Chesco United To Discuss Election — Chesco United has scheduled a town hall, 7 p.m., Dec. 1, at 21 Hagerty Blvd., West Chester, Pa. 19382 to discuss the 2022 Midterm Election and Chester County’s certification.
Iranians Show Solidarity In Philly, NYC And D.C. With The Oppressed In Their Homeland
By Olivia Braccio
The people of Iran have finally had enough.
It’s been 43 years since the horrific Islamic Regime took over Iran, and the desperately needed revolution that will hopefully topple the dictatorship is happening. Most of us, by now, are aware of the massive protests currently taking place in nearly all major cities not only here in the U.S., but around the world. We know that this uprising was set in motion by the senseless killing of Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16, when she was captured by the Iranian police force and subsequently beaten to death for “improper hijab,” meaning that her hair was partially visible beneath her headscarf. It is incomprehensible—a person was punished with murder for showing some hair.
I’ve been photographing these rallies in the three cities nearest to me—Philadelphia, New York, and Washington D.C.— and sharing the photos to social media as well as my own website in the hopes of raising awareness about and funds for the cause. Some have asked me why people on American soil are rallying on behalf of another country and how the situation in Iran concerns us at all. It’s a good question, one that deserves a thorough answer.
As per Middle Eastern news network Al Jazeera, “The Biden administration has announced a new round of sanctions against Iran, vowing to impose financial penalties on a ‘regular basis’ in an effort to ‘severely restrict’ Iranian oil and petrochemical exports. Since President Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018, various sectors of the Iranian economy have been under heavy US sanctions. In response, Iran has been advancing its nuclear program, including uranium enrichment, well beyond the limits set by the agreement. Biden is seeking a return to the pact, which saw Iran scale back its nuclear program. On Sept. 29, 2022, the Biden administration said it will continue to rigorously enforce sanctions until Iran returns to the deal.
“This is all happening while Iran is witnessing nationwide protests sparked by the murder of Mahsa Amini. Washington has expressed vague support for the demonstrators but said it is still willing to restore the nuclear deal based on mutual compliance. The deal would put money in the pockets of the Islamic Republic only; not the pockets of the people of Iran. It would strengthen the government’s power and ability to further oppress those protesting the regime. Vague support and a continuation of nuclear talks with Iran is unacceptable while the country continues to protest and riot against countless murders, human rights violations, and the continued suppression of women in Iran.”
The Iranian-American community is imploring this administration to stop funding the terroristic regime for the sake of oil. We need to work towards energy independence in this country in order to keep money out of the hands of murderers. Pennsylvania’s Governor-elect Josh Shapiro’s adamant resistance to fracking is contributing to the problem, seeing as this state has the potential to be one of our nation’s top oil-producers. His refusal to tap into this supply keeps us dependent on imports and continues the cash flow to the Middle East. We, as the constituents, must hold him accountable and impress upon him the significance of this matter in the hopes that he’ll change his mind.
When it comes to fracking, we have to think not only of ourselves. Of course, it’s infuriating that Pennsylvanians are forced to pay more for gas than citizens of all the surrounding states, not to mention the skyrocketing costs of heating our homes for the winter. But these struggles seem insignificant compared to what Iranians are facing in their country. Women, gays, and the disabled community in Iran are treated as subhuman and have been for decades now. The long list of things women aren’t allowed to do includes but is not limited to entering stadiums, traveling abroad unaccompanied by their husbands, riding bicycles, and showing their hair—women in the country have routinely been subjected to dress code-related violence after wearing a hijab was deemed mandatory rather than optional in 1979 under Sharia law.
Protests and riots having been going on throughout Iran for more than two months now. The death toll rises daily as protestors are captured by police and then tortured, or simply shot during demonstrations. Nearly five hundred people have been killed in just the two months since Mahsa’s murder. More than sixty of them were children—those as young as seven have been shot while walking home from school, after they were overheard singing anti-regime chants.
In the beginning of November, 227 members of the 290-seat parliament in Iran have called on the Judiciary to issue death sentences for people arrested during the ongoing protests. The number of people arrested so far is estimated at roughly 15,000. The Islamic republic historically uses the death penalty as a tool of repression and intimidation. Nine people have been sentenced so far; their charges are “assembly and collusion against national security,” “corruption on earth,” and “confrontation with the Islamic republic.” Oct. 31 is when they stood trial and had a short hearing—with no legal counsel. They will be executed soon. The other 15,000 or so people are at high risk of the same fate given that this authoritarian regime has proven over the past 43 years that they are capable of massacring their own people on a whim. They are currently being held in jail as political prisoners where they are subjected to rape and other forms of torture.
It’s easy to mistakenly assume that Iranian citizens, being native to a country that was never a political ally of the U.S., are our enemies. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sad fact is, the main victims of any terroristic government are usually its own constituents. These individuals are no less deserving of the same rights and privileges afforded to those born in other nations. Those who have already immigrated to the U.S. from Iran are physically safe here, but the emotional toll it is taking on them to know mass death and destruction is occurring in their homeland is unimaginable. We can’t choose where we’re born. All humans are created equal and yet grow up in drastically dissimilar ways depending on arbitrary circumstances such as whose land we live on and how it is governed. When you get down to it, the only difference between myself and Mahsa Amini is that I had the good fortune of being born in the free world and she didn’t. The tremendous unfairness of this is not lost on me.
