Saturday, November 15, 2014

CONYERS AND 115 HOUSE DEMOCRATS URGE PRESIDENT OBAMA TO USE LEGAL AUTHORITY TO TAKE EXECUTIVE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION REFORM



WASHINGTON – Today at a press conference led by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL-04), Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) joined many House Democratic Colleagues in urging President Obama to use his broad legal authority to implement administrative reforms to improve key aspects of America’s broken immigration system.

“Republicans have refused every effort in Congress to fix our broken immigration system despite countless opportunities.  In the face of Congressional inaction, like those before him, the President must act,” said Rep. John Conyers. 

Spearheaded by Rep. Gutierrez and House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Rep. Conyers and over 115 House Democrats issued a letter to President Obama urging him to exercise his power under existing law to prevent the separation of undocumented family members of U.S. citizens, lawful permeant residents, and deferred action beneficiaries.  The letter also encourages the President to recognize undocumented farmworkers that face exploitation and abuse.   

Last year, after substantial negotiations between a bipartisan group of 4 Democratic and 4 Republican Senators, the Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation that would have overhauled U.S. immigration law.  If enacted, the bill would establish a fair pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants after undergoing several security measures before obtaining a green card, further secure our borders, and ensure that our nation’s economic needs could be met through improved visa programs.  House Republicans have repeatedly blocked progress of this critical legislation by refusing to allow a vote on the bipartisan immigration reform bill.

“At this time, it is clear to me that the only path forward on immigration policy is through Executive action.  I encourage the Obama Administration to move forward with bold, Executive action because it’s the right thing to do for the country,” added Rep. Conyers.


Text of the letter to President Obama urging him to take “bold and meaningful” executive action is below:


November 13, 2014



Dear Mr. President:

It is most unfortunate that Republican leaders in the House refused to allow a vote on the bipartisan immigration reform bill the Senate passed last year.  Even today, if Republican leaders allowed a vote, the bill would pass.  But they won’t.

When Republicans blocked legislation, your pledge to use Presidential power under existing law to improve our immigration system gave us hope. Without such changes, our economy will continue to suffer and families in our communities will continue to be torn apart.

Although we were very disappointed when you postponed action until after the November election, we were encouraged last week when you reaffirmed your promise to act before the end of the year.

We hope that your actions will prevent the separation of undocumented family members of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and DACA beneficiaries and offer protection to others who have long worked in the United States and have established strong ties with our communities.  We similarly hope that you will recognize that undocumented farmworkers are “essential for agriculture” and that our country would benefit greatly if they were permitted to work in our fields without fear.  We further hope that you will reform our immigration enforcement efforts to make them more sensible and humane.

Bold and meaningful executive action will provide a boost to our national and local economies.  It will strengthen communities and promote family unity.  It will help the government focus limited enforcement resources on those who pose a true danger to the public.  And by providing an opportunity for millions of undocumented immigrants to register with the government—provide detailed biographic information, undergo criminal background checks, demonstrate continuing compliance with tax laws—it will protect American and immigrant workers alike by reducing the threat of exploitation and abuse.

The legal authority for taking executive action is clear and substantial.  Just two years ago, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts reaffirmed that the administration retains “broad discretion” to decide “whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all.”  Arizona v. United States, 132 S.Ct. 2492, 2499 (2012).  And executive action in this area is anything but unprecedented.  In fact, every past President starting from President Dwight D. Eisenhower more than half a century ago has used such authority when dealing with similar issues regarding the national interest.

Like us, you have heard Republicans warn that any actions you take will “poison the well” and prevent them from using their upcoming majority in the Senate to address our broken immigration system. However, for the past two years it was not Senate Democrats that blocked much-needed legislation, it was House Republicans. That obstacle to sensible immigration reform still remains. Let us also not forget that congressional Republicans previously blocked reform in 2006 and 2007.

