AV leaders to Congress: Get back to work on immigration reform!

Palmdale business owner Roxana Martinez

Palmdale business owner Roxana Martinez was one of several local business leaders who united at a press conference Monday to urge House members to put immigration reform with a path to citizenship at the top of their agenda for action this session.

PALMDALE – Local business leaders are joining business, labor, and community groups across the state in sending this unified message to Congress: Get back to work on comprehensive immigration reform!

“We saw both our Lancaster and Palmdale City Councils pass resolutions urging Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, so the time is now,” said former Palmdale Chamber of Commerce President Sandy Corrales-Eneix. “Today, on the first day that Congress is back from its summer recess, we ask Congressman McKeon and McCarthy in particular… to get back to work and make sure that immigration reform is a priority.”

At a press conference Monday, a diverse group of business and community leaders spoke about how comprehensive immigration reform would impact the Antelope Valley.

Ramon Alcan holds up a sign, which reads “This business supports immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.” The group is urging local business owners to display the signs in their store windows.

Ramon Alcan holds up a sign, which reads “This business supports immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.” The group is urging local business owners to display the signs in their store windows.

Xavier Flores, President of the Antelope Valley Chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), cited a recent Department of Justice report that concluded in part that Latinos were racially profiled by local law enforcement and received a disproportionate amount of “contempt of cop” arrests (read more on the DOJ report here). Flores said comprehensive immigration reform would likely relieve many of the anxieties suffered by the local undocumented immigrant population.

“Our community is walking the streets in fear,” Flores said. “We’re afraid that our parents are going to be taken, we’re afraid that our cars are going to be confiscated, and we’re going to be left without transportation.”

If current legislation is passed creating a path to legalization for 11 million undocumented immigrants, there will be millions of new homeowners, said Marco Henriquez, President of the Antelope Valley Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

“Studies show that about three million of those immigrants will become homeowners in the next five years,” Henriquez said. “We’re looking at income of about $25 billion in mortgage origination income, $28 billion in real estate transactions, more than $500 billion in new mortgages, and an average of $180 billion in homeownership-related consumer spending.”

Comprehensive immigration reform would also yield many new local business owners, other speakers said.

“[Undocumented immigrants] want to start a business, they want to create jobs, they want to better their community just as we are doing now,” said Roxana Martinez, who owns Lucky Roxy’s Café in Palmdale.

“The sad part is that because they are undocumented, they lack the opportunity… I just see that as a really unfortunate situation because there are so many empty buildings here. There’s so much potential in the Valley,” Martinez said.

Cesar Miguel Vega Magallon spoke on behalf of the Antelope Valley Dream Team, a local group of undocumented students, workers and allies.

Cesar Miguel Vega Magallon spoke on behalf of the Antelope Valley Dream Team, a local group of undocumented students, workers and allies.

“My parents have never missed a day of work since they came to this country 20 years ago, and I think it’s time for Congress to get back to work,” said Cesar Miguel Vega Magallon, of the Antelope Valley Dream Team, a local group of undocumented students, workers and allies.

“The business community stands behind us, the religious community stands behind us, all we need is a vote on citizenship and we need one now,” Magallon continued.

“Congress, what are you waiting for? Let’s get back to work, help our economy, let skilled workers into America, bring 11 million people out of the shadows, and pass this comprehensive immigration reform bill,” said Lee Rogers, Democratic candidate for Congress in California’s 25th district.

Monday’s press conference, which took place at Poncitlan Square in Palmdale, was one of 11 events across the state calling on House members to put immigration reform with a path to citizenship at the top of their agenda for action this session.  Other speakers at the press conference included Antonio Bernabe of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Marv Wilk of Greater Valley Immigration, Citizenship and Education Services, Oscar Valladares of SEIU Local 721, and Ramon Alcan of the California Table for Immigration Reform.

The group is urging Antelope Valley business owners to sign a petition addressed to Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon that emphasizes the economic importance of immigration reform and urges the congressman to vote on a pathway to citizenship.  Fixing our broken immigration system will reduce federal deficits by about $200 billion over the next 10 years, and about $700 billion in the second decade, states the petition, which cites statistics from the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO). View the petition here.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story included an additional comment from Xavier Flores, which was removed because the statistics were inaccurate.

