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Senator Durbin’s Office: First-Ever Hearing on DREAM Act Tomorrow

27 Jun

DREAMers are back and they’re stronger than ever! Senator Durbin (D-IL) has announced the “first-ever hearing on the DREAM Act” happening tomorrow at 10am ET.  Watch it live here!

On his website:

Senator Durbin (D-IL)

“DURBIN ANNOUNCES FIRST-EVER SENATE HEARING ON THE DREAM ACT

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today that he will chair the first-ever Senate hearing on the DREAM Act next Tuesday, June 28th, at 10:00 am ET. The hearing will be in room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building.

“I’ve been working on the DREAM Act for over ten years,” Durbin said. “In that time, it’s been reported out of committee by a large bipartisan margin, passed the House of Representatives, and received a bipartisan majority vote in the Senate, only to fall because of a filibuster. I’ll convene the first-ever Senate hearing on this bill next week to discuss how the DREAM Act will make our country stronger by giving undocumented students a chance to earn legal status if they came here as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and complete two years of college or military service in good standing.”

Durbin will chair the hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. The hearing will be webcast live on the Judiciary committee’s website.

The following witnesses will testify: Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano; Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan; Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Dr. Clifford Stanley; DREAM Student, Ola Kaso; Lt. Colonel (retired) Margaret Stock; and Director of Research for the Center for Immigration Studies, Steven Camarota. “

Will this lead to fresh discussion or continued frustration? What has to happen for “progress” in favor of DREAMers? How can we define progress?

Senators Demand More National Guard Troops on US-Mexico Border

1 Jun

by Regina Cantu @ Matt.org

Nearly one year ago, under pressure from congressional Republicans and border state governors to do more to curtail unauthorized immigration, Obama authorized the use of troops to assist the Border Patrol with immigration enforcement operations in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Tennessee National Guardsmen monitor the Mexican border near Sasabe, Ariz., in March 2007. The governors of Texas and Arizona say they need more troops to help protect the border.

So far, more than 524 troops have been active in Arizona, 250 in Texas, 224 in California and 72 in New Mexico, officials have said. More than 100 additional troops from the border states serve in command and control positions. Funding for the border security mission approved by Congress expires this month, but frustrated lawmakers are demanding further action to stop the spread of violence and drug trafficking that has spilled across the border into their states.

In a letter to Obama last month, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer urged the administration to extend the Guard deployment, saying she believes it has had a significant impact on reducing smuggling activity and border violence.

The support the Arizona National Guard has provided has been very valuable to law enforcement efforts in Arizona,” Brewer said. “Further, I believe evidence is clear that the Arizona National Guard has approached the mission with cost effectiveness in mind.

Brewer said the guard has been involved in approximately 19,000 surveillance operations, 10,000 apprehensions of illegal migrants and 235 seizures of drug shipments, including over 18 tons of marijuana. Other border state lawmakers have been more emotional in their appeal.

McCain accused Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona, of turning a blind eye to the impacts of illegal immigration along the border.

If you’ll indulge me, we think we have another crisis on the border,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at a hearing this week. “I want to know about whether you’re going to send the Guard to the border or not.”

When she tried to explain other DHS improvements along the border, McCain cut her off.

People’s homes are being violated, and their families can’t take kids to the bus stop,” the senator fumed. “And you are very familiar with the issue, because you yourself asked for the Guard to go to the border back in 2006.”

While the guardsmen cannot directly engage in law enforcement on U.S. soil, they have served as criminal analysts and on so-called entry identification teams, which help spot illegal border crossers.

Speaking at the White House on Wednesday with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Obama said the U.S. is committed to standing with Mexico against the drug cartels.

As your partner, we’ll give you the support you need to prevail,” he said, adding that through increased law enforcement on the U.S. side of the border, “we’re putting unprecedented pressure on those who traffic in drugs, guns and people.

Hilary Clinton Takes Latin America off Back Burner

24 May

By Tina Kosikowski @ MATT.org

In the past month, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has taken Latin America off the back burner and back into the spotlight through a series of speeches and engagements intended to mend relations with a region not prioritized by Washington D.C. and policy makers.

Image courtesy of: New York Times

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton with the presidents from Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, left, from Chile, Sebastian Pinera, second right, and Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, during the investiture ceremony of the new Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in Brasília in January. COURTESY OF: Fernando Bizerra Jr/European Pressphoto Agency

Following President Obama’s recent trip to Latin America, Secretary Clinton has spoken repeatedly on behalf of inter-american relations and Mexican-American leadership. She addressed the Council of the Americas at Washington’s Conference of the Americas, hosted a dinner attended by the former presidents of  Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Panama and El Salvador, and has even promoted educational exchange in the Americas through the initiative called One Hundred Thousand Strong in the Americas.

Commentary on the Washington Conference of the Americas states,

“’There is power in our proximity,’ said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her address to the Washington Conference. The secretary referred not just to geography, but also integrated economies, shared values in terms of democracy and human rights, and common culture across the Americas. She noted that, as the United States seeks to rebuild its own economy, it looks to its partners in the region. ‘For our security and strategic interests, we have to design an architecture of cooperation, and we are looking more and more to increasingly capable partners in the hemisphere,’ she said.”

