On Saturday, December 13, a delegation from Chicago which included the Rev. Wilfredo de Jesus, Pastor of New Life Covenant Church, Alderman Billy Ocasio, Chairman of the Chicago City Council Human Relations Committee, Emma Lozano, President of Centro Sin Fronteras, and José E. López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, met with distinguished elected officials and clergy from New York and New Jersey.
The purpose of this meeting, which was hosted by Assemblyman José Rivera at Hostos Community College, was to discuss the campaign to stop the raids, deportations and separation of families due to broken US immigration laws. During this historic gathering, the Chicago delegation presented the model developed by Congressman Luis Gutierrez. The model includes hosting in local churches town hall meetings focused on immigration reform and enlisting US citizens to petition for their undocumented loved ones. These petitions are to be presented to President Elect Barack Obama by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to remind him of his commitment to address the issue of immigration reform within the first 100 days of his administration.
The following prominent clergy, lay leaders and elected officials participated actively in the event: Bishop Dr. Hector Bonano, Bishop D. Timothy Burkett, Rev. Michael Carrion, Rev. Daniel Delgado, Chaplain Ray Fraticelli, Rev. N. J. L’ Heureux Jr., Rev. Ephraim Rivera, Rev. Miguel Rivera, Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera, Rev. Joshua Rodriguez, Bishop Angelo Rosario, and Rev. Gabriel Salguero. Local elected officials included State Assemblyman Peter Rivera, Maria Rodriguez, Representative of Bronx Assemblyman Nelson Castro, and Melissa Mark Viverito, District 8 Councilwoman. Civic leaders included Jasmine Calvasquin, Daniel Figueroa III Esq, Ralph Morales, Charles Orvall, Dion Powell, and Joel Ray Rivera.
An ad-hoc coordinating committee was created to plan a January 10th, 2009 town hall meeting in New York, similar to one carried out in Chicago. Furthermore, the committee will strategize future work.[/lang_en]