Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Alaska Sen. Stevens Guilty of Corruption

(WASHINGTON) — Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted of seven corruption charges Monday in a trial that tainted the 40-year Senate career of Alaska's political patriarch. The verdict, coming barely a week before Election Day, added further uncertainty to a closely watched Senate race. Democrats hope to seize the once reliably Republican seat as part of their bid for a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Stevens, 84, was convicted of all the charges he faced of lying about free home renovations and other gifts from a wealthy oil contractor. Jurors began deliberating last week.

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Hypocrisy at its best.

Senator Stevens, who voted against the DREAM Act last October, was found guilty of corruption. This is a man who wants to punish DREAMers for a crime they did not commit; yet he himself is found guilty of doing exactly that: committing a crime. Let's not forget that DREAMers came to this country as children, through no choice of their own. Senator Stevens is 84 years old, I'm sure he was well-aware of what he was doing. I guess it's true what they say; "what goes around comes around."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Local students help others reach education dreams

Cesar Juarez rides the bus to school like so many college students — head against the glass, earphones streaming down his olive jacket, eyes straight ahead.

The 22-year-old was a full-time student until this semester, when he and his family discovered they were facing possible foreclosure on their San Jose home. That reality has left him a part-time student this semester, but the situation doesn't dampen his spirits.

Juarez keeps a positive outlook because he focuses every day on being a student and helping others realize their educational dreams.

"Education and studying is essential," he says, "but you have to practice what you preach."

Juarez is working toward a degree in social science, hoping he might work as a teacher when he's finished.

During the day, Juarez attends his 100W writing class and takes in his history courses. Outside of class, Juarez keeps his iPhone glued to his side, organizing rallies, helping raise scholarship money for others and coordinating outreach to high school students as the community liaison for the Student Advocates for Higher Education at San Jose State University. He is also one of two representatives for the Northern California region of the California DREAM Network, a statewide network of 12 college campus organizations that address the issues of students like himself, who are in the United States illegally.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

October 24, 2007 -- A day DREAMers will never forget

Mr. President, what are we talking about here? We’re talking about children. Since when, in America, do we visit the sins and crimes of parents on children? If a parent commits a crime does that mean that the child goes to prison? If a parent disqualifies himself or herself from American citizenship, does that mean the child can never have a chance? Is that what America has come to?

Amidst the confusion and distortion and vitriol of this debate on immigration, since children like Marie Gonzales. She was brought to this country from Costa Rica by her parents at the age of ten. Her parents have been deported as illegals. Because I have made a special request she has been allowed to continue to finish her college education at Westminster College in Missouri. Her goal is to be an American and to give to the only country she has ever known. Costa Rica is not her country, America’s her country.

What we are talking about is turning these children out. Children with no country. And what sin, what crime did they commit? They obeyed their parents. They followed their parents. And for some that is going to be a mark of Cain on their heads forever in America. Is that what we’re all about?

Give these kids a chance. Meet them. Take the time to see these children. Many of us have. And what you’ll see in their eyes is the same kind of hope for this country that we want to see in our own children’s eyes. To be doctors and nurses and teachers, engineers, to find cures for diseases, to start businesses, the things that make America grow.

Give these kids a chance. Don’t take your anger out on illegal immigration on children who have nothing to say about this. They were brought to this country. They’ve lived a good life. They’ve proven themselves. They’ve beaten the odds. We need them.

And then they’ll turn around and tell me tomorrow that you need H1B visas to bring in talented people to America because we don’t have enough. Don’t tell me you need H2B and H2A and all the rest of them. No, if you’re going to turn away these children. If you’re going to say, “America doesn’t need you, go about your business, find someplace in the world.” Don’t come back to me and tell me we need a bigger labor pool and more talent in America.

How can we say no to hope? How can we say no to these kids when all they want is a piece of the American Dream? Please vote to proceed to the DREAM Act. I will work with Senator Hutchinson, a bipartisan amendment, we’ll do our best and I think we can come up with something. Give these kids a chance.

Today marks the anniversary of the DREAM Act defeat in the Senate. And while this day brings awful memories of that day, DREAMers all over the country are not giving up on the fight to make our dreams a reality. 2009 brings new hopes and opportunities. And I know that with the help of Sen. Durbin, we will finally be able to stop living in fear.

Thank you, Senator Durbin, for believing in us.