October 7, 2019
Blocking asylum and building walls
Twenty-five years ago this month, the Clinton administration launched Operation Gatekeeper which began to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border. Since then, more than 8,000 migrants have perished after being driven to cross in more remote areas.
Last month, the Trump administration transferred $3.6 billion to build more border walls and, though the House and Senate rejected the National Emergency declaration that supports this funding, there were not enough votes to override a presidential veto.
The U.S. Supreme Court allowed a new policy to go into effect that blocks nearly all asylum seekers, while tent courtrooms constructed in border cities are making a farce of due process. Federal courts halted new policies to expand family detention and speed deportations.
Central America: El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have all signed agreements with the United States related to the processing of asylum seekers. If implemented, these agreements would force asylum seekers to remain in these countries while waiting for their claim to be processed. Take action.
Criminal justice: The Senate Appropriations Committee approved $75 million to implement the First Step Act, the law signed by President Trump at the end of 2018 that reduces the use of mandatory minimum sentences.
DR Congo: On September 23, the Senate passed the Ebola Eradication Act (S. 1340) by unanimous consent. The bill allows a more robust U.S. response to the Ebola crisis. The House version (H.R. 3080) still needs to move forward. Take action.
Gun violence: The House Judiciary Committee advanced three gun violence prevention bills that would eliminate high capacity ammunition magazines, provide grants to states that enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) and bar individuals who have been charged with a misdemeanor hate crime from gaining access to firearms. Bipartisan talks with President Trump are no longer happening.
Vietnam: Agent Orange, a toxic chemical causing congenital effects, was sprayed over Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Decades later, it continues to affect U.S. veterans and Vietnamese people. A bill to address this exposure was re-introduced earlier this year. Read more and ask your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 326.
Caption: Elizabeth Ramirez holds up a t-shirt made in her son Dee Jay’s memory. Elizabeth started an organization called Parents for Peace and Justice to help support other families who have lost children to gun violence in Chicago. MCC photo/Sarah Severns
Building in Gaza City. MCC photo/Lynn Longenecker
National Call-In Day for Peace on the Korean Peninsula (Tuesday, October 8)
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January 24, 2020 Deadline for entries to our essay and video contest. We are looking forward to seeing what high school students have to say about climate change, immigration and gun violence. Full contest rules here.
April 24-27, 2020 Ecumenical Advocacy Days: “Imagine! God’s Earth and People Restored.” As the conference description says, “The conference will explore the intersection of climate change and economic injustice. This will galvanize our advocacy on behalf of policies and programs to chip away at the systems of oppression that keep people in poverty and push all life on earth to the brink of destruction.”
On September 28 Kate Parsons attended the Global Peace Forum on Korea in New York City, a gathering of officials, academics and advocates from the United States, North Korea and South Korea.