Thursday, November 20, 2014

VIDEO: President Obama's Immigration Action! + new USCIS immigration guidelines

Tonight I am extremely proud of our President and the countless heroes who have worked tirelessly to achieve this! I am proud to call many of these heroes my friends. Some are undocumented and some are elected officials. We have shared tears and laughter on the road to this moment and I have grown to consider many of you my family. I hope that tonight we can celebrate this success. Soon we will have to rise again to continue this fight.
This is not our ultimate goal of comprehensive immigration reform, but is an important and necessary measure that will give temporary relief to millions of undocumented immigrants. We must support it wholeheartedly as the same Republicans who have prevented congressional, lasting action on this matter will attack our President for doing what he can to protect our communities.

When everyone who believes that immigrants deserve a chance at a better life can put aside our differences and work together will we have the might to achieve the more lasting legislative solution that only congress can provide.

I leave you with the words of man who I am honored to have as our President:


"My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too." —President Obama

It's taken a lot of effort to arrive at this day but we must not relent.

The President is doing what he can to help undocumented immigrants. We need to keep pushing congress to achieve a lasting, legislative solution!!!













These are the new guidelines from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Cervices (click the links for details):

Executive Actions on Immigration

On November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of executive actions to crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay taxes in order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
These initiatives include:
  • Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and have been present since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years | Details
  • Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country since January 1, 2010, to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, provided they pass required background checks | Details
  • Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens | Details
  • Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs | Details
  • Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee | Details 

 A full transcript of President Obama’s remarks on immigration, as prepared for delivery.

" My fellow Americans, tonight, I’d like to talk with you about immigration. For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities – people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose. But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it. Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart. It’s been this way for decades. And for decades, we haven’t done much about it. When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts. Meanwhile, I worked with Congress on a comprehensive fix, and last year, 68 Democrats, Republicans, and Independents came together to pass a bipartisan bill in the Senate. It wasn’t perfect. It was a compromise, but it reflected common sense. It would have doubled the number of border patrol agents, while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line. And independent experts said that it would help grow our economy and shrink our deficits. Had the House of Representatives allowed that kind of a bill a simple yes-or-no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties, and today it would be the law. But for a year and a half now, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote. Now, I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President – the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican Presidents before me – that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just. Tonight, I am announcing those actions. First, we’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over. Second, I will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed. Third, we’ll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country. I want to say more about this third issue, because it generates the most passion and controversy. Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable – especially those who may be dangerous. That’s why, over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 percent. And that’s why we’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mother who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day. But even as we focus on deporting criminals, the fact is, millions of immigrants – in every state, of every race and nationality – will still live here illegally. And let’s be honest – tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn’t being straight with you. It’s also not who we are as Americans. After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard, often in tough, low-paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of their kids are American-born or spent most of their lives here, and their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours. As my predecessor, President Bush, once put it: “They are a part of American life.” Now here’s the thing: we expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect that those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes – you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is. Now let’s be clear about what it isn’t. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive – only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you. I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. Well, it’s not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today – millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time. That’s the real amnesty – leaving this broken system the way it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I’m describing is accountability – a commonsense, middle ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up. The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican President and every single Democratic President for the past half century. And to those Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill. I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary. Meanwhile, don’t let a disagreement over a single issue be a dealbreaker on every issue. That’s not how our democracy works, and Congress certainly shouldn’t shut down our government again just because we disagree on this. Americans are tired of gridlock. What our country needs from us right now is a common purpose – a higher purpose. Most Americans support the types of reforms I’ve talked about tonight. But I understand the disagreements held by many of you at home. Millions of us, myself included, go back generations in this country, with ancestors who put in the painstaking work to become citizens. So we don’t like the notion that anyone might get a free pass to American citizenship. I know that some worry immigration will change the very fabric of who we are, or take our jobs, or stick it to middle-class families at a time when they already feel like they’ve gotten the raw end of the deal for over a decade. I hear these concerns. But that’s not what these steps would do. Our history and the facts show that immigrants are a net plus for our economy and our society. And I believe it’s important that all of us have this debate without impugning each other’s character. Because for all the back-and-forth of Washington, we have to remember that this debate is about something bigger. It’s about who we are as a country, and who we want to be for future generations. Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law? Or are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility, and give their kids a better future? Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together? Are we a nation that educates the world’s best and brightest in our universities, only to send them home to create businesses in countries that compete against us? Or are we a nation that encourages them to stay and create jobs, businesses, and industries right here in America? That’s what this debate is all about. We need more than politics as usual when it comes to immigration; we need reasoned, thoughtful, compassionate debate that focuses on our hopes, not our fears. I know the politics of this issue are tough. But let me tell you why I have come to feel so strongly about it. Over the past few years, I have seen the determination of immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs, without taking a dime from the government, and at risk at any moment of losing it all, just to build a better life for their kids. I’ve seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn’t have the right papers. I’ve seen the courage of students who, except for the circumstances of their birth, are as American as Malia or Sasha; students who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes they could make a difference in a country they love. These people – our neighbors, our classmates, our friends – they did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life. They came to work, and study, and serve in our military, and above all, contribute to America’s success. Tomorrow, I’ll travel to Las Vegas and meet with some of these students, including a young woman named Astrid Silva. Astrid was brought to America when she was four years old. Her only possessions were a cross, her doll, and the frilly dress she had on. When she started school, she didn’t speak any English. She caught up to the other kids by reading newspapers and watching PBS, and became a good student. Her father worked in landscaping. Her mother cleaned other people’s homes. They wouldn’t let Astrid apply to a technology magnet school for fear the paperwork would out her as an undocumented immigrant – so she applied behind their back and got in. Still, she mostly lived in the shadows – until her grandmother, who visited every year from Mexico, passed away, and she couldn’t travel to the funeral without risk of being found out and deported. It was around that time she decided to begin advocating for herself and others like her, and today, Astrid Silva is a college student working on her third degree. Are we a nation that kicks out a striving, hopeful immigrant like Astrid – or are we a nation that finds a way to welcome her in? Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. That’s the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That’s the tradition we must uphold. That’s the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love. " President Barack Obama

