Friday, June 15, 2007

Please support-This affects us all

Justice for Immigrants ACTION ALERT

Contact your Senators

Return to Immigration Reform


On Thursday, June 7, the U.S. Senate failed to invoke cloture (close off debate) on S. 1348, the Senate compromise immigration reform bill, 45-50 (with 60 votes needed to achieve cloture). The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked Senators to vote NO on cloture. The Committee on Migration of the USCCB decided to take this position because on the night previous, Senators adopted an amendment to weaken the legalization program by removing confidentiality provisions and defeated an amendment which improved family reunification in the bill.

The removal of the confidentiality protection in the Z-visa legalization program means that applicants for the program are at risk of deportation if their application is denied, for whatever reason. The confidentiality protection ensures that an applicant to the program cannot be deported because of information given in their application regarding their immigration status. The Committee on Migration views this protection as essential to a workable program, because otherwise eligible participants will not come forward.

Another amendment, offered by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), would have moved the backlog reduction date on family reunification up to January 1. 2007. This amendment was blocked by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) on a budget point of order and Senator Kyl offered another amendment which, in the view of the USCCB, harms certain families.

For those Senators who opposed cloture, consistent with the USCCB position, it is important to note that USCCB still supports the bill moving forward, provided that the confidentiality provisions and family reunification areas are improved.

It is our view that the bill will come back to the Senate floor before July 4th and that we will have the opportunity to fix these two amendments.


Please contact your Senators today and even everyday now with the following message:

You may

call your Senators local or national office.

call the general number and ask for your senators office 202-224-3121.

send a message through our website at:

Thank you,

The Justice for Immigrants Campaign

Immigration Bill

Action Alert: Give Your U.S. Representatives a Wake Up Call on CIR!

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07061267 (posted Jun. 12, 2007)"
Give your U.S. Representatives a wake up call!
Let them know that now is the time to get it right on immigration!!
Email your U.S. Representative now!

Last week the Senate effectively hit snooze on the immigration alarm when they voted against invoking cloture on debate of S. 1348. Whether or not they roll over and go back to sleep or wake up and face the music remains an open question. However, one thing is clear: it is not too late for the House to show leadership on this critical issue and propel the process forward. The House must not remain beholden to the Senate's dysfunction. It is time for the House to heed the demands of a large majority of Americans by passing comprehensive, workable immigration reform.

Send an email through Contact Congress and tell your Representative that the House must:

* Move legislation through "regular order" to ensure that the policy proposals are workable and exposed to public scrutiny, not grossly distorted by backroom political negotiations like the Senate's "grand bargain"

* Include the four key components of CIR in a workable final bill:
1. smart border and worksite enforcement
2. path to earned permanent residence for the undocumented
3. a new worker program to regulate our integrated North American labor market
4. reunification of families separated for years or decades by senseless backlogs

* Reject the four fatal flaws of the stalled Senate bill:
1. evisceration of the family-based green card categories;
2. replacement of our current employment-based immigration system with a radical, untested "merit-based" point system;
3. failure to recalibrate current green card levels to meet the demands of our economy at both ends of the skill spectrum
4. exclusion of new temporary workers from any path to permanent residence

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Security Is Focus of Revised Effort on Immigration

Security Is Focus of Revised Effort on Immigration
NY Times: June 14, 2007

WASHINGTON, June 13 — The White House and senators from both parties mapped out possible changes in a comprehensive immigration bill on Wednesday, so they could better portray it as a way to bolster national security rather than to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

The changes would include a guarantee of several billion dollars for tougher border security and law enforcement and would allow the government to take more time before granting work permits to illegal immigrants who seek legal status.

The proposals were drafted as part of an effort to recast the debate on immigration and revive the bipartisan bill, which was pulled from the Senate floor late last week. They come a day after President Bush met with senators to try to persuade those on the fence to support the measure.

As the White House shifts its tactics on the bill, immigrant rights' groups have begun their own push to move the legislation forward by emphasizing the benefits of immigration.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who was haggling with senators over possible amendments, said: "This is a national security bill. We are fixing a national security problem."

Mr. Gutierrez said the bill would eliminate a threat to national security that arises because "we have millions of people working in our country, and we don't know who they are."

Despite the proposed changes and the effort to promote the bill as part of the war on terrorism, the provision that has generated the most criticism from conservative Republicans — a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants — remains.

President Bush is expected to depict the bill as a way to secure the borders and curtail the influx of illegal immigrants in remarks Thursday to the Associated Builders and Contractors, a trade group for construction companies.

Another trade group, the National Association of Home Builders, has expressed concern about a provision of the bill that could, in some cases, hold general contractors responsible for a subcontractor's use of illegal immigrant labor.

