Dear White House -- Some Questions From Those of Us in the 'Ethnic Media'


Editor's Note: The White House is open for questions. Anyone can go online and submit a question. The administration today will answer some of the questions submitted from across the country. NAM asked editors and journalists from ethnic media to submit their question for the White House.

As a new right-wing government prepares to take over in Israel – while illegal settlement in the West Bank, a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and home demolition in Jerusalem continue – are there any genuine, specific measures or stances the administration will take to counter apartheid in the Palestinian territories?

-Khalil AlHajal, The Arab American News

How can you ensure that ethnic groups are fully represented in the Obama administration? Why haven’t you hired more Arab Americans and will you do interviews with Arab American media instead of leapfrogging over the American Arab media to do interviews with the Arab world media?

-Ray Hanania, Arab Writers Group, Mornings with Ray Hanania

What is your policy on comprehensive immigration reform, and when are you sending it to the 111th Congress to act on it?

-Jennie L. Ilustre, Asian Fortune

The U.S. economic magnet is losing some of its power to retain skilled immigrants from China and India, threatening the United States in an increasingly competitive global environment. Do you have any plan to retain these engineers in Silicon Valley?

-Diane Liu, China News Service

What do you think about Joe Arpaio's incarceration of undocumented immigrants in Arizona in a manner that seems to be taken out of the slavery period? When will the immigration raids stop? Or does your administration plan to continue them?

-Maria Mejia, El Mensajero 

The nation, in general, is relieved that the Administration are seriously addressing the country's major issues: the economy, healthcare, education, and, of late, the Mexican drug cartel wars -- now with a $700-million earmark -- that is spilling onto U.S. soil. Apparently, however, one area of major concern seems to have been regarded as a non-issue, even during last year's presidential campaigns by both candidates, and that is IMMIGRATION REFORM. When will the Obama administration realize that it cannot isolate the immigration problem from these issues -- especially the economy, which to a large extent depends on immigrant labor and immigrant consumer spending?

-Jun Ilagan, Fil-Am Star

Pres. Barack Obama, in an appearance on Meet the Press some months ago, and in a separate interview with the Chicago Tribune, you talked about ‘rebooting’ the image of the United States in the Muslim world. It was also reported that you planned to deliver a major speech in an Islamic capital within the first 100 days of your presidency. At that time, the location had not been determined or disclosed. Has that location been determined and is the delivery of that speech still on the agenda?

-Ashahed M. Muhammad, The Final Call

Is the administration planning to appoint a special envoy to Kashmir, notably Bill Clinton? If not, does it have any plans to mediate the dispute itself? How important is the issue of Kashmir to the administration's overall strategy of combating terrorism in South Asia?

-Sunita Sohrabji, India West

What is your administration’s response to the claims by multiple national Islamic organizations that the FBI is sending undercover agents posing as worshippers into mosques, pressuring Muslims to become informants, labeling civil rights advocates as criminals and spreading misinformation?

-Saaqib Rangoonwala, InFocus News (IFN)

What are the administration’s plans for immigration reform, if any?

-Sean Canniffe, The Irish Herald

If Iran or any of Israel's other adversaries in the Middle East region were to attack Israel, what would the president's first action be?

-Rachel Heller, Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles

Do you think the situation along the Mexico-U.S. border, where narcotraffickers are challenging the Mexican government as they seek the profits that flow from supplying the demand for illegal drugs in the U.S., indicates that our "War on Drugs" has failed? If so, what's your plan to address the sitution?

-Jerry Sullivan, Los Angeles Garment & Citizen

President Obama, you alluded in your press conference that achieving peace in the Middle East is a long process. Isn’t six decades long enough? And are you getting cold feet on pursuing a peaceful resolution between Israel and the Palestinians?

-Jamal Dajani, Mosaic, LinkTV

What specifically will be done in this first year of your administration to address the disparities in education for black students, such as higher dropout rates and lower college enrollment rates? Also, what will be done to ensure these students in particular are fluent in the technology needed to succeed in a modern, global economy?

-Annie Gldzhyan,

What is tribal sovereignty? It is the basis for all Indian tribes and their relationship with the U.S government, so we want to know how President Obama's views sovereignty.

-Duane A. Beyal, The Navajo Times

What specific help could the White House give a small business owner?

-Anh Do, Nguoi Viet Daily News

President Obama, how are you and your family dealing with the economic crisis to help Juan Perez (Joe Smith)?

-Pedro Rojas, La Opinión 

The E-Verify system has enough room for error that would-be employees wouldn’t get jobs. Would you drop E-Verify altogether? What would you do to ensure that U.S. citizens and legal residents aren't denied jobs because of some government error?

-Mary Thang, New England Ethnic Newz

In recent months there were cases of Polish citizens with valid visas who who were forbidden to enter the United States, despite being granted visas by the American Embassy in Poland. The treatment of Polish citizens was shocking to many, especially since many of those stopped at the border were older women in their 60s and 70s. They were interrogated at the airport and transported in handcuffs to a detention center. At the detention center they had to undress, and were given jail underwear as well as red uniforms, and were placed in cells. In some cases there were no beds and no blankets, only concrete benches and a toilet bowl. In recent years, Poland proved to be one of the most pro-American countries in Europe. With the economic situation in Poland improved, the number of Poles immigrating permanently to the United States keeps decreasing. On the other hand, more are coming to travel, to shop, or for business, which could only help the American economy. Is this kind of treatment necessary in the case of Polish citizens as well as citizens of other countries? They are coming to the United States with good intentions but instead are treated like criminals with disregard to their dignity.

-Ewa Kern-Jedrychowskam, Polish Daily News 

Does the Obama administration have any intention of getting immigration reform done this congressional year or would they do it at another time? In this time of recession, more than 14 million undocumented workers are suffering a lot.

-Mohsin Zaheer, Sada-e-Pakistan

Many people understand that the costs of the bailout and the stimulus plan may be unavoidable. But with a budget deficit that may balloon to $9.3 trillion in the next decade, how do you convince people that their children, who seem to have to shoulder some of the debts of the older generation, will have a better future than their parents?

-Xiaoqing Rong, Sing Tao Daily New York 

Why can't laws be created to force large American corporations to stop taking jobs out of the United States and giving them to low-paying foreign countries, leaving Americans out of work? Yet we are still expected to keep the economy going. How?

-Janice Malone, Tennessee Tribune

One of America’s dirtiest secrets is its hunger problem. There are millions of Americans who suffer from hunger and they are not just the homeless. Other than increasing money for food stamps, how do you plan to tackle hunger in this country?

-James Wright,Washington Afro

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