Every Child Deserves A Family


Michigan Passes An Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill

Yesterday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill that allows faith-based adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples. The bill, which was passed through both chambers of the state legislature this week, allows faith-based adoption agencies—even those receiving tax-payer funds—to deny services to anyone who violates their religious beliefs including single LGBT individuals, same-sex couples, unmarried couples, or couples who hold different religious beliefs.

In Michigan, 13,000 children are in the state’s care and about half of all adoption work in the state is conducted by religious groups, who now have the right to discriminate against same-sex couples. Michigan’s predicament, along with the spread of religious freedom laws across the country highlight the need for comprehensive non-discrimination laws to provide LGBT Americans and their families with the same protections currently afforded to other Americans.

Anti-LGBT adoption bills are not only illogical, they are also unpopular. There is overwhelming evidence that LGBT individuals are capable of effective parenting and often more willing than heterosexual couples to be foster parents. And with a growing population of children in need a foster care, we cannot afford to allow these discriminatory practices. Moreover, support for same-sex adoption is high across the board. According to the Public Religion Research Institute in America, 80 percent of Jews, 75 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans, 68 percent of white mainline Protestants, and 61 percent of Catholics support adoption by same-sex parents.

Despite widespread popular support, only seven states currently have explicit laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBT foster parents. In Florida yesterday Gov. Rick Scott signed a repeal of a decades-old bill prohibiting LGBT adoption, five years after a judge ruled the ban unconstitutional. But in a letter announcing the repeal, Scott said he hopes the Florida legislature will take future action to ensure a religious exemption.

BOTTOM LINE: Supporters of religious exemption bills like those passed this week in Michigan and North Carolina and Indiana’s controversial “Religious Freedom” bill argue that these bills protect the conscience of religious groups. But in reality, bills like the one signed by Gov. Snyder yesterday are about making religion into a political weapon at the expense of real children and families.

A dangerous man knows my home address

Petitioning North Carolina State House, North Carolina State Senate, Patrick McCrory

Remove full home addresses from Driver Exchange Forms

Petition by Jamie Sides
United States

Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month:

Greetings! My name is Ginette Magaña, and I am the new White House Associate Director for Latino and Immigration Engagement.

As the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, June has been especially inspiring as we celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month (IHM) — a time to celebrate and honor the contributions of immigrants and refugees around the United States, and to highlight their inspiring immigrant stories that add to our American heritage.

In his Weekly Address, the President recognized Immigrant Heritage Month and invited Americans to share their own story at WhiteHouse.gov/NewAmericans and #TBT posts of their or their families’ immigrant roots so that “we can keep [the American Dream] alive for generations to come.” The President promised to continue to fight to do what he can to fix the broken system, despite congressional inaction.

Watch his Weekly Address here:

Watch the President's Weekly Address.

And make sure to read the following stories from other White House staff:

IHM celebrations are also taking place across the nation:

  • On June 1, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto kicked off the month with the first-ever naturalization ceremony in Pittsburgh City Council Chambers, in partnership with City Council President Bruce Kraus and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez.
  • This week, in San Francisco, immigrant and first generation artists will feature their work at an Art Exhibition proudly highlighting their heritage and IHM.

Over the past week, we have pushed out and highlighted important immigrant stories via social and traditional media, including stories from Cecilia Muñoz, Valerie Jarrett, and over 50 celebrities and thought leaders — such as Eva Longoria, Toni Braxton, and Wu-Tang.

If you haven’t already done so, tweet out a photo that shows your immigrant heritage using #IHM2015.

Throughout June, the Administration will host and participate in events that honor our heritage as a nation of immigrants. We invite you to do the same — and as the new Associate Director for Latino and Immigration Engagement, I look forward to working with you to continue to improve our communities and our country.

Administration Updates

USCIS Partners with the City of New York to Support Citizenship Education and Awareness
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Office of the Mayor of New York City have joined forces to strengthen citizenship education and awareness efforts in the City of New York. The new partnership began today as part of a signed letter of agreement between USCIS Director Léon Rodríguez and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. The agreement will remain in effect until December 31, 2018.

Readout of Secretary Johnson’s Trip to Houston
On June 8, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson concluded his trip to Houston, where he participated in a naturalization ceremony, met with local officials and community members, and delivered remarks entitled “Immigration: Perception Versus Reality” at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Temporary Protected Status Extended for Somalia
On June 1, USCIS published a notice to extend the existing Temporary Protected Status program for Somalia. The 18-month extension will be effective from September 18, 2015 through March 17, 2017. This comes as the conflict between the Somalian government and Al-Shabab militants continues to threaten innocent lives.

USCIS Partners with City of Atlanta to Support Citizenship Education and Awareness
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed signed a letter of agreement today to begin a partnership to strengthen citizenship education and awareness efforts. The agreement will remain in effect until December 2017.

An Interview with Bob Carey, ORR’s New Director
On April 9, Robert Carey was introduced as the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s new director. The Connections team recently talked with Bob about his first few weeks on the job, his goals, and why he is committed to working with refugees.

Interagency Working Group Issues Action Plan to Ensure the Consistent Enforcement of Federal Labor, Employment and Immigration Laws
On November 20, 2014 the President announced the creation of an Interagency Working Group between Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and National Labor Relations Board as part of the President’s Task Force on New Americans. In early May, the Interagency Working Group released its six-month action plan.

Get Involved

A Webinar on the Naturalization Process: Becoming a United States Citizen
USCIS will host a webinar on Wednesday, June 17 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT on becoming a U.S. citizen. During the webinar, USCIS will provide an overview of the naturalization process, eligibility requirements, and a Q&A session. Register for the webinar here, and find all upcoming USCIS engagements here.

Artifacts from sunken slave ship to be displayed at the Smithsonian

NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Exclusive: Artifacts from sunken slave ship to be displayed at the Smithsonian
Lonnie on MSNBC

For the first time ever, divers have uncovered the wreckage of an African slave trade ship that sunk with slaves on board. Lonnie Bunch, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History, where the artifacts will be displayed, was interviewed by MSNBC’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” on the morning of June 11, 2015.

Click on the weblink to view the interview.

edison signature
Edison R. Wato, Jr.
Membership Program Manager 

The Story of the Horse

The Story of the HorseIn any discussion of the history of humankind, it becomes quickly apparent that this narrative would be utterly different without the inclusion of horses. In our July/August 2015 issue, executive editor Jarrett A. Lobell and online editor Eric A. Powell bring us a special section, “The Story of the Horse,” in which they explore the unique roles that this animal has played in diverse areas of the human experience, and the evolving relationship we have had with horses across the millennia.

to get the complete article click on the link above!