Friday, April 30, 2010

Remembering the Fall of Saigon

USCIS 100:78. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.*

The Vietnamese and American flags flying together
on the spot of the future Vietnamese Heritage Garden, San Jose

After the fall: Vietnamese remember 'Black April' 35 years later by Bruce Newman, SJ Mercury. The fall of Saigon will be commemorated during the following local events:
  • "21 and a Wakeup, A Story of Vietnam," film, screenings begin April 30 at Camera 3, 288 S. Second St., San Jose, for information call 408-998-3300 408-998-3300 .
  • Vietnamese American Heritage Project, oral histories featuring Councilwoman Madison Nguyen and others, 6 p.m. April 29, Camera 12, 201 S. Second St., free.
  • Panel Discussion on Black April, 5 p.m. April 30, San Jose City Hall, followed by outdoor performances by Vietnamese-American youth on the West Plaza, 200 E. Santa Clara St.
  • "35 Years After the Fall of Saigon: A panel discussion," 6 to 8 p.m. May 1 at A3 Couchroom, Old Union Clubhouse, 520 Lasuen Mall, Stanford University.

VOANews: VOA Staff Recounts Drama When Saigon Fell 35 Years Ago

It was 35 years ago that the American presence in Vietnam came to an end with a helicopter airlift from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon. Wayne Corey, Steve Thompson and Pham Tran, affectionately known by his initials P.T., were VOA correspondents in Saigon in those days. Wayne, since retired and P.T., who's still working with us, spoke with VOA's Neil Currie.

  • Watch: Full interview with Wayne Corey and Pham Tran MP4

The Smithsonian Vietnamese American Heritage Project

Started in 2004, the Vietnamese American Heritage Project's vision is to commemorate the 30 plus years of mass Vietnamese migration to the United States, telling the story of challenge, sacrifice, and change—an ongoing journey that is changing the face of America.

78. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.*

  • World War I
  • World War II
  • Korean War
  • Vietnam War
  • (Persian) Gulf War

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tough State Immigration Law Could Face Federal Lawsuit

VOAvideo : Tough State Immigration Law Could Face Federal Lawsuit
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the federal government is considering a court challenge to the new law in the southwestern state of Arizona that is aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. There have been protests around the nation for and against the law. VOA's Carolyn Presutti has our story.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

USCitizenPod @ CATESOL

I will be presenting The US Citizenship Interview Featuring the New "100 Questions" at CATESOL 2:30-3:15 p.m. Great America Meeting Room 1

A review of the latest resources and strategies for teaching language skills and content knowledge needed to successfully pass the US Citizenship interview. Presentation will also include a quick discussion about the use of CASAS tests and EL Civic Objectives in support of the US Citizenship Interview process. Come by & say hello!

Some of the slides were "re-arranged" when I uploaded my .ppt to Google Docs (DUH!) Here is the corrected ppt. Any questions or comments: email me at Thanks!

Friday, April 23, 2010

USCIS Naturalization Information Sessions

USCIS Naturalization Information Sessions

At these events, attendees hear directly from USCIS Officers and have the opportunity to ask questions related to eligibility requirements, processing times, and other important topics. By attending a session, participants will gain a better understanding of what to expect during the naturalization interview.

Below is a list of upcoming naturalization information sessions for legal permanent residents and interested naturalization applicants. Topics covered at these FREE sessions will include:

  • naturalization eligibility requirements
  • the naturalization process
  • the naturalization test
  • rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship

4/22/2010 7 PM-9 PM, Portland, OR
Concordia University2811 NE Holman St.Luther Hall, Room 121

4/23/2010 10 PM-11:30 AM San Francisco, CA
San Francisco City CollegeChinatown Northbeach Campus

4/23/2010 :30 PM-7 PM, Tempe, AZ
Fiesta Resort Conference Center2100 S. Priest Dr.

4/24/2010, 10:30 AM-1 PM, Orlando, FL
Good Shepard Catholic Church5900 Oleander Dr.

4/24/2010, 1 PM-4:00 PM, Fremont, CA
Fukaya Room Fremont Main Library2400 Stevenson Blvd.

4/26/2010, 9:30 AM-12 NOON, Cupertino, CA
Cupertino Senior Center21251 Stevens Creek Blvd.

4/28/2010, 5:30 PM-7 PM, Garden City, NY
Nassau County Bar Association Between 15th and West St.
Please RSVP to 516-747-4070

4/29/2010, 10 AM-12:30 PM, Salinas, CA
Salinas Adult School, 20 Sherwood Dr.

4/29/2010, 6 PM-8 PM, Winooski, VT
O'Brien Community Center32 Malletts Bay Ave.

4/30/2010, 5 PM-8 PM, Mobile, AL
Providence Hospital DePaul Center6801 Airport Blvd.

4/30/2010, 5:30 PM-7 PM, San Francisco, CA
Valencia Community Center, 843 Valencia St.

May schedule....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

VOANews Special Report: EARTH DAY

VOANews Special Report: EARTH DAY

On Earth Day, April 22, 1970 the modern environmental movement was born. 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, an occasion for people to celebrate and raise awareness of the natural world. (read and listen to many stories)

VOAvideo — April 18, 2010 — Weeklong activities to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in the United States have kicked off with an eco-village on the National Mall in Washington D.C. and green volunteer service around national monuments. VOA's Nico Colombant reports from Washington.

VOA Learning English News: Events Set Around the World as Earth Day Turns 40

Sting is expected to perform in Washington on Thursday at a rally to call for action on climate change EXPLORATIONS

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In five years, more than half of births may be non-white

VOAVideo: In five years, more than half of births may be non-white

VOAvideo — April 21, 2010 — Demographers say the ethnic makeup of the United States is evolving. They expect to see more Hispanics in the 2010 census. And they say the idea of a majority group in the U.S. will disappear within the next few decades. In fact, the Census Bureau has said that by 2050 minorities will be the majority. Many parents and schools in the U.S. are preparing their children for a new reality when they grow up. VOA's Elizabeth Lee has details on what that means. (Read more...)

VOANews: Latino Leaders, Census Officials Work to Count Hispanics

But some Hispanics are reluctant to fill out the census form

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nationwide Census Expected to Report Big Changes in American Heartland

VOAVideo: Nationwide Census Expected to Report Big Changes in American Heartland

VOAvideo — April 19, 2010 — America's founding fathers decided that a count of all the country's inhabitants should take place every 10 years. The 2010 census is now underway, and people all over the country are being asked to provide information about themselves. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports from Charlotte, North Carolina, that this year's census will show dramatic changes in America.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Exhibit Recalls Different Struggles for Justice

Rosa Parks (1983) by M. Rumbaugh is on display at the Nat'l Portrait Gallery.

VOANews: Exhibit Recalls Different Struggles for Justice

In Washington, there is a new exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institution. "The Struggle for Justice" explores American human rights movements through the activists and leaders who took part.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Santa Clara County Citizenship and Immigrant Pride Day

Santa Clara County residents are invited to the free Citizenship and Immigrant Pride Day on Saturday, April 17, to receive an initial free screening, assistance with filing fees, an appointment to submit their application, and information on the Census and immigration reform.

There will be free orientation in 14 languages and guidance for the Saving for Citizenship Program, which considerable reduces the cost of naturalization by two thirds.

In San Jose, orientations will be at CET, 701 Vine Street. For information call (408) 534-5215 (408) 534-5215 .

Orientations will also be in Gilroy at Rebekah Children’s Services at 290 I.O.O.F. Ave. Call (408) 914-8337 (408) 914-8337 for more information.

Friday, April 16, 2010

US Immigration Reform Legislation on Hold

VOAVideo: US Immigration Reform Legislation on Hold

VOAvideo — April 12, 2010 — As the US Congress moves beyond the issue of health care, some lawmakers are pushing for an overhaul of the nation's immigration system. At the heart of the debate is a proposal to give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants living in the United States. The issue engenders strong feelings from both sides and recently tens of thousands of supporters of reform marched in Washington. VOA's Chris Simkins has more on the story.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15--Income Tax Day!

USCIS 100:56. When is the last day
you can send in federal income tax forms?*

Happy Income Tax Day!

Today we will talk about the IRS, federal income tax forms (1040, 1040a, 1040ez), tax questions asked during the citizenship interview, and USCIS 100:56.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

SF External Stakeholder Meeting with USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas

Welcome USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas!

Hello from the SF External Stakeholder Meeting with USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. My fellow teacher from Milpitas Adult School, Judy Connell, and I attended a stakehholder meeting drawn from the immigration law and citizenship education communities. Director Mayorkas had just come from a general meeting of USCIS employees, during which they discussed their concerns with immigration and naturalization policies, procedures, and budget issues. After such a lively meeting, many high-level would pass on meeting with the outside community, however Director Mayorkas seemed to be energized by his meeting with the USCIS employees, and seemed to be genuinely delighted to hear from the "external stakeholders" who work with the immigrant communities.

Director Mayorkas opened with a brief childhood story about visiting his Cuban granddparents in New York. He ate a sandwich they offered, and the tossed away the paper. He then watched his grandmother retrieve the wax paper, carefully smoothed it out, to be used again. He made the connection between government waste and how it effects the immigrant community--the USCIS "cases" are real lives of real people.

The immigration lawyers in the audience, heartened by Director Mayorkas' epression of sympathy, talked about cases in which the USCIS could have responded in a more just and compassionate way. The lawyers were especially concerned about marriage and work problems. Director Mayorkas and his associates took notes, commented on the concerns raised by the lawyers, and provided direct email/phone numbers to the specific government officials who could help resolve the case or policy questions.

