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January 30, 2013



Ugandans' Gay Wedding 'First' Highlights Sweden Asylum Lottery

A couple who claim to be the first Ugandan men to be legally married face an uncertain future after recently tying the knot in a Swedish church, with one facing possible deportation that the other fears could result in his husband's death.
Last weekend, Lawrence Kaala and Jimmy Sserwadda were all smiles as they exchanged vows in a crowded church in the north Stockholm suburb of Järfälla.

"It feels great," Sserwadda tells The Local after the wedding, which was attended by more than one hundred guests – including Sweden's EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson.

"We had been separated in such a hostile environment; we didn't know if we'd ever see each other again."

The ceremony was supposed to be a fairy-tale ending to an improbable story for the two men who found themselves reunited in Sweden years after their relationship had been cut short due to persecution in their native Uganda.

"Uganda is about the worst place in the world to live as someone who is openly gay," Sserwadda explains.

But while Sserwadda's asylum application has been approved, Kaala learned just days before the ceremony that his application had been denied, meaning he will have to leave Sweden in two weeks if he doesn't file an appeal.

"If they put him on a plane to Uganda now, they will be sentencing him to death," says Sserwadda.

The two men had been in a long-term relationship in Uganda until one day in 2008 when Sserwadda suddenly fled the country shortly after being arrested and beaten for "promoting homosexuality".

"I didn't tell Lawrence. I know he would have insisted on coming with and that would have put our lives at risk. So I left him behind," he recalls.

Sserwadda ended up in Sweden and was granted asylum on account of the risks he faced as a gay man if he were to return to Uganda. He became active in the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (Riksförbundet för homosexuellas, bisexuellas och transpersoners rättigheter –RFSL), helping other LBGT asylum seekers with their cases.

In the summer of 2011, Sserwadda's story was featured in Kom Ut, a magazine published by RFSL, as part of a piece which compared LBGT asylum cases to a lottery due to inconsistencies and a lack of knowledge on the part of officials at the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket).

Unbeknownst to Sserwadda, a copy of the magazine landed in the hands of Kaala, who had also fled the increasingly threatening atmosphere in Uganda.

Through chance, Kaala also ended up in Sweden and was dumbfounded to see his former lover's picture plastered on a magazine cover three years after Sserwadda fled.

Kaala phoned Sserwadda who was equally surprised to hear from the man he assumed he'd never see again.

"I was shocked. I thought it was a joke," Sserwadda recalls.

"When we finally met in person, Lawrence said, 'Yes, darling it's me!' As we hugged he then asked me why I had left."

Sserwadda explained why he kept his plans to flee Uganda a secret and was soon forgiven for leaving his lover in the lurch. The two rekindled their former relationship, and began talking about having a wedding.

"If we could have gotten married in Uganda if we would have and when we found each other again here in Sweden it felt natural to go ahead with it," he says.

Despite learning that Kaala's asylum application had been rejected just days before the two were to walk down the aisle, they refused to allow the setback to dampen their spirits.

"We decided to focus on the wedding and worry about the possible deportation later," Sserwadda explains.

He adds he's frustrated that despite both he and Kaala being gay men from Uganda, where same-sex relationships are illegal and could be punishable by death under a proposed bill currently up for debate, their asylum cases have been treated differently by migration authorities in Sweden.

"They don't believe his story," he explains, despite Kaala having scars on his body that both claim came as a result of beatings suffered by Kaala because he is a homosexual.

According to RFSL chairwoman Ulrika Westerlund, the Migration Board has a long way to go in how it handles asylum applications from people claiming persecution on account of their sexual preferences.

"They haven't succeeded in ensuring that everyone who works on asylum cases involving LGBT applicants has the right knowledge and competence," she tells The Local.

While no official statistics exist on LGBT asylum cases in Sweden, RFSL provides assistance in around 60 to 70 cases a year, which the Migration Board estimates represents roughly one-third of the total, according to Westerlund.

"A lot of the rejections are strange. It's as if they have no concept of what LGBT asylum seekers face back home," she says, explaining that the success or failure of LGBT asylum cases often depends on the case worker assigned to review the application.

