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Saturday, May 30, 2009

We need your organization's letter of support for the Uniting American Families Act

From Pam's House Blend:

We need your organization's letter of support for the Uniting American Families Act by Monday!

by: dvortex
Fri May 29, 2009 at 18:14:59 PM EDT

Dear friends and allies,
I hope you are doing well. Please accept my apologies for this mass email. Same sex binational couple's immigration is one of the many issues that I have been working on for the past 10 years.... it will be 10 years to the day on 31st of May when I was finally able to land in the US of A to be with my husband after spending 4 years apart in 2 different countries.

One of the main reason it took four years for me to be able to come here was because as an American, my husband does not have any rights to sponsor me for a green card. In fact, for the first few years that I was here, we had to keep our relationship a secret because we were afraid that if INS (it is called ICE now) found out, I could be classified as an overstay risk and be denied entry back into the states as I was on a student visa. Human Rights Watch estimated that there are at least 36,000 couples living in the US facing this struggles. This statistics does not include couples being forced to live in separate countries or couples being forced into exile.

I have been raising awareness about a bill introduced in congress called the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) since it was introduced in 2000. Now finally, after 9 years of speaking out and raising awareness, Senator Patrick Leahy is finally going to hold a hearing in Congress about the bill. If you are interested in learning about the bill, you can find them here:

This year, I feel that we are finally at a tipping point and the bill is finally getting some traction. Sen Leahy is going to be holding a hearing about this bill next week and Rep Mike Honda is going to reintroduce the Reunite Families Act which will include language of UAFA in the bill. We are also hoping that when Comprehensive Immigration Reform is introduced next month, LGBT Families will be included under the definition of families for family reunification purposes.

That said, we just heard word from Sen Leahy's office that he want to have letters from organizations in support of this bill. I am now reaching out to you to urge your organization to write a letter of support for the Uniting American Families Act address to Senator Leahy, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The guidelines that for the letter should be as follows:

Paragraph 1 should be about who you are as an organization, and why you care about UAFA.
Paragraph 2+ should be the distilled essence of your organization's personal stories. Focus should be more on immigrant rights, rather than those of the American citizen and/or same-sex marriage.

Can you spare a minute of your time and get your organization to sign on to support UAFA? I feel that this year is the best year to pass this legislation and I need your help.
You can fax the letter to me at 415.826.7077 and I will collate them and send them off to Sen Leahy's office. We need the letter latest by Monday, June 1st, 2009. Please let me know by email if you are faxing the letter too.

At the same time, Rep Mike Honda is also looking for organization to endorse his bill, the Reunite Families Act. Are you able to get your organization to endorse and support this bill? If you can, let me know and I will collate the information and inform Rep Honda's office. Please provide me with name of organization, email and phone of contact person.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to getting your support for this bill.

Respectfully yours,

Amos Lim
amos (at)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blog Going after Bob Fletcher

Check it out here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gov. Pawlenty - The Budget Sham Continues

I actually agree with Senator Pogemiller on this issue. The House and Senate sent bills to the governor that DID reflect their views and priorities.

Why is the governor asking again, except to create more political cover.

DFLers say Pawlenty's call for budget ideas too late
by Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
May 28, 2009

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has told legislators he wants to hear their latest budget-cutting suggestions by Friday. The Republican governor says he'll consider the advice when he starts using his emergency authority on July 1 to balance the state books. But a key DFL leader says he doesn't plan to weigh in, and he's not alone.

St. Paul, Minn. — Three days after the end of the legislative session, Gov. Pawlenty sent a letter to every member of the Minnesota House and Senate.

The governor had already signed the major budget bills and vetoed the $1 billion tax bill that Democrats needed to balance the budget.

But before using his unallotment authority, Pawlenty told legislators he wanted their views considered.

Sen. Larry Pogemiller"Each legislator or committee chair has experience and insight into these issues. We want to make sure we take into account their perspective and their input," said Pawlenty. "And so we hope that we'll get some good ideas from them and that they'll participate in that process."

