Tuesday, July 7, 2015

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Launches Citizenship Public Awareness Initiative

National Effort Highlights Agency’s Free Citizenship Preparation Tools
USCIS signature
WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a series of promotional materials today as part of the Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative. This media campaign builds on a similar effort from 2011 and is being launched under the umbrella of the Task Force on New Americans and President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
This effort is intended to raise awareness about the rights, responsibilities and importance of U.S. citizenship and provide information on the naturalization process and USCIS educational resources. The promotional campaign guides lawful permanent residents towards the USCIS Citizenship Resource Center for official, accurate and reliable information on citizenship and naturalization topics.
“USCIS is proud to expand its efforts to assist those eligible for citizenship – the highest privilege of our nation's immigration system – to take the necessary steps to complete their journey,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. “Through this initiative, USCIS continues to emphasize the importance of citizenship to both individuals and the nation while providing free preparation tools for aspiring citizens.”
According to the most recent analysis by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics, an estimated 8.8 million lawful permanent residents are eligible to apply for citizenship, and the median time spent as a lawful permanent resident before becoming a United States citizen is seven years. Green card holders who meet all eligibility requirements may apply for citizenship after five years, or three years if they are married to a U.S. citizen. (See uscis.gov/us-citizenship/citizenship-through-naturalization .)
The media campaign announced today includes print advertisements in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese; digital advertisements in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese; radio public service announcements in Spanish and Chinese; and video public service announcements in English and Spanish. Online digital advertisements will run from July 1-Aug. 15. A second phase will begin in September, and will include additional print and digital media spots.
 This campaign aims to provide those seeking citizenship with information on the naturalization process and USCIS educational resources. It is part of a larger effort to demystify the process and provide lawful permanent residents with information to protect themselves against the unauthorized practice of immigration law.
 Immigrant-serving organizations can support the initiative by:
  • Sharing digital and print campaign materials.
  • Placing a USCIS banner or widget on the organization's website.
  • Registering for a free copy of the Civics and Citizenship Toolkit and using the contents in citizenship or English language programs.
  • Placing the media campaign’s print advertisement posters in office waiting areas, classrooms, community centers and other visible areas.
  • Requesting to download and use the available PSAs, free of charge, over the one-year life of the campaign.
  • Adding the organization’s English language and/or citizenship education programs to America’s Literacy Directory at www.literacydirectory.org.  

See the Video PSAs Web page to view the video public service announcements. Digital, print, radio and video messages can be downloaded free of charge. Immigrant-serving organizations and members of the media interested in donating media space should send an email to norine.w.han@uscis.dhs.gov.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Arizona Representative Eric Meyer: Private prison system needs reform, oversight

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 28), released this statement regarding the riot in a prison outside of Kingman:

“The recent riot in the private prison near Kingman is yet another incident that raises public safety concerns about these facilities. This is the same private prison that three inmates escaped from in 2010 and killed two people. But many Republicans at the Capitol continue to call for more private prisons while scaling back oversight.

“In 2012, Republicans repealed a state law requiring a comparison of state and private prisons every two years to ensure that private prisons provide the same quality of services as state prisons at a lower cost. Although this official comparison is no longer available, the multitude of security breaches paints a dire picture. Despite these public safety issues, Republicans passed a budget this year that will spend millions of tax dollars on 1,000 new private-prison beds in 2016 and potentially 1,000 more in 2017.

“The for-profit, private prison system is not working, and I question the governor’s ability to reform this system when his campaign received more than $10,000 in contributions from lobbyists and political committees with ties to the private prison industry.  This seems like a conflict of interest and presents some serious concerns about both safety and responsible use of taxpayer money.” -30-

In 2014 Illegals had Committed 79,059 crimes, including 175 homicides, 373 sexual assaults, 186 kidnappings, and 14,014 impaired driving offenses.

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ICE Still Releasing Criminal Aliens at a Rapid Pace

According to ICE records, the agency released 30,558 convicted criminal aliens in FY 2014. These individuals had been convicted of 79,059 crimes, including 175 homicides, 373 sexual assaults, 186 kidnappings, and 14,014 impaired driving offenses.

As of the end of March 2015, ICE had released another 10,246 criminal aliens. This pace of criminal releases is down from 2013 and 2014 — but only because ICE is arresting far fewer people to start with, not because there are fewer to arrest. ICE arrests of criminal aliens are down 32 percent since this time last year, according to ICE records. Arrests of the most serious offenders are down by 22 percent over last year.

Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies said, “The Obama administration is shamelessly promoting a narrative suggesting that illegal immigration is no longer a problem and that interior enforcement is more effective than ever.  This narrative, propped up by a few cherry-picked statistics, strategic press releases, and supercilious statements to Congress and the public, is meant to distract from the truth.  In fact, immigration enforcement has been in free fall for years, often with tragic consequences for those victimized by criminal aliens who were shielded by the President’s policies, and at continued high cost to taxpayers forced to subsidize these misguided policies.”

View the entire article: http://cis.org/vaughan/non-deported-ice-still-releasing-criminal-aliens

The majority of convicted criminal releases occurred because of Obama administration policies that require ICE officers to let the offenders go. In some cases, judges will allow aliens to be released after a bond hearing, but the conditions are usually set by ICE, and ICE attorneys say that they have been instructed not to vigorously contest an alien's request for release. According to ICE records, only 2,457 (8 percent) of the 30,558 convicted criminal releases in 2014 were Zadvydas cases, cases in which the criminal aliens were released because their home countries would not accept them back.

Aliens who are released on bond typically are not subject to any form of supervision. Most of them will join the approximately 904,000 aliens who have been ordered removed (often in absentia), but who have not left. Of these, 167,527 are convicted criminals.

Other ICE records show that, despite ICE Director Sarah Saldana's insistence that they are working hard to find at-large criminal aliens, few are in fact being caught. As of April 2015, ICE had arrested only 11,983 of the 168,000 at-large convicted criminal aliens — so they are not making much of a dent in the criminal fugitive population.

The Obama administration continues to practice catch and release of criminal aliens to this day. According to ICE records, in the first six months of this fiscal year, ICE officers encountered approximately 47,000 aliens labeled a criminal threat, but took enforcement action against only about 19,000.

It's not as if ICE has nowhere to put the criminal aliens that officers encounter (most of whom are referred to the agency after arrest or conviction on local or state charges). ICE is allowing 20 percent of its detention capacity to go unused. Halfway through the fiscal year, the agency was detaining an average of 27,400 per day, in defiance of a congressional mandate to detain 34,000.

Deportations of criminal aliens continue to decline, just as overall deportations are at their lowest level in several years.

In addition to the criminal releases, ICE routinely does not living up to its responsibilities as a law enforcement agency that claims to prioritize public safety. ICE's victim notification system is kept under a bushel, with few victims aware of it, and no concerted agency effort to conduct outreach to victims. ICE is also taking its sweet time in launching a notification system for local law enforcement agencies that would make them aware of the thousands of offenders being turned back onto the streets. In contrast, ICE is extremely diligent at protecting the privacy of criminal alien offenders.

Contact: Marguerite Telford
202-466-8185, mrt@cis.org

Kevin McCarthy The Leader's Daily Schedule - 7/7/15

Leader's Daily Schedule
On Tuesday, the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
One Minute Speeches
Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
1) H.R. 907 - United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen / Foreign Affairs Committee)
2) Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 91 - Veteran's I.D. Card Act (Sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan / Veterans’ Affairs Committee) 
3) H.R. 1531 - Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act (Sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
Continue Consideration of H.R. 2822 - Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 (Modified Open Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Ken Calvert / Appropriations Committee)
The Rule provides for no further general debate and makes in order any amendment offered that complies with the House rules. Additionally, the Rule provides for 10 minutes of debate per amendment equally divided between the proponent and an opponent and up to 10 pro forma amendments for the purpose of debate offered by the Chair and Ranking Member or their designee.
Members with amendments should be prepared to offer them on Tuesday.
Special Order Speeches

Arizona Republican Spending Over $ 6 Million to fight the Independent Redistricting Commission

Just one day after affirming Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission’s (IRC) ability to create the boundaries for congressional districts, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will take up a case challenging the population distribution in the legislative districts that the IRC set.  So the Republican-led spending spree to fight the voter-created IRC continues.

Because the IRC is funded by the state, more tax dollars will be spent litigating an issue that should already be settled. A recent news article reported that the full cost of the redistricting legal challenges is more than $5.3 million, including $1.73 million the IRC has already had to spend in the case the Supreme Court just agreed to hear. Arizona taxpayers can expect to continue shelling out cash for this Republican power grab.

A group of Republican Party activists are leading the charge with this lawsuit, and they seem to be pushing a partisan agenda.  That is exactly what most voters in Arizona wanted to keep out of the redistricting process when they created the IRC by citizen initiative in 2000. Most Arizona voters want redistricting out of the hands of the Legislature. They clearly prefer an independent organization in charge to help remove partisanship and personal political ambition from this important process.

