White House Immigratio​n Update! Julie Rodriguez

We have some exciting news! Recently, President Obama held a news conference to answer questions about his plan for the next four years. When asked about the need to fix our broken immigration system, the President stated that he is very confident that we can get commonsense immigration reform done:

“So we need to seize the moment. And my expectation is, is that we get a bill introduced and we begin the process in Congress very soon after my inauguration. And in fact, some conversations I think are already beginning to take place among senators and congressmen and my staff about what would this look like.”

President Barack Obama gives a press conference in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

President Barack Obama gives a press conference in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

Click here to watch a video of the President’s news conference. Click here to read the complete press release.

30 New Citizens Naturalized on the “Today Show”
Friday November 16, 2012
On Friday, November 16, USCIS welcomed 30 new citizens during a special naturalization ceremony televised live on the Today Show in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. USCIS Director Mayorkas provided the call of countries and Secretary Napolitano administered the oath ceremony. These new citizens and their families were joined by Lee Greenwood, whose song “God Bless the U.S.A.” gives voice to the hope and promise of the American dream, and is played at naturalization ceremonies across the country. To watch this special ceremony, click here.

On November 16, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released updated statistics regarding implementation of the first three months of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process which allows certain people who were brought to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines to request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. The data shows that USCIS has accepted 298,834 requests for processing, and that 53,273 requests have been approved. USCIS also provided updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in Korean, Tagalog, and Portuguese, and Form I-9 Guidance for Employers. To learn more about this process visit the USCIS website.

In this newsletter, you will read about the President’s nomination of two Latinos for U.S. District Court judgeships and find agency updates on the ICE ERO’s Community Detainee Hotline and a newly-established Detainee Intercultural Center. In addition, you also find updates on upcoming stakeholder events including USCIS Intergovernmental Affairs Quarterly Meeting, National Spanish-language Engagement, and Asylum Division Quarterly Stakeholder Meeting.

Julie Chávez Rodriguez
Associate Director
White House | Office of Public Engagement

Administration Announcements & Agency Updates

President Obama Nominates Two Latinos to U.S. District Courts
November 14, 2012
On November 14, President Obama nominated seven individuals for U.S. District Court judgeships, including two Latinos: U.S. Attorney Kenneth John Gonzales and Judge Analisa Torres. When making the announcement, President Obama stated “These individuals have demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness Americans expect and deserve from their judicial system. They also represent my continued commitment to ensure that the judiciary resembles the nation it serves.” To learn more about these judicial nominees, click here.

ERO launches second phase of Community and Detainee Helpline
November 14, 2012
Recently, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) launched the second phase of its ICE Community and Detainee Helpline (CDH). Detainees from ERO Atlanta, Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans and Washington will be able to directly contact the Public Advocate Office by telephone through toll-free telephone systems in the facilities. This expanded service streamlines the means by which detainees can access assistance. To learn more, click here.

Detainee Intercultural Center is a place for spiritual reflection
November 8, 2012
The newly-established Detainee Intercultural Center at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) El Paso Processing Center in Texas is a place where men and women in ICE custody can reflect, meditate and worship. “The new Detainee Intercultural Center, not only serves the spiritual needs of people in our custody, but it’s part of ICE’s larger effort to reform the immigration detention system as a whole,” said ICE Field Office Director Adrian Macias. To read more, click here.

Adult College Completion Tool Kit
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), 2012, 69 pp.
This publication contains “a wealth of resources and tools” to help undereducated adults transition to postsecondary education. In producing the Tool Kit, OVAE seeks to advance President Obama’s goal for the United States to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. The primary audience for the Tool Kit are administrators of state literacy programs and adult education practitioners. The publication outlines effective strategies for college transition and organizes them into three categories: facilitating access to college, ensuring quality of instruction, and promoting college completion. Sidebars give examples of effective programs. An appendix contains links to, and descriptions of, more than 50 resources discussed in the report, many of them developed with OVAE funding. The Tool Kit also includes handouts for four target student populations: adult basic education students, incarcerated individuals, veterans, and high-skilled immigrants.

Upcoming Events

Intergovernmental Affairs Quarterly Meeting
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites interested parties to participate in the next Intergovernmental Affairs quarterly teleconference to be held Tuesday, November 27, 2012 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm (Eastern). USCIS will provide updates on SAVE, E-Verify, Transformation, Temporary Protected Status for Haiti and Syria, and other areas of interest. If you are interested in attending, click here.

National Spanish-language Engagement – A Conversation with USCIS
On Wednesday, December 5, 2012, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Eastern), USCIS will conduct a national Spanish-language Enlace session as part of an ongoing series of quarterly public engagements. This free session is an opportunity for individuals who speak Spanish to engage with us in their native language. To learn more, click here.

