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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Addresses Newly-Activated Hawaiʻi Army Reserve Detachment; Kicks off 2017 Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta

Today on Oʻahu, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) delivered remarks at the 25th Infantry Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment (MCP-OD) Activation Ceremony at Schofield Barracks and honored the unit’s new commander, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Gavin Tsuda, a native of Honolulu. The 25th Infantry Division MCP-OD is the only division level MCP-OD in the Army Reserve, and joins nine National Guard MCP-ODs across the country being assigned to active duty divisions in order to provide headquarters elements with the additional manpower for areas such as intelligence, operations and logistics.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard addresses the newly-activated 25th Infantry Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment (MCP-OD)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “I’m grateful to have served Hawaiʻi and our country alongside LTC Tsuda, who personifies what it means to be a citizen soldier. As a soldier, he is known for his attention to detail, taking care of soldiers, upholding the highest standards, and mentoring junior soldiers to help them grow and better fulfill their own duties and assignments. As a civilian, he is committed to his community, and has dedicated much of his career to developing affordable housing for underserved communities in Hawaiʻi—a tremendous need in our state. As LTC Tsuda blazes a new trail as the first commander of the 25th Infantry Division MCP-OD, he will continue to set the bar high for this unit and its soldiers.”

Later in the day, the congresswoman kicked off the annual Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta at its opening reception and honored the 2017 recipients of the Daniel K. Inouye Leadership and Community Service Award—Assistant Race Director Natasha Haine and the late U.S. Congressman Mark Takai. The award recognizes individuals who go above and beyond the call to serve, dedicating themselves to honoring and supporting our wounded warriors, their loved ones, and our Gold Star families. Past recipients of the award include Judge Edward Kubo, Marc Haine, Gervin Miyamoto, Darryl Wong, Penny Kalua, Liz Sabog, and Race Director Matthew McCarville.

“Each year, this event harnesses the healing power of the ocean and our supportive community as our veterans and their families continue to recover from the wounds of war both visible and invisible. As we gather here tonight, the search continues for five of our own who are still missing off our shores—a heart aching reminder of the risks our servicemembers take every single day, whether in training or in combat, as they put their lives on the line for the security of our nation. Our hearts are with them, their families, and our first responders,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The congresswoman will join wounded warriors, Gold Star families, and Hawaiʻi’s veteran community in paddling in the 2017 Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta off the shores of Fort DeRussy this Saturday.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Addresses 25th Infantry

Today on Oʻahu, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) delivered remarks at the 25th Infantry Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment (MCP-OD) Activation Ceremony at Schofield Barracks and honored the unit’s new commander, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Gavin Tsuda, a native of Honolulu. The 25th Infantry Division MCP-OD is the only division level MCP-OD in the Army Reserve, and joins nine National Guard MCP-ODs across the country being assigned to active duty divisions in order to provide headquarters elements with the additional manpower for areas such as intelligence, operations and logistics.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “I’m grateful to have served Hawaiʻi and our country alongside LTC Tsuda, who personifies what it means to be a citizen soldier. As a soldier, he is known for his attention to detail, taking care of soldiers, upholding the highest standards, and mentoring junior soldiers to help them grow and better fulfill their own duties and assignments. As a civilian, he is committed to his community, and has dedicated much of his career to developing affordable housing for underserved communities in Hawaiʻi—a tremendous need in our state. As LTC Tsuda blazes a new trail as the first commander of the 25th Infantry Division MCP-OD, he will continue to set the bar high for this unit and its soldiers.”

Later in the day, the congresswoman kicked off the annual Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta at its opening reception and honored the 2017 recipients of the Daniel K. Inouye Leadership and Community Service Award—Assistant Race Director Natasha Haine and the late U.S. Congressman Mark Takai. The award recognizes individuals who go above and beyond the call to serve, dedicating themselves to honoring and supporting our wounded warriors, their loved ones, and our Gold Star families. Past recipients of the award include Judge Edward Kubo, Marc Haine, Gervin Miyamoto, Darryl Wong, Penny Kalua, Liz Sabog, and Race Director Matthew McCarville.