Officials at the migration agency claim they are playing close attention to the situation in Uganda and that the agency continues to work on a strategy for increasing workers' competence on gender and LGBT issues. 

Westerlund adds that the wedding of Sserwadda and Kaala constitutes "new circumstances" which will be grounds for a planned appeal of the deportation order.

"News of the wedding has spread around the world, including to Uganda so it's much more dangerous there now," she explains.

While Kaala could now re-file his application to receive a Swedish residence permit on the basis of being married to Sserwadda, who is due to receive Swedish citizenship later this year, doing so would require to return to Uganda to file the required paperwork.

"He can't go back there. He'd be arrested immediately," says Sserwadda.

The couple now has until February 11th to file an appeal with the Migration Board.

"We haven't had time for a honeymoon. We've been working around the clock since the wedding to get things in order," he adds.

Read more:

Research in Motion Launches BlackBerry 10, Changes Corporate Name

Research in Motion launched the highly-anticipated makeover of its mobile operating system, BlackBerry 10, and two new smartphones at a press event in New York City on Wednesday.
RIM kicked off the launch event with endorsements from professionals around the world. The company says it went on a world tour to talk to developers about the BB10.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins took to the stage to unveil the BB10's final features and the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10, which will be the first to run exclusively on the BB10 OS.
"This is one of the biggest launches in our industry and today is not the finish line, it's the starting line," said CEO Heins.
BB10 has a feature called Balance, which is geared toward professionals who use their devices for personal use and work by using swipe gestures to switch between "work" and "personal" profiles. RIM boasts that businesses can keep data secure without forcing employees to carry two mobile devices.
BB10 launches with over 70,000 applications, including Skype, Amazon Kindle and WhatsApp. BlackBerry Messenger also gets a big update. The chat client now offers video chatting and BBM Screen Share - a feature that lets users share their entire screens over BBM.
BlackBerry Flow was also unveiled. The feature allows users to move seamlessly between apps by using swipe gestures instead of a home button.
Heins also announced that RIM is changing its name from "Research in Motion" to "BlackBerry." According to CNBC, the new Nasdaq ticker symbol will be BBRY.
Heins surprised audiences when he announced that singer Alicia Keys has been named the company's new Global Creative Director, saying that Keys has been in a "long-term relationship" with the BlackBerry.
BlackBerry Z10 is a touchscreen device running on BB10, has a 4.2-inch 1,280 x 768 touchscreen display with a 356 pixel density and comes in black and white. BlackBerry Q10 will keep a full QWERTY keyboard and has a 3.1-inch display. Both devices have 4G LTE capabilities.
U.S. wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile will be announcing pre-registration and price plans today. The white version of the Z10 will be exclusive to Verizon.
BlackBerry Z10 will be not be available in the U.S. until March. The United Kingdom will be able to purchase the smartphone on tomorrow, Canada on Feb. 5, and United Arab Emirates on Feb. 10. There are no details on a release date or price for the BlackBerry Q10

Investors Urged To Take Industries Upcountry

Singida West CCM legislator Mohammed Missanga
Indutrialists have been challenged to start expanding their wings and establish industries in upcountry regions as the government grapples to put in place all necessary infrastructures across the country.
Industries and Trade deputy minister, Gregory Teu threw the challenge here yesterday when responding to a question posed by Singida West MP, Mohamed Missanga who asked the government to build industries in upcountry regions including Singida as a way of addressing rural-urban migration amongst the youth.
“It is true that rural-urban migration especially in Dar es Salaam has been contributed by lack of serious investments in those areas. But, the government is no longer engaging in business. What we do is creating friendly environment for private sectors to chip-in and set up investments like industries in rural areas,” the deputy minister said.
He added that the role of the government is to put up policies and a conducive environment for the private sector to operate smoothly.
“The government through export processing zone authorities (EPZA) has managed to allocate free areas for production; the idea being to give room for private sector to invest in industries.
“We are very interested to see every region is full of industries, as we know this is the best way to create job opportunities to our people and finally boost the country’s economy,” Teu stated.
The minister noted that the government has been ensuring that all allocated areas are supplied with water, power, communication facilities and roads.
In his supplementary question, MP Missanga said that Singida is a potential area for investors.
Citing some of the lucrative investment opportunities, the lawmaker said, “In Manyoni District we have countless gypsum materials which are fit for cement factory. So, I call upon investors in Cement sector to invest in the area, taking into account that there are no factories of that nature in the central corridor.”
He also stated that Singida is a home to sunflower, hence calling investors to invest in sunflower oil double refineries.
“Singida is well positioned for being a dry port that would be serving goods getting into landlocked of Rwanda, DRC, Burundi and Uganda as well,” he said.

