Local man driven to make a difference

By YVETTE OROZCO
Updated: 03.28.10

At first, Roland Hernandez was just looking for a way to help people like his father.

Now, he wants to challenge a system.

As immigration reform continues to play a contentious and complex role in the national debate, native-born Texan and current Southeast Houston resident Hernandez has entered his name into that debate by writing his own proposal on immigration reform, one he hopes can encompass senior care, education, unemployment while driving the economy.

Hernandez?s father, a World War II veteran who suffered from Alzheimer?s, died two weeks ago. According to Hernandez, his father also suffered from inferior care in the several nursing homes to which he was admitted.

?I was just looking for a way to help seniors like my father,? Hernandez said. ?Through church ministry, I work with a lot of seniors and vets and have seen with my own eyes how they are suffering. The cost of living has passed them up completely and their struggling to survive.?

Immigration and senior care were not obvious parallels, but for Hernandez the two issues sparked an idea.

?I saw a solution to be able to create revenue through immigration reform,? he said.

The central key to the USA Work Visa Bill is to record an accurate census of undocumented workers in the United States and provide them a work visa. By doing so, Hernandez believes the economy will benefit, which in turn would improve health care for low-income elderly and disabled veterans, provide funding for understaffed senior facilities, create jobs, lower taxes, provide funding for low interest home mortgages, provide pay increase for teachers and law enforcement.

?All these things began to fall into place,? Hernandez said.

While he admits his mission is a tall order, Hernandez has worked on his proposal for the last two years and has thought through each key component and how it trickles down to the next.

Hernandez said he wants to drive his message, not by partisan rhetoric or by inciting more division on immigration, but by the stated purpose of wanting to help those in need. But getting his voice heard and his proposal read, has been an obstacle.

Hernandez has called several state and national representatives and the few times he has managed to get through to representative mouthpieces, he has encountered only polite, but non-committal reinforcement.

?I don?t have the political clout and I?m not part of the political game, so I have my work cut out for me,? he said of securing mainstream political traction.

Like anyone trying to create a movement, Hernandez has come across several brick walls, but he has established a grass-roots core of bi-partisan supporters through his website, which lays out the USA Work Visa Bill and details how it will work in action.

?I?m finding a lot of enthusiasm in young people,? he said. ?I think older people tend to be set in their ways, but these young people want change and want to be involved.?

The obstacles remain, but with his own non-profit organization, Citizens for Saving America, Hernandez isn?t planning on backing out, or letting go of his desire to try and affect change in his community on a large-scale. Part of his passion is fueled by his frustration with inaction.

?I?m just someone who wants to make change, who wants to make a difference,? he said. ?I see complacency in this country and people don?t want to move. People are not standing up. This is just about doing something to better people?s lives. All they see right now in Washington is a blame game. I want to touch the hearts of the American people because they?re losing hope.?

Source: The Pasadena Citizen “Local Man Driven To Make A Difference”