As you said last week, “What we can’t do is just keep on waiting. There’s a cost for waiting.” That cost is measured in the tens of thousands of parents of U.S. citizen children who are deported each year. It is measured in the emotional price children and DACA recipients pay worrying about whether their parents will come home at the end of the day. Our national security suffers whenever we spend precious enforcement resources on hardworking immigrant families, rather than on criminals and those who mean our communities harm.  And American workers’ wages and working conditions are consistently undermined as long as millions of immigrant workers are working in the shadows and off the books. We agree with you, Mr. President. We can no longer afford to wait.

As you have said, it is ultimately the job of Congress to reform our broken immigration system by enacting legislation. But by failing to do their job—and repeatedly interfering with your efforts to do your job—congressional Republicans threaten to take our immigration system hostage and preserve a status quo that everyone agrees is unacceptable. Their failure to act must not inhibit your commitment to governing.

We will stand with you as you take bold and meaningful action, consistent with existing law and historical precedent, to protect American families, strengthen local communities and grow the economy.

Sincerely,

1.         Karen Bass
2.         Earl Blumenauer
3.         Suzanne Bonamici
4.         Tony Cárdenas
5.         Joaquin Castro
6.         Judy Chu
7.         David Cicilline
8.         Katherine Clark
9.         Yvette Clarke
10.       Wm. Lacy Clay
11.       Emanuel Cleaver
12.       James Clyburn
13.       Steve Cohen   
14.       John Conyers, Jr.
15.       Jim Costa
16.       Joseph Crowley
17.       Elijah Cummings
18.       Danny Davis
19.       Susan Davis
20.       Diana DeGette
21.       Rosa DeLauro
22.       Suzan DelBene
23.       Theodore Deutch
24.       Lloyd Doggett
25.       Tammy Duckworth
26.       Donna Edwards
27.       Keith Ellison
28.       Eliot Engel
29.       Anna C. Eshoo
30.       Sam Farr
31.       Chaka Fattah
32.       Bill Foster
33.       Marcia Fudge
34.       Joe Garcia
35.       Alan Grayson
36.       Al Green
37.       Gene Green
38.       Raul Grijalva
39.       Luis Gutierrez
40.       Janice Hahn
41.       Alcee Hastings
42.       Ruben Hinojosa
43.       Rush Holt
44.       Michael Honda
45.       Steny Hoyer
46.       Jared Huffman
47.       Sheila Jackson Lee
48.       Hakeem Jeffries
49.       Hank Johnson
50.       Marcy Kaptur
51.       Robin Kelly
52.       Joseph P. Kennedy, III
53.       John B. Larson
54.       Barbara Lee
55.       Sander Levin
56.       John Lewis
57.       Zoe Lofgren
58.       Alan Lowenthal
59.       Ben Ray Luján
60.       Carolyn Maloney
61.       Doris O. Matsui
62.       Betty McCollum
63.       Jim McDermott
64.       James P. McGovern
65.       Jerry McNerney
66.       Gregory Meeks
67.       Grace Meng
68.       George Miller
69.       Gwen Moore
70.       James P. Moran
71.       Jerrold Nadler
72.       Grace Napolitano
73.       Gloria Negrete McLeod
74.       Eleanor Holmes Norton
75.       Beto O’Rourke
76.       Frank Pallone
77.       Bill Pascrell
78.       Donald Payne, Jr.
79.       Ed Perlmutter
80.       Scott Peters
81.       Pedro Pierluisi
82.       Chellie Pingree
83.       Mark Pocan
84.       Jared Polis
85.       Mike Quigley
86.       Charles Rangel
87.       Lucille Roybal-Allard
88.       Bobby Rush
89.       Linda Sanchez
90.       Loretta Sanchez
91.       Janice Schakowsky
92.       Adam Schiff
93.       Bradley S. Schneider
94.       Kurt Schrader
95.       Allyson Y. Schwartz
96.       Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
97.       Jose Serrano
98.       Terri A. Sewell
99.       Albio Sires
100.     Adam Smith
101.     Jackie Speier
102.     Eric Swalwell
103.     Mark Takano
104.     Mike Thompson
105.     Dina Titus
106.     Paul Tonko
107.     Chris Van Hollen
108.     Juan Vargas
109.     Nydia Velazquez
110.     Marc A. Veasey
111.     Filemon Vela
112.     Maxine Waters
113.     Henry Waxman
114.     Peter Welch
115.     Frederica Wilson
116.     John Yarmuth