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Dream to Belong music video: in support of the DREAM Act and CIR: Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Free song download at  http://www.facebook.com/ImmigrationReformVideos
Dream to Belong -Music and lyrics by Andres Useche A video in support of the DREAM Act & Comprehensive Immigration reform; filmed and photographed with hundreds of DREAMers and immigration reform activists across the country. Dedicated to all the Dreamers and in memory of Dreamer Joaquin Luna and our ally Shaun Chapa. (scroll down for full performer + video credits after this):



This country was built on a DREAM: A dream of freedom, of opportunity, the belief that if you put in the hard work you could become anything you wanted to be, that you could achieve anything. It was that dream that inspired waves of migration and brought so many to build railroads and work the fields, that drove so many to join the beautiful diversity that helps make the United States the country that it is today. It was that dream of opportunity that led parents to bring their small children into the US, seeking to give them a better life. These children grew up here, undocumented: we call them Dreamers. It is that same Dream that fuels our struggle for the DREAM Act & immigration reform today. Dreamers too have had to seek the land of opportunity where they already live, where their fulfillment has been denied for too long. Dreamers have inspired me as they have inspired so many because they embody the struggle to belong, to grow, to achieve and to give back as much as they possibly can. Through their relentless pursuit of education and their desire to work, Dreamers not only better themselves but the country they grew up in, the land they love. When this nation opens its arms to Dreamers, it's getting closer to a more complete fulfillment of its fundamental promise. It is this embrace that brings us closer to a more perfect union, a nation with an arc bending towards justice. 

