Informing the Public on Immigration

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immigrationThe ice storm brewing outside was not enough to stop the Working for Change workshop on immigration on Saturday, Feb. 24 which featured workshops educating adults on immigration and mobilizing the youth as well.The event kicked off with a video on Hero Street and Latinos who have won the Congressional Medal of Honor. The current total 43 is and Sgt. Ralph Perez is up for the award. Another interesting statistic was that of the first seven soldiers who died in Iraq, three were Latino, and two of those were undocumented.At the beginning of the conference, City of Moline mayor, Donald Welvaert said that he was a strong advocate for the cause.“It’s a human issue.” He said.Mayor Welvaert mentioned how the Swedish, German, and people from Belgium came to Moline for an opportunity,
“The Hispanic community is important. I want everyone here to recognize that.” He said.
A panel moderated by LULAC Iowa State Director Gilbert Sierra, included  Victoria Fitzgerald from Black Hawk College, Hector Santos of the IRS, Ernest Rodriguez representing the Davenport Civil Rights commission and Hola America’s own Tarsicio Macias gave the adults in attendance some interesting statistics.
Hector Santos of the IRS said that Latinos do in fact pay their taxes in real estate and sales tax. Also 6-7 billion dollars goes unclaimed in social security benefits which has kept social security going. He explained that finding out the immigration status of an individual is not a job for the IRS.
“The IRS just wants your money,” Santos said.
The youth workshop was more on speaking about discrimination and doing something about it. Carlos Jimenez of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Rock Island told the youth that they need to represent themselves well.
“The way you behave, people will assume the same role.” He said.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Juan Hernandez and all he is asking for is two things. Document the undocumented and create a new program so that we are not dismissed.
Hernandez mentioned that most U.S. citizens support a five point plan for amnesty. The first step is to check everyone who’s here. Two is to make sure that they are not taking jobs away. Three is to pay taxes and social security. The fourth is to speak English and the fifth is to pay a fine for coming in without documentation.
He advocated a message that will be used on Spanish television channel Univision, that only takes one minute and requires five words.
“Tell your elected officials your name and that ‘I support comprehensive immigration reform.’” Hernandez said.
“If we don’t push, if we don’t call, it’s going to get worse.” He said.
The legislative panel consisted on only one legislator, Iowa State Senator Joe Seng of the 43rd district representing Scott County. He mentioned how at a similar event sponsored by the Diocese of Des Moines he was also the only legislator there.
“It’s not just a national issue, it’s important to Iowa.” He said.
“We want to market the state and make it open business for immigration.” Seng said.
He also wanted a workforce development and assistance in the language issue.
Diego Bonesatti of The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights said that the minutemen success is that they are very well organized.
“We are killed by numbers not logic.” He said.
He mentioned the marches last year and that all those who march should be making phone calls, writing letters in newspapers and electronic blogs.
“We have to act as organized groups. That’s where real change happens.” He said.
Esteban Loustenou ended the conference with a simple statement, “we need to create and make change.”
For a complete lists of the sponsors go to:
www.hola-america.com

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