Category: FOCUS

Immigrants are not scapegoats to nation’s problems: U.S. Filipino working families oppose the Sensenberner Bill (US HR 4437) that seeks to criminalize every immigrant community

SAN JOSE, CA–Filipino professional and low-wage workers express serious disagreement with the U.S. House Resolution 4437 Border Protection, Anti-Terror, and Illegal Immigration Bill (also known at the Sensenbrenner Bill).

The bill will criminalized caring individuals, churches, charities, community groups, and similar service organizations that give humanitarian assistance to families without legal residence status. The bill also will allow the government to seize the properties of these individuals and organizations because they did not thoroughly checked the legal resident and immigration status of people before providing assistance.

“If this dreadful, anti-immigrant bill becomes law, it will throw over 10,000 Filipino families in our county with legal immigration papers into the streets and California’s prisons. It will also destroy the supportive infrastructure of our families, neighborhoods, and cities like Milpitas, Santa Clara, San Jose, Mountain View and Sunnyvale,” says Dr. Rowena Tomaneng, a women’s studies professor at DeAnza College.

“Many religious, labor, and community groups will be close their doors. In the county, they provide the needed safety net to prevent civil rights abuses, enhance working lives, and improve community relations,” Tomaneng continues.

The bill is on the agenda of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this February. The full senate will vote on it in March. It was introduced by Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on December 6, 2005. The U.S. House of Representative passed this house resolution with a 239 to 182 vote on Friday, December 16, 2005.

Immigrant rights supporters including many Filipinos will converge at St. Elizabeth’s Elementary School on 34th Street in the Fruitvale district of Oakland (near Fruitvale BART) for a noon time rally to oppose HR 4437. This rally will be held Saturday, February 25, 2006.

FOCUS urges everyone to spread the word about the bill through a petition campaign (see http://www.immigrationforum.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=580) and to contact their U.S. Senator to oppose the passage of the bill.

FOCUS seeks a more just, genuine, appropriate, and comprehensive immigration legislation that provides everyone human rights and economic security.

Since 2000, Filipino Community Support (FOCUS) is a Silicon Valley consortium that empowers Filipino communities in Santa Clara County through public information, community advocacy and grassroots organizing.

For reference:
Dr. Peter Chua
Director, Filipino Community Support
Phone: 408-297-1977
Email: focus@focusnow.org