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was a giant leap and a testament to the hard work of DREAMers themselves who have organized for what is right. We are grateful to the Obama administration for this temporary measure but as the President himself has said, this is only the beginning. Dreamers and allies will not stop until the solution is permanent and includes the hardworking families who made such a tremendous effort to give their children, the DREAMers, a brighter future. Join our efforts. Together, Si, Se Puede!!! -Andres Useche

Dream to Belong
by Andres Useche

She may be from out of town
He may be from way down south
but she was brought here as a child
and he grew up in this house
They learned while in school
of a light many had seen
guiding the tired and the poor
yearning to be free

Beacon of Light
Beacon of hope
Keep shining bright
Unite the dreams of us all
Everyone deserves to learn
Every child deserves to dream
When they only want to serve
When they want a chance to give

We dream to belong
Dreamers Hold On, Hold On for Every
Child who did nothing wrong
Dreamers Hold On, Hold on
to the Dream

She met a boy and fell in love
and she dreamed she could belong
until ICE raided her home
and could deport her before long

She had learned while in school
about a torch many had seen
guiding the tired and poor
yearning to be free

Beacon of light
Beacon of hope
Keep shining bright
Unite the dreams of us all
Everyone deserves to learn
Every child deserves to dream
When they only want to serve
When they want a chance to give

We dream to belong
Dreamers Hold On for every
Child who did nothing wrong
Dreamers Hold on, Hold on
to the Dream

Yo no dejo de buscar
una luz, una señal
danos la oportunidad
de hacer el Sueño realidad

We dream to belong
Dreamers Hold On
for every
Child who did nothing wrong
Dreamers Hold on, Hold on
to the Dream

Together we'll make the dream come true
Together we'll make the dream come true!
We dream to belong
Dreamers Hold On for every
Child who did nothing wrong
Dreamers Hold on, Hold on
to the Dream

Yo no dejo de buscar
una luz, una señal
danos la oportunidad
de hacer el Sueño realidad

A child who did nothing wrong
This is the place she calls home
Where he lives and where she hopes
that where you love is where you belong.

SONG CREDITS:
Music & Lyrics by Andres Useche
Produced by Andres Useche
Band:
Andres Useche: Lead vocals, Piano, guitar, sequences
Oya Thomas: Backing vox
Gyeom Lee: Lead guitar, acoustic guitars
Tom Staunton: Bass
Konstantine Pope: mixer, string arrangements, drums
Marili Andre: backing vox
George Shaw: lead vox recording
VIDEO Credits:
directed & edited by Andres Useche
Photographs and/or footage by Andres Useche and: Gerry Manacsa, Karina S. Descartin-Manacsa, Steve Pavey, Lamp Left Media, Ryan Campbell, Dreamers Adrift, Tadd Pullin, Excy Guardado, Daniel Palomino, Dulce Matuz +
This video was filmed and photographed across the country with activists from organizations such as United We Dream , ADAC, ADT, DRM Capitol Group, NDTA, NTDT, ULI, FIEL, Dreamers Adrift , LULAC, Cincinnati Interfaith Work Center, IYJL, Alterna, El Refugio, GA Detention Watch, Kentucky DREAM Coalition, KUYA, GUYA, PICK, KCIRR, IUYA among others and includes cameos by allies such as President Obama, Senator Dick Durbin, congressman Luis Gutierrez, Hillary Clinton, Stephen Colbert, Claire Danes, Dolores Huerta, Shakira, Cristina Saralegui and many more.



Wednesday, November 07, 2012

VIDEO: President Obama's re-election victory speech + our historic progressive wins in congress

It's is very upsetting that anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio was re-elected in Arizona! On the other hand the DREAM Act was passed at the state level in Maryland! Elizabeth Warren won. Tammy Duckworth also beat back a tea-partier! McCaski ll shut down misogynist Akin! Donnelly beats Richard Murdock! Women made historic gains on their way to greater representation in the senate, Allen West was defeated! Marriage equality had 4 state wins! For the first time in history, marriage equality was affirmed at the ballot box, and best of all, a candidate who supports DREAMers and immigration reform, the middle class, women's rights and marriage equality was RE-ELECTED as President of the United States of America! This is only the beginning! We are moving FORWARD!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

DREAMers! Here's a step-by-step guide for the undocumented youth applying for the Obama Administration's Deportation Relief and Work Permits program: DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)


United We DREAM: What happens after DREAMers send in their DACA Application? 

