Wednesday, August 30, 2006

National Immigration Coalition


I offer this as a brief summary of the main points of the National
Immigrant Strategy Convention. While I realize that not all the
points are included, these are just my brief recollections of the
conference for the uses that any one desires.

Prepared by: Nativo V. Lopez, National President, Mexican American
Political Association, and National Director, Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana
August 16, 2006

1. The convention was held at the Holiday Inn Hillside Hotel in
Chicago, Illinois on August 11-13th;

2. There were 761 delegates in attendance representing 400
organizations from 40 states;

3. The convention brought together immigrant base organizations
and coalitions, unions, and faith-based organizations who were clearly
responsible for the mega-marches organized throughout the U.S. from
February to May 1st this year;

4. The purpose of the convention was to unite these
organizations under a national umbrella network and hammer out a
strategy to proceed with the goals of this broad national immigrant's
rights movement;

5. The convention established the network under the name of
DERECHOS DEL INMIGRANTE, and created a Provisional National Council
comprised of 100 delegates to lead the work of the NAIR over the next
three months until a permanent governance structure is created;

6. The convention resolved to repudiate the two immigration
legislative proposals before the U.S. Congress ­ H.R.4437 and S.2611
as unsatisfactory to the needs of the immigrant communities, and
demanded they be defeated this year;

7. The convention further resolved that the premise of its
existence is the demand for LEGALIZATION FOR ALL and an immediate
moratorium of immigration raids and deportations;

8. The delegates further reaffirmed support for the basic
points of unity that brought them together ­ see for the complete list, and they further
adopted the political statement prepared before the convention
outlining the basic tenets of the national immigrant's rights

9. The convention emphasized the importance of uniting with the
labor movement, and unanimously resolved to endorse and actively
support various organizing campaigns of immigrant workers in various
industries ­ Smithfield Company in Red Springs, North Carolina (the
largest hog slaughter plant in the world) being organized by the UFCW
­ United Food & Commercial Workers Union; the Port Driver's organizing
campaign by the Teamsters Union and the Change to Win Unions (Los
Angeles, Long Beach, and other cities); the Wal-Mart organizing
campaign by the UFCW and Change to Win; and other campaigns;

10. The first major actions resolved by the convention include
national marches with labor on the Labor Day Weekend ­ Sept 4th ­ to
create the ONE MOVEMENT concept between labor and immigrant's rights

11. The second major action will take place on September 30th ­ the

12. The convention further resolved to support ALL voter
registration and U.S. citizenship campaigns conducted by organizations
supportive of immigrants;

13. The convention also emphasized the importance of supporting all
immigrants in their efforts to create base organizations to develop
their leadership, capacity, resistance to right-wing attacks either in
the manifestation of "Minutemen-type" organizations and/or hate talk
radio and television, and municipal and state legislation which seek
to curb their civil liberties, constitutional, civil, and labor

14. The convention noted with special urgency the need for unity
between all the organizations, unions, faith-based entities,
coalitions, and other formations who support immigrants to one degree
or another, and the necessity to maintain a dialogue with all
irrespective of major or minor differences that may exist or occur
between the organizations within the movement;

15. Two important caucuses were formed at the convention to address
the specific needs and advocacy positions of both ­ women and youth.
It was resolved to establish a network, internet list-serv, and
organizing, within the context of building the national immigrant
movement, corresponding to both constituencies. Gender equity of
leadership, within the formal governance structure and informal
representations, was emphasized. This was unanimously embraced by the

16. The special case of Elvira Arellano, an undocumented immigrant
mother with a U.S. citizen minor son, resident of Chicago, IL, who
faces deportation, was acknowledged and acclaimed as a symbol of all
persons similarly affected by our unjust immigration laws. The
convention resolved to raise her case to national stature, fight to
prevent her deportation, and raise the demand for an immediate
moratorium against raids and deportations;

17. The delegates resolved to return to their respective cities and
states and begin working to broaden the NATIONAL ALLIANCE by including
base organizations and coalitions who were not able to attend the
convention, and put into practice the resolutions adopted; this will
result in developing state affiliates with the Alliance and eventually
establishing a permanent national and state governance structure which
is representative (of the immigrant communities themselves),
democratic, and transparent.

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