Washington E-Memo

A closed door to newcomers

After separating more than 2,000 children from parents seeking refuge at the U.S.-Mexico border, President Trump issued an executive order to stop the separations. But families are still facing hurdles in being reunited and the president’s subsequent declaration that asylum seekers should not be able to have their cases heard in court is a clear violation of U.S. legal obligations. Congress is considering legislation to prevent family separation but some of the bills would allow children to be held in detention indefinitely. The current limit is 20 days. In the last 10 days, the House has voted down several immigration bills.

Separately, the Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that the Trump administration’s blanket travel ban on individuals from several majority-Muslim countries was constitutional. Congress could overturn the ban but such action is unlikely.

End family detention and separation | Open letter on detaining families

Antonia Alvarez and Daniel Galan fast for the Dream Act on Capitol Hill. MCC photo/Tammy Alexander.

Photo: Ruth Lesher, MCC U.S. board member, visits the grave of an unidentified woman who died on her migrant journey to the U.S. Board and staff members toured the Douglas, Arizona area June 21 prior to meeting at Shalom Mennonite Fellowship in Tucson. MCC photo/J Ron Byler.

Photo: MCC U.S. board member Virgo Handojo prays at the wall between Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta, Mexico, on June 21. MCC photo/Saulo Padilla

Policy updates

DPRK (North Korea): The June summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un has created more space for dialogue between the U.S. and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) which is a positive step forward on a long path. Read more analysis of the summit.

DR Congo: On June 21, the United States sanctioned several top officials from the Democratic Republic of the Congo for corruption, linked to delayed elections. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have introduced a resolution urging President Kabila to hold credible elections in December. Take action to support transparency and accountability in DR Congo.

Haiti: More than 100 members of Congress signed a letter to the UN Secretary General, urging him to ensure that the UN meets its obligations and effectively repairs the harms caused by the cholera epidemic in Haiti.

Photo: Hyun Hur of ReconciliAsian, Samuel Resendez of Iglesia La Roca and Rhonda Dueck of North Fresno (Calif.) Mennonite Brethren Church speak with California Rep. Judy Chu’s aides, Krystal Ka’ai and Rricha Mathur, as part of an immigration delegation in February. — Danielle Gonzales/MCC

Photo: Capitol Hill building in Washington, D.C. MCC photo/ Cherelle M. Dessus

Upcoming events

July 17

Join the Washington Office as wecelebrate 50 yearsRegister here.

Staff updates

On June 14, Cherelle and Rachelle met with a youth group from Shalom Mennonite of Harrisonburg, Va