A fellow Dreamer from California documented his entire application process. He has now been accepted and received his work permit! Congratulations and thank you for taking the time to share this with us. But first some important things to remember: (tips +video)



UWD: TIPS for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals application:
Before you begin filling out your forms, you must read all the instructions per form under http://www.uscis.gov/i-821D
You may fill out your forms by typing or print legibly in black ink.
Remember that you must submit copies of all your original documents. (Not the original documents themselves)
Copy/Scan Your Entire Application: Make a photocopy or scan of your entire application, including the checks or money orders. You may need to refer to your application again in the future (or show it to an advocate or attorney). This is especially important if the Dream Act passes, or if you become eligible to file for permanent status; you will want a record of everything you stated in your DACA application.
Label and Protect Your Photographs: On the back of your photographs, label in pencil your full name and date of birth. Place both photographs in a small plastic bag (like a sandwich bag) and paperclip (do not staple) them to front of your application (behind theForm G-1145).
Sign All Forms: Make sure your original signature is on all USCIS forms (Form I-821Dand Form I-765)



United States Citizenship and Immigration Services how-to-Video for DACA:



What happens after you send in your DACA Application? Step by Step.

1) If you sent a G1145, you receive electronic receipts of your I-821D and I-765 forms:


2) If you did not send a G1145, you will receive your I-821D and I-765 form receipts via mail 5-7 days after the Lockbox facility received your package:



3) You will receive a receipt to verify all your information is correct for the biometrics appointment:



4) After receipts, the next step in the process would be for background checks as part of the decision process. USCIS will now request for your biometrics (fingerprints).

You will then receive a subsequent I-797 Notice of Action receipt in the mail with your appointment date for your biometrics to be taken at your local Application Support Center, ASC. (7-10 days after the Lockbox received your package)




5) You have an appointment, the date arrived and the ASC has successfully taken your biometrics/fingerprints, your photo and your signature. Depending on your background checks,
whether your record is clean or not so clean, the following will take less or more time. Your biometrics are sent to the FBI (who usually returns your record within 24-48 hrs) and its forwarded to USCIS for them to do IBIS Name Check and IDENT Fingerprint Check as part of the background checks.

The Biometrics letter after your appointment (notice the stamp):




6) You should then receive a TXT (If you have Signed Up to USCIS Portfolio) showing that your I-765 application has been accepted and your card has been ordered for production.
This change will also appear in Case Status online. (6-15 days after the date you did Biometrics at ASC)

Note that you can check your case status online with your initial receipt number after you have created an account.





7) Congratulations! Your case has now been accepted! The adjudication of I-765 means your DACA case has been approved.

You should then receive a TXT (If you have Signed Up to USCIS Portfolio) stating that your I-821D has been approved and a notice has been mailed. (1 day after your I-765 EAD goes into production)




-7.2 You should then receive a TXT (If you have Signed Up to USCIS Portfolio) stating that your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), has been mailed. (1 day after your I-765 EAD goes into production)

You should then receive a TXT (If you have Signed Up to USCIS Portfolio) stating that USPS has picked up your EAD. (1 day after your I-765 EAD goes into production)



7.3 Then you should receive a First Class Flat Rate Envelope that contains I-797D which contains the approval notice and the EAD card itself. (4 days after I-765 EAD goes into production)



Yes you now have your work permit and this is what it looks like: 

Front of I-797D:







7.4 After reading the letter in the back of I-797D you should find your work permit attached, this is what it looks like:



Also : here's how the undocumented youth can get a social security number after qualifying for deportation relief/Deferred Action ! 


Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Great Victory for DREAM Act Activists: President Obama to stop deportation of DREAMers and grant them work permits!



 President Obama's announcement that DREAMers would not be deported and would be allowed to work openly filled my soul with joy. Not only because of how much it means to me that my Dreamer friends and their families will be spared the painful uprooting of deportation. Not only because of how much it helps all the Dreamers I've yet to meet but whose lives, trials and accomplishments I deeply care about.  As much as Dreamers matter to me, and they do, immensely, I didn't rejoice just for them. No, I also truly rejoiced for this country as a whole:

This country was built on a DREAM: A dream of freedom, of opportunity, the belief that if you put in the hard work you could be anything you wanted to be, that you could achieve anything. It was that dream that inspired waves of migration, that brought so many to build railroads and work the fields, that drove so many to join the beautiful diversity that helps make the United States the country that it is today. It was that dream of opportunity that awakened the desire of parents to bring their small children, seeking to give them a better life. These children who were too young to make that choice themselves, who grew up here, undocumented,  we call Dreamers.  And in a way it is that same Dream that fuels our struggle for the DREAM Act today. Dreamers too have had to seek the land of opportunity where they live, where they might have grown up but where their fulfillment has been denied for too long. Dreamers have inspired me as they have inspired so many because they embody the struggle to belong, to grow, to achieve and to give back as much as they possibly can. Through education and their desire to work Dreamers not only better themselves but the country they grew up in, the land they love. When this nation opens its arms to Dreamers, it's getting closer to a more complete fulfillment of its fundamental promise. It is this embrace that brings us closer to a more perfect union, a nation with an arc bending towards justice. So I am happy for the Dreamers, I am happy as an immigrant, but I am also happy as a United States citizen. Belonging to this generous, diverse nation is a privilege that Dreamers deserve, and I am proud of our President protecting Dreamers from deportation, hopefully until the day that they too can become citizens themselves.

President Obama knows how deeply the dreamer struggle is bound to the fabric of the nation. He's said that this is only a first, necessary but temporary step. And like so many of us, believes congress must pass the DREAM Act which offers a path to citizenship.  The President and a majority of Democrats support us in our efforts to achieve a comprehensive immigration reform that is humane and practical. We will not surrender that goal, that dream. Yes, this is a first step, but it changes everything. It is through such steps that we will make our way ahead. So I ask of you, will you take these steps with us? We're marching together into the light.

Si, Se Puede!
Andres

The President also explained his decision to back DREAMers to Time Magazine: http://ideas.time.com/2012/06/17/a-nation-of-laws-and-a-nation-of-immigrants/#ixzz1yKg5XHfT

To stand with President Obama and ask congress to pass the DREAM Act in full go to: http://leftaction.com/action/stand-pres-obama-pass-dream-act

To learn more about the administrative Relief for DREAMers through deferred action join United We Dream's web seminar here: http://attendee.gotowebinar.com/19x1j/rt/9097322167939882240








Monday, February 27, 2012

Our DREAM Act song (full) + Obama on Immigration (FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)



Dream to Belong  -The complete song in support of the DREAM Act, dedicated to all the Dreamers and in memory of Dreamer Joaquin Luna. Full credits here

