VP Harris at UNITE HERE Union Convention Stands Up for Workers, Working Families: ‘Are You Ready to Fight for Freedom, for Opportunity’

Vice President Kamala Harris came to New York City for the UNITE HERE union convention and drew a sharp contrast to what the Biden-Harris administration has done for labor and will do, and what Trump and the Republicans stand for © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Vice President Kamala Harris came to New York City for the UNITE HERE union convention in which she stood up for workers and labor as a representative of the most pro-union administration possibly ever, and drew a sharp contrast to what the Biden-Harris administration has done for labor and will do, and what Trump and the Republicans stand for.

She was warmly received by UNITE HERE, a labor union representing 300,000 across Canada and the United States who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries.

Here is an edited transcript of her remarks: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com


     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everyone.  Good morning, UNITE HERE.  (Applause.)  Good morning.

     Oh, it’s good to be in the house of labor.  Good morning.  (Applause.)

     AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Kamala!

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And you know I love you.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  You know, in 2020, in states like Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona, it was you — it was the members of this union who energized, who organized, and mobilized.  It is because of your work and your support that Joe Biden is President of the United States and I am the first woman elected Vice President of the United States.  (Applause.)  I’m really clear about how we got here….

More than a hundred years ago, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, tens of thousands of textile workers — many of them women — came together to demand fair pay and safer working conditions…

And in the decades since, the workers of UNITE HERE have taken on some of the most powerful corporations in our nation, from Big Pharma to the hedge funds, which took over casinos and put profits over workers.  And you have won — you’ve won fair pay, better benefits, safer working conditions, and protection against discrimination and harassment. 

Vice President Kamala Harris at the UNITE HERE union convention, reviews the Biden-Harris Administration’s record of delivering for workers and working families © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Through the power of the collective, you have transformed millions of jobs into middle-class jobs — jobs that come with the dignity that all people deserve.  (Applause.)

And I know of your work.  For many years, I have had the honor to work closely with the leaders of this union.  When I was Attorney General of California, I worked with j- — with you, with many of the leaders here to crack down on wage theft.  As a United States senator, we fought together for paid family leave and medical leave for more workers.  (Applause.) 

And as Elena mentioned, this past October, with pride, I stood in Las Vegas with the workers of Culinary 226 for your Day of Action — (applause) — (laughs) — ohh — for your Day of Action — (applause) —

     AUDIENCE MEMBER:  226!

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — and again — 226! — (laughs) —

AUDIENCE:  226!  226!  226!

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And again, in Las Vegas, a few months later, it was my honor to join Culinary —

AUDIENCE:  226!

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — once again — (laughs) — to celebrate your contract win.  And, my goodness, what a historic contract win: your historic pay raise of 32 percent.  Extraordinary.  Extraordinary.  (Applause.)  

Vice President Kamala Harris at the UNITE HERE union convention, reviews the Biden-Harris Administration’s record of delivering for workers and working families © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

And, of course, this was a victory for all workers — for all workers — because, as we in this room know, when union wages go up, everyone’s wages go up.  (Applause.)  When union workplaces are more safe, all workplaces are more safe.  When unions are strong, America is strong.  (Applause.)

And President Joe Biden and I are proud to stand by your side.  (Applause.) 

So, together — together, we have fought for affordable healthcare, knowing healthcare should be a right and not just a privilege of those who can afford it.  (Applause.)

We, together — together, we took on Big Pharma and capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for our seniors.  (Applause.)  And now, because of our work together, three of the largest drug companies in the country are capping the cost of asthma inhalers from hundreds of dollars each to just $35 each.  (Applause.) And we know how that affects so many of our babies, historically, and how expensive those inhalers have been.

And we are finally making it so that medical debt can no longer count against your credit score — (applause) — which means medical debt can no longer get in the way of someone’s ability to get a car loan, to get a home loan, to get a lease for an apartment.  (Applause.) 

Because I don’t need to tell anyone here, medical debt — well, most people come by medical debt because of a medical emergency.  They didn’t ask for it.  They didn’t save for it.  And it happens, and then they’re out tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  And the way it has been working is it can count against somebody’s credit score. 

Well, your credit score is supposed to be a measure of whether you are financially responsible.  It doesn’t make any sense that you would cause somebody to take a hit to their credit score for a medical emergency, and that’s why we’re getting rid of that.  (Applause.)    

In addition to medical debt, we are also addressing the issue of student loan debt.  (Applause.)  So far, we have forgiven student loan debt for nearly 5 million Americans and twice as much for our public servants, including our teachers, our nurses, and firefighters.  (Applause.)

Vice President Kamala Harris at the UNITE HERE union convention, reviews the Biden-Harris Administration’s record of delivering for workers and working families © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

So, UNITE HERE, I stand here as we are 137 days away from the most important election of our lifetime.  And there is a very clear contrast between who we have looked out for and who the last administration looked out for. 

Whereas the last administration gave tax cuts to billionaires —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — we gave tax cuts to families with children through the Child Tax Credit — (applause) — and cut the rate of child poverty in half when we did it.  (Applause.)  

We are also proud to lead the most pro-union administration in the history of America.  (Applause.)  We expanded the power of OSHA to make workplaces safer.  (Applause.)

As head of the White House Labor Task Force, I have led our work to eliminate barriers to organizing in both public and private sectors.  (Applause.)

And we did the long overdue work to protect the pension plans of now more than 1 million union workers — (applause) — including thousands of UNITE HERE members and retirees.  
 
On the issue of immigration, we believe in keeping families together, not tearing them apart.  (Applause.)  So, now, undocumented spouses of American citizens who have been in the country for 10 or more years can stay in the country while they apply for a green card — (applause) — and so can their children.  (Applause.)

We also made it easier for thousands of DREAMers who have graduated college to secure work permits, because our entire nation benefits from their extraordinary skill, talent, and ambition.  (Applause.)

So, the bottom line is that in all we do, President Biden and I are guided by the belief that we work for you and we will fight with you, alongside you, and for you.  
 
On the other hand, Donald Trump has made it clear time and time again —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — he only cares about himself.  He openly talks about his intention to weaponize the Department of Justice against his enemies.  He openly talks about his admiration for dictators.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Has vowed on day one that he will be a dictator on day one. 

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  He said he is — and I’m going to quote — “proudly responsible” for overturning Roe v. Wade and taking —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — taking freedom of choice from millions of women in our country.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And get this.  Recently, in Las Vegas — you might have seen this.  Recently, in Las Vegas — well, it was a typical day in Vegas; it was 104 degrees.  (Laughter.)  You know what I’m saying.  But on a day that was 104 degrees and his supporters were outside, Donald Trump told the crowd — and I’m going to quote — “I don’t care about you.  I just want your vote.” 

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Maya Angelou told us how we should think about these kinds of moments.  Remember what Maya Angelou said?  She said, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.”  Believe them the first time.  (Applause.)

So, we see what’s happening.  We see what’s happening.

Donald Trump and his allies, they’re working from a playbook: to attack freedoms, to spread hate, to divide our country, and to make people feel alone, to make people feel small. 
 
But in the face of these attacks, we here know the power of the collective.  And, UNITE HERE, I believe when you know what you stand for, you know what to fight for.
  (Applause.) 

We stand for freedom and opportunity.  We fight for paid family leave and affordable childcare.  We fight to lower rents, and we fight to help more Americans buy a home.  (Applause.)  We fight to secure a pathway for citizenship, including for our DREAMers.  And we fight for the dignity of all people.  (Applause.)  Because we know what we stand for, and so we know what to fight for.   
 
And in this moment, our nation needs everyone here.  We need you.  We really do.  We need you to continue to do what you know how to do so well.  You’re the best at it. 

     We need you to continue to organize.  We need you to continue to mobilize.  We need you to continue knocking on that door and practicing how to do it.  (Laughs.)  (Applause.)  And we need you to make your voices heard.
 

Vice President Kamala Harris at the UNITE HERE union convention in NYC: “Are you ready to make your voices heard? Are you ready to fight for freedom?  Are you ready to fight for opportunity?” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

So, UNITE HERE, are you ready to make your voices heard?

     AUDIENCE:  Yes! 

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Are you ready to fight for freedom? 

     AUDIENCE:  Yes! 

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Are you ready to fight for opportunity?

     AUDIENCE:  Yes!   

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Are you ready to fight for the promise of America?

     AUDIENCE:  Yes!  

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And when we fight —

AUDIENCE:  We win!

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — we win!

God bless you.  God bless America.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration on World Refugee Day Celebrates a Rebuilt U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

New Yorkers protest for humane immigration, 2018. On World Refugee Day, the Biden-Harris Administration reviewed its plans to welcome more than 100,000 refugees to their new U.S. communities in Fiscal Year 2024, the most in three decades, and how the administration is encouraging Americans to consider directly supporting and welcoming a refugee into their community. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

On World Refugee Day, the Biden-Harris Administration reviewed its plans to welcome more than 100,000 refugees to their new U.S. communities in Fiscal Year 2024, the most in three decades, and how the administration is encouraging Americans to consider directly supporting and welcoming a refugee into their community.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just issued a report that documents the importance immigration plays in the nation’s economic growth and vitality. According to CBO, increased immigration to the US will drive higher economic growth an dlabor supply, grow federal revenues and shrink deficits over the next 10 years. The anticipated surge in immigration is estimated to increase GDP by $9 TRILLION and increase federal revenues by$1.2 trillion. (https://www.axios.com/2024/06/18/immigration-economy-growth-cbo).

It is estimated there are 120 million refugees worldwide – people displaced by conflict and climate crisis, 40 percent of whom are children.

This fact sheet, issued on World Refugee Day, on how the administration is celebrating a rebuilt U.S. Refugee Admissions Program was provided by the White House:

From Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized rebuilding and strengthening the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program after its dismantling under the previous administration.

The United States has long been a leader in refugee resettlement, providing a beacon of hope for persecuted people around the world, facilitating international efforts to address record displacement, and demonstrating the generosity and core values of the American people. Today, on World Refugee Day, the Biden-Harris Administration is providing an update on actions taken under the President’s Executive Order 14013 to restore the nation’s refugee resettlement program as a longstanding demonstration of the United States’ promise and welcome.

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is rebuilt and stronger than ever. This fiscal year, the United States will resettle more than 100,000 refugees, the most in three decades. The unfortunate reality is there are many more refugees who are still overseas and in need of resettlement. As we look ahead, the Administration encourages Americans to consider directly supporting and welcoming refugees into their community through the Welcome Corps. You can team up with others in your community, apply to sponsor a refugee family today, and welcome them into your community this summer.

