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Wednesday, February 22, 2006
CHICAGO, Illinois - On January 21, after the Chicago Koneks educational forum on the impact of HR 4437 to the immigrant communities, more than 40 leaders of FilAM grassroots organization organized the Alliance of Filipino Americans to Protect Immigrants' Rights (AFAPIR).

AFAPIR's immediate concern is to promote the passage of the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act (S.1033) which was introduced in the Senate by Sen. John McCain of Arizona on May 12,2005 and the defeat of HR4437 or the Border Protection, anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act which was approved on December 16th 2005 by the House of Representatives.

Senator Durbin, in his letter to Grace Villamor of AFAPIR's Lobbying committee, said "S. 1033 includes provisions desgined to improve border security and to reduce the number of undocumented immigrant wrokers in ou country by reforming our nation's immigration policies. The legistlation would create a porcess for immigrant workers who pay taxes and otherwise obey the laws to come out of the shadow encourage the reuniting of families spearated by immigration, require the development of a national strategy for border security, and strengthen enforcement of labor and immigration laws"

Meanwhile, Atty, Maricar Madrid Crost, one of the panelists in the forum said, "This measure (HR 4437), which is presented in the guise of promoting national security, is not the answer to illegal immigration. Its venom has a far-reaching adverse impact upon illegal aliens and family memebrs, legitimate businesses and even well meaning social service entities. It will also burden the average American who will end up paying for the cost of implementation."

Rev. Fr. Caludio Holzer, the representative of the Scalabrini Mission Center to the forum said, "The bill is the manifestation of the rising tide of anti-immigration sentiment. It is insensitive to the long-tradition of the church to open its doors to anyone, without exception, needing help".

Indeed, HR4437 is considered in the immigrant and civil rights circles as nasty and draconian bill meant to make immigrant and refugee communities suffer even more.

Crost added, "THis bill is loaded with punitive, mean-spirited provisions that will harm not only millions of immigrants but also many people who work with immigrants on a daily basis. Among the lowlights of the bill are:

-- The Bill would turn millions of hard working immigrants into criminals by making unlawful presence in the US (previously a non-criminal matter) a felony.

-- It would make anyone who provides any aid to an undocumented immigrant a felon (including relatives, lawyers, teachers, clergy members, and social service workers).

-- It would force employees to verify Social Security numbers, inlcuding those of current employees, in effect forcing millions of immigrant workers out of work.

-- It would spend #2billion on a nearly 800-mile long fence along the Arizonea and California border.

-- It would broaden many grounds for deportation and increase penalties for many immigration-related offenses; and

-- Abolish the Diversity Visa program, a major immigration program enables thousands of immigrants who lack a family or employer sponsor to lawfully come to the US."

On another hand, Elsie Sy Niebar, a columnists of Via Times and a long time community activitist, implores the participation of well-meaning leaders. She said, "this is an issue we should all unite and work together. We should not allow our kababayan exploited by anyone, especially by another kababayan".

Please collect signatures and send our community's Statement of Concern to:

Sen. Richard Durbin

Sen. Barack Obama

(Source: Abstracted from "The Filipino-American COMMUNITY BUILDER,Feb. 06 Issue)
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:41 PM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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