The Republican leaders and activists in this state must answer to Arizona’s voters.  In the opinionJustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote regarding the most recently decided IRC case she said, “Arizona voters sought to restore ‘the core principle of republican government,’ namely, ‘that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.’” We agree. 

Arizona's 40th annual Nude Recreation Week Starting July 11th

Arizonans ready to help set skinny-dip record. Maybe you skinny dipped at some point in your life.
Maxine Cherry waters flowers at her home at the Shangri-La
Maxine Cherry waters flowers at her home at the Shangri-La Ranch, a clothing-optional and family-friendly community in New River, on Saturday, June 20, 2015. (Photo: David Wallace/The Republic)
Maybe it was a carefree swim in the lake as a kid, on a dare with high-school friends or as a grown-up nighttime adventure at the beach.  But would you have done it with 300 strangers? The American Association for Nude Recreation invites anyone to strip off their clothes and jump into one of its club pools in an attempt to set a skinny-dip record. It's part of the 40th annual Nude Recreation Week, a campaign to invite anyone who is curious to check out a local club or a Naturist Society Club, and maybe even join.

At noon Arizona time Saturday, participants will skinny dip at designated beaches, pools, lakes and hot tubs throughout North North America and try to break the organization's 2009 record of 13,648 skinny dippers.

The attempt is not sanctioned by "Guinness World Records"; that would be difficult because Guinness officials would have to be at every location. Seven locations in Arizona have signed up to participate, as have dozens more across the United States and Canada. Source

Would Columba Bush Wife of Jeb Make A Good First Lady For America

A few things we have uncovered about Columba Bush wife of Jeb a GOP 2016 Presidential hopeful.
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Right to Rise Pac foundered by Jeb Bush
During Jeb Bush’s two terms as governor of Florida, from 1999 to 2007, the first lady maintained a low profile, living much of the time in their Miami-area home rather than in the state capital, of Tallahassee. If he was elected POTUS would the White House be without a first lady?  The US first lady does not have a job description, however she does represent a window to the office holder.
 She’s got an elaborate jewelry collection. 
Mrs. Bush really, really likes jewelry and spent lavishly on it during her husband’s political career. In 1999, she was detained and fined by customs officials for lying about how much she’d spent during a Paris shopping trip; she’d actually spent $19,000 and ended up paying more than $4000 in fines. She was slammed in the media for weeks, but it did not stop her spending habits. A year later, she spent $42,311.70 in one day on a handful of pieces of diamond jewelry including a $25,000 pair of platinum diamond stud earrings and a $10,500 bracelet. Over 14 years, The Washington Post reports that Mrs.  Bush spent more than $90,000 at one jewelry store in Florida.  
1.    She’s not a political person. Columba doesn’t want to go to the galas, she doesn’t want to fundraise, and she really doesn’t want politics influencing her immediate family. Both profiles document Columba’s reluctance to be a public figure—she blamed politics for causing tension in her marriage and contributing to her daughter’s battle with drug addiction. When she did weigh into the political sphere, she focused on raising awareness on issues like domestic violence and the arts. The Times notes in particular how the Miami resident never really fit in with the state capital, Tallahassee. “If people in Tallahassee were looking for a Southern belle in that job of first lady,” one friend and political operative remarked, “they had the wrong woman.”
2.   She loves her telenovelas. Both profiles hint to Columba’s love of Mexican soaps. The Post quotes a line from a 1989 Miami Herald article: “She would trade 20 society galas for one juicy Spanish soap opera savored in the comfort of her South Dade County home,” while the Times cites a friend saying the same.
3.   Hers was the first vote Jeb needed. Last summer and fall, the Times reports, she grappled with whether or not to jump on board with her husband’s presidential ambitions. But on Thanksgiving, during a family vacation in Mexico, Columba said yes – with one caveat: her husband would spend some time every week with the family each week.
4.   If Jeb runs and wins, she’d be the second foreign-born first lady. Columba was born in Mexico; as an immigrant – one who still speaks with a Spanish accent – she could be a helpful surrogate for a party that has struggled to soften their reputation amongst Latinos. Louisa Johnson Adams – wife of John Quincy Adams – was the only other foreign-born First Lady in U.S. history. She was born in England in 1775.

