June 12, 2004

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, (NHLA), a coalition of the most established and well known national Hispanic organizations, issued a critical report on the impact of post-9/11 government policies on the Latino community, and called on the White House and Congress to make long overdue changes in U.S. immigration policy before the November elections.

The report was issued during the League of United Latin American Citizens, (LULAC) 75th Anniversary Convention in San Antonio. LULAC is the nation’s largest and oldest national Hispanic organization, with over 115,000 members and 600 Councils throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

The report examines what the U.S. government has done post-9/11 in the areas of immigration enforcement and services and the negative impacts these actions have had on the Latino community and broader American public and the economy. The report focuses on the largest minority community in the U.S. today, Hispanics, and tells the untold story of how the U.S. government’s strategies and policies post-9/11 have had a detrimental effect on the Latino community.

Documenting numerous civil and human rights violations and harsh administrative policies, NHLA concludes that the current immigration system dishonors the principles upon which our nation of immigrants was founded. NHLA calls for bipartisan leadership to advance reforms that balance the needs of immigrant workers and their employers, serve the security interests of the nation, and allow hard working immigrants to come out of the shadows in an orderly manner.

Manuel Mirabal, President of the National Puerto Rican Coalition and Immediate Past Chair of NHLA stated: “We must ensure that our immigration policies will help instead of hurt the millions of immigrants who have been contributing to our economy, have established families and roots in our communities, and who will continue to be a significant part of the U.S. labor force well into the future. With the continued growth of the Latino community—it is clear that the future of the U.S. is tied to the future of the Latino community. A major socio-economic disaster awaits us if our government does not make drastic changes in its immigration policies and practices. Therefore, we are recommending that Congress and the Administration take specific actions now to address these very serious issues affecting immigrants, the Hispanic community, and all Americans.”

Hector M. Flores, National LULAC President stated: “The Latino community is growing in political importance, and both political parties must understand that getting our support on election day will require that they respond to our social, economic and political concerns. Since 9/11 the U.S. government has developed new immigration policies and strategies that place Latino immigrants and citizens in a worse position than they were prior to September 11th. As the next election approaches, we ask those who wish to be President or serve in Congress what they would do to address these pressing immigration issues facing the Latino community?”

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