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acostaIn December of 2001, an unknown law professor named Barack Obama lectured on the Civil War Amendments (the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth) to his law school students at the University of Chicago.  He explained how the Civil War Amendments redefined the social contract by transforming former slaves, who were considered three-fifths of a person under the original Constitution, into citizens of the United States. As I sat in the audience, I began to think that my own transformation from illegal immigrant to United States citizen was the result of a similar reconstruction when President Ronald Reagan and Congress passed the Immigration Reform Act of 1986.

More than a quarter of a century after that 1986 act, the country is once again at the precipice of defining who is in and who is out.

Zhivargo LaingBAHAMAS (April 30, 2013) - Proposed US immigration reforms could have positive implications not only for Caribbean nationals living in the United States, but also for countries of the region, asserted a former cabinet minister in the Bahamas.      

"The reforms that offer a pathway to citizenship might be applicable to thousands of Caribbean nationals who have spent years living and working in the US and might be deemed entitled to regularization as citizens," said economist Zhivargo Laing.

Laing surmised "the not insignificant Caribbean diaspora in the US, estimated at more than 20 million, can influence US policymakers to take account of their realities in their reform efforts."

boston bombersAN FRANCISCO -- As the story of the Tsarnaev brothers unfolds – from asylum, to attempts at assimilation and finally to terrorism -- I hear echoes of another set of brothers from my own country, Vietnam.

On April 4, 1991 three Vietnamese brothers and a friend – all teenagers – took over an electronics store in Sacramento, California. The group held forty-one people hostage, garnering national attention as journalists flocked outside the store. Inside, the boys prowled about with their guns, the hostages tied up.

What did the Nguyen brothers want?

dinnerDOHA (April 25, 2013) - During a recent flight from Rome to Doha on the award-winning Qatar Airways, I was impressed, as I usually am with carriers from the Gulf, with their approach to in-flight service.

While other carriers make it clear that flight attendants (perhaps trying to shake their, unfair, reputation as "flying waiters and waitresses") are there for passengers' safety and downplay the hospitality element, airlines like Emirates and Qatar understand that comfort is key to customer satisfaction.