Refugee resettlement in the United States represents the opportunity to start anew and pursue a life of safety and dignity without fear of persecution. In turn, refugees and asylees enrich American communities culturally and economically, contributing almost $124 billion to our nation’s economy from 2005 to 2019.

Rebuilding and modernizing resettlement infrastructure

The Biden-Harris Administration inherited a U.S. Refugee Admissions Program that had been systematically weakened by the previous administration. Historically low refugee admissions for four years led to drastic reductions in funding, staffing, and infrastructure across the U.S. Government agencies, international organizations, and nonprofit organizations that manage the program domestically and overseas. Through a whole-of-government effort starting on Day One, this Administration methodically rebuilt and modernized the program:

  • Invested in the domestic resettlement network. The ten national refugee resettlement agencies have opened or reopened more than 150 local resettlement offices, bringing the total to more than 350. As part of this effort, the Department of State and the Department of Health and Human Services worked with resettlement partners to design new innovative programs and provide targeted technical assistance. The Department of State, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Homeland Security, and HHS also recently issued a fact sheet providing information to landlords and property managers about renting to refugees.
     
  • Hired more than 300 refugee officers. DHS has more than tripled the size of its refugee officer corps. In the first half of 2024 alone, these refugee officers interviewed more than 80,000 refugee applicants overseas. DHS also partnered with the Department of State to expand the international office footprint of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services after many offices were closed under the previous administration.
     
  • Reimagined overseas processing steps. The Department of State, DHS, and the U.S. Digital Service redesigned the overseas process for Afghan refugees by conducting multiple required steps at the same time rather than sequentially. This overhaul allowed processing to occur within weeks or months—a dramatic decrease from historically years-long processing times—without sacrificing national security. The Administration expanded this new approach to other populations, and by late 2023, more than half of all refugees interviewed worldwide went through concurrent processing.
     
  • Digitized processes for greater efficiency. In September 2023, the Department of State, DHS, and USDS fully implemented digital case management, shifting away from a paper-based process. Modern case management systems at both departments now support overseas processing that is more secure, efficient, and cost-effective. The Department of State, DHS, the Social Security Administration, and USDS also launched a new automated process that enables most refugees to receive their Employment Authorization Documents and Social Security Cards within weeks of their arrival, easing their path to self-sufficiency and full integration into their new communities.
     
  • Resolved many of the oldest cases in the program. The Department of State, DHS, and USDS created new case tracking mechanisms to ensure refugees who have been waiting the longest for a decision on their case are prioritized. Since October 2022, more than 32,000 refugees with cases pending for more than five years have been resettled in the United States.
     
  • Launched the Safe Mobility initiative to expand lawful pathways in the Western Hemisphere. In June 2023, the United States announced the Safe Mobility initiative, in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration. Safe Mobility offices in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Guatemala provide information and counseling about a range of existing services and local integration assistance available for refugees and migrants, and facilitate access to lawful pathways including refugee resettlement to the United States, Canada, and Spain.
     
  • Established the Resettlement Diplomacy Network. In 2022, the Department of State launched a new high-level multilateral forum, the Resettlement Diplomacy Network, in partnership with Australia, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the European Commission. As the network’s chair, the United States is driving an ambitious shared agenda around the global expansion and modernization of resettlement programs.

Building on the generosity of the American people through private sponsorship

Over the past few years, the Americans have extended an extraordinarily generous and welcoming hand to our Afghan allies, Ukrainians displaced by war, and Venezuelans and others fleeing violence and oppression. Following President Biden’s direction in Executive Order 14013, the Administration has created new opportunities for everyday Americans to engage directly in refugee resettlement:

  • In January 2023, the Department of State launched the Welcome Corps, a private sponsorship program to empower Americans from all walks of life to be matched with approved refugees overseas and directly support their resettlement and integration as they build new lives in the United States. Now through July 31, the Sponsor Fund will cover fundraising costs for Americans to welcome refugees through the Welcome Corps. This funding is available to help Americans welcome refugees into their community this summer, thanks to private philanthropy efforts led by the Shapiro Foundation in partnership with the Community Sponsorship Hub, WelcomeNST, and GoFundMe.org.
     
  • In December 2023, the Welcome Corps expanded to allow sponsors to identify and welcome refugees they know. Sponsors can identify specific refugees they wish to support, a first in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
     
  • In August 2024, participating U.S. colleges and universities will welcome the first Welcome Corps on Campus cohort of 31 refugee students to continue their higher education in the United States at 17 participating colleges and universities. This World Refugee Day, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent a letter to colleges and universities to consider taking steps to support refugee resettlement.
     
  • In April 2024, the Department of State launched the Welcome Corps at Work, a targeted pilot initiative where refugees can be matched with U.S. employers in critical industries such as healthcare, education, and information technology, and receive support from private sponsors in the employer’s community. In September 2022, HHS also launched an Employer Engagement Program to help employers develop workplace-based training programs.

Enhancing screening and vetting

The Administration’s commitment to keeping Americans safe is paramount. Refugees undergo mandatory and rigorous security vetting overseas, including biometric and biographic security checks conducted by our nation’s law enforcement, intelligence, and counterterrorism professionals. The Administration has taken steps to reform and further enhance screening and vetting of refugees, including:

  • Repealed the Muslim ban. On his first day in office, President Biden repealed the previous administration’s discriminatory Muslim ban, a stain on our national conscience that was inconsistent with our nation’s foundation of religious freedom and tolerance. The Administration has since taken additional steps to reform legacy nationality-based vetting practices that the previous administration weaponized to implement its Muslim ban and exclude applicants on the basis of their religion or nationality. These reforms have enhanced the program’s rigorous vetting processes and strengthened national security.
     
  • Integrated refugee vetting into the National Vetting Center. Consistent with Executive Order 14013, the Administration has integrated refugee vetting into the National Vetting Center, which has strengthened and simplified the ways that DHS uses intelligence and law enforcement information to inform decisions, while maintaining strong privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections.

Expanding access to resettlement

The Biden-Harris Administration has expanded access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for particularly vulnerable individuals facing persecution:

  • Opened avenues for resettlement for human rights defenders and the most vulnerable LGBTQI+ refugees. In 2023, the Department of State designated two senior U.S. government human rights officials to identify individuals in need of resettlement who face persecution as a result of their work promoting respect for human rights and those who face persecution on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.
     
  • Strengthened the ability of U.S. Embassies to refer the most vulnerable refugees. U.S. ambassadors are now encouraged to refer to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program any vulnerable individuals they have identified as facing persecution and are in need of resettlement, an option previously reserved for exceptional circumstances.
     
  • Expanded NGO referrals for highly vulnerable cases. As directed in Executive Order 14013, the Department of State partnered with a new consortium of non-governmental organizations to identify and refer highly vulnerable refugees to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program who are in need of resettlement but are unlikely to be identified through traditional resettlement mechanisms, including LGBTQI+ refugees and certain ethnic and religious minorities.
     
  • Facilitated protection and expanded access to the refugee program for Afghans. In August 2021, the Administration announced a special refugee designation for certain Afghans and their eligible family members, as part of the Administration’s commitment to welcoming those who served alongside us during the 20-year war in Afghanistan. The Administration is also allowing, in certain cases, U.S. government and military officials to refer Afghans to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program who worked with the United States in Afghanistan.
     

Led the most significant increase of operations in the Americas in the history of the program. As forced displacement in the Western Hemisphere reaches historic highs, the Administration has dramatically expanded operations in the region, in particular through the Safe Mobility initiative. The United States has welcomed 13,000 refugees from the region this year, by far the most in the program’s history. Since January 2021, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has referred more than twice as many refugees to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program as in the previous three decades combined.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces New Actions to Keep Families Together


Families New Yorkers protest against Trump’s family separation policies, June 2018. President Biden, frustrated by Congress’ failure to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform, has taken new action to crate a pathway for undocumented spouses of US citizens who have been in the US for 10 years to obtain permanent residency and has acted to bolster protections and rights of Dreamers © Karen Rubin/news-photo-features.com

This fact sheet on President Biden’s latest actions to keep immigrant families together was provided by the White House:

Since his first day in office, President Biden has called on Congress to secure our border and address our broken immigration system. As Congressional Republicans have continued to put partisan politics ahead of national security – twice voting against the toughest and fairest set of reforms in decades – the President and his Administration have taken actions to secure the border, including:
                                            

  • Implementing executive actions to bar migrants who cross our Southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum when encounters are high;
     
  • Deploying record numbers of law enforcement personnel, infrastructure, and technology to the Southern border;
     
  • Seizing record amounts of fentanyl at our ports of entry;
     
  • Revoking the visas of CEOs and government officials outside the U.S. who profit from migrants coming to the U.S. unlawfully; and
     
  • Expanding efforts to dismantle human smuggling networks and prosecuting individuals who violate immigration laws.

 
President Biden believes that securing the border is essential. He also believes in expanding lawful pathways and keeping families together, and that immigrants who have been in the United States for decades, paying taxes and contributing to their communities, are part of the social fabric of our country. The Day One immigration reform plan that the President sent to Congress reflects both the need for a secure border and protections for the long-term undocumented. While Congress has failed to act on these reforms, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked to strengthen our lawful immigration system. In addition to vigorously defending the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals) policy, the Administration has extended Affordable Care Act coverage to DACA recipients and streamlined, expanded, and instituted new reunification programs so that families can stay together while they complete the immigration process. 
 
Still, there is more that we can do to bring peace of mind and stability to Americans living in mixed-status families as well as young people educated in this country, including Dreamers. That is why today, President Biden announced new actions for people who have been here many years to keep American families together and allow more young people to contribute to our economy.  
 
Keeping American Families Together

  • Today, President Biden is announcing that the Department of Homeland Security will take action to ensure that U.S. citizens with noncitizen spouses and children can keep their families together.
     
  • This new process will help certain noncitizen spouses and children apply for lawful permanent residence – status that they are already eligible for – without leaving the country.
     
  • These actions will promote family unity and strengthen our economy, providing a significant benefit to the country and helping U.S. citizens and their noncitizen family members stay together.
     
  • In order to be eligible, noncitizens must – as of June 17, 2024 – have resided in the United States for 10 or more years and be legally married to a U.S. citizen, while satisfying all applicable legal requirements. On average, those who are eligible for this process have resided in the U.S. for 23 years.
     
  • Those who are approved after DHS’s case-by-case assessment of their application will be afforded a three-year period to apply for permanent residency. They will be allowed to remain with their families in the United States and be eligible for work authorization for up to three years. This will apply to all married couples who are eligible.  
     
