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A Brand New Day™: Weekly Address. White House Blog Updates.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Peter Welsch
Peter Welsch

February 01, 2014
06:00 AM EST

 

In his weekly address, President Obama discussed the goals he laid out in the State of the Union address to expand opportunity for all so that every American can get ahead and have a shot at creating a better life for their kids.

 

 

 

VIDEO MENSAJE DE LA CASA BLANCA: Temas del Estado de la Unión de 2014

February 01, 2014 | 2:43 |Public Domain

 

En el mensaje de esta semana, la Directora de los Medios Hispanos Katherine Vargas habló sobre los temas del Estado de la Unión del martes. El Presidente presentó un conjunto de propuestas prácticas y concretas para hacer crecer la economía, fortalecer la clase media, y para empoderar a todas las personas que desean ser parte de la clase media.

 

 

 

Weekly Address: Restoring Opportunity for All

WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, the President discussed the goals he laid out in the State of the Union address to expand opportunity for all so that every American can get ahead and have a shot at creating a better life for their kids.

 

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online atwww.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, February 1, 2014.

 

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
February 1, 2014

 

Hi, everybody.

 

This week, I delivered my State of the Union Address. Today, here’s the three-minute version.

 

After four years of economic growth with eight million new private sector jobs, our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in more than five years.  And with the economy speeding up, companies say they intend to hire more people this year.

 

But while those at the top are doing better than ever, average wages have barely budged.  Inequality has deepened.  Too many Americans are working harder and harder just to get by.  And too many still aren’t working at all.

 

Our job is to reverse those trends.  It’s time to restore opportunity for all people – the idea that no matter who you are, if you work hard and live up to your responsibilities, you can make it if you try.

 

The opportunity agenda I laid out on Tuesday has four parts. This week, I took them on the road.

 

Job one is more new jobs: jobs in construction and manufacturing, jobs in innovation and energy.

 

In Wisconsin, I talked with plant workers at GE about part two: training more Americans with the skills to fill those new jobs.

 

In Tennessee, I talked with students about part three: guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education, from early childhood, through college, and right into a career.

 

And with steelworkers in Pittsburgh, and retail workers in Maryland, I laid out part four: making sure hard work pays off for men and women, with wages you can live on, savings you can retire on, and health insurance that’s there for you when you need it.

 

These ideas will strengthen the middle class and help more people work their way into the middle class.  Some of them will require Congress.  But wherever I can take steps to expand opportunity for more families on my own, I will.  I’m going to ask business leaders, education leaders, and philanthropic leaders to partner with us to advance these goals.

 

And every single day, I’m going to fight for these priorities – to shift the odds back in favor of more working and middle-class Americans, and to keep America a place where you can always make it if you try.

 

Thanks.  Have a great weekend.  And enjoy the Super Bowl.

 

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January 31st 2014: Photo of the Day

 

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden provide encouragement to Erick Varela, who was about to introduce the President, prior to an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the Green Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden provide encouragement to Erick Varela, who was about to introduce the President, prior to an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the Green Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

 

White House Schedule – Week Of February 3rd to 6th 2014

 

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On Monday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.

 

On Tuesday, the President will deliver remarks on education. In the evening, the President will host the House Democratic Caucus for a roundtable and reception at the White House. The Vice President will also attend.

 

On Wednesday, the President will deliver remarks at the Senate Democratic Issues Conference.

 

On Thursday, the President will deliver remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. The Vice President and the First Lady will also attend. Later, the President will meet with President Martelly of Haiti at the White House.

 

Details about Friday’s schedule will be released as they become available.

 

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Proud To Be

 

Published on Jan 27, 2014

Watch the #BigGame commercial the NFL would never air. Get involved by contacting the Washington Professional Football Team, the NFL and the Washington Post.

 

 

 

President Obama Gets Asked “How Are You?” in a Google+ Hangout

January 31, 2014 | 4:23 |Public Domain

 

During a virtual road trip on Google+, President Obama answered questions from people joining around the country. Including Rob in Portland who asked, “How are you?” Watch what President Obama had to say.

 

 

 

Press Briefing

January 31, 2014 | 47:43 |Public Domain

 

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

 

 

 

Remarks by the President on Giving the Long-Term Unemployed a Fair Shot

January 31, 2014 | 20:58 |Public Domain

East Room.

 

 

 

West Wing Week 01/31/14 or “West Wing Week Turns 200!”

