Forwarded message:

From: "Polish American Congress Washington D.C."
Date: July 28, 2006 3:54:42 PM EDT (CA)
To: "Polish American Congress Washington D. C."
Subject: [PAC_ND] News Release:


WASHINGTON, DC, July 28, 2006 – The Polish American Congress (PAC) yesterday proudly represented the Polish American community at Taste America, an invitation-only event at the Capitol building in Washington, DC attended by more than 650 guests primarily including U.S. Congress Senators and Representatives with their families. The event was held under the theme of E Pluribus Unum -- From Many, One and was tailored to present contributions of various ethnic groups to American history and culture.

The Polonia display presented during the event, and preceded by months of preparation in the Washington D.C. office of the Polish American Congress, was designed to better acquaint the event’s influential attendees with the Polish American community and its history, accomplishments, and contributions. In achieving this goal, the PAC designed an exhibit that highlighted the history, culture, and sheer size of the Polish American community.

Particularly successful elements of the exhibit included:
A) a colorful, wall-size hanging map of the United States showing the Polish American population in each state,
B) two engaging, picture-filled posters highlighting the accomplishments of the most prominent Polish Americans,
C) elegant displays of Polish art, including hand-painted silks, traditional Christmas tree ornaments, artistic glass, and contemporary art, and
D) popular gift bags that included both a taste of Polish chocolates and liquors as well as an informative newsletter summarizing the information presented in the exhibit to educate attendees about Polonia and the PAC.

The exhibit also included on-table displays presenting the history of Polonia in the United States; information about the Polish American Congress, including its mission and major accomplishments; details about other prominent, Polish American organizations; a listing of American universities offering programs or courses in Polish studies; and a multitude of other information about American Polonia in the form of a large diversity of brochures, publications and handouts.

All visiting guests were invited to sample Polish sweets as well as to take home CDs with music by Chopin and Liszt performed by Polish American pianist Jerzy Stryjniak.

The Polish American Congress is grateful for the generosity of the sponsors that made the exhibit possible. In particular, we would like to acknowledge Doma Export, Adamba Imports, Appetita, Bison Grass Vodka, Hortex, Knorr, Luksusova Potato Vodka, Prince Polo Chocolates, Ultimat Vodka, Vavel, Wawel, as well as sponsors of the Arts section: Komozja, Polish Silk, Mr. Rafal Olbinski, Mr. Mariusz Rynkiewicz, Mr. Jerzy Stryjniak, and the American Institute of Polish Culture in Miami, Florida.

The Polish American Congress is a national umbrella organization representing more than 10 million Americans of Polish descent and origin. Its membership is comprised of fraternal, educational, veteran, religious, cultural, social, business, and political organizations and of individual membership. The PAC promotes civic, educational and cultural programs designed to further not only the knowledge of Polish history, language and culture, but also to stimulate Polish American involvement and accomplishments. With 29 State Divisions and Chapters, the Polish American Congress is represented in 23 states. The Polish American Congress has offices in Washington, D.C. and Chicago with Mr. Frank Spula as president.

Polish American Congress
1612 K Street, N.W. Suite 410
Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202 296 6955; Fax: 202 835 1565

Legislative Alert

HOT News: Visa Waiver for Poland Amendment to Securing America’s Borders Act (S. 2454) passed today in U.S. Senate Washington D.C. May 17, 2006 -- HOT News: U.S. Senate adopted today amendment by Senators Santorum and Mikulski to S. 2454 Securing America's Borders Act thus creating a vehicle for Poland to be included in the Visa Waiver Program. Please contact your Senators today and urge them to vote for S. 2454 Securing America's Borders Act. The vote will take place in the U.S. Senate by the end of this week
(by May 21, 2006).

In a voice vote, the U.S. Congress passed today, May 17, 2006, an amendment filed by Senators Santorum (R, PA) and Mikulski (D, MD), crafted specifically to include Poland in the Visa Waiver Program. Below is the summary of the amendment: Probationary Participation in Visa Waiver Program for Allies in the War on Terror – When a country is a staunch defense ally and partner in the War on Terror, they should have the opportunity to participate in the Visa Waiver Program on a probationary basis while they work to come into full compliance. Senator Santorum previously introduced and called up a similar amendment (#3214) cosponsored by Sen. Mikulski.  After consultation with the Judiciary Committee and the Department of State, this modified version seeks to address some of the concerns that have been raised.  The sponsors of the amendment believe it is time to allow Polish citizens to come to the U.S. for weddings, birthdays and funerals without the arbitrary determination of an embassy bureaucrat.  The current amendment is cosponsored by Sens. Frist and Mikulski.
The amendment will allow "anti-terror" allies to become pilot program participant countries in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in ways that ensure there is no compromise in terms of national security.  To be eligible for probationary participation in the VWP through this provision, a country would have to satisfy the following criteria:
  a.. The country must be member of the European Union.
  b.. The country must be providing material support (defined as the current provision of the equivalent of, but not less than, a battalion (300 to 1,000 military personnel) to Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom to provide training, logistical or tactical support, or military presence) to the United States or the multi-lateral forces in Afghanistan or Iraq, as determined by the Secretary of the Department of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State.
  c.. The country must be determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, not to compromise the law enforcement security interests of the United States by its inclusion into the program; provided that such determination shall only take into account any refusal rates or overstay rates after the expiration of the first full year of such country’s admission in to the European Union.
The country would have two full calendar years from their probationary admission into the VWP to come into full compliance with all requirements of the VWP.  At the end of the two years, the country will be removed from the VWP if it fails to meet the full criteria for admission.  On the sole determination of the Secretary of State, a country’s probationary status can be extended for up to two more years provided the Secretary finds the country
(1) is making significant progress towards full compliance with the VWP,
(2) is likely to achieve full compliance before the end of the extended period, and
(3) continues to be an ally of the U.S. against terrorist states, organizations and individuals, as determined by the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretary of State.
Even though the cited above summary does not name any specific country, the text of the amendment was crafted specifically with Poland in mind. Today’s vote made the amendment officially a part of the sponsored bill by Senator Frist S. 2454 Securing America's Borders Act. The vote on the bill is expected to take place some time this week.
It is crucial to show Polonia’s support for this bill NOW! There are only a few days left and the vote of your Senator can make a difference in whether or not the Securing America's Borders Act will become a law. Please contact your Senators TODAY.
For the contact information to your Senators, please visit the U.S. Senate on the Web site ( where you can select your state from the top menu. Please call, and then also e-mail or fax your Senators and say “I urge you to vote to pass S.2454 when the bill comes up for vote”. If you don ’t have access to Internet, please check the blue section of your Yellow Pages.
Time is of the essence. Please forward this information to other friends of Poland Polonia that might offer their support.
Frank J. Spula, President
Polish American Congress
1612 K Street, N.W. Suite 410
Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 296 6955
Fax: 202 835 1565

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