  • This action will protect approximately half a million spouses of U.S. citizens, and approximately 50,000 noncitizen children under the age of 21 whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen.

 
Easing the Visa Process for U.S. College Graduates, Including Dreamers

  • President Obama and then-Vice President Biden established the DACA policy to allow young people who were brought here as children to come out of the shadows and contribute to our country in significant ways. Twelve years later, DACA recipients who started as high school and college students are now building successful careers and establishing families of their own.
     
  • Today’s announcement will allow individuals, including DACA recipients and other Dreamers, who have earned a degree at an accredited U.S. institution of higher education in the United States, and who have received an offer of employment from a U.S. employer in a field related to their degree, to more quickly receive work visas.
     
  • Recognizing that it is in our national interest to ensure that individuals who are educated in the U.S. are able to use their skills and education to benefit our country, the Administration is taking action to facilitate the employment visa process for those who have graduated from college and have a high-skilled job offer, including DACA recipients and other Dreamers. 

See also:
Biden Acts to Legalize Undocumented Spouses of US Citizens, Advancing Humane Immigration Reform

President Biden Addresses Everytown’s Gun Sense University: ‘You’ve helped power a movement that is turning this cause into reality…Keep it up’

Less than two hours after hearing his only surviving son, Hunter, was found guilty of 3 gun possession offenses, President Joe Biden stood steadfast to uphold policies and laws to reduce America’s gun violence epidemic and change America’s cultural idolatry with guns. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via MSNBC.

Less than two hours after hearing his only surviving son, Hunter, was found guilty of 3 gun possession offenses, President Joe Biden stood steadfast to uphold policies and laws to reduce America’s gun violence epidemic and change America’s cultural idolatry with guns. In that moment, he did two critical things befitting a president and a man of character and commitment: he upheld the rule of Law and the judicial process, saying he would respect the jury’s verdict and would not pardon his son, and vowed to continue the yeoman’s job of reversing America’s uniquely horrendous level of gun violence. (See: Biden Lauds Everytown, Moms Demand Action GunSense Activists; Points to Historic Progress But More to Do to Stem Gun Violence). –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Here is an edited transcript of his remarks:

Julvonnia, I know from experience it takes extraordinary courage for you to stand up here and retell your son’s story — and many of you who have lost someone to gun violence.  It’s been a passion of mine for a long, long time. 

It’s the reason way back, a long time ago, I authored the Violence Against Women Act, which no one thought made any sense at the time.  It had — I had a lot of trouble getting people to think we could make a difference. 

But the fact of the matter is I remember well when you first started it with me — this extraordinary courage.  You know, through your words, you help ensure that your son and all the victims of gun violence are not forgotten.  They didn’t die in vain.  Through your love, you help prevent the next tragedy.  It saves lives. 

And through your actions, you remember us — we’ll never let go of one thing that we must never, never lose.  And I mean this.  I know it’s hard because I’ve gotten those phone calls, too, saying I lost a son, a daughter, a wife.  I know what it’s like.  But guess what?  Never give up on hope — hope, hope, hope.  (Applause.)  

I give you my word.  I know what that feels — that black hole when you receive that phone call that seems like you’re — black hole in your chest — you’re being sucked into it.  Just showing up here and all the work you’ve done takes some courage because it reminds you of the mo- — moment you got that phone call.  It reminds you, no matter how long it goes, until y- — it just — it’s hard.  But you’re so — you’re ma- — you’re making such a difference.  The main reason I’m here is to say — and I mean this from the bottom of my heart –…

Folks, to Everytown and all the leaders and advocates here today, I want to thank you for the dedication to this vital issue you’ve shown.

And to all the survivors, veterans, families, moms who have turned their pain and your purpose into the loss and you’re determined to not focus on your anger but on what you can do.

Look, folks, you’ve helped power a movement that is turning this cause into reality — especially young people, who demanded our nation do better to protect us all — (applause) — who protested, who organized, who voted, who ran for office, and, yes, who marched for their lives.  (Applause.) 

From my perspective, today is about celebrating you.  You’re the reason I’m so optimistic about the future of our country, and I mean that.

In two weeks, we’ll mark the second anniversary of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.  (Applause.)  It’s the most significant gun legislation in nearly 30 years, and we passed it only because you gone out and vou worked like hell to get it done.  May have the idea, but you got it ma- — you made it happen. 

It was designed to reduce gun violence and save lives.  And I’m so proud of the tremendous progress we’ve made since then. 

You know, the year before I came to the presidency, the murder rate was the highest increase on record.  Last year, we saw the largest decrease of murder in the history of (inaudible).  (Applause.)  And those rates are continuing to fall faster than ever. 

Last year, we also saw one of the lowest rates of all violent crime in nearly 50 years.  Murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery all dropped sharply, along with burglary and property crime.  (Applause.)  Becau- — this matters. 

So much of this progress is because — and I’m not just trying to be solicitous — it’s because of you.  Don’t underestimate what you have done.  It’s amazing what you have done.  You changed people’s minds — your neighbors, your friends, the folks down at the restaurant, the folks at the grocery store.

Through the American Rescue Plan, I was able to invest $15 billion, the largest investment ever to reduce crime.  And we built on that progress, with your help, the Bipa- — (applause) — through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. 

And here’s how.  First, the act is helping reduce community violence and domestic violence.  It invests $250 million in violence intervention programs all across the country.  (Applause.)  People are now — my daughter is a social worker working with violence against women.  What people don’t realize is these things matter.  They change attitudes. 

We’ve already funded nearly 80 programs and counting.  We also made gun trafficking and straw purchasing a federal crime for the first time, giving prosecutors the legal tools to charge traffickers and hold them accountable for the more severe penalties that are available.  (Applause.) 

Additionally, the law strengthens background checks for anyone under the age of 21 trying to purchase a firearm.  And it’s about time.  There’s more we have to do there.  It’s a big deal.  (Applause.)  Since the law was passed and implemented, the FBI has stopped more than 700 sales of firearms for individuals under the age of 21. 

And about 20,000 unlicensed firearms dealer are now required to become licensed to run background checks — (applause) — which will keep guns out of dangerous hands. 

Second, the act helps stops mass shootings, provides $750 million to state — to — to states to implement their crisis interventions like red flag laws that temporarily remove firearms from those who are in danger to themselves or others.  (Applause.)  

It also gives $1.3 billion to thousands of schools across the country to build a safer learning environments, including (applause) updating safety plans, installing security equipment, hiring mental health professionals and school resource officers — (applause) — I’m married to a full-time teacher; I get it — (applause) — as well as violence intervention teams.

Folks, look, third, the act invests over $1 billion, the largest one-time investment ever in mental health — youth mental health in our schools — (applause) — to help them deal with grief and trauma resulting in gun violence.  I’ve attended too many mass shootings — I’ve gone to too many schools across America and stood there and looked at the faces of those young children who made it and look at all the families that lost somebody.  It’s tragic.  But it needs help.  They need help to get through it.

It includes an additional 14,000 mental health professionals to be hired and trained in our schools — to work in our schools full time.  That’s 14,000 more.  And — (applause) — and over 170,000 Americans across the country have been trained to identify when someone is having a mental health crisis and connect them to the help they need.  (Applause.) 

By the way, one of the reasons I wrote the latest veterans bill was because more veterans and more active-duty personnel are dying of suicide than any combat zone.  (Applause.)  It matters. 

And, folks, this historic law is already saving lives.  But there is still so much more to do to maximize the benefits of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. 

That’s why, last September, I established the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention.  (Applause.)  And I mean it.  We got first-rate professionals there and overseen by my incredible Vice President — (applause) — who is a pretty fierce prosecutor as well — to drive and coordinate government and nationwide effort to reduce gun violence in America.  That’s why we did it.  And to send a clear message about how important this issue is to me, to you, and to the entire country.

President Joe Biden was cheered on at Everytown’s Gun Sense University, where he thanked the Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action activists for creating a movement that is changing America’s gun culture © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via MSNBC.

Folks — (applause) — you’re changing the nation.  You really are.  You’re changing the nation.  It builds upon the dozen of executive actions my administration has taken to reduce gun violence — more than any of my predecessors, and I suspect more than all of them combined — everything from cracking down on ghost guns, gun trafficking, and so much more.  

Folks, we’re not stopping there.  It’s time, once again, to do what I did when I was a senator: ban assault weapons.  (Applause.)  I mean it. 

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years! 

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you. 

Who in God’s name needs a magazine which can hold 200 shells?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Nobody!

THE PRESIDENT:  Nobody.  That’s right….

But think about it.  They’re weapons of war. 

And, by the way, it’s time we establish universal background checks — (applause) — and require the safe storage of firearms.  We should hold — (applause) — we should hold families responsible if they don’t provide those locks on those guns…. 

And, by the way, this is the most important: The only industry in America that has immunity are gun dealers.  We got to end it — (applause) — end it now.  No, I mean it.

Imagine — imagine if we gave — if we gave tobacco an exception they could not be prosecuted.  We — what would happen?  We’d still — a thousand more people would be dying of cancer because of smoke inhalation. 

It’s time we increase funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives and other law enforcement agencies as well — (applause) — to solve the crimes faster.  

Look, unfortunately — this is the only partisan thing I’m going to say — the congressional Republicans oppose all of these — every one of these.  Instead of trying to stop our ban on ghost gun kits that can commit crimes, they’re working like hell to stop it.  They want to abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives, which is responsible for fighting gun crimes. 

You can’t be pro law enforcement and say you are pro law enforcement and be pro abolishing the AFT.  (Applause.)  You can’t do it.  It’s outrageous…

What in God’s name is the rationale for taking away the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms?

After a school shooting in Iowa that killed a student and a teacher, my predecessor was asked about it.  You remember what he said.  He said, “Have to get over it.”  Hell no, we don’t have to get over it.  (Applause.)  We got to stop it.  We got to stop it and stop it now.  (Applause.)

More children are killed in America by guns than cancer and car accidents combined.  (Applause.)  My predecessor told the NRA convention recently he’s proud that, quote, “I did nothing on guns when I was president.”  And by doing nothing, he made the situation considerably worse. 

That’s why Everytown, why this summit, why all of you here today are so damn important.  We need you.  We need you to overcome the unrelenting opposition of the gun lobby, gun manufacturers, and so many politicians when they oppose commonsense gun legislation. 

When I was no longer the vice president, I became a professor at the University of — of Pennsylvania.  Before that, I taught a constitutional law class, and so I taught the Second Amendment. 