The bill, one of President Bush's top domestic priorities, makes a commitment to border security and tougher enforcement, including a crackdown on companies that employ illegal immigrants. But in more than a dozen places, the bill says such steps are "subject to the availability of appropriations," meaning money might or might not be available.

By many accounts, the bill failed to attract enough votes because Republicans believed that the enforcement parts of the bill were too weak.

Senator Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida, a member of the small bipartisan group that wrote the bill, said Wednesday that its sponsors hoped to attract more support by passing an emergency supplemental appropriation of $3 billion to $5 billion to pay for the enforcement measures.

"President Bush seems receptive to the idea," Mr. Martinez said. Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, expressed interest in a Republican proposal to take all fees and fines collected under the bill and use the money for enforcement.

Even Democratic architects of the bill, like Senators Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Ken Salazar of Colorado, are portraying the bill as a way to restore the rule of law.

"It's a matter of our national security," Mr. Kennedy said Wednesday. "We have broken borders and a broken immigration system."

Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said the extra money could "persuade the American people and reluctant senators" to support the bill.

The 1986 immigration law looms over the current debate. Lawmakers of both parties say that law failed because Congress granted amnesty to three million illegal immigrants, but no president has vigorously enforced its prohibition on hiring illegal immigrants.

The 1986 law "resulted in a tidal wave of illegal immigration," said Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia.

More than 300 amendments to the current bill have been proposed. Leading supporters of the bill are trying to winnow those down, with the thought that the Senate might vote on a dozen proposed by Republicans and a dozen from Democrats.

Senate Republican leaders are encouraging Republican senators to agree on a finite list of amendments, so the Senate can vote on final passage of the bill.

Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the chief Republican architect of the measure, said he and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, had drafted an amendment that would "significantly tighten up enforcement."

Mr. Kyl said the proposal would alter a provision of the bill that grants "probationary benefits," including work permits, to illegal immigrants within one day after they file applications for legal status.

Conservative critics of the bill have denounced that provision, saying law enforcement agencies could never complete background checks in one day.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, is likely to get a vote on her proposal to require illegal immigrants to return to their home countries before they could obtain legal status in the United States.

That proposal is anathema to many Democrats and Hispanic groups, who say it would be unworkable. The bill already has a "touchback requirement," but it would apply only to illegal immigrants who are heads of household and seek permanent-residence visas, or green cards. Such visas would become available eight years after the bill became law, at the earliest.

By contrast, under Mrs. Hutchison's proposal, adult illegal immigrants would generally have to leave the United States within two years if they wanted to apply for legal status, in the form of "Z visas."

"My amendment would take the amnesty out of this bill," Mrs. Hutchison said. "It would say, if you are going to work in our country today or tomorrow or two years from now or 25 years from now, you will apply from outside the country to come in legally so we have control of our system."

If Congress provides additional money, some of it would be used to create an electronic system that employers would have to use to verify that employees were eligible to work in this country.

About 17,000 employers have registered to use the current voluntary verification system, but under the Senate bill, nearly six million employers could be required to do so. Under the current program, the government usually confirms within seconds that an employee is authorized to work.

But in some cases, the government does not have up-to-date information on a worker's name or citizenship. The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, said it could take days or even weeks to resolve such discrepancies.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Guerilla Theater at La Peña 32nd Anniversary

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Our one act plays will be going on around 7:15pm. Be there or be square! (ITS FREE)

La Peña Celebrates its 32nd Anniversary!
!Feliz Cumpleaños La Peña!

Saturday June 09, 2007
Free! 6pm-Midnight - JL Orozco @10AM

Open house & free event featuring performances from La Peña’s students & other artists. Silent Auction w/lots of great items! Since 1975, La Peña has been an important community space that promotes social justice and cultural understanding through the arts, education and community action. Join us at our Open House as we celebrate our anniversary with performances of our talented student ensembles ranging from Mexican music to Latin American Kids Chorus to Latin Jazz to Hip Hop to Puerto Rican bomba. The Open House will also feature a silent auction - so bring your checkbook! To take a peek at auction items or place your early bid visit

You can also support La Peña’s 32nd anniversary by donating online:

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

your help-sanctuary

Im trying to do some research on how different cultures, religions and belief systems through the ages have viewed sanctuary, refuge, migration, persecution and the like. I have been inspired by the sanctuary movements of the past and the new one making waves to write and put together as part of a project I am working on. I don't really have much religious "training." Anyone have any thoughts to help me gear up my creative juices or can direct me to some good sites or quotes... really anything will be of help. Thank you in advance. M
Here's a link to the project I am working on: