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Colom to Meet with Obama to Discuss TPS

November 10th, 2010

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom is scheduled to meet with president Obama and discuss his country’s request for TPS. The meeting is scheduled for the first part of December during a summit in the Dominican Republic, according to a report posted a few minutes ago by Prensa Libre.  Regular readers of this blog may recall that we mentioned the possibility of this meeting a while back, but we have been unable to obtain much in the way of confirmation until now.

This is exciting news, and it lends credence to the suggestion that the Guatemalan leadership had been intentionally quiet on this topic during the US election season. Now that the elections are behind us, it is likely that the Colom administration sees a narrow window during which the TPS request may be granted.  Stay tuned for more news.

¿Progreso?

November 8th, 2010

El 8 de noviembre de 2010.

Se hizo a través de la elección y está recibiendo en la fase de ahora o nunca de la solicitud TPS.  Los dos meses previos a la elección fueron notablemente silenciosos, con casi ninguna noticia TPS y silencio absoluto de los canales oficiales.  Pero ahora que la elección está detrás de nosotros, finalmente las cosas pueden ser en movimiento.

El primer signo de ello fue una breve declaración del Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Guatemala Haroldo Rodas, citado en Prensa Libre.  La declaración indica que el proceso TPS está ahora en manos estadounidenses. Guatemala ha cumplido con todos los requisitos de aplicación, ha reunido apoyo amplio a su petición y ahora sólo puede esperar a que una decisión de la administración del Presidente Obama.

La declaración en sí misma tiene pocas noticias, pero el hecho de que el Sr. Rodas finalmente ha dicho algo es mucho más emocionante.  Como ya señalamos, los canales oficiales fueron silenciosos condujeron a la elección.  Parece que nuestra sospecha de que puede haber tenido la discusión del TPS pendiente la votación tenía razón.  Ahora tenemos el primer comentario oficial en meses procedentes del Gobierno de Guatemala apenas dos días después de las elecciones estadounidenses.

¿Es esto un signo de progreso? No podemos decir con certeza, pero sin duda lo esperamos.

Progress?

November 8th, 2010

We made it through the election and are getting into the now-or-never phase of the TPS request.  The two months leading up to the election were remarkably silent, with nearly no TPS news and absolute silence from the official channels.  But now that the election is behind us, things may finally be on the move.

The first sign of this was a short statement from Guatemalan Foreign Minister Haroldo Rodas, who was quoted in Prensa Libre as stating that the TPS process is in American hands now. Guatemala has complied with all the application requirements, has gathered broad support for its request, and can now only wait for a decision from President Obama’s administration.

The statement itself holds little news, but the fact that Mr. Rodas has finally said something is far more exciting.  As we noted, the official channels were silent leading up to the election, and it appears that our suspicion that discussion of TPS pending the vote may have had some weight.  We now have the first official comment in months coming from the Guatemalan government just two days after the US elections.

Is this a sign of progress? We can’t say for sure, but we certainly hope so.

Votar

November 1st, 2010

Este blog ha sido muy tranquila para estos últimas semanas, sobre todo porque (por desgracia) no ha habido noticias del TPS. Ha quedado bastante claro que nada ocurriría en este frente antes de las elecciones, y eso es lo que pasaba. Pero la elección esta mañana y con ello vienen nuevas esperanzas y expectativas. Probablemente tendremos que esperar para las noticias y los cálculos de las elecciones hacia abajo en Washington, pero hay una cosa que podemos hacer mientras tanto para hacer una diferencia. Votar.

Nos gustaría pedir a todos, que vaya a votar si pueden. No es nuestro lugar a respalda a ciertos candidatos o partidos, pero queremos animar a todos. Vaya mañana y deje que su voz a ser oído. Si usted es un ciudadano de los Estados Unidos que se preocupa por cualquiera de las cuestiones discutidas aquí (o realmente sobre cualquier cosa que ocurre en el país), por favor asegúrese a ejercer su derecho al votar.

Vote!

November 1st, 2010

This blog has been very quiet for the last few weeks, mostly because there (sadly) hasn’t been much TPS news.  It has been pretty clear that nothing would happen on this front before the election, and that prediction turned out to be true. But the election is tomorrow, and with it come new hopes and expectations.  We will probably have to wait another few days before the election-related news and calculations die down in Washington, but there is one thing we can do in the meantime to make a difference.  Vote.

We would like to ask everyone who reads us to vote if they can.  It isn’t our place to endorse certain candidates or parties, but we do want to encourage everyone to go tomorrow and let your voice be heard. If you’re a U.S. Citizen who cares about any of the issues discussed here (or really about anything happening in the country at all), please be sure to exercise your right to vote tomorrow.

President Colom Did Not Press TPS In Call With Obama

October 9th, 2010

Many of you have noticed that our site has stayed quiet for the last week on the biggest story in US-Guatemalan relations; the discovery that US researchers, with help from Guatemalan health officials, intentionally infected Guatemalan prisoners with Syphilis.  Our decision to not report on this issue was a difficult one, but it was intentional, as we felt that the story had little to do with either TPS or immigration in general.  Still, we held some hope that either the Obama or Colom administration would use this opportunity to press home the other main issue in US-Guatemalan relations: TPS.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case. Prensa Libre recently reported that President Colom has clearly stated that TPS did not come up during his recent conversation with President Obama.  The conversation occurred when Mr. Obama called Mr. Colom to formally apologize for the abhorrent research. Very little detail was given on the content of the call, and there was some speculation that President Colom may have asked that some progress be made on the TPS issue. However, the Guatemalan president’s statement on the issue makes it clear that this was not the case.

We keenly understand the sensitive nature of international relations, and would not presume to judge what one president should say to another, especially at such a delicate time. We do, however, hope that both sides considered the elephant in the room, even if nobody mentioned it explicitly.

City of Chicago Committee on Human Relations Supports Guatemalan TPS

October 9th, 2010

On October 1, the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Human Relations voted in support of the Guatemalan TPS Request. Specifcially, the Committee voted in support of a resolution presented by Alderman Roberto Maldonado, of the City’s 26th Ward.  The resolution calls upon President Obama to grant the TPS request on humanitarian grounds, and this vote is yet another example of the growing political support on all levels of the US political world.  After passing through the Committee, the resolution was passed to the whole Council, which voted on the matter on October 6.  The results of that voted have not been posted on the City Council’s site yet, but we will update this post as soon as we hear something. If any of our readers were present at the Oct 6 Chicago City Council meeting and can tell us how the vote went, please drop us a line at Guatemala@Kolasinski-Law.com

While some people may question the significance of a City Council resolution, we’re not dealing with just any city here.  In addition to being one of America’s largest cities, Chicago is the adopted home of President Obama and is the place where he started his political career.  Chicago plays such an important role in the current administration that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel just resigned his position so that he can run for Mayor of Chicago. So, there’s a very good chance that this vote will have some impact on President Obama’s decision.  Of course, it is still quite unlikely that we will have a final verdict before the upcoming election.

Progreso en TPS: McFarland envía un informe a Washington

September 15th, 2010

El Embajador de Estados Unidos a Guatemala Stephen McFarland presentó un informe a Washington sobre los efectos de la tormenta tropical Agatha y la erupción volcánica de esta primavera.  Mientras que el informe no está disponible en estos momentos, el hecho de que se presentó el informe es una clara indicación de que se están realizando progresos en la solicitud TPS, y que la administración de Obama no ha olvidado completamente acerca de Guatemala.

El informe sigue una visita por el Embajador McFarland a San Lucas Tolimán, que se vio seriamente afectado por Agatha. Cerca de 120 familias están todavía sin refugio permanente allí, con reconstrucción esfuerzos liderados por USAID y la diócesis católica local. La historia oficial sobre la visita del Embajador McFarland a San Lucas está disponible aquí (en inglés) y aquí (en español).

La presentación de este informe es una buena señal para todos a la espera de TPS y ojalá que conducirá a más progresos en la solicitud.  Es todavía poco probable que se llegue a una decisión definitiva antes de noviembre, pero noviembre sigue acercándose, por lo qual noticias como ésta, sin duda, son un signo positivo.

Progress on TPS: McFarland Sends Report to Washington

September 15th, 2010

U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland submitted a report to Washington on the effects of Tropical Storm Agatha and the volcanic eruption this spring.  While the report itself is not available at the moment, the fact that the report was submitted is a clear indication that progress is being made on the TPS request, and that the Obama administration has not completely forgotten about Guatemala.

The report follows a visit by Ambassador McFarland to San Lucas Tolimán, which was seriously impacted by Agatha. About 120 families are still without permanent shelter there, with rebuilding efforts being led by USAID and the local Catholic diocese. The official story on Ambassador McFarland’s visit to San Lucas is available here (in English) and here (in Spanish).

The submission of the report is a good sign for everyone awaiting TPS, and will hopefully lead to more progress on the request.  It is still unlikely that a final decision will be reached before November, but November keeps getting closer, so news like this is certainly a positive sign.

U.S. Honors Guatemalan Independence Day, Still No Word on TPS

September 13th, 2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has issued a statement congratulating Guatemala on the 189th anniversary of its independence.  The statement recognizes “the great contributions” made by the Guatemalan community in the United States, and reiterated the “close partnership” between the people of the two nations. In addition, Secretary Clinton took the opportunity to highlight the Pathways to Prosperity Initiative and the Central American Regional Security Initiatives, two U.S. programs that provide assistance to Guatemala.

However, the statement is silent on the one U.S.-Guatemalan issue of greatest interest to readers of this blog (and to that greatly-contributing Guatemalan community in general). The issue is, of course, the matter of TPS. While Secretary Clinton did wish “a happy independence day and a prosperous year,” and noted that she “look[s] forward to continuing the partnership between our countries,” she made no mention of the recent natural disasters, or of the outstanding request for Temporary Protected Status.

There has, unfortunately, been nothing but silence on the issue for months now, and it appears highly unlikely that we will get any real news before November.  With election season in full swing and a raft of other issues on the President’s plate, it is hard to imagine any immediate movement on this issue. The primary hope for the many members of the Guatmalan diaspora anxiously awaiting word on this most pressing of matters is that something positive will come out of the scheduled November meeting between presidents Obama and Colom.