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White House Blog on Immigration Action

White House Blog Post: Here’s How the President’s Actions on Immigration Will Impact Your State

By Tanya Somanader

To view the full blog post, click HERE.

“Passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is snatched from her child, and that it’s possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”

— President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015

On November 20, 2014, President Obama took executive action to start fixing our broken immigration system so it works better for our people and our economy. The three main pillars of his action include:

·         Making it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as many business leaders have proposed. 

·         Dealing responsibly with certain undocumented immigrants who are DREAMers or parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents, by requiring that they pass background checks and pay their fair share of taxes.

·         Building on our progress at the border and enforcing our immigration laws in smarter, more effective ways.

These actions not only live up to our heritage as a nation but are essential to building on our hopes for a brighter future. In fact, the President’s steps will allow people to contribute more fully to their communities and spark an economic boost for every single state.

Just take a look at California. Here’s what the President’s actions can mean for the Golden State:

CA picture

According to recent findings from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, these executive actions would grow the U.S. economy by $90 billion to $210 billion over the next ten years. For California, that means: 

·         A $11.7 billion increase in the state’s GDP to $27.5 billion over the next ten years.

·         An increase in revenue for California’s budget.

·         An increase in community investment — in schools, homes, and businesses.

·         An boost in the average wage for all U.S.-born workers — in California and across the country — by $170 a year.

Over the next several months, we will profile one state a week to highlight the local economic benefits of the President’s immigration actions and to share what this means for local communities in your state. Stay tuned for Texas and the other states with the largest populations of children or parents that are eligible temporary relief under the President’s actions.

You can learn more about the actions the President took last year and what they mean for America’s future here:


Coast Guard Busts Mexican Fishermen Illegally Fishing in Gulf of Mexico

Coast Guard interdicts more Mexican fisherman poaching in Gulf of Mexico

Video of the chase on DVIDS
Video of a Coast Guard Station South Padre Island boatcrew catching up to fleeing poachers aboard a Mexican lancha near the U.S.-Mexico maritime border Jan. 25, 2015. The poachers were apprehended and their catch was released. An Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew spotted the poachers and began the pursuit. U.S. Coast Guard video by Air Station Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Coast Guard interdicted a Mexican fishing crew who fled from authorities Sunday, after poaching shark, red snapper, and eel in the waters off South Texas.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. Sunday, an Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew observed a Mexican fishing boat, also known as a lancha, 22 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico maritime boundary line and 31 miles offshore.

Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders diverted a Station South Padre Island law enforcement boatcrew to intercept.  After a 32 minute aerial pursuit, the Coast Guard boatcrew arrived and the lancha crew complied with orders to stop. The lancha had six sharks weighing 154 pounds, 66 red snapper weighing 428 pounds, seven eels weighing 20 pounds, four people and fishing gear aboard the vessel when it was stopped.

All the catch was returned to the sea and the fishermen were turned over to Customs and Border Protection.

“The success of this mission was only made possible by the continued collaborative efforts of local, state, and federal agencies,” said Cmdr. Te-Ali Coley, the air operations officer for Air Station Corpus Christi. “It is only through the continued cooperation of all involved agencies, the professionalism of our crews, and the support of the local community that we can hope to defeat this threat to U.S. economic and physical security.”

If you witness suspicious or illegal fishing in state waters (out to 9 miles offshore), please contact Texas Parks & Wildlife “Operation Game Thief” at 1-800-792-GAME (4263).  For all suspicious or illegal fishing occurring in federal waters (out to 200 miles offshore), please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 361-939-6393.


Coast Guard Medevacs Toddler From Cruise Ship

Coast Guard medevacs baby from cruise ship in Gulf of Mexico

Video of the medevac on DVIDS
An Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew hoists an 8-month-old baby girl suffering from seizures from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico along with the baby’s mother and nurse Jan. 26, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard video by Air Station Houston

HOUSTON — A Coast Guard helicopter crew medevaced an 8-month-old baby girl from the cruise ship Carnival Triumph early Monday morning, 140 miles southeast of Galveston.

“It was very rewarding to be able to start a search-and-rescue career helping out a mother and her 8-month-old who really needed us at the time,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Grow, in reference to his first rescue as a qualified flight mechanic.

At 7:15 p.m. Sunday, the Carnival Triumph’s crew called Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston to request a medical evacuation for a baby suffering from seizures and trouble breathing, while the ship was about 230 miles southeast of Galveston. A Coast Guard flight surgeon concurred with the cruise ship’s medical staff for the necessity of the medevac. An Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched to medevac the baby, her mother and the nurse caring for her.

