Monday, April 30, 2007

Latino Groups Unite Against White House anti immigrant proposals

Latino Groups Unite Against White House
Anti-Family Immigration Proposals
Uniting American families must remain a top priority of immigration policy

APRIL 30, 2007 - Last Thursday, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and its coalition partners - National Council of La Raza (NCLR), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, and Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) - sent a letter to President George W. Bush expressing opposition to White House proposals to cut family-based immigration programs.

Recent reports have signaled that the Administration is urging the U.S. Senate to accept a proposal that eliminates some visa categories for United States citizens to reunite legally with their family members and ignores the traditional importance of families in resettling newcomers in the United States.

"Family reunification must continue to be a cornerstone of our immigration policy. The White House proposal erodes the strength of families and their capacity to equip newcomers with the skills and support to contribute fully to the nation," said John Trasviña, President and General Counsel of MALDEF.

"The notion that strong families are essential to strong communities isn't just a Hispanic American value, it's an American value. We need to preserve family as a basis for our immigration system," said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.

The groups also issued their strong opposition to a proposed Administration green card plan that replaces family reunification with a point system to allocate visas. The proposal would also prohibit future temporary workers from petitioning for their family members. If enacted, it would keep families apart, impede integration into the American mainstream, and be a further incentive to enter the United States illegally.

"As the president acknowledged, healthy families are invaluable to the nation's well being. It is therefore imperative that families are not being separated due to the Administration's recent posture toward family-based immigration," said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. "We urge the president to have a heart and remember that family values are at the core of our nation's immigration policy."

According to Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, "We are at a critical juncture in our national discussion of our immigration policy. The choices we make now will determine the future of our nation's prosperity and well-being. We urge the president to demonstrate the leadership necessary to chart a course toward comprehensive immigration reform which recognizes and reinforces the value of family reunification for all Americans."

The Latino community urges President Bush to fulfill his commitment to families in this country by supporting and strengthening family values through our nation's immigration policy.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF, the nation's leading Latino legal organization, promotes and protects the rights of Latinos through litigation, advocacy, community education and outreach, leadership development, and higher education scholarships.

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