Tuesday, June 28, 2011 0 comments

Senate Hearing: Dream Act 2011

Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security
Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education
Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness


Senator Cornyn stated that the president failed to lead in immigration reform. He believes that the Dream Act has weak protections against fraud and can’t be a standalone bill. He thinks that our federal government is not securing our borders. He stated that this bill is a band-aid and does nothing for border security. He also thinks that it does not reduce the likelihood of illegal immigration. Although the bill would limit eligibility to young immigrants already here, critics like him believe there would be pressure to pass the law over and over again to help future waves of immigrants. Sen. Cornyn also accused Democrats of cynically pushing the Dream Act to gain favor with Latino voters in advance of the 2012 elections.

Senator Feinstein stated that according to a UCLA study, “dreamers” could contribute up to 1.4 trillion to US economy over a 4 year period. She thinks that borders are more secure now than they have been in the past 10 years. Border security forces have increased from 10,000 to 20,000. It doesn’t make sense to use border security as an excuse.

Secretary Duncan stated two reasons why we should pass the Dream Act:
1. Issue of fairness
2. Economic prosperity, helping “dreamers” to establish economic security that will contribute to the U.S. economy. It also goes against our national interests to not pass this bill.
He stated that so far 13 states have offered in state tuition for undocumented students but he believes that this is not enough. College still remains unattainable to many undocumented youth. We need to educate our way to a better economy.
Two things the he believes the Dream Act won’t do:
1. Provide students amnesty, as it is conditional and is a 6 year process.
The legislation would allow immigrants under age 35 at the time of the bill's passage to obtain conditional legal status if they can prove they were 15 years or younger when they came to the United States, have lived here continuously for at least five years, have displayed good moral character, have never been convicted of a felony, and have graduated from a U.S. high school or been accepted into a college or university. Within six years of receiving conditional permanent status, the young immigrants would have to complete at least two years of college in good standing or serve honorably in the U.S. military for at least two years. They would also have to pass tests in English and American civics.
2. He believes that the passage of this bill will not limit student loan opportunities for U.S. citizens.

Secretary Napolitano believes that the Dream Act is important to military readiness. She told senators that Congress hasn’t given her enough money to deport all of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. That’s why, she said, she makes criminal undocumented individuals her top priority. She also stated that 71% of those deported in 2010 were criminals.

Senator Durbin recounted how he has brought the Dream Act as an amendment to a bill and then as a standalone bill. Yet, he believes that no matter what he does those who want to say no, will continue to find reasons to say no. He stated that to address the possibility of fraud, the bill establishes a criminal penalty of 5 years in jail for fraud.

The Morton memo that was issued a few days ago which was directed to all ICE officers, agents and attorneys, is laced with a lot of ‘shoulds’ where prosecutorial discretion is urged when handling illegal immigrants. The big question is, ‘how do you make sure that “dreamers” aren’t deported?’ Napolitano stated that they are currently working on a process (whatever that means). She stated that there are gray areas. For example, if someone committed a misdemeanor, we need to take a comprehensive look at the applicant in regards to what else they have done and contributed.

Sen. Cornyn asked Secretary Napolitano if the administration would be open to any possible amendments to Durbin’s bill, and she stated that they would be happy to look at any recommendations that Sen. Cornyn may want to contribute.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 0 comments

Best Day Ever!

Did I just meet Ultimate Fighting champion Jon Jones, did I get to watch Aung San Suu Kyi testify before the foreign affairs committee, did I get the hook up by being on the VIP guest list for the U.N.H.C.R.s' party at the W hotel POV, and did I just have a memorable night with some of my Rangel fellows? I think YES. Best day ever!
Monday, June 20, 2011 0 comments

An Interesting Project and Some Answer

So I meant to post this on Friday but I kind of forgot, ahahaha!
Anyway, after being sick for nearly a week with God knows what, I came in to work last Friday to finish what I deemed an interesting project. I had to look for grant opportunities for an organization called Presbyterian Senior Services that was losing a lot of money this year and was in my congressman's district. They do some great work where they provide grandparents who are raising grandchildren with a home, counseling and educational programming. For a variety of reasons these children are unable to be taken care of by their own parents and so their grandparents have stepped in to take care of them.

Needless to say, I think I found them some possible funding. Let's keep our fingers crossed! Our senior citizens and children are among the most vulnerable and we need to help them!

Check them out!

I also went to a Gastro Intestinal specialist in order to figure out what was going on with my digestion and I am glad I went. Apparently, I am just experiencing what tends to happen to some people after having their gallbladder taken out. My liver is still producing bile but doesn't realize that hey - there's no gallbladder there to store it! Anyhow, the specialist went on to explain how surgeons don't usually like to talk about the what ifs or to deal with possible issues. The surgeon just told me that everything would be back to normal but that was a total lie. There is no way you are going to be okay just like that when an organ has been removed. On the upside, by going to a specialist I was able to obtain a treatment that seems to be working well. The only downside is that I will probably be drinking this stuff on and off for the rest of my life. It's alright, it's like you're on a special diet and then you are not, and then you are and so forth...haha... In all seriousness, I am just happy to be alive and to have such a simple treatment to deal with this. There are worst things in life and this is definitely not so bad.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 0 comments

A Slow Weekend Was Needed

Yesterday some of the Rangels and I went to Yards park to relax. We got some food, took in the sun and just listened to some Caribbean music (basically reggae). It was very chill and enjoyable. Later that night, some of the Rangels came over to play Risk with my roommate Ashley (she's the one with the cute flower dress below).
If you have never played Risk, the primary object of the game is "world domination," or "to occupy every territory on the board and in so doing, eliminate all other players."

I suppose that is what diplomats in training do when they want to stay in and have a fun time. I think it's kind of funny since we have to promote peace and collaboration among nations!Sadly, I didn't play with them because I was trying to finish my security clearance application. It never seems to end!

Unfortunately, this morning I woke up sick. I had some professional development stuff to do today through our program with the rest of the Rangels from 10am to 4pm. I survived, but not unscathed. My throat is killing me and I feel weak. While everyone is out today celebrating gay pride with Grant, I am here alone :( It's okay though...I made myself some ramen and drank some dayquil. Henry is keeping me company over Google chat. Good dutiful boyfriend.

At Yards Park

Playing Risk
Monday, June 6, 2011 0 comments

Tired but Still Going!

I am feeling pretty exhausted. Still happy but physically and mentally drained. I'm off to bed in hopes of feeling well rested in the morning. I take the FSOT tomorrow. Totally do not feel ready to take it, but oh well, it wouldn't help me to worry much about it now. Focus!