PHILADELPHIA, May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr., a key figure in the national immigration debate, issued a call to action after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 to move to the legislation to the Senate floor on Tuesday, May 21, 2013.
Rev. Cortés said, "I urge the Senate to pass this landmark immigration bill as soon as possible. Our immigration system has been broken for far too long. I'm proud that the bill has lived to see another day – but we need legislators who believe in action and are willing to work together to make this bill pass." The bill will move to the Senate floor in June when Congress returns from the Memorial Day recess.
Written by eight U.S. senators, including John McCain (R-AZ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and others, the bill would signify a massive overhaul of the U.S. immigration system, creating a pathway to citizenship for 11.5 million immigrants.
All ten Democrats from the Senate Judiciary Committee, in addition to three Republicans – Senators Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) – approved the bill on the final vote.
Rev. Cortés, who participated on the immigration and general Hispanic advisory committees to both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, is also the founder and president of Esperanza, the premier Hispanic faith-based organization in the nation.
Rev. Cortés stated that it is important for "all Americans, especially the Hispanic community, to get involved in the immigration debate by learning the issues and making their collective and individual voices known to their elected officials."
In three short weeks, Esperanza is hosting its National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference, one of the largest gatherings of Hispanic clergy and community leaders in the nation, in Washington, D.C. The conference, which will be held June 18-20, provides an excellent opportunity for members of the Hispanic community to discuss U.S. immigration policy as well as other pressing issues, such as housing, education, climate change and nutrition.
Invited guests include the President of the United States, Democratic and Republican elected officials, and corporate, academic, and faith leaders from across the nation, among others.
Said Rev. Cortés: "I encourage members of the Hispanic community, and all interested Americans, to join me at the 2013 National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference. We should all be involved in this national debate on the state of our immigration process and the course of our nation's future."
Guests at the conference will have the opportunity to meet members of their Congressional delegation and exchange views on topics ranging from immigration to housing to nutrition.,
"It's imperative that we, as members of the Hispanic clergy put our faith into action by visiting our leaders on Capitol Hill and share with them our concerns, views and hopes for the type of laws and leadership we'd like in our country. Together, we can have a transformative influence on our nation's leadership," he said.
Confirmed speakers for this year's conference include: Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus; TV personality, Myrka Dellanos; Archbishop of San Juan, Dr. Francis Collins; former director of the Human Genome Project. Katherine Hayhoe; Nobel-prize winning climate scientist, Robert Octavio Gonzalez Nieves; radio and TV host, Dr. Diaz Pabon; actor Tony Plana, education activist; Marcos Witt, five-time Latin Grammy Award-winning Christian singer (who will be the moderator for the National Prayer Breakfast), and many others.
Several invitations for speakers are pending including Democratic Party Chairman, Cong. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Past speakers include President Barack Obama; then-President George W. Bush; then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY), and others. The conference will also feature entertainment by multi-award winning gospel singers and musicians. To learn more or to register, visit: esperanzanhpb.com.
Esperanza is also a member of The Evangelical Immigration Table, a group of Christian leaders and pastors who have lobbied for an immigration reform package that includes a pathway to citizenship. Earlier this year, the group launched a radio campaign in four states that ran ads advocating for a "biblical approach" to the issue.