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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

President Obama Speaks on Comprehensive Immigration Reform in Las Vegas

President Barack Obama today gave a landmark speech on immigration reform today in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Here is a video of the speech.

President Obama said, "We define ourselves as a nation of immigrants.  That’s who we are -- in our bones.  The promise we see in those who come here from every corner of the globe, that’s always been one of our greatest strengths.  It keeps our workforce young.  It keeps our country on the cutting edge.  And it’s helped build the greatest economic engine the world has ever known.

"The Irish who left behind a land of famine.  The Germans who fled persecution.  The Scandinavians who arrived eager to pioneer out west.  The Polish.  The Russians.  The Italians.  The Chinese.  The Japanese.  The West Indians.  The huddled masses who came through Ellis Island on one coast and Angel Island on the other.  (Applause.)  All those folks, before they were us, they were them."

President Obama said, here's "what comprehensive immigration reform looks like:  smarter enforcement; a pathway to earned citizenship; improvements in the legal immigration system so that we continue to be a magnet for the best and the brightest all around the world.  It’s pretty straightforward. " 

Read the full speech here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

President Barack Obama Names Denis McDonough as His New Chief of Staff

President Barack Obama has named Denis McDonough the new Chief of Staff in his administration, replacing Jack Lew.

McDonough, a native of Minnesota, had been the Deputy National Security Adviser since 2009, and is a career staffer on Capitol Hill.

"I have been counting on Denis for nearly a decade," President Obama said.  "I rely on his intellect and good judgement...He has been one of my closest and most trusted advisers...Denis has played a key role in every major national security decision of my presidency."

Read the entire transcript here.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

President Barack Obama Takes Oath of Office, Extols the Promise of America

President Barack Obama took the oath of office for his second term before over half a million people stretched out across the Mall in Washington DC on Monday, January 21, 2013.  US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath to the president.

The president described an ambitious agenda for the next four years, including immigration reform, a stronger middle class, equal access for all Americans, including women, gays and minorities, and a sustainable energy future. 

"America’s possibilities are limitless," President Obama said, "for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands:  youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention.  My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it -- so long as we seize it together."

Read the  full text of the president's speech

Here is a video of the ceremony and the speech.

Prior to the president's oath of office, Vice-President Joe Biden was sworn in to office by US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer.

Monday, January 14, 2013

President Barack Obama Holds Final Press Conference of His First Term

President Barack Obama held the final press conference of his first term today in the East Room of the White House and took a moment to reflect on his first four years.  Here is a transcript of his remarks, followed by questions and answers.

The President talked about deficit reduction, the debt ceiling, preventing gun violence, and also looked ahead to the next four years.

Here is a video of the press conference.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thanks Ambassador Dan Rooney and Wife Patricia for their Service in Ireland

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week thanked US Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney and his wife Patricia for their service in a ceremony at the State Department.

Mr. Rooney served as Ambassador to Ireland from July 2009 to December 2012, when he and his wife returned to their home in Pittsburgh. 

Speaking from the Diplomatic Reception Room, Secretary Clinton called Rooney "a dream ambassador" who "performed this job with enormous integrity and warmth and good humor."  She also commended Patricia Rooney "who has been a fabulous support and great person in reaching out to the Irish on her own behalf alongside Dan."

Ambassador Rooney in turn called Secretary Clinton "a remarkable leader...with amazing stamina and commitment."

You can read the full text of the ceremony here.

Secretary Clinton presented the Rooneys, who where accompanied by their granddaughter Sarah, with two flags, the Chief of Mission flag, and the flag of the United States.  Mrs. Clinton called the gifts "a small token of your very successful tenure in Ireland."

Ambassador Rooney presented Secretary Clinton with an official Pittsburgh Steelers football.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

US Homeland Security Issues New Rule for Illegal Residents Seeking Permanent Visas

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced the posting of a final rule in the Federal Register that reduces the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents), who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances.

The ruling goes into effect on March 4, 2013, and allows certain immigrants here illegally to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver here in the United States, rather than having to return home to apply for the waiver.  That allows the applicants to stay with their American families as they await the outcome of the visa application process. The new rule still requires applicants to return to their native countries for an interview at a U.S. Consulate after a waiver is approved.

“This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa,” said Secretary Napolitano.

Read details of the rule here

For more information visit US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

President Obama's Statement on the Tax Agreement, January 1, 2013

(Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Here are President Barack Obama's remarks on the Tax Agreement passed in Congress on January 1, 2013.

President Obama said in part,

"We can come together as Democrats and Republicans to cut spending and raise revenue in a way that reduces our deficit, protects our middle class, provides ladders into the middle class for everybody who’s willing to work hard. We can find a way to afford the investments that we need to grow and compete. We can settle this debate, or at the very least, not allow it to be so all-consuming all the time that it stops us from meeting a host of other challenges that we face -- creating jobs, boosting incomes, fixing our infrastructure, fixing our immigration system, protecting our planet from the harmful effects of climate change, boosting domestic energy production, protecting our kids from the horrors of gun violence."

Find more details on the Tax Agreement here.