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CONYERS STATEMENT ON NOMINATION OF LORETTA LYNCH AS ATTORNEY GENERAL

Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. released the following statement today on President Obama’s nomination of U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch, Eastern District of New York, to serve as the next Attorney General of the United States:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
Loretta Lynch is an accomplished and committed public servant who has proven that she can withstand various challenges in the pursuit of justice.  As a federal prosecutor from the Eastern District of New York, Lynch has worked hard to crack down on political corruption and terrorism.  As America continues its struggles to protect and expand civil rights for all, I am confident Ms. Lynch will bring a fresh perspective in securing voting rights, addressing over-criminalization and improving the criminal justice system as a whole.

“President Obama’s nomination of Ms. Lynch to be our next Attorney General would make her a dynamic addition to his diverse and distinguished cabinet.  Once confirmed, Ms. Lynch would continue the legacy left behind by our current Attorney General Holder, as the first African-American woman to hold the position. 

“I encourage the Senate to confirm Ms. Lynch as our next Attorney General without delay to reassure the American people that the Justice Department will continue its diligent work under first-rate leadership seamlessly.”
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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuettee Does Nothing About Human Trafficking in Michigan Before His Re-election

To the Michigan Attorney General, Bill Schuettee,

Dear Sir,

It is understood that there is a substantial, inherent conflict of interest within your office of contemporaneously advising and advocating for those of whom contract with the State of Michigan to care for children in need.

In the same breath I ask you to take time out of your campaign to make the Charitable Section of your office sing for its supper.  By that I mean light a fire under the arses of your Assistant Attorneys General and do something about these child, and for the purposes of this story, adult caregiving, non-profits' practice of human usury, or rather human trafficking.

This has been going on for decades with an absolutely intentional hoodwinked culture within the Attorney General's Office.  I can further my disdain of your lack of leadership to point a finger to the Madame Maura Corrigan, former Michigan Supreme Court Justice and current Director of  Department of Human Services for turning up her nose to the rampant fraud, waste and abuse within her Department...and the courts.

Children, under your watch, under the auspices of the State, are raped, beaten, tortured and killed, yet you do nothing about it.

If you are in need of further documentation of non-profit, "charitable" organizations enslaving and torturing the most vulnerable of our society for a pretty, non-taxable penny, please, feel free to look into my filings within your office or just google my name.

You suck and so does the Director of Department of Human Services.

Much love,

Beverly Tran

Woman investigated for using special needs children to sell candy in nonprofit scam


Fox 2 News Headlines
DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (WJBK) -
A Dearborn Heights woman is under investigation for using special needs children she took legal guardianship to sell candy for what appears to be a fake nonprofit.
Children trapped for so long, they are now adults, going on for 20 years. The victims don't know they've been robbed of the lives they could have had.
"I miss them so much they just don't know how much it hurts," said Kathy Williams.

"They" are her children, turned into modern day slave labor, she says and all Williams can do for the past 20 years is helplessly watch.
It all started almost twenty years ago in 1995 when Williams' husband died unexpectedly.
She was on the brink of a nervous breakdown, left on her own to raise four children. Two have mental disabilities, the youngest just 5 years old.
"I was lost, confused emotional wreck," Williams said. "I didn't have any money, nowhere to go."
And then appeared a ray of light in Williams' darkest hour. An acquaintance, Catherine Bergum, offered to take the kids in.

"I should have never gone down that rode should have known better," Williams said. 
Little did Williams know, those kids would eventually become part of what appears to be an elaborate and shameful money making scheme.

