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

Monday, January 25, 2010

Immigration Reform - Not in 2010

By Fidel "Butch" Montoya

With the election of Republican Scott Brown to the Senate and the fallout from the election still raining down, almost lost in the news of the week was the fact that South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham agreed to join New York Democrat Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Chuck Schumer in the fight for immigration. As a Republican, Graham is committed to tackling many of the difficult issues facing our country.

For a Republican to admit he is willing to work with Liberal New York Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer on passing comprehensive immigration reform, that is news. Non-partisan politics in this day and age is almost unheard of, in spite of the promise that candidate Obama made to work together with the other party.

Having a conservative Republican join a liberal Democrat, coming together to work on immigration reform, sets the stage for the formula for passage of comprehensive immigration reform.

Immigration leaders issued a statement refuting the fact that Brown’s election to the Senate dealt a death knoll to immigration reform. “Many naysayers and peddlers of conventional wisdom have already begun to write the obituary for President Obama’s agenda, including comprehensive immigration reform. But their thinking is exactly wrong. Unlike health care, comprehensive immigration reform has traditionally garnered bi-partisan support, and a path to victory in the United States Senate will require votes from both sides of the aisle.”

If there is any hope at all of passing comprehensive immigration reform, it is going to take members of the GOP joining Democrats who may have the will to pass reform. As we have seen from this democratically controlled Congress, being a Democrat does not mean one will vote for health care, much less immigration.

Passing comprehensive immigration reform is going to take strong Republicans and Democrats wanting to see justice and righteousness prevail.

Most polling indicates there is consensus that immigration reform should be addressed by the Congress. According to the Benenson Strategy Group, there is a strong support for passing comprehensive immigration reform, including from Republican voters.

The two top most pressing issues that Republicans feel the Congress should deal with are the economy and health care. 63% of Republican voters say the economy is the number one issue. Health care came in second with 54% of Republicans saying it was important.

With the issue of immigration, only 6% thought it was an issue Congress should tackle. It still rated higher than abortion, energy, or crime. When asked if Congress should pass comprehensive immigration reform, 62% of Republicans said yes, with only 26% saying no.

You would think with the findings of the Benenson Strategy Group, Democrats in the Congress would motivate the two parties to join together to share the findings of what seems like a workable partnership.

Even 88% of Republicans say that they support granting citizenship to immigrants as long as they met several conditions to be eligible for becoming citizens. This means “amnesty” to the fire brand racists and fear mongers in our country.

Yet, in spite of the political landscape that seems favorable to passing immigration reform, there is a lot of uncertainty as to whether or not reform can actually pass out of the Congress.

Latino Congressional leaders are trying to put the best face on the prospects of getting a reform bill through the Congress. With mid-term elections coming up, immigration still lurks out there as one of the most emotional and divisive issues facing our country.

With the economy on life support, the issue of immigration still fires up the fear of allowing 12 million immigrants to become citizens would mean fewer jobs for Americans. The fear that undocumented immigrants are taking jobs that Americans want to do.

Already blamed for contributing to the Great Recession, undocumented immigrants find themselves victims of the economy, losing hope for their families and dreams of a better future. But even with growing evidence that shows immigration reform would have a positive impact on the economy, the questions about passage persist.

The Center for American Progress and the Immigrants Policy Institute, issued a study, “Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of comprehensive Immigration Reform,” which plainly states the path to economic recovery must include comprehensive immigration reform.

According to the study,”immigration reform would create $1.5 trillion in added GDP over ten years and newly legalized workers would increase tax revenues by up to $5.4 billion in the first three years.” With such positive economic indicators, why would we not be demanding that our Congress vote for comprehensive immigration reform?

Imagine the long term financial benefits passage could have on our economy and deficit which threatens the economic future of our country. Is racism so strong in our country that we become blinded to do doing the right thing for ourselves, and undocumented immigrants?

Unprecedented town hall meetings across the country last week have brought together immigration proponents, faith leaders, union members, youth, educators, business leaders, and parents pushing for reform. Yet, the voices of opposition continue to grow and dim the hopes and dreams of 12 million undocumented immigrants.

