Please enjoy this abbreviated version of the MCC Immigration Update. The full update will return in July.
Dreamer and TPS bill passes House
On June 4, The American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6) was approved by the House (see how your representative voted). The bill would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status holders. Concerns persist about provisions to exclude immigrants with criminal convictions, particularly for youth accused of gang involvement. Similar legislation is not likely to advance in the Senate. The Supreme Court is reportedly considering hearing a DACA case during its next term.
Asylum seekers: On June 7, U.S. and Mexican officials reached an agreement to avoid threatened U.S. tariffs against Mexico. The agreement includes the deployment of 6,000 Mexican national guard troops to assist with immigration enforcement and an expansion of the Remain in Mexico program. An agreement between U.S. and Guatemalan officials will include the deployment of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) law enforcement personnel in Guatemala. A new Senate bill (S. 1494) would require migrants to apply for asylum in their home countries, remove trafficking protections for unaccompanied minors and allow children to be detained for up to 100 days (the current limit is 20 days). As the numbers of arriving asylum seekers remains high, some are being kept outside in cage-like structures for weeks at a time.
Asylum/border supplemental: House and Senate lawmakers are trying to come to an agreement on a supplemental spending bill to address the increasing numbers of asylum seekers. Senate leaders and the White House want to include funds for additional detention beds and enforcement officers while House leaders want the bill to focus solely on humanitarian needs and remove information-sharing policies that have led to the deportation of sponsors of unaccompanied minors—a policy which is partially responsible for the long delays in placing unaccompanied minors with sponsors. Resource: Interfaith Immigration Coalition border policy recommendations.
Urge your members of Congress to welcome those seeking asylum in the U.S. and to focus any federal spending related to asylum seekers on meeting humanitarian needs and addressing the root causes of migration rather than on detention, deterrence and enforcement.
Enforcement: On June 17, President Trump indicated there may be stepped-up arrests of undocumented immigrants around the country in the coming weeks or months.
- Know-your-rights web page
- Legal support
- How to find a family member detained by ICE
- Sample needs intake form for helping families with financial needs
- Rapid response: From raids to deportation: A community resource kit | ICE raid's toolkit (Immigrant Defense Project) | Rapid Response website (SFbar)
Fiscal Year 2020 spending bills: A Homeland Security spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee contains several good provisions including an end to family detention, the lowering of detention space to 34,000 beds, no funds for border barrier construction, measures to prevent the transfer of funds from other programs to expand detention or build border barriers, and several good oversight measures. The House will still need to come to an agreement with Senate appropriators and the White House on a final bill.
Border wall construction: A federal judge denied a House of Representatives request for an injunction to prevent border barrier construction with funds transferred from military accounts. The House has filed an appeal. Construction using these transferred funds is currently on hold due to a preliminary injunction in another court case. In New Mexico, a small section of recently constructed privately-funded border wall has led to conflicts with the city of Sunland Park over permits and with the International Boundary Water Commission over the blocking of a U.S.-owned levee road, dam and a historic monument.
Humanitarian aid is never a crime: The trial of border resident Scott Warren resulted in a hung jury on June 11. Warren was accused of harboring and other offenses and faced 20 years in prison after he gave food, water, clothes, shelter and blankets to two undocumented immigrants who had recently crossed the border. “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing…” (Matthew 25:35-36).
MCC immigration seminars at MennoCon19 in Kansas City
- July 2: Welcoming immigrants in 2019: Tangible ways to put your faith into action (registration closed)
- July 3: Immigration advocacy 101 - Room 2204, 2:45-3:45 pm
- July 5: People on the Move: What would you choose? (youth) - Room 2501D, 9:00-10:00 am and 2:45-3:45 pm