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July 06, 2005

The Center for Continuous Family Improvement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2005
Contact: Melinda Lewis, 913-677-0100 x.119, mlewis@elcentroinc.com

Agency Celebrates Victory for Immigrant Students
El Centro, Inc. Celebrates Dismissal of Lawsuit Challenging HB2145

Kansas City, KS--El Centro, Inc., one of the driving forces behind the legislative and organizing effort that resulted in the passage of HB2145 in Kansas, celebrates today’s decision by Judge Richard Rogers to dismiss the legal challenge to it. “We were saddened and outraged by the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s mean-spirited, baseless attack on Kansas kids, and we are heartened by the court’s sound decision that FAIR does not have standing to bring suit just because they disagree with a policy of the Kansas Legislature,” declared Ian Bautista, President/CEO of El Centro, Inc. “While we celebrate most enthusiastically for the immigrant students whose dreams would have been dashed with an adverse decision, all Kansans should claim today’s ruling as a victory,” Bautista explained. “Our entire state will be more prosperous, our schools more successful, and our future more secure as a greater percentage of Kansas young people pursue and attain college degrees as a result of this forward-thinking legislation.”

“The plaintiffs in this case had a fundamental problem, even greater than their far-fetched claims that HB2145 would interfere with international trade or that Admissions Directors are committing felonies by enticing ‘aliens’ to the U.S. Their biggest problem was that they are simply not negatively affected at all by HB2145 and, therefore, do not have recourse through the courts,” explained Melinda Lewis, Director of Policy Advocacy and Research. “We are confident that, in the inevitable appeal process, this decision will be upheld. In the meantime, we will continue our work educating parents, students, and educators at both the secondary and post-secondary levels about HB2145, its requirements, and strategies to make sure that all Kansas high school graduates succeed in college and in the workplace.”

“Our next step is to pass the DREAM Act in Congress, to ensure that all of these young people can work in their chosen careers upon graduating from college and that every child in the nation, not just those lucky enough to be Kansans, have a chance to realize their dreams. This takes us one step closer to that goal, and we are more committed than ever to reaching it,” vowed Bautista.

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About El Centro, Inc.; El Centro, Inc. was founded in Wyandotte County in 1976, with the purpose of creating and sustaining educational, social and economic opportunities for families. Today, the agency's 10 locations comprise a strong, diverse, entrepreneurial, asset-building social enterprise that works to improve the lives of families in Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in Kansas. El Centro seeks to improve the quality of life of those in need by providing programs and services in the areas of education and literacy, employment, housing, advocacy, community outreach, and referrals. El Centro creates an environment where families can develop their skills, establish realistic plans and make progress towards the attainment of their goals. El Centro is a United Way agency, a member of the NeighborWorks® network and an affiliate of the National Council of La Raza.

El Centro, Inc. 650 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66101 www.ElCentroInc.com (913) 677-0100 Mlewis@ElCentroInc.com

Posted by VisaLawyer at July 6, 2005 12:46 PM

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