Previous related stories:

Palmdale supports immigration reform

Local activists rally for immigrant rights

  26 comments for “AV leaders to Congress: Get back to work on immigration reform!

  1. iveseenitall
    September 11, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Why do they claim the immigration system is broken. There’s nothing wrong with ir. It just doesn’t have any exemptions if you got here illegally! Thats their problem. These illegals have caused great havoc in America. Ever walk into an E.R.? How about the school problem? The classes are so over bloated and now we have to DUMB it down because of ENGLISH learners. How many BILLIONS did just these 2 problems waste?

    We seriously need to remove ALL illegals but not place the forever ban on them from returning legally. (I’m not heartless)

    We seriously need to change the ammendment that gives a baby citizenship bcuz it was born here. If you do not have a child born to at least 1 U.S. Citizen, you should not become an automatic citizen. That will stop thousands of moms running for the border to drop their kids on American soil so its harder to deport the family.

    We all understand why latinos come here! If one of us were born in a [removed] country, we would try to come here too for a better life. But I, as an American, shouldn’t have your burden thrusted upon me or my children.

    • Adios
      September 14, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      Your right why do we allow the burden to be placed on us! California alone spends over $15 BILLION dollars a year on the problems of illegal aliens or illegal criminals.

      Time and time again I have witnessed the havoc as you wrote. I find it totally repulsive that the 14th, 15th and 16th Amendment which was written for the newly freed slaves is being abused. These corrections to our foundation were never intended to be used in this in this manner to protect illegal criminals.

      Exactly what they are….GET REAL AND WAKE UP….If I broke a law I pay the price and I have broken a few because I am not perfect but never committed a felony. Entering this country illegally is a felony….PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

      A friend who works in a school cafeteria and her husband is in law enforcement is upset to the point of quitting. She sees this anchor kids with their free meal passes and they act like this is owed to them. The real kick in her A$$ was when she went to her dentist and a root canal and crown she was billed $800.00, the billing department said too bad you are not illegal the state would have picked up that bill.

      I grew up in Lancaster and enlisted in the military in Lancaster and now after receiving my honorable discharged I reside in Phoenix. I did not serve my country and take an oath to protect 15 million illegal criminals who refuse to speak English, refuse to try and adapt into our society, and refuse to enter this country the legal way like my wife did. Yes my wife is a legal alien or a Naturalized citizen who has a MSEE and holds a TS. She WRITES, READS and speaks ENGLISH!

  2. jason zink
    September 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Any immigration reform needs to have added protection for citizens by only letting children be US citizens if both partents are US citizens or in the legal process of being one period. Birthing rights were done for people in the begining of this country for special reasons, things have changed in 200 plus years. Now illegals are using the system and taking advatage of out dated laws. Its not right. And illegals have taken many jobs from my family and neighbors that’s a fact and they suffered from it.

  3. [removed]
    September 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I work with a bunch of Mexicans. My mother was born here in The USA! My father was born in Mexico! I was born here in The USA! The guys I work with treat me different because I wasn’t born in Mexico. These people want our help to keep them here in The United States! I say NO! They take our jobs! They fly their Mexico flag with no respect for The American flag! Like I said, I work with a bunch of them and they have no respect for being here in The USA!
    I do work with a few that are very proud to be here in The USA! Those are the guys that I have respect for!
    I have worked with a bunch that have a rule in their house….”No English in their house”