Mengi To People With Disability: Have Confidence in Yourselves

IPP Executive Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi (C) and Under The Same Sun (UTSS) Founder and CEO Peter Ash (L) present certificate of recognition to Yamungu Jackson Jacob, an economist in the Prime Minister’s Office, for his academic achievements. This was at a Business Community gala hosted by UTSS in Dar es Salaam on Monday to celebrate the progress made by UTSS grantees in the pursuit of higher education. (Photo: Tryphone Mweji)
People with disabilities have been challenged to desist from underestimating or otherwise undermining themselves and instead seek to compete for employment opportunities with other members of society.
IPP Executive Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi threw the challenge at a Business Community gala in dare s Salaam on Monday organised by Under The Same Sun (UTSS) to recognise the work of 43 graduates with albinism.
The graduates had benefited from UTSS Education Scholarship sponsorship, and the event was essentially meant to celebrate the UTSS grantees’ achievements in their pursuit of advanced education.
Dr Mengi said many people with disabilities, particularly those with albinism, fail to secure jobs merely owing to fear within themselves.
“God created us all to be first, but the society has marked different groups with numbers,” he said, noting that it was unfortunate that many people with disabilities often regard themselves as coming second to other members of society.
“Never carry with yourself the thinking that you are second, but instead believe in yourself that you are the champion as from now,” he said, adding that people with disabilities have the duty to have more confidence in themselves.
The IPP Executive Chairman also advised people with disabilities to be guided and inspired by the slogan: “I Can…, I Must…, I Will…,” as they look for employment opportunities.
Turning specifically to people with albinism, he said they need not take the back seats in the job market because they have all the qualifications employers are usually interested in.
UTSS founder and Chief Executive Officer Peter Ash from Canada meanwhile said people with albinism face challenges in their own countries and globally that call for effective advocacy and public awareness campaigns to draw them out of discrimination.
He said he stood convinced that, following efforts initiated by both state and non-state actors, Tanzania was sure to become another place “where the dreams of people with albinism will always come true.
“Tonight we see the dream come true in fresh and blood… Our brothers and sisters have worked hard for their studies, and it is our sincere hope that these people with albinism will take positions as employers or senior officers in different sectors,” he said.
Haji Janabi, director of policy and planning in the Labour and Employment ministry, said the government would this year conduct a national census primary meant to establish the number of people with disabilities lying unemployed.
“The Labour and Employment Act of 2004 stipulates that all people need to be equally treated and get a conducive working environment…. It requires all public and private firms to ensure that 3 per cent of their total workforce comprises people with disabilities,” he added.
However, contrary to the letter and spirit of the country’s laws, it was revealed that fewer people with disabilities have secured employment at various workplaces.
In her remarks, UTSS Tanzania executive director Vicky Ntetema, reported some firms have been so understanding as to make sure that people with disabilities account for up to half their workforce. She appealed to more of organisations and institutions to follow suit by taking on board more people from disadvantaged groups so long as they had the qualifications required.
Ntetema also urged the government to enforce the relevant laws in a move meant to promote people with disabilities, adding: “There are still many bottlenecks in this regard which the Labour and Employment ministry ought to deal with, and this requires that the relevant laws and policies be enforced accordingly.”

