Casualties of Reform: The Children of Illegal Immigrants

(Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Immigration reform seems to be the hot topic of the moment as thousands of people including men, women and children flood the country from across the border begging the question: What to do with all these illegal immigrants? Well let us not forget that at one point in this countries past, everyone except the Native Americans came to this country to pursue a better life either through legal means i.e green cards or settled here and never left (some called it illegal). Unfortunately, the issues is not so cut and dry when you look at all aspects of the immigration debate mostly due to the fact that you have those who choose to settle here and those who are born here or don’t remember anything of their past life. As Christopher Sherman and Astrid Galvan state in their article published June 18, 2014, Sights, smells of holding cells for immigrant kids, there has been a surge in minors mostly from South America into the United States and even the President has called the 47,000 unaccompanied children who enter the country illegally an “urgent humanitarian situation.” Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has struggled to get any action from House Republicans as they have no reason to move on legislation to address the millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States. In addition, despite calls from supporters of immigration overhaul, the president has refused to move ahead unilaterally on limited changes he can make on his own.

However as of June 20, 2014, the White House has decided to step up efforts to slow the flow of illegal children into the country by expanding the government’s ability to process and deport people even announcing new funding to boost security in crime plagued Central American countries, reports Reuters’ Mark Felsenthal. The plan would be to increase the ranks of immigration judges, lawyers and asylum officers to quickly decide what happens to people at the border and to return them home. According to the article, White House announces steps to address illegal children in the country, officials also granted $9.6 million in support to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to help them receive and reintegrate people who are sent back. The administation has also pledged $40 million to improve security in Guatemala and $25 million to provide services for youth in El Salvador vunerable to organized crime.

East Meets West: The Struggle for Peace and Compromise

Iraqi insurgents wave their flag. Courtesy of CNN.com

As the world seems to head into a downward spiral of blaming and shaming, the United States struggles to keep its grip on the rest of the world and hold on to the power and respect it may of once had. No one event can be pinpointed in its illustrious and not soon forgotten contemptible past as many countries if not all have committed crimes against their own people including these so called superpowers. As of lately though, the POTUS seems to be dealing with many volatile situation involving our not so friendly sometimes outright hostile neighbors from across the sea even the world. The conflicts of Syria, Ukraine, North Korea, Iraq and Russia are just a few that have made headlines in the past year, however this article will only discuss the most recent conflicts and the involvement. whether warranted or not, of the United States, U.N. and other so called aggressors. This year alone, Obama and let’s not forget a lackadaisical Congress have had to determine whether these crises and conflicts warrant the attention of the military or require a more gentle hand  in order to prevent a much bigger catastrophe some call a war. With increasing tension around the world between neighboring countries, it is more important than ever for not just the United States but the world to take note that the solutions are many and war should not be the first. Of course, these problems are not all rooted in this presidency but left overs from decades long ago.

Iraq Conflict: Sunni Militants Capture Northern Iraqi Town, Hamza Hendawi and Qassim Abdul-Zahra explains the deepening Iraqi crisis has lead to an all out war between the Shiite militias and the Sunni insurgency across the country according to officials. Iran has decided to help the Iraqi government fight against the insurgency which is something unheard just a few weeks ago and with this the United States has decided to help as well. The United States will deploy 275 military troops to protect the U.S. Embassy and other American interests, however the White House insists that no more combat troops would be sent. The insurgents has seized the strategic city of Tal Afar never the Syrian border as part of its goal to link both sides of the Iraq and Syrian frontier. According to Iraqi officials, Tehran’s Quds Force commander, Iranian General Ghasem Soleimani, has been advising in Iraq on how to push back the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaida breakaway group. The U.S. has been notified of his presence, but his presence in Iraq has led to Sunni suspicions about the Shiite led government’s close ties to Tehran, according to the Associate Press. Since the U.S. troops left in 2011, the Islamic State has vowed to march to Baghdad, Karbala and Najaf threatening the stability of Iraq. The Friday before this article was published, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, orginally from Iran, call on the people to defend the holy shrines. The call to arms has lead to armed Shiite militiamen parading on the streets and volunteers joining the security forces chanting Shiite religious slogans. This new mobilization has lead to further allegations of a sectarian slant adding to increased tensions before and after the incursions of this last week with thousands killed since late last year. Soleimani, a powerful figure in Iran’s security establishment, and his Quds Force a secretive branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard were also involved in the mid 2000s with organizing Shiite militias against U.S. troops in Iraq and more recently involved in helping Syrian President Bashar Assad against Sunni rebels, according to U.S. officials. His visit and subsequent training of the Shiite militias by his Quds Force means Iran could take a role similar to the one it played in Syria which has been crucial to the survival of Assad.

