On Monday, February 17th, we as a country will celebrate President’s Day. The day was created to commemorate the birthday of our first U.S. President, George Washington, as well as to honor the office of the Presidency.
STATE OF THE UNION
In President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 28th, he spoke briefly but strongly about his plans for immigration reform. Tying it into economic growth, he acknowledged the urgency and need expressed by business, faith, law enforcement, and labor leaders across the country and issued a call to action to “fix our broken immigration system.” President Obama also mentioned that the Senate has already acted on this issue, and continued “I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same.” In closing, he said, “When people come here to fulfill their dreams—to study, invent, contribute to our culture—they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody. So let’s get immigration reform done this year…. It’s time.”
OBAMA HALTS DEPORTATIONS
President Barack Obama utilized his executive powers as President of the United States to halt the deportations of undocumented immigrants who haven’t broken the law and who were either children when they came to America or are adults caring for children. President Obama also wants to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. who are relatives of U.S. military personnel. Since Congress is taking a long time to act on immigration reform, the President made the decision to sidestep them with these new plans.
NEW APP PROMOTES IMMIGRATION REFORM
FWD.us, an advocacy group created by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and entrepreneur Joe Green, is focused on lobbying Congress for immigration reform. In November, the organization hosted a hack-a-thon with DREAMers to create applications to support their cause. The app that won for “Best Advocacy” was Push4Reform. Launched in late-January, Push4Reform collects information about members of Congress and where they stand when it comes to immigration reform. App users just type in their zip code and they have access to whether their senators and representatives support or are against specific reforms, what they have said publicly on the topic, and how app users can connect with them and encourage them to take action.
TWO WOMEN TO WATCH
Esther Olavarria and Rebecca Tallent are the two women who may be the keys to moving along immigration reform in the government. Olavarria, a Democrat, currently holds a position in the White House and used to work as Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s top immigration lawyer. Tallent, a Republican, is a top policy aide to House Speaker John A. Boehner and used to work as Senator John McCain’s chief of staff. The two women worked together about ten years ago on immigration overhauls that hoped to secure the border, grant legal status to immigrants, and offer opportunities for legal workers. They have a huge wealth of knowledge and experience working well together to come to strong bipartisan solutions. Keep your eyes on these women in the coming months.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office!
Susan W. Scheer and Staff