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Published: Friday, 6/29/2007

Hispanic leaders: Senate inaction on immigration colossal failure, implore House


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A bipartisan group representing more than 5,000 Hispanic officials called the Senate's decision to drop an immigration bill Thursday a colossal failure and urged the House to step in.

John Bueno, president of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, promised to keep fighting for an immigration law that would provide security for the nation while resolving the status of roughly 12 million illegal immigrants.

"We now call on the U.S. House of Representatives and the White House to take on this issue and finish the job that the Senate did not," Bueno said.

Incoming NALEO President Adolfo Carrion Jr., the president of New York City's Bronx borough, acknowledged the House in the past also has been unwilling to pass legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

"It's a new House. The history of this House should not be judged by the past," he said, referring to the new Democratic majority. "Whenever there is a vacuum in power, people step up. It's time for the House to step up."

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortes said he was worried the Senate's decision will mean that more local governments will now go forward with ordinances regulating immigration.

"You're going to have people who could live across the street from each other being treated completely differently because they're in one city or another. That's not how it should be," Cortes said.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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