Letter #1

 

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January 2006

With regard to the Border and Immigration Enforcement Act, H.R. 4437, as proposed and approved by the House of Representatives, we stand oppose to the "Border and Immigration Enforcement Act of 2005" H.R. 4437 which has been introduced by Congressman Sensenbrenner. Our nation's security depends upon the passage of comprehensive immigration reform that is fair and effective. The House version of the legislation is neither. We also believe that smart, effective, and realistic enforcement of a well-functioning immigration system is possible.  H.R. 4437 does not take us down the path to real immigration reform.

 

* Whereas, the bill criminalizes the undocumented population in the United States and will flood our jails with harmless, decent, respectable and responsible immigrant workers.

 

* Whereas, the bill would broaden the definition of smuggling and would apply to and criminalize the work of social service organizations, refugee agencies, churches, pastors, attorneys, and other groups that counsel immigrants, as well as family members or employers or any other immigrant advocates that provide humanitarian assistance, treating them the same as smuggling organizations.

 

* Whereas, with that definition, family members, employers and pastors, etc. could be fined and imprisoned for “harboring,” “shielding,” “assisting,” or “transporting” undocumented individuals since they would be considered “criminals.”

 

* Whereas, the bill would waste federal tax dollars on persecuting the most vulnerable population in the United States when the reality is we need their labor just as much as they need an opportunity to work.  In most cases, they work in jobs that most U.S. Citizens do not want.

 

* Whereas, the bill would destabilize the U.S. economy by creating an aggressive employment verification system without providing an opportunity for essential workers to work legally.

 

* Whereas, the bill would prevent the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States from ever being eligible for legal status.

 

* Whereas, the bill would forever deny citizenship to any legal permanent resident who was unlawfully present in the United States at any time.

 

* Whereas, the bill severely reduces due process rights for legal immigrants in a way that dramatically undercuts basic principles of American justice.

 

* Whereas, by focusing only on enforcement, this bill will force undocumented immigrants further into the shadows endangering their lives and making all of us less safe.

 

We the Hispanic Evangelical Church cannot allow this type of legislation to go unchecked.

 

Hispanic Americans, like all Americans, want effective reform of the nation’s immigration laws, not short-sighted measures that appear tough on immigration but do not resolve the underlying problems.  HCFCIR believes that only a comprehensive approach that (a) provides a path to citizenship for current undocumented immigrants, (b) deals with the 11 million already here in the United States, (c) reunites families and reduces family immigration backlogs, (d) protects workers’ rights, and (e) addresses the needs of American employers to utilize immigrant labor, will reduce undocumented immigration and bring better order to our immigration system.  Furthermore, we also know that it must include increased border security, along with enhanced border intelligence.  But one without the other would not truly be fixing our broken immigration policy for our nation.  All these will have to be key components to have true immigration reform.

 

Knowing that we are a nation of laws, but also a nation of immigrants, we urge you to support comprehensive immigration reform that will find solutions that make sense and are in the best interests of all Americans.


Please take action today and help stop this particular Bill, the Border Immigration Enforcement Act of 2005!

 

For Just Reform,

 

Pastor Mark Gonzales

President/Founder, Standing For Truth Foundation (SFTF)

President, Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (HCFCIR)

Vice-President Governmental Affairs, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)

 

 

Letter #2

 

HCFCIRLogo

 

Dear Member of Congress:

 

The Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform calls upon the Members of Congress to enact legislation that will address all facets of the immigration issue. Our concern stems from the immigration legislation that was passed by the House of Representatives, HR 4437, Border and Immigration Act of 2005.

 

As Hispanic Evangelical leaders we are concerned with the security of our nation and the simultaneous well being of our immigrant families, of which, the majority are of Latin American descent. We support immigration reform based on our Judeo/Christian value system that empowered this nation of immigrants to thrive while preserving standards of compassion and humane treatment to all who seek a better life.

 

The Hispanic Evangelical church consists of approximately 15 million Hispanics in America. We wholeheartedly understand the legal, moral and political juxtaposition surrounding this issue. However, we believe that we can protect our borders, implement current immigration laws and present a viable solution to the undocumented immigrants currently in our nation within the framework of Biblical mandates and our Judeo/Christian value system.

 

The Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform encourages the enactment of a comprehensive immigration legislation which will include the following:

 

  1. Border enforcement and protection initiatives that include the application and enhancement of high tech security measures that will protect our borders while enabling and facilitating the implementation of our nation’s immigration policy.
  2. Temporary designation for immigrant workers and their families who upon satisfaction of criteria and due process begin the path towards permanent residency and citizenship.
  3. Overhaul of immigration quotas and current tenants in the family reunification process with the purpose of drastically reducing the waiting times for separated families while increasing the number of visas granted to individuals that will contribute intellectual, spiritual and economic capital to the American Experience.
  4. A viable guest worker program that will strengthen the economic vitality of the US economy while matching willing employees with willing employers. 

