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Immigrant dancers fighting for U.S. work visas

Ballroom dancers have an American dream too.

They come through customs hoping to propel their careers by training with some of the world’s top coaches.

But often these dreamers are gone again within six months, unable to pay the application fees for an O-1B work visa or meet its high burden of proof.

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Categories: Arts & Culture, Featured, Featured, Immigration

Gov. Jay Inslee signing the Washington State Dream Act. (Photo thanks to OneAmerica)

What are the top Seattle Globalist stories of 2014?

Gov. Jay Inslee signing the Washington State Dream Act. (Photo thanks to OneAmerica)

Gov. Jay Inslee signing the Washington State Dream Act. (Photo thanks to OneAmerica)

2014 has been quite the year. We’d like to know what you think are some of the top Seattle Globalist moments from 2014. What Globalist stories or issues struck you as notable this year?

Let us know via Facebook, Twitter, here in the comments below or via email at editor@seattleglobalist.com what we should include in our news roundup. It would be great to include a little description about why the stories you picked are noteworthy, and we might quote you in the article. We’ll publish the list at the end of the month.

Seattle Ferguson Protest Photos

People gather at the University of Washington for a “Black Lives Matter” demonstration on Nov. 25. (Photo by Jama Abdirahman)

An 12-year-old Syrian boy sews reinforcement stitches on donated shoes at his parent's storefront in the Zaatari Camp's main market area. In lieu of going to one of the schools offered at the camp, many children end up working for their parents or in other shops to bring in extra money for the family. (Photo by Alisa Reznick)

An 12-year-old Syrian boy sews reinforcement stitches on donated shoes at his parent’s storefront in the Zaatari Camp’s main market area. In lieu of going to one of the schools offered at the camp, many children end up working for their parents or in other shops to bring in extra money for the family. (Photo by Alisa Reznick)

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Categories: Featured, Globalist, News

One of the Seattle reactions on Twitter to the cancellation of "The Interview" following threats to theaters. (Screen shot of local tweet.)

Sony cancels release of “The Interview” after threats to theaters

“The Interview,” a comedy about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been canceled by Sony Pictures on Wednesday following threats made to theaters that had been scheduled to show the film.

The comedy, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, had been slated for  Christmas release. Major theater chains canceled the showings after a group called the “Guardians of Peace” threatened an attack on movie theaters, invoking the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to Variety.

The threats followed a widespread hack of Sony Pictures in November, which resulted in the release of emails that embarrassed Sony executives.

According to NPR’s The Two Way blog, U.S. investigators believe that the origin of the hack and the threats can be traced to North Korea.

Seattle Twitter users responded to the furor around the movie over the past few days:

 

 

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Categories: Arts & Culture, Globalist

The turnout at Highline College at an informational event earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of NWIRP)

Opportunities, challenges await immigrant parents eligible for Obama’s deferred action

The turnout at Highline College at an informational event earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of NWIRP)

The turnout at Highline College at an informational event earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of NWIRP)

Ray Corona works as a student recruiter at University of Washington (UW) Bothell, a job he knows he couldn’t have gotten if not for a policy change the Obama administration initiated two years ago granting work permits and a reprieve from deportation for hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants.

But Corona, 23, who is hoping for a career in the corporate sector, worries the limitations of his deferred action status puts him at a competitive disadvantage.

“These work permits have an expiration date to them,” said Corona, who also heads the Washington Dream Act Coalition. “It’s an obvious and clear thing for an employer who may start questioning the longevity of someone they are about to make an major investment in.”

These same concerns are likely to confront some of the nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants eligible for work authorization and other benefits through an expansion of the deferred action program the president announced last month.

Under that plan, immigrant parents of U.S citizens and green card holders — about 70,000 people across Washington state — would be granted a renewable, three-year work permit and a social security number as well as protection from deportation.

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Categories: Columnists, Featured, Immigration, Politics

Flag of Cuba. (Photo by Stewart Cutler via Creative Commons license.)

U.S. and Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations

Flag of Cuba. (Photo by Stewart Cutler via Creative Commons license.)

Flag of Cuba. (Photo by Stewart Cutler via Creative Commons license.)

The United States and Cuba will seek to re-establish diplomatic relations, according to a statement released by the White House Wednesday morning. President Barack Obama also delivered an address Wednesday morning on the announcement.

“Neither the American nor Cuban people are well-served by a rigid policy that’s rooted in events that took place before most of us were born,” he said during this morning’s address.

According to a a statement from the White House:

“It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba has isolated the United States from regional and international partners, constrained our ability to influence outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere, and impaired the use of the full range of tools available to the United States to promote positive change in Cuba.”

“We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse. We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state.”

(Read the full statement on whitehouse.gov.)

Cuba President Raul Castro addressed his country at the same time as Obama’s address, and Castro called for the U.S. embargo of Cuba to be lifted, according to NBC News.

The announced plans include some easing of travel, but tourist travel will not be eased, according to a story by the Associated Press.

Key to the changes are:

  • The reopening of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, which were severed in 1961.
  • The re-establishment of the U.S. Embassy in Havana.
  • Raising remittance levels from $500 to $2,000 per quarter.
  • Expanding commercial sales to Cuba, and allowing licensed U.S. travelers to import up to $400 worth of goods from Cuba.
  • Allowing U.S. credit cards and bank cards to be used by travelers in Cuba.
  • Expanding travel visas for: family visits; official government business; journalists; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.

AP also reported that the change in policy was announced as Cuba released a spy who provided intelligence to the United States and an American prisoner Alan Gross, who was convicted in Cuba five years ago after installing censorship-free Internet access. The U.S. also released three convicted spies for Cuba, who were convicted in Miami in 2001.

Pope Francis reportedly encouraged the warming of relations between the two countries and the Vatican released a statement following the announcement.

“The Holy Father wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the Governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations, with the aim of overcoming, in the interest of the citizens of both countries, the difficulties which have marked their recent history,” the Vatican’s statement read in part.

Several  Congressional critics of Cuba who are also members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee criticized Obama’s move, according to The Huffington Post.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) criticized the exchange of convicted spies for Gross.

“There is no equivalence between an international aid worker and convicted

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Categories: Featured, News, Politics

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