January 3, 2013
Although Congress has failed to approve even the most modest proposals to fix the country's dysfunctional immigration system, the Obama administration has managed to make some improvements. Take, for example, a new rule unveiled Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security that will reduce the amount of time that undocumented immigrants who are the children and spouses of U.S. citizens must spend outside the country while they legalize their status. Currently, undocumented immigrants who qualify for a visa because they are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen must return to their homelands to claim it. But once they leave the United States, they trigger automatic penalties that can bar them from returning for as long as 10 years.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2013 |
USA Baby Care's website makes no attempt to hide why the company's clients travel to Southern California from China and Taiwan. It's to give birth to an American baby. "Congratulations! Arriving in the U.S. means you've already given your child a surefire ticket for winning the race," the site says in Chinese. "We guarantee that each baby can obtain a U.S. passport and related documents. " That passport is just the beginning of a journey that will lead some of the children back to the United States to take advantage of free public schools and low-interest student loans, as the website notes.
January 2, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Illegal immigrants who are immediate relatives of American citizens will have an easier path to permanent residency under a new Obama administration rule that could affect as many as 1 million of the estimated 11 million people unlawfully in the United States. The rule issued Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security aims to reduce the time illegal immigrants are separated from their U.S. families while seeking legal status, officials said. Beginning March 4, illegal immigrants who can demonstrate that time apart from an American spouse, child or parent would create "extreme hardship" can apply for a visa without leaving the United States.
December 28, 2012 |
The Senate approved a five-year extension of a law that lets the government conduct electronic communication surveillance of suspected terrorists without obtaining a warrant. The bill reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, passed by a vote of 73 to 23 early Friday. Passed by the House earlier this year, the measure now heads to President Obama, who is expected to sign it. Without the extension, FISA would expire Tuesday. The law allows the government to monitor phone calls, emails and other types of electronic communications between suspected terrorists and U.S. citizens.
December 21, 2012 |
North Korea said Friday that it had detained an American citizen who had committed an unspecified crime but gave few details. State media appeared to confirm reports that emerged in recent weeks that U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae was being held, identifying the detainee by the Korean name Pae Jun Ho. The Korean Central News Agency said the American citizen had “admitted his crime,” which was “proven through evidence,” but gave no details about...
December 20, 2012 |
Two governors, a congressman, various state legislators and a host of conservative commentators joined the chief executive of the Gun Owners of America this week in suggesting that the country needs more guns, in the right hands, to prevent mass murders like the one at a Connecticut elementary school. Such opinions strike many blue-state Americans as absurd. Gun control advocates often cite studies showing higher rates of suicide and homicide in firearms-permissive cultures, with strikingly lower rates in nations with strict controls on weapons.
December 15, 2012 |
MOSCOW - The Russian parliament's lower house Friday gave initial approval to a bill that would impose sanctions on U.S. citizens accused of human rights violations. The bill, which does not specify the kinds of violations that would apply, was named for Dima Yakovlev, a boy who was adopted and died of heatstroke after his American father left him in a parked car for hours four years ago in Virginia. It is expected to receive full parliamentary approval this month and become effective Jan. 1. The vote by Russian legislators came as President Obama on Friday signed a bill into law that helps increase U.S. business opportunities in Russia, but calls for punishment of Russians accused of human rights violations.
December 12, 2012 |
BEIJING - For millions of Chinese, the difference between a life of struggle and one of opportunity comes down to a little red booklet known as the hukou . Introduced 54 years ago under Mao Tse-tung as a means of social control, this household registration permit limits where China's 1.3 billion citizens can live, work and go to school by splitting them into two categories - urban and rural. Today, the hukou , inspired by family registers from centuries ago, has created a modern economic chasm between city dwellers and peasants that threatens China's economic future as a powerhouse world economy.
December 10, 2012 |
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review Proposition 8, California's same-sex marriage ban. On Sunday, gay and lesbian couples lined up to get married as Washington state's new law approving same-sex unions went into effect. And today, many religious conservatives are asking whether the USA is going the way of ancient Rome. The Supreme Court will be deciding whether to uphold the appeals court ruling that struck down Proposition 8. In addition, the justices will be deliberating on the constitutionality of provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that deny legal benefits to same-sex couples who are married.
December 9, 2012 |
Just as the devil's finest trick is persuading you that he doesn't exist (according to the poet Baudelaire), the best trick of big-money political donors may be persuading Americans that Citizens United doesn't matter. Citizens United, of course, is the infamous 2010 ruling by the Supreme Court that overturned limits on political spending via ostensibly independent groups, and thereby unleashed a torrent of donations from corporations and wealthy individuals in presidential and congressional election cycles.