Press Release

June 20, 2007

Contact: Antonio Gonzalez, 323-222-2217


Contact: Jorge Mario Cabrera
(562) 243-5559
Claudia Lucero
(773) 858-5345
Alexandra Acosta
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LOS ANGELES, CA - In a conference call with reporters, national Latino organizations today denounced the immigration reform bill, S.1639 (formerly S.1348) now the renamed S1639 (Kennedy-Specter) that is poised to return to the U.S. Senate for debate, calling the legislation neither just nor fair.

The so-called bipartisan Grand Bargain immigration reform proposal is neither grand nor a bargain for the millions of immigrants that will have to pay the price for Congressional expediency, said Rosa Rosales, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest Latino membership organization in the United States.

If enacted, the current Senate proposal would codify a system of immigrant apartheid as United States policy, which is despicable and not supported by the Latino community, added Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute.

Latino leaders stressed that, while there is strong support for a broad-based legalization in the community, such a legalization is not included in this bill. “Once Latinos learn of the many onerous provisions included in S. 1639 (formerly S.1348) as well as the phony 'legalization' program, support turns into opposition, said Gabriela D. Lemus, executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

The leaders pointed out that in fact many pro-immigration reform groups; labor organizations like the AFL_CIO, business groups and companies, including Oracle and Microsoft, the U.S. Catholic Bishops and many others have all expressed considerable disappointment with the Senate’s version of immigration reform.

If enacted in its current form, S. 1639 (formerly S.1348) would represent a major step backward for immigrant communities, sacrificing judicial review, family unity, due process, and individual and labor rights. Latino leaders pointed to the mandate that immigrants return to their country of origin to “touch the ground”, revisions to immigration policy that would replace family preference categories with an untried and nonsensical merit point system, and the tremendous costs associated with receiving the right to work, estimated at more than $29,000 for a family of four.

We are here to send the message loud and clear the Latino and immigrant communities do not

support Senate Bill 1639 (formerly S.1348) in its current form, said Angela Sanbrano, president of the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities.

"Congress has a legislative responsibility to produce immigration reform that is both humane and pragmatic. Unfortunately, as it stands, this bill falls short of what our immigrant community and nation needs and expects," said Lillian Rodriguez López, president of the Hispanic Federation.

Citing a letter released today to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Latino leaders explained there are a number of pieces of the immigration reform issue that can be debated and acted upon this session without having to enact so-called comprehensive reform. In their letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid, leaders of the Latino organizations cited AgJOBS, the DREAM Act and other initiatives that could result in tangible changes for immigrant communities.

"The Senate should not accept a bill that will worsen the status quo. We need a bill that will benefit this and future generations,” concluded Pablo Alvarado, president of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network. "S. 1639 (formerly S.1348) in its current form does not achieve the greater good. Serious modifications need to take place."

Latino leaders who participated in the conference call with reporters, and who signed letters to Majority Leader Reid, Senator Barbara Boxer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi include representatives of the Hispanic Federation, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the William C. Velasquez Institute.

Letter To Senator Barbara Boxer

Letter To The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Letter To Senator Harry Reid

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Antonio Gonzalez On the Airwaves
Antonio Gonzalez On the Airwaves