Obama Presidency March 25, 2013: President Barack Obama Designates Five New National Monuments

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Establishes Five New National Monuments

Source: WH, 3-25-13

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio

Today, President Obama signed proclamations establishing five new national monuments that celebrate our nation’s rich history and natural heritage. The monuments, located in Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio and Washington, help tell the story of significant people and extraordinary events in American history, and also help protect natural resources and supporting economic growth in local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation….READ MORE

President Obama Designates Five New National Monuments

Source: WH, 3-25-13 

National Monuments Will Generate Tourism and Economic Benefits for Local Economies, Honor African-American History, Mark Delaware’s first National Park Site

President Obama today signed proclamations establishing five new national monuments, using his authority under the Antiquities Act, which celebrate our nation’s rich history and natural heritage. The monuments, located in Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio and Washington, help tell the story of significant people and extraordinary events in American history, as well as protect unique natural resources for the benefit of all Americans. The designations were made with bi-partisan support from congressional, state and local officials, local businesses and other stakeholders and are expected to promote economic growth in the local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation.
“These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country,” said President Obama.  “By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come.”

“From the treasured landscapes of northern New Mexico and Washington, to the historic sites in Delaware, to the sites that show our nation’s path from Civil War to civil rights, these monuments help tell the rich and complex story of our nation’s history and natural beauty,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “There’s no doubt that these monuments will serve as economic engines for the local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation – supporting economic growth and creating jobs.”

According to the National Parks and Conservation Association study in 2006 each federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least four dollars of economic value to the public. National parks are responsible for $13.3 billion dollars of local, private-sector economic activity nationwide, supporting 267,000 private-sector jobs.  Outdoor recreation alone generates $646 billion in consumer spending and 6.1 million direct jobs in the United States each year, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

The monuments are:

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio. The monument will preserve the home of Col. Charles Young (1864–1922), a distinguished officer in the United States Army who was the third African American to graduate from West Point and the first to achieve the rank of Colonel. Young also served as one of the early Army superintendents of Sequoia and General Grant National Parks, before the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916.  The national headquarters of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, of which Col. Young was a member, made the property available for acquisition by the federal government for the purpose of establishing the national monument commemorating Young’s life and accomplishments. The monument, located in Wilberforce, Ohio, will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.

First State National Monument in Delaware. The monument will tell the story of the early Dutch, Swedish, Finnish and English settlement of the colony of Delaware, as well as Delaware’s role as the first state to ratify the Constitution.  The park is comprised of three historic areas related to Delaware’s rich history:  the Dover Green, the New Castle Court House complex (including the courthouse, Green and Sheriff’s House), and the Woodlawn property in the Brandywine Valley.  The monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland. The monument commemorates the life of the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad who was responsible for helping enslaved people escape from bondage to freedom.  The new national park, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, includes large sections of landscapes that are significant to Tubman’s early life in Dorchester County and evocative of her life as a slave and conductor of the Underground Railroad.  The park includes Stewart’s Canal, dug by hand by free and enslaved people between 1810 and the 1830s and where Tubman learned important outdoor skills when she worked in the nearby timbering operations with her father. Lands that are part of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, although part of the new national monument, will continue to be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument also includes the home site of Jacob Jackson, a free black man who used coded letters to help Tubman communicate with family and others.  The monument will also partner with the State of Maryland’s Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park Visitor Center when it opens in 2015.  The monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.

Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico. Located northwest of Taos, the Río Grande del Norte contains stretches of the Río Grande Gorge and extinct volcanoes that rise from the Taos Plateau. The area is known for its spectacular landscapes and recreational opportunities – like rafting, fishing and hiking – and serves as important habitat for many birds and wildlife. The monument is also home to a dense collection of petroglyphs and extraordinary archaeological and cultural resources dating from the Archaic Period to the more recent passage of Hispanic settlers.  The monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, which currently manages the more than 240,000 acres of the monument.