“Each year, this event harnesses the healing power of the ocean and our supportive community as our veterans and their families continue to recover from the wounds of war both visible and invisible. As we gather here tonight, the search continues for five of our own who are still missing off our shores—a heart aching reminder of the risks our servicemembers take every single day, whether in training or in combat, as they put their lives on the line for the security of our nation. Our hearts are with them, their families, and our first responders,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The congresswoman will join wounded warriors, Gold Star families, and Hawaiʻi’s veteran community in paddling in the 2017 Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta off the shores of Fort DeRussy this Saturday.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Honors Hawaiʻi Purple Heart Recipients at Official Medal Presentation Ceremony

At the Oʻahu Veterans Center today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), Rainbow Chapter 483 (Honolulu) in honoring twelve recipients of the Purple Heart Medal at an official presentation ceremony.

The recipients, who included veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, were awarded the Purple Heart Medal by the Army for their wounds in combat, but never received a formal presentation of their medals, as is required by Army regulations. The congresswoman presented each honoree with the Purple Heart Medal and delivered remarks about the significance of the official presentation ceremony, the high cost of war and the critical importance of caring for our veterans when they return home from war.

The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Those making decisions about when and where to go to war often forget who pays the high price—our veterans who return home with wounds visible and invisible, our servicemembers on active duty, and their families. The veterans we recognized today have waited more than forty years for the recognition they have earned and deserve. Today’s ceremony closes the circle for these veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much.”

Addressing the recipients and their family members, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Today we honor you with a medal that none of you wanted or asked for, but that is earned by those who sacrifice most. You stand in the ranks of people like Hawaiʻi’s Senator Daniel Inouye, President John. F. Kennedy, and so many more. We honor you, as we do them, our nation’s most prominent and distinguished heroes.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Host Live Veterans Telephone Townhall with State, Federal Leaders

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will host a live veterans-focused “telephone town hall” on Tuesday, July 25 at 4:00pm HST with Jennifer Gutowski, Director of the VA Pacific Island Health Care System (VAPIHCS); Karen Gooden, Director of the Honolulu Veterans Affairs Regional Office; and Ron Han, Director of the State of Hawaiʻi Office of Veterans’ Services (OVS). The call will provide an opportunity for Hawaiʻi’s veterans, their families, and our community to get updates on veterans legislation being considered by Congress, receive an overview of resources for Hawaiʻi veterans, and ask state and federal leaders about veterans’ healthcare, benefits, services, and more.

Please note: To protect each individual’s privacy, veterans living in Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District with questions regarding a personal claim or casework with the VA should contact Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office directly at 808-541-1986 or TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov.

How to register for this event:

  • To dial in to the call at the time of the event, call 888-476-4187 at 4:00pm HST on Tuesday July 25
  • To receive a call reminding you to join this event: Text “TULSI” to 828282, OR  Go to vekeo.com/reptulsigabbard and enter your name, phone number and email. Once you submit your information, you will receive a confirmation email. Please note: you must click “Verify” in the confirmation email in order to complete your registration

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Members of Congress Sue Trump Administration for Violation of Foreign Emoluments Clause

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, announced today their lawsuit against President Trump to enforce the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution dealing with gifts or benefits the President, or other Administration officials, might receive from foreign governments and businesses. The lawsuit would give Congress the authority to vote on, and approve, any foreign emoluments on a case-by-case basis.


“The American people deserve a president who is a servant leader who they can trust to represent the people’s interests, rather than his or her own. Those who voted for President Trump took him at his word – that having accumulated enough of his own personal wealth, he would be solely focused on serving the American people.

“It is paramount that President Trump divest himself from his properties, especially those abroad, so Americans can trust that this Administration’s foreign policy decisions are not being influenced by the President’s investments. We need to be assured, for example, that U.S.-Saudi policy is not being influenced by a Trump resort or other investments in that country, rather it is crafted to serve the best interests of the American people.

“If President Trump does the right thing by seeking and receiving appropriate congressional approval, stops accepting financial benefits from foreign government officials, and divests himself from his properties, I will withdraw my support from this lawsuit. The people of this country deserve transparency and confidence that the President is acting on their behalf,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaiʻi Emergency Management to Host Telephone Town Hall on Hurricane Preparedness

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will host a telephone town hall on Monday, June 26 at 4:00pm HST on hurricane and disaster preparedness. The congresswoman will be joined by Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi, Anna Foust of Maui Emergency Management Agency, Elton Ushio of Kauaʻi Emergency Management Agency, Talmadge Magno of Hawaiʻi Island Civil Defense Agency, and Melvin Kaku of Honolulu Department of Emergency Management to answer questions from the community, discuss the forecast for the upcoming hurricane season, and review new recommendations that Hawaiʻi residents prepare an “emergency kit” with a minimum of 14 days of food, water and other supplies. Hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30.

“We are so fortunate to live in Hawaiʻi, but we have some seasonal disasters that are unique to our islands, and it’s important to be prepared. With hurricane season kicking off this month and running through November, I’m hosting a telephone town hall meeting with emergency management leaders in each of our counties to talk about how Hawaiʻi families can prepare and stay safe,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

How to register for this event:

To receive a call reminding you to join this event on Monday June 26, 2017 at 4:00pm:

  • Text “TULSI” to 828282, OR
  • Go to vekeo.com/reptulsigabbard and enter your name, phone number and email. Once you submit your information, you will receive a confirmation email. Please note: you must click “Verify” in the confirmation email in order to complete your registration
  • To dial in to the call at the time of the event, call 888-476-4187 at 4:00pm HST on Monday June 26.

HURRICANE CHECKLIST:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on One-Year Anniversary of Tragic Orlando Shooting

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), a Member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, released the following statement in remembrance of last year’s shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  She is an original co-sponsor of a resolution introduced in the House of Representatives today which commemorates the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida – June 12, 2016.

“On the one year anniversary of the tragic Pulse Nightclub shooting, we mourn the 49 innocent men and women who lost their lives, and our hearts go out to the survivors, friends, families, and the larger Orlando community. If there is any lesson to be learned from this injustice, it is that we must continue to fight to ensure the safety and equality of all people regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The 49 people who died in the shooting are Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34; Stanley Almodovar III, 23; Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20; Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36; Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22; Luis S. Vielma, 22; Kimberly Morris, 37; Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30; Darryl Roman Burt II, 29; Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32; Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21; Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25; Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35; Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50; Amanda Alvear, 25; Martin Benitez Torres, 33; Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37; Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26; Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35; Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25; Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31; Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26; Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25; Miguel Angel Honorato, 30; Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40; Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32; Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19; Cory James Connell, 21; Luis Daniel Conde, 39; Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33; Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25; Jerald Arthur Wright, 31; Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25; Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25; Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24; Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27; Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33; Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49; Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24; Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32; Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28; Frank Hernandez, 27; Paul Terrell Henry, 41; Antonio Davon Brown, 29; Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24; Akyra Monet Murray, 18; and Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25.

Background:  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has a strong record advocating on behalf of the LGBT community. She has co-sponsored and supported civil rights and anti-LGBT discrimination legislation like the Respect for Marriage Act, the Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Equality Act, and the Equality for All Resolution. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is also a Member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, whose mission is to promote LGBT equality in the U.S. and around the world.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Joins Waiʻanae Community in Recognizing UFC Winners Holloway, Medeiros in Homecoming Celebration

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined community leaders and people across the Waiʻanae Coast to recognize Waiʻanae natives UFC Featherweight title-holder Max Holloway and Yancy Medeiros for their victories at UFC 212 held on June 3, 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At age twenty-five, Holloway has amassed the most career wins ever among competitors in his weight class, and his recent defeat of Jose Aldo—an athlete that has ruled the WEC and UFC for nearly a decade—earned him the title of undisputed UFC Featherweight Champion. Medeiros also brought home his fourteenth career win from Rio De Janeiro, defeating Erick Silva of Brazil.

Following a community parade from Nānākuli to Waiʻanae High School, the congresswoman presented Holloway and Medeiros with congressional certificates recognizing their achievements and their proud representation of Hawaiʻi to the world.Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “The eyes of the world are on Waiʻanae as we proudly welcome home Max and Yancy after their victories at UFC 212. Both of these young men have made Hawaiʻi so proud, representing our state with courage, strength, and aloha.  Max and Yancy are not only champions in the octagon, they are also leaders in our community who take Hawaiʻi with them wherever they go, and who serve as mentors and role models to our keiki when they are here at home.  I join the people of Waiʻanae and all of Hawaiʻi in congratulating Max and Yancy, and wishing them continued success.”