And now the kids have grown to be adults.
Fox 2 watched them for months as they sold candy door to door. Business to business. On foot all day, everyday, rain or shine.
They live with Catherine Bergum and her husband Don, both of whom records show became the kids' legal guardians in the mid-1990s. 
Five out of the seven young people, including their own grandson with their own documented mental disabilities.
Each have a range of challenges from schizophrenia, to retardation, to depression and emotional impairment.
Instead of nurturing and caring for her special needs family inside their Dearborn Heights home, numerous complaints say Catherine Bergum forced the kids to work and live like animals.
Sleeping on the kitchen floor, or in backyard shed that doesn't have heat or bedding, and made to use a porta potty set up on the side of the house.
The day starts with chores and when they are finished, they hit the streets.
Bergum's daughter Nancy Britt picks them up from the Bergum home and drops off in a different location. Sometimes as far away as the Upper Peninsula. Always on the move, so no one catches on..
Each day they are not allowed to come home until every box of the candy is sold. 
A man who worked as a former driver for Bergum, wanted us to conceal his identity and says regrettably, he knows first-hand.
"If they sell 150 boxes a day,  $8 a box we're talking $1,000 dollars or more a day," he said.
Fox 2's Taryn Asher: "And how much do the kids keep?"
"Nothing," the former driver said. "The reason I left, I got tired or it.  I've seen how she was treating the kids. I got tired of it."
Bergum's sellers claim the money goes toward a nonprofit and are happy to provide laminated proof - a document no more official than the cheap plastic around it.
Fox 2: "So what's the name of your company? 
"Americans of Today," said the candy seller. "See it's right on there, Americans of Today."
Fox 2 discovered  Americans of Today may be filed with the state as a nonprofit, but right now the attorney general's office which regulates charities, says it's questioning whether it's legitimate cause.
Americans of Today is not even registered as a charitable trust. Because for years documents show the non profit hasn't proved to the state where the money was going.

It didn't provide copies of Internal Revenue Service returns or financial statements, or a description of all methods of solicitation - a violation of state law.
Americans of Today is licensed by the city of Livonia, but not to sell candy according to clerk. Only to pass out fliers, but one can see here in Livonia, they are not.
In fact, one came up and even sold candy to Fox 2.
On each box of candy it says WorkingTeens.com "Proven fact that a teen kept busy stays out of trouble."
On the website which has no contact information, and tries to fend off curious media - claims the working teens get to keep 33 percent of the money. 
But here's another problem - the people working for Catherine Bergum are no longer teens..
Fox 2: "How long you been involved in the program?"  
"21 years, yep," the young man said.
Fox 2: "Done a lot for you?" 
"Oh yeah," he said.
Fox 2: "How long have you been associated with the program?"  
"Twenty-something years," he said. 
The former driver for Bergum said the sellers never receive any money they make.
"That's why they claim it's a nonprofit," the former driver said.
Fox 2: "But she is the one profiting." 
"Definitely," he said. 
Fox 2: "There are no kids, there is no charity this money is going toward."
 "No, not at all," the driver said. 
Williams agreed.

"It's all about money with her," Williams said. "She doesn't love my kids she uses my kids, all of those kids. Not just mine, anybody's kids."
Fox 2's Taryn Asher confronted Bergum outside a metro Detroit restaurant.
"Catherine, I need to speak with you for a moment," Asher said. "I want to hear about what you've been doing for the last 20 years, making mentally challenged kids sell candy door to door."
"I don't know what you are talking about," Bergum said.
"You want to tell me about your fake nonprofits you set up, where's all the money?" Asher asked.
In 2009, records show Bergum filed for bankruptcy and claims she made $600 that year from her nonprofit Americans of Today.
Several documents show Bergum isn't only profiting from her lucrative candy business, she is collecting all of their social security checks.
As their representative payee she gets nearly $700 a month for each of the six who are now adults she cares for. That comes to about $4,200 a month. 
It appears she uses all of that ill-gotten money to go shopping, drive nice cars, dine out almost every night and got to casinos. She can be seen in multiple photos at Soaring Eagle time and time again. 
Yet those special needs adults are said to make nothing.
Elmer Cerano leads a Lansing-based organization that protects the rights of people with disabilities. He is appalled by what Fox 2 discovered.
"People are complaining that somebody is walking through the neighborhoods selling candy and it just doesn't feel right, follow up on that," Cerano said. "Adult protective services, child protective services if it started when people were young. Where the hell were they?"
Over the last 12 years there have been 14 different complaints filed with adult protective services against Catherine Bergum and her husband. The complaints detail the candy scam with allegations of exploitation, neglect, emotional physical and even sexual exploitation.

