Welcoming the newcomer
June 20 marked World Refugee Day, at a time when a record 65 million people around the word have been forced from home. But the U.S. continues to be less than welcoming to newcomers.
Last week the House passed legislation cracking down on “sanctuary cities,” as well as a bill to stiffen penalties for immigrants who commit a crime in the U.S. The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to dramatically reduce protections for unaccompanied children seeking asylum.
On June 26, the Supreme Court announced it would take up President Trump’s “travel ban” in the fall, but that in the meantime limited parts of it can go into effect. This will impact refugees, as well as travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, who do not have a close tie to the U.S.
Take action: Ask Congress to support refugees | Peace Lab Podcast: Immigration justice with Tammy Alexander and Saulo Padilla | Webinar recording: What can your church do to help immigrants? | Immigration update in English and Spanish
Photo: An interfaith rally at the White House on June 20, World Refugee Day. MCC Photo/Julian Brubaker.
Nigeria: The U.S government plans to sell warplanes worth $600 million to Nigeria, a country that is currently struggling with a budget crisis and faces allegations of human rights abuses. In northeast Nigeria, 1.7 million people have been displaced from their homes, and 8.1 million people are in dire need of humanitarian and emergency food assistance. Urge Congress to support humanitarian assistance instead. Read more.
North Korea (DPRK): A bipartisan bill to restrict U.S. citizens from traveling to North Korea is moving quickly in the House. While tourism would be limited, H.R. 2732 should allow for humanitarian work, like that of MCC and its partners, to continue assisting the most vulnerable people of North Korea.
Palestine and Israel: Last week 32 members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary Tillerson, raising concern about the Israeli detention of Isso Amro, who has received international human rights awards for his nonviolent work. Amro goes on trial on July 9.
On June 13, Charissa Zehr led a panel discussion on humanitarian engagement in North Korea (DPRK) at the Korea Peace Network conference, titled “Off Ramps to War: Paths to Building Peace with North Korea.”
On June 21, Isabella Madrid, student at Eastern Mennonite High School and grand prize winner of the Washington Office’s essay contest, visited Washington, D.C with her family to meet with the offices of Senators Kaine and Warner to discuss immigration.
Cherelle M. Dessus met with the MCC U.S. board to participate in a “mini pipeline-to-prison learning tour.” It included a visit to the Lancaster County Prison and discussions and activities geared toward dismantling a system of oppression.