Thursday, November 27, 2014

The White House, the Thanksgiving menu

Per the White House, the Thanksgiving menu at the WH consists of the following. First Family will "be dinning with family."

Dinner
Thyme Roasted Turkey
Honey-Baked Ham
Cornbread Stuffing
Oyster Stuffing
Braised Winter Greens
Macaroni and Cheese
Sweet Potato Gratin
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Dinner Rolls
 
Dessert
Banana Cream Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Pecan Pie
Cherry Pie

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz spent the morning Feeding South Florida Families







Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz  spent the morning with volunteers from QLink Wireless, Feeding South Florida and New Wine Ministries. We provided Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of families in South Florida.



From Yesterdays Post:



 Dania Beach-based QLink Wireless, a national company that provides free cell phones and airtime to low-income Americans under the Federal Lifeline Assistance Program, is teaming up with Feeding South Florida (FSF) to provide 500 families with Thanksgiving dinner. The event will take place on Wednesday, November 26 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.at New Wine Ministries located at 12349 SW 53rd Street in Cooper City.
Participating low income families have been referred by local social service agencies, not-for-profits and homeless shelters that work closely with FSF.  Most recipients live in West Broward.
“We are excited to partner with QLink Wireless and appreciate their generosity,” said Paco Vélez, president and CEO of Feeding South Florida.  “Making a difference in peoples’ lives is what we do every day.”
Each family will receive a large reusable bag to transport their Thanksgiving items, including a 16-pound turkey, stuffing and fresh, local produce.  
Since 2010, South Florida has seen an increase of 40 percent in the reliance of emergency food programs. Currently, Florida is ranked twelfth in the United States for food insecurity and nearly 150,000 adults have been forced to choose between paying bills or putting food on the table. 
QLink Wireless management and employees will be distributing the food along with FSF staff and other volunteers including Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis.


For more information, visit www.feedingsouthflorida.org

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Air Travel? Know Your Passenger "Flight Rights"

PHOTO: Airline travelers may encounter busy Florida airports this week, but they have some basic legal rights as passengers in the event of a cancellation, delay or lost luggage. Photo credit: Steven Brooke, Miami International Airport.
PHOTO: Airline travelers may encounter busy Florida airports this week, but they have some basic legal rights as passengers in the event of a cancellation, delay or lost luggage. Photo credit: Steven Brooke, Miami International Airport.


 Whether it's Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville or Tampa, Florida airports will be bustling this week with folks catching flights to their Thanksgiving destinations. While the thought of delays or cancellations may be stressful, airline passengers can take comfort in knowing they have some protections under the law. Abe Scarr, spokesperson with the Public Interest Research Group, says most people don't fly often and may be unaware of their rights as a passenger.

"Whether it's the right to be reimbursed if you're bumped, or if there's something wrong with your baggage," Scarr says. "Or simply the right to complain, which actually has a lot of power to it, just by complaining to the airline and to the Department of Transportation."

For overbooked flights, he says there is no amount of mandated compensation for those who volunteer to be bumped, but airlines typically negotiate with passengers willing to take a later flight. For those involuntarily bumped, Scarr says if the flight is not rebooked within one to two hours, a passenger is owed 200 percent of the one-way fare, up to $650.

Scarr says passengers also have rights when it comes to their lost luggage.

"If your bag is just simply delayed, the airlines are required to reimburse you for reasonable expenses, such as toiletries or a change of clothes," he says. "If they lose your bags, they're required to refund any checked baggage fees, and reimburse you for the lost items up to $3,400."

Scarr adds, while tarmac delays were a big problem several years ago, rules adopted in 2009 and 2011 now prevent passengers from being parked on planes for hours and hours.

"If you're stuck on the tarmac over a period of time, the airline is required to give you food and water and medical attention," he says. "After three hours, they either have to return you to the airport or be in the air."

Airlines are required to provide information about how to file complaints, and must respond to a complaint within 60 days. According to Triple-A, Thanksgiving air travel is expected to be at its highest level since 2007, with more than 3.5 million people flying to their destinations.

Monday, November 24, 2014

2014 Children's Diagnostic Center Basket Brigade



Since 2010, South Florida has seen an increase of 40 percent in the reliance of emergency food programs. Currently, Florida is ranked twelfth in the United States for food insecurity and nearly 150,000 adults have been forced to choose between paying bills or putting food on the table. 