One community organizer said that the immigration fees are too high and pleaded with the Director not to raise the fees. Director Mayorkas said that when he took charge of the USCIS, he was advised to raise fees to maintain their level of service. Director Mayorkas acknowledged that raising fees would be very, very, very difficult for the immigrant community. He has told the USCIS departments to cut costs and is looking for new ways to provide better customer service. He wants the USCIS to save money by cutting their costs before he asks taxpayers--especially immigrant taxpayers--to spend more of their own money.

A teacher asked about schools issuing a "Certificate of Citizenship Education." In the past, students who attended Citizenship classes could bring a letter or certificate to their Citizenship Interview stating that they had studied the US History and Government questions, and the USCIS examiner could skip these questions. Director Mayorkas said that he would review this idea.

I praised the USCIS for all of the new study materials (Have you seen the new USCIS interview video, yet?). However, the explanations of the 100 questions in the M-638 (The Quick Civics Lessons) was too difficult for advanced ESL students, and that they should be rewritten for ESL Students. I also said that it was difficult for ESL students to find study materials on the USCIS website and perhaps the USCIS Offfice of Citizenship should have a separate website in simple English for all the new study materials like the old website.

All in all, it was a great meeting. Thanks to Director Mayorkas for addressing our concerns. Thanks to all of the participants at the meeting, especially my fellow teacher from Milpitas Adult School, Judy Connell. Last but not least, special thanks to the USCIS Community Relations Offices, Lucee Rosemarie Fan, for once again making this event happen!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Warehoused" Refugee Builds New Life in the US: Part 2

VOAVideo: "Warehoused" Refugee Builds New Life in the US — April 08, 2010

The United States resettles the largest number of refugees worldwide, allowing roughly 70,000 to enter the U.S. each year. Currently, large numbers of Bhutanese refugees, who lived for decades in camps in Nepal, are being resettled in the United States. VOA's Laurel Bowman visited with one of them and filed this report, the second in a two-part series on warehoused refugees, those confined to camps for decades and denied basic rights.

VOAVideo: 'Warehoused' Refugee Builds New Life in US

Expelled from his home in Bhutan, Dhuni Raj spent 17 years in a refugee camp in Nepal

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Aid Groups Advocate Solution to Warehousing of Refugees: Part 1

VOAVideo: Aid Groups Advocate Solution to Warehousing of Refugees: Part 1

VOAvideo — April 07, 2010 — More than 10 million people worldwide have crossed borders, becoming refugees. Of these, aid groups say a large percentage are denied legal rights and are confined to camps for decades. It's called the "warehousing" of refugees, and they say it should stop. But solutions to protracted displacement aren't simple. VOA's Laurel Bowman looks at the conflict in Western Sahara and the refugees it has created, in this first of a two-part series on "warehoused" refugees.

VOANews: Aid Groups Advocate Solution to Decades-Old Warehousing of Refugees

Activists say refugees from Western Sahara have been 'warehoused' for more than 30 years

Friday, April 9, 2010

Remembering Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller

VOANews: Remembering Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller

This past Tuesday, the Cherokee Nation and the United States lost a powerful leader. Wilma Mankiller, former chief of the Cherokee Nation, died of cancer at her home in Adair, Oklahoma. She was sixty-four. Faith Lapidus tells about her life. download MP3

Thursday, April 8, 2010

*NEW* USCIS Mock Interview Video

The USCIS Naturalization Interview and Test

The USCIS Naturalization Interview and Test was developed as an informational resource for individuals interested in learning more about the naturalization process. The 16-minute video provides an overview of the naturalization process including the eligibility requirements, the application process, preliminary steps, the naturalization interview, the English tests and the U.S. history and government test (civics). The video includes two simulated interviews between applicants and USCIS Officers. Individuals applying for naturalization may use this video as a reference tool to prepare for the naturalization interview. Teachers and volunteers can use this video to complement classroom instruction.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

US Economy Posts Largest Job Gains in Three Years

VOAVideo: US Economy Posts Largest Job Gains in Three Years

VOAvideo — April 05, 2010 — New figures released on Friday suggest the U.S. economic recovery is gaining traction. The Labor Department says employers added 162,000 jobs in March. That's the biggest monthly gain since the recession began. Despite the improving jobs picture, the nation's unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent. VOA's Mil Arcega has more.

VOANews: Obama Welcomes Job Report, Says More Work Ahead

US economy registers largest increase in jobs in three years in March; critics say figures well below expectations

Monday, April 5, 2010

Immigration Rally - March for America - California

SiSePuedeYesWeCan — April 02, 2010 — People gathered at four catholic churches and walked to Plaza de Cesar Chavez to demand comprehensive immigration reform. Special thanks to J. Gagliardi (uscitizenpod) and all the people who let us use their images.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Presidential Weekly Address: Holiday Greetings— April 02, 2010 — In this week of Easter, Passover, and faithful celebration, the President uses his address to offer his holiday greeting and to call on people of all faiths and nonbelievers to remember our shared spirit of humanity.

VOANews: Obama Sends Easter Wishes
US president also reaches out to Jewish communities, whose celebration of Passover ends next week, and to people of other faiths