The aircrew arrived at 11:48 p.m., about 140 miles off Galveston, and Petty Officer Grow hoisted the three aboard. They stopped to refuel at a rig in the gulf and proceeded toward Houston. The helicopter landed at Memorial Hermann hospital at 2:13 a.m. and safely delivered the passengers.

Grow was recently qualified as a flight mechanic in December and was on duty for his second time when the call came in for the medevac. Flight mechanics monitor flight systems and operate the hoist when rescuing people.


Money Laundering Case Gets Man 14 Years in Federal Prison

Brownsville Man Ordered to Prison in Money Laundering Conspiracy
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Oscar J. Aguilar, 38, a Mexican citizen legally residing in Brownsville, has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for conspiring to commit international money laundering, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Janice Ayala, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Antonio. Aguilar pleaded guilty May 16, 2014.
Today, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, handed Aguilar the 168-month sentence. He was further ordered to pay a $1,893,170 money judgment which represented the proceeds of drug smuggling that were laundered in the scheme. He is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison.  
“HSI special agents often investigate complex financial schemes in order to disrupt and dismantle the ongoing operations of transnational criminal organizations,” said Ayala. “These investigations deprive the organizations from enjoying the fruits of their illicit crimes while preventing them from furthering the ongoing criminal enterprise. HSI will continue to aggressively investigate schemes that jeopardize the integrity of our financial system.”
Aguilar admitted to recruiting nine others, some of whom were family members, to open bank accounts at Bank of America in Brownsville. Later, co-conspirators in Florida would deposit money from narcotics sales into the accounts. Aguilar’s recruits withdrew the money in amounts under the $10,000 reporting requirement and would give that money to Aguilar or other co-conspirators. The recruits were paid for moving the money through their bank accounts.
After Aguilar received the money, he facilitated its crossing from Brownsville to Matamoros, Mexico, where it was delivered to the Gulf Cartel.
From September 2008 through November 2012, the conspirators moved approximately $1,893,170 through nine bank accounts, with nearly $1.5 million from September 2011 through November 2012 alone.
Nine others have been convicted in relation to this case. With the exception of Francisco Jesus Arambul-Cortez, who also pleaded to conspiracy to commit International money laundering, the eight others entered guilty pleas to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
Aguilar will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen Betancourt and Joseph Leonard.

Man Confesses To Using U.S.D.A. Vehicle to Smuggle Drugs

McAllen Man Admits to Attempting to Use Government Vehicle to Deliver Cocaine
McALLEN, Texas ‐ Mario Guadalupe Saenz, 27, of McAllen, has pleaded guilty to attempting to possess with intent to distribute approximately nine kilograms of cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
On Oct. 9, 2014, Saenz was observed driving a white Dodge Ram with U.S. government license plates registered to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Saenz drove the USDA-owned vehicle through an opening in the border fence and retrieved a bag from the brush near the Rio Grande River in Hidalgo County. He used the government vehicle to transport the bag to a business parking lot in McAllen.
He was subsequently arrested as investigators discovered the bag contained approximately 9.39 kilograms of a suspected controlled substance, 1.1 kilograms of which tested positive for the properties of cocaine. 
U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, who accepted the guilty plea, has set sentencing for April 9, 2015. At that time, he faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison.
Saenz will remain in custody pending that hearing.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, USDA-OIG and the McAllen Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Rees is prosecuting the case.

Navy Air Station Corpus Christi Takes Part in Terrorism Training

Media Advisory

Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, in conjunction with all Navy installations located in the continental United States, will conduct Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2015 (SC-CS15) Feb. 2-13.
This annual anti-terrorism force protection (ATFP) exercise is designed to train Navy Security Forces to respond to threats to installations and units.
“This exercise is the largest force protection exercise conducted across the Department of Defense. It enhances the training and readiness of our security personnel and first responders,” said Capt. Steve Banta, commanding officer, NAS Corpus Christi.
Exercise SC-CS15 is not in response to any specific threat, but is a regularly scheduled exercise.
Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions to normal base operation. We don’t anticipate delays in base access during the exercise, but there may be times when the exercise causes increased traffic around the air station.