Representative Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairman believes advocates for immigration reform should continue the battle in 2010, but the odds for passage this year are not good.

In an interview in Roll Call, Grijalva said, “It’s going to be ugly, but I think we need to push it. Cam we get a bill? I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m ready for the fight, but I don’t know if we can win it.”

Grijalva feels Latino lawmakers have to continue pushing the issue because they cannot afford to go back home and say, “That nothing happened on the issue.” Realistically though, legislation cannot pass until 2011.

Another Congressional Hispanic Caucus member equally pessimistic about passage of immigration reform is Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas). “I want to see it, but practically, I just don’t see it.”

The problem with passage this year, are the mid-term elections where the anger and frustration of voters signaled a change in the landscape in the Senate. A seat held by the Democrats for over 46 years was lost, leaving Democrats reeling in disbelief.

Until President Obama realizes that jobs are the real issue and priority facing our country, and unless immigration proponents can make the case that immigration reform will in fact benefit the economy, fear and racism will win out…again. Cuellar says Democrats in swing districts could end up being hurt by voting for such a controversial issue as immigration reform.

So while news was being made about the changes in the Senate and what it may mean to the President’s agenda, the good news about how comprehensive immigration reform could have the most significant positive change on our economy, it all has become lost again because the old issues of hate, fear, racism, and stupidity have free rein.

And the odds of comprehensive immigration reform passing in 2010? Don’t hold your breath.


Fidel "Butch" Montoya is Director of H.S. Power and Light Ministries. He was the Vice President/News Director of KUSA 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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

President Obama goes Soul Searching

By Fidel "Butch" Montoya

So the shocker election in Massachusetts is over and done, but now the ramifications of losing a 30 point lead to lose the election, Martha Coakley and the Democrats have a lot to think about. President Obama’s last second visit to prop up Caokley’s campaign, only adds to the insult and sting felt by shock shelled Democrats.

Headlines on newspapers and on the Internet tell the story. MSNBC’s headline perhaps best sums the night in Massachusetts, “Dems reeling, soul-searching after Mass loss.” No doubt, this includes a whole lot of soul-searching going on at the White House.

Republican Scott Brown now has the coveted Senate seat held by the late Senator Edward Kennedy. To think that a deep blue state could end up with a Republican senator is simply shocking, particularly when the Democrats held this seat for over a half century. Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 – 1, but it is conceivable that Democrats broke ranks and voted for Brown. Some polls had 65% to 72% of the Independents swinging toward Brown.

If President Obama planned to celebrate his first year in office, this election brought it down to reality and it must have felt more like a stinging rebuke from the Change and Hope crowd. What a difference a year makes. A year ago, it was Obama that stood for change and hope. A year later, Democrats and Independents feeling betrayed by the promises that the President did not live up to, end up losing the confidence and votes of the Massachusetts voter.

Anger, frustration, and fear best describe the voter attitudes in Massachusetts, and maybe may represent the feelings of many voters across the country as well, and something to worry about with the mid-term elections coming in November.

The perception President Obama took care of Wall Street while ignoring Main Street is going to be a tough issue for the President to defuse. Billions of dollars, yes billions of dollars were used to bail out the Wall Street financial district, only to have bankers turn around and continue to do business as usual. Voters are sick of bankers who don’t get it, as those in the financial sector continue their corruption and greed that nearly drove our economy over the cliff.

The billions of the stimulus bill that were supposed to create jobs and create financial stability seem to have never have made it into the wallets of jobless. Unemployment is over 10%, but in many cities, the unemployment rate is as high as 15%, perhaps even higher. Blacks and Latinos are suffering the most as unemployment begins to eat away at savings and hope for the future. In order to put an end to this Great Recession, the President needs to create jobs, more jobs! Unless people don’t get back to work, confidence in the President will continue to drop.

The Democrats are in trouble and the sad part about it, they don’t get it. While people want health care reform, they don’t want it done in the back rooms of politicians who play up to the old stereotypes of deal making in the smoke filled conference rooms of the Capitol. This notion of individual Senators making “deals for their state” has lead directly to this issue of back room politics and greed.