There’s never been a time that says you can own anything you want.  You couldn’t own a cannon during the Civil War.  (Laughter.).. 
And, by the way, if they want to think they — it’s to take on government if we get out of line, which they’re talking again about — well, guess what?  They need F-15s.  They don’t need a rifle.  (Laughter.)

Folks, look, this is crazy, what we’re talking about.  Because whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, we want all families to be safe.  (Applause.)  We all want to drop them off at a house of worship, a mall, a movie theater, a school without worrying if it’s the last time I’m going to get to see them.  (Applause.)  We all want our kids to have the freedom to learn how to read and write in schools instead of learning how to duck and cover, for God sake.  (Applause.) 

And above all — above all, we all agree: We are not finished.  (Applause.)  Look, no single — no single action can solve the entirety of the gun violence epidemic.  But together, our efforts, your efforts are saving lives. 

You can help rally a nation with a sense of urgency and seriousness of purpose.  You’re changing the culture.  We are proving we can do more than just thoughts and prayers — just more than thoughts and prayers.  You’re changing politics.  You’re proving that you’re powerful and you’re relentless, and I mean that.  

Let me close with this.  I know many people here have been impacted by gun violence and are tired and frustrated.  (Applause.)  No — no, I — I know.  I’ve been to too many — I’ve literally spoken with well over a thousand families at these events that I’ve attended for mass shootings.  And the look in their eyes — you can almost feel that black hole they feel in the center of their chest, like they’re being sucked in, there’s no way out.  And if they have remaining children, you look at the children and they wonder, “Mommy, Daddy, how about me?”

And I know you may wonder: Are we ever going to make full progress that we need to make?  I’m here to tell you we have no choice.  We cannot give up trying for all the lives lost and all those who still there to save.  We’re going to get there. 

I have no illusions about how difficult it may be.  But I also have no illusions about the people in this room.

You’re changing the attitude of the public — I really mean it.  I’m going back to why I got here in the first place.  That is to say thank you.

I can come up with all these ideas about the laws we can change to make it easier, but you’re changing people’s lives.  You’re convincing your neighbors and people this is necessary.  It’s beginning to move.

Look at what we’ve already done around the community.  Look at the movement you’ve built, the elected officials standing with you.  Look at all the mothers organizations across the country. 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Mr. President, you are making a change too!  I love you so much!  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter and applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:    (Applause.) Look —

When there’s a crisis, half of what people affected by a crisis have to know: Is anybody listening?  Do you hear me?  Do they hear what we’re saying?

Listen to the young people who are speaking out.  That’s the power of the memory of your loved ones.  That’s the power of this movement.  That’s the power of America.

We just have to keep going and keep the faith and remember who we are.  We are the United States of America, and there is nothing beyond our capacity when we act and do it together.  (Applause.) So, God bless you all.  And may God protect our troops.  (Applause.)

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Keep it up.  (Applause.) Thank you.

Biden Lauds Everytown, Moms Demand Action GunSense Activists; Points to Historic Progress But More to Do to Stem Gun Violence

Less than two hours after hearing his only surviving son, Hunter, was found guilty of 3 gun possession offenses, President Joe Biden stood steadfast to uphold policies and laws to reduce America’s gun violence epidemic and change America’s cultural idolatry with guns. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via MSNBC.

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com, [email protected]

Less than two hours after hearing his only surviving son, Hunter, was found guilty of 3 gun possession offenses, President Joe Biden stood steadfast to uphold policies and laws to reduce America’s gun violence epidemic and change America’s cultural idolatry with guns. In that moment, he did two critical things befitting a president and a man of character and commitment: he upheld the rule of Law and the judicial process, saying he would respect the jury’s verdict and would not pardon his son, and vowed to continue the yeoman’s job of reversing America’s uniquely horrendous level of gun violence.

There are those who are pushing for the Supreme Court, which has a record now of putting the sanctity of the 2nd Amendment over the sanctity of life, to overturn the very gun regulations that ensnared Hunter, basically arguing for drug addicts, domestic abusers, those suffering mental illness, should be allowed to purchase all the guns they want and Hunter should appeal based on how rarely the charges against him have ever been prosecuted. But that would be wrong. With two-thirds of gun deaths due to suicide and the majority of murders of women and children by domestic abusers, no drug addict, as Hunter was at the time and as the jury found, should be allowed to purchase a gun. It is very possible that this law saved Hunter’s life and his family. This Supreme Court is also itching to overturn Red Flag laws that keep guns out of the hands of anyone who is a danger to themselves or someone else, hearing the plea of a domestic abuser who was refused a gun. Biden’s Solicitor General is trying to keep the law intact.

The irony of the timing of this important event with his son’s jury verdict is worthy of fiction. But Biden made no mention of it in his speech. Instead, he pointed to success of historic, landmark legislation and historic policies and actions that are already yielding result, including record DECREASES in violent crime.

In a statement issued by the White House, President Biden declared, ”Violent crime is dropping at record levels in America. It’s good news for our families and our communities. Today, the FBI released preliminary data collected from over 11,000 law enforcement agencies around the country showing that, in the first quarter of this year, murders decreased by 26%, robberies by almost 18%, and violent crime overall by 15%. These large decreases follow major reductions in crime in nearly every category in 2023 – including one of the lowest rates for all violent crime in 50 years and significant declines in murder.
 
“This progress we’re seeing is no accident. My Administration is putting more cops on the beat, holding violent criminals accountable, and getting illegal guns off the street – and we are doing it in partnership with communities. As a result, Americans are safer today than when I took office.
 
“After we saw the largest increase in murders ever recorded during the previous Administration, my Administration got to work protecting the American people. My America Rescue Plan – which every Republican voted against – delivered $15 billion to cities to hire and retain more cops and keep communities safe. I took on the gun lobby and signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law, the most significant gun violence legislation in nearly 30 years. But there is more to do. I will continue fighting for funding for 100,000 additional police officers, and crime prevention and community violence intervention programs. Every American deserves to feel safe in their community – which is why I will continue to invest in public safety.”

Over chants of “Four More Years” Biden thanked Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action gunsense activists for all their work actually changing the culture, getting politicians to their side, that has made brought his efforts, his ideas to fruition, while pledging that there is so much more to do.

Biden turned the cheers into appreciation for the activists. “You’ve helped power a movement,” Biden said.

The contrast – in character, commitment, mission, purpose – between Biden, upholding the Rule of Law in face of significant personal pain and pushing forward with policies to address America’s scourge of gun violence, and Trump who said of school shooting victims, “Get over it” and boasted to the NRA convention that he did nothing during his term to rein in gun violence, could not be more dramatic.

“Heroic. What it means to live a principle,” said former prosecutor Andrew Weissmann on MSNBC, of President Biden.

Just a couple of hours after his son, Hunter Biden, was found guilty of three gun possession violations, the President delivered remarks at Everytown for Gun Safety Gun Sense University in Washington, D.C., where he highlighted the progress his Administration has made to reduce crime and keep guns out of dangerous hands thanks to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), ahead of the two year anniversary since the signing of the law. During his remarks, he announced that the Department of Justice has charged more than 500 defendants for violating the new gun trafficking and straw purchasing provisions created by BSCA.

In his remarks, the President underscored how — as a result of critical investments made through BSCA and his American Rescue Plan –the Biden-Harris Administration has made our communities safer by helping get illegal guns off our streets and putting more cops on the beat, while promoting accountable policing and community violence intervention programs.

The President’s remarks at Gun Sense University build upon outreach and engagement his Administration and the White House’s first-ever Office of Gun Violence Prevention have undertaken to connect with victims, survivors, groups and organizations that are on the frontlines of the fight against gun violence. Last year, the President spoke at the National Safer Communities Summit and the Vice President recently announced two commonsense gun safety solutions while meeting with survivors in Parkland—the launch of the first-ever National Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Resource Center, which will support the effective implementation of state red flag laws, and calling on states to pass red flag laws and to use BSCA funding to help implement laws already enacted.

A White House fact sheet details the Biden Administration actions to end the epidemic of gun violence:  

The Biden-Harris Administration has deployed a historic effort to partner with state and local law enforcement and keep communities safe by addressing the illegal sources of guns. The strategy is focused not just on the person who pulled the trigger of a firearm, but also on all of the links in the chain that led to the firearm being in the wrong hands, including the gun trafficker, the source of the gun trafficker’s firearms, rogue gun dealers who are willfully violating the law, and ghost gun manufacturers. Key Administration actions to stop the illegal flow of guns into our communities include:

  • Gun Trafficking Law Enforcement:  In 2021, the Justice Department launched five new law enforcement strike forces focused on addressing significant firearms trafficking corridors that have diverted guns to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act also enacted the first ever federal gun trafficking law and federal straw purchasing law. These new provisions created by BSCA have been used to charge more than 500 defendants.  
    • Cracking Down on Rogue Gun Dealers:  The Justice Department enacted a new policy to maximize the efficacy of ATF resources to crack down on rogue gun dealers violating our laws and underscored zero tolerance for willful violations of the law by federally licensed firearms dealers that put public safety at risk. The new ATF inspection policies have led to 245 license revocations over the past two years.
    • Stopping Gun Manufacturers Illegally Selling Ghost Guns:  The Justice Department issued a final rule to rein in the proliferation of ghost guns, which are unserialized, privately made firearms that are increasingly being recovered at crime scenes. According to ATF, the recovery of ghost guns by law enforcement increased 1,083 percent between 2017 and 2021.

Most recently, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a new rule that will save lives by reducing the number of firearms sold without background checks. This final rule implements the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act’s expansion of firearm background checks—the most significant expansion of the background check requirement since then-Senator Biden helped shepherd the Brady Bill over the finish line in 1993. This action is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s strategy to stem the flow of illegally acquired firearms into our communities and hold accountable those who supply the firearms used in crime.

“The President’s Administration will continue taking action, but Congress must do their part. The President and Vice President continue to call on Congress to pass universal background checks, a national red flag law, and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. As the President has said, ‘we need Congress to do something—do something—so that communities won’t continue to suffer due to the epidemic of gun violence’.”

The Giffords PAC stated: “The FBI just released new data indicating that rates of violent crime dropped 15 percent overall in the first few months of 2024 in comparison to the first few months of 2023. Murders have dropped by about 26 percent. This is a BIG deal, and it’s a testament to the work we’ve done together in our movement to end gun violence.

“Of course, this drop in violence crime could have never been possible without President Biden, the strongest gun safety president we’ve had in office in decades. He had the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law in 2022. It is the most significant federal gun safety legislation passed in nearly 30 years.

“President Biden has made it clear that as long as he’s in office, he will be a champion for gun safety.”

The same cannot be said if Trump or in fact any Republican takes the office.