San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington. Home to bald eagles, orca whales, harbor seals and other rare species, the San Juan Islands is a chain of 450 islands, rocks and pinnacles.  Located in Washington State’s Puget Sound, the archipelago provides an opportunity for visitors, campers, kayakers and birdwatchers to experience the natural beauty of the undeveloped, rugged landscape. A number of historic lighthouses are located on the islands, as well as cultural resources and fossils dating back 12,000 years. The monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

President Obama has previously designated four monuments using the Antiquities Act. These include the César E. Chávez National Monument in California, Chávez’ home and the headquarters of the United Farm Workers of America since the early 1970s when Chávez was its president; Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia, a former Army post integral to the history of slavery, the Civil War, and the U.S. military; Fort Ord National Monument in California, a former military base that is a world-class destination for outdoor recreation; and Chimney Rock, which is located in the San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado and offers a spectacular landscape rich in history and Native American culture.

First exercised by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 to designate Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, the authority of the Antiquities Act has been used by 16 presidents since 1906 to protect unique natural and historic features in America, such as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients.

The designation of the monuments builds on President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, which fosters a 21st century approach to conservation that responds to the priorities of the American people.

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Full Text Legal Buzz March 25, 2013: Filings & Briefs in the Supreme Court of the United States’s Defense of Marriage Act & California’s Proposition 8 Cases

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

Filings in the Defense of Marriage Act  and California’s Proposition 8 cases

Source: SCOTUS

Listed below are live links to the orders, case filings, and other information pertaining to the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 cases.  Click on each item to access further information.

Orders
12-7-12 Grant Order
12-11-12 Amicus Appointment Order
12-14-12 Briefing Schedule
Case Filings
12-144 Dennis Hollingsworth, et al., v. Kristin M. Perry, et al.
Petition for Writ of Certiorari
Brief in Opposition filed by Kristin M. Perry
Brief in Opposition filed by City and County of San Francisco
Reply Brief
Brief of Petitioner on the Merits
Brief of Respondents Kristin M. Perry, Sandra B. Stier, Paul T. Katami, and Jeffery J. Zarrillo
Brief of Respondent City and County of San Francisco
Reply Brief of Petitioners Dennis Hollingsworth, et al.
12-307 United States v. Edith Schlain Windsor, In Her Capacity as Executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer, et al.
Petition for Writ of Certiorari
Brief in Opposition of Edith Schlain Windsor
Brief in Opposition of Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group
Supplemental Brief of United States
Supplemental Brief of Edith Schlain Windsor
Supplemental Brief of Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group
Reply Brief
Brief on the Merits for Respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the
United States House of Representatives
Brief for Court Appointed Amicus Curiae Addressing Jurisdiction
Brief of Respondent Edith Windsor (Jurisdiction)
Brief of Petitioner United States (Jurisdiction)
Brief of Petitioner United States (Merits)
Brief of Respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives (Jurisdiction)
Brief of Respondent Edith Windsor (Merits)
Reply Brief of Respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives (Jurisdiction)
Reply Brief of Respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives (Merits)
Reply Brief of Court appointed amicus curiae (Jurisdiction)
Reply of Respondent Edith Windsor (Jurisdiction)
Reply Brief of Petitioner United States (Jurisdiction)

Full Text Obama Presidency March 25, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Naturalization Ceremony for Active Duty Service Members and Civilians Pushes Congress to Move on Immigration Reform Bill

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama to new citizens: “In each of you, we see the true spirit of America”

Source: WH, 3-25-13

Watch this video on YouTube

Today, President Obama spoke at a at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members and civilians at the White House. He welcomed 28 new American citizens to our nation of immigrants and called for reforms to our immigration system that will help harness the talent and ingenuity of all those like them who want to work hard and find a place here in America….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Naturalization Ceremony for Active Duty Service Members and Civilians

President Obama Speaks at a Naturalization Ceremony

President Obama Speaks at a Naturalization Ceremony

Source: WH, 3-25-13

East Room

11:36 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Well, good morning, everybody.  Secretary Napolitano, thank you for administering the oath and making it official.  Director Mayorkas, distinguished guests, family and friends, it is a great pleasure to have you here at the White House.  And it is an honor to be among the first to greet some of my fellow citizens of the United States.