Asylum Division Quarterly Stakeholder Meeting
USCIS Asylum Division will host its quarterly stakeholder meeting on Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm (Eastern) in the White Oak Conference Room at 20 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC. The purpose of this engagement is for individuals to ask questions and raise issues regarding USCIS asylum operations. If you wish to attend, you must respond to Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov no later than Tuesday, December 4th, 2012. For more information, click here.

Increasing Taxes on Middle-Cla​ss Families Will Hurt Consumer Spending


As we move into the holiday shopping season, the National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers just released a new report, The Middle-Class Tax Cuts’ Impact on Consumer Spending and Retailers.

If Congress doesn’t act, middle-class families will see their income taxes go up on January 1st. The typical middle-class family will see their taxes go up by $2,200 next year, burdening businesses and retailers across the nation.

Find out more about the report on middle-class tax cuts and retail and consumer spending.

Increasing Taxes on Middle-Class Families Will Hurt Consumer Spending

In Case You Missed It
Here are some of the top stories from the White House blog:Fighting Human Trafficking in Cambodia
On each leg of his trip to Southeast Asia this week, President Obama raised with foreign leaders one of his priority human rights issues: ending human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery.White House Announces Judges for Equal Futures App Challenge
The new Equal Futures Partnership launched an app challenge earlier this year to create an app that promotes civic education and/or inspires girls to serve as leaders in our democracy. We are pleased to announce the leaders that have signed on to act as judges.

Open Today: Summer 2013 White House Internship Program Application
White House Interns begin the Internship Program with a passion for public service, and during their time at the White House, they find ways to couple that passion with new skills so that they’re better equipped to serve after their internships are done.

the Progress Report : Republicans, Voter Suppression,FOX,Abortions

 | By ThinkProgress War Room

Today’s Top Three

The Progress Report will return in December. Until then, make sure you don’t miss these three important posts on ThinkProgress today:

1. Florida Republicans Admit Voter Suppression Was The Goal Of New Election Laws

2. Fox News Abruptly Ends Interview After Guest Calls Out The Network For Hyping Benghazi Scandal

3. Arizona Government Designs Website To Manipulate Women Out Of Having Abortions

Sierra Club …


Attend A Beyond Coal
Photo Lecture And Help
Protect The Climate
Photograph Credit: David T. Hansonbtn_brown_RSVP

You’re invited to a Beyond Coal photo lecture and clean energy discussion. RSVP now!

Join us for an evening with award-winning photographer David T. Hanson to see the impacts of Puget Sound Energy‘s coal-fired power plant — the Colstrip Generating Facility in southeast Montana. Hanson’s photographs dramatically evoke a story of the local impacts of our coal-fired electricity.1

These startling photographs have been exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern art, and were published as a book in 2010.

Following Hanson’s presentation, there will be a discussion of alternatives to PSE‘s dirty Colstrip plant and ways local residents can help support the growing movement to end our reliance on coal.

Learn how you can get involved to make this critical transition off of coal. RSVP now!


Bellevue — Wednesday, December 5, at 7:00 p.m.
Bellevue Arts Museum, 510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004 (map)

Bainbridge Island — Friday, December 7, at 7:00 p.m.
IslandWood Conference Center, 4450 Blakely Avenue NE, Bainbridge Isle, WA 98110 (map)

RSVP: http://action.sierraclub.org/photolectures

NOTE: There is limited seating for the event, so please RSVP to reserve your seat.

Questions: Contact Seth Ballhorn at seth.ballhorn@sierraclub.org

This event will be a great opportunity to learn how you can get involved in a local campaign
to confront our growing climate crisis.

Join us and help build the movement to protect our region and the climate. RSVP now! 

Thanks for all you do for the environment,

Seth Ballhorn
Beyond Coal Campaign
Sierra Club

P.S. Events are always more fun with friends. After you RSVP, please forward this email or share it on your social networks using the handy buttons below:

Congressional Budget Office

H.R. 4194, a bill to amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to provide that Alexander Creek, Alaska, is and shall be recognized as an eligible Native village under that Act, and for other purposes

As ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on August 1, 2012

CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4194 would cost $30 million over the 2013-2022 period. Because those costs would increase direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Enacting the legislation would not affect revenues or spending subject to appropriation.

S.1910, Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2011

As ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on May 16, 2012

S. 1910 would make same-sex domestic partners of certain federal employees (including certain employees of the District of Columbia who were first employed by the District before October 1, 1987) eligible to receive the same employment benefits as married spouses of federal employees. Benefits that would affect the federal budget include health insurance, survivor annuities, compensation for work-related injuries, and travel and relocation benefits.

S. 3340, Mental Health Access to Continued Care and Enhancement of Support Services Act of 2012

As ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on September 12, 2012

S. 3340 would extend mental health services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to family members of active-duty servicemembers, enhance programs for homeless veterans, and make other changes to veterans’ health care, compensation and burial benefits. In total, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would have a discretionary cost of $310 million over the 2013-2017 period, assuming appropriation of the specified and estimated amounts.