Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New poll reveals strong support for DREAM Act

A poll released today reveals strong bipartisan support for the DREAM Act, federal legislation introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) that would provide undocumented students brought to the United States as children with the opportunity to earn permanent legal status upon meeting certain requirements.

According to the survey results, 70% of Americans favor the DREAM Act, a notable increase in support compared to a similar 2004 poll that placed public support at 58%. Under the DREAM Act, students would be eligible to earn legal status if they came to the U.S. when they were very young, lived here for at least five years, stayed out of trouble, earned a high school diploma or GED, and completed at least two years of college or military service.

The poll also demonstrates significant bipartisan support (69%) for a provision within the legislation that would restore a state’s authority to determine whether or not to provide in-state tuition to undocumented students residing in their state. While the DREAM Act would not mandate states to provide in-state tuition to undocumented students, it would allow states to determine whether or not immigration status should be a factor for in-state tuition eligibility purposes.

“This research confirms the strong public support across the country and across party lines to move forward with the DREAM Act, a common-sense solution to address the hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the United States as children and are left unable to pursue theAmerican dream,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, the bipartisan child advocacy organization that commissioned the poll.

“The future success of our country lies in our ability to cultivate an educated workforce capable of competing in the global economy. We cannot afford to continue losing the talent of so many students who have already been educated in American schools. We strongly urge Congress to take action this year to pass the DREAM Act.” [emphasis mine-"It's MY blog after all, so I can emphasize whatever I want!" declared Billie Greenwood.]

Every year, approximately 65,000 students graduate from American high schools facing an uncertain future. If passed, the DREAM Act has the potential to provide these young people with improved access to a higher education and a legal means by which to contribute to society.

Friday, June 25, 2010

More drones to monitor the U.S.-Mexico Border

Preditor B drones employed by CBP to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the flight of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over 1,200 miles of the Texas-Mexico border and along the Texas Gulf Coast, according to an announcement this week. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can now permanently station a remotely-piloted aircraft in Texas. This will be the first UAV based and operated in Texas, reportedly to help combat illegal activity along the Texas-Mexico border.

Earlier this month, CBP began flying a remotely-piloted aircraft based in Arizona over a portion of West Texas. FAA's most recent approval will allow CBP to fly over the remainder of the Texas-Mexico border betweenEl Paso and Brownsville along the Rio Grande. In addition, CBP will patrol the state's coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. The remotely-piloted aircraft, known as a Predator B, can fly for up to 20 hours and provide to CBP real-time intelligence information from attached cameras, sensors and radar systems.

CBP plans to place the Texas-based UAV at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas. For six months, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and other Texas lawmakers have worked to bring the UAV program to Texas. Cuellar is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism.

Many border citizen-residents resent the increasing militarization of their communities. Critics claim that government contracts with the weapons industries drive U.S. policy and procedures.

According to CBP, A & M currently operates five Predator B UAS's. Four fly from the UAS Operations Center in Sierra Vista, Arizona and one from the UAS Operations Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Since 2005 Predator Bs have flown more than 1,500 hours in support of border security missions and have assisted in the apprehension of more than 4,000 undocumented immigrants and the seizure of more than 15,000 pounds of marijuana.

For more information on the CBP UAV program, visit the CBP website.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Immigrants Can Drive the Green Economy

2000 Census found that immigrants, while accounting for but 12 percent of the population, made up nearly half of the all scientists and engineers with doctorate degrees in the United States.
Nearly 70 percent of the men and women who entered the fields of science and engineering from 1995 to 2006 were immigrants.
…So it should come as no surprise that immigrants will help drive the green revolution!
America's young scientists and engineers, especially the ones drawn to emerging industries like alternative energy, tend to speak with an accent. Yet, the connection between immigration and the development and commercialization of alternative energy technology is rarely discussed.

In the Immigration Policy Center's latest Perspective on Immigration piece,
Why Immigrants Can Drive the Green Economy, Richard T. Herman and Robert L. Smith explain how policymakers envision millions of new jobs as the nation pursues renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power. They highlight some voices that warn us that much of the clean-technology talent lies overseas… in nations that began pursuing alternative energy sources decades ago.

Read the original source here:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rock on! Our Spring Road Trip slideshow

Trip Wow!, Trip Advisor's free slide show generator, created this slide show of our semi-annual migration from Texas to Iowa. Enjoy!

Rock on! Road Trip ~ Spring 2010 Slideshow: Billie Greenwood’s trip from El Paso to 5 cities Colorado Springs, Boulder, Raton, Peru and Tularosa was created by TripAdvisor. See another United States slideshow. Take your travel photos and make a slideshow for free.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Judge Faircloth Change of Heart? Michael Walli Released from Jail!

    6/18/2010// Today, only three days after he was sentenced to six months of federal
    prison for carrying the protest against the School of the Americas
    onto Fort Benning, Michael Walli was released from jail.

    Early Thursday, Michael was ordered to pack up his belongings from his
    jail cell. He expected that he would be transferred to a federal
    facility but was then told by the wardens that he is free to go, without any further explanation.

    From the jail, Michael managed to get to Father Roy Bourgeois'
    apartment at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia. The two celebrated
    his release and Michael is now on a bus headed to his home in Washington, DC.