The Democrats have tried to push the health care reform package through Congress without reasonable debate and transparency. According to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 48% of voters believe the health care bill is a step backward and only 42% feels the bill would be an improvement. And remember that word, transparency? Transparency was to be the hallmark of the Obama Presidency. Instead, the President continues to operate in the back rooms of the White House with little or no transparency.

The two wars which Americans want out of, and the wars that candidate Obama said he would pull out of, are not going to happen anytime soon. In fact the war policies of President Obama only promise more involvement and a larger military buildup and yes, more young American men and women who are fighting wars that Iraqi and Afghani men and women should be fighting.

While much attention has been given to health care reform, not enough attention has been given to the economy. According to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 83% are dissatisfied with the economy. Just 16% are happy with the way the economy is going. That is a red flag waving furiously in the wind, and it seems no one at the White House is paying attention.

Americans, who have jobs, are holding on to their money because of uncertainty and fear of an unknown future. Americans without jobs are fast losing hope for any kind of recovery, a recovery with good paying jobs that may save their homes and families.

It’s the economy, stupid. That is the message the Democrats need to hear…loud and clear if they intend to put out the range fire of discontent, anger, and dissatisfaction with the policies and politics of President Obama and his Reid/Pelosi led Democrats.

For some reason President Obama does not feel the pain that many Americans are suffering. It is as if he has forgotten what happens when people can’t put food on the table, can’t fix the old car anymore, and when little by little, the mortgage gets bigger and bigger. The calls from creditors go ignored, and many are waiting for that dreaded knock on the door with the court order to vacate their home. The President and the Democrats have lost their way and can’t feel the pain.

People are fed up with politics as usual and all the deal making that accompanies any significant legislation. The Democrats like to talk about their veto proof 60 votes in the Senate, but in reality they were never really able to corral the Blue Dog Democrats into voting like Democrats. It was all smoke and mirrors politics, but now, reality sets in as they realize they only have 59 votes in the Senate and what does that really mean anyway?

Democrats had better listen to the discontent and learn the lessons of what went wrong in Massachusetts, and turn the Democratic fighting machine to fight the right battles and face up to the rebellion in the ranks that goes beyond the Tea Party set. The anger and frustration felt in Massachusetts is real and is spreading across the country like a range fire out of control.

The question I keep coming back to is how can a candidate squander a 30 point lead in the polls and end up losing the election is really beyond my comprehension. Somehow the Democratic message to the faithful in Massachusetts must have gotten lost or garbled in the translation.

It is time for the President to stop governing from the Left and find a more suitable and reasonable position in the Middle. The liberal policies of the Left have created a bigger deficit, and are leading us to bankruptcy. We need to stop the wild government spending.

According to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, only 38% of Americans believe he shares their position on the issues. Overall, the poll gives the President a lot of evidence of why people are fed up with his year old leftist presidency.

The President and Democrats ought to remember the lessons learned in Massachusetts or who knows; more Scott Browns from across the country may end up getting elected in November and dragging the Obama Presidency to the middle or out the door.


Fidel "Butch" Montoya is Director of H.S. Power and Light Ministries. He was the Vice President/News Director of KUSA 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.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

10,000 Marchers & Sixty Black Leaders

By Fidel "Butch" Montoya

They came from everywhere on January 16, 2010 for the big march against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Over 10,000 strong, they gathered in Phoenix to protest and were determined to show the Department of Homeland Security and Secretary Janet Napolitano that it is time to put a stop to the abuses of Sheriff Arpaio against undocumented immigrants.

The Maricopa County Sheriff Department has used racial profiling against Latinos in order to arrest and detain them in the county’s infamous Tent City. There have been accusations that the Sheriff’s Department has stopped and arrested Latinos for just minor infractions of the law in order to check their immigration status. Latinos who are American citizens have been rounded up simply because they looked like an undocumented immigrant.

In February, Sheriff Arpaio also marched two hundred undocumented immigrants from the county jail to a tent city dressed in black and white prison garb, chained and shackled, and forced to march in streets in Phoenix. The Sheriff created this theatrical display all in the name of ridiculing and disrespecting undocumented immigrants.