Please Help: He Served His Country in WWII Now He’s Served with An Eviction


To help out grandpa please click here.

The worst part is the eviction is coming from an unlikely place…his daughter and son in law. With so many people suffering around the world due to the financial crisis, so many people have come together to help their fellow man in this time of need without any incentive to do so. To all those everyday heroes, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. The man above of course is not my grandpa, but refers to himself on YouTube as grandpa who reminds me of my grandfather and other men who dutifully served their country in its greatest hour of need. It tugs at my heart strings to see the payback veterans of wars and let’s be honest the elderly in general get which is zilch. Sometimes people look at them as a forgotten relic of history inching every closer to deaths door (just look at nursing homes), however I see them as an insight into the past and the greatest story tellers. Some witnessed, participated and influenced the greatest moments in history and hold true to oral traditions the way they happen not the way we as Americans hear it. So a tribute to the man above is in order, I want to tell his story in hopes of everyday heroes coming to this humble mans rescue with help from an AOL article.

While scrolling through the myriad of articles on AOL, I happened upon this man’s story. Why did it touch me so? I have a grandfather like everyone else and like his granddaughter I have had to deal with feuding among family member over sorry to say some really stupid things. My goal as I am sure her goal is to ensure his quality of life remains the same and stays surrounded by the memories built in his home and not what works for everyone else. According to the article, a family feud between father and daughter could leave this 91 year old World War II veteran out on the street after his daughter gained ownership of his southern Ohio home and served him with eviction papers. His granddaughter, Jaclyn Fraley, is trying to keep him in his home he built as the deadline approaches on June 12.

The back story seems even more tragic. Fraley told AOL that when the elderly Potter fell ill he signed over his power of attorney then transferred his Zaleski, Ohio home to his daughter, Janice Cottrill (Fraley’s mother) in 2004. The man built his home 54 years ago according to WCMH-TV in Columbus. When Cottrill took custody of her autistic brother who was living in the home with the elderly Potter, a feud erupted between Cottrill and Potter over visitation rights ending in Cottrill serving Potter with eviction papers. His granddaughter sees how much it hurts her grandfather and has not spoken to her mother except through her lawyers over the past two years. When the two went to court to try and get the home back, the court sided with Cottrill in a May 2012 decision saying the statue of limitations had expired. The judge is expected to hand down an eviction time frame to Potter on June 12 according to AOL.

Both Janice Cottrill and her husband Dean declined to comment as their attorney, Lorene Johnston, told AOL that the two are “attempting to stir up public sentiment for themselves.” The craziest part of the story as most attorney would say is the case has been reduced to nothing more than a “a simple eviction process for someone who doesn’t own the home and doesn’t pay any rent.” Call me crazy but the man own the home and built it so I am confused. Dean Cottrill did say to WCMH that Potter had filed suit against him and Janice for visitation rights with his song and “For him to stay in that home, it is real simple. Leave Joe alone and stop the lawsuits.” Imagine a father that wants to see his son…hmmmmm…oh yeah this old man deserved everything he gets for being a good dad (I am being sarcastic if you could not tell).

Here is where the help comes in pay attention. Now the granddaughter (pictured left with grandpa) has decided to try and raise the money to keep her grandfather in his house. The goal is $125,000 so she can buy back the house from her mother, so far she has raised as of Wednesday evening $9,442 through donations and a lot of support. She’s set up a fundraising site on GoFundMe.com and says her grandfather is overwhelmed with the support he has received so far. “I hope he gets his house back, and lives out his best years in his house,” donor John Pirrone wrote on Fraley’s fundraising page. “Thank you for coming through for us in WWII, I hope that we can come through for you,” wrote donor Robert Sharpe. One veteran even donated $1,000 to her effort, she said. “The veterans community has been overwhelmingly supportive,” Fraley said. “To see this go almost viral, it’s what happens when one of your wildest dreams come true.” Thank you AOL for reporting on this as the news doesn’t report enough about the good people are doing on a daily basis. If you would like to help out this grandpa representing all of our elderly, please go to the site underneath the YouTube video and pledge your support.