The congresswoman will return to Washington, DC tonight to participate in the annual King Kamehameha Lei Draping Ceremony in the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, and for votes in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Join Max Holloway Homecoming Parade

This weekend, in between congressional voting weeks in Washington, DC, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is flying home today to join the state and community of Waiʻanae in a homecoming parade recognizing and celebrating UFC Champions Max Holloway & Yancy Medeiros for their undisputed victories at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Holloway will be making an appearance at The District Nightclub later that evening.

The congresswoman will participate in the community parade that will begin in Nānākuli and end at Waiʻanae High School on Saturday, and present Holloway and Medeiros with congressional certificates recognizing them for their achievements.

The congresswoman will then depart for Washington, DC Saturday night and join the Hawaiʻi State Society of Washington, DC and local and state leaders at the annual King Kamehameha Lei Draping Ceremony held in the U.S. Capitol.

DETAILS

Saturday June 10

  • 10:00 am Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will participate in the Waiʻanae Coast Homecoming Parade to recognize and celebrate UFC 212 Champions Max Holloway and Yancy Medeiros, and honor the athletes with congressional certificates in recognition of their achievements and proud representation of Hawaiʻi to the world
  • WHERE: Parade kicks off at 87-2020 Farrington Hwy (PVT) and ends at Waiʻanae High School at 85-251 Farrington Hwy.

Sunday June 11:

  • 2:30 PM (EST) Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will deliver remarks at the 2017 King Kamehameha Lei Draping Ceremony
  • WHERE: U.S. Capitol Building, Visitor Center, Emancipation Hall, Washington, DC

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on 30-Day Stay for Kailua-Kona Farmer, Andres Magana Ortiz

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the statement below after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granted Kailua-Kona famer, Andres Magana Ortiz, a 30-day stay of deportation:

“This morning, Mr. Ortiz faced the possibility of immediate deportation, leaving his wife and three children behind. While today’s 30-day reprieve is a positive step, it does not resolve the underlying issues. I’ll continue to push legislative and other avenues to assist Mr. Ortiz and his family in their efforts to remain in the Kona community he has called home for nearly three decades,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced a private bill earlier this week to halt the deportation of Mr. Ortiz and make him eligible for legal, permanent residence in the United States. A similar bill was introduced by U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka to assist Chef Chai Chaowasaree in 2001. She also joined the Hawaiʻi Congressional Delegation in writing to DHS Secretary Kelly earlier this week requesting that the Department reverse its decision to deport Mr. Ortiz.

Immigration reform has been one of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s top priorities throughout her time in Congress. She also co-sponsored two measures to protect families and children, including the DREAMer Information Protection Act (H.R. 532) which prohibits DHS’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) from being used for immigration enforcement proceedings and the BRIDGE Act (H.R.496) which codifies the DACA program.

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Bill to Halt Deportation of Kailua-Kona Farmer, Andres Magana Ortiz

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke on the House floor today urging Congress to pass a ‘private bill’ she introduced this week For the Relief of Andres Magana Ortiz (H.R.2794).

A similar bill was introduced by U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka to assist Chef Chai Chaowasaree in 2001. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, this legislation would adjust  Mr. Andres Magana Ortiz’s legal status and make him eligible for legal, permanent residence in the United States where he lives in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Mr. Ortiz is under threat of deportation under a Final Order of Removal issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The introduction of this bill follows a letter sent this week by Hawaii’s congressional delegation to DHS Secretary Kelly requesting that the Department reverse its decision to deport Mr. Ortiz.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“The purpose of this bill is to help Mr. Ortiz with his extremely challenging situation, put him on a path to citizenship, and prevent his family from being torn apart. Without this legislation, Andres Ortiz faces deportation within days, after living in Hawaii for 28 years and working hard as a small business owner. His wife and children – U.S. citizens – have exhausted all of the options available to them before their father and husband is forced to leave the place he calls home in Hawaii. We need a pathway to citizenship for immigrants to ensure people who deserve to be here, can find a way to be a part of our great country.  We need immigration reform that keeps families together.”