Let's keep putting pressure on the ground, organizing, demonstrating, talking to people online and in person and reminding everyone that this country, founded on the ideal of equality and opportunity, can only benefit from each Dreamer's desire to educate themselves and contribute openly to this nation. Any society can only benefit from its struggle to overcome prejudice, selfishness and xenophobia, and every person can only grow from attempting to become more inclusive and compassionate.
--
Univision's blog post on "Dream to Belong" can be found HERE and includes lyrics.
--
Scroll down to skip this intro and go directly to the TRANSCRIPT of Obama's interview...
--
On Feb 6 2012 Interview I gave an interview to Tim Paynter of Denver's 1150am radio. The first part of that interview was about our new song and the Dreamers and you can find it in my last post. In the second part I addressed questions about Obama and immigration reform and for those who don't speak Spanish, here is the gist of what I said:
While volunteering in support of the DREAM Act, I've come across some supporters of immigration reform who are understandably frustrated that the law hasn't been passed yet but who are unjustly blaming President Obama. Let's not forget the facts. While Obama, Reid, Durbin and most of the Democrats continue to push for the DREAM Act, (98% of Dems voted to pass it), Republicans as a whole have blocked it in congress, and their candidates oppose it as well, with Romney explicitly declaring he'd veto it.  Through the "Morton Memo" the administration has tried to shift ICE's focus to deporting high-risk individuals and actual criminals instead of DREAMers, (resulting in a drop in deportations according to this story by the LA Times) sparing many who were in line for deportation and whose cases have been dropped, including several who I've volunteered for and with. I've seen this progress first hand and think it is important that DREAMers know they can appeal to ICE's  Prosecutorial Discretion as laid out by the administration and John Morton. However any president's constitutional limitations require support in congress to pass a federal law that would offer the DREAMERs a lasting path to citizenship. We need our allies in government to make the DREAM Act a reality and we need to keep acting marching and demonstrating peacefully, creating awareness and putting pressure on senators to vote for the DREAM Act. We have to pay attention to who is promoting anti-immigrant laws like HB 56 in Alabama and  SB 1070 in Arizona (Which Obama opposed). There are too many Republican politicians constantly taking anti-immigrant positions in every state, and we can stand with those who oppose them. By making sure we are doing all we can to strengthen the campaigns of senators who represent our ideals and trying to help them get elected we will also increase the number of votes in favor of immigration reform and will help those trying to  get it passed when it comes to the floor of the congress again. Here's the audio in Spanish:


so that was Feb 6.

On Feb 21, President Obama gave an interview to Piolin of Univision radio in which he tackled questions about his immigration reform promises (in similar terms to those I  used in my Feb 6 interview).  I posted about the interview on facebook when it came out bu I think it is important to read the full transcript:

President OBAMA's interview with  Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, Univision Radio , Feb. 21, 2012: FULL TRANSCRIPT
Piolin: Thank you Mr. President for receiving my phone call.
Obama: Piolin, it’s good to talk to you my friend.
Piolin: We’re going to start right away because this is what our community wants to know. During your presidency, you have not delivered the immigration reform that we were hoping for. Thousands of families have been separated by deportation, leaving their children behind, alone in this country. Do you think that you still have the support of the Latino community? 
Obama: Well, first of all Piolin, my presidency is not over, I’ve got another five years coming up. We’re going to get this done. And — and absolutely we have strong support in the Latino community because they have seen something we are working on. First of all, strengthening the economy, we were able to get the payroll tax done that provides 25 million Latinos with an extra 40 dollars in every paycheck and is going to strengthen the economy. We made sure unemployment insurance got extended because the Latino community has been so hard hit. A million Latinos are going to be benefiting from that. The housing settlement that we just passed, which will help Latino families all across the country who were taken advantage of by subprime lenders to be able to stay in their homes. The work we have done on education, to make sure millions of students — many Latino students are still getting Pell Grants and other scholarships and financial aid so that they can go to college. So, there are a lot of issues that we have worked on that have directly benefited millions of Latino families.

You’re right though, immigration reform is something we still have to get done and as I’ve told you since before I was elected president, the only way we are going to get this done fully is by getting Congress to do its job.

What we’ve been able to do is, administratively, we’ve said, let’s reemphasize our focus when it comes to enforcement on criminals and at the borders and let’s not be focusing our attention on hard-working families who are just trying to make ends meet. We’ve administratively proposed to reform the “three and 10” program so that families aren’t separated when they’re applying to stay here in this country.

So we are trying to do a lot to soften the effects of immigration, but ultimately, the only way we are going to do this is to get something passed through Congress, and that’s why we have to keep the pressure up.