700 volunteers assemble 1200 turkey dinners
for delivery to local families




COURTESY OF CAL DEAL

FL Walmart Workers Join Fight for Better Wages, Working Conditions

PHOTO: Walmart employees plan to strike in Florida this week, and elsewhere across the country, to protest what they say are poor working conditions and low wages. Photo courtesy of United Food and Commercial Workers.
PHOTO: Walmart employees plan to strike in Florida this week, and elsewhere across the country, to protest what they say are poor working conditions and low wages. Photo courtesy of United Food and Commercial Workers.


 Shoppers will be out this week in search of deep discounts at Florida's big-box stores, but some workers at the world's largest private employer want to remind shoppers that, in their view, Walmart's low prices come at a cost.

Starting today, employees of some central Florida Walmarts plan to walk off their jobs in protest of what they say are low wages and unfair working conditions. Nancy Reynolds has worked at the Merritt Island Walmart for seven years and says she wants shoppers to consider what goes on behind the scenes when they shop.

"The customers should realize we are being done this way because they keep shopping there," says Reynolds. "And they aren't putting pressure on Walmart as well."

Reynolds is diabetic and says she's routinely scheduled for long shifts without meal breaks. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union is coordinating the actions across Florida this week. In published reports, Walmart has said the protesters represent a small percentage of its' workforce of 1.3 million in the U.S.

Angela Williamson is the lead organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers in central Florida, and a former Walmart employee. She says she was also treated poorly and lost her job after an illness. She thinks changes at Walmart could be the "tipping point" to better working conditions and wages for people across the country.

"If we could change Walmart and uphold them to better standards and working conditions, then it would change retail and grocery basically, and service industry across the country," she says.

Williamson says more employees are volunteering to strike this weekend than ever before, saying they're tired of low wages and employer retaliation when they complain.

"That's probably one of the biggest things workers say, is that they're not respected at work," says Williamson. "Whether it's with their pay, with having benefits taken away, how they're treated as a person inside the store. They're just not respected."

According to a report by Americans for Tax Fairness, the U.S. supports Walmart's low-wage workers with more than $6 billion annually in public 

QLink Wireless Working with Local Food Bank to Feed 500 Families In Need for Thanksgiving



 Dania Beach-based QLink Wireless, a national company that provides free cell phones and airtime to low-income Americans under the Federal Lifeline Assistance Program, is teaming up with Feeding South Florida (FSF) to provide 500 families with Thanksgiving dinner. The event will take place on Wednesday, November 26 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.at New Wine Ministries located at 12349 SW 53rd Street in Cooper City.
Participating low income families have been referred by local social service agencies, not-for-profits and homeless shelters that work closely with FSF.  Most recipients live in West Broward.
“We are excited to partner with QLink Wireless and appreciate their generosity,” said Paco Vélez, president and CEO of Feeding South Florida.  “Making a difference in peoples’ lives is what we do every day.”
Each family will receive a large reusable bag to transport their Thanksgiving items, including a 16-pound turkey, stuffing and fresh, local produce.  
Since 2010, South Florida has seen an increase of 40 percent in the reliance of emergency food programs. Currently, Florida is ranked twelfth in the United States for food insecurity and nearly 150,000 adults have been forced to choose between paying bills or putting food on the table. 
QLink Wireless management and employees will be distributing the food along with FSF staff and other volunteers including Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis.
For more information, visit www.feedingsouthflorida.org

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Celebration of Life Service for Rick Wierzbicki

  By Carol Porter
A Celebration of Life Service for Rick Wierzbicki  Former Wilton Manors Police Chief and Captain for BSO, was held on Friday, November 21, from 5 to 7 p.m.at Kraeer-Fairchild Funeral Home, 4061 North Federal Hwy., in Ft. Lauderdale.Wierzbicki was lovingly remembered by family and friends who spoke about what he had done in his life and all the people and causes he had fought so hard for over many years. The 56 year old Wierzbicki had donated his time to the Salvation Army, the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center of Broward County, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, the Pride Center at Equality Park and other causes. Wierzbicki died after battling cancer for over two years. Cancer claimed his life but not his legacy. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center in memory of Captain Richard "Rick " Wierzbicki (Ret) BSO, throughwww.childrensdiagnostic.org.