The Phoenix of mayor, who has been a critic of Sheriff Arpaio, called for a Department of Justice investigation into the antics and abuse of power by the Maricopa County Sheriff Department.

Many Latinos and undocumented immigrants who have been on the wrong street corner at the wrong time have been arrested and detained in the county jail simply so Arapio could make the outlandish claim by rounding up immigration, criminals will be deported.

Most of the people arrested and detained are hard working men and women, very few with hardened criminal records. All that Arapio has managed to do is separate families, creating hardships for remaining family members not picked up, leaving hundreds of undocumented immigrants and Latinos in fear of this abuse of the law.

The Department of Homeland Security recently took away federal authority and power from the Maricopa County Sheriff Department to arrest and detain undocumented immigrants under the 287 ( g ) agreement. The agreement had allowed Sheriff Arapio to train some of his deputies in immigration law, so that they could enforce federal immigration laws.

Sheriff Arapio has been accused of abusing this federal authority to arrest and detain undocumented immigrants from street corners, shopping malls, bars and clubs where undocumented immigrants or Latinos congregate. Too often, people were jailed without any pretense of the breaking the law, but for simply looking the part of an undocumented immigrant and hardened criminal. Racial profiling abusing the rights of innocent people and families.

Finally in a show of solidarity, people came together to demand a stop to immigrant roundups and racial profiling by Sheriff Arapio. The protestors gathered from around the country in Phoenix to demonstrate to Secretary Napolitano they are fed up with the racial profiling and racist law enforcement by Arapio.

Even under a current grand jury investigation for abuse of power and violating the civil rights of Latinos and undocumented immigrants, Sheriff Arapio has continued to create a mockery of law enforcement.

Sarahi Uribe, a representative from the National Day Labor Organizing Network, told a reporter from KPNX-TV, “We want to tell her (Napolitano) to stop the deportation and abuses of civil rights,“ Uribe said. “We’re very inspired by the civil-rights struggle in this country, and we see this as a continued fight.”

Perhaps one of the most significant displays of solidarity came from a group of sixty prominent Black leaders from twenty-three states who bought a full page ad in the Phoenix newspaper, The Arizona Republic.

James Johnson, a friend of mine, sent me a Facebook message letting me know of the ad in newspaper. Johnson said, “Sixty Black leaders take a stand condemning Arpaio for his negligent actions and inhumane treatment of people and call on Attorney General of the United States Eric H. Holder and the department of Justice to prove once and for all that this is not Arpaio's America.”

The ad compared Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to the infamous 1960s Birmingham public safety commissioner Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor. The ad drew a pointed comparison of the Civil Rights Movement of the1960s, in which Blacks led the national fight for civil rights, and stood up against the terror and racism of public safety commissioner “Bull” Connor.

Blacks under the leadership of Martin Luther King, lead the national fight for change and against the poverty and segregation which at the time created a deep social divide between whites and people of color in our nation. The ad highlighted the leadership of Blacks during the 1960s.

Blacks in the United States have long been a guiding conscience in our nation. Unlike many social movements which focus on narrow policy goals, the social gains that Blacks struggle for tend to be broad-minded and expansive. The 1960s Civil Rights Movement for instance lifted many Americans of various races, ethnicities and nationalities up out of poverty and stifling segregation. It was this very Civil Rights Movement that strengthened, at least for a time, the social safety net that provided publicly funded pre-school and breakfast programs for our most vulnerable youth.”

In a very strongly worded statement, the ad perhaps represented the first national show of solidarity by the sixty prominent Black leaders with the comprehensive immigration reform movement. The ad which was very straight forward and strongly worded stated, “Regardless of our diverse views on immigration,” said Center for New Community staff James Johnson, “we stand on the side of justice in the treatment of people and we are putting the country on notice that we will not be silent when confronted by the abuse of the law to terrorize people.”

Eric Ward, in his blog Image*2050, wrote, “For over a year people from throughout Arizona bravely stood up to Arpaio’s terror. The same can’t be said of the Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, who has sat on her hands and allowed Arpaio free reign to intimidate political opponents and dehumanize suspects based on their national origin. Napolitano could stop Arpaio with the stroke of a pen at any time.”