Hear Secretary Clinton’s remarks for yourself. Is this genuine interest in inter-american relations or timely strategy in light of the upcoming elections? Get informed, decide for yourself.

Listen to remarks about President Obama’s trip by Dan Restrepo.

Obama utilizá escándalo de su nacimiento para anunciar su campaña de reelección.

23 May

By Dori Marquez    @Matt.org

“Made in the USA” es el texto estampado que pusieron los encargados de la campaña en camisetas y  en tazas aparte agregaron el certificado de nacimiento del presidente a cambio de una donación de 30 dólares.

Todo esto surgió cuando algunos republicanos mencionaron la posibilidad que Obama hubiera nacido en Kenia, lugar de nacimiento de su padre, en vez de Hawaii.

 Despúes de varios rumores el presidente Obama ignoró las acusaciones hasta que el magnate inmobiliario Donald Trump convirtió el asunto en eje de su campaña para decidir si desafiaba al presidente en 2012. La constitución de ese país requiere que el presidente de EE.UU haya nacido en el país.

Gran cantidad de estadounidenses expresó dudas sobre el lugar de nacimiento de Obama , el presidente dio a conocer el mes pasado una versión de su certificado de nacimiento , en el cual donde confirma que nación en el Hospital de Honolulu en 1961.

El asunto terminó  y ya todo quedo aclarado tiempo después, Trump anunció esta semana que no competiría por la nominación republicana para 2012.

Julianna Smoot subdirectora de la campaña de Obama: “Si los hechos no pueden acabar con esta ridícula difamación, podemos al menos divertirnos un poco con ellos”, confirmó  en un correo electrónico a sus partidarios.

Foto: Cortesía de barackobama.com

President Obama Primes Senate Floor Re-introduction of DREAM Act

13 May

by Regina Cantu @ Matt.org

No sooner did President Obama finish his speech in Texas on Tuesday, announcing his backing of a complete immigration overhaul, did Democrats Sen. Richard Durbin reintroduced the following day the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, and Majority Whip Richard Durbin and 30 others of their colleagues have signed on to support the bill, which failed in Congress last year.

The Dream Act would grant legal status to undocumented immigrants who entered the United States prior to their 16th birthday provided they attend college or serve in the military, and meet various other conditions. According to the Immigration Policy Center, about 65,000 undocumented students brought to the U.S. by their parents as very young children, graduate from high school each year and face a bleak future because of their status.

A study released last year by the Migration Policy Instituteindicates that the DREAM Act could benefit up to 2.1 million undocumented youth, even though only about 825,000 would gain permanent legal status.

Unfortunately, Republicans are largely against the Dream Act. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said he sympathizes with these children. [However,] “[t]he DREAM Act doesn’t solve our illegally immigration problem, it exacerbates it. Amnesty will encourage millions more parents to bring their children to the U.S. illegally.

Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition welcomed the move, but pointed out that the bill faces a slim chance in the current Congress and said the President should use the authority of his office to protect young undocumented immigrants.

In the meantime, given the legislative reality, we call on the President to use his executive authority to grant deferred action to young people who would be eligible for the DREAM Act—which would allow these young people to come out of the shadows to live and work without the threat of deportation until Congress passes the DREAM Act.”

The Immigration Policy Center released a statement with a similar message.

“If Congress fails to act, the Administration can and should take more decisive steps to ensure that the values driving their legislative agenda are reflected in their implementation and interpretation of current law. DHS should ensure that its officers use their prosecutorial discretion to defer the removal of any eligible student caught up in the broken immigration system.”

In his immigration speech on Tuesday in El Paso, even though he called on Congress to pass the DREAM Act, President Obama explicitly said he would not use his executive powers to stop deportations. He denounced the current situation which he terms “cruel” and said “makes no sense.” As President Obama put it:

“So we’re going to keep fighting for the DREAM Act. We’re going to keep up the fight for reform. And that’s where you come in. I’m going to do my part to lead a constructive and civil debate on these issues…We’ve got leaders here and around the country helping to move the debate forward. But this change ultimately has to be driven by you, the American people. You’ve got to help push for comprehensive reform, and you’ve got to identify what steps we can take right now, like the DREAM Act, like visa reform, areas where we can find common ground among Democrats and Republicans and begin to fix what’s broken.a comprehensive plan for modify the immigration laws and to strengthen border security.”

It’s been 10 years since the bill was first introduced by Sen. Durbin. Last fall, despite President Obama’s strong support, the DREAM Act passed the House but failed to attract the 60 votes needed to end a Senate filibuster.

Obama to visit El Paso on May 10th

9 May

by Regina Cantu @ Matt.org

President Obama will be in Texas tomorrow. He’s scheduled to first stop in El Paso to deliver a speech focusing on immigration – a conversation that almost always brings about confrontation. So far, Obama’s argument has been directed at those who care about this issue, saying they need to increase the pressure they place on Congress to act.