North Korea Using Psychological Warfare to Bargain with U.S.

We have all witness numerous attempts by North Korea to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with from threats of war against South Korea to attacks on the United States with long range nuclear missiles, however the end result of these threats have left the North Korea with little bargaining power as the United Nations has sanctioned them for repeated offenses and South Korea grows tired of the tantrums. What is the next logical step in North Korea’s psychological warfare? North Korea now hopes to use an old trick from the past that is sure to get the United States’ attention. On Saturday, the Associated Press reported that North Korea will try an American detainee for allegedly trying to overthrow the government complicating an already tense relationship between Pyongyang and Washington. The indictment comes as North Korea has run out of ammo to use against the U.S. and South Korea in order to force bargaining between the nations. North Korea remains angry over U.N. sanctions passed in February over nuclear tests and the ongoing U.S. South Korean drills though most believe the motive behind the indictment is to force its Korean War foes to negotiate on its own terms according to the Associated Press.

The man identified above, Kenneth Bae, also known by his Korean name in North Korean state media, Pae Jun Ho, is a tour operator arrested after arriving with a tour on Nov.3 in Rason which is a special economic zone bordering China and Russia. He is the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009, however the other detainees were eventually deported or released after high profile diplomatic interventions with some involving President Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. According to the Korean Central News Agency, “The preliminary inquiry into crimes committed by American citizen Pae Jun Ho closed. In the process of investigation he admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK with hostility toward it. His crimes were proved by evidence.” Under North Korea’s criminal code terrorist acts include murdering, kidnapping and injuring the country’s citizens can lead to a death sentence or life in jail AP reports.

The actual trial of Bae has not been set and the charges have yet to be announced by the KCNA as little information has been made public. North Korea and the United States do not have diplomatic relations due to the 1050-53 Korean War as the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang represent the United States. Friends, colleagues and activist in South Korea said that Bae is a missionary based in a border town in China who made frequent trips to North Korea to feed orphans , but do not know whether he tried to evangelize while in North Korea AP reports. Officially, North Korea guarantee freedom of religion, however authorities have been known to crack down on Christians who are seen as threats to government because of the western influence. The distribution of Bibles and secret prayer services do carry a penalty of banishment to a labor camp or execution according to defectors from the country.

 

Fiscal Cliff: The Remix

House Republicans,  in an effort to thwart the effects of another debt showdown this summer, passed a bill Wednesday to protect Social Security recipients and investors in Treasury bonds if the government hits its borrowing limit. According to the Associated Press, the House Ways and Means Committee passed the bill exempting interest and principal payments on Treasury bonds from the statutory debt limit as well as interest payments to Social Security trust funds. The bill passed 22 to 14 down party lines with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed, while the full House will take up the bill after Congress returns from next week’s vacation. However, democrats are expected to block the bill in the Senate. Republicans believe the bill could help avoid a historic default even if the debt limit does not increase due to Congress and President Obama. According to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., “The whole purpose of this bill is to take default off the table,” said Rep. Regardless of the political hysterics in Washington, we will not default.” Democrats believe the bill prioritizes payments to foreign investors over funding domestic programs such as veterans, soldiers, students and elderly and calling it “Pay China First Act.” According to AP, Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y. commented, “Where in the bill are the benefits are veterans protected? Is there language protecting Medicare payments and seniors in this bill? Do they get top billing over foreign banks? This bill will do nothing to lower our debt but it will make sure that foreign banks in Switzerland and China are paid.” In January, Congress suspended borrowing limit until May 18 however the Treasury wants to take action to delay default until late summer in August. The consequences of no debt limit increase could be another showdown over government spending and borrowing leading to a similar problem as in July of 2011 when Congress took the federal government to the brink of default and received a downgraded credit rating for the first time from major rating agencies. The issues on the table have become toxic since even leading to pettiness in last year’s congressional elections where both parties pointed out how many times their opponents voted for an increase in debt limits which use to be a routine vote according to the Associated Press.

