MCC photo/Melissa Engel

MCC-supported efforts in agriculture are providing alternatives to farmers in Guatemala such as Urbano Madel Ortiz Roblero.

Refuge and restoration - Central America: migration and its causes

As more migrants have come to the United States from Central America in recent years, the U.S. government has not sought primarily to provide refuge or to look deeper into the reasons why people are fleeing their home communities. Rather, the U.S. response has largely focused on how to stop the migration and send people back quickly.

This issue of the Washington Memo shares stories of Mennonite Central Committee’s work in Central America and in the United States. It also examines the ways in which U.S. policy–both immigration and foreign policy–can address the needs of those seeking refuge while at the same time acting as a “restorer of streets to live in” so that fewer will feel the need to leave home.

Download the full version of the Washington Memo print edition here (pdf)

Photo: MCC-supported efforts in agriculture are providing alternatives to farmers in Guatemala such as Urbano Madel Ortiz Roblero.

Policy updates

Anti-immigrant bills: Thank you to everyone who called their senators last week urging them to oppose two anti-immigrant bills. Both bills were defeated on July 6.

Colombia: On Thursday, June 23, the Colombian government signed a ceasefire agreement with the country’s largest guerilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).This begins the process of demobilization and disarmament for the FARC, the 5th major agenda item in the peace talks. It is a necessary step towards the final peace agreement which could be signed in the next few weeks or months.

Gun violence: On June 20, several bills to reduce gun violence failed to pass in the Senate. No gun violence legislation has been voted on in the House at this time.

Palestine and Israel: Twenty members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama noting that Palestinian children live "under the constant fear of arrest, detention, and violence at the hands of the Israeli military" and calling upon the U.S. to "advance the cause of security, human rights, equality, dignity, justice and opportunity for Palestinians, just as we do for Israelis." Learn more.

Supreme Court immigration case: On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court announced they had reached a 4-4 tie on a case challenging President Obama’s executive action for immigrants (DAPA and expanded DACA). The case will now either go back to the district court and wind its way back up to the Supreme Court, or be granted a rehearing at the high court for next year. More information | MCC statement

Upcoming events

On July 30, Tammy Alexander will co-lead the workshop “Welcoming Immigrants and Refugees in 2016” at the Mennonite Brethren National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

Recent articles

Felons or families? (Immigration)

No way to treat a child (Palestine/Israel)

Rejected and stigmatized, but saved by your love (HIV/AIDS)

Action alerts

Call on Congress for end to Gaza blockade

Help end gun violence

Urge the president to stop deporting refugees


Election 2016: Use this resource to engage with those seeking elected offices this fall

Gaza: Watch this video and sign a petition to #OpenGaza

Staff updates

Charles Kwuelum recently hosted Patrick Maxwell, who just concluded a 5-year term as peacebuilding coordinator in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Maxwell visited congressional offices and shared MCC insights on strategies for a sustainable democratic government in Eastern Congo.

Chris Rice, MCC Representative for Northeast Asia, was in Washington last week to share with congressional offices and the faith community about the peacebuilding and reconciliation work happening on the Korean peninsula and in the region.

Charissa Zehr attended the Brethren in Christ U.S. General Conference in Deland, Florida, from July 8-11.