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Latino Daily News

Saturday October 30, 2010

Immigrant Rights Groups Ask the FCC to Protect Their Right to Send Advocacy Text Messages

Yesterday, in a letter to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), nearly thirty non-profit organizations representing people of color and/or working towards comprehensive immigration reform requested that the FCC swiftly exert authority over cell phone text messages.

“Text messaging is a necessary tool for many members of our organizations and for countless public interest and civil rights groups because, while many of our constituents do not have Internet access, nearly all of them have wireless cell phones,” said Alex Nogales, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC).  “Wireless service providers should not be permitted to discriminate against certain types of text messages at the expense of the general public.”

The use of text messaging to encourage democratic participation and galvanize support for important causes is critical to many advocacy organizations.  One example is the NHMC’s “Text JUSTICE” campaign, which relies on text messages to mobilize communities across the nation whenever action is needed to support immigration reform.  With over 100,000 subscribers, some estimate that “Text JUSTICE” is the largest text message action list in the country.  In May of this year, the “Text JUSTICE” campaign was implemented to assemble over 500,000 people throughout 30 states in support of just and humane immigration reform. 

Nogales added, “In recent history, some mobile providers have begun a troubling trend of discriminating amongst text messaging traffic and refusing to deliver texts with which they disagree.  Our organizations invest a great deal of time and money into text message advocacy and should not have to worry about the uncertainty of whether or not a service provider will deem our ideas worthy of transmittal.”

Some of the organizations signing onto the letter include: National Hispanic Media Coalition; Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles; Citizen Orange; Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU); Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition; National Association of Latino Independent Producers; National Immigration Forum; National Institute of Latino Policy; National Immigration Law Center; and Southern Poverty Law Center.