D.C. Update: Immigration, higher education back on the front burner

As the dust settles from the midterm elections and Congress returned to Washington, immigration, higher education and Ebola were center stage while FIU faculty promoted the university’s strengths and global partnerships.

Obama Executive Order on Immigration

The main event last week was the expected announcement by President Obama aiming to improve the immigration system in advance of Congressional action on immigration reform. Of most interest to higher education, his actions include expanding deferred action (DACA) to cover additional DREAMers if they entered before Jan. 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today.

Additionally, DHS will propose changes to expand and extend the use of the existing Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and require stronger ties between OPT students and their colleges and universities following graduation.

Illinois Lt. Gov-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti and Department of  Commerce's Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Willy Ramos

Illinois Lt. Gov-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti and Department of
Commerce’s Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Willy Ramos

Senate Higher Education Act Bill Introduced

Although its passage is not expected, Senator Tom Harkin — Chairman of the Senate Education Committee — introduced a revised draft of the Higher Education Act. Thankfully, this proposal includes reinstating year-round Pell grants to enable students to get their degrees faster and now seems to have bipartisan support.

Additional measures proposed include expanding access to dual enrollment and early college high school programs to help students earn college credits while they are in high school.  At FIU, over 20,000 students currently benefit from Pell grants and over 5,000 are dual enrollees from Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

FIU Alumna Elected Illinois Lieutenant Governor

FIU in DC and group of alumni — from the administration, Hill, and political world — welcomed Lt. Gov.-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti at a warm Panther reception in Washington to celebrate her victory as Illinois’s new lieutenant governor. 

Sanguinetti is the first FIU alumnus elected to state-wide office and the only Latina lieutenant governor in the country. A native of Hialeah, she is of Cuban and Ecuadorian parents and very proud of her heritage and FIU roots.

Honoring Václav Havel

On Nov. 19, in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and the Václav Havel Initiative for Human Rights and Diplomacy celebrated the legacy of Václav Havel at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and featured FIU President Mark. B. Rosenberg.

President Rosenberg spoke about the center’s vision and upcoming initiatives. The event was presented by the Embassy of the Czech Republic and also featured former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and prominent Czech and U.S. panelists.


LACC Teams Up with The Dialogue

As part of Latin American and Caribbean Center’s (LACC) effort to reach a wider audience, especially policy makers in Washington, it has recently partnered with the Inter-American Dialogue (IAD) to produce a series of expert panels on issues regarding Latin America and the Caribbean.

Moderated by FIU’s LACC Director Dr. Frank Mora, IAD and LACC hosted a discussion on crime and public security in Brazil featuring experts on the issue on Nov. 18. This partnership with IAD allows LACC to expand outreach to the nation’s capital, and it is an example of the initiatives the center is carrying out to inform policy debates related to the region. Moreover, LACC was just awarded a renewal of funding of $2.3 million from the Department of Education.

Panthers Spotted in DC this week:

– Randy Pestana, LACC research assistant and Master’s student, ‘15

– Bradley Porter, Brookings Institution

For more insight on FIU’s role in D.C. or too see what the office is involved with this fall, stay connected with FIU in D.C. on Facebook and Twitter.

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