January 29, 2013



Mkuu wa Kitengo cha Mawasiliano na Masoko wa Vodacom, Kelvin Twissa, (kushoto) akizungumza wakati wa hafla ya uzinduzi wa ubia wa ushirikiano baina ya Kampuni ya Mawasiliano ya Vodacom na Shirika la Ndege la FastJet uliofanyika Dar es Salaam, utakaowawezesha wasafiri wa shirika hilo kuanzia sasa kulipia tiketi za safari zao kwa njia ya M-Pesa. (Kulia ni Meneja wa Biashara wa FastJet, Jean Uku).

FACT SHEET: Fixing our Broken Immigration System so Everyone Plays by the Rules

America’s immigration system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers and there are 11 million people living in the shadows.  Neither is good for the economy or the country.
It is time to act to fix the broken immigration system in a way that requires responsibility from everyone —both from the workers here illegally and those who hire them—and guarantees that everyone is playing by the same rules.  
President Obama’s commonsense immigration reform proposal has four parts. First, continue to strengthen our borders. Second, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship; this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks. Fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.  
Together we can build a fair, effective and commonsense immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
The key principles the President believes should be included in commonsense immigration reform are:
  • Continuing to Strengthen Border Security: President Obama has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2004 and today border security is stronger than it has ever been.  But there is more work to do.   The President’s proposal gives law enforcement the tools they need to make our communities safer from crime.  And by enhancing our infrastructure and technology, the President’s proposal continues to strengthen our ability to remove criminals and apprehend and prosecute national security threats.
  • Cracking Down on Employers Hiring Undocumented Workers: Our businesses should only employ people legally authorized to work in the United States.  Businesses that knowingly employ undocumented workers are exploiting the system to gain an advantage over businesses that play by the rules.  The President’s proposal is designed to stop these unfair hiring practices and hold these companies accountable.  At the same time, this proposal gives employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.
  • Earned Citizenship: It is just not practical to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants living within our borders.  The President’s proposal provides undocumented immigrants a legal way to earn citizenship that will encourage them to come out of the shadows so they can pay their taxes and play by the same rules as everyone else.  Immigrants living here illegally must be held responsible for their actions by passing national security and criminal background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, going to the back of the line, and learning English before they can earn their citizenship. There will be no uncertainty about their ability to become U.S. citizens if they meet these eligibility criteria. The proposal will also stop punishing innocent young people brought to the country through no fault of their own by their parents and give them a chance to earn their citizenship more quickly if they serve in the military or pursue higher education.
  • Streamlining Legal Immigration:  Our immigration system should reward anyone who is willing to work hard and play by the rules.  For the sake of our economy and our security, legal immigration should be simple and efficient.  The President’s proposal attracts the best minds to America by providing visas to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses here and helping the most promising foreign graduate students in science and math stay in this country after graduation, rather than take their skills to other countries.  The President’s proposal will also reunify families in a timely and humane manner.
Continuing to Strengthen Border Security
  • Strengthen border security and infrastructure.  The President’s proposal strengthens and improves infrastructure at ports of entry, facilitates public-private partnerships aimed at increasing investment in foreign visitor processing, and continues supporting the use of technologies that help to secure the land and maritime borders of the United States.
  • Combat transnational crime.  The President’s proposal creates new criminal penalties dedicated to combating transnational criminal organizations that traffic in drugs, weapons, and money, and that smuggle people across the borders.  It also expands the scope of current law to allow for the forfeiture of these organizations’ criminal tools and proceeds.  Through this approach, we will bolster our efforts to deprive criminal enterprises, including those operating along the Southwest border, of their infrastructure and profits.