To this date nothing has been done to remove the vulnerable, special needs adults.
The complaints date back to 2002 filed by concerned citizens, family members even the victims themselves, stating:
  • How they live in horrendous conditions
  • How they are forced to sell candy against their will and punished and ridiculed when they do not.
  • How they are forced to eat onion sandwiches and clean the privacy fence with a toothbrush.
  • How they are moved around to different locations to conceal the candy selling scam.
State regulators say allegations aren't substantiated and the case is closed. But for those with little concept of time, the case is never closed.
Fox 2 "How long have you been associated with the program?"
"Twenty-something years," the seller said.
The candy seller was asked what they get out of it.
"We get trips and activities," the seller said.
"They something but they still work when they camp," the former driver said. "They don't go on activities or anything like that, maybe once or twice a year."
Once or twice a year. or about how often the state has been to the Bergum house.
It all goes according to script. Records claim Catherine Bergum will set it up like everyone is living in a comfortable home with more than enough food.  
She will get rid of the porta potty in the back and she won't allow the mentally impaired adults to be interviewed alone. The alleged victims say they are happy and deny anything was wrong.
"My kids are brainwashed, " Williams said. "I know they are brainwashed."
"Are they forced to say certain things," Asher asked.
"Oh yeah," the former driver said. "I've been to therapy with them before no one-on-ones with them. Cathy always has to be there."
When it came to probate court, for years Bergum had to provide annual reports on the condition of each of the legally incapacitated, developmentally disabled people in her care.
She documented all of the family activities she claims they go on, and each time it appears her word was good enough..
"They don't know any different," Cerano said. "If you're controlling everything that happens to them from when they're a kid, what choice do they have. 
"When they are taken advantage of, people need to pay a price for that."
Bergum, when confronted, did not answer questions.

"What do you have to say about that," Asher asked Bergum. "What do you have to say about yourself exploiting these kids Cathy. All these years.
"You took guardianship of these kids. It's your duty to take care of them. Where's all the money Cathy?"
Bergum did not answer the questions, climbing into her vehicle to leave the parking lot.
Through the years Williams says she has tried to get her kids back, get them away from Bergum. But the courts always felt the Bergums were able to provide a more stable home.
Now that they are adults, it hurts her to think this is the only life they've ever known.
"It really get me upset," Williams said. "But there is nothing I can do. I just hope and pray they will wake up one day and realize what is going on."
In response to Fox 2's story, the Michigan Department of Human Services issued this statement from Bob Wheaton, the acting manager of communications.
The Michigan Department of Human Services has begun a thorough review of cases involving these guardianships. There are questions and concerns related to these cases. 
The department and its director, Maura Corrigan, take very seriously its responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of vulnerable adults. 
That's the job of our Adult Protective Services. The DHS Office of Family Advocate is reviewing the cases. 
To provide a fresh pair of eyes, the Oakland County Department of Human Services also has been assigned by DHS to review the cases - as well as other active cases involving this guardian that were already being investigated.
Two separate investigations have been launched because of Fox 2's story.
Now something may be done.
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CONYERS: “UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LEADERSHIP, WE WILL DEFEAT EBOLA”

DETROIT—Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) issued the following statement regarding the Ebola crisis and the federal government’s response:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“While Ebola is a dreadful illness that poses a serious threat to nations in West Africa, the simple fact remains that Ebola is extraordinarily rare in the United States.  There have been only two cases of Ebola contracted in the country, and health professionals have treated both successfully.  

“I applaud President Obama for basing his response to Ebola on science rather than unproven hysteria.  His decision to send a Disaster Assistance Response Team—comprised of leading public health experts—to West Africa has been essential to containing the virus in Liberia and other West African nations.  Given that an appropriate response to the virus requires action from medical researchers, military personnel and domestic healthcare professionals, the President wisely appointed a capable coordinator to oversee the federal government operation.  Central to every aspect of President Obama’s strategy is the important notion that we must eradicate Ebola at its source. 