  4. Mr. Mister
    September 11, 2013 at 11:31 am

    People would not migrate here if opportunities weren’t being presented. How many independent contractors pick up people waiting outside of Home Depot as help for the day in lieu of hiring a US citizen because labor is cheaper? How many Americans pay for their lawn to be mowed for half of what an American charges? How many family-owned restaurants hire help in the kitchen below minimum wage instead of Americans that they would have to pay a fair wage? The problem is providing the opportunity. If you build it (offer it), they will come. Illegal immigrants have good work ethics, get the job done fast and efficeint, and will do it for less. So why not hire them, right? This notion that it is all on the illegals is insane. Americans are always looking to save where they can, and you should. Don’t complain about illegals taking away work, when the work is being hand delivered. They certainly aren’t prowling around door-to-door, business-to-business looking to see if something can be done for you. Instead we find them, offer them at least 25% less than the going rate for any given task, and then say, yeah those darn illegals are such a problem. Immigration reform should be passed, to give people an opportunity to do it right. If you have read the proposed bill at all, you will know that after 10 years of a probational period, which includes…paying fees/back taxes, possible jail time, no gov’t services, paying into social security but being ineligible to receive it, etc. Then they will be able to apply for citizenship after a full ten years. After their application is submitted, it can take up to another 3 years before a decision is made to grant citizenship or not. I’d imagine passage of this bill would actually send a lot of people back to their country of origin because this pathway to citizenship seems terrible, granted it is a path, but not an easy one. Read the bill, it certainly is not amnesty like it’s being spun to be.

  5. CutItOut
    September 11, 2013 at 10:22 am

    The Antelope Valley is a Huge plantation and everyone wants to be the master….. Law is Law, follow it. It’s simple. U.S. Citizens that dont follow the law wind up in prisons, but yo want us to allow illegals that dont follow the law the opportunity to live well and be free. Sure why not?

  6. Adios
    September 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    I have heard this same ignorant excuse over and over again about the illegals coming from South of the border to The United States of America to make a better living for themselves. Then I am told I am a racist and my views are going against the teachings of the Bible because I want them out and the borders closed.

    Make it perfectly clear I am all for a guest worker program. That is legal and I can accept that. Although I think people serving time in prison should be put to work rather it be in the fields, painting houses, cleaning the sides of our highways they should be paying back their debt.

    Be aware that the second largest income into Mexico is the money that is earned from these illegal aliens. How much money, well in 2009 it was reported over $20 BILLION United States Dollars. Oil is the number one income for Mexico. That is a lot of money not spent on the economy in the USA, sure the fruit that was picked still makes a profit but what about the portion of that $20B, exactly how does that return to our economy. It is designed to be a full circle, not left half open. Now just to make things a little more awakening, that same year 2009 California and Arizona spent a reported $15 BILLION United States Dollars on education, medical, dental, welfare, and let’s not forget their finer citizens who are in our jails. So does that fruit picker, landscaper, house painter making a better living for themselves really earn just a low wage or is that cost not. I have to wonder also when an illegal commits a crime and then runs, if part of that cost is included in that $15B when the police, sheriff, FBI have to track them down. I am betting not. Now remember that is two of the states and when you include Texas and New Mexico you now will eclipse a cost of $25 BILLION United States Dollars. Close to $50 BILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS between what they ear and what they cost us a year is LOST.
    How many of our children could receive a paid for college education with that loss of $50 BILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS.

    But for all intensive thinking you still think this is wrong. Well how many people are aware that there in not an industry which has it’s roots in the United States of America that is not down in Mexico. Not just the food products you buy at the store, how about that candy bar, parts for your car if not the whole car built in Mexico, agriculture, aerospace, medical, semiconductors, textiles, the list goes on and on. In Arizona some restaurants are getting their food prepped in Mexico and sent up here. From high tech to low tech. Ten’s of thousands of job have gone South of the border and you are worried about the ones who come here.

    How many United States Citizens have lost their job because the company wanted cheaper labor? How many of these men and women served in the military believing in this country only to find themselves without a job so some company could make a larger profit. So your belief says we should disrespect our own to support a criminal who has broken our laws and then demanded we change them. Who are you turning your back on NOW? How is it written in the Bible to deal with a thief or criminal?

  7. Adios!
    September 10, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    What I total fail to understand is why the citizens of the United States of America allow this to happen. Legal United States of America citizens need to come first….PERIOD!