  • Improve partnerships with border communities and law enforcement.  The President’s proposal expands our ability to work with our cross-border law enforcement partners.  Community trust and cooperation are keys to effective law enforcement. To this end, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will establish border community liaisons along the Southern and Northern borders to improve communication and collaboration with border communities, boost funding to tribal government partners to reduce illegal activity on tribal lands, and strengthen training on civil rights and civil liberties for DHS immigration officers.
  • Crack down on criminal networks engaging in passport and visa fraud and human smuggling. The President’s proposal creates tough criminal penalties for trafficking in passports and immigration documents and schemes to defraud, including those who prey on vulnerable immigrants through notario fraud. It also strengthens penalties to combat human smuggling rings.
  • Deporting Criminals. The President’s proposal expands smart enforcement efforts that target convicted criminals in federal or state correctional facilities, allowing us to remove them from the United States at the end of their sentences without re-entering our communities. At the same time, it protects those with a credible fear of returning to their home countries.
  • Streamline removal of nonimmigrant national security and public safety threats.  The President’s proposal creates a streamlined administrative removal process for people who overstay their visas and have been determined to be threats to national security and public safety.
  • Improve our nation’s immigration courts.  The President’s proposal invests in our immigration courts. By increasing the number of immigration judges and their staff, investing in training for court personnel, and improving access to legal information for immigrants, these reforms will improve court efficiency.  It allows DHS to better focus its detention resources on public safety and national security threats by expanding alternatives to detention and reducing overall detention costs.  It also provides greater protections for those least able to represent themselves.
Cracking Down on Employers Who Hire Undocumented Workers 
  • Mandatory, phased-in electronic employment verification. The President’s proposal provides tools for employers to ensure a legal workforce by using federal government databases to verify that the people they hire are eligible to work in the United States.  Penalties for hiring undocumented workers are significantly increased, and new penalties are established for committing fraud and identity theft.  The new mandatory program ensures the privacy and confidentiality of all workers’ personal information and includes important procedural protections.  Mandatory electronic employment verification would be phased in over five years with exemptions for certain small businesses.
  • Combat fraud and identity theft.  The proposal also mandates a fraud‐resistant, tamper‐resistant Social Security card and requires workers to use fraud‐and tamper‐resistant documents to prove authorization to work in the United States. The proposal also seeks to establish a voluntary pilot program to evaluate new methods to authenticate identity and combat identity theft.
  • Protections for all workers. The President’s proposal protects workers against retaliation for exercising their labor rights.  It increases the penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers to skirt the workplace standards that protect all workers.  And it creates a “labor law enforcement fund” to help ensure that industries that employ significant numbers of immigrant workers comply with labor laws.
Pathway to Earned Citizenship
  • Create a provisional legal status.  Undocumented immigrants must come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass criminal background and national security checks, and pay fees and penalties before they will be eligible for a provisional legal status.  Agricultural workers and those who entered the United States as children would be eligible for the same program.  Individuals must wait until the existing legal immigration backlogs are cleared before getting in line to apply for lawful permanent residency (i.e. a “green card”), and ultimately United States citizenship. Consistent with current law, people with provisional legal status will not be eligible for welfare or other federal benefits, including subsidies or tax credits under the new health care law.
  • Create strict requirements to qualify for lawful permanent resident status.  Those applying for green cards must pay their taxes, pass additional criminal background and national security checks, register for Selective Service (where applicable), pay additional fees and penalties, and learn English and U.S. civics.  As under current law, five years after receiving a green card, individuals will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship like every other legal permanent resident.