“Of course President Obama needs the resources and personnel to effectively implement this prudent strategy.  But over the last decade, the federal contributions toward medical research at National Institutes of Health (NIH) have fallen in inflation adjusted terms.  In fact, the agency’s budget has shrunk by more than 20 since 2003.  This reduction is especially irresponsible because the NIH is the world leader in efforts to identify new means of treating and preventing Ebola. 

“Under the Republicans’ misguided across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, other pivotal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have suffered similar funding setbacks.  Additionally, conservatives in the Senate have blocked the confirmation of one of the most highly-qualified nominees for Surgeon General in U.S. history, leaving the position vacant at a time when accurate medical information is particularly important. 

“It’s time to put partisan considerations aside and support President Obama’s strategy to protect Americans and eliminate Ebola globally.  I hope more and more of my colleagues will put aside partisan considerations and support the non-nonsense strategy of our President to protect us here and eliminate Ebola globally.”
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Full Employment Act at 35: America's Unfinished Business

By John Conyers, Jr.

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
For the first time since the start of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate is below 6 percent. America has experienced 55 consecutive months of net job creation, resulting in the addition of 10.3 million new jobs.

Look beneath these surface-level statistics, however, and you'll still find massive unused human potential and unnecessary suffering. Nearly 19 million people across the nation are still searching for full-time work.

The unemployment rates for African-Americans and young Americans remain in the double digits.

The percentage of Americans in the workforce remains below pre-recession levels because millions of people who want jobs have become too discouraged to continue to seek employment.

If these jobless Americans were counted in official statistics, the unemployment rate would be upwards of 9.6 percent.

The federal government has not only a moral obligation to address the ongoing jobs crisis -- it has a legal mandate.

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act, a law that requires federal policies to be directed toward the attainment of full employment.

The law is in effect today, yet Congress continues to shirk its responsibilities to ensure that people are working.

The Humphrey-Hawkins Act, named after the law's authors, the late Senator Hubert Humphrey and the late Representative Augustus Hawkins, was a turning point in American public policy because it first established the principle that the federal government should serve as an "employer of last resort."

The bill set specific targets for employment and authorized the use of a broad range of fiscal and monetary tools to achieve them.

While private sector hiring is the ideal, the Humphrey-Hawkins Act commits the government to step in when workers are idle and public needs -- like roads, schools, bridges, health centers, and scientific research -- go unmet.

The cost of inaction is simply too great: unemployment means serious damage to Americans' health (by causing anxiety and lost insurance coverage), homes and neighborhoods (through foreclosures and increased crime), and lifelong career prospects (because of atrophied skills and discrimination against the long-term unemployed).

When we create jobs -- whether through private investment or federal action--businesses have more customers able to buy more goods and services and the overall economy prospers.

When there are more jobs available, lower-income and moderate-income workers can bargain for higher wages.

There are cost-effective policies Congress should pass right now to live up to the law it passed 35 years ago. Specifically, Congress should pass the new 21st-century Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act (H.R. 1000) to create the means to hire people to make necessary upgrades to our infrastructure, healthcare, and education systems.

Another excellent option is the updated and upgraded version of President Obama's American Jobs Act (H.R. 2821).

Even if Republican leadership disagrees with these proposals to put Americans back to work, they should show respect for the suffering of unemployed Americans and their families by allowing them to receive a fair up-or-down vote.

If the Republican-controlled Congress continues to obstruct critical job creation initiatives, President Obama should build on his "year of action" to use the authority granted to him by the Humphrey-Hawkins Act to promote action for the unemployed wherever possible.

I stand ready to assist President Obama in building Congressional support for an agenda that fulfills the promise of Humphrey-Hawkins.

Thirty-five years after the enactment of the Full Employment law, America remains far from the realizing the vision of a Full Employment society. We have both a moral obligation and a legal mandate to get to work.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Thursday, October 23, 2014

CONYERS AND UN OFFICIALS JOIN “LISTENING PANEL” ON THE NEED FOR ACCESS TO DRINKING WATER IN THE CITY OF DETROIT


DETROIT- On Sunday, October 19, 2014, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) was a panelist at a town hall meeting attended by two officials with the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, Leilani Farha, special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, and Catarina de Albuquerque, special rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation.