    First understand this, these illegal aliens which I will refer to them as illegal criminals are NOT Doctors, Teachers, Engineers, or even highly skilled workers. THESE PEOPLE ARE THE BURDEN OF MEXICO WHO DOES NOT WANT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THEIR LOWER CLASS PEOPLE. I do not care what color your skin is, if you are legally in this country you belong here. The Border Patrol reports that 20% of the people who cross the Southern border are OTM, Other Than Mexican. That math is simple, 80% are classified as Mexican.

    Second I support a registered guest worker program after all the resources of the United States of America have been totally exhausted. I support using prisoners in the fields for picking fruits and vegetables. Get those people out of their jail cells paying back society for the cost of their crimes.

    A few years back in 2010 I read where the Southern border of the United States is 2,000 miles long. We have 4 states on this border, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

    The article I read stated that between California and Arizona the cost for the illegal criminal problem eclipsed $15 BILLION dollars a year. This is the cost of medical, dental, education and the finer Mexican citizens who are incarcerated. I am not sure if this also included welfare. I also read an article where the state of California was complaining that the Medi-Cal insurance system going broke and half their funds were gone. They paid $500 MILLION dollars for the cost of 100,000 anchor babies born in that state in 2009. And in 1999, ten years before this it was $275 MILLION dollars for the birth of 75,000 anchor babies. Are all these kids growing up to mow our grass, pick our fruit and take the jobs which Legal United States Citizens do not want?

    Back to the 2000 mile long Southern border and the cost of just 2 of those states on that border. Do a little simple math, how many Border Patrol agents could you hire at $60,000.00 a year to secure the border? If my math is correct, that is a lot of zeros we could hire 250,000 Border Patrol agents to build a human fence on the Southern border. Then when you divide 2000 by 250,000 you get a person standing every 42 feet. A mile is 5,280 feet and then multiple that by 2000 then divide the 250,000 in that.

    You think we could stop the flow of criminals, terrorist and drugs with a Border Patrol agent having the manpower to do their job which they currently are over stressed at.

    Now I wrote the cost of just 2 states California and Arizona, when you add New Mexico and Texas that $15 BILLION will easily exceed $25 BILLION DOLLARS. And what about the other 46 states? How much do you think they cost taxpayers in total? My best guess, over $100 BILLION US DOLLARS….

  8. sikntired
    September 10, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Who’s the little guy with the hostile body language?

  9. BOB
    September 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks I’ll be sure to boycott Lucky Roxy’s Café in Palmdale. Follow our laws or go home.

    • sikntired
      September 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm


    • wow!
      September 11, 2013 at 12:43 am

      If that’s how immature (and plain mean) you are then it’s probably good you don’t go there. Someone expresses support for giving a person an opportunity to better themselves and create jobs in the community and you want to boycott their business because of that…don’t get it.

      • Citizen of AV
        September 11, 2013 at 7:25 am

        Really? I guess the Delano Grape Boycott http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delano_grape_strike was immature too.

      • sikntired
        September 11, 2013 at 10:35 am

        Wow, that’s the beauty of this great country, freedom to say what you think and patronize whom you please.
        Those ” persons “could have done it the legal way, as many of our families did, but they chose the illegal way and if she chooses to support them, I choose not to
        patronize her business

      • Letlow
        September 11, 2013 at 11:15 am

        For every 2 or 3 people screaming boycott, Lucky Roxy’s will have 10 to 20 more customers. That’s because many of us commend its owner for taking a stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. I for one am checking out the restaurant now just because of this article. I’ll be sure to tell everyone I know. Lucky Roxy’s, you ROCK!!!!

  10. Michael Rives
    September 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    The first step in any immigration reform in the U.S. is for the illegals to come out of the shadows. I believe they should do so without reprisal. They will become resident aliens and then be given an opportunity to become U.S. citizens at nominal cost and nominal requirements. If they choose to remain illegal, then they are liable to be deported to their country of origin. At the same time, border patrol agents should be given authority to use ‘deadly force’ to protect our coastal borders, our border with Canada, and our border with Mexico.
    The current immigration reform bill by Obama and my fellow Democrats is too laden with the same old, same old. Let’s attack the problem where it lies: illegal aliens.