Let us work together to protect our borders, enforce the law, secure all families, and preserve the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

 

Sincerely,

 

Pastor Mark Gonzales

President/Founder, Standing For Truth Foundation (SFTF)

President, Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (HCFCIR)

Vice-President Governmental Affairs, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)

 

 

Letter #3

 

HCFCIRLogoNHCLCLogo20

 

Dear President Bush and Members of the 110th Congress:

 

We are writing to you as non-partisan Hispanic Evangelical leaders and churches who are concerned about the issue of immigration and the current polarization of our society. Accordingly, the lack of passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation has created a reality where our Borders are yet fully secured and the immigrant families, along with the entire Hispanic American community, find ourselves facing racial profiling, discrimination and a hostile ethnically polarized environment not seen since the days prior to the successes of the Civil rights movement.

 

Cities across America are beginning to pass ordinances that in essence legalize racial profiling and place the Latino community in an unnecessary defensive posture. We urge you to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The current state of immigration in this country is a complex situation; nevertheless, we as Americans have the intellectual wherewithal, the political acumen and the spiritual fortitude to reconcile the principles of law and order with a pathway to citizenship for those that seek to live the American Dream.

 

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) which is the National Hispanic Association of Evangelicals hereby joins with the National Hispanic Christian Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and other key Latino Evangelical leaders in a call to our Federal Government to unite our Nation and pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform. As the sister organization of the National Association of Evangelicals, we serve approximately 14.5 Million Hispanic Americans in issues that pertain to the family, immigration, economic mobility, education, political empowerment, and spiritual/moral enrichment. We are all, the NHCLC and partners, wholeheartedly committed to assist in the threading of the Hispanic American narrative. Our desire is for every Latino in America to become a productive citizen, master both the English and Spanish languages, embrace the core values of the American idea and realize the American Dream.

 

The Hispanic Church in America calls upon President George W. Bush and members of Congress to finally pass and sign into law legislation that will protect our borders, put an end to all illegal immigration, create a market driven guest worker program and facilitate avenues by which the millions of families already in America that lack the legal status can earn such status in a manner that reflects the Judeo Christian Value system this nation was founded upon. Let us protect our borders, protect all our families and thus, protect the American dream.

 

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

 

Rev. Mark V. Gonzales, President, Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Vice-President Governmental Affairs, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

 

 

Letter #4

 

Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Joint Statement of Principles

 

Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform represents a coalition of Christian organizations, churches, and leaders from across the theological and political spectrum united in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Despite our differences on other issues, we are working together to see comprehensive immigration reform enacted this year because we share a set of common moral and theological principles that compel us to love and care for the stranger among us, including the following:

 

  • We believe that all people, regardless of national origin, are made in the “image of God” and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6).
  • We believe there is an undeniable biblical responsibility to love and show compassion for the stranger among us (Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Leviticus 19:33-34, Matthew 25:31-46).
  • We believe that immigrants are our neighbors, both literally and figuratively, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and show mercy to neighbors in need (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:25-37).
  • We believe in the rule of law, but we also believe that we are to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God’s image, especially the vulnerable (Isaiah 10:1-4, Jeremiah 7:1-7, Acts 5:29, Romans 13:1-7). 

The current U.S. immigration system is broken and now is the time for a fair and compassionate solution. We think it is entirely possible to protect our borders while establishing a viable, humane, and realistic immigration system, one that is consistent with our American values and increases national security while protecting the livelihood of Americans. The biblical principles above call us to support comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes the following elements:

 

·         Border enforcement and protection initiatives that are consistent with humanitarian values while allowing the authorities to enforce the law and implement American immigration policy;

·         Reforms in our family-based immigration system that reduce the waiting time for separated families to be safely reunited and maintain the constitutionally guaranteed rights of birthright citizenship and the ability of immigrants to earn naturalization;

·         An opportunity for all immigrant workers and their families already in the U.S. to come out of the shadows and pursue the option of an earned path towards permanent legal status and citizenship upon satisfaction of specific criteria;

·         A viable guest worker program that creates legal avenues for workers and their families to enter our country and work in a safe, legal, and orderly manner with their rights and due process fully protected and provides an option for workers to maintain legal status independent of an employer sponsor; and

·         A framework to examine and ascertain solutions to the root causes of migration, such as economic disparities between sending and receiving nations.

 

Immigration reform that incorporates these elements, rejects anti-immigrant and nativist measures, and strengthens our American values will enrich the vitality of America and advance the common good. We stand together in calling upon President Bush and Congress to seek humane and holistic immigration reform within this legislative year.

 

 

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