STATEMENT BY LATINO LEADERS ON COLLAPSE OF S. 1639
We are disappointed that our federal government has continuously
failed to enact appropriate legislation to fix our broken immigration
system and address the needs of our immigrant community and nation.
However, the Senate immigration bill that collapsed yesterday was not
the answer to our nation's serious immigration challenges. S. 1639 as
written would not have effectively legalized the undocumented,
increased our national security, united immigrant families, nor
practically provided the immigrant labor force needed for future
economic growth in America.
There will be a lot of discussion in the next few days over the
reasons why the bill failed. We will leave that analysis to others.
For us it was clear that S1639, the "comprehensive immigration reform"
of President Bush and the bipartisan "Grand Bargain" sponsors had
conceded far too much substantively to anti-immigrant forces bent on
punishing immigrants and closing our borders.
We believe in policies that welcome immigrants, treat them decently
and give them the opportunity to integrate into the American culture,
democratic process and socio-economic mainstream. We believe all
Americans benefit from such policies.
To ensure that our immigration laws are in tune with our national
interests, we must enact reform that embraces family unity, provides a
prompt and unfettered path to citizenship for our current undocumented
population, and protects the civil rights and civil liberties of all
Americans while protecting our national interests. We want to
acknowledge and recognize the efforts of Senator Robert Menendez
(D-NJ) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca) for continuously championing
these principles on behalf of our community in the Senate.
We call upon the President to immediately order a temporary moratorium
on the short-sided and inhumane immigration raids that continue to
victimize the most vulnerable. It is unconscionable that there are
thousands of children being held indefinitely in the cold and dark
confines of a detention facility because our immigration system is
broken. It is unconscionable that thousands of families have been
ripped apart and forced to endure inhumane conditions at the hands of
the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Over the next few days we will be calling on our federal legislators
to immediately begin taking steps on the road to creating a fair and
just immigration construct by passing legislation and concepts that
enjoy strong bi-partisan support, like Ag Jobs and the DREAM Act in
2007. We look forward to working with the legislature in developing
true reform on immigration that is just, fair, reasonable, and
Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez - President
55 Exchange Place, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10005
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
Dr. Gabriela D. Lemus - Executive Director
815 16th Street, N.W., 4th floor
Washington, DC 20006
National Alliance of Latin American
& Caribbean Communities
Oscar A. Chacón - Executive Director
1628 S. Blue Island Avenue
Chicago, IL 60608
William C. Velasquez Institute
Antonio González - President
2914 N. Main Street, 1st Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90031