The, The New York Times and The Washington Post both have ran profiles on the spotlight-shy wife of a man who could bring the Bush family name back into the White House for a third time in 2016. Jeb's Mexican Wife

Columba Bush's Expensive Taste the Big Spending Wife of Jeb Bush

We now have a first lady Michelle who loves to travel on the taxpayer's dime, would we want one that has penchant for expensive jewelry?
Columba Bush was briefly detained and fined at Atlanta's Hartsfield Internationalhttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png Airport on Thursday after her arrival following a five-day shopping spree in Paris. The governor was not with her. She declared only $500 worth of merchandise on a Customs form at the airport. But during a random check, agents found receipts indicating the governor's wife was toting about $19,000 worth of clothing and jewelry bought in France.
Using a personal check, she paid $4,100 in duty and fines on the items. She was then allowed to continue to Tallahassee.
The above run in with customs for lying about her purchases to avoid a higher duty fee did no curtail her free extravagant spending. Less than a year later, she took out a loan to buy $42,311.70 worth of jewelry in a single day, according to records filed with the state of Florida by Mayors Jewelers.

That purchase was part of a pattern by Columba Bush of borrowing to buy tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry at a time from the South Florida store over a 14-year period. Documentation available online, which does not include the details of two transactions made less than six weeks apart in 1995, shows that she spent a total of more than $90,000 at the store.
State filings provide a glimpse at the expensive tastes of potential Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s wife Columba.

AZ Governor Doug Ducey Details His Management Style In A Memo To Employees

After six months in office a one and half detailed memo of the Governor's management style was released to the press.
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Via AZ Central
Don't surprise me and I won't surprise you' ...Tucked among public documents released to Insiderlast week was a little gem that provides insight into Gov. Doug Ducey's leadership style. Earlier in his administration, the boss-man authored a 15-point memo titled "DOUG DUCEY PERSONAL MANAGEMENT STYLE..." and made it available to state employees. Some who work closely with the governor have wallet-sized instructions on how to effectively work with him.
According to his tipsheet, Ducey disdains meetings, takes bad news well and prefers short, snappy issue memos — bonus points for graphics — over reams of complicated material.

Movement to Open Debates Gaining More Attention

Issue No. 12:  Movement to Open Debates Gaining More Attention
Over 200 Media Outlets Report Lawsuit Filed Against FEC 
Level the Playing Field, a group pushing to open up the presidential debates to an independent candidate, filed an historic lawsuit yesterday in U.S. District Court. The lead plaintiffs were joined by the Green Party of the United States and the Libertarian National Committee in asking the Court to compel the Federal Election Commission to act on a complaint they have flat-out ignored for nine months.

The case concerns violations of federal law by two institutions the Democratic and Republican parties have used to perpetuate their stranglehold on the American political system: the Commission on Presidential Debates ("CPD"), an organization the two parties created for the express purpose of keeping third-party and independent candidates out of debates, and the Federal Election Commission ("FEC"), a "bipartisan" agency run by members of the two major parties, which refuses to carry out its statutory mandate to enforce the federal election laws that the CPD is blatantly violating.

Here is a link to the filing.

It is obvious that no one can be elected President without participating in the general election debates. Yet the CPD has rigged the rules governing who can be in the debates to ensure that no candidate other than the Democratic and Republican nominees will ever be invited to the stage.

The principal architect of these rules is CPD co-chairman and co-founder Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., the former Republican National Committee chairman, who refers to the CPD as  "my commission" and describes himself as "the Wizard of Oz" for his "behind the scenes" manipulation of our political system.  Mr. Fahrenkopf freely admitted in April 2015 that the CPD's "system" for selecting candidates consists of "go[ing] with the two leading candidates . . . the two political party candidates."

American voters want greater choice and more competition in politics; 53% are unsatisfied with the two party system, and 58% believe a third party is needed. Record numbers of Americans - well over 40% - now identify themselves as independent, and 62% say they would vote for an independent candidate for president in 2016.

It's no wonder the effort to open the debates is attracting so much attention. More than 200 media outlets published stories about the filing of yesterday's lawsuit.

Here are links to some of the news coverage:

AP:  Lawsuit filed challenging general election debate rules
CBS News:  Advocates file lawsuit challenging presidential debate rules

Yahoo News:  Lawsuit filed challenging general election debate rules
Presidential Debate News provides the latest news and information on efforts to open up the presidential debates to include a third, independent candidate - thus, giving the American people a broader choice in their selection of our President and enabling more great Americans to run.  
Presidential Debate News is a project of Level the Playing Field.  

Level the Playing Field is a nonpartisan, nonprofit corporation not affiliated with any candidate or candidate committee.  Its purpose is to promote reforms that allow for greater competition and choice in elections. Paid for by Level the Playing Field.