Unfortunately, the Republican side, which used to at least give lip service to immigration reform, now they’ve gone completely to a different place and have shown themselves unwilling to talk at all about any sensible solutions to this issue and we are just going to have to keep up the pressure until they act.

Piolin: So, does that mean that we need to wait another five years before we see immigration reform?

Obama: We’re going to need help from Congress. And so, this election coming up, it’s important for the community not only to ask who is supportive of immigration reform when it comes to the presidency — because that will be an easy question to answer. So far, we haven’t seen any of the Republican candidates even support immigration reform. In fact, their leading candidate said he would veto even the DREAM Act, much less comprehensive immigration reform.

So the choice at the presidential level will not be that difficult. But when it comes to Congress, all your listeners need to look and see: are those members of Congress — are they committing to getting this done? Because, ultimately, unless Congress acts, we’re going to continue to be able to try to make some administrative changes to the immigration laws but, ultimately, in the end, we won’t solve the problem for so many families who are still struggling because they are living in the shadows.

Piolin: There is a perception out there that you broke your promise to achieve immigration reform; do you think you broke your promise?

Obama: Piolin, I would only have broken my promise if I hadn’t tried. But ultimately, I’m one man. You know, we live in a democracy. We don’t live in a monarchy. I’m not the king. I’m the president. And so, I can only implement those laws that are passed through Congress.

And the truth of the matter is that perceptions in the Latino community are going to be shaped by community leaders like you. And you and I have talked about this extensively, you know the fact that I’m fully committed to this issue. I speak about it in the State of the Union address; I speak about it every opportunity I get. And so, the question is, when am I going to get some help from Republicans to actually get it done?

And that’s going to depend on the community making sure that it is focused on those who are preventing comprehensive immigration reform from occurring. And since I am 100 percent behind comprehensive immigration reform. Obviously I am not the roadblock to making this happen. 
Piolin: And Mr. President, why is it that politicians always seek out Latinos come election time? 
Obama: I don’t know about other politicians. I know that I speak out to you even when I’m not running for reelection, which is why we have had so many conversations on this issue.
But the fact of the matter is that, I think a lot of members of Congress, even during election time, aren’t paying attention to the Latino community and unfortunately that, I think that there is a politics that we have been seeing that is so focused on a negative attitude towards immigration. We see it at the state level in Arizona, in Alabama, and other of these states where people have been scoring political points, taking the harshest anti-immigrant stand. That’s not the kind of politics that I believe in and I know that’s not the kind of politics the Latino community is going to respond to. 
----  source: http://univisionnews.tumblr.com/post/18103030750/obama-i-didnt-break-my-promise-on-immigration-reform





Thursday, February 09, 2012

"Dream to Belong" New song preview, radio interview re: DREAM Act, live premiere with the DREAMers




I wrote a song called "Dream to Belong" in support of the DREAM Act. The pictures below are from the first performance of the song at the Dream Alliance State Wide Summit in Austin, TX on Saturday, January 28th, 2012.

If enacted, The DREAM Act would save many undocumented young students from being deported and allow them a chance to give back to the country they grew up in, the country they love. I am in awe of the DREAMers I've had the honor of meeting and I am constantly inspired by their efforts to better themselves and society as a whole.

 A little bit of "Dream to Belong" was also played in the context of a radio interview I gave three days ago to Tim Paynter on 1150 radio in Denver, CO. The interview is too long to post complete but in the player above you can hear a snippet of the song and a message of support to the DREAMers. I'm pasting another part of the interview below where they play a bit of my earlier song Si Se Puede Cambiar and I discuss President Barack Obama and what he's done for the Dream Act as well as what Republicans are doing against it.

I'll be doing all I can to try to stop the deportation of Dreamers and help the DREAM Act come to pass in 2012. Join us, together we'll make the DREAM come true!





"Marching into the Light" by Andres Useche