More Than 200 Mayors Attend White House Meeting

FACT SHEET: President Obama hosts over 200 Mayors from Across the Country at the White House

Today, President Obama will host over 200 bipartisan Mayors during their annual U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Winter Meeting. At this year’s convening, the President will build on the issues discussed in his State of the Union Address and priorities outlines for cities across the country. Administration officials will discuss ways in which we can continue to partner with cities to raise wages and incomes, to strengthen the standing of working families in a new economy and to bolster and expand the middle class.

On Wednesday and Thursday at the US Conference of Mayors Vice President Biden, the co-chairs of the 21st century policing task force, and members of the cabinet addressed the mayors on a range of issues.  Today at the White House, Dr. Jill Biden, cabinet members and senior White House officials, interacted with the Mayors in plenary sessions and panel discussions on priority issues, including: trade, manufacturing, veterans homelessness, paid sick leave, climate change, affordable healthcare, workforce development, education, My Brother’s Keeper, and immigration.

Below are some of the ways Mayors are helping to make the President’s agenda a reality in cities across the country.



Mayors are creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to make the next world-changing product, students interested in hands-on engagement with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and companies hoping to manufacture their products with American workers passionate about the latest manufacturing technologies. Through the Mayors’ Maker Challenge cities like Columbus, OH, Louisville, KY Scottsdale, AZ, Rockford, IL, Portland, OR, and South Bend, IN are changing the landscape of American manufacturing in small towns and big cities. In June, at the White House Maker Faire, the President highlighted new efforts of more than 100 mayors. The Administration aligning more than $1.3B in resources to help mayors pursue strong strategies to win manufacturing investment through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). And in Detroit, MI, Chicago, IL, Knoxville, TN, Raleigh, NC, and Youngstown, OH, new public-private manufacturing innovation institutes are pursuing cutting edge research in advanced manufacturing while attracting investment to the region. Below are specific examples of the work mayors are doing in the advanced manufacturing and tech sectors:

·         Rochester, NY Mayor Lovely Warren (D) led an effort to bring in 120 photonics manufacturers and more than 500 patents to the Greater Rochester community, one of the first Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership designees.

·         Chattanooga, TN Mayor Andy Berke (D) invested in one gigabit per second broadband network and attracted at least five organized funds with investable capital of over $50 million.

·         In Louisville, KY through our workforce development efforts, Mayor Greg Fischer is significantly expanding the availability and lowering the cost of IT training through partnerships with the private sector. And in Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard worked with his city council and the private sector to launch an effort that will invest over $40 million in quality early childhood education programs. 


Cities have taken significant steps to defend and prepare for the implementation of the President’s executive actions on immigration, which will strengthen border security, hold potentially millions of undocumented immigrants accountable, and boost wages and our economy. Cities United for Immigration Action (CUIA) and Cities for Citizenship are two initiatives helping to organize mayors to partner with business, faith, and law enforcement officials; and host information sessions.

·         Over the next few weeks, in partnership with the National Immigration Forum,, and CUIA, mayors will host over 14 informational sessions in cities across the country including Phoenix, AZ, Boston, MA and Austin, TX.


Since the President laid out his proposal to expand early childhood education in his 2013 State of the Union Address, cities have taken significant steps to expand high-quality preschool in their communities. Cities such as Seattle, WA, Denver, CO, Boston, MA, Cleveland, OH and San Francisco, CA have leveraged federal funding, public-private partnership, and ballot initiatives to expand pre-school. On December 10, ED and HHS announced over 750 million in grants to help communities increase the quality and seats of pre-school programs. On December 11, over 90 mayors signed a letter to Congress supporting the President’s proposal and asking Congress to take action

·         New York, NY Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) secured $300 million in state funding to expand free, high-quality, full-day pre-k for nearly 51,000 children.

·         Indianapolis, IN Mayor Greg Ballard (R) led an effort in Indianapolis City-County Council that authorized a $40 million public-private partnership that will allow more than 1,000 low-income children to have access to high-quality preschool starting in 2016.


Through the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, local leaders across the country are ending Veteran homelessness in their communities. Since First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Mayors Challenge on June 4, 2014, 313 mayors and 101 county and city officials have signed on to the challenge. On August 26, 2014, President Obama announced a 33 percent decrease in Veteran homelessness since 2010. This progress includes a 43 percent decrease in the number of veterans sleeping on the streets.

·         New Orleans, LA Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) one of the first Mayors to answer the First Lady’s call and sign on to the Mayors Challenge, fast-tracked local efforts to connect every homeless veteran with permanent housing. On January 7, 2015 New Orleans became the first major U.S. city to end homelessness among Veterans.