See next:

President Biden Addresses Everytown’s Gun Sense University: ‘You’ve helped power a movement that is turning this cause into reality…Keep it up’


__________________________

© 2024 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

President Biden Announces New Actions to Secure the Border, Calls for Congress to Pass Bipartisan Immigration Reform

President Biden, with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, announces new actions to control the border while urging Republicans in Congress not to obstruct crucial immigration reform © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via MSNBC.

With Republicans actively obstructing bipartisan legislation to secure the border, President Biden has taken new actions to bar migrants who cross our Southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum, but continues to appeal for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform – as he has proposed since Day 1 of his administration.

Here are President Biden’s remarks about his Executive Order, and a fact sheet describing the new actions to secure the border, provided by the White House:
 
I’ve come here today to do what the Republicans in Congress refuse to do: take the necessary steps to secure our border. 

Four months ago, after weeks of intense negotiation between my staff and Democrats and Republicans, we came to a clear — clear bipartisan deal that was the strongest border security agreement in decades.  But then Republicans in Congress — not all, but — walked away from it. 

Why?  Because Donald Trump told them to.  He told the Republicans — it has been published widely by many of you — that he didn’t want to fix the issue; he wanted to use it to attack me.  That’s what he wanted to do.  It was a cynical and a – extremely cynical political move and a complete disservice to the American people, who are looking for us to — not to weaponize the border but to fix it. 

Today, I am joined by a bipartisan group of governors, members of Congress, mayors, law enforcement officials — most of whom live and work along the southern border.  They know the border is not a political issue to be weaponized — the responsibility we have to share to do something about it.  They don’t have time for the games played in Washington, and neither do the American people. 

So, today, I’m moving past Republican obstruction and using the executive authorities available to me as president to do what I can on my own to address the border. 

Frankly, I would have preferred to address this issue through bipartisan legislation, because that’s the only way to actually get the kind of system we have now — that’s broken — fixed, to hire more Border Patrol agents, more asylum officers, more judges.  But Republicans have left me with no choice. 
 
Today, I’m announcing actions to bar migrants who cross our southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum.  Migrants will be restricted from receiving asylum at our southern border unless they seek it after entering through an established lawful process.  

And those who seek — come to the United States legally — for example, by making an appointment and coming to a port of entry — asylum will still be available to them — still available.  But if an individual chooses not to use our legal pathways, if they choose to come without permission and against the law, they’ll be restricted from receiving asylum and staying in the United States. 

This action will help us to gain control of our border, restore order to the process.

This ban will remain in place until the number of people trying to enter illegally is reduced to a level that our system can effectively manage. 

We’ll carry out this order consistent with all our responsibilities under international law — every one of them. 

In addition to this action, we recently made important reforms in our asylum system: more efficient and more secure reforms.  The goal is to deliver decisions on asylum as quickly as possible. 

The quicker decision means that a migrant is less likely to pay a criminal smuggler thousands of dollars to take them on a dangerous journey, knowing that if, in fact, they move in the wrong direction, they’d be turned around quickly. 

And two weeks ago, the Department of Justice started a new docket in the immigration courts to address cases where people who’ve recently crossed the border and make — they’ll make a decision within six months rather than six years, because that’s what happens now.  

Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security has proposed new rules to allow federal law enforcement to more quickly remove asylum seekers that have criminal convictions and remove them from the United States. 

My administration also recently launched new efforts to go after criminal networks that profit from smuggling migrants to our border and incentivize people to give tipsto law enforcement to provide information that brings smugglers to justice. 

We’re also sending additional federal prosecutors to hot spots along the border and prosecute individuals who break our immigration laws. 

One other critical step that we’ll be taking, and that made a huge difference: We continue to work closely with our Mexican neighbors instead of attacking Mexico, and it’s worked. 

We built a strong partnership of trust between the Mexican President, López Obrador, and I’m going to do the same with the Mexican-elect President, who I spoke with yesterday.

We’ve chosen to work together with Mexico as an equal partner, and the facts are clear.  Due to the arrangements that I’ve reached with President Obrador, the number of migrants coming and shared — to our shared border unlawfully in recent months has dropped dramatically. 

But while these steps are important, they’re not enough. 

To truly secure the border, we have to change our laws, and Congress needs to provide the necessary funding to hire 1,500 more border security agents; 100 more immigration judges to help tackle the backlog of cases — more than 2 million of them; 4,300 more asylum officers to make decisions in less than six months instead of six years, which is what it takes now; and around 100 more high-tech detection machines to significantly increase the ability to screen and stop fentanyl being smuggled into the United States. 

These investments were one of the primary reasons that the Border Patrol union endorsed the bipartisan deal in the first place.  And these investments are essential and remain essential. 

As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not willing to spend the money to hire more Border Patrol agents, more asylum officers, more judges, more high-tech machinery, you’re just not serious about protecting our border.  It’s as simple as that.

I believe that immigration has always been a lifeblood of America.  We’re constantly renewed by an infusion of people and new talent. 

The Statue of Liberty is not some relic of American history.  It stands for who we are as the United States. 

So, I will never demonize immigrants.  I will never refer to immigrants as “poisoning the blood” of a country.  And further, I’ll never separate children from their families at the border. 

I will not ban people from this country because of their religious beliefs.  I will not use the U.S. military to go into neighborhoods all across the country to pull millions of people out of their homes and away from their families to put detention camps while awaiting deportation, as my predecessor says he will do if he occupies this office again.
 
On my very first day as president, I introduced a comprehensive immigration reform planto fix our broken system, secure our border, provide a pathway for citizenship for DREAMers, and a lot more.  And I’m still fighting to get that done. 

But we must face a simple truth: To protect America as a land that welcomes immigrants, we must first secure the border and secure it now.

The simple truth is there is a worldwide migrant crisis, and if the United States doesn’t secure our border, there is no limit to the number of people who may try to come here, because there is no better place on the planet than the United States of America. 

For those who say the steps I’ve taken are too strict, I say to you that — be patient, and good will of the American people are wearing thin right now.  Doing nothing is not an option.  We have to act.  We must act consistent with both our law and our values — our value as Americans.

I take these steps today not to walk away from who we are as Americans but to make sure we preserve who we are for future generations to come. 

Today, I have spoken about what we need to do to secure the border.  In the weeks ahead — and I mean the weeks ahead — I will speak to how we can make our immigration system more fair and more just. 
 
Let’s fix the problem and stop fighting about it.  I’m doing my part.  We’re doing our part.  Congressional Republicans should do their part
.

Fact Sheet: New Actions to Secure the Border

Since his first day in office, President Biden has called on Congress to secure our border and address our broken immigration system. Over the past three years, while Congress has failed to act, the President has acted to secure our border. His Administration has deployed the most agents and officers ever to address the situation at the Southern border, seized record levels of illicit fentanyl at our ports of entry, and brought together world leaders on a framework to deal with changing migration patterns that are impacting the entire Western Hemisphere. 
 
Earlier this year, the President and his team reached a historic bipartisan agreement with Senate Democrats and Republicans to deliver the most consequential reforms of America’s immigration laws in decades. This agreement would have added critical border and immigration personnel, invested in technology to catch illegal fentanyl, delivered sweeping reforms to the asylum system, and provided emergency authority for the President to shut down the border when the system is overwhelmed. But Republicans in Congress chose to put partisan politics ahead of our national security, twice voting against the toughest and fairest set of reforms in decades.
 
President Biden believes we must secure our border. That is why today, he announced executive actions to bar migrants who cross our Southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum. These actions will be in effect when high levels of encounters at the Southern Border exceed our ability to deliver timely consequences, as is the case today. They will make it easier for immigration officers to remove those without a lawful basis to remain and reduce the burden on our Border Patrol agents.
 
But we must be clear: this cannot achieve the same results as Congressional action, and it does not provide the critical personnel and funding needed to further secure our Southern border. Congress still must act.
 
The Biden-Harris Administration’s executive actions will:  
 
Bar Migrants Who Cross the Southern Border Unlawfully From Receiving Asylum

  • President Biden issued a proclamation under Immigration and Nationality Act sections 212(f) and 215(a) suspending entry of noncitizens who cross the Southern border into the United States unlawfully. This proclamation is accompanied by an interim final rule from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security that restricts asylum for those noncitizens.
    • These actions will be in effect when the Southern border is overwhelmed, and they will make it easier for immigration officers to quickly remove individuals who do not have a legal basis to remain in the United States.
    • These actions are not permanent. They will be discontinued when the number of migrants who cross the border between ports of entry is low enough for America’s system to safely and effectively manage border operations. These actions also include similar humanitarian exceptions to those included in the bipartisan border agreement announced in the Senate, including those for unaccompanied children and victims of trafficking.

Recent Actions to secure our border and address our broken immigration system:
 
Strengthening the Asylum Screening Process

  • The Department of Homeland Security published a proposed rule to ensure that migrants who pose a public safety or national security risk are removed as quickly in the process as possible rather than remaining in prolonged, costly detention prior to removal. This proposed rule will enhance security and deliver more timely consequences for those who do not have a legal basis to remain in the United States.

Announced new actions to more quickly resolve immigration cases

  • The Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security launched a Recent Arrivals docket to more quickly resolve a portion of immigration cases for migrants who attempt to cross between ports of entry at the Southern border in violation of our immigration laws.
    • Through this process, the Department of Justice will be able to hear these cases more quickly and the Department of Homeland Security will be able to more quickly remove individuals who do not have a legal basis to remain in the United States and grant protection to those with valid claims.
    • The bipartisan border agreement would have created and supported an even more efficient framework for issuing final decisions to all asylum seekers. This new process to reform our overwhelmed immigration system can only be created and funded by Congress.

Revoked visas of CEOs and government officials who profit from migrants coming to the U.S. unlawfully

  • The Department of State imposed visa restrictions on executives of several Colombian transportation companies who profit from smuggling migrants by sea. This action cracks down on companies that help facilitate unlawful entry into the United States, and sends a clear message that no one should profit from the exploitation of vulnerable migrants.
    • The State Department also imposed visa restrictions on over 250 members of the Nicaraguan government, non-governmental actors, and their immediate family members for their roles in supporting the Ortega-Murillo regime, which is selling transit visas to migrants from within and beyond the Western Hemisphere who ultimately make their way to the Southern border.
    • Previously, the State Department revoked visas of executives of charter airlines for similar actions.