Obama’s trip to Texas comes after three weeks of White House gatherings to get input from mayors, lawmakers and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Immigration advocates say the president has laid the groundwork for reform, which would lead to more secure borders.

But while many activists blame the White House for not making the issue more of a priority, members of both parties oppose Mr. Obama’s proposed measures to create a path to citizenship for some people who entered the country illegally, saying it would reward law-breaking. Republicans criticize Obama’s overture about tackling the longstanding problem.They insist not enough has been done to secure the border with Mexico. For instance, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said that, until the border with Mexico is secure and free of violence, immigration reform cannot occur and should not be a priority.

In response, the White House says it has put more “boots on the ground” along the southwest border than ever before and has cracked down on employers who hire undocumented workers. Obama administration officials contend the U.S.-Mexico border is more secure than at any time in history, despite the raging war being waged by narcotics cartels just across the Rio Grande.

The Border Patrol has increased to 20,700 agents, more than double the number of agents in 2004. As a result, the administration deported a record number of illegal immigrants last year, a point that has angered many Latinos. Federal officials say deportations of illegal immigrants hit a record 392,000 in fiscal year 2010.

Some advocates of an immigration bill aren’t on board the White House’s new push. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D., Ill.) said Friday that he won’t raise expectation in the Latino community that immigration legislation will pass when it won’t.

The moment to use pressure is gone,” he said. “I’m not going to be disingenuous with the public…It’s not going to happen.”

Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), who opposes Mr. Obama’s stance on legislation, also saw no signs of movement in Congress. “President Obama’s push to legalize millions of illegal immigrants is purely political,” he said. “The president wasn’t able to pass his version of immigration reform when he had large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate because of bipartisan opposition. It is unlikely he will succeed anytime soon.”

Our hope is that the president will move forward with a broad agenda to stop deportations and enable law-abiding people to become citizens. The number of illegal immigrants in the country is estimated at 11 million by the Pew Hispanic Center. In Texas, the roughly 1.6 million unauthorized resident immigrants represent about 6.5 percent of the state’s population.

And while there are countless initiatives on how immigrants should be dealt with, the solutions thesemlves are more elusive. Let’s hope the president makes substantial contributions to the debate–and more importantly, upcoming legislative action–in El Paso.

Aumentan medidas de seguridad en EE.UU tras la muerte de Bin Laden

2 May

By Doris Marquez   @Matt.org

Hoy  lunes las medidas de seguridad  aumentaron debido a la muerte de Osama bin Laden.  Janet Napolitano, dijo que no hay planes para aumentar el nivel de alerta terrorista después de conocerse la noticia.

Napolitano  también mencionó que sólo se emitirán alertas elevadas por terrorismo cuando el gobierno tenga la información específica, necesaria y creíble que pueda compartir con la ciudadanía estadounidense.

La secretaria de Seguridad Nacional añadió  que Estados Unidos se mantiene en un estado de vigilancia, y que la nación es ahora más segura de lo que fue en el 11 de septiembre de 2001.

A partir de hoy aumentaron las medidas de seguridad en varias de las ciudades de Estados Unidos ante el temor de posibles ataques de venganza, incluido el  de metro de Nueva York,  los aeropuertos que atienden a su zona metropolitana, los puentes y el lugar del Centro de Comercio Mundial , entre otros más.

La Autoridad Portuaria de Nueva York y Nueva Jersey dijo que añadirá más policías en las instalaciones que administra, que incluyen los aeropuertos, el puente George Washington y la llamada Zona Cero, donde se alzaban las torres gemelas y actualmente se construye la llamada Torre de la Libertad.

La Autoridad de Portuaria de NY y de Nueva Jersey mencionó “Esta respuesta no se basa en una amenaza actual, sino por una abundancia de precaución hasta que tengamos la oportunidad de saber más”.
En el ataque que sucedió  en el  11 de Septiembre del 2001, murieron ochenta y cuatro empleados de esta agencia.

Ray Kelly , comisario de la Policía de NY envió un mensaje a todos los comandos de la Policía para recordarles que, si bien no hay información que indique una amenaza específica a la ciudad más grande del país, los oficiales deben permanecer alertas.

El director de la comisión de Seguridad Nacional de la Cámara de Representantes dijo que Estados Unidos debe moderar la victoria con vigilancia, a raíz del asesinato de bin Laden.

Peter King, congresista comentó en el  programa “Today” de la NBC que la organización terrorista al-Qaida  podría “tratar de vengar esta muerte” y agregó: “vamos a tener que estar en alerta máxima”.

También dijo que habrá vigilancia del gobierno “las 24 horas” para determinar si al-Qaida está planeando u organizando un ataque como represalia. Dijo que las agencias federales intentarán averiguar si un ataque es posible o inminente, y “cómo podemos prevenirlo.”

Esperemos que después de todo esto ya logremos estar en paz.

Foto : Cortesía de cartoon-photocollectionblogspot.com