During the town hall meeting, the U.N. officials listened to testimonies from individuals who are experiencing shutoffs and met with local elected officials. At a press conference on Monday, the U.N. officials called for cessation of water shutoffs in Detroit, citing the act violates international human rights law and poses a risk to public health.

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“With its location on the Great Lakes and extensive sanitation systems, Detroit should have access to plentiful and inexpensive water.  Yet, due to an overzealous and wrongheaded approach to cost-cutting, many Detroiters have been denied access to this essential resource,” said Rep. John Conyers.  “In addition to strong advocacy to local officials in defense of water rights, I am continuing to make the case to state and federal officials that resources from Michigan’s multimillion Hardest Hit Fund should be invested in upgrades to our water system.  In the 21st Century, in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one should go without safe, clean, public water.”

Conyers added, “I applaud Maureen Taylor of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and others for holding this important hearing on the devastating consequences of water shutoffs for Detroit residents.  I am so pleased that the hearing,presented to a full house at Wayne County Community College’s downtown campus, garnered major media attention and helped drive a national conversation regarding access to water.  As the United Nations Special Rapporteur noted, denying access to water to those who are unable to pay is a violation of international human rights law and could cause a regional public health crisis that could impact the most vulnerable among us, particularly infants and seniors.” 
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REP. CONYERS STATEMENT ON DHS PLAN TO REQUIRE PASSENGERS FROM LIBERIA, SIERRA LEONE, AND GUINEA TO ENTER THROUGH AIRPORTS WITH ENHANCED SCREENING


WASHINGTON – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released the following statement after the Department of Homeland Security announced a new temporary plan to require passengers originating from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to enter the United States through one of five designated airports enhanced with Ebola-screening measures (located in Washington, Atlanta, New York City, Newark and Chicago):

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s decision to direct passengers traveling to the U.S. from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to enter the country through one of five designated airports with enhanced, Ebola-specific screening is a sensible precautionary measure that helps address public concerns and helps deter spreading of the disease.

“As agreed upon by experts in both the public health and transportation communities, issuing a blanket travel ban would not only be counterproductive, but it would also irresponsibly impede getting much-needed supplies and relief to the countries that need it most.”
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

REPS. JOHN CONYERS AND YVETE CLARKE APPLAUD THE EXPEDITION OF THE HAITI FAMILY REUNIFICATION PROGRAM

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the Committee on the Judiciary, and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), lauded the Department of Homeland Security for moving forward with implementation of the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program in 2015, which will expedite the reunification of Haitian families and support safe and legal migration from Haiti to the United States.

Starting in early 2015, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will offer certain eligible Haitian beneficiaries of previously approved family-based immigrant visa petitions, who are currently in Haiti, an opportunity to come to the United States about two years before their immigrant visa priority dates become current.  Families who are eligible will receive a written notice from the National Visa Center.

“The decision by the Department of Homeland Security to implement a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program will benefit everyone," said Congressman Conyers.  "Families who would otherwise be unnecessarily separated for years while awaiting the availability of an immigrant visa soon will be allowed to wait together.  Communities here and in Haiti will be strengthened.  And as Haiti continues to rebuild from the earthquake that devastated the country in 2010, this program will allow greater remittances to be sent back to fund critically needed recovery efforts."

“I want to commend the Department of Homeland Security on the development of this program, which will allow for the reunification of families that have been separated – in some instances for many years.  The continued failure of Congress to enact – or even to debate – comprehensive immigration reform continues to separate parents from their children and husbands from their wives.  The wait must end.  I am hopeful that this program will form the basis for a broader policy that will allow families from around the world to avoid unnecessary delays in reuniting here in the United States,” said Congresswoman Clarke.

The Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program builds upon the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, which was established in 2007 under the Bush Administration.  Members of Congress, editorial boards, and faith leaders have urged the Administration to adopt a similar program for Haitian families since 2010. Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©