Expanded Efforts to Dismantle Human Smuggling and Support Immigration Prosecutions

  • The Departments of State and Justice launched an “Anti-Smuggling Rewards” initiative designed to dismantle the leadership of human smuggling organizations that bring migrants through Central America and across the Southern U.S. border. The initiative will offer financial rewards for information leading to the identification, location, arrest, or conviction of those most responsible for significant human smuggling activities in the region.
    • The Department of Justice will seek new and increased penalties against human smugglers to properly account for the severity of their criminal conduct and the human misery that it causes.
    • The Department of Justice is also partnering with the Department of Homeland Security to direct additional prosecutors and support staff to increase immigration-related prosecutions in crucial border U.S. Attorney’s Offices. Efforts include deploying additional DHS Special Assistant United States Attorneys to different U.S. Attorneys’ offices, assigning support staff to critical U.S. Attorneys’ offices, including DOJ Attorneys to serve details in U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in several border districts, and partnering with federal agencies to identify additional resources to target these crimes.

Enhancing Immigration Enforcement

  • The Department of Homeland Security has surged agents to the Southern border and is referring a record number of people into expedited removal.
    • The Department of Homeland Security is operating more repatriation flights per week than ever before. Over the past year, DHS has removed or returned more than 750,000 people, more than in every fiscal year since 2010.
    • Working closely with partners throughout the region, the Biden-Harris Administration is identifying and collaborating on enforcement efforts designed to stop irregular migration before migrants reach our Southern border, expand investment and integration opportunities in the region to support those who may otherwise seek to migrate, and increase lawful pathways for migrants as an alternative to irregular migration. 

Seizing Fentanyl at our Border

  • Border officials have seized more fentanyl at ports of entry in the last two years than the past five years combined, and the President has added 40 drug detection machines across points of entry to disrupt the fentanyl smuggling into the Homeland. The bipartisan border agreement would fund the installation of 100 additional cutting-edge inspection machines to help detect fentanyl at our Southern border ports of entry.

In close partnership with the Government of Mexico, the Department of Justice has extradited Nestor Isidro Perez Salaz, known as “El Nini,” from Mexico to the United States to face prosecution for his role in illicit fentanyl trafficking and human rights abuses. This is one of many examples of joint efforts with Mexico to tackle the fentanyl and synthetic drug epidemic that is killing so many people in our countries and globally, and to hold the drug trafficking organizations to account

Israel Day on Fifth Brings Out 44,000 Unified in Demanding ‘Bring The Hostages Home Now’

Israel Day on Fifth: A contingent of some 2,000 representing the hostages and families led this year’s unusual “Israel Day on Fifth” procession, followed by 40,000 more marching in support of Israel, calling for the immediate release of all the hostages still alive, and the remains of those who are already dead © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com, [email protected]

A contingent of some 2,000 representing the hostages and families led this year’s unusual “Israel Day on Fifth” procession, followed by over 40,000 more marching in support of Israel, calling for the immediate release of all the hostages still alive, and the remains of those who are already dead.

“What do we want? All of them.”

“When do we want it? Now.”

“Bring them home NOW.”

“Bring them home NOW.”

was the constant refrain over the hours and miles of the route along 5th Avenue.

Organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, with support from the UJA- Federation of NY, the theme of this year’s Israel Day gathering was themed “One People, One Heart” and drew some 44,000 participants, Israeli and U.S. politicians, dignitaries, celebrities, and family members of hostages, calling for the hostages to be released.

“This is the most important Israel Day gathering in my lifetime,” JCRC-NY CEO Mark Treyger, the organizer of the event, said at the kickoff event, standing with family members of the hostages.© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“For decades, Jewish New Yorkers and allies of all backgrounds have marched together up Fifth Avenue to showcase their love and support for Israel and its people and culture,” wrote JCRC-NY CEO Mark Treyger. “This year, however, is the most important parade of my lifetime. On October 7th our community was changed forever; we suffered the worst loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust and have seen alarming increases in antisemitism in the following months. This mega-event is not simply a response to the horrors we have witnessed and the trauma we have endured. Israel Day on Fifth is a strong, public affirmation of who we are and what we stand for.”

Senator Chuck Schumer calls for Hamas to release the hostages and negotiate and end to the Israel-Hamas War © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The event was designed to provide a platform for some 2,000 members of the abductees’ families and former hostages organized and led by the Hostage and Missing Families Forum as well as residents of several southern Israeli communities – including Kfar Aza, Be’eri and Nahal Oz.

UJA Federation CEO Eric Goldstein: “you learn who your friends are.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Federal, state, and local elected officials, including Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressmen Tom Suozzi, Ritchie Torres, Ron Goldman and Grace Meng and NYS Attorney General Letitia James and comptroller Tom DiNapoli were among those standing with the New York Jewish community.

“Bring them home now,” declared NYS Attorney General Letitia James. “Stand against hate.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Even in these challenging times, tens of thousands of marchers representing more than 200 schools, synagogues, and other organizations from across the tri-state area and asfar as Pennsylvania joined the march.

NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said, “When some say to divest, New York is increasing investment since Oct., 7. Bring them home now.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“For thousands of years, the Jewish people have been scattered throughout the world. In different conditions and countries, we have developed a wide array of customs, movements, languages, and rituals, which sometimes cause internal division,’ Treyger wrote. “If we zoom out for a moment, however, one can see how our differences do not define us.  All together, our diversity forms a beautiful banner of resilient Jewish communities. It is this banner under which we will march on Sunday: Am Echad, Lev Echad – One People, One Heart.”

NYS Governor Kathy Hochul stands for Israel and against antisemitism © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Before the march began, three New York Congressmen – Tom Suozzi, Ritchie Torres and Ron Goldman – held a press conference with families of two of the eight American hostages taken by Hamas on October 7 – Omer Neutra, 22 years old, who grew up in Plainview Long Island and deferred admission to SUNY Binghamton to join the IDF where he became a tank commander; and Itay Chen, 19, who was killed during the Hamas massacre on Oct. 7, but his remains were taken and used by Hamas for a bargaining chip.

Congressman Tom Suozzi and the Neutra Family, constituents of Suozzi’s from Plainview, joined by Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Congressman Dan Goldman (NY-10), and the family of slain dual US-Israeli citizen Itay Chen, call for the immediate release of Omer Neutra and all American hostages held by Hamas © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Where is the outrage? Eight Americans are still being held by Hamas, 8 months after the savage October 7 massacre of 1,200 including 45 US citizens, over 200 taken hostage of whom some 125 remain hostages, though it is unclear how many are still alive.

Where is the outrage that followed 13 American soldiers dying in a bomb attack as they tried to organize the evacuation of Afghanistan?

Where is the outrage that followed after 9/11?

Why is it that for the first time in American history, Americans being held by a terrorist organization does not provoke that level of outrage?

That’s what Congressmen Tom Suozzi, Richie Torres and Dan Goldman, want to know.

Members of the Neutra Family and the family of slain dual US-Israeli citizen Itay Chen, call for the immediate release of Omer Neutra and all American hostages held by Hamas © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The American people, New Yorkers, have to recognize that Americans are being held hostage now by Hamas,” Congressman Tom Suozzi of Long Island said.

Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Congressman Dan Goldman (NY-10), and Congressman Tom Suozzi, with the family of slain dual US-Israeli citizen Itay Chen and Neuter family call for the immediate release of Omer Neutra and all American hostages held by Hamas © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“As Americans, never forget Americans are imprisoned in those terror tunnels,” said Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “We owe it to fellow Americans to secure their release, bring them home. In the rapidly growing amnesia of October 7, their names and stories must be front and center. The abduction of any one American should be seen as a crime against all.

“The international community is pressuring Israel, there is less pressure on Hamas to release hostages – that is  overwhelmingly one sided. Hamas is emboldened. All want the end of war. Above all else, release the hostages. The International community must put pressure flatly where it belongs, flatly on Hamas. Never forget the names of those in captivity.”

Congressman Dan Goldman: Gazans deserve a better life than under Hamas. Hamas use humans as weapons, as shields. We need all of us to pressure Hamas to end the war today – release the hostages and war will end.© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Congressman Ron Goldman (NY-10), standing with families of two of the eight American hostages held in brutal captivity, said, “I don’t remember time in US history where Americans have not been outraged when Americans were held captive. It’s not proportionate for these 8 hostages.

“President Biden has laid out clearly an agreement to end conflict. US, Qatar, Egypt, Israel agreed. If you want a ceasefire, an end to conflict, the one party you should be pressuring is Hamas. Hamas controls whether or not this war continues. If Hamas releases hostages, conflict will end. All of those who care about horrific conditions in Gaza, as we do, if you want it to end, direct your energy to Hamas, focus more on these families suffering, their loved ones remain held by terrorist group In Gaza.

“Gazans deserve a better life than under Hamas. Hamas use humans as weapons, as shields. We need all of us to pressure Hamas to end the war today – release the hostages and war will end.”

Grand Marshal Harley Lippman expresses outrage that Hamas is holding Israeli hostages as young as 1 year old © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

More typically called the Celebrate Israel Parade in the 60 years the event has been held, this year’s much more somber event was called “Israel Day on Fifth” but the energy was reminiscent of the early days of Israel’s creation, and its sense of fighting for its survival, against an international tide turning away, was palpable.

Dignitaries lead the Israel Day on Fifth march in support of Israel and demanding the release of hostages © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Among the marchers, members from colleges, faculty and students, countering the widespread pro-Palestinian protests:  Faculty Against AntiSemitism, CUNY faculty, Columbia Faculty & Staff Supporting Israel, and students from various Hillels on college campuses. “We Stand With Our Students: CUNY Faculty for Israel,” one sign read.

Hillel college students demand “Bring them home.”© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

And in a twist on the pro-Palestinian chant, “From the River to the Sea,” which calls for the eradication of the State of Israel, several held signs, “From the River to the Sea, Hamas Will Cease to Be.”

“We Stand with Our students” – CUNY Faculty for Israel © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“This year’s Israel Day on Fifth was an extraordinary affirmation of our Jewish community’s connection to New York City and the State of Israel,” stated Treyger,. “Our coming together was a demonstration of unwavering support for Israel and her people and pride in our identity as Jews and Zionists. It was also a call for the immediate and safe return of the hostages – we must “Bring Them Home Now!” In these challenging times, this year’s event was the most important we’ve ever had, and the outpouring of support from New Yorkers was overwhelming.”