Background: Immigration reform has been one of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s top priorities throughout her time in Congress.  She also co-sponsored two measures to protect families and children, including the DREAMer Information Protection Act (H.R. 532) which prohibits DHS’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) from being used for immigration enforcement proceedings and the BRIDGE Act (H.R.496) which codifies the DACA program.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii Delegation Calls For Department of Homeland Security to Halt Deportation of Kailua-Kona Farmer, Andres Magana Ortiz

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and the Hawaii congressional delegation today called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to halt their impending action to deport Mr. Andres Magana Ortiz of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. In a letter to DHS Secretary Kelly, Hawaii’s congressional delegation requested that the Department reverse its decision to act on a Final Order of Removal to deport Mr. Ortiz based on his attempt to gain legal status through his wife who is a U.S. citizen and his upstanding reputation living in Hawaii for over 28 years as a coffee farmer, business owner, taxpayer, and husband and father.

“Today we call on the Department of Homeland Security to suspend its order to deport Andres Magana Ortiz, and instead allow him to continue on his pathway towards legal status. Mr. Ortiz is an upstanding member of society in Hawaii and embodies the values that we embrace as Americans – hard work, family, and community. The deportation laws facing Mr. Ortiz were designed for dangerous criminals who pose a threat to our society; not law-abiding contributing members of our community. I hope Secretary Kelly will do everything in his power to halt Mr. Ortiz’s deportation proceedings,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

FULL LETTER:

Dear Secretary Kelly:

We are writing to request that your Department exercise its prosecutorial discretion and re-evaluate the request for a stay of removal for Mr. Andres Magana Ortiz of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. We believe the particular circumstances of Mr. Magana Ortiz’ case merits the extraordinary grant of a stay.  Mr. Magana Ortiz is currently in the process of adjusting to legal status on the basis of his wife’s citizenship.  In other words, he is trying to do the right thing. Mr. Magana Ortiz is an upstanding member of our community and does not belong in the category of dangerous individuals who should be prioritized for deportation.  In fact, during his immigration proceedings, the government itself conceded that Mr. Magana Ortiz possesses good moral character.

We agree that persons that pose a threat to national security and public safety should be a priority for deportation proceedings. However, Mr. Magana Ortiz poses no such threat to national security or public safety and therefore should not be a priority for removal. Rather, it is in our national interest for Mr. Magana Ortiz to remain in the United States where he can continue to work, pay taxes, and raise his family.

The Department has the authority under 8 CFR 241.6 to issue an administrative stay of removal—essentially, to decide whether to keep families together or tear them apart—and in 2014 Mr. Magana Ortiz received a stay. At that time, presumably the Department found his arguments compelling and consistent with federal law, which has not changed. He filed subsequent stays, one of which was not acted upon by the Department, and another that was denied in March of this year. As a result of this denial, Mr. Magana Ortiz received a Final Order of Removal and has been ordered to report to ICE for deportation on Thursday, June 8, 2017.

The Department’s most recent denial wastes the government’s time and resources on proceedings for an individual who poses no threat to our nation, while a parallel proceeding that could resolve the issue remains open. In 2015, Mr. Magana Ortiz’s wife filed an I-130 Relative Petition for Alien Relative. According to the District Court’s record, this petition was filed in September of 2015 but receipt had not been acknowledged by the Department until March 29, 2016. Given that this avenue is still open and unresolved and has taken what appears to be an extraordinarily long time, we fail to see the value in the Department’s aggressive approach to Mr. Magana Ortiz’s deportation.

In his concurring opinion to the denial of the motion, Judge Stephen Reinhardt noted that Mr. Magana Ortiz entered the United States from Mexico in 1989, at the age of fifteen, and has since built a house, started his own business, paid taxes, married a U.S. citizen, and had three U.S. citizen children. He wrote that Mr. Magana Ortiz is by all accounts “a pillar of his community and a devoted father and husband.” Judge Reinhardt further stated that deportation would deprive Mr. Magana Ortiz’ children of a parent and source of financial support, and possibly of a home and an opportunity for education, unless they follow him to Mexico, a country where they have never lived, and where they do not speak the language.

