Contact Congress for Tanith
I requested and received permission to copy this post from reckless on FSU:
Some of you know that I’ve been working with the legal team that has been representing Tanith Belbin in the efforts to obtain citizenship in time for the Olympics. We have been working with different organizations and members of Congress since earlier this year and, until now, have not explained our efforts in detail. Now, however, we really are facing our last chance to get something done in time, so we need help from fans, particularly those from Michigan and Illinois. There is very little time remaining to get this done.
The legislative proposal is very simple. The proposal is consistent with the immigration service’s recent steps to process Green Card and citizenship applications more efficiently. The change would affect several thousand people who received Green Cards as people of “extraordinary ability” who used to be required to file piecemeal applications for temporary and then permanent residency. After the people affected by this proposed legislation applied, CIS changed the rule to accept and process these applications simultaneously, greatly speeding up Green Card processing times. The legislation proposes that the people who had to receive multiple approvals of their applications would be treated as if they had applied only once and the approval of their initial approval would become the date from which the time to become a citizen would run. This is not a private bill that would affect Tanith; it would correct an inequity that affects several thousand people who are waiting for citizenship.
CIS has indicated that the provision would not create a processing burden for them. However, it is up to the Department of Homeland Security (in which CIS is housed), the Administration and Congress to propose the measure. We are seeking to have it included in an Appropriations bill, because Appropriations bills must, by law, be enacted each year.
We need people to contact Tanith’s and Ben’s family’s home members of Congress and urge them to support the measure. We are asking people in Michigan and Illinois to call the local offices of their senators. For people in the districts of Congressmen McCotter (Michigan) and Kirk (Deerfield), we also are asking people to call the local offices. These numbers are:
Senator Levin (MI): (313) 226-6020 (Detroit)
Senator Stabenow (MI): (313) 961-4330 (Detroit)
Senator Durbin (IL): (312) 353-4952 (Chicago)
Senator Obama (IL): (312) 886-3506 (Chicago)
Congressman McCotter (MI): (734) 632-0314 (Livonia)
Congressman Kirk (IL): (847) 940-0202 (Deerfield); 847-662-0101 (Waukeegan)
If anyone in any other state wishes to call and express support, we ask that you call the Washington, DC offices of these members of Congress. The numbers are:
Senator Levin (MI): (202) 224-6221
Senator Stabenow (MI): (202) 224-4822
Senator Durbin (IL): (202) 224-2152
Senator Obama (IL): (202) 224-2854
Congressman McCotter (MI): 202.225.8171
Congressman Kirk (IL): 202-225-4835
If anyone would like more information, please feel free to email Barney Skladany and Jessica Weisel, the attorneys representing Tanith. The email addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Do you know the specific appropriations bill this is a part of? I am an IL resident and ofen contact elected representatives regarding legislative matters. I do find it important to know about everything that is in a particular bill - not just one point of interest. I don't want to accidentally support a bill where a large part of it might NOT be about things I support.
"Reckless" didn't mention the appropriations bill, but did suggest that:
"There is no bill number yet, because the legislation has not yet been introduced. These members of Congress know about the proposal, so they if you say you are calling about the legislative proposal to speed up the citizenship process for Tanith Belbin and other aliens of extraordinary ability. Even if the person answering the phone doesn't know the legislation in question, the message should get through to the people who are aware of it."
I therefore conclude that we can support the proposal that will speed up citizenship for aliens of extraordinary ability, without supporting other items in a specific appropriations bill.
Well no offense to Tanith or her fans but I just don't agree with favoring somebody over another. This could easily get into a political mess if the U.S. overrides their standards for citizenship just to favor themselves in a miniscule Olympic ice dance competition.
DISCLAIMER: this is JUST MY OPINION, and if you don't like it just discount everything I said above.
Last edited by R.D.; 09-19-2005 at 08:17 PM.
"Favoring" somebody who is defined as having "extraordinary ability" -- and that does include athletes at the international level -- is already law. This legislation is to grandfather the thousand or so green card holders who would have qualified today, but whose applications were delayed as a result of 9/11.
They've been posting in that FSU thread that new applications for others in a situation similar to Tanith have already been moved into a speedier process. The legislation did not grandfather in those who have already applied. This attempt is to get those individuals grandfathered into already existing legislation so that they can enjoy the same rights as new applicants.
To anyone: If I got this wrong please correct me gently.
Originally Posted by attyfan
I am in Michigan. I was wondering if there were an email address we could write to or must it be a phone call? I'll gladly do my part either way, but I express myself better in writing.
I am sorry if this is a silly question, but I am guessing that you would just want people of voting age to call? I am related to a bunch of Michiganders. My 19 yr old will call, no doubt, she hates ice dance but I'm her Mother. My 17 yr old will chime in too, if you think it would help.
Last edited by SusanBeth; 09-19-2005 at 08:31 PM.
Technically, they should listen to any consitutent, voter or not, but if you mention you're a voter for their state or district it probably wouldn't hurt. (For people like me, that means mention to Senators Stabenow and Levin I'm a Michigan voter, but probably not that "I have never and will never vote for either of you, no matter who is running against you", which is true. I don't live in the district covered by Livonia's congressman so it's not an issue.)
For e-mail, visit http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov and look up the appropriate Senator or Representative. They all have e-mail. It's more likely that a staffer reads it than the Senator or Rep themselves, but it's not like they answer their phones themselves, either, and in fact they might take the time to read more than they would to chat.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't ESPN/ABC do one of their fluff pieces and mention something about Tanith's application being derailed by lost paperwork or some such crap? Also, I think I remember something about 9/11 slowing paperwork. If this is really a "paperwork" issue, why can't Congress just pass the special resolution and be done with it. I hardly think the young woman is a likely terrorist and surely the USFSA and the US Olympic committee are behind such a resolution. Aren't they???
If Tanith and Ben can't reprent the US, I want them to skate for Japan, In order for her to obtain a japanese citezenship, Tanith would have to marry me.. To make it real, She would have to live with me.. sounds good, doesn't it?
I prefer that they follow a normal process for Tanith's citizenship, like they would for a brilliant engineer, for example. No special favors.
My understanding is that this is not a special favor. It simply puts her on an equal footing as the people who applied after she did. Why should they get to go ahead of her?
Originally Posted by Vash01
I love it! (And agree with the sentiments regarding Sens Levin and Stabenow ).
Originally Posted by julietvalcouer
Although I have, on the few occasions that I have contacted an elected of my own party, mentioned things like "I'm a precinct delegate" or "I supported your guy in the last election". I figure it can't hurt.
Originally Posted by attyfan
I don't think that getting Tanith to skate in the Olympics is on top of their list of things to do. They have so much on their plate now, the war in Iraq, the New Oreleans disaster and terrorism. There are thousands of people with more atributes and worst situations than Tanith that need and want U.S. citizenship.
If they bend the rules for one person, they will set a precedent for other cases.
Good luck anyway.
Well, IMO, if it's a goverment mistake (lost her paper work). It should be corrected by goverment.....Not to mention I'd like to see them give Rusian pair a run for their money competetion.....