I believe the Center for New Community sent a strong signal to the 10,000 marchers that we can work together and “put the country on notice that we will not be silent when confronted by the abuse of the law to terrorize people.”

I am encouraged and strengthened in my fight for justice and righteousness by the fact that this group of prominent Blacks signed this advertisement and placed it in The Arizona Republic. Placing the ad on the day of the march against Arapio is a positive step toward a united battle against terror, abuse of authority, and that we will not allow the law to be used against us like it was used in the civil rights movement and by racist cops like public safety commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor….and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arapio.

Perhaps the best way to sum up my thoughts on the peaceful 10,000 strong march in Phoenix, and significant ad by 60 Black leaders condemning Arapio, is to highlight what Eric Ward stated in his blog, Sixty Black Leaders Condemn Sheriff Arapio. “K.L. Shannon, The Police Accountability Chair with the NAACP in Seattle, Washington, said that ‘Sheriff Arpaio is beginning to resemble arch-segregationist Bull Connor and that should send a chill through each of our hearts”

...And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man.

Martin Luther King Jr., Speech in Memphis, April 3, 1968, the day before King was assassinated

Fidel "Butch" Montoya is Director of H.S. Power and Light Ministries. He was the Vice President/News Director of KUSA 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.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Support Haitian Earthquake Victims

by Fidel "Butch" Montoya

The catastrophic earthquake in Haiti has reportedly caused 45,000 to 50,000 deaths, chaos, confusion, leaving the capital city with little or no security, leaving millions homeless, and has put the country in total turmoil. As of January 14, more than 7000 people have already been buried.

While many nations, lead by the United States are attempting to send troops, medical supplies, food and water, many are also encouraging people to use the Internet to contact charities to send donations to help the people in Haiti. All of these efforts are blessings to the people who are in dire need of everything.

According to witnesses, the devastation is literally beyond comprehension. There are bodies lined up on the streets, and with hundreds still trapped in the collapsed buildings.

This is the worst earthquake to hit the area in more than 200 years and the toll of people killed by this 7.0 earthquake is shocking. Most structures in the island’s capital city of Port au Prince were damaged or completely destroyed, leaving people homeless, and families separated by death and destruction.

While we must do what we can to provide water, food, sanitation supplies, and a coordinated effort to provide assistance to the Haitian people, we also need to pray for the people affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

Many missionaries there are facing difficult times as in many cases, they too have lost everything. We have all heard the charge that Haiti is suffering from its relationship to evil religious practices. I don't believe it is a time to be judgmental, but a time to pray for restoration of not only the nation, but of each individual who now finds themselves at a loss as to what to do.

This is a nation in special need of spiritual restoration as well.

Let's do what we can to support the people of Haiti, but let us not forget that the most powerful gift we can give, our prayers for life, for comfort, for wisdom, and for compassion.

This is a nation, already the poorest country in our hemisphere, that has been badly shaken and faces a very bleak future. Let all of us continue to pray for the people in Haiti, that all of the aid going to Haiti reaches the people in most need.

Let us pray that our prayers also reach each and every individual in Haiti that needs the comfort and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Fidel "Butch" Montoya is Director of H.S. Power and Light Ministries. He was the Vice President/News Director of KUSA 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.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Immigration Reform - Past Due!

by Fidel "Butch" Montoya

Latino voters from across the country congratulated one another on the role they played in helping to elect Barrack H. Obama as president. It was a time of self reflection and celebration. Many Latinos now felt their issues were going to be addressed and solutions found.

One of the issues high on candidate Obama’s agenda was his promise to address the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Obama put his campaign on over drive in its attempts to reach out to the voters who were supposed to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Well, we know the story. Obama got elected. HOPE and CHANGE were the words of the season. We would see the change we all sought for America and now there was hope as well.

With the President’s ratings dropping and all his political capital backed by paper money, Obama finds that with three years to go, already all is not well in Obama Land.

The Wall Street Journal’s poll is not good news for the president. The 12/11 - 14/2009 Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows 47% - 46% approval for the President. Below 50% and with the war on terror hitting a major pothole in the last few weeks, it does not look for President Obama even as we approach the new year with optimism.