The Department has the power to keep this family together, or to break them apart. Given the urgent nature of Mr. Magana Ortiz’ situation, we request that you exercise prosecutorial discretion by granting a stay of relief.  In addition, we ask that you expedite review of his wife’s I-130 petition.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Denounces Trump’s Decision to Withdraw from Paris Climate Agreement

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement on President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement:

“President Trump’s decision today to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, making us just one of three countries in the world not to participate, is short-sighted and irresponsible. Without global action to drastically curb carbon pollution, climate change threatens the safety and security of the planet, especially in places like Hawaiʻi where we are already experiencing its’ devastating effects. The 2015 hurricane season set a record of 15 tropical storms in Hawaiʻi, acidification of our oceans has killed marine ecosystems and fisheries, bleached coral reefs, while causing damage to local economies. As recently as April of this year, the Honolulu Harbor tide gauge peaked at more than nine inches above predicted tides – the highest daily mean water level ever recorded over 112-years.

“The United States should be leading by example, leveraging innovation through science and technology, investing in clean energy, creating renewable energy jobs that cannot be outsourced, growing the economy, enhancing U.S. energy independence, and lowering energy costs for families and businesses, while reducing carbon emissions.  We must continue to persevere and do our part to support efforts in the private sector and at all levels of government to combat climate change and protect our environment.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is an original co-sponsor of H.Res.540, which supports unprecedented national priorities for combatting climate change, including goals for 50% of electricity derived from renewable sources by 2030, as well as the transition to 50% near-zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% clean renewable energy by 2050.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Honors Fallen Heroes at Punchbowl Roll Call of Honor Ceremony

This morning at Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) delivered remarks to honor service members who paid the ultimate price in sacrifice to our country at an annual Roll Call of Honor Ceremony.

In her address, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke about the true cost of war, saying, “Every time we gather here at Punchbowl, it is a reminder of the very real, true cost of war.  The cost that exists in the names on these grave stones. It exists in our hearts, and with the memories of our friends who never came home. It exists in the unbreakable bond between veterans of different generations, that we can come together knowing that we have each experienced in one way or another the same pain and broken heart of losing a comrade in arms, while simultaneously appreciating the special courage and selflessness of our friends who paid the ultimate price in service to our country.

“Today, we honor them. We remember the many heroes who have roots here in Hawaii and the Pacific who gave all.  People like First Lieutenant Nainoa Hoe, or SP5 Kimo Gabriel, the first Green Beret and the first Hawaiian killed in Vietnam. Many of us here knew “Uncle Herb” Weatherwax, a Native Hawaiian Pearl Harbor survivor, and we’d often see him at military events like today’s. He would have been one hundred years old this year, but Uncle Herb passed last December one week after the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 75th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony. It was his dying wish to be there, and being of the Greatest Generation, of course he made it happen. I also remember some of my friends who served in the 29th Brigade Combat Team—Sergeant Deyson Cariaga and Staff Sergeant Frank Tiai, who did not come home with us.  As we reflect here today on the specialness of this place and the courage of these heroes, this day, and every day, let us honor our friends, fight for them as they sacrificed for us, and make the most of the life and time we have been blessed with.”

Rep. Gabbard and Senator Sanders Introduce “Raise the Wage Act”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D, HI-02) stood with Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate to introduce the Raise the Wage Act today.

The legislation would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 and index the minimum wage to the median wage growth thereafter. It has been 10 years since legislation was enacted increasing the federal minimum wage. When adjusted for inflation, about 40 percent of today’s workers earn less than the minimum wage in 1968. The Raise the Wage Act would give more than 41 million low-wage workers a raise, increasing the wages of almost 30 percent of the U.S. workforce.

“In my home state of Hawaiʻi, and across the country, far too many people are working one or two full-time minimum wage jobs, living in poverty, and barely scraping by. The federal minimum wage has fallen far behind inflation and has actually lost value over time, meaning working families are making less while paying more just to make ends meet. The federal minimum wage has stagnated for the last 10 years—it is long overdue for Congress to do the right thing for hard-working Americans and raise the minimum wage,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has supported legislation to raise the federal minimum wage throughout her time in Congress, and is an original cosponsor of the legislation introduced today to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. She has also cosponsored legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R.1869) to address wage discrimination across the United States.

