Tag: Poland

Immigration NewsPolish

Illinois Congressman Asks Obama to Add Poland to Visa Waiver Program

Rep. Mike Quigley (D.-Ill.), a newly elected congressman from Chicago, has wasted no time in addressing a key concern of the Polish community in Illinois’ 5th district.

Last Friday, Quigley called on President Barack Obama to support Poland’s plea for inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program — a matter we reported on last week.

Poland has proven to be an indispensable ally in the global campaign against terrorism,” wrote Quigley in a press release.

Including Poland in the Visa Waiver Program will have positive security, economic, and bilateral effects.

In addition, there are thousands of Polish-Americans in my district alone who would benefit by making it easier to have a loved one visit them, not to mention the local businesses that would benefit from tourism dollars.

We owe it to a country that has stood by us, and to the people who would like to visit the United States.

Quigley, a former member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, won the special election held on April 7, 2009 to replace Rahm Emanuel after he vacated the seat in order to serve as Obama’s White House Chief of Staff.

One of Quigley’s rivals in the race was Victor Forys, a Polish immigrant who, despite the large percentage of Polish Americans in the 5th district (17% of all residents), ended up fourth in the special Democratic primary.

Immigration NewsPolish

Future of the Missile Defense Project in Poland Uncertain Under an Obama Administration

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, Polish Daily News and FI2W reporter

Polish President Lech Kaczynski speaks to Barack Obama.

Polish President Kaczynski - Photo: Polish Presidency.

The first phone conversation between Polish president Lech Kaczynski and U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, which took place the Friday after the election, has already caused diplomatic confusion, as apparently they had different understandings of what was said.

The next day, President Kaczynski issued a statement on his Polish-language website saying that Obama “emphasized the importance of the strategic partnership of Poland and the United States and expressed hope in the continuation of political and military cooperation between our countries. He also said that the missile-defense project would continue.”

The last sentence, however, was removed the next day after a quick reaction from Obama’s staff.

“President Kaczynski raised missile defense, but President-elect Obama made no commitment on it,” said Obama’s senior foreign policy advisor Denis McDonough. “His position is, as it was throughout the campaign, that he supports deploying a missile-defense system when the technology is proved to be workable.”

The misunderstanding quickly became fuel for comments in the Polish media.

The second-largest Polish newspaper, left-leaning Gazeta Wyborcza, which is often critical of the conservative Kaczynski, interpreted a memo by Obama’s top foreign policy advisers Tony Lake and Susan Rice as a reaction to that conversation.

As reported by Politico, in the memo sent out to all of Obama’s foreign policy advisers, Lake and Rice wrote: “We ask each of you please do not under any circumstances speak to the press, any foreign officials, or embassies on behalf of the transition or President-elect Obama. (…) It would be highly damaging for foreign government or media to receive information that they believe falsely to represent the views of the President-elect.”

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