Today, here in the people’s house — a house designed by an Irish immigrant — we welcome 28 men and women, immigrants themselves, who from this day forward have earned the precious right to call this country home.

And I know this is an incredibly special moment for you and your families, but I have to say, it’s a special moment for the rest of us as well.  Because as we look out across this room, we’re reminded that what makes somebody American isn’t just their bloodlines, it’s not just an accident of birth.  It’s a fidelity to our founding principles, a faith in the idea that anyone, anywhere, can write the next great chapter in this American story.

That’s the promise of America.  And today we know it’s alive and well in each and every one of you.

At first glance, of course, it would be easy to define this group by their differences.  They all hail from different corners of the world — from Nigeria to Nicaragua, from the Philippines to Peru.  They arrived here in different ways.  Some of you came here as children, carried by parents who wished for them a life that they had never had.  Others came as adults, leaving behind everything you knew to seek a new life.  But what binds you together — what binds us all together — is something more meaningful than anything of that.  A love for this country and all that it represents — that’s what unites each and every one of you.

For Nikita Kirichenko — there’s Nikita right here — that love runs so deep it led him to enlist in our military.  Nikita came here at the age of 11 from Ukraine.  His mother saw America as the one place on Earth where her son could do anything he wanted.  And a few years ago, Nikita decided that he wanted to join the Air Force so that, in his words, “I could give back to a country that took me in and gave me a better life.”  Thank you, Nikita.  Today, we proudly salute him not just as a member of our military but also as a citizen of our country.

Today, we salute Elrina Brits.  Where did Elrina go?  There she is.  Elrina was born in South Africa, came here as a child, grew up in Washington State.  When Elrina decided to join the Navy, somebody told her that she wouldn’t be able to cut it.  But even though she wasn’t yet American on paper, she had that American quality of being defiant when somebody says you can’t do something.  (Laughter.)  So she proved them wrong.  She deployed twice to the Middle East, once to Haiti, showcasing another quintessentially American impulse, and that’s helping others in need.  And as a new citizen, Elrina hopes to serve her country in a new way -– as a police officer.  So, congratulations, Elrina.

Elrina, Nikita, every member of the military with us have shown incredible patriotism; a willingness to risk their lives in defense of a nation that was not yet their own.  And that’s a remarkable act.  And it made each of them one of us.  It made each of them in some ways American even before it was official.  Because that kind of service and sacrifice has defined our nation for more than two centuries.

In America, we look out for one another.  We see citizenship not just as a collection of rights but also as a set of responsibilities.  That’s who we are.  And that’s what brought so many to our shores, including Kingsley Elebo.  Kingsley came here at the age of 35 from Nigeria, pursued his master’s in information technology.  He’s now pursuing his doctorate.  He wants to become a professor so he can help America lead the world in high-tech industries of tomorrow.  And what Kingsley said is, “What makes this country great is that if you’re a citizen you’re part of something bigger than yourself.”  And he’s right.  And we’re glad that, as of today, Kingsley is part of it, too.

We’re also glad to welcome Pertula George-Redd.  Pertula arrived in America from St. Lucia at the age of 23, leaving behind her parents and seven siblings.  She came here to study international development.  She stayed, for over a decade now, to work at non-profits that teach our kids about sustainable foods and how to live a healthier life by eating well — which I know Michelle is very happy about.  Today, she also has the gratitude of her new nation.  So, thank you so much.

We are so proud of everybody here.  In each of you, we see the true spirit of America.  And we see a bit of ourselves, too, because most of our stories trace back to moments just like this one.  To an ancestor who -– just like the men and women here today –- raised their right hand and recited that sacred oath.

And the point is that unless you are one of the first Americans, unless you are a Native American, you came from someplace else.  That’s why we’ve always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants.  And we’ve always been better off for it.  The promise we see in those who come from all over the world is one of our greatest strengths.  It’s kept our workforce young.  It keeps our businesses on the cutting edge.  It’s helped to build the greatest economic engine that the world has ever known.  And you think about the drive and the determination that it took for each of these 28 men and women to reach this moment.  Imagine how far they’ll go from here, the kind of difference that they’ll be making on behalf of this country.

