law. These are reputable law enforcement agencies and officials who want no part of the injustice of our broken immigration system.

Yet, everyday in Congress we hear Republican congressional leaders calling for more law enforcement and more militarization of the southern border with Mexico. Perhaps the most troubling part of this chilling and frightening movement toward finding more reasons to arrest and detain and scapegoat undocumented immigrants is a disease that is afflicting conservative Democratic leaders in Congress as well. This contagious disease of hate which is turning into an epidemic among politicians who want to scare voters into making undocumented immigrants the worst problem this country has ever experienced.

The whole silly idea and debate on holding hearings on the 14th Amendment and “anchor babies” is one of the biggest political farces being dramatized to feed the prejudice, fear, and bigotry of Americans who cannot accept the blame for the many troubles we have created and that our is nation facing.

When you listen to United States Senators calling for hearings to amend the Constitution, it is as if they have forgotten the difficult process the founding leaders of our country put in place to amendment or change the United States Constitution.

Any changes or amendments to the Constitution must pass both chambers of Congress by a two thirds majority. This unlikely scenario for a Congress that can’t get enough votes to help the unemployed, or show enough compassion for Americans needing food stamps to feed their families, or putting a bi-partisan plan forward to create more jobs for Americans. The unemployment rate in this country is above 10%, and that is not even counting the people who have simply given up looking for work. In the Latino community, the Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate the unemployment rate for Latinos is over 12.1%.

Yet our Congress refuses to address the real significant issues facing our country. Every economic indicator and forecast show the horizon darkening with a more severe economic downturn looming in our immediate future. Instead they use the political rhetoric of fear, hate, and bigotry to blame undocumented immigrants for the failed economic policies of this country. Unless politicians stop playing with fire and get down to business of creating new jobs, our country faces a much bleaker future.

Bill Hing, Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco on a Immigration Policy Center teleconference on issues related to changing the 14th Amendment explained the difficulty this process would face. "The Constitution can only be amended in two ways: The first is for a bill to pass both houses of Congress, by a two-thirds majority. Good luck with that, especially in this partisan environment. The second method requires that a constitutional convention be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the states. Any amendments adopted would then be sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures. This route has never been taken. It can't be a serious proposal because it can't be done politically and is simply a distraction from true immigration reform."

Any amendments adopted would then need to be approved by three fourths of the state legislatures. Imagine the lawsuits that would be "birthed" out any changes to the 14th Amendment.

Talk about paths lined by political pitfalls, it appears almost impossible for any amendments to the Constitution could actually even have a chance to pass in our country so badly divided by partisan politics, ideology of hate and bigotry, and racism. Perhaps our founding leaders knew that at some day in the future, there would be those in the Congress who would try to abuse the Constitution with punitive changes and amendments which would only harm our nation.

Yet, we have Republican leaders in Congress calling for hearings on the 14th Amendment and how to change the Constitution so little babies which they have labeled as "anchor babies” and whom they claim are invading our country and should not be afforded the privilege and right to be born as citizens of our country.

I doubt the political leaders calling for hearings on the 14th Amendment realize their plan would only create another class of people who would have no status whatsoever and essentially be caught in a state of limbo. I would pray that people in our country have enough sense to see the veiled threats the GOP are creating about "anchor babies" and refuse to have the Constitution amended for reasons of prejudice and unfounded lies and rumors.

Some of the Republicans, lead by former immigration reform Senator Lindsey Graham are not even sure if they would support amending the Constitution. The only reason they want hearings is to continue stirring the boiling pot of racism and to keep the Tea Party, Minutemen, and other hard core right wing racists of this country pre-occupied with their fantasy of restoring America back to the days when “everything was okay.”

In an interview on Fox News, Graham alleges that undocumented immigrant mothers are coming across the border simply to have their baby born in this country, so they can become citizens of the USA. "They come here to drop a child," Mr. Graham said. It is outrageous for Senator Graham to treat the birth of a baby as something as coarse as coming to our country to "drop a child." Obviously, an unmarried man does not have any idea what a baby coming into the lives of a family means.

In other words, Graham and others that believe their own lies, want to take America back to the days when minorities like Blacks, Japanese, American Natives, and Latinos were second class citizens, treated as poor laborers, and where “white privilege” prevailed as the national attitude toward anyone who didn’t fit the profile of belonging to the right clubs of privilege and rightful ethnic profiles. Return back to a period in our country’s history where “entitlement” and “Manifest Destiny” for the white settlers of the West was a way of life.