Here are more highlights:

“Bring Them Home Now”: A contingent of some 2,000 representing the hostages and families led this year’s unusual “Israel Day on Fifth” procession, © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Bring Them Home Now”: A contingent of some 2,000 representing the hostages and families led this year’s unusual “Israel Day on Fifth” procession, © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Bring Them Home Now”: A contingent of some 2,000 representing the hostages and families led this year’s unusual “Israel Day on Fifth” procession, © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Grand Marshal Harley Lippman expresses outrage that Hamas is holding Israeli hostages as young as 1 year old © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Government of Israel dignitaries at Israel Day on Fifth © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Israel Day on Fifth: Showing support for Israel and calling for the release of hostages © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Israel Day on Fifth: Showing support for Israel and calling for the release of hostages © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Israel Day on Fifth: Showing support for Israel and calling for the release of hostages © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Gevurah, representing families of fallen heroes: “In their death they bequeathed us victory.”© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Israel Day on Fifth: Showing support for Israel and calling for the release of hostages © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
UJA Israel at Israel Day on Fifth © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
American Zionist Movement of the World Zionist Organization at Israel Day on Fifth © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Holocaust Claims Conference © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“From the River to the Sea – Hamas will Cease to Be” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Congressman Ritchie Torres marches in Israel Day on Fifth © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Hebrew Academy of Five Towns, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Israel Day on Fifth: Showing support for Israel and calling for the release of hostages © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Israel Day on Fifth: Showing support for Israel and calling for the release of hostages © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Israel Day on Fifth: Showing support for Israel and calling for the release of hostages © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Israel Day on Fifth: Showing support for Israel and calling for the release of hostages © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
A small contingent of peace activists call for a ceasefire in Gaza. The traditional group of pro-Palestinian protesters were relocated outside the parade area as security was heightened for this year’s event © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Students of Hillels across several college campuses march in support of Israel © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
American Jewish Medical Association © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Sephardic Heritage Alliance salutes the state of Israel © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Christians Stand With Israel © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Theme for Israel Day on Fifth: “One People One Heart”© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Columbia Faculty & Staff Supporting Israel. Columbia University was the scene of some of the earliest and most aggressive pro-Palestinian protests © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Defenders of Democracy march for Israel © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Northwell Health © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Faculty Against Antisemitism Movement, a project of the Academic Engagement Network © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
End Jew Hatred © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Zioness on the march © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
North Shore Hebrew Academy, Great Neck, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“One People One Heart”: Congress of Bukharian Jews of the USA and Canada, making the points of the many different cultures and peoples who make up the Jewish world community. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“One People One Heart”:Russian Speaking Jewish Community of New York © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“We Won’t Stop” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

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© 2024 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Photo Highlights: 20th Anniversary Bethpage Memorial Day Weekend Air Show at Jones Beach

The US Navy Blue Angels headlined the 20th anniversary Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

One of the best air shows in the world happens each Memorial Day weekend: the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, it cannot be beat for spectacular aeronautical feats amidst the ambiance of Jones Beach, where you see the action right in front of you, just above the ocean and stretching to the horizon. The intense action is so close, you often can see the pilots in the cockpits, and so fast and daring, it takes your breath away.

Here are photo highlights from the 2024 air show

The show was headlined and climaxed by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels – a team of six performing their heart-stopping maneuvers in their F/A-18 Super Hornets. They are famous for the Diamond formation, when they fly as close as 18 inches apart, but what most excites me is when the two solos fly extraordinary maneuvers, including coming at each other at a combined speed of over 700 mph. (See: Photo Highlights: US Navy Blue Angels at 20th Anniversary Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach)

The US Navy Blue Angels headlined the 20th anniversary Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The air show traditionally opens with the United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, who launch out of a plane some 30,000 feet high, stream down at 200 mph, and float down to a target in the middle of the crowd on the beach carrying American and POW flags. The Golden Knights portray the image of being the most formidable parachuting competitors and demonstrators in the world today. The team returns for a more intense demonstration that includes free falling, triple-tethered, and a parachutist wearing a suit that lets him fly like a squirrel before finally pulling the chord to his parachute.

The US Army Golden Knights Parachute team at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The US Army Golden Knights Parachute team at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The US Army Golden Knights Parachute team makes a complicated baton hand-over at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The US Army Golden Knights Parachute team at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Flying in a special suit like a flying squirrel. The US Army Golden Knights Parachute team at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The US Army Golden Knights Parachute team at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The US Army Golden Knights Parachute team at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

American Airpower Museum Warbirds, flying vintage WWII fighters and patrol planes, pay homage to Long Island’s historic role as the nation’s arsenal of democracy. Republic Aviation, the complex in Farmingdale where the AAM stands now, produced over 9,000 P-47 Thunderbolts, and today the museum’s collection preserves the heritage and history.  The Warbird performance will conclude with a precision aerobatic demonstration of one of the museum’s legendary WWII Fighters.

 Vintage Warbirds from the American Airpower Museum, on the site where many of the World War II fighter planes were manufactured, fly at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II Demonstration Team and Legacy Flight shows off the capabilities of this 5th Generation fighter. The F-35C is the world’s most advanced multi-role fighter. With a top speed of 1,200 mph, the F-35C is even capable of setting off sonic booms, but for the air show, stay within 700 mph – still heart-pounding fast. The F-35C has the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history, giving pilots 360-degree access to “real-time” battlefield information. The demo features a Legacy Flight formation, providing a unique comparison between the past and present.

U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team and Heritage Flight showcases the combat capabilities of the A-10 “Warthog” by performing precision aerial maneuvers.  Additionally, the team brings attention to the Air Force’s history by flying formations with historical aircraft in the Air Force Heritage Flight.

U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team and Heritage Flight© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II shows off its fighting prowess at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II shows off its fighting prowess at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Long Island’s own David Windmiller, who began flying when he was just 14 years old, soloing for the first time on his 16th birthday, performs aerobatics in his Zivko Edge 540, thrilling spectators with seemingly impossible feats. Equipped with a custom built project engine of Teledyne, thrust to weight ratio over 1:1, Windmiller’s plane has a climb rate of 3,700 feet per minute, and a rote rate of 420 degrees per minute, making his plane the ideal aircraft for aerobatic flight.

Long Island native David Windmiller shows off his aerobatic skills in his Zivko Edge 540 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Long Island native David Windmiller shows off his aerobatic skills in his Zivko Edge 540 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Mike Goulian earned the distinction of becoming one of the youngest pilots to ever win the United States Unlimited Aerobatic Champion at the age of 27, and is considered one of the most decorated aerobatic pilots in the country. His signature air show performance combines the heart-stopping gyroscopic tumbling of modern display flying with the crisp, aggressive, demands of precision competition aerobatics.

Aerobatic champion Mike Goolian performs at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Aerobatic champion Mike Goolian performs at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Aerobatic champion Mike Goolian performs at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Warbird Thunder features the North American SNJ Texan, an aircraft used to train “The Greatest Generation” for WWII and Korean Conflict. The performance features two SNJs, performing formation aerobatics offering a great spectator experience due to the aircraft’s large physical size, beautiful radial engine sound, and fantastic smoke presentation. The SNJ was nicknamed “Ol Growler” because of its distinct deep and throaty roar. Warbird Thunder’s formation aerobatic routine is fast paced and entertaining. The two aircrafts perform formation loops, aileron rolls, barrel rolls, and Cuban Eights and thrilling opposing aerobatics.

Warbird Thunder at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Warbird Thunder at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Skytypers is a flight squadron of vintage WWII era U.S. Navy SNJ-2 trainers that perform low-altitude precision-formation maneuver mimicking the tactics and maneuvers utilized during WWII air battles. The Skytypers may be most famous for their skytyped messages in the sky which can be seen for nearly 400 square miles, which they have done for 40 years.

The Skytypers, famous for their skytyping for 40 years, have been demonstrating air battle maneuvers at the Jones Beach air show for the past 20 years at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Skytypers, famous for their skytyping for 40 years, have been demonstrating air battle maneuvers at the Jones Beach air show for the past 20 years at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Skytypers, famous for their skytyping for 40 years, have been demonstrating air battle maneuvers at the Jones Beach air show for the past 20 years at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Skytypers, famous for their skytyping for 40 years, have been demonstrating air battle maneuvers at the Jones Beach air show for the past 20 years at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Skytypers, famous for their skytyping for 40 years, have been demonstrating air battle maneuvers at the Jones Beach air show for the past 20 years at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Skytypers, famous for their skytyping for 40 years, have been demonstrating air battle maneuvers at the Jones Beach air show for the past 20 years at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Skytypers, famous for their skytyping for 40 years, have been demonstrating air battle maneuvers at the Jones Beach air show for the past 20 years at Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Farmingdale State College Aviation Center students demonstrate the prowess learned at  the largest collegiate flight school in the Northeast region, and the only SUNY School to offer a 4 Year Degree Program in Aeronautical Science, the Aviation Center averages 5,800 Flight Hours a Year in Solo and Dual Flight Instruction.

106th Rescue Wing, NY Air National Guard HC – 130 / HH 60 Formation provides a demonstration of how it provides combat search and rescue coverage for U.S. and allied forces worldwide. In December 1994, the 106th established the record for the longest over water helicopter rescue mission when it saved a Ukrainian sailor in the icy waters off the North Atlantic. The 106th may be best known for a mission during a 1991 storm made famous by the movie “The Perfect Storm”. The HH-60 is tasked to perform day and night personnel recovery operations in hostile environments to recover isolated personnel during war, civil search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, security cooperation/aviation advisory, NASA space flight support, and rescue command and control.

106th Rescue Wing, NY Air National Guard HC – 130 / HH 60 Formation demonstrates combat search and rescue coverage for U.S. and allied forces worldwide© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
106th Rescue Wing, NY Air National Guard HC – 130 / HH 60 Formation demonstrates combat search and rescue coverage for U.S. and allied forces worldwide© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Bethpage Jones Beach Air Show has drawn as many as 444,000, and drew a total attendance of 351,000 in 2023. The 2024 air show was already headed into the record books, with 106,000 coming for Friday’s rehearsal (the parking lots reached capacity), and the first full show on Saturday also reached capacity. Sunday’s show reached capacity.

The US Navy Blue Angels do their famous fan farewell to the Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

See also:

Photo Highlights: US Navy Blue Angels at 20th Anniversary Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach

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© 2024 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Visit instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near and instagram.com/bigbackpacktraveler/ Send comments or questions to [email protected]. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures 

Photo Highlights: US Navy Blue Angels at 20th Anniversary Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach

US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

The US Navy Blue Angels were the headliners at the 20th anniversary Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend, performing their heart-stopping maneuvers in their F/A-18 Super Hornets.

US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

They are famous for the Diamond formation, when they fly as close as 18 inches apart, but most thrilling me is when the two opposing solos fly extraordinary maneuvers, including coming at each other at combined speed of 700 mph.