·         Houston, TX Mayor Annise Parker (D), Phoenix, AZ Mayor Greg Stanton (D) and Salt Lake City, UT Mayor Ralph Becker (D) are poised to reach their goal by the end 2015.


Since the President’s 2013 State of the Union Address, 25 local jurisdictions have taken action to raise wages. Thirteen cities and counties, including Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties, MD, Sea-Tac, WA, Berkeley, CA, Las Cruces, NM, Oakland, CA, Sunnyvale, CA, Seattle, WA and Chicago, IL approved city-wide increases in minimum wage for both public and private employee. Twelve other cities and counties including St. Louis, Ypsilanti, MI, Santa Monica, CA, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, WI, Jackson, MS, and St. Petersburg, FL raised wages to $10.10 or higher for their city workers or contractors. A number of cities already enacted laws allowing workers to earn and accrue sick leave, including Portland, OR, New York, NY Newark, NJ, San Diego, CA, Eugene, OR, and Oakland, CA.

  • More than 65 mayors signed a letter from the U.S. Conference of Mayors Cities of Opportunity Task Force, co-chaired by New York, NY Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Boston, MA Mayor Martin Walsh (D), urging Congress to raise the minimum wage.
  • St. Paul, MN Mayor Chris Coleman (D) allocated $200,000 from his 2015 budget for paid leave for city employees.




Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting consumes enough energy to power 6 million homes for a year, costing cities about $10 billion per year. That is why today, we are launching a Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting. As part of The Challenge the Department of Energy  is tripling our goal of upgrading 500,000 poles, which we are already on track to exceed through DOE’s Better Buildings program, and setting a new goal of 1.5 million poles. Through the Better Buildings Outdoor Lighting Accelerator, the Presidential Challenge for Outdoor Lighting will work with dozens of municipalities to accelerate the adoption and use of high efficiency outdoor lighting, driving carbon pollution reductions in communities across the Nation.  Using today’s new technologies, these system-wide lighting exchanges can help local governments cut their outdoor lighting bills by 50% or more.

Today’s announcement comes with commitments from 2 states, 10 cities, and 3 regional networks to replace their outdoor lighting poles with more efficient technologies including: the Mid-American Regional Council; Huntington Beach, California; West Palm Beach, Florida; Little Rock Arkansas; and Detroit, Michigan; Southern California Regional Energy Network; Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources; Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office; Flint, Michigan; Portland, Maine; Dearborn, Michigan; Saint Petersburg, Florida; San Diego, California; Los Angeles, California; and the State of Tennessee.

President’s Climate Action Champions

In December, the President recognized 16 communities as Climate Action Champions for their leadership on climate change. This diverse group of communities are defining the frontier of ambitious climate action, and their approaches will serve as a model for other communities to follow. The President’s Climate Action Champions announcement builds on progress at the Federal and local level.  

·         On November 17, 2014, 16 mayors and other members of the President’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience presented recommendations to the Vice President on how the Administration can help communities prepare for the impacts of climate change.

·         Knoxville, TN Mayor Madeline Rogero (D) set a short-term greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. 

·         In September 2014, Los Angeles, CA Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) launched the Mayors’ National Climate Agenda, focused on U.S. cities, with Houston, TX Mayor Annise Parker (D) and Philadelphia, PA Mayor Michael Nutter (D).



The Administration continues to hear success stories from mayors who are working to enroll Americans in affordable and quality health insurance across the country. Mayors across the country are opening up their facilities for navigators, hosting enrollment events, and finding innovative ways to enroll uninsured Americans.

·         Philadelphia, PA Mayor Michael Nutter (D) worked with partners to train city employees in seven public-facing city departments to ask each resident they interact with if they have health insurance. If the resident indicates they do not have coverage, the city employees offer them assistance including an appointment with a Navigator, printed materials and the option for a phone call from an enrollment specialist.

·         In, Tampa, FL Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) had over 3,000 church fans printed with instructions on how to enroll for ACA on each side of the fan.


In September 2014, President Obama issued a challenge to cities, towns, counties and tribes across the country to become “MBK Communities.” This challenge represents a call to action for all members of our communities, and mayors in particular, as they often sit at the intersection of many of the vital forces and structural components needed to enact sustainable change through policy, programs, and partnerships. Over 100 mayors have taken on the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge and are working to increase opportunities for all young people across the country—to ensure they can achieve their full potential regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances into which they are born.