WAYNE, MICHIGAN, Sunday July 8, 2007 -- Senator Levin was greeted with admiration and esteem Sunday where he met with the Albanian-American community of greater Detroit for an afternoon fundraising reception at the US-12 American Bar and Grill. Many in attendance had a unique opportunity to speak face-to-face with the senator and ask questions that concerned those most.
When the time came to address his constituents, Levin focused on three elements that he considers most salient to Albanians: (1) the defeated immigration bill and how it affects Albanian-Americans and other minorities in the United Sates; (2) The on-going resolution on Kosova’s independence and the U.S. role in its final status, and (3) the status of the Albanian political prisoners detained in Montenegro.
IMMIGRATION: Senator Levin expressed immense disappointment at the failure of the Immigration Bill. He stressed that aliens in this country need a path to citizenship and the Immigration Bill had languages within it that allowed for such a process to be conceived. He argued that Detroit’s immigration courts have the absolute worst record in the entire country when in comes to allowing Albanians to remain in the United States. He stressed that only 7% of Albanians win their cases in Detroit courts whereas the national average is 50%. Levin emphasized that he will continue to fight for new immigration law designed to help those in danger of being expunged and separated from their families. One solution, he pointed out might be found in the Defense Authorization Bill (An original bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2007 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe personnel strengths for such fiscal year for the Armed Forces, and for other purposes.) Levin proposed to insert language into the bill that would allow applicants for asylum to be considered for stay under conditions of the country at the time when the application was filled out, and not at the time of the decision of the court.
KOSOVA: Levin supports Kosova’s independence and was pleased that President Bush was well-received in Albania and acknowledges that his comments with respect to supporting Kosova’s independence were “the right thing to do.” He added that the Democratic Congress will continue to support an independent Kosova and looks forward to developments as they come.
MONTENEGRO: The senator assured everyone that he and his staff are closely monitoring the situation in Spuz with respect to the Albanian political prisoners and the trial proceedings. He has advocated for a “just and prompt” decision and is in constant contact with the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro. He stressed that his office is putting pressure on both diplomats and the Montenegrin government to find ways to speed the trial and ensure that the detainees are treated humanely. Levin said that he intends to contact the new Ambassador to Montenegro, Rod Moore, and personally meet with him to discuss the situation concerning (1) Albanians’ sociopolitical and economic status as national minorities, and (2) the case of the Albanian political prisoners.
The event raised approximately $20,000 and will go towards Levin's re-election campaign 2008 where he is the strong favorite to be re-elected for a 5th term in the Senate. Although he was urged to repeat the public service of the late senator Strom Thurmond, and retire at 100, he indicated that Thurmond's feat will not be interrupted, but with the blessing of his wife Barbara, Levin is charged for re-election and continued service for the Albanian community in Michigan and those abroad.
The moderators from FreeMalesia thank the senator and wish him luck in all his personal and political endeavors!
Great reporting, I love it!!
I was at the event and it was really nice. The Host of the venue, John Goci, did a great job, props to him.
I was happy to talk with the senator, he is so down-to-earth and doesn't come across as someone who holds himself above everyone else. He has my vote next November.
I was also happy to hear him talk about immigration, my sister just got deprted last fall and her husband is now in a bind -- either leave his job and go back or stay here and hope for the best -- and the best might be Carl Levin and his efforts to revise innigration.
Did Levin mention anything about the State Department?
What are they doing?
What about the trial? Where are we with that?
The State Dept remains idle on the situation. They are refusing to even demand the simplist of things: fair treatment of the political prisoners.
But lets not forget that the prisoner situation in Montenegro is just one problem that has evolved from something bigger.
All of this is the result of the treatment of Albanians from all aspects of life, ie., poor social conditions, unequal political rights, underdeveloped economic opportunities, and civil discriminations all around.
These harsh conditions have led to an infuriated minority that has demanded greater basic rights, at a minimum, but have been continually denied by the majority Slavs.
And it hurst even more when your own political leaders -- Dinosha -- sides with the Slavs and snubs his own people.
So the problems run deeper that the recent arrests. Yes, we all feel for the families but there are the rest of teh Albanians that are also suffering everyday.
I was happy to hear Viktor Ivezaj mention to those in attendance, and especially to Carl Levin, why the matter of Albanians in Montenegro should be a concern for the Senator. He explained it as a matter of fact.