Reps. Gabbard, Perry Introduce Bill to Permanently End Warrantless Collection of Americans’ Emails

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Scott Perry (R-PA), both founding members of the Fourth Amendment Caucus, introduced legislation today to permanently codify protections on Americans’ privacy.

Last month, the NSA announced it is ending its collection of Americans’ Internet communications that merely mention identifying terms for foreign targets, but are not to or from those targets, also known as “about” surveillance. The legislation introduced today would permanently codify this policy change into law. Gabbard and Perry, both veterans of the Iraq War, also co-chair the Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “For years, the NSA has been collecting phone and online communications from everyday Americans across the country, defying the rights and liberties granted to us under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. The 2008 FISA Amendments, specifically Section 702, has led to massive government-led exploitation of personal privacy through the collection of American citizens’ emails. We need serious reforms that balance the protection of our civil liberties and rights through our constitution, and also keep the American people safe. The NSA recently announced that they would stop collecting our emails and electronic communications under Section 702, but what is to say that it won’t start up again? Our legislation will keep our country from backtracking on this progress by permanently codifying this policy change and banning this privacy-invading collection from taking place again.”

Rep. Scott Perry said, “The NSA recently changed policy to prohibit the collection of electronic communications sent or received by American citizens that merely mention a foreign target of surveillance. This practice has long been used as an end-around the Fourth Amendment, and we commend the NSA for aligning their collection efforts with the Constitution. The legislation ensures that this important win for the American people cannot be reversed under future administrations. I thank Congresswoman Gabbard for her continued efforts on this issue and look forward to seeing this bill move quickly.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has long advocated for reforms that address our government’s responsibility to protect civil liberties and ensure a strong national defense. She has actively sought reforms to Section 702, the Patriot Act, introduced legislation to strengthen and expand the functions of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), and is a founding member of the bipartisan Fourth Amendment Caucus focused on protecting the privacy and security of Americans in the digital age.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Condemns New U.S. Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today condemned the Trump Administration’s new $460 billion arms deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—$110 billion immediately and $350 billion over the next 10 years—a country with a devastating record of human rights violations at home and abroad, and a long history of providing support to terrorist organizations that threaten the American people.  Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest sponsor and propagator of the extremist Wahhabi Salafist ideology that fuels terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.  Based on Saudi Arabia’s history and track record, there is a significant likelihood these weapons will be used against innocent civilians or end up in the hands of terrorist groups.

“Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of billions of dollars spreading their extreme Wahhabi Salafist ideology around the world, creating fertile ground for terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda to recruit, while simultaneously providing direct support to terrorist groups who pose a direct threat to US interests and who are fighting to overthrow the Syrian government. The hypocrisy in the Trump administration’s actions toward Saudi Arabia began in February 2017 with the newly-appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo presenting Saudi Crown Prince bin Nayef with the George Tenet Award in recognition of Prince bin Nayef’s ‘excellent intelligence performance, in the domain of counter-terrorism and his unbound contribution to realise world security and peace.’ This hypocrisy continues now as the Trump administration talks tough against ISIS and terrorism, while selling weapons to, supporting, and praising a country that beheads dissidents, oppresses women, persecutes religious minorities, atheists, and LGBT people, and is the greatest supporter of terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS in the world today. This arms deal will enable Saudi Arabia to use U.S.-made weapons in their war crimes against Yemeni civilians in a brutal civil war, and continue perpetuating human rights atrocities at home and abroad,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has introduced H.R. 608, the bipartisan Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which would prohibit any Federal agency from using taxpayer dollars to provide weapons, cash, intelligence, or any support to armed militants who are allied with al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and it will prohibit the U.S. government from funneling money and weapons through other countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar who are directly or indirectly supporting terrorists.  Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also recently sent a letter to Secretary Mattis urging an end to the United States’ military participation in Yemen’s civil war, where 19 million people need emergency support and which has never been authorized by Congress, and calling for a Congressional briefing on the White House’s strategy in Yemen.

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Rejects All PAC Contributions

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard today announced that she will reject all political action committee (PAC) donations to her campaign moving forward and released the following statement regarding her decision:

“From the day I was elected to Congress, I promised myself I’d never allow money to influence the decisions I make on behalf of the people who elected me to serve them. Furthermore, I’ve refused to accept contributions from industries like Wall Street banks, Big Pharma, Tobacco, Liquor, and, more recently, Defense. However, from here on out, I’ve made the decision not to accept money from any political action committees.

