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Latino Daily News

Sunday March 6, 2011

National GOP Group and Latino Caucus United Against Anti-Immigrant Bills

National GOP Group and Latino Caucus United Against Anti-Immigrant Bills

Photo: Nebraska Democratic Latino Caucus

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Somos Republicans, America’s largest Hispanic Republican organization, has joined forces with the Nebraska Democratic Latino Caucus in opposition to an Arizona-style enforcement bill for Nebraska (LB48) and in support of the legislative resolution (LR39), which embraces the guidelines of the Utah Compact, also known as the Nebraska Compact, first proposed by Somos Republicans in December 2010.

The following statement in support of LR39 was read to the Nebraska legislature judiciary committee today, and the other statement was provided as written testimony in opposition to LB48. These unusual joint bipartisan statements are intended to send a message to Congress that it’s time to end partisan gridlock in Congress and get to work overhauling our legal immigration system.

The Nebraska Compact resolution, LR39, was introduced by 11 state senators from both major political parties. Nebraska’s legislature is the first in the nation to consider embracing the guidelines of the Utah Compact. Compact movements are spreading across the nation in response to the tsunami of extreme enforcement and birthright bills.

A joint press conference will follow the hearing conclusion outside the hearing room.

Joint Statement of Somos Republicans and Nebraska Democratic Latino Caucus (LB48)
Latinos span the full spectrum of ideological viewpoints, but on this issue we are united in opposition to LB48. The Nebraska Democratic Party Latino Caucus, whose members jointly provide this testimony to you today, agree that a joint bipartisan statement sends a strong message that reverberates all the way to Washington DC.

Somos Republicans is based in Arizona, the origin of a tsunami of bills such as LB48. 2/3 of our 6,000 members live in Arizona. We know all too well the climate of division and fear, and the backlash most Latinos experience when these bills are considered, and local police become involved in immigration enforcement. This climate has already found its way to Fremont; let’s spare the rest of Nebraska.

Proponents of these bills claim racial profiling won’t happen because these bills outlaw the practice. Numerous studies show racial profiling is already a problem. In a 2008 PEW Research study, one in ten adult Hispanics reported they were stopped by police during the previous year and asked their legal status, and it made absolutely no difference whether they were U.S. born citizens or foreign born.

62% of U.S. Hispanics were born in the U.S. and 19% are either naturalized citizens or lawfully present. 30% of undocumented are not Hispanic. This bill makes no provision for the weeks of training police would need just to have a basic working knowledge of immigration law, and yes, Hispanic U.S. citizens are often detained by mistake. This just happened in Omaha when an entire bus-load of Hispanics, including two U.S. citizens who furnished state-issued an ID, were arrested after two ICE agents overheard passengers speaking in Spanish. This happens often in Arizona during immigration sweeps.

We do not condone illegal immigration, neither do we condemn most undocumented immigrants. The vast majority of undocumented immigrants are net contributors to our society, and would probably have come here legally had there had been a line for them to stand in. We don’t see a compelling reason for Nebraska to act, when federal immigration enforcement has been stepped up dramatically in recent years, and the immigration court system is already near capacity.

The solution to this problem lies in sensible immigration reforms in Washington DC, not Lincoln, Nebraska. We urge you to reject LB48, and instead advance LR39, which embraces the guidelines of the Nebraska Compact, and send a powerful message to Congress to address this issue’s root causes, not symptoms. I would add Somos Republicans developed the attached 12 point plan to completely reform legal immigration, and we already have strong backing to introduce this as legislation in Congress.
Thank you,
Bob Quasius                                               Roger Garcia
Vice-President                                             Chairman
Somos Republicans                                       Nebraska Democratic Party Latino Caucus

Joint Statement of Somos Republicans and Nebraska Democratic Latino Caucus (LR39)

Mr. Chairman, I’m Bob Quasius, Vice-President of Somos Republicans, America’s largest Hispanic Republican organization. Latinos span the full spectrum of ideological viewpoints, but on this issue we are united in support of LR39 and oppose LB48. The Nebraska Democratic Party Latino Caucus, whose members jointly provide this testimony to you today, agree that a joint bipartisan statement sends a strong message that reverberates all the way to Washington DC.

Somos Republicans is based in Arizona, the origin of a tsunami of bills such as LB48. 2/3 of our 6,000 members live in Arizona. We know all too well the climate of division and fear, and the backlash most Latinos experience when these bills are considered, and the racial profiling that often results when state and local police become involved in immigration enforcement. This climate of division and fear has already found its way to Fremont; let’s spare the rest of Nebraska.

The solution to this problem lies in sensible immigration reforms in Washington DC, not Lincoln, Nebraska. The Utah Compact is a guiding set of principles on immigration which rejects extreme legislation, while also sending a clear and powerful message to our federal government that it’s time to overhaul immigration. A powerful coalition quickly formed around the Utah Compact, which includes the worldwide Mormon Church, the Catholic Church, the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, two former governors, the attorney general, and thousands of others.

Somos Republicans was extremely impressed with the Utah Compact, and was among the early signers. We proposed identical compacts in Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and Florida in December 2010, to extend this success to other states, and others have proposed compacts in Indiana, Maine, Iowa, and Georgia, which we also support. Legislators in Florida and Texas are about to introduce similar resolutions, using LR39 as a template, as an alternative to extreme bills in those states.

I would add Somos Republicans developed the attached 12 point plan to completely reform legal immigration, and we already have strong backing to introduce this as legislation in Congress soon.

We urge you to reject LB48, and instead advance LR39, which will send a powerful message to Congress to address this issue’s root causes, not symptoms. Many legislators across the nation have sponsored or voted for LB48 type bills out of a sense of frustration, but states cannot enact their own immigration laws. If these bills become law it will cost taxpayers millions in legal expenses, and fuel that climate of division and fear which is now pervasive in Arizona and now in Fremont. LR39 offers a clear alternative, costing Nebraska nothing while also sending Congress a powerful message to solve a federal problem.

Nebraska is the first state legislature in the nation to consider embracing the Utah Compact, and we are impressed at the bipartisan support. Bipartisan support here in Nebraska from senators and Latinos from both parties sends both political parties in Washington the message to work together and solve this problem. Nebraska, the eyes of America are upon us. Make us proud!

Bob Quasius                                               Roger Garcia
Vice-President, Somos Republicans                 Chairman, Nebraska Democratic Party Latino Caucus