Rick Wierzbicki  Former Wilton Manors Police Chief and Captain for BSO

Jen Klaassens - The Wasie Foundation
Michael Albetta
 Andrew Pilgrim - Race Car Driver
Frank Fiore
 Robert Boo - Pride Center
Diana Verity - Salvation Army
 Aggie Pappas - Pace Center for Girls
Dr. Ana Calderon - CDTC
 Robert Tanen - ADL
Former Sheriff Al Lamberti
Doug Tinklepaugh – Pinnacle Constructors

Sergeant Richard J. LaCerra Strategic Projects
Broward County Sheriff’s Office
Oakland Park District

 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Executive Order Could Affect Up to 900,000 Florida Immigrants

Photo: President Obama works on his immigration speech with Director of Speechwriting Cody Keenan and Senior Presidential Speechwriter David Litt in the Oval Office. Photo credit: Pete Souza, WhiteHouse.gov
Photo: President Obama works on his immigration speech with Director of Speechwriting Cody Keenan and Senior Presidential Speechwriter David Litt in the Oval Office. Photo credit: Pete Souza, WhiteHouse.gov


"What's next?" is the question on the minds of thousands of Floridians today after President Obama's announcement Thursday night of an executive order regarding the future of as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants.

As many as 900,000 people living in Florida could be affected, according to the Urban Institute.

While the order delaying deportations isn't a permanent fix, said Cheryl Little, executive director of Americans for Immigrant Justice, it's at least a temporary reprieve.

"Those who are eligible will be able to apply for a work permit," she said. "In Florida, they can get a driver's license and, at least for some time, won't have to worry about whether or not there's going to be that knock on the door."

Obama said he will work with lawmakers on a bipartisan, comprehensive bill of permanent changes for the immigration system. He is being criticized by some who feel this executive order is an abuse of power, with some Republicans in Congress vowing to do what they can to impede the president's action.

Even as advocates for the immigrant community welcomed some progress, they said they're also seeking more permanent answers to keep families together, said Kica Matos, director of immigrant rights and racial justice for the Center for Community Change.

"We will celebrate this victory. We will welcome it with open arms, and so, we will be out of the streets today," she said. "And guess what we're going to do on Monday? We're going to go back to the hard work of continuing to fight for a permanent solution."

Little said she believes the next hurdle for immigration reform will be actually enforcing the protection offered by the president's order.

"My concern," she said, "is that, while this announcement I think is going to be great news to a lot of people, are we going to live to see the day when it's actually able to move forward in a fair and timely manner?"

The Urban Institute estimates that Florida's population of undocumented workers accounts for about 10 percent of the total in the United States. The institute's research is online at urban.org.

Friday, November 21, 2014

16 Reasons Obama will be the best President since Franklin Roosevelt

1. We've now had 63 straight months of economic expansion.

That’s right, for 63 consecutive months the US economy has gotten progressively better. That includes 54 consecutive months of private sector job growth. Forbes magazine, no fan of President Obama, crunched the numbers and demonstrated how the economic recovery under President Obama has been better in just about every measurable way than the recovery under President Reagan.

2. We are currently enjoying the longest period of private sector job creation in American history.

Again, this statistic comes from the Forbes Magazine article listed above. In fact, we have now had 54 straight months of private sector job creation. That is the longest period of job creation since the Department of Labor has been keeping statistics. See the link below.

3. Unemployment has dropped from 10.1% in October of 2009 to 5.9% and projected to reach 5.4% by summer of 2015.

Not only has the unemployment rate dropped significantly, but since the recession ended, our economy as added over ten million new jobs. You can refer to the Forbes article above or check this article on PoliticsUSA.

4. The stock market continues to set new records since President Obama has been in office.

Since early 2009 there has been a steady trend in stock market growth. The Dow Jones Industrial averages reached an all-time high of 17,098 in August, 2014. Since most Americans have 401K retirement investments in the stock market, this stock market growth benefits millions of middle class Americans.

5. The Federal budget deficit is shrinking. It’s been reduced by two-thirds since 2009.

The $1.4 trillion federal budget deficit that Obama inherited in 2009 was in a large part due to the high rate of unemployment. When millions of people were put out of work in 2008 and 2009, it resulted in far less income taxes and less economic activity to generate federal revenue. As ten million people have been put back to work, there have been billions more tax dollars generated. As a result, the deficit has been shrinking each year. The 2014 deficit is projected to be around $500 billion, the smallest deficit since 2007 and roughly 1/3 of what it was in 2009.