China in the Wake of a Devastating Quake

On Saturday, an earthquake in Sichuan province, killed at least 186 people injuring more than 11,000 leaving two dozen missing in rural communities around Ya’an city, along the same fault line as another quake to the north five years before that resulted in 90,000 people in Sichuan and neighboring areas being killed in one of the worst natural disasters in China’s history, AP reports. Many relatives search in the rubble in hopes of finding their loved ones still alive, while search and rescue has been working since Saturday to aid the victims and search for survivors.The Lushan and Boaxing counties this time were hardest hit on Saturday even though they escaped the worst of the 2008 quake yet residents said they would of benefited from the region’s rebuilding such as special reinforcements made to building and new evacuation procedures introduced. According to the Associated Press, relief teams flew in helicopters dynamiting landslides in order to reach isolated communities on Sunday. Many residents were upset with emergency teams as little aid was distributed among the areas effected and were busy taking away bodies while searching for survivors. Along the road in Longmen, children carried hand written signs reading “No water, no shelter.”

According to China’s earthquake administration, the earthquake measured a magnitude 7.0 while the U.S. Geological Survey recorded it at a 6.6 and struck at around 8 a.m. Saturday. Aftershocks could be felt throughout the region, leaving about ten thousand people in tents and cars unable to move back home or too afraid. The official totals are yet to be determined as numbers are still coming in but so far 186 people were killed, 21 missing and injured and 11,393 injured from Saturday’s quake as quoted by the Xinhua News Agency from the provincial emergency command center. The government has mobilized thousands of soldiers and others to the area as well as excavators, heavy machinery and even tents, blankets and other emergency supplies to aid the region.  The state media reported that two soldiers died after their vehicle slid off the road falling down a cliff. According to AP, the Chinese Red Cross will deploy relief teams with supplies of food, water, medicine and rescue equipment to disaster areas. The seat of Lushan country has been converted to a refugee camp with tents and volunteers serving noodles and boxed meals to survivors from stalls and vans. Large vans have been converted into mobile banks with ATMs, military medical trucks with X-rays and doctors giving first aid. The most severely injured were sent to the provincial capital as survivors try to deal with limited water and building inaccessibility leading to sanitation issues. The area is still experiencing aftershocks on Sunday while family members and friends try to contact their loved ones inside the crippled quake zone.

Poverty has an Expiration Date?

According the World Bank, it does. What is the difference between extreme poverty and poverty? Who defined it? While the governments of the world figure this out, the World Bank has set a deadline for 2030 to end extreme global poverty emphasizing that the poorest benefit from strong growth and rising prosperity in developing nations Reuters reports. According to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Saturday following a meeting of the World Bank’s Development Committee, “For the first time in history we have committed to setting a target to end poverty. We are no longer dreaming of a world free of poverty; we have set an expiration date for extreme poverty.”  The goal plans to reduce extreme poverty to 3 percent and target the bottom 40 percent of people living in each country of the developing world.

The target of the World Bank aims to guide the institution and work with the United Nations to make plans post-2015 poverty strategy to replace existing goals. The developing world has seen a growth of about 6 percent annually in their economies with millions of people being lifted out of poverty creating a new global middle class which has also allowed for increases in growing inequality. As the Committee explains, “We recognize that sustained economic growth needs a reduction in inequality. Investments that create opportunities for all citizens and promote gender equality are an important end in their own right, as well we being integral to creating prosperity.” This week the World Bank released figures that show extreme poverty has plunged since 1990 with 21 percent from 43 percent and that most of the poor are heavily concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, while China has slashed extreme poverty according to Reuters. Kim also said climate change and investments in heath and education were discussed as well.

The meeting also called for donor fundraising campaigns by the World Bank’s fund for its poorest borrowers urging strong participation by all countries. Every three years according to Huff Post, donors from rich and developing economies alike raise funds for the Bank’s International Development Association or IDA, while the United States, Britain and Nordic nations are usually the biggest funders for the past several years Brazil, India, China, Chile, Argentina and Peru have also donated funds. However with the current financial climates in Europe and the United States, the World Bank will be more restrictive when it comes to how the money is used so not to impact the poor. The emphasis according to Kim should be on helping fragile  and conflict hit countries.