LULAC, Raza radicals: Senate bill "unworkable", "this is our land!", "border crossed us"
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[Jaime P. Martinez, national treasurer of the League of United Latin American Citizens] preached from the podium of a small chapel at Primera Baptist Church flanked by U.S. and Mexican flags, his message one of defiance - not of turning the other cheek.The latter may or may not be true: under the Flake-Gutierrez version, they only have to go to a "Point of Entry", which could be in Canada or Mexico. I don't know what's in the Senate bill, but I'd imagine that eventually any tough provisions would get whittled down to going to a local major airport inside the U.S. Apparently the person who said they'd have to return to their home countries is U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, who was also at the meeting.
"We must not sell out, and we must fight for the rights of our people that have been here!" he shouted, a crowd of 50 or so cheering and applauding as the short speech closed. "This is our land and we're going to fight for just and humane comprehensive immigration reform!... ...We did not cross the border, the border crossed us."
...Most of those at the town hall meeting hosted by LULAC, the National Council of La Raza and the Service Employees International Union oppose the bill, in part because of provisions to fine each head of household $5,000 and require them to return to their home countries before seeking permanent residency.
Those at the church, almost all Hispanic and some of them immigration activists, weren't in the mood to compromise. La Raza, LULAC and the union issued a news release announcing the town hall meeting that was an ultimatum. They said U.S. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, R-Texas, were "on notice" that "we want workable reform and we want it now!"Note that the latter quote source's affiliation wasn't given and his thoughts were apparently not explicitly echoed by LULAC or NCLR, even though they are somewhat similar.
The release went on to say the groups are seeking legislation "that balances stronger border security with common-sense reform — including family reunification, respect for worker rights and a pathway to citizenship."
...[A member of the crowd] said Mexicans have an absolute right to live in the United States - either as residents or citizens. U.S. residents, he said, had the same right to live in Mexico... "The only borders that we used to recognize are the natural borders of rivers, mountains, lakes, deserts, not these international boundaries that this colonial government has set up by dividing our land," he said.