6. Under President Obama, spending has increased only 1.4% annually, the lowest rate since Eisenhower was president.

You may have heard critics say that President Obama is spending money wildly and running up our debt. According to this article from Forbes, Obama has increased spending by 1.4% annually, far less than President Reagan (8.7%) or George W. Bush (8.1%). In fact, Obama has increased spending less than any president since Eisenhower.

7. For 95% of American taxpayers, income taxes are lower now than just about any time in the previous 50 years.

After President Obama took office, thousands of Tea Party members all over the country held rallies protesting Obama’s tax increases. At that time, President Obama had actually passed several tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Most of the Tea Partiers who were protesting had only seen their taxes decrease under Obama. Yet polls indicated that most Tea Party members wrongly believed their taxes had gone up.
In fact, the only people whose income taxes have gone up during Obama’s presidency are those making $400,000 per year or more. That's less than 2% of the population. Today, for the vast majority of people, tax rates are exactly where they were when Obama first took office or lower. The article below from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains this in greater detail.

8. Our dependence on foreign oil has shrunk due to record domestic oil production and improved fuel efficiency standards.

While some people claim that oil production has declined under President Obama, the truth is just the opposite. Oil production has reached record highs. The United States now produces so much oil that we export more oil and gasoline than we import.

9. At least 7 million more Americans now have health insurance than before.

Depending on whose numbers you use, between 7 and 10 million Americans acquired health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act. Now that those 7 to 10 million Americans have insurance, the rest of us are no longer on the hook to pay for their health care when they get sick. This saves the American people billions of dollars in the long run.

10. The Affordable Care Act has added years to the life of Medicare.

The Medicare trust fund had been on course to run out of money by the end of 2016. But due to cost savings from the Affordable Care Act and lower healthcare expenses, Medicare’s trust fund is now stable until the year 2030 without cutting benefits.

11. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, we are seeing the slowest rate of increase in healthcare costs since 1960.

Contrary to the predictions from Republicans, health care costs have increased at a much slower pace since the passage of the ACA.

12. We currently have fewer soldiers, sailors and airmen in war zones than any time in over 10 years.

With the end of the Iraq war and the steady withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, we have fewer people in war zones now than any time since 2002.

13. There have been zero successful attacks by al Qaeda on US soil since Obama became president.

Despite Dick Cheney’s claim that if voters elect a Democrat as president, we’ll be “hit again and hit hard” by al Qaeda, we have actually been far safer from terrorist attacks on US soil in recent years than we were under the previous president. There have been several unsuccessful attacks against the US under both presidents, but under Obama, al Qaeda has been largely unsuccessful in striking the US on our home soil.

14. We now successfully catch and deport more illegal immigrants than ever before.

Despite the publicity from busloads of children who illegally entered the country, the numbers prove that President Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than any other president.
All of the facts stated above can be confirmed through multiple sources, yet most Americans are not aware of all of this positive news. I invite you to do your own research and check these facts for yourself.
The truth is, most other presidents would envy President Obama’s record despite the fact that he inherited the worst economic crash since the Great Depression.
Here's a bonus. If you feel particularly ambitious, feel free to research these additional facts.
  1. Since Obama became president, our economy has gone from losing 800,000 jobs per month to adding 200,000 jobs per month. That’s a net improvement under Obama of about 1 million jobs per month!
  2. Before Obama became president, our financial system was in ruins and millions of people were at risk of losing their life savings. Now, the financial loopholes have been fixed and we are no longer at risk of another financial collapse.
  3. In 5 years under Obama the economy has created twice as many jobs as were created in 8 years under George W. Bush.
  4. President Obama passed credit card reforms that protects consumers from excessive fees, rate hikes, deceptive marketing and unreasonable due dates.
  5. Thanks to “Obamacare”, senior citizens have saved billions of dollars on prescription drugs.
  6. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of your premiums on health care. As a result millions of Americans have received refunds from their health insurance companies.
Despite the unprecedented obstructionism and record number of filibusters used by Republicans to kill even the most routine legislation, the fact remains, in almost every measurable way, the American people are profoundly better off today than they were before President Obama took office.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Immigration Accountability Executive Action

obama.The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable, and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.  Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking an important step to fix our broken immigration system.

