Friday, February 6, 2009

Una Carta Desde el Santuario/A Letter from Sanctuary

Por Flor Crisóstomo
29 de enero, 2009

On January 29, 2008, immigrant Flor Crisóstomo took sanctuary in the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago [see "Chicago immigration activist marks year in church" ]. This is her statement, in Spanish and English, on the one-year anniversary of her stay in the church.

Sr. Presidente Obama, he observado su maravillosa campaña y el poder de sus primeros días en la presidencia. He escuchado cuidadosamente a su discurso inaugural, y noté la fuente de fe que se reflejó en sus palabras. Todos reconocemos el tremendo reto que encara a esta nación y al mundo, y a usted también.

Quisiera agregar una sola cosa a todo lo que usted nos ha dicho. Es el lamento de los que sufren, en todos lugares y en todas épocas: "Justicia postergada es justicia negada." Y a eso agregaría yo las palabras del Dr. Martin Luther King, las que usted mismo utilizó en su discurso: "La altísima urgencia de 'ahora mismo.'"

Sr. Presidente, usted se ha comprometido a remediar las leyes rotas de inmigración y terminar la política de "enforcement only" (pura represión). También nos prometió una renegociación del Tratado de Libre Comercio (NAFTA), y promover el desarrollo económico de México. ¿PERO CUANTO TIEMPO TENEMOS QUE ESPERAR?

El "cambio" significa que no tenemos que andar por los mismos senderos de antes. La legalización de los indocumentados no puede postergarse. Se están deshaciendo a miles de familias, las mismas familias que constituyen el motor de recuperación económica de la comunidad latina. Pequeños negocios están fracasando y muchas familias están perdiendo sus casas por razón de las leyes descompuestas en materia de inmigración.

Nadie desea más que se acabe el sistema de mano de obra indocumentada que los mismos indocumentados. Es este el sistema que a mi me dejaba desprotegida de la explotación como obrera y sin posibilidades de visitar a mis hijos en México. Con la legalización, podemos tener verificación para empleo y leyes puestas en vigor sin destruir las vidas de las familias y la economí­a de la comunidad latina.

Los temas de seguridad en la frontera y una manera legal y justa por la cual los inmigrantes pueden venir acá para trabajar deben considerarse como parte de la renegociación del TLCAN (NAFTA). Es el TLCAN que ha eliminado a millones de plazos de trabajo en la agricultura en México, con el resultado de que millones de mexicanos hemos abandonado nuestros pueblos para buscar trabajo aquí en el norte para apoyar a sus familias. Una frontera no es solo una línea en la arena, es una relación entre dos países.

Sr. Presidente, hoy le exijo que separe los temas de legalización y verificación a un lado, y de la renegociación de seguridad de la frontera y el TLCAN/NAFTA y entrada de obreros nuevos en el otro. Conviene separar a estos temas, pero no a las familias, y apruebe la legalización y verificación ahora para acabar con la pesadilla.

Y no se olvide, que "justicia postergada es justicia negada."

Sr. Presidente Obama, elementos en el Congreso pretenden insertar por enmienda la verificación electrónica al proyecto de ley de recuperación económica. ¿Está usted dispuesto de conceder otro acto de "enforcement" sin legalización? Le ruego que no acepte tal enmienda.

Es otra muestra más de porque no podemos esperar para una reforma migratoria y porque debe ser parte de la agenda de los primeros 100 días de su administración.

¡Justicia postergada es justicia negada!

by Flor Crisóstomo
January 29, 2009

President Obama, I have observed your wonderful campaign and the strength of your first few days in office. I listened carefully to your inaugural speech and I took note of the foundation of faith reflected in your words. All of us recognize the challenges that face this nation and the world and the challenges you must face.

I would only want to add one thing to all the things you have said. It is the cry of those who suffer everywhere throughout all time. It is this: "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied." And I would add to it the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, the words you yourself used in announcing your candidacy, "The Highest Urgency of Now."

President Obama, you have promised to fix the broken law and end the policy of enforcement only. You have promised to renegotiate NAFTA and promote development in Mexico. HOW LONG MUST WE WAIT ?

"Change" means we do not have to follow the same paths that were followed before. Legalization cannot wait. Families are being torn apart, families which are also the economic engine of the recovery in the Latino community. Small businesses are failing and homes are being foreclosed upon because of broken immigration law.

No one wants to end the system of undocumented labor more than the undocumented. That system left me unprotected from exploitation as a worker and unable to visit my children in Mexico. With legalization, we can also have employment verification and enforcement without destroying the lives of families and the economy of the Latino community.

The issues of border security and a legal and just way for workers to come here to work should be considered as part of a renegotiation of NAFTA. It is NAFTA that destroyed millions of agricultural jobs in Mexico and caused mllions to come here to find work to support their families. A border is not a line in the sand--it is a relationship between countries.

President Obama, today I ask you to separate the issues of legalization and verification on the one hand and NAFTA, border security and new workers on the other. Separate the issues, not the families--and pass legalization and verification now to end the nightmare!

And Remember, Justice delayed is justice denied !

President Obama, the Congress is trying to attach electronic verification on the economic recovery bill. Will you give in to yet another act of enforcement without legalization?

This is another example of why we cannot wait on immigration reform and why it must be on the agenda in the first 100 days.

Justice delayed is justice denied!

[Below is an addendum in English]

President Obama, there are 101 teams seeking out nearly 500,000 people like me who have committed no crime but who have not obeyed an order of deportation because they have no work to go back to to support their families and because they have U.S. citizen family here. Will you stop these 101 teams from destroying our lives? Couldn't they be put to better use in really defending the security of the United States from real criminals?
This is an example of why we have asked that you place a moratorium on raids, deportations and separation of families NOW!


I have been here in this little church for one year. I have spoken with thousands of visitors who came to support me and to learn the truth about the immigration issue. I have spent hours and days in fasting and prayer.

I made this commitment before My God to put in my grain of sand, to do my part to Make America See that 12 million people would not self-deport because of the policies that the U.S. and Mexican governments have adopted which have destroyed the economies of our pueblos. We did not create the system of free trade and undocumented labor whose bitter fruit is the separation of families. We have only tried to survive within it.

I miss my children. Their tears break my heart. Yet I have asked my mother and my children what I should do. They live in a little town that is almost deserted. They like others have no money for school clothes and supplies. I have done this for my people but most of all for them so that they could have the life I didn't have.

My family has told me to continue--until there is some victory for all of us, the light in the darkness, some way out of this terrible situation. So today I ask my God to give me strength and courage to continue. Here I am and here I will stay until this government fixes the broken law.

President Obama, I pray that you see the "Highest Urgency of Now!" I pray you see us and our children in our millions, a nation caught between two nations and that you say with us that "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied!"

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