“Here’s the bottom line: we cannot allow the future of our nation and our politics to be driven and shaped by special interests. Citizens United has exposed a major problem for the future of our country—there is far too much dark money influencing our politics. Our policies and our future must be driven by the American people and their interests.

“I believe in the power of the people and our ability to take action toward a brighter future. When we are informed, involved, and working together toward a common goal, we are more powerful than any special interest group. This is why we need to get corporate money and lobbyists out of politics and elevate the voices of the people of our country.”

Reps. Gabbard, Garrett Urge House to Pass Federal Marijuana Decriminalization Legislation

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Tom Garrett (VA-05) hosted a press conference today urging Congress to pass H.R.1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. They were joined by Beth Collins and Lisa Smith who shared their personal stories of how by providing CBD oil to their children who suffer from near-constant seizures, they risk Federal prosecution simply due to the conflicting laws between the state and Federal government. If passed, the bill would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list—treating it the same as substances like alcohol and tobacco.

Left to right: Haley Smith, Beth Collins, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and Rep. Tom Garrett urge Congress to pass the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Our archaic Federal laws relating to marijuana are hurting people, tearing families apart, turning everyday Americans into criminals, and negatively impacting our economy, all at a tremendous cost to taxpayers as billions are spent on an over-burdened and broken criminal justice system. As the opioid addiction epidemic continues to spread across the country, states that have legalized medical marijuana have seen addiction rates drop and opioid abuse deaths decrease by over 20%. Medical marijuana has helped children like Haley Smith living with Dravet syndrome reduce her seizures and other symptoms. But her mother Lisa lives with the fear of Federal prosecution every day. Our current policy makes no sense. This bill is a bipartisan effort that will be a great step forward in solving many of the fiscal and social challenges that our current policy is causing, and I urge my colleagues to support the passage of this bill.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard supports the full legalization of marijuana on the federal level as part of her overall effort toward criminal justice reform. She recently visited correctional facilities throughout Hawaiʻi, and met with inmates, criminal justice advocates and experts, health professionals, educators and others to discuss reducing recidivism and her continued efforts to pass federal criminal justice reform legislation like the SAFE Justice Act and the Sentencing Reform Act.

This bill would also eliminate key barriers to developing an industrial hemp industry which would create jobs and provide economic opportunity to communities in Hawaiʻi, and across the country. The congresswoman has also supported legislation like the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to support the cultivation of industrial hemp in Hawaiʻi and nationwide.

2017 Kaha Ki‘i Second Congressional District Art Competition Winners Announced

At the Hawai‘i State Capitol this morning, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted an awards ceremony in coordination with the Hawai‘i Art Education Association and Youth Art Month, where she announced the winning pieces (shown below) of the 2017 Kaha Ki‘i Second Congressional District Art Competition and honored the high school artists who created them with cash prizes.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and the 2017 Finalists

The first-place, second-place, third-place, and “People’s Choice” pieces of art will be showcased at the U.S. Capitol, in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Washington, DC and Hawaiʻi offices, and online (respectively).

“Congratulations to our 2017 Kaha Ki‘i Second Congressional District Art Competition winners Tori Wills, Chais Pascua, and Daymien Rodrigues, our remaining ten finalists, and the more than one hundred students from across the state who submitted incredible artwork this year,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard in her address to the art students at today’s awards ceremony. “Your artwork is an amazing platform to communicate. It moves people.  It inspires. It provokes thought, conversation, debate, and sometimes, even controversy. What you’re doing is powerful, and I’m so proud to be one small part of making this happen so we can encourage you to continue expressing yourselves through your art, which is showcased here in Hawai‘i, in Washington, as well as across the country and around the world through our Facebook page. Keep striving to increase your already amazing abilities—you have more supporters and champions than you know.”

Each spring, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sponsors the Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition to recognize and encourage creativity across Hawai‘i as part of a nationwide high school art competition with other Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The “People’s Choice” winner was determined by a contest on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Facebook page.