    According to the Columbus Ledger Enquirer, U.S. Magistrate G. Mallon
    Faircloth, who had only days ago handed down the maximum sentence to
    Michael, reduced Michael's sentence to time served.

    SOA Watch activists are full of joy that Michael is out and that he will soon be
    reunited with the great folks at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House
    in DC. Michael can be reached at 503 Rock Creek Church Road
    Northwest, Washington, DC 20010-1612. Phone: (202) 882-9649

    At the same time, the human rights defenders Ken Hayes, Father Louis
    Vitale and Nancy Gwin, all of whom were arrested with Michael during
    the 2009 vigil at the SOA/WHINSEC, remain in federal prison where they
    serve their harsh prison sentences.

    Please contact Judge G. Mallon Faircloth to commend him for doing the
    right thing in Michael Walli's case and to also demand the release of
    ALL Prisoners of Conscience that he incarcerated. There is no
    justification that our friends Nancy, Ken, and Louis are spending
    their days and nights in prison for speaking out against the SOA,
    while those responsible for the training of human rights abusers and
    for the use of torture manuals at the SOA have never even been investigated:

    G. Mallon Faircloth
    U.S. Magistrate Judge
    Post Office Box 117
    Columbus, GA 31902-0117

    Courtroom Clerk:
    Terrie Smith - (706) 653-2942

    Please also send messages of support to the Prisoners of Conscience
    who are still incarcerated in federal prisons across the United States
    and let them know that you are keeping up the work to close the School
    of the Americas and to change U.S. foreign policy! You can find their
    prison addresses here:

    Consider engaging in nonviolent direct action:
    Keep the pressure on! People who put their bodies on the line to speak
    in solidarity with the people of Latin America are crucial in the
    struggle to close the SOA/ WHINSEC.

    Stand up for justice at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia in November:

    For more information:
    SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, D.C. 20017, USA
    E-mail: info@soaw.org
    Telephone: (202) 234 3440
    Click here to fund the campaign to close the SOA.
    [I'm happy to have some good news to share today!]

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Activist gets 6 months for civil disobedience at SOA

    Washington, DC
    Catholic Worker Michael Walli was one of four human rights
    advocates arrested during the annual November Vigil to close
    the School of the Americas / Western Hemisphere Institute for Security
    Cooperation (SOA/ WHINSEC). Michael Walli was sentenced on Monday,
    June 14, 2010 to six months in federal prison.

    During his November arraignment, Michael told judge Malon Faircloth
    that he would not pay any bail and that he would not voluntarily
    return for the trial. Michael Walli made good on his promise and
    Faircloth issued a warrant for Michael's arrest. Federal marshals
    arrested Michael in March 2010 at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
    House in Washington, DC.

    Ken Hayes, Father Louis Vitale and Nancy Gwin, the three human rights
    advocates who were arrested together with Michael Walli, were each
    sentenced in January 2010 to six months in prison as well - the
    maximum allowed for the charge of tresspass. The extremely harsh
    sentences are intended to deter others from following the example of
    the 'SOAW 4.'

    "Those who speak out for justice are facing prison time while
    SOA-trained torturers and assassins are operating with impunity,"
    SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois.

    The SOA/WHINSEC is a combat training school for Latin American
    soldiers. Its graduates are consistently involved in human rights
    atrocities and coups, including the El Mozote Massacre in El Salvador
    and last year's military coup in Honduras. In 1996 the Pentagon was
    forced to release training manuals used at the school that advocated
    the use of torture, extortion and execution.

    SOA Watch works to stand in solidarity with people of Latin America,
    to change oppressive US foreign policy, and to close the SOA/WHINSEC.
    In November 2010, thousands will return to the gates of Fort Benning
    to call for justice and accountability

    To send a message of solidarity to the prisoners:

    Make plans to join the November Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flag Wrapping

by Loren Zachary, guest poster

On Memorial Day I saw a post by a “friend” on Facebook that was a symbol of patriotism misplaced. I am thankful for the soldiers that have helped defend democracy. Wrapping oneself in the flag to sound important is much too easy, and we the citizens let such things slide because we donʼt want to appear unpatriotic.

Here is part of the problem. Flag wrappers do not know what is like to be on a Korean mountainside where smoke from smoldering bushes ignited during a battle dot the
landscape. They do not know what a forward field observer feels when his own airplanes are bombing him instead of the enemy, or when he can no longer feel his toes because of the cold.

Flag wrappers do not know what it is like to be shot and watching the blood run out onto the ground, or to have mustard gas killing you. Hell is defined on an individual basis. It is just too easy to make war into a patriotic fantasy.

Flag wrapping is also a political tool. I am reminded of a yard sign that was pictured in the paper during George W. Bushʼs initiation of war against Iraq. In large letters was an admonition to support the president, and in smaller letters below was “Support the Troops.” This was a true flag wrapped political war propaganda.

Flag wrappers believe they are doing good. Wrapping is a symbol of skin deep thinking. It is simple to say glowing words of praise for causes that are unjust. Asking questions like “Why are we doing this” questions require thought and analysis. Calling Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Carl Rove patriots in light of their assault on fundamental values is another symptom of politics gone awry. Beware of flag wrapping politicians and their followers.

Website image credit: No Caption Needed http://www.nocaptionneeded.com/?p=1188
Photo Credit: Judy Patrick/Alaska Stock in Newsweek, September 15, 2008.