  11. john Howard
    September 10, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Good thing this press conference was not staged by Lancaster or it’s Council.
    Then every comment would be about the agenda Lancaster has and how it is all just to support Chinese illegals who will come here to have their Anchor Babies and work at BYD.

    EVERYONE is a Hypocrite!

    Palmdale First is a halfassed contrived political Acton Committee set up to provide [removed] a paycheck after she was FIRED from Steve Fox’s office. Probably for supporting an agenda of extended slavery through illegal immigration.

    These people are here illegally. The law is not perfect, but there are in fact millions of people who immigrate here every year legally. Obey the law and stop trying to circumvent the system just because you gathered a bunch of people who support violating it. The vast majority of this group will NEVER amount to anything more than a larger strain on the most impoverished segment of the population. (READ slavery by monetary and educational shackles) The fact that they can’t follow the law as it stands now is evidence that they base their reasoning on an entitled mentality.
    Just because the majority of your group (which is nothing more than a discrete minority of a recognize and protected class) can’t follow the law does not mean that those who do should be punished as if the sum of all in compliance are somehow discriminatory. The sum of those in compliance are in fact members of the protected class..

    It’s not RACIST, it’s COMPLIANCE with the LAW. A law that already has a system in place to provide a path to citizenship.

    • ***
      September 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      You must be confused john. It was Rex’s commissionaire, Miguel Coronado, that was fired from Steve Fox’s office. Lasted about a month. If that. And didn’t Lancaster just pass a resolution pretty much saying the same thing these Palmdale officials are saying? As much as I believe in the rule of law, children of undocumented never had the option to follow or not follow the law.

  12. September 10, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I’m only 2nd generation American but what I don’t get is how they think they should get special treatment. My grandfather immigrated to the US from Ireland the right way and never expected any special treatment. He instilled a love for this country in all his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. So, tell me again why these people need special treatment? Send their sorry butts back to wherever they came from. If they can’t respect our laws, and our country, enough to follow the rules to get here then they don’t deserve to be here.

    • Citizen of AV
      September 10, 2013 at 10:44 am

      Don’t get it? If you understand this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconquista_(Mexico) you may understand – not necessarily agree with, but understand – their point.

      • Jay
        September 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm

        You know that not all Latinos are Mexicans right?

  13. yesyou
    September 9, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Yes, the majority of citizens of the USA understand you want to eek out a living here, but so do we. Why not enter our country the right and legal way that all of our relatives did? Why the dead of night border jumping and the anchor babies? The gangbangers and welfare fraud? I need real answers to those things now…. Anybody?

  14. September 9, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Well said Xavier Flores :-)

  15. Xavier Flores
    September 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    In the article titled “AV Leaders to Congress: Get back to work on immigration reform”, I confused the percentage with the actual number of immigrants in Palmdale, it is 26% of the total population or 38,455. There are more immigrants than U.S. born non-Hispanic whites, 36,152, in Palmdale. Lancaster has an immigrant population of 19,127 or 13% of the total pop. Again, I confused the percentage with the total. I hope this helps.

    In any case, the point is that our immigrant population in the AV is huge. What should be done with all of us? We would urge you to treat us the way you would want to be treated. The vast majority of us are hard working, industrious, self-motivated and eager to be productive residents of this Valley. Our youth are top students, we have the same percentage of business owners as U.S. born whites, 15%.

    For those of you who are racist or xenophobic, I firmly believe that you do not comprise the majority of the people living in the AV. The majority understand that we are dignified human beings seeking to eek out a livelihood for our families and will do whatever it takes to ensure a better future for our children, just like you.

    • Letlow
      September 9, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      AMEN!! Eloquently stated.

    • Leave
      September 9, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      Treat you the way we want to be treated? If only that could be true. Then I could get everything free or reduced for being a criminal. Immigration works. Is it perfect? No. I have helped my wife and family members get here legally ( they couldnt just jump a river). Why don’t you quit your whining and do things legally
      I am in a biracial family, but since it is not Latin, you will call me racist. This country is already falling apart and this will just make it worse.

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