  • Earned citizenship for DREAMers. Children brought here illegally through no fault of their own by their parents will be eligible for earned citizenship.  By going to college or serving honorably in the Armed Forces for at least two years, these children should be given an expedited opportunity to earn their citizenship.  The President’s proposal brings these undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.
  • Create administrative and judicial review. An individual whose provisional lawful status has been revoked or denied, or whose application for adjustment has been denied, will have the opportunity to seek administrative and judicial review of those decisions.
  • Provide new resources to combat fraud. The President’s proposal authorizes funding to enable DHS, the Department of State, and other relevant federal agencies to establish fraud prevention programs that will provide training for adjudicators, allow regular audits of applications to identify patterns of fraud and abuse, and incorporate other proven fraud prevention measures.
Streamlining Legal Immigration
  • Keep Families Together. The proposal seeks to eliminate existing backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system by recapturing unused visas and temporarily increasing annual visa numbers.  The proposal also raises existing annual country caps from 7 percent to 15 percent for the family-sponsored immigration system.   It also treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner. The proposal also revises current unlawful presence bars and provides broader discretion to waive bars in cases of hardship.
  • Cut Red Tape for Employers.  The proposal also eliminates the backlog for employment-sponsored immigration by eliminating annual country caps and adding additional visas to the system.  Outdated legal immigration programs are reformed to meet current and future demands by exempting certain categories from annual visa limitations.
  • Enhance travel and tourism.  The Administration is committed to increasing U.S. travel and tourism by facilitating legitimate travel while maintaining our nation’s security.  Consistent with the President’sExecutive Order on travel and tourism, the President’s proposal securely streamlines visa and foreign visitor processing.  It also strengthens law enforcement cooperation while maintaining the program’s robust counterterrorism and criminal information sharing initiatives.  It facilitates more efficient travel by allowing greater flexibility to designate countries for participation in the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of designated countries to visit the United States without obtaining a visa.  And finally it permits the State Department to waive interview requirements for certain very low-risk visa applicants, permitting resources to be focused on higher risk applicants and creates a pilot for premium visa processing.
  • “Staple” green cards to advanced STEM diplomas.  The proposal encourages foreign graduate students educated in the United States to stay here and contribute to our economy by “stapling” a green card to the diplomas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) PhD and Master’s Degree graduates from qualified U.S. universities who have found employment in the United States.  It also requires employers to pay a fee that will support education and training to grow the next generation of American workers in STEM careers.
  • Create a “startup visa” for job-creating entrepreneurs.  The proposal allows foreign entrepreneurs who attract financing from U.S. investors or revenue from U.S. customers to start and grow their businesses in the United States, and to remain permanently if their companies grow further, create jobs for American workers, and strengthen our economy.
  • Expand opportunities for investor visas and U.S. economic development.  The proposal permanently authorizes immigrant visa opportunities for regional center (pooled investment) programs; provides incentives for visa requestors to invest in programs that support national priorities, including economic development in rural and economically depressed regions ; adds new measures to combat fraud and national security threats; includes data collection on economic impact; and creates a pilot program for  state and local government officials to promote economic development.
  • Create a new visa category for employees of federal national security science and technology laboratories.  The proposal creates a new visa category for a limited number of highly-skilled and specialized immigrants to work in federal science and technology laboratories on critical national security needs after being in the United States. for two years and passing rigorous national security and criminal background checks.
  • Better addresses humanitarian concerns. The proposal streamlines immigration law to better protect vulnerable immigrants, including those who are victims of crime and domestic violence.  It also better protects those fleeing persecution by eliminating the existing limitations that prevent qualified individuals from applying for asylum.
  • Encourage integration. The proposal promotes earned citizenship and efforts to integrate immigrants into their new American communities linguistically, civically, and economically. Read more @

