Justice for Delayed Amnesty Applicants Introductory Remarks by Brent Wilkes, LULAC National Executive Director

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. My name is Brent Wilkes and I am the National Executive Director of LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens. LULAC is the largest and oldest membership-based civil rights organization for Hispanics in the United States.

I am happy to welcome the many individuals here today who have traveled from all over the United States to come to Washington and join us in demanding justice for the late amnesty class members.

We are here today to ask the President to exercise the authority he already has to process the applications of long term immigrants who were illegally prevented from applying for amnesty by the Immigration and Naturalization Service more than a decade ago.

We are asking the President to right a wrong committed by his predecessorsto keep families togetherto enable long term residents to continue holding their jobs legally and to continue paying taxesin short to do the humane thing that all Americans expect and trust the President to do.

Now there are some in the Justice Department who are counseling the President that his hands are tied by Congress and that he can't move forward without additional legislation. But just the opposite is true. It was the INS of 1986 whose hands were tied. Yet by their own admission, the INS illegally turned away thousands of qualified applicants for amnesty. Surely, the President, as commander in chief, can provide a remedy to people the INS illegally turned away from applying for amnesty. There exists no law in Congress that prevents the executive branch from correcting the illegal actions of its agencies.

We call on our Congressional friends to let the President know that the ball is in his court. Let him know that he needs to take action. Let him know that it is an administrative problem, not a legislative problem. Let him know that you expect him to stand up and do the right thing.

The clock is ticking. Jobs are being lost. People are being deported. Families are being split apart. And the lives of many hard working immigrant families who have played by the rules and done all that we could have asked them to do now hang in the balance.

I would now like to turn the microphone over to......

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