US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Blue Angels were also the headliners at the first Jones Beach air show.  A record crowd of 106,000 got to see the air show rehearsal on Friday and another record or near-record crowd got to see the first show on Saturday, but cloudy conditions forced the Blue Angels to cancel the Sunday show.

US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Blue Angels were formed in 1946 by Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester Nimitz, who had a vision to create a flight exhibition team to raise the public’s interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale (and likely Congressional funding). In the 1940’s, the demonstration team thrilled audiences with precision combat maneuvers in the F6 Hellcat, the F8 Bearcat and the F9 Panther. During the 1950’s, they flew their aerobatic maneuvers in the F9 Cougar and F-11 Tiger and introduced the first six-plane delta formation, still flown to this day.

US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By the end of the 1960’s, the team was flying the F-4 Phantom; in 1974, the Blue Angels transitioned to the A-4 Skyhawk, a smaller and lighter aircraft with a tighter turning radius allowing for a more dynamic flight demonstration. In 1986, the Blue Angels celebrated its 40th Anniversary by unveiling the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet. In 2021, the team began flying its current aircraft, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and celebrated its 75th anniversary.

US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

A total of 17 officers voluntarily serve with the Blue Angels at one time, according to the Blue Angels’ website www.blueangels.navy.mil/. Each year the team typically selects three tactical (fighter or fighter/attack) jet pilots, two support officers and one Marine Corps C-130 pilot to relieve departing members. They typically serve two years with the team and then return to the fleet after their tours of duty.

US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Who gets selected? “The Chief of Naval Air Training selects the “Boss,” the Blue Angels Commanding Officer. Boss must have at least 3,000 tactical jet flight-hours and have commanded a tactical jet squadron. The Commanding Officer flies the Number 1 jet. The Chief of Naval Air Training also selects the “XO,” the Blue Angels Executive Officer. XO is a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) or Naval Aviator with at least 1,750 flight-hours.

US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Career-oriented Navy and Marine Corps jet pilots with an aircraft carrier qualification and a minimum of 1,250 tactical jet flight-hours are eligible for positions flying jets Number 2 through 7. The Events Coordinator, Number 8, is a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) or Naval Aviator who has finished their first tour. The Marine Corps pilots flying the C-130J Hercules aircraft, affectionately known as “Fat Albert,” must be aircraft commander qualified with at least 1,200 flight hours.

The Blue Angels’ C-130J Hercules aircraft, affectionately known as “Fat Albert” that supplies the team, does a fly-over at the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the teamwork and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps through flight demonstrations and community outreach while inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country.”

Jones Beach air show is considered one of the best anywhere because of being able to view from the beach, out to the ocean horizon. The thrilling maneuvers are very close.

Here are more highlights of the Blue Angels:

Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, is considered one of the best venues for air shows© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, celebrating its 95th anniversary in 2024,and marking its 20th air show, is considered one of the best venues for air shows© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Managing the air show at Jones Beach, in one of the most complex, high-density air spaces in the world, is an achievement, and has been under Air Boss Wayne Boggs © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
US Navy Blue Angels demonstrate their daring-do in their F/A-18 Super Hornets at the 2024 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, over Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, celebrating its 95th anniversary in 2024,and marking its 20th air show, is considered one of the best venues for air shows© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

See more highlights from the 20th Anniversary Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach

See also:

BETHPAGE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AIRSHOW AT JONES BEACH KICKS OFF LONG ISLAND SUMMER

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FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces New Actions to Advance Racial and Educational Equity on 70th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

This fact sheet detailing new actions by the Biden Administration to advance racial and educational equity, announced on the 70th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, was provided by the White House:

On the 70th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education (Brown) decision, which outlawed racially segregated schools – deeming them unequal and unconstitutional – the Biden-Harris Administration highlights new actions with the release of additional funding and resources to support school diversity and advance the goal that all students have access to a world-class education. © Karen Rubin/news-photo-features.com

President Biden believes every student deserves access to a high-quality education that prepares them to be the next generation of leaders. Today, on the 70th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education (Brown) decision, which outlawed racially segregated schools – deeming them unequal and unconstitutional – the Biden-Harris Administration highlights new actions with the release of additional funding and resources to support school diversity and advance the goal that all students have access to a world-class education. 

Research shows that racial achievement gaps are strongly associated with school segregation, in turn because schools with high concentrations of Black and Latino students receive fewer resources. The desegregation of schools that followed Brown led to a 30 percent increase in graduation rates for Black students and a 22 percent increase for Latino students. As school districts were released from court-ordered desegregation, research shows that in the 1960s and 1970s, school integration increased rapidly, but that trend has reversed in the past two decades when both racial and economic segregation increased. For example, segregation between white and Black students is up 64 percent since 1988, while segregation by economic status has grown by 50 percent since 1991. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s State of School Diversity Report, racially and socioeconomically isolated schools often lack critical resources and learning experiences and opportunities that prepare students for college and career success. The Department of Education report found that three in five Black and Latino students and two in five American Indian/Alaska Native students attend schools where at least 75% of students are students of color and 42% of white students attend schools where students of color make up less than 25% of the population. 

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring the educational success of every child, and to address racial segregation in our schools that leads to worse educational outcomes for children, including through investments in local efforts to increase diversity and equal opportunity. The Administration is focused on academic acceleration and has made record levels of investment in K-12 schools and institutions of higher education to help improve opportunity for all. This includes supporting districts as they work to strengthen and diversify the education profession, enrich educational experiences, and improve school climate and conditions for robust learning.

New Actions to Advance Racial and Educational Equity

To advance racial and educational equity and continue the work of Brown to support educational opportunity for all students, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the following new actions today:

  • New Magnet School Grants. The Department of Education’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) will invest $20 million in new awards for school districts in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Texas to establish magnet programs designed to further desegregate public schools by attracting students from different social, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. The President’s 2025 budget request includes $139 million for MSAP and $10 million to continue investments in the Fostering Diverse Schools program.
  • Establishing a new technical assistance center to help states and school districts provide more equitable and adequate approaches to school funding. The U.S. Department of Education announced a new Technical Assistance Center on Fiscal Equity as part of the Comprehensive Centers Program. The Center on Fiscal Equity will provide capacity-building services to support states and school districts build equitable and adequate resource allocation strategies, improve the quality and transparency of fiscal data, and prioritize supports for students and communities with the greatest need.
  • New Data on Equal Access to Math and Science Courses. The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is releasing a new Civil Rights Data Collection report highlighting students’ access to and enrollment in mathematics, science, and computer science courses and academic programs, drawing from information in the 2020-21 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). The report reflects stark continuing racial inequities in access to math, science, and computer science courses for students in high schools with high concentrations of Black and Latino students. 
  • Preserving African American History. To further advance the President’s Executive Order on Promoting the Arts, the Humanities, and Museum and Library Services, the Administration is launching an interagency process to develop new actions by the Federal Government to preserve African American history – including preserving historic sites, protecting and increasing access to literature, and ensuring the public, including students, has continuing access to resources. This effort will bolster African American history and culture as integral, indelible parts of American history.

Investing in Underserved Schools

  • Under the American Rescue Plan, the nation’s schools received $130 billion in funding – the most in our Nation’s history – with a focus on undeserved schools. The American Rescue Plan also included new requirements that have driven nearly $800 million in State additional education funding, above and beyond the federal investment, to the most underserved school by protecting schools with high rates of poverty from reductions in State and local education funding.
  • To date, the Biden-Harris Administration has secured nearly $2 billion in additional Title I funding to support our schools with the highest need, for a record $18.4 billion in annual funding.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration has also increased funding for Full-Service Community Schools five-fold, from $30 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 to $150 million in FY 2024 so that underserved schools, including those that serve a majority of students of color, have the additional resources they need to help deliver more services to students and their families, such as health care, housing, and child care, to close resource and opportunity gaps.

Increasing Teacher Diversity

Research indicates that educator diversity can improve student achievement and help close achievement gaps. For example, one study found that Black students randomly assigned to at least one Black teacher in grades K-3 were nearly 19% more likely to enroll in college than their same-school, same-race peers.

  • The Administration is prioritizing efforts to increase educator diversity across 15 competitive grant programs that support teacher preparation, development, recruitment, and retention. These programs awarded nearly $450 million to 263 grantees, 92 percent of which were to grantees that addressed specific priorities related to educator diversity.
  • The Administration secured and awarded a total of more than $23 million in first-time ever funding for the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Grant program which provides grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) for teacher preparation programs to increase the number of well-prepared teachers, including teachers of color and multilingual educators.

Strengthening School Diversity

  • During this Administration, the Department of Education is investing more than $300 million in programs that increase school diversity This includes increased investment in the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP), which aims to reduce racial isolation, including by creating highly effective schools, and the creation of the Fostering Diverse Schools Demonstration Program (FDS), a new initiative to increase school socioeconomic diversity, which awarded more than $14 million in new grants.
  • In August 2023 after the Supreme Court effectively ended affirmative action in college admissions, the Department of Education released a Dear Colleague Letter on Race and School Programming to guide schools on lawful programs to promote racially inclusive school communities and, along with the Department of Justice, a Dear Colleague Letter and a Questions and Answers Resource to help colleges and universities understand the Supreme Court’s decision as they continue to pursue campuses that are racially diverse and that include students with a range of viewpoints, talents, backgrounds, and experiences. The Department of Education published a resource summarizing specific guidance describing Federal legal obligations to ensure that all students have equal access to education regardless of race, color, or national origin.
  • The Department of Education issued a new rule requiring, among other things, many Charter School Program applicants to assure that proposed charter schools would not negatively affect any desegregation efforts in the communities in which charters are to be located.

Closing the School Readiness Gap

Because of the legacy of discrimination, Black children start school on average nearly seven months behind their white peers in reading. One study finds that one year of universal high-quality pre-K could eliminate most of that gap. Others indicate that students who go to preschool are nearly 50% more likely to finish high school and go on to a college degree. Each of the President’s budgets have included proposals that would provide preschool to every four-year-old in the country. In addition:

  • President Biden has secured an additional $1.5 billion for Head Start and nearly a 50% increase in funding for the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, which helps low-income families afford child care. Approximately 30% of children and families receiving high-quality Head Start services are Black and close to 40% of families benefiting from CCBDG are Black. 
  • The American Rescue Plan provided $24 billion to stabilize child care. Over 44% of programs that received assistance were owned or operated by people of color and 53% of providers receiving stabilization funds were operating in the most racially diverse counties.

The Department of Education released guidance on how districts can leverage the increases the President has secured for Title I to expand access to high-quality preschool services, including through partnerships with Head Start programs. This is the first Department of Education preschool guidance in more than a decade.