Immigration makes us a stronger.  It keeps us vibrant.  It keeps us hungry.  It keeps us prosperous.  It is part of what makes this such a dynamic country.  And if we want to keep attracting the best and the brightest that the world has to offer, then we need to do a better job of welcoming them.  We’ve known for years that our immigration system is broken, that we’re not doing enough to harness the talent and ingenuity of all those who want to work hard and find a place here in America.  And after avoiding the problem for years, the time has come to fix it once and for all.  The time has come for a comprehensive, sensible immigration reform.

Now, a couple months ago in Nevada — and then last month again in my State of the Union Address — I talked about how Republicans and Democrats were ready to tackle this problem together.  And the good news is that since then, we’ve seen some real action in Congress.  There are bipartisan groups in both the House and the Senate working to tackle this challenge, and I applaud them for that.  We are making progress, but we’ve got to finish the job, because this issue is not new.

Everyone pretty much knows what’s broken.  Everybody knows how to fix it.  We’ve all proposed solutions and we’ve got a lot of white papers and studies.  And we’ve just got, at this point, to work up the political courage to do what’s required to be done.  So I expect a bill to be put forward.  I expect the debate to begin next month.  I want to sign that bill into law as soon as possible.

We know that real reform means continuing to strengthen our border security and holding employers accountable.  We know that real reform means providing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the shadows — a pathway that includes passing a background check and paying taxes and a penalty, and learning English and then, going to the back of the line behind everyone else who is trying to come here legally.

We know that real reform requires modernizing the legal immigration system so that our citizens don’t have to wait years before their loved ones are able to join them in America, and so that we’re attracting the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that are going to help create good paying jobs and grow our economy.

So let’s get this done, and let’s do it in a way that keeps faith with our history and our values.  And no other country on Earth welcomes as many new arrivals as us.  And as long as the promise of America endures, as long as we continue to stand tall as a beacon of hope and opportunity, then the world’s hardest workers, the hungriest entrepreneurs, the men and women who are willing to make enormous sacrifices to get a better life — not just for themselves but for their children and their grandchildren, they’re going to keep on coming.

And like the millions who came before — and like the 28 Americans who are here today — they will bring with them new hopes and new dreams, new ideas and new optimism about our future.  That will make us stronger.  That’s how we’ll make sure that our best days are ahead of us and not behind us.

So I want to thank each and every one of you for allowing me the opportunity to share in this incredible moment.  One of the best things I get to do as President of the United States is to address all of you as fellow citizens.  God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

And we now have one last piece of business to conclude the ceremony.  I’d like to ask one of our newest citizen, Julian de la Valle, from Colombia, to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Julian.

(The Pledge of Allegiance is recited.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Congratulations.  Congratulations to all of you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

And now, enjoy the White House, all right?  (Laughter.)  Thank you very much, everybody.

END
11:47 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 25, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Passover Message

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Statement from the President on Passover

Source: WH, 3-25-13

As we prepare for our fifth Seder in the White House, Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Passover here in America, in the State of Israel, and around the world.

Tonight, Jewish families will gather with family and friends to celebrate with songs, wine, and food. They will read from the Haggadah, and retell the story that makes this holiday so powerful.

Last week, I visited the state of Israel for the third time, my first as President. I reaffirmed our countries’ unbreakable bonds with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres. I had the chance to speak directly with young Israelis about the future they wanted for their country, their region, and the world. And I saw once again how the dream of true freedom found its full expression in those words of hope from Hatikvah, lihyot ‘am chofshi be’artzeinu, “To be a free people in our land.”

Passover is a celebration of the freedom our ancestors dreamed of, fought for, and ultimately won. But even as we give thanks, we are called to look to the future. We are reminded that responsibility does not end when we reach the promised land, it only begins. As my family and I prepare to once again take part in this ancient and powerful tradition, I am hopeful that we can draw upon the best in ourselves to find the promise in the days that lie ahead, meet the challenges that will come, and continuing the hard work of repairing the world. Chag sameach.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a Passover Seder Dinner for family, staff and friends, in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House, March 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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