More than ever, it is going to take a vigilant attitude, a stronger sense of believing in our heritage and cultures, creating coalitions of like minded people who share the same values and beliefs, and a willingness to stand up and fight back against this terrible cancer which is destroying "the land of the free and home of the brave". We are losing our self respect, and in order for some Americans to have their hate fix of the day, they must continue to find “brown skin” scapegoats in whom they can blame for the problems we are facing today.

What are most frightening are the facts that unless we pull together, fight against the hate, the fear, the panic, and the self fulfilling prophecy of watching our country be destroyed from within, this hate will continue to grow uncontrollably right before our very eyes. When will we stop the hate, the violence, and the fear, starting to get a death grip on our very freedoms and rights that many Americans sacrificed their lives or shed their blood, tears, and pain to preserve the USA?

We must put a stop to the partisan politics of hate, seeking to scapegoat Latinos, and destroy the freedoms we have enjoyed. We don’t need hearings on amending the 14th Amendment; or find a way to take citizenship away from mere babies born in our country. What we do need are courageous leaders to call for hearings on why we are allowing racism to rule our country and why we are doing nothing about it.

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.

Monday, August 2, 2010

That One Question that Haunts us All

By Fidel "Butch" Montoya

Much has been written and discussed about the decision of U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton who ruled that four of the controversial sections of SB 1070 should be put on hold. The controversial sections of the law were blocked by the judge granting an injunction requested by the Department of Justice.

Yet even as opponents of SB 1070 were gratified by the judge's ruling, the essence of the law still remains in force. Governor Jan Brewer said the state would appeal the decision, all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. Many legal experts feel the state will have a difficult time appealing Judge Bolton's decision, but regardless of what happens next, racial and ethnic profiling will continue to still be a legal issue that Latino and undocumented immigrants will face until this hideous bill is completely thrown out by the courts.

While the injunction prohibited the state from implementing all of the sections of SB 1070, some residents in Arizona felt some relief that the full weight of the law would not fall on the Latino community. Even while many newspapers were reporting that some Arizona undocumented immigrant families were packing up and leaving, some also reported that those who decided to stay behind felt a sense of security that the most critical parts of SB 1070, like having to carry identification documents proving status had been put on hold.

But beyond the legal questions of SB 1070, and implications it still might have on churches and non-profits that help undocumented immigrant families, there remains one troubling question I believe needs to be addressed by Latino Evangelical pastors and faith leaders who support comprehensive immigration reform. It is a question that many church leaders may not want to hear or address, but none the less, it is a question that needs further clarification.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, who is a Latino Evangelical minister, was traveling through Arizona. While visiting with other Latino pastors in Arizona, he tells me, "I could not believe that the whole SB 1070 law wasn't an issue. I even found several pastors that supported it." I have to admit, I felt disappointed like he did knowing that "Hispanic pastors had an anti immigration position."

It is truly a travesty to hear that some Latino pastors in Arizona are supporting laws like SB 1070. It brings up the question that haunts many of us and must be addressed and clearly articulated throughout the fellowship of ministers who belong to Christian organizations that are pushing for comprehensive immigration reform.

Many of fundamental reasons we support comprehensive immigration reform are based on Biblical teachings and commandments. There is no question that Latino ministers who are members of these national religious organizations and fellowships should understand their personal and/or political opinions behind the pulpit do not matter.

When they joined and pledged as members of theses fellowships to follow the doctrine of the Scripture that requires us to support not necessarily comprehensive immigration reform, but to support the values that demand that human beings should not be subjected to injustice and verbal, ethnic, and violent harassment.

Deuteronomy 26: 17 & 18 are pledges we made publicly before the Lord, yet it is inexcusable how some pastors simply refuse to acknowledge that in spite of their misguided political beliefs or opinions, they allow their own personal beliefs to over shadow the scripture.

They find personal excuses not to follow what the scripture commands of us and find motive for their lack of compassion and love for the sojourners the Bible commands us to love. (17): "You have (openly) declared the Lord this day to be your God, [pledging] to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His precepts, and to hearken to His voice." (18): "And the Lord has declared this day that you are His peculiar people, as He promised you, and you are to keep all His commandments."