Obama Immigration Reform Speech In Las Vegas, Nevada

Munnah - Let Them Talk

Obama takes immigration reform talks on the road


  • We have live coverage here and you can watch the president speak here
  • President Obama's comments follow announcement from bipartisan senators on their immigration plan
  • We'll listen and help explain the differences the president has with the bipartisan Senate group
[Updated at 2:55 p.m.] Cheers and applause greeted Obama's review of what he has already done, especially when he talked of the "Dreamers" - children brought to this country by their parents and who have done nothing wrong. He's speaking at Del Sol High School, which has a 54% Hispanic student body, according to U.S. News and World Report rankings.
[Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET] This isn’t just about illegal immigrants, Obama tells the room and the broader audience, but also about those who come to the U.S. to attend top universities to earn degrees in engineering and computer science, but after that, “there’s a good chance they’ll have to leave our country.”
Obama cited Intel and Instagram as examples of successful firms started by immigrants, and he said he wonders why we would tell today's immigrants graduating from American universities to go start their businesses abroad.
[Updated at 2:48 p.m. ET] Obama has the demeanor of a popular principal addressing a gathering of students. He's getting a good reception from the friendly audience.
[Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET] Obama praises the positive impact of immigrants, highlighting Google, Yahoo and other high-tech startups. He says one in four is started by immigrants.
It’s time to address “a system that’s holding us back rather than helping us grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.”
[Updated at 2:43 p.m.] "The differences are dwindling," the president says, calling immigration one of the “defining challenges of our time.”
"I am here today because the time has come for commonsense comprehensive immigration reform."
"Now is the time," he says, prompting shouts of "Si, se puede" – Spanish for "yes we can."
[Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET] The president has just taken the stage. In the audience, Obama tells us, are Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
[Posted at 1:45 p.m. ET] We still have some time before the president will speak but we're already beginning to get an idea of how the issue may be framed by the politicians.
Sen. Marco Rubio, who is one of the senators who revealed a bipartisan plan yesterday, spoke on the Senate floor about his concerns about the president's plans:
"In a few hours the president will give a speech in Nevada. And early press accounts concern me. I don’t want to turn this into a partisan thing so let me just say this – if this endeavor becomes a bidding war to see who can come up with the easiest, quickest and cheapest pathway to green card possible this thing is not going to go well folks. We now have a very common sense and reasonable set of principles and I hope what the president will say today is that he hopes that that process succeeds. But if his intentions are to trigger a bidding war to see who can come up with the easiest process, this is not a good start. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt."
It may not be related, but we've just gotten the first excerpt from the White House about what the president will say:
"We need Congress to act on a comprehensive approach that finally deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in this country right now. The good news is that – for the first time in many years – Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. Members of both parties, in both chambers, are actively working on a solution. And yesterday, a bi-partisan group of Senators announced their principles for comprehensive immigration reform, which are very much in line with the principles I’ve proposed and campaigned on for the last few years. At this moment, it looks like there’s a genuine desire to get this done soon. And that’s very encouraging."
Our colleagues with the Political Ticker break down what you can expect to hear from Obama today.
[Posted at 1:42 p.m. ET] President Obama is to speak in Las Vegas, Nevada, at 2:55 p.m. ET where he will lay the groundwork for his immigration overhaul - something he has spoken about passionately before being elected as well as during his presidency, but has never followed through on.
The president, who won a second term in part because of the support from Latino voters, is expected to lay out his vision and insist that now is the time to act when it comes to reform.
Obama's comments will come a day after a key group of bipartisan senators announced their own plan for immigration.
Republicans including Sen. John McCain, Sen. Marco Rubio, who is a rising star in the party and an expected 2016 presidential candidate, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Jeff Flake worked on the plan with Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennet.
The four "pillars" of the Senate plan are:
  • A "tough but fair" path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already living in the United States, but only after bolstering the nation's border security
  • Overhauling the country's legal immigration system, including attaching green cards to advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math from U.S. universities
  • Establishing an employment verification system that holds employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers

Hotuba ya kina Mama kutoka kwa Mhe. Balozi Maajar

Baadhi ya kina Mama waishio DMV waliweza kushirikiana pamoja kuaanda hafla ya chakula cha Usiku pamoja na mziki, kwa ajili kumuanga Balozi wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania kwa nchi za Marekani na Mexico (anayemaliza muda wake) Mhe. Mwanaidi S. Maajar.

January 28, 2013

President Obama Welcomes the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat

President Barack Obama accepts a basketball from LeBron James during a ceremony honoring the Miami Heat and their 2012 NBA Championship victory, in the East Room of the White House Jan. 28, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

As NBA world champions, the Miami Heat are used to receiving honors and acclaim, but during a reception today with President Obama, the team's standout forward -- and reigning league MVP -- LeBron James made it clear that this celebration was unlike any other. "We're in the White House right now," he said. "This is like, hey, mama, I made it."

The team was invited to commemorate their award-winning 2012 season, but in his remarks, President Obama thanked the group for spending time with some wounded warriors at Walter Reed, and paid tribute to the important role team leaders including James, Chris Bosh and captain Dwayne Wade, also play off the court:

One of the things I’m proudest of is that they take their roles as fathers seriously. And for all the young men out there who are looking up to them all the time, for them to see somebody who cares about their kids and is there for them day in and day out, that's a good message to send. It’s a positive message to send, and we’re very proud of them for that.
You can watch the whole event:


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