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American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) & Association For Residency and Citizenship of America (ARCA)

December 1, 1998

DEAR FRIEND:

On December 12, 1998, beginning at midnight and ending at noon, many immigrant families in the Houston area will hold a candlelight "FAST FOR JUSTICE" at Guadalupe Plaza (Jensen and Navigation) to seek support for a just solution for late amnesty class members. You are invited to participate in the 12-hour fast, or the Closing Ceremony from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, or just for a few moments at your convenience.

Your presence is important in sending a message to appropriate federal authorities that, as Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, the new Chair of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, stated: "Late amnesty applicants have not been treated fairly. The INS admitted that it wrongfully denied these applicants the opportunity to apply for legalization under the 1986 immigration law. In addition, just as the courts were about to rule in favor of these amnesty applicants, these law-abiding individuals were further persecuted when Section 377 of the 1996 immigration law passed and stripped the courts of their jurisdiction over their cases."

For this reason, 350,000 immigrants nationwide, 20,000 in Houston, are left in "legal limbo." Their work permits are canceled. They can be detained and deported. They are unable to travel to see families in countries of origin. These families, who have resided here for at least 17 years, are experiencing hunger, loss of jobs, evictions and separation from US citizen children.

Houston's Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza declared: "The children of these immigrants, many of whom are US citizens, are the real victims of this cruel and heartless action of our government. Their parents are denied the ability to provide food, clothing and other basic necessities for them. A nation that is committed to "justice for all" is shamed before the world for its lack of human compassion for these children and their parents who only want work to fulfill their obligations to their families...We will not cease to remind our government of its obligation to US citizens who are children of Immigrants."

Help us correct this injustice by joining us at the "FAST FOR JUSTICE." Pledge your commitment to call for an administrative solution for these hardworking immigrants so that these families are protected from deportation, can have their work permits renewed and their applications processed for permanent residency.

Please RSVP at (713)926-2799 by December 10 International Human Rights Day.

Sincerely,

Maria Jimenez &
Maria Salas
AFSC ARCA
6926 Navigation
Houston, Texas 77011

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