On January 2, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began a series of raids to deport refugee families from Central America, primarily women and children. The raids are continuing; as recently as January 28 ICE picked up a teenager in North Carolina on his way to school. Many of the people taken in the raids have already been deported to El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras where they face heightened levels of fear and violence.
On February 2, a letter signed by faith-based organizations along with a petition with 120,000 signatures was delivered to the White House to urge an end to the raids. Tell President Obama that these raids must stop.
Click here for more resources on the raids.
Criminal justice reform: President Obama issued an executive order banning solitary confinement for juveniles in the federal prison system on January 25.
Gun violence: On January 4, President Obama issued an executive action that requests funding to run additional background checks and at a faster rate on gun buyers. The action also requires more background checks and licenses for individual sellers in certain cases.
North Korea: Both chambers of Congress have put forward legislation to tighten sanctions towards North Korea after tensions escalated at the end of 2015. Humanitarian organizations raised concerns with language in the bill that would have prohibited any U.S. transactions with the government of North Korea because it could severely limit humanitarian relief to North Koreans. Changes were made for humanitarian exemptions before the bill was passed in the House; the Senate version has not yet been voted on.
Syrian and Iraqi refugees: In large part thanks to grassroots advocacy, the "SAFE Act" was blocked in the Senate. The bill, which passed the House last November, would have ground to a halt the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the U.S. See how your Senator voted here.
April 15-18 Join us here in Washington, D.C. for Ecumenical Advocacy Days, co-sponsored by our office. This year's theme is "Lift Every Voice! Racism, Class, and Power."
May 22-23 Save the date for Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia, "Building peace from the ground up." Worship and advocacy resources for congregations will be coming soon.
In January we welcomed Liz Vincent to an internship in our office, focusing on domestic policy. Liz recently finished a Seed term with MCC in Bolivia.