It is true, we are all his constitutents, and whenever Albanians leave Montenegro, more times than not they come to Michigan and join their families that have concentrated here over the years.
And those that live here all have families and property back in Montenegro, so we all have an invested interest (and a historic presence that is unparalleled anywhere) in our homeland.
I know, aren't there around 60,000 Albanians from Montenegro living in Michigan?
Good point. Yes, definately more than in Montenegro.
There is a point here that does need to be elaborated.
Why have the social and political efforts in the Albanian Diaspora (from Montenegro) shifted from the politics of assimilation, emigration, social and economic injustices, and human rights violations to only the political prisoners?????????
X causes Y, not the other way around.
The political prisoners are the dependent variable here, where the indepoendent variable is discrimination against Albanians in Montenegro.
People are losing focus.
YES, that is my point too!
Those arrests were caused by the minority rights abuses in Montenegro, and if you look at the data you will find that Albanians are poorly represented in a spheres of public administration.
Doesn't this bother anyone??
For God's sake, even the prosecutor that charged the infamous 14 complained that cases in teh court system are slow moving and there needs to be a change.
If things don't change soon, there will be many more September 10 incidents because Albanians are on the edge both in Montenegro and the Diaspora.
Sept. 10 as in arests will continue as they did at that time OR more acts like that according to the state?
The first part -- arrests such as these will continue if changes don't turn about.
Dod Lucaj's fate will be determined by Austria's highest court soon; chances of overruling ther two lower courts are slim.
His extradition will be a victory for Montenegro, but it will be a shot in the arm for the United States if they allow a U.S. citizen to be transported to a state where he has absolutely no chance of a fair trial -- he is already guilty in Montenegro.
The U.S. needs to step in a realize that Montenegrin law and minority rights are in grave danger to its Albanian population, and if the very elements of a just society are not protected, then why should the U.S. stand idle and watch everything it stands for be turned upside down without them intervening?
Doci is nowhere a slightest priority for the USA because he has been singled out as someone who posed a threat overseas in the past.
Did you know that Doci was denied travel to Montenegro on a few occasions over the past 3-5 years?
the delays in the trial proceedings in Montenegro have also taken into consideration the possibility of Doci being extradicted there, so they wait and they delay and delay and delay ...
Now we're looking at Sept. for the trial to resume.
What a shame for US they let his citizan to be extradicted in montenegro for smth that he is innocent... what a shame
Why is the Detroit Immigration Board treating many Albanian immigrants as second class citizens.I personally would be dissappointed if it`s ethnic discrimination.If neccesary if immigration agencies can permit Iraqis to immigrate to the U.S. than they should be just as considerate to the Albanians. Though I actually reside in Canada I can overall relate to Albanians who yearn to reside in U.S.A. and finally I don`t trust an immigrant official(s) who may support the Milosevic regime so therefore I encourage Albanians the best of luck in your intentions to permanently or indefinitely reside in United States. P.S.-Though it`s bit off topic one of my favorite American tourist spots is Disney World and point is I wish a good trip to a decent Albanian family who may plan a trip to Disney World.
For clarification purposes I don`t want anyone to feel that no Iraqis whatsoever should settle in America,besides I don`t blame all Iraqis for the actions of the late Saddam Hussein & his cronies in fact I understand Iraqis who oppose Saddam Hussein & his regime. Back to the Albanians,whether you`re Muslim or Christian I once again encourage you good luck in convincing immigrant officials that you desire permanent or indefinite residence in U.S.A. All The Best! And yes I`m so sorry for those Albanians who weren`t fortunate in their desires for residency in America.
Not to get all political but I read on-line a few years ago where I believe it was back in 1999 that some Kosovar-Albanian asylum seekers to the U.S. were a bit manhandled by some INS officials. My point is even if these INS officials were never fired and/or sued and JUST IN CASE they were supportive of the Milosevic regime and if they "lost sleep" over Milosevic's downfall and were powerless in preventing his downfall from occuring than I'm glad. Besides INS officials presumably have no jurisdiction over Serbia nor the Hague,Netherlands.
Oh yes why I mentioned the Hague is because that's where that slimeball Milosevic and some of his idiot subordinates ended up in jail. My apologies if his name evokes terrible memories.
For now if there were other INS officials who were "accomodating" to asylum seekers of the same nationality than we should more or less feel relieved.
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