We have legitimate reasons to complain about racial profiling by law enforcement against "our people." But when I hear that there are Latino pastors who support the injustice of SB 1070, who are pastors who live in Arizona, ministering to sometimes undocumented immigrants in their congregation, and who openly join the hate alliances that subscribe to laws that racially profile Latinos and that promote fear, hate, and injustice, I am disappointed by our lack of scriptural consistency.

And, let's be clear it is not just Latino Evangelical pastors and ministers in Arizona who support the efforts of the hate extremists and racists who are dividing our community and country, it is a nationwide issue.

Does the local pastor have the right to disregard the Biblical scripture that so indisputably commands us how we are to teach and preach the Gospel about this issue?

I am not talking about political issues, as much as I am presenting the case for how as ministers we are to present the Biblical scripture and commandments that teach us how we are to treat the sojourner or temporary resident in our land. Political beliefs do not trump the scripture in the Bible. If our political beliefs are contrary to the scripture, and to the guidance given by our national Evangelical leadership, do we have the right to support law like SB 1070 from pulpit?

I know that different denominations have different perspectives on the immigration reform debate and this debate is for those individual denominations to have and make it clear how their beliefs are tied to scriptural teaching and commandments.

My friend stated: "They would defend the law until I helped them understand that they were against the criminal elements that were crossing not all immigrants." There is no question or doubt many pastors are relying on the rumors and gossip they hear from the hate mongers and racists who are promoting laws like SB 1070 across the country.

Officials statements like every "immigrant crossing the border is a drug mule." Silly accusations like "headless bodies" have been found in Arizona by border patrols. When we rely upon the uninformed reporters or governmental officials who help spread these lies, we will end up spreading their racist hate and lies on to our congregation in our churches.

We know about 40% of undocumented immigrants over stay their visas. Others cross the border to be united with their families and find decent job to support them. Others are children brought here at a young age and know no other life except that of an "American," without citizenship or privileges. But the hate monger would have you believe that we are being invaded by criminals and terrorists, only to create fear, panic, and racism. And some Latino pastors are spreading these lies.

Leviticus 19: 33 & 34 verses are not optional. (33): "And if a stranger dwells temporarily with you in your land, you shall not suppress and mistreat him. (34): "But the stranger who dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you; and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God." Am I taking the scriptures out of context? Where are the commands to hate and malign the undocumented immigrant or temporary resident in our country?

Deuteronomy 19:18 & 19 are very clear on how we are to treat the stranger and sojourners, temporary residents in our land. (18): "He executes justice for the fatherless and widow, and loves the stranger or temporary resident and gives him food and clothing. (19): Therefore love the stranger and sojourner, for you were strangers and sojourners in the land of Egypt." Many ministers like to claim that we are not the sojourners in Egypt often referenced in the Bible.

Yet we know full well that Egypt is a type used to signify the world and worldly practices as God's children we journey through life, with some still walking the streets of Egypt. As God's original plan, we were created free from sin, but because of the sin in the Garden of Eden, we are now born into sin. We still have to face the consequences of that disobedience and first sin. But I should not have to explain this, but if I don't someone will claim, "out of context, Brother Butch!"

Deuteronomy 24: 14 & 15 are crystal clear on how we are to treat the stranger or sojourners who are in our land. (14): "You shall not oppress or extort from a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is of your brethren, or of your strangers and sojourners who are in your land inside your towns. (15): "You shall give him his hire on the day he earns it, before the sun goes down; for he is poor, and sets his heart upon it; lest he cry against you to the Lord, and it be sin to you."

These verses are as transparent as they can possibly be. Talk about enacting policies and laws protecting workers and the undocumented worker in our land. These scriptures should be the basic premise where we begin. We should not take advantage of the stranger or the sojourner who is poor and dependent on upon the agreement we made to pay them. A part of this scripture that we often neglect to articulate is powerful and is a possible judgment against us if we neglect to follow God's Word. "Lest he cry against you to the Lord, and it be sin to you."

I pray that we can come together, particularly national religious organizations, denominations, and churches that support comprehensive immigration reform for the right Christian values and begin to educate our pastors on what the scripture commands of us.

We need to create a standard of scriptural values on immigration reform conceived by the church leadership, ecumenical councils, and ministerial fellowships so a consistent message of love, compassion, and justice can be preached from the pulpit with the full assurance that we are indeed preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Vote your political beliefs, but preach the Gospel.

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. Montoya also served as Deputy Mayor of City and County of Denver from 1995-1999; as the Manager of Public Safety 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.