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Hispanic NAE Expresses Optimism Concerning Immigration Reform after White House Meeting with Secretary Napolitano and President Obama

by Staff
September 1, 2009
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MEDIA ADVISORY, ( -- America's largest Hispanic Christian Organization, The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), The Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals, (N.A.E.) expressed gratitude and appreciation to President Barack Obama for his recent affirmation of a comprehensive immigration reform policy.

This fall, the White House and Congress will work on a comprehensive immigration reform package with expectations of passage in early 2010. President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano met last week in the White House with national groups committed to comprehensive immigration reform including the NHCLC.

Secretary Napolitano spoke about accountability. "We must use smart effective enforcement. We must also bring people out of the shadows. We will ensure timely procedures on citizenship back logs and increase efficiency." Napolitano said. The Secretary went on to add "this bill needs support with ongoing dialogue and a bi-partisan effort. We count on all of you to work together."

Rev. Eve Nunez, Vice President of Networking for the NHCLC, addressed the panel and the Administration stating, "It is critical to invite the faith based leaders to these forums. When we speak of bringing immigrants out of the shadows they will first turn to their Pastors, Priests and Clergy before they confide in law enforcement officials."

Nunez was accompanied in the White House meeting by Dr. Angel Nunez, Senior V.P of the Hispanic N.A.E." I was encouraged by the attention that was given to our ideas and input. They assured us that these meetings will continue to happen and they were very interested in having the NHCLC help them in contacting pastors in the as they are traveling around the country getting input from many groups. I appreciate President Obama reaffirming his commitment".

"Even though we are appreciative, we continue to encourage the administration to focus on how it can reform immigration laws to address the immediate problems undocumented immigrants face as it pertains to the breakup of families and the protection of the local worker instead of constant focus on enforcement of immigration laws. We need a balanced approach that is not piecemeal but comprehensive, both enforcement and a pathway to citizenship", added Nunez.

"As we begin to frame and debate the specifics of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform proposal, it is important to express gratitude for those who repudiated extremism and political expediency. On behalf of our 25,434 congregations and on behalf of the Hispanic evangelical community, permit us to express heartfelt gratitude to our President for his excellent leadership and moral wherewithal to once again address immigration reform in the context necessary to reconcile our values with the rule of law", stated Dr. Gilbert Velez, Chairman of the Hispanic NAE.

Many evangelical churches mobilized for the first time around the issue of immigration reform immediately after the House Bill sponsored by James Sensenbrenner. In addition, many of the 12 million undocumented attend Hispanic Evangelical congregations.

NHCLC stands recognized by scholars and analysts as the lead evangelical and Hispanic Faith voice for immigration reform. Former Clinton Advisor Sydney Blumenthal credited the organization's effort as a primary factor in thwarting the Republican plans to deport millions of undocumented individuals.

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