These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

These are common sense steps, but only Congress can finish the job. As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill—like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago—that can replace these actions and fix the whole system.

Three critical elements of the President’s executive actions are:

·         Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border:  The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back.  Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security command-and-control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration. 

·         Deporting Felons, Not Families: The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.

·         Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes:  The President is also acting to hold accountable those undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents.  By registering and passing criminal and national security background checks, millions of undocumented immigrants will start paying their fair share of taxes and temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation for three years at a time.

The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and will promote naturalization for those who qualify. 

For more than a half century, every president—Democratic or Republican—has used his legal authority to act on immigration.  President Obama is now taking another commonsense step.  As the Administration implements these executive actions, Congress should finish the job by passing a bill like the bipartisan Senate bill that: continues to strengthen border security by adding 20,000 more Border Patrol agents; cracks down on companies who hire undocumented workers; creates an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pay a fine and taxes, pass a background check, learn English and go to the back of the line; and boosts our economy and keeps families together by cutting red tape to simplify our legal immigration process.

CRACKING DOWN ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AT THE BORDER

Under the Obama Administration, the resources that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) dedicates to security at the Southwest border are at an all-time high.  Today, there are 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents along the Southwest Border and our border fencing, unmanned aircraft surveillance systems, and ground surveillance systems have more than doubled since 2008. Taken as a whole, the additional boots on the ground, technology, and resources provided in the last six years represent the most serious and sustained effort to secure our border in our Nation’s history, cutting illegal border crossings by more than half.

And this effort is producing results. From 1990 to 2007, the population of undocumented individuals in the United States grew from 3.5 million to 11 million people.  Since then, the size of the undocumented population has stopped growing for the first time in decades. Border apprehensions—a key indicator of border security— are at their lowest level since the 1970s.  This past summer, the President and the entire Administration responded to the influx of unaccompanied children with an aggressive, coordinated Federal response focused on heightened deterrence, enhanced enforcement, stronger foreign cooperation, and greater capacity for Federal agencies to ensure that our border remains secure.  As a result, the number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the Southwest border has declined precipitously, and the Administration continues to focus its resources to prevent a similar situation from developing in the future. 

To build on these efforts and to ensure that our limited enforcement resources are used effectively, the President has announced the following actions:
·         Shifting resources to the border and recent border crossers. Over the summer, DHS sent hundreds of Border Patrol agents and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel to the Southwest border, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) reordered dockets in immigration courts to prioritize removal cases of recent border crossers.  This continued focus will help keep our borders safe and secure.  In addition, Secretary Johnson is announcing a new Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Plan which will strengthen the efforts of the agencies who work to keep our border secure.  And by establishing clearer priorities for interior enforcement, DHS is increasing the likelihood that people attempting to cross the border illegally will be apprehended and sent back.

·         Streamlining the immigration court process. DOJ is announcing a package of immigration court reforms that will address the backlog of pending cases by working with DHS to more quickly adjudicate cases of individuals who meet new DHS-wide enforcement priorities and close cases of individuals who are low priorities. DOJ will also pursue regulations that adopt best practices for court systems to use limited court hearing time as efficiently as possible.

·         Protecting victims of crime and human trafficking as well as workers.  The Department of Labor (DOL) is expanding and strengthening immigration options for victims of crimes (U visas) and trafficking (T visas) who cooperate in government investigations.  An interagency working group will also explore ways to ensure that workers can avail themselves of their labor and employment rights without fear of retaliation.


DEPORTING FELONS, NOT FAMILIES

By setting priorities and focusing its enforcement resources, the Obama Administration has already increased the removal of criminals by more than 80%.  These actions build on that strong record by:
·         Focusing on the removal of national security, border security, and public safety threats.  To better focus on the priorities that matter, Secretary Johnson is issuing a new DHS-wide memorandum that makes clear that the government’s enforcement activity should be focused on national security threats, serious criminals, and recent border crossers.  DHS will direct all of its enforcement resources at pursuing these highest priorities for removal.