The Wall Street Journal reports that overall the President has lost a good part of the Independent vote and has lost most of his Republican support. Losing this support is going to make it difficult to govern, particularly as Democrats find themselves fighting amongst themselves.

NBC's Mark Murray commenting on the latest polls says, "This survey underscores what I consider a dramatic and unmistakable change in the political landscape,” said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with GOP pollster Bill McInturff. “For Democrats, the red flags are flying at full mast.”

We have seen how the Democrats have handled the health care reform debacle, buying support from some Democratic senators that are only looking out for their own states and not for the common good.

While there is a celebration in the Senate over heath care reform, the House version is far different and most likely mean more horse trading to get it done, if that it is possible.

With the President’s popularity falling to earth, the health care debate debacle must likely poisoning the immigration reform debate and Democrats choosing sides, it does not look like the best time to introduce comprehensive immigration reform…or will there ever be a good time.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Democrat from Illinois introduced the first step toward comprehensive immigration reform with CIR – ASAP. “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009”.

Immediately, support was being voiced from around the country, with the general consensus being that “it is time”. The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) commended Rep. Gutierrez for introducing CIR – ASAP.

Catherine Tactaquin, NNIRR’s Executive Director did however voice some concerns being raised by other immigration reform allies. “While Rep. Gutierrez’s proposed legislation includes some needed protections for our vulnerable communities, it continues to treat immigration as a ‘national security’ issue and stops short of doing away with the most egregious aspects of our flawed immigration system.”

Many immigration allies agree that thousands of undocumented immigrants continue to be arrested and detained by local law enforcement who often does not understand the nuances of enforcing immigration law. No one need look further than Arizona Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio who has abused the Section 287 (g), Immigration and Nationality Act; Delegation of Immigration Authority agreement with Homeland Security Department.

The Section 287 (g) immigration enforcement agreements with local law enforcement agencies are supposed to provide the necessary training for local cops to act like federal homeland agents. Unfortunately, in Sheriff Arpaio’s case, his troops are accused of violating the civil rights, not to mention civility and moral laws toward undocumented immigrants.

It got so bad in Arizona; Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon called in the Justice Department to investigate Sheriff Arpaio and his gang of merry men. That says something when the mayor of a major city has to call for a Justice Department investigation against the county’s sheriff, and the agency who signed the original Section 287 (g) immigration enforcement agreement.

Meanwhile, in Southern California, State Senator Gil Cedillo didn’t even wait for the ink to dry on Rep. Gutierrez’s immigration reform package before announcing at a press conference his opposition and “to raise concerns about Luis Gutierrez’s Immigration Reform Bill.”

When asked why Cedillo and the Southern California Immigration Coalition were so quick out the door to oppose this legislation, spokesperson Ron Gochez told me, “This bill, for the most part, seems much more progressive than previous bills associated with Gutierrez so we are happy about that. However, we have the responsibility to raise concerns that are otherwise ignored or swept under the rug by the Democratic Party and its leadership.”

I asked Gochez why not work through the process in the Congress to seek changes to the bill so opponents to immigration reform can’t point their fingers and say, “They aren’t even united amongst themselves.”

Gochez fired back, “Although we would like to see real change come from Congress, history tells us that this will only come from an organized people who demand and are willing to fight for their rights and dignity. Power never concedes power without a fight.”

This brings us back to the primary concern about the need for immigration reform. First, with our own gente going public with their opposition to the Gutierrez Bill, that creates a perception that we are not united in our efforts to get reform passed in 2010.

Second, has the poorly managed health care reform legislation poisoned the water for comprehensive immigration reform?

Third, will the Democrats stay together on immigration reform or start making deals to water it down?

But perhaps, more importantly, has anyone heard President Obama come out lately….and say he supports Rep. Luis Gutierrez’s CIR – ASAP immigration reform bill?

I don’t think his falling approval ratings means the president will sit this one out too, do you think?

For the proponents of CIR - ASAP, "the red flags are flying at full mast,” indeed!

This article first appeared on http://www.latinolandscape.com/

Fidel "Butch" Montoya is Director of H.S. Power and Light Ministries. He was the Vice President/News Director of KUSA 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.