January 30, 2014 | 6:57 |Public Domain

 

This anniversary episode, hosted by the President, coincides with this year’s State of the Union Address. We’ll take you behind the scenes and on the road to speak directly with Americans like you about your lives and your families, and how together we can make sure that every American who works and studies hard has a real chance to get ahead.

 

 

Friday, January 24th

  • The President participated in pre-State of the Union preparations.

 

Tuesday, January 28th

 

Wednesday, January 29th

  • The President toured the Costco in Lanham, Marylandand spoke on the company’s leadership on employee pay.
  • Later that day, the President toured the US Steel Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania to speak on making hard work pay off for every single American.

 

Thursday, January 30th

  • The President toured the General Electric gas engines factory and discussed the rebounding of the U.S. manufacturing sector in Waukesha, Wisconsin
  • Then, the President delivered a speech on educational opportunity at McGavock High School

 

 

The White House Blog

 

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Kori Schulman
Kori Schulman

January 31, 2014
07:51 PM EST

 

President Barack Obama participates in a virtual road trip across the country via Google+ President Barack Obama participates in a virtual road trip across the country via Google+ Hangouts to discuss the issues and policies that he laid out in the State of the Union address, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. January 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

This afternoon, President Obama traveled (virtually) around the country via Google+ Hangout to answer questions about his State of the Union Address from everyday Americans. Starting on the West Coast and heading East, the President spoke to Sheila in San Francisco about immigration reform; Darnell, a fry cook at a fast-food company in Milwaukee, about raising the minimum wage; and Rob in Portland who simply asked, “how are you?

 

Watch the full video of the Hangout below, or over on YouTube. And be sure to follow the White House on Google+ for more opportunities to engage with the President and his administration.

 

 

 

New Transit Projects Connect Communities to Opportunities

 

Road Trip with President Obama

 

President Obama Extends Best Wishes for the Lunar New Year

 

President Obama Travels the Country to Promote Opportunity for All

 

Mad Men, Working Women, and Fair Pay

 

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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden provide encouragement to Erick Varela, who was about to introduce the President, prior to an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the Green Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden provide encouragement to Erick Varela, who was about to introduce the President, prior to an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the Green Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross; 1820 – March 10, 1913

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President Barack Obama signs a memorandum directing the federal government not to discriminate against those long-term unemployed workers in its own hiring practices

President Barack Obama signs a memorandum directing the federal government not to discriminate against those long-term unemployed workers in its own hiring practices

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Barack Hussein Obama Takes A Seat With “The Leads” Jake Tapper, For CNN.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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CNN Big Moments in January Promo

 

Published on Jan 31, 2014

A promo featuring some highlights from the biggest interviews on CNN in January.

 

 

 

From CNN:

 

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CNN Exclusive: President Obama says he’s not recalibrating ambitions

 

By Jake Tapper and Chelsea J. Carter, CNN

 

Waukesha, Wisconsin (CNN) – Once, Barack Obama spoke of what he wanted for his presidency in terms of healing a nation divided. “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal,” he said.

 

Today, Obama is talking about executive orders and executive actions — with a pen or phone — if a divided Congress won’t or can’t act on an agenda he laid out this week in his State of the Union address.

 

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But in an exclusive interview airing Friday on CNN, the President insists he has not recalibrated his ambitions.

 

“In no way are my expectations diminished or my ambitions diminished. But what is obviously true is we’ve got a divided government right now,” Obama said.

 

“The House Republicans, in particular, have had difficulty rallying around any agenda, much less mine. And in that kind of environment, what I don’t want is the American people to think that the only way for us to make big change is through legislation. We’ve all got to work together to continue to provide an opportunity for the next generation.”

 

Just days after his address to the nation, where he blended hopeful calls for a unified approach with declarations of presidential independence through executive orders, he sounded less than confident that Congress would come around.

 

“I think there are some issues where it’s going to be tough for them to move forward, and I am going to continue to reach out to them and say here are my best ideas, I want to hear yours,” the President said during the interview conducted in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

 

“But, as I said in the State of the Union, I can’t wait. And the American people, more importantly, cannot wait.”

 

Among the actions the President has taken is securing commitments from some of the nation’s largest companies for a plan to boost hiring of the long-term unemployed.

 

“What we have done is to gather together 300 companies, just to start with, including, some of the top 50 companies in the country, companies like Wal-mart, and Apple, Ford and others, to say let’s establish best practices,” Obama said.

 

“Because they’ve been unemployed … so long, folks are looking at that gap in the resume and they’re weeding them out before these folks even get a chance for an interview.”

