MCC photo/Laura Pauls-Thomas

MCC East Coast staffer Gregoria Flores-Nuñez assists Daysa Arzú by explaining immigration paperwork and processes. Immigration is one of the topics students are invited to explore in our contest.

Announcing essay and video contest

Calling all high school students! Our annual essay contest is now open, and we have an exciting change to announce. In addition to essays, we are now accepting short (2-3 minute) videos as well. Prizes of $750 will be awarded for the top essay and the top video.

Students are invited to examine one of these three topics: climate change, gun violence or immigration. The deadline for entering is January 24, 2020 and winners will be announced in late March. Help us spread the word!

Contest rules | Topics | Resource list 

Policy updates

Death penalty: Attorney General William Barr announced on July 25 that the Department of Justice will recommence the use of the federal death penalty for the first time in more than 20 years. Five people on death row were specifically mentioned by Barr.

Global health: On July 24, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) introduced a resolution supporting the Global Fund and reaffirming the U.S. commitment to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It calls on the U.S. government to provide 33% of the Global Fund’s budget.

Immigration: The Supreme Court ruled that sections of border wall can be built using $2.5 billion in military funds. One policy to deny asylum to most immigrants was suspended by a federal judge but another was announced that would require asylum seekers traveling through Guatemala to apply for protection there first. Undocumented immigrants who cannot prove they have been in the U.S. for at least two years can now be deported without a hearing before a judge.

Palestine and Israel: On July 23, the House passed three bills related to Palestine and Israel, including a resolution stating Congress’ opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (see vote), a bill to increase U.S.-Israel military cooperation and another aimed at Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Recent articles

“A safe and propitious asylum”(Immigration)

Caring for creation and the vulnerable: Considerations for a tax on carbon

“Tear down these walls” (Immigration, Palestine and Israel)

When playing soccer is no longer safe (Palestine and Israel)


MCC resources on gun violence:

Election resource: Climate change

Note: Next month’s E-Memo will include a combined July/August immigration update.

Staff updates

In early July, Tammy Alexander, John-Michael Cotignola-Pickens and Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach attended and helped lead seminars at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City. 

On July 16-17, Charles Kwuelum participated in the State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. The ministerial included the presentation of international religious freedom awards.

On July 19, Clara Weybright wrapped up her summer internship through the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions. We wish her all the best as she returns to Eastern Mennonite University to complete her studies.


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