I’m in awe at the amount of people showing up to protest on behalf of Iran in Washington D.C. and other cities. The protest at the National Mall on Oct. 22 garnered an estimated 31,000 people. It was truly a phenomenal thing to witness and photograph as people waved the Iranian flag and chanted in both Farsi and English; some wept openly as they marched through the streets of our capitol city to stand on the White House lawn and let their voices be heard. They are warm and welcoming to their non-Iranian allies such as myself, seeing as support from other ethnicities is vital to the movement, and they thanked me for being there to document since the situation isn’t receiving much coverage from mainstream media.
Admittedly, I never thought a lot about Iranian people prior to the past several weeks. I didn’t even know there were this many of them living in the United States. Realizing this, I felt pretty ignorant. Forgive me. It is interesting to note how life shifts once you become aware of certain things. It’s a harrowing thought, but this is the reality of the world we live in: at any given time, while you’re eating breakfast, walking your dog, laughing with friends, or overspending at the store, someone is being brutally murdered by their own nation’s tyrannical government. Going about the business of daily life distracts you from this fact. Your own problems, which pale by comparison, almost shield your mind from having to acknowledge these types of things. But once you know, you can’t keep ignoring it. Those who have died and their suffering families will be in your thoughts even as you’re doing something unrelated to the matter. Attending to menial tasks will feel different as the gravity of other peoples’ crises weighs upon your soul.
I’ve read that energy, such as that which is found within a human being, cannot truly be lost. It can only be transformed. I hope this is the case, and that somehow, some way, in some other dimension, Mahsa and all the others who have been murdered at the hands of this horrific regime are witnessing the revolution their unjust and untimely deaths have spawned.
Proceeds will be donated to the Iranian-American community here in the Philly area in order to help them continue organizing events.
Iranians Show Solidarity In Philly, NYC And D.C. With The Oppressed In Their Homeland Iranians Show Solidarity In Philly, NYC And D.C. With The Oppressed In Their Homeland Iranians Show Solidarity In Philly, NYC And D.C. With The Oppressed In Their Homeland
Tech Workers Brace for Possible Omnibus Job-Killer
By Joe Guzzardi
Like the proverbial bad penny that keeps reappearing, lousy immigration bills are hard to kill off. Consider the EAGLE Act of 2022, also known as Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment, or formally recognized as H.R. 3648. The newest proposed legislation is another iteration of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act. Although it passed the House by a 365-65 vote, eventually it stalled in Congress.
Introduced by immigration lawyer, amnesty advocate, enforcement foe and expansionist champion Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the new and the old versions of her proposed legislation both share the same ruinous-to-U.S. tech workers’ feature: the legislation would rob thousands of U.S. tech workers of access to well-paid, white-collar, high-skilled jobs in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, STEM jobs for which they are fully qualified.
Along with her like-minded congressional allies that include Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who was just elected as House Majority Whip for the 118th Congress and thus became the third highest ranking Republican in the House, Lofgren has scheduled a vote on the EAGLE Act, which has bipartisan support, when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving recess.
Briefly explained, the EAGLE Act would dramatically revise portions of the Immigration Act of 1990. Almost any alien who has been on the visa waiting list for at least two years with an approved petition for an employment-based green card could apply for adjustment of his status which then wouldn’t count against existing numerical caps. Stated another way, employers can sponsor a temporary foreign-born worker for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa and convert that worker to permanent by merely sponsoring him for a green card. Aliens go from temporarily present to permanent residents. With the stroke of a pen, job searches become more challenging for U.S. tech workers – Congress’ twisted idea of sound legislation.
The bill also eliminates the per-country caps for employment-based visas, which means that within about a decade Indian and Chinese nationals will receive virtually all such visas, especially the H-1B; other countries’ nationals would have an uphill climb to obtain a visa. Under current law, no countries’ nationals can comprise more than 7 percent of any visa category. This provision ensures that skilled workers from around the globe have an opportunity to come to America. The EAGLE Act, however, seeks to entirely remove all caps from employment-based visas and more than double the existing family-preference visa from 7 percent to 15 percent, a hike that would, because of family reunification, ensure significant population surges. The proposed visa cap elimination is ironic because Lofgren and the EAGLE Act’s cosponsors claim to embrace diversity, but the bill heavily favors Chinese and Indian citizens to the exclusion of most others.
Moreover, dependent children of the aliens granted the new status would be allowed to retain their legal standing, a form of amnesty, as dependents of their parents for the duration of the green card application process; they would be protected from aging out while their parents move up in the backlog. An estimated 190,000 minors would be protected.
Time was when Democrats purported to care about America’s minority workers. But their empathy toward U.S. workers is long gone, and is now redirected to foreign nationals, particularly Chinese and Indians. Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities aspire to IT jobs, too. But they’ve had little luck in obtaining those coveted STEM jobs. Pew Research found that black workers make up 9 percent of the STEM workforce, while Hispanics also comprise about 9 percent. The low STEM representation among blacks and Hispanics is largely unchanged from 2016.
For rational thinkers, few and far between in Congress, a push for liberalized immigration laws and amnesty in light of the border surge and its 2 million-plus encounters in 2022 is beyond the pale. But those sound-of-mind types don’t understand the congressional mindset; nothing stops its amnesty drive. And if the EAGLE Act doesn’t get Senate approval, Lofgren always has the option to attach it to a must-pass Omnibus bill. With the 118th House about to transfer into GOP hands, EAGLE Act supporters view December as their last chance to subvert U.S. tech workers.
Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. Joe joined Progressives for Immigration Reform in 2018 as an analyst after a ten-year career directing media relations for Californians for Population Stabilization, where he also was a Senior Writing Fellow. A native Californian, Joe now lives in Pennsylvania. Contact him at email@example.com.
Tech Workers Brace for Possible Omnibus Job-Killer