March 10, 2015
Ask your members of Congress to vote no on authorizing the use of military force.
On February 11, President Obama proposed an “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” (AUMF) against the Islamic State group. Members of Congress will debate the president’s proposal and then are expected to vote on final legislation. Read more about the AUMF and how you can take action.
The debate in Congress about the AUMF continues to center unhelpfully on a militarized solution to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, which many of Mennonite Central Committee’s local partner organizations in the region say will never address the core issues. Sorely needed instead is a focus on negotiated, political solutions.
Criminal justice: On February 12, Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the Smarter Sentencing Act. Reps. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) introduced the House version of the bill on the same day. The bill would halve mandatory minimums for many federal drug offenders and is a significant step towards reform in a system that incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than any other country in the world.
Immigration–DHS funding: After flirting with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shutdown the previous week, the House passed a “clean” DHS funding bill on March 3. The clean bill, unlike previous versions, did not contain provisions to limit or eliminate the president’s executive actions for immigrants.
Immigration–Two court cases: On February 16 a federal judge blocked part of the president’s November executive action for immigrants. The Obama administration has appealed. On February 20 another judge ruled against the administration, this time in a case brought by the ACLU arguing that Central American refugees should not be held without bond.
- April 17-20: We hope that you can join us for Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington D.C., which will focus on the critical issue of mass incarceration and needed reforms to the U.S. criminal justice system. This ecumenical event will include a time to meet together with other Mennonites interested in the issue. Register today.
- May 17-18: Mark your calendars for this year's Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia: Tomorrow's Peace Starts Today. Sunday, May 17 we invite congregations to use worship resources to plan a service of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Colombia. Monday, May 18 is a day of action and advocacy. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info regarding worship and advocacy resources.
- Drones and death
- Locking up mothers and children
- In the grip of denial (climate change)
- Responding to violence with violence (Syria and Iraq)
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- Immigration: Find resources for starting an immigration documentation program at your church at mcc.org/immigration-toolbox.
Charissa Zehr participated in the Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship series at Hesston College in Kansas from February 13-15. She spoke to Hesston students during Friday forum and at Zion Mennonite Church in Elbing, Kansas on Sunday for their relief sale fundraiser lunch.