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3/26 MAPA/HML Statement on STRIVE ACT
Released 27 March 2007  By The Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) and the Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana (HML)

The Mexican American Political Association and Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana

PRESS STATEMENT

Monday, March 26, 2007

For Immediate Release
Contact: Nativo V. Lopez
E-mail: nlopez@hermandadmexicana.org or NativoLopez@mapa-ca.org
Phone: 714.423.4800 or 323.236.7990

MAPA and HML Declare the Gutierrez-Flake Immigration Bill Unacceptable

Los Angeles, CA – The Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) and the Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana (HML) recognize the legislative initiative on federal immigration reform by Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), namely the STRIVE ACT of 2007, but characterize it as enforcement heavy and legalization light. Below is the joint statement:

“The proposal makes a stab at both bipartisanship and comprehensiveness in immigration reform, but falls extremely short of the aspirations expressed by the millions of immigrants, their families and friends who marched by the millions in 2006 to support fair, humane, and rational reform,” declared Nativo V. Lopez, National President of both MAPA and Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana.

“A number of points in the proposal clearly bare out our repulsion of the legislation –

the supposed legalization provision provides no guarantee of permanent legal status, seriously delays by six to more years the temporary status, and thus, legal uncertainty, charges exorbitant fees, and demands an impractical “touch base and return” requirement; additionally, this provision would not be “triggered” until a determination could be made that enforcement provisions had shown to be successful;

the “return to the end of the line” approach to process a permanent resident visa application could extend from five to twenty years depending on the country of origin;

the criminalization features of the Sensenbrenner Bill (H.R.4437) remain for those migrants with an unauthorized entry, thus adversely affecting principally Mexicans and Central Americans;

the more onerous interior enforcement measures will create a criminalized under-class, warehouse migrants for prolonged detention, and separate families;

local police and DHS cooperation has been repudiated by law enforcement organizations throughout the U.S. as counter-productive to the goals of reducing local crime;

expedited removal authority by DHS is tantamount to abridging due process rights of migrants;

the enhanced employer verification provision means more onerous employer sanctions, which have proven to be ineffective and discriminatory by the U.S. Department of Justice in repeated reports, and effectively result in sanctions against the worker;

the increase of criminal penalties against workers who use identity documents of another for the purpose of employment with the charge of “identity theft” will only result in criminalizing workers engaged in productive economic activity;

a massive new temporary guest-worker program (“new worker visa”) will only undermine the prevailing wage and the social situation of U.S. workers; current practice demonstrates that such contract workers are not protected under federal and state statues; the labor certification process established in current law would be weakened under this program;

“If this is the starting point in the legislative process of negotiating and haggling for a ‘comprehensive’ immigration bill this year, it bodes very poorly for the immigrant communities of America,” ended Lopez. “You don’t need to be a weatherman to see this tsunami of injustice coming down on our heads.” “We expected much better from Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and we feel let down.

“We absolutely are not for accepting just anything as a way to turn to our constituency and declare some vague victory on immigration reform. This would be a major sell-out to the legitimate and reasonable aspirations of our community.”

Nativo V. Lopez is currently the National Director of Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana (HML) and the National President of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA). Both charges require of him full-time advocacy for the civil, human, labor, and immigrant rights of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Latinos throughout the United States. He has dedicated his life to these causes since his years as a high school student where he founded the first student movement organization, United Mexican American Students (UMAS). He was born in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles in 1951 to Mexican American parents, and is of both eighth-generation native U.S. born and immigrant stock. Nativo met the legendary immigrant organizer, leader, and advocate, Humberto “Bert” Corona, in 1971 and worked with him in various capacities for thirty years with the organizations Center for Autonomous Social Action (CASA), Hermandad Mexicana, and MAPA. He was a lead organizer in last year’s springtime mass protest pro-immigrant marches and was part of the creation of the National Alliance for Immigrant’s Rights (NAIR) in Chicago, Illinois.

The Mexican American Political Association, a multi-partisan advocacy organization, was founded in Fresno, California in 1963 and has chapters throughout California. It is dedicated to the constitutional and democratic principles of political freedom and representation for the Mexican, Mexican-American and Latino people in the United States. For more information, visit the MAPA website at www.MAPA.org.

Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana (National Mexican Latin American Brotherhood), an advocacy organization for immigrants, was created in 1951 to achieve the development and integration of Latino immigrants that live in the United States. It is dedicated to improving economic and social opportunities of immigrants and their families, and maintains that a better future for children is an inalienable right. For more information, visit the HML website at www.HermandadMexicana.com.


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