 

In a wide-ranging interview that touched on everything from security at the Winter Olympics to the legalization of pot, here is what else the President had to say:

 

‘The imperial presidency?’

Since the President announced 12 areas where he would take executive actions — from raising the minimum wage for federal workers to creating a “starter” retirement savings account — that would bypass Congress, he has been under fire from a number of Congressional Republicans.

 

Sen. Ted Cruz described the actions as “the imperial presidency,” and House Republicans have threatened to rein in the President’s use of executive actions.

 

“I don’t think that’s very serious,” Obama said, adding that every president engages in executive actions.

 

CNN Exclusive: Obama’s diminished expectations?

 

Published on Jan 31, 2014

President Barack Obama gives his first interview since the State of the Union to CNN’s Jake Tapper.

 

 

He said his administration has been disciplined, taking such actions sparingly.

 

“We make sure we’re doing it within the authority that we have under the statute,” Obama said. “But I am not going to make an apology for saying that if I can help middle class families and folks who are working hard to try to get in the middle class do a little bit better, then I’m going to do it.”

 

“It’s a tough argument for the other side to make that not only are they willing to not do anything, but they also want me not to do anything.”

 

And that he said would only make the low opinion Americans have of Congress even lower.

 

 

‘Not going to prejudge

The one area where Obama says he believes he can work with Republicans is on the subject of immigration and the path to citizenship, a cornerstone issue for Democrats.

 

Obama: GOP made progress on immigration

 

Published on Jan 31, 2014

President Obama discusses immigration reform in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

 

 

 

The major sticking point between Democrats and Republicans will likely be whether or not the estimated 11 million undocumented workers in this country be given a path to citizenship. Obama refused to say whether he would veto a bill that did not contain such a provision; it is likely that House Republicans would not pass any bill that included a path to citizenship.

 

“I’m not going to prejudge what gets to my desk,” he said.

 

On Thursday, House Republicans released a one-page document that outlined what they called the standards of immigration reform, which calls for legal status, but not citizenship.

 

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“I think the principle that we don’t want two classes of people in America is a principle that a lot of people agree with, not just me and not just Democrats. But I am encouraged by what Speaker (John) Boehner has said,” Obama said.

 

“… I genuinely believe that Speaker Boehner and a number of House Republicans, folks like Paul Ryan, really do want to get a serious immigration reform bill done. And keep in mind that the Senate bill and the legislation that I’ve supported already calls for a very long process of earning citizenship. You had to pay fines. You had to learn English. You had to pay back taxes. And you had to go to the back of the line. And at the end of that, you could get citizenship.”

 

 

The marijuana experiment

When it was pointed out that the President’s remarks to The New Yorker magazine about marijuana — which he described as a bad habit but not any worse for a person than alcohol — contradict the administration’s official policy on marijuana, Obama stood by his views.

 

Exclusive: Obama talks about pot

 

Published on Jan 31, 2014

President Barack Obama talks to CNN’s Jake Tapper about marijuana legalization in an exclusive interview.

 

 

 

The President declined to say whether he would support removing marijuana as a “Schedule One” narcotic, a classification that includes heroin and ecstasy.

 

“I stand by my belief based on the scientific evidence that marijuana for casual users, individual users, is subject to abuse, just like alcohol is and should be treated as a public health problem and challenge,” he said.

 

Obama said his main concern is the criminalization of marijuana use.

 

“My concern is when you end up having very heavy criminal penalties for individual users that have been applied unevenly and, in some cases, with a racial disparity,” he said.

 

“I think that is a problem. We’re going to see what happens in the experiments in Colorado and Washington. The Department of Justice under Eric Holder has said that we are going to continue to enforce federal laws.”

 

At the same time, the President said the federal government doesn’t have the resources to police whether somebody is “smoking a joint on the corner.”

 

Rather, he said, the government was working to make sure that drug traffickers and the spillover of violence from the drug trade are not “creeping out of this experiment that is taking place.”

 

Obama offered what he described as a “cautionary note” for those who see legalization of marijuana as a panacea.

 

“I think they have to ask themselves some tough questions, too. Because if we start having a situation where big corporations with lots of resources and distribution and marketing arms are suddenly going out there, peddling marijuana, then the levels of abuse that may take place are going to be higher,” he said.

 

 

‘Win back confidence’

Obama did not suggest that he was disappointed with National Intelligence Director James Clapper for not being honest in his testimony before Congress last year about the mass surveillance programs that were revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

 

Clapper later justified his untrue answer by saying it was the “least untruthful” one he could give. “Least untruthful” was not exactly a term Obama used on the campaign trail.

 

So did he have concerns about what Clapper said?

 

“I think that Jim Clapper himself would acknowledge, and has acknowledged, that he should have been more careful about how he responded,” Obama said.

 

“His concern was that he had a classified program that he couldn’t talk about, and he was in an open hearing in which he was asked, he was prompted to disclose a program, and so he felt he was caught between a rock and a hard place.”

 

The President acknowledged that the leaks, including details about the wide-ranging use of the surveillance programs, damaged the confidence of Americans as well as other nations.

 

“It’s going to take some time” to win back that confidence, he said. “It’s going to take some work, partly because the technology has just moved so quickly that discussions that needed to be had didn’t happen fast enough.”

 

 

Russia understands ‘the stakes here’

Neither the President, his wife nor his daughters will be attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

 

Asked what he would tell close friends who asked if they should attend amid security concerns, he said: “I’d tell them that I believe Sochi is safe and that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings.”

 

Obama on Olympics: I’d tell friends to go

 

Published on Jan 31, 2014

President Obama tells CNN’s Jake Tapper that the 2014 Olympics held in Sochi, Russia will be safe.

 

 

Much has been made about Russia’s ability to keep the athletes, coaches and spectators safe in a region where terror threats are very real.

 

“The Russian authorities understand the stakes here. They understand that there are potential threats that are out there, and we are coordinating with them,” he said.

 

“We’ve looked at their plans. I think we have a good sense of the security that they are putting in place to protect not only the athletes themselves, but also visitors there.”

 

In large settings like the Olympics, there is always some risk, Obama said.

 

“I don’t want to completely discount those. But as we’ve seen here in the United States, at the Boston Marathon, there were some risks if you have lone wolves or small cells of folks who are trying to do some damage,” he said.

 

That said, the President encouraged Americans traveling to the Olympics to register with the U.S. State Department and read the material posted on its web site about “prudent measures” people should take.

 

 

‘In harms way

During his State of the Union address, the President brought many to tears with a tribute to Army Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, a veteran who was on his 10th deployment when he was injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

 

Remsburg, who is now disabled, was sitting with first lady Michelle Obama when he was given a prolonged standing ovation.

 

Obama had met Remsburg before he deployed, before he was wounded.

 

As commander-in-chief, Obama said he meets what he describes as “amazing” service members who make up the country’s all-volunteer military.

 

“But it also means only 1% of the American people are in harms way, and their families are the ones bearing that burden,” Obama said. “Which means that when we make decisions about war, it is that much more important for lawmakers and the president to understand that there are consequences to this.”

 

Jake Tapper reported from Waukesha, Wisconsin; and Chelsea J. Carter wrote from Atlanta.

 

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Gathering In Unity: The President And First Lady Visit Those Fasting For Immigration Reform


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Gathering in the Spirit of Unity: The President and First Lady Visit Those Fasting for Immigration Reform

 

Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz

November 29, 2013
02:31 PM EST

 

President Obama and the First Lady visited the brave individuals who are fasting in the shadow of the Capitol, sacrificing their health in an effort to get Congress to act swiftly on commonsense immigration reform.President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visits with a group staging a public fast for immigration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Nov. 29, 2013. “Fast for Families” is seeking to pressure Congress into passing an immigration bill. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

Today, the President and the First Lady visited the brave individuals who are fasting in the shadow of the Capitol, sacrificing their health in an effort to get Congress to act swiftly on commonsense immigration reform. The President and the First Lady gave their support for their fight for family unity this Thanksgiving weekend, as families across the country come together to spend time with loved ones.

 

Since November 12, fasters from “Fast For Families” have abstained from all food except water in an effort to bring attention to the urgent need for the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives to take a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and I have also visited Fast For families in recent weeks.

 

The fasters shared their stories and described empty stomachs but full hearts as they received an outpouring of support; to date, more than 3,000 people around the country have committed to fasting in solidarity.

 

The President and the First Lady thanked Eliseo Medina, Dae Joong Yoon, and all of the fasters for their sacrifice and dedication and told them that the country is behind them on immigration reform.  He said that the only thing standing in the way is politics.  And it is the brave commitment to change from advocates like them that will pressure the House to finally act on immigration reform.

 

This Thanksgiving, as friends, family, and community gather in the spirit of unity, we lend our support to those fighting for making commonsense immigration reform a reality. We will stand with them every step of the way to make sure that we bring coherence to our immigration laws, and pass a common sense reform that is consistent with our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

 

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Fast For Families: A Call For Immigration Reform & Citizenship.

 

Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform & Citizenship

 

On November 12, faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders announced the launch of “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship,” taking place on theNational Mall, steps away from the Capitol. Leaders and immigrant members of the community will fast every day and night, abstaining from all food—except water—to move the hearts and compassion of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

 

The fast in Washington, DC will be in conjunction with dozens of local and solidarity fastsevents, and actions already underway in key congressional districts across the country. Fasters will be joined nationwide by groups and activists who are prepared to make sacrifices for the passage of immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

 

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TAKE ACTION

  1. Calling your Member of Congress to support commonsense immigration reform or to support H.R. 15
  2. Getting as many people as possible to fast in solidarity with the Washington, DC fasters by fasting in large groups in public places so we can bring attention to this important issue
  3. Highlighting the moral crisis caused by the broken immigration system
  4. Raising public awareness of the suffering and sacrifice immigrants face in our country

 

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About The Fast

 

What we hope to accomplish
This year, we have come the closest ever to achieving real immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. In June, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill (S.744). Now, the House of Representatives has chance to complete the dream for 11 million aspiring Americans by addressing the moral crisis that is our broken immigration system.

 

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the House continues to delay a vote on the one issue that holds strong bipartisan support and is backed by a breadth of communities and groups across the country.

 

Every day the House leadership stalls on a vote for immigration reform, families and communities suffer the impact of deportations, deaths on the border, exploitation at work and the fear of living in the shadows with no path to citizenship.

 

By fasting, we hope to follow the examples of Cesar ChavezMartin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi to touch the compassion and sensibilities of our elected leaders to address the moral crisis of an immigration system that fails to comport with our national values, our creeds and belief in justice.

 

It’s time to once and for all pass true immigration reform.

 

Read the Fasters’ Declaration

 

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Events

 

November 27, 2013Richmond, VA
Thanksgiving Action to Stop Deportations 

 

12 Noon
Thanksgiving Action to Stop Deportations
West County Detention Facility
5555 Giant Highway, Richmond
Contact: Rev. Deborah Lee @ dlee@clueca.org

 

 

November 28, 2013Los Angeles, CA – 10:00am PST
Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice/Los Angeles and Union de Guatemalteco Emigrantes

Immigrant Mothers, Children’s March and Prayer Vigil to LA Federal Downtown Building (Olympic Avenue and Broadway) | Sponsored by Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice/Los Angeles and Union de Guatemalteco Emigrantes

 

 

December 1, 2013Nationwide
PICO

Asking whole network to Fast

 


* Official ‘Fast for Families’ events

 

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Get Involved

 

Supporting Immigration Reform

 

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Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz 

November 21, 2013
07:00 PM EST

 

Over the many years that I have worked in the Latino community and the civil rights movement, I have seen the photo many times, perhaps more than any other photo. Often it is dog-eared from having been on a wall for many years, or pulled out of a wallet many times. It’s a photo ofCesar Chavez, weak from fasting over many weeks. Next to him is Robert Kennedy, who visited him and offered his support and solidarity during the fast. Chavez is leaning heavily on Kennedy, who has his hand on Chavez’ arm; one is smiling weakly, the other brightly.   The photo is dear to people who remember the years of Chavez organizing farmworkers, bringing his tremendous moral authority to their struggle.

 

The photo has been on my mind a great deal this week, as another fighter for justice, my friend Eliseo Medina, begins the second week of the Fast for Families, which is taking place in a tent near the U.S. Capitol. He, along with Rev. Sam Rodriguez, Dae Joong Yoon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Cristian Avila, and Marco Grimaldo are fasting to draw attention to the urgent need for immigration reform.

 

I had the honor of visiting with the fasters and hearing their stories on day 9 of their water-only fast, and I was deeply moved by their moral commitment. They described why immigration reform matters in their lives, as it does for Christian, a DREAMer who told me he is fasting for his own chance at citizenship, to honor his parents, and to call attention to the need for immigration reform to keep his family from the threat of separation. They shared with me their hopes for achieving an immigration reform that feels within reach, because the House of Representatives has the support it needs to pass legislation, and the coalition supporting it has unprecedented depth and strength. They described empty stomachs but full hearts as they receive an outpouring of support; to date, more than 3000 people around the country have committed to fasting in solidarity.

 

For my part, I was honored to share that President Obamais deeply committed to this fight; he knows that immigration reform is right for the country, for the economy, and for our communities all around the country. He will keep pushing until the job is done, and he and his team take great inspiration from the sacrifice of a handful of advocates who are following in the tradition of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi to bring compassion and commitment to this debate.

 

Cecilia Muñoz is the Director of the Domestic Policy Council

 

Arizona Immigration

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Recap From Barack’s House


 

By Jueseppi B.

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WATCH LIVE: President’s Remarks on Common Sense Immigration Reform Today!

 

Today at 2:35 PM ET, 11:35 AM PT, the President will deliver remarks at the Betty Ong Recreation Center in San Francisco, California where he will call on Congress to pass commonsense immigration reform. Watch live HERE.

 

Join us at 5:00 PM ET TODAY for an immigration update conference call. Dial-in: 1-855-845-4321 or 1-617-668-3700,Event ID: 600165.

 

For the last two weeks, President Obama, Vice President Biden and a number of our Cabinet Secretaries, as well as White House Senior Staff have continued to make the case for comprehensive immigration reform. On November 19, the President spoke at theWall Street Journal CEO Council Annual Meeting and described why fixing our broken immigration system is good for our economy and national security:

 

The good news here is the Senate has already passed a bipartisan bill that economists say would grow our economy by $1.4 trillion and shrink our deficits by nearly a trillion over the next two decades. You wouldn’t turn down a deal that good, and Congress shouldn’t either. So I’m hoping that Speaker Boehner and the House of Representatives can still work with us to get that done.

 

The very next day, President Obama named sixteen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. The list of leaders included several innovative immigrants who have enriched American culture: Daniel Kahneman, an Israeli-American pioneer scholar of psychology,Mario Molina, a Mexican-American chemist and environmental scientist and Arturo Sandoval, a celebrated jazz musician and composer from Cuba.

 

Over the past week and a half several top Administration officials have visited Eliseo Medina and others participating in the “Fast for Families.” Today marks day 14 of their water only fast to bring attention to the urgency of passing common sense immigration reform. Administration officials who have visited the Fasters to recognize their courage and drawn inspiration from their action include, Vice President Joe BidenChief of Staff Denis McDonough,Senior Advisor Valerie JarrettDirector of Domestic Policy Cecilia MuñozSecretary Tom Perez, and Secretary Tom Vilsack.

 

Valerie Jarret, Senior Advisor to the President visits with Fast for Families on the National Mall

Valerie Jarret, Senior Advisor to the President visits with Fast for Families on the National Mall. (Official White House Photo by Julie Chavez Rodriguez)

 

On November 14, the Vice President joined by Director Alejandro Mayorkas, USCIS, welcomed 104 new American citizensrepresenting 50 countries at a naturalization ceremony at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta, Georgia. In his remarks, he expressed his gratitude to the new citizens for their valuable contributions to our society:

 

Thank you for choosing us – thank you for concluding America was worthy of your aspirations….The truth of the matter is you’ve been Americans for a long time, long before you raised your right hand today, because you’ve all adhered to the idea of America.

 

 

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas stand for the National Anthem

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas stand for the National Anthem at a naturalization ceremony at the Martin Luther King Junior Center, in Atlanta, Georgia, November 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

 

A few days later, the Vice President traveled to Panama City, Panama to discuss hemispheric relations with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli. A press conference was held at the country’s Presidential Palace, and during that briefing Vice President Biden explained that much of the diplomatic discussion revolved around the Administration’s priority of fixing our broken immigration system:

 

We need – we need – to update and make more rational our immigration policy in the United States of America. It’s a matter of simple justice and respect. Respect and dignity needs to be brought to the 11 million undocumented men, women and children, allowing them to come out of the shadows. They are not only Hispanic. They represent every part of the world. They are Asian. They are Irish. They are Russian. They are African. But they deserve to be treated with dignity.

 

A majority of Americans agree that now is the time to fix our broken immigration system. As we prepare to give thanks with our loved ones, let’s remember the positive impact comprehensive immigration reform would have on immigrants and their families.

 

Julie Chavez Rodriguez
Deputy Director
White House | Office of Public Engagement

 

Agency Updates

Secretary Tom Perez – Building Ladders of Opportunity for Immigrant and American Workers
November 20, 2013
President Obama understands with great clarity that the truest measure of our economic success as a nation is not abundance, but widely-shared prosperity, a thriving middle class, and the opportunity for American businesses and their workers to create both. We are, fundamentally, a nation of immigrants. It has been and will continue to be America’s greatest strength – a critical component of our nation’s economic engine.

 

ICE proposes changes to international student programs
November 19, 2013
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is proposingchanges to the requirements governing its Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) that are intended to improve management of international student programs and increase opportunities for study by spouses and children of nonimmigrant students.

 

DOL – Youth CareerConnect Grants
November 19, 2013
To compete in today’s global economy, America’s students need deep knowledge and skills that will prepare them for college and the jobs of the future. Yet far too many of America’s students are not meaningfully engaged or motivated in their academic experience while in high school. Many high school graduates lack exposure to learning that links their work in school to college and careers—especially in the critically important fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

 

USCIS – New Security Enhancement Helps E-Verify Deter Employee Fraud
November 18, 2013
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas today announced an enhancement to the E-Verify program that will help combat identity fraud by identifying and deterring fraudulent use of Social Security numbers (SSNs) for employment eligibility verification. This enhancement provides a critical safeguard to the E-Verify system by detecting and preventing potential fraudulent use of SSNs to gain work authorization.

 

Blog Highlights

Welcome New Citizens
November 22, 2013
Katherine Archuleta, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, writes about her participation in a naturalization ceremony: Thursday was an inspirational day for me. I had the honor of witnessing 35 new Americans from 20 countries take the oath of citizenship at the USCIS office in Fairfax, Va. and offering them some words of welcome. And this was a very special group of new citizens. You see, they had not passed their first citizenship test. So they studied and studied and in the true spirit of this country, they returned Thursday to try again. And they succeeded.

 

Fast Action
November 22, 2013
Department of Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez writes about his visit with immigration reform fasters on the National Mall: In 1968, in the thick of the farmworkers’ struggle to gain basic rights and relief from brutal mistreatment, Cesar Chavez didn’t just march or strike or demonstrate − he fasted in order to raise awareness about his movement and highlight the importance of nonviolent resistance. Today, a new generation of activists is going without all food except water – this time to bring attention to the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform.

 

Visiting the Fast for Families in Support of Immigration Reform
November 21, 2013
Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, describes her visit with Fast for Families participants: I had the honor of visiting with the fasters and hearing their stories on day 9 of their water-only fast, and I was deeply moved by their moral commitment. They described why immigration reform matters in their lives, as it does for Christian, a DREAMer who told me he is fasting for his own chance at citizenship, to honor his parents, and to call attention to the need for immigration reform to keep his family from the threat of separation.

 

President Obama Welcomes America’s Nine New Nobel Laureates to the White House
November 19, 2013
President Obama met with nine of the Nation’s foremost innovators, creative thinkers, and builders of the future—the American recipients of 2013 Nobel Prizes in natural sciences and economics. The President was joined in the meeting by OSTP Director John P. Holdren, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) Jason Furman, Ambassador Björn Lyrvall of Sweden, Ambassador Kåre Aas of Norway; and a number of the Nobel Laureates’ family members.

 

Vice President Biden Celebrates Citizenship at King Center Naturalization Ceremony
November 15, 2013
At a naturalization ceremony, Vice President Joe Biden highlights the Obama Administration’s celebration of citizenship and across the board commitment to passing commonsense immigration reform that includes a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the U.S. today.

 

Working in Coalition to Build a Stronger AAPI Community
November 15, 2013
Hosted at the 30-year old Filipino Cultural Center, the White House Initiative on AAPIs Regional Interagency Work Group community, convening in Overland, Kansas, gathered over 40 individuals representing immigrant communities from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

 

Get Involved

USCIS – Spanish Language Enlace Session
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will conduct a national Spanish language Enlace session as part of an ongoing series of public engagements. This free session is an opportunity for Spanish speakers to engage with us in their own language.

 

Who: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
What: During the Enlace, we will provide agency updates, discuss immigration-related topics and answer your questions.
When: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 from 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM(Eastern)
Where: Online webinar/teleconference
To RSVP: The event will be broadcast live from USCIS Headquarters and you can participate by:

Get Updates

The Man & His Posse On The Move….

 

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Fast For Families: A Call For Immigration Reform & Citizenship.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform & Citizenship

 

On November 12, faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders announced the launch of “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship,” taking place on the National Mall, steps away from the Capitol. Leaders and immigrant members of the community will fast every day and night, abstaining from all food—except water—to move the hearts and compassion of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

 

The fast in Washington, DC will be in conjunction with dozens of local and solidarity fastsevents, and actions already underway in key congressional districts across the country. Fasters will be joined nationwide by groups and activists who are prepared to make sacrifices for the passage of immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

 

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TAKE ACTION

  1. Calling your Member of Congress to support commonsense immigration reform or to support H.R. 15
  2. Getting as many people as possible to fast in solidarity with the Washington, DC fasters by fasting in large groups in public places so we can bring attention to this important issue
  3. Highlighting the moral crisis caused by the broken immigration system
  4. Raising public awareness of the suffering and sacrifice immigrants face in our country

 

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About The Fast

 

What we hope to accomplish
This year, we have come the closest ever to achieving real immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. In June, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill (S.744). Now, the House of Representatives has chance to complete the dream for 11 million aspiring Americans by addressing the moral crisis that is our broken immigration system.

 

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the House continues to delay a vote on the one issue that holds strong bipartisan support and is backed by a breadth of communities and groups across the country.

 

Every day the House leadership stalls on a vote for immigration reform, families and communities suffer the impact of deportations, deaths on the border, exploitation at work and the fear of living in the shadows with no path to citizenship.

 

By fasting, we hope to follow the examples of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi to touch the compassion and sensibilities of our elected leaders to address the moral crisis of an immigration system that fails to comport with our national values, our creeds and belief in justice.

 

It’s time to once and for all pass true immigration reform.

 

Read the Fasters’ Declaration

 

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Events

 

November 27, 2013Richmond, VA
Thanksgiving Action to Stop Deportations

 

12 Noon
Thanksgiving Action to Stop Deportations
West County Detention Facility
5555 Giant Highway, Richmond
Contact: Rev. Deborah Lee @ dlee@clueca.org

 

 

November 28, 2013Los Angeles, CA – 10:00am PST
Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice/Los Angeles and Union de Guatemalteco Emigrantes

Immigrant Mothers, Children’s March and Prayer Vigil to LA Federal Downtown Building (Olympic Avenue and Broadway) | Sponsored by Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice/Los Angeles and Union de Guatemalteco Emigrantes

 

 

December 1, 2013Nationwide
PICO

Asking whole network to Fast

 


* Official ‘Fast for Families’ events

 

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Get Involved

 

Supporting Immigration Reform

 

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Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz 

November 21, 2013
07:00 PM EST

 

Over the many years that I have worked in the Latino community and the civil rights movement, I have seen the photo many times, perhaps more than any other photo. Often it is dog-eared from having been on a wall for many years, or pulled out of a wallet many times. It’s a photo ofCesar Chavez, weak from fasting over many weeks. Next to him is Robert Kennedy, who visited him and offered his support and solidarity during the fast. Chavez is leaning heavily on Kennedy, who has his hand on Chavez’ arm; one is smiling weakly, the other brightly.   The photo is dear to people who remember the years of Chavez organizing farmworkers, bringing his tremendous moral authority to their struggle.

 

The photo has been on my mind a great deal this week, as another fighter for justice, my friend Eliseo Medina, begins the second week of the Fast for Families, which is taking place in a tent near the U.S. Capitol. He, along with Rev. Sam Rodriguez, Dae Joong Yoon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Cristian Avila, and Marco Grimaldo are fasting to draw attention to the urgent need for immigration reform.

 

I had the honor of visiting with the fasters and hearing their stories on day 9 of their water-only fast, and I was deeply moved by their moral commitment. They described why immigration reform matters in their lives, as it does for Christian, a DREAMer who told me he is fasting for his own chance at citizenship, to honor his parents, and to call attention to the need for immigration reform to keep his family from the threat of separation. They shared with me their hopes for achieving an immigration reform that feels within reach, because the House of Representatives has the support it needs to pass legislation, and the coalition supporting it has unprecedented depth and strength. They described empty stomachs but full hearts as they receive an outpouring of support; to date, more than 3000 people around the country have committed to fasting in solidarity.

 

For my part, I was honored to share that President Obamais deeply committed to this fight; he knows that immigration reform is right for the country, for the economy, and for our communities all around the country. He will keep pushing until the job is done, and he and his team take great inspiration from the sacrifice of a handful of advocates who are following in the tradition of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi to bring compassion and commitment to this debate.

 

Cecilia Muñoz is the Director of the Domestic Policy Council

 

Arizona Immigration

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