So far, no legislators have written back. The majority leader in the Minnesota Senate, DFLer Larry Pogemiller of Minneapolis, says he won't be offering any suggestions, at least not formally.

Pogemiller says the House and Senate just spent five months doing that, and he's not sure the governor was listening.

Democrats have said city budgets, hospitals, nursing homes and schools will suffer the most under deeper spending cuts. And when those subjects are raised, Pogemiller offers some informal advice.

"I hope that he would consider the seriousness of his actions," said Pogemiller, "and consider the repercussions for people who might lose health care, or whose property taxes will go up, or who will have larger class sizes for their children and who get laid off from their job. I hope he considers that as he makes these decisions."

"We provided nine budget bills that had deeper budget reductions than the governor had recommended in his budget."
- Senate Majority Leader Larry PogemillerPogemiller also claims the pending budget pain could have been avoided, if Gov. Pawlenty had agreed to a tax increase.

Instead, Pawlenty vetoed two DFL-backed tax bills, and then said he would use his unallotment authority to go solo on a budget fix.

Pogemiller says he wasn't surprised by Pawlenty's choice, an approach he says may be legally sound but ethically questionable. Pogemiller says he was more surprised by the governor's inflexibility on tax increases.

"We provided nine budget bills that had deeper budget reductions than the governor had recommended in his budget. And so I think we accomplished that task of making the tough choices with regards to spending," said Pogemiller. "And then on the 10th bill, the governor decided not to allow permanent revenue into the system, which I believe will prove to be a mistake for the long-term interest of the state."

That's not the way Pawlenty sees it. His opposition to tax increases was never a secret, and he blames the Legislature for opening the door to unallotment. "The only reason we find ourselves in this circumstance is because the Legislature chose this path, in terms of sending the bills and spending more money than we have available. They didn't have to make that choice. They chose it," said the governor.

Pawlenty is also seeking budget recommendations from the general public, and his spokesman says that effort is bearing some fruit. Spokesman Brian McClung says 1,500 people have responded in just one week.

"The state of Minnesota is looking at a budget reduction of about 4 percent. And so citizens seem to believe that if the state government has to live on 96 percent of what it lived on before, they should be able to get by," he said.

McClung says the governor is still hoping to hear from some legislators by the end of the week.

House and Senate leaders who sit on a panel known as the Legislative Advisory Commission are required to formally review the governor's unallotment plan before the cuts take effect.

Sorry Tim, nobody from the DFL majority is going to advise you on how to un-allot.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More Unpleasantness in the Minnesota Republican Party

This time it is Drew Emmer from the outside, pissing in.

State Central Committee membership may have it's privileges. Unfortunately this member doesn't know what those privileges are, or who else might be on this otherwise secret society within the current republican conundrum. As long as I have been a State Central Committee member I have never seen the minutes of the State Central Meetings. That's just plain wrong folks.

I was appointed by my CD to be on the State Central rules committee. It's May 24 and there is no published list of who else is on that rules committee or any draft language for rules available. If we were serious about having members truly participate we would have circulated a rules draft with the official call that went out, perhaps along with the minutes from the last meeting.

Perhaps we should just change the name of the committee to the "Old Guard Rubber Stamp Narrow Decision Justification Committee". Consider the ridiculousness of what was railroaded through at the last State Central Meeting. They passed a change tightening the restriction on calling a meeting. When you consider there has never in the history of the party even been an attempt by any faction within any delegation to call a meeting, you begin to see just how paranoid and pathetic our leadership has been. That such a measure passed (in part) is further evidence of our collective stupidity.

Our leaders have failed us. We must reform this nonsense or share in their ineptitude.

Craig Westover drops by:

Drew --

I agree with your analysis except that once it became clear in the Executive Committee meeting that the EC was not about to allow delegates to have access to the SCC list, the proper thing to do was table the issue and make it an agenda item at the SCC meeting.

The SCC is responsible for the "property" of the party, including lists. The question of list access is a good opportunity to set a precedent for how the Central Committee goes about creating the parameters within which the EC runs the party on a day-to-day basis.

How is this affecting the Chair/Deputy Chair Race?