·         Implementing a new Priority Enforcement Program. Effectively identifying and removing criminals in state and local jails is a critical goal but it must be done in a way that sustains the community’s trust.  To address concerns from Governors, Mayors, law enforcement and community leaders which have undermined cooperation with DHS, Secretary Johnson is replacing the existing Secure Communities program with a new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) to remove those convicted of criminal offenses.  DHS will continue to rely on biometric data to verify individuals who are enforcement priorities, and they will also work with DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons to identify and remove federal criminals serving time as soon as possible.

ACCOUNTABILITY – CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS AND TAXES

Every Democratic and Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration.  Consistent with this long history, DHS will expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.  DHS will also create a new deferred action program for people who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and have lived in the United States for five years or longer if they register, pass a background check and pay taxes. 

The President is taking the following actions to hold accountable certain undocumented immigrants:
·         Creating a mechanism that requires certain undocumented immigrants to pass a background check to make sure that they start paying their fair share in taxes. In order to promote public safety, DHS is establishing a new deferred action program for parents of U.S. Citizens or LPRs who are not enforcement priorities and have been in the country for more than 5 years.  Individuals will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for three years at a time if they come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born before the date of this announcement.  By providing individuals with an opportunity to come out of the shadows and work legally, we will also help crack down on companies who hired undocumented workers, which undermines the wages of all workers, and ensure that individuals are playing by the rules and paying their fair share of taxes.

·         Expanding DACA to cover additional DREAMers. Under the initial DACA program, young people who had been in the U.S. for at least five years, came as children, and met specific education and public safety criteria were eligible for temporary relief from deportation so long as they were born after 1981 and entered the country before June 15, 2007.  DHS is expanding DACA so that individuals who were brought to this country as children can apply if they entered before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today.  Going forward, DACA relief will also be granted for three years.

The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and promote naturalization by:
·         Providing portable work authorization for high-skilled workers awaiting LPR status and their spouses.  Under the current system, employees with approved LPR applications often wait many years for their visa to become available.  DHS will make regulatory changes to allow these workers to move or change jobs more easily.  DHS is finalizing new rules to give certain H-1B spouses employment authorization as long as the H-1B spouse has an approved LPR application.
·         Enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs.  DHS will expand immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment, and generating revenue in the U.S., to ensure that our system encourages them to grow our economy.  The criteria will include income thresholds so that these individuals are not eligible for certain public benefits like welfare or tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.
·         Strengthening and extending on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S universities. In order to strengthen educational experiences of foreign students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at U.S. universities, DHS will propose changes to expand and extend the use of the existing Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and require stronger ties between OPT students and their colleges and universities following graduation.
·         Streamlining the process for foreign workers and their employers, while protecting American workers. DHS will clarify its guidance on temporary L-1 visas for foreign workers who transfer from a company’s foreign office to its U.S. office. DOL will take regulatory action to modernize the labor market test that is required of employers that sponsor foreign workers for immigrant visas while ensuring that American workers are protected.
·         Reducing family separation for those waiting to obtain LPR status. Due to barriers in our system, U.S. citizens and LPRs are often separated for years from their immediate relatives, while they wait to obtain their LPR status. To reduce the time these individuals are separated, DHS will expand an existing program that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional waiver for certain violations before departing the United States to attend visa interviews.
·         Ensuring that individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin. DHS will clarify its guidance to provide greater assurance to individuals with a pending LPR application or certain temporary status permission to travel abroad with advance permission (“parole”).
·         Issuing a Presidential Memorandum on visa modernization. There are many ways in which our legal immigration system can be modernized to reduce government costs, eliminate redundant systems, reduce burdens on employers and families, and eliminate fraud. The President is issuing a Memorandum directing an interagency group to recommend areas for improvement.
·         Creating a White House Task Force on New Americans. The President is creating a White House Task Force on New Americans to create a federal strategy on immigrant integration.
·         Promoting Citizenship Public Awareness: DHS will launch a comprehensive citizenship awareness media campaign in the 10 states that are home to 75 percent of the overall LPR population. USCIS will also expand options for paying naturalization fees and explore additional measures to expand accessibility, including studying potential partial fee waiver for qualified individuals.
·         Ensuring U.S. Citizens Can Serve: To further our military’s needs and support recruitment efforts, DHS will expand an existing policy to provide relief to spouses and children of U.S. citizens seeking to enlist in the military, consistent with a request made by the Department of Defense.