Saturday, August 29, 2015

El Paso GOP to defy ban on Constitution giveaway

By Jon Cassidy

The El Paso Republican Party has been told to stop distributing copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence outside of naturalization ceremonies at the city’s Civic Center.

But the local party chairman, Adolpho Telles, said Thursday the group was planning to defy that order and continue handing out the materials this morning.

“It’s the individual that manages the Civic Center that had originally notified us that we would not be allowed,” Telles said. “We distribute them at the end of the ceremony, which is what we’d historically done.”

The manager was acting on instructions from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, Telles said.

Telles received an email from Margaret A. Hartnett, the USCIS El Paso field office director, on Thursday saying she was “happy to hear that you will abide by our policy,” which “requires all non-USCIS participants to not engage in political, commercial, or religious activity of any kind, before, during, or after the ceremony.”

“We are not participants in their ceremony and we never have been,” Telles said, as “participants” are formally defined.

Telles said his members would be outside the civic center in a public area Friday morning, distributing copies of the founding documents.

The welcome for new citizens is a bit of a tradition for his group, Telles said. Usually, one of the members dresses up as Uncle Sam and poses for pictures.

“The reaction from the new citizens is always positive,” he said.

Party members went to the El Paso City Council this week to complain about the attempted prohibition.

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