The White House Blog Updates™: Immigration Reform. Working Families. World Cup. Slide Show.


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The Urgency Of Immigration Reform: Attracting The World’s Best And Brightest. 

A Conversation About Working Families’ Issues With Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

 

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The Urgency of Immigration Reform: Attracting the World’s Best and Brightest

 

 

It has been nearly a year since the Senate passed a strongly bipartisan immigration reform bill that would fix our broken immigration system, reduce federal deficits by nearly $850 billion, and increase GDP by $1.4 trillion over the next two decades. As the economic costs of inaction continue to grow, now is the time for the House of Representatives to do its part to get a commonsense immigration reform bill to the President’s desk. Simply put: The House can and should act before August.

 

Throughout this week, we will highlight the urgency and importance of attracting the best and brightest talent from around the world, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The Senate bill would effectively “staple” a green card to the diplomas of advanced STEM graduates from U.S. universities, so that these talented researchers have a chance to stay and contribute to our economy.

 

Every foreign-born graduate with an advanced STEM degree is associated with, on average, 2.6 jobs for American workers. By some estimates, immigration was responsible for one-third of the growth in patenting in past decades, and these innovations contributed to increasing U.S. GDP by 2.4 percent.

 

When President Obama delivered the commencement address at the University of California, Irvine this past weekend, he told the story of just one of these talented graduates:

 

There are people here who know what it means to dream.  When Mohamad Abedi was a boy, the suffering he saw in refugee camps in Lebanon didn’t drive him into despair — it inspired him to become a doctor.  And when he came to America, he discovered a passion for engineering.  So here, at UC Irvine, he became a biomedical engineer to study the human brain.  And Mohamad said, “Had I never come to the United States, I would have never had the ability to do the work that I’m doing.”  He’s now going to CalTech to keep doing that work.

 

Today’s advanced STEM graduate could be tomorrow’s world-class, world-changing scientist. After all, one recent study looked at all U.S.-based Nobel laureates over the past 50 years, and found that 26 percent were foreign born.

 

When the President recently met with America’s nine most recently minted Nobel laureates in the Oval Office, we asked them to share their perspective on the importance of immigration reform. As you might imagine, these pioneering biologists, chemists, and economists had a great deal to say about the importance of maintaining America’s competitive advantage as a magnet for global talent:

 

 

As the President has repeatedly emphasized, America needs a 21st century immigration system — one that strengthens border security, cracks down on employers that hire and exploit undocumented workers, creates a pathway to earned citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and removes obstacles to legal immigration. A system that welcomes the best and brightest scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs from around the world to innovate here in America.

 

It doesn’t take a Nobel Prize winner to understand that the time is now.

 

 

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Tune In: A Conversation About Working Families’ Issues With Labor Secretary Tom Perez

 

 

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This Wednesday, June 18, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez will be joining a digital conversation about how working families’ issues — from paid leave to other policies that offer more flexibility in the workplace — uniquely impact low-wage workers.

 

The conversation, which will be hosted and moderated by HuffPost Live, will include business leaders who have instituted these policies, workers whose lives they are helping, and business leaders who are advoacting on behalf of them.

 

Have a question that you’d like to ask the Secretary about workplace policies that can help more working families succeed?

 

You can submit a video question or comment here.

 

And if you’ve got a story to tell about how your family would be helped by 21st-century workplace policies, you can share it here.

 

Wednesday’s conversation is the digital completement to a series of regional roundtable events that have been happening across the country, leading up to the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014.

 

 

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Statements and Releases – June 16th, 2014

 

Statement by the Press Secretary on the War Powers Resolution Report for Iraq

 

Background Conference Call on the Vice President’s Upcoming Trip to Brazil, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic

 

Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate

NOMINATIONS SENT TO THE SENATE:

 

Wendy Beetlestone, of Pennsylvania, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, vice Michael M. Baylson, retired.

 

Victor Allen Bolden, of Connecticut, to be United States District Judge for the District of Connecticut, vice Janet Bond Arterton, retiring.

 

Mark A. Kearney, of Pennsylvania, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, vice J. Curtis Joyner, retired.

 

Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., of Pennsylvania, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, vice Eduardo C. Robreno, retired.

 

Gerald J. Pappert, of Pennsylvania, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, vice Stewart R. Dalzell, retired.

 

 

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Behind the Scenes: Inside the U.S. National Team Locker Room

 

 

 

US Soccer Fans Celebrate Their Win

 

 

 

Sterling hires firms to investigate NBA

 

 

 

Republicans Seek War, Spread Fear & Blame Obama For Everything

 

 

 

Dead Woman Parties At Her Own Funeral

 

 

 

Sex Slaves Found In Florida Home

 

 

 

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A Slide Show For Your Enjoyment

 

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Taking Action To Attract The World’s Top Talented Professionals To America.


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

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Taking Action to Attract the World’s Top Talented Professionals

 

Secretary Penny Pritzker
Secretary Penny Pritzker

May 06, 2014
11:44 AM EDT

 

Penny Pritzker is Secretary of Commerce

 

Today, the Obama Administration announced new steps to make it easier for highly skilled workers and talented researchers from other countries to contribute to our economy and ultimately become Americans. These measures are part of administrative reforms first announced in 2012, and reflect our commitment to attracting and retaining highly-skilled immigrants, continuing our economic recovery, and encouraging job creation.

 

Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule that would—for the first time—allow work authorization for the spouses of H-1B workers who have begun the process of applying for a green card through their employers. Once enacted, this proposed rule would empower these spouses to put their own education and skills to work for the country that they and their families now call home.  This rule change was requested in a “We the People” petition to the White House.

At the same time, DHS is also proposing another new rule to make it easier for outstanding professors and researchers in other countries to demonstrate their eligibility for the EB-1 visa, a type of green card reserved for the world’s best and brightest. Just as great athletes and performers are already able to provide a range of evidence to support their petition for an EB-1, professors and researchers would be able to present diverse achievements such as groundbreaking patents or prestigious scientific grants.

You can watch the video featuring inaugural Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship below:

 

Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship: Why America Needs Immigration Reform

 

Published on May 6, 2014

Inaugural members of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (Nina Vaca, Hamdi Ulukaya, Rich Barton, Daphne Koller, and Steve Case) tell stories of how immigration makes America great, and why the time is now for common sense immigration reform.

 

 

 

These measures build on continuing Administration efforts to streamline existing systems, eliminate inefficiency, and increase transparency, such as by the launch of Entrepreneur Pathways, an online resource center that gives immigrant entrepreneurs an intuitive way to navigate opportunities to start and grow a business in the United States.

These actions promise to unleash more of the extraordinary contributions that immigrants have always made to America’s economy. By some estimates, immigration was responsible for one-third of the explosive growth in patenting in past decades, and these innovations contributed to increasing U.S. GDP by 2.4 percent. Immigrants represent 50 percent of PhD‘s working in math and computer science and 57 percent of PhD’s working in engineering, and one study found that 26 percent of all U.S.-based Nobel laureates over the past 50 years were foreign born.

Immigrants are also over-represented in the ranks of America’s entrepreneurs, as they are more than twice as likely as the native-born to start a business in the United States. Immigrants started one of every four small businesses and high-tech startups across America, and more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies—from GE and Ford to Google and Yahoo!—were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants.

While today’s executive actions are an important step in the right direction, only Congress can offer permanent solutions to fix our broken immigration system and ensure that immigration pathways for foreign entrepreneurs and talented workers are clear and consistent, and better reflect today’s business realities.

Last June, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that would significantly grow our economy and shrink the deficit. It is imperative that the House of Representatives do its part to send a bill to the President’s desk, as the costs of inaction are considerable. Among the many other benefits of commonsense immigrant reform, we need legislation that will keep talented scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs here in America instead of compelling them to go back home and compete against us.

When President Obama and I met last month with the new Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, these top entrepreneurs spoke passionately about the contributions of immigrants and the importance of immigration reform for growing our economy. This group of successful American business people who have committed to sharing their expertise to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs at home and abroad agreed that we undermine our economic competitiveness when we make it harder, not easier, for talented immigrants to stay here and contribute to our economy.

America’s immigration system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers and there are 11 million people living in the shadows. Neither is good for the economy or the country.

Together we can build a fair, effective and common sense immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

The President’s plan builds a smart, effective immigration system that continues efforts to secure our borders and cracks down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. It’s a plan that requires anyone who’s undocumented to get right with the law by paying their taxes and a penalty, learning English, and undergoing background checks before they can be eligible to earn citizenship.

White House White Board: Why Immigration Reform Is Good For Our Economy

 

Published on Jul 11, 2013

It’s clear commonsense immigration reform is good for the economy as a whole. Don’t take our word for it — study after study has shown that commonsense immigration reform will strengthen the economy, spur innovation, reduce the deficit and increase US trade and exports.

 

Creating an Immigration System for the 21st Century

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White House Photo Of The Day – Monday May 5th, 2014

 

 

President Barack Obama meets with Anita Decker, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and Personal Secretary Ferial Govashiri in the Oval Office, May 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama meets with Anita Decker, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and Personal Secretary Ferial Govashiri in the Oval Office, May 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama returns to the Oval Office after giving interviews in the Rose Garden of the White House, May 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama returns to the Oval Office after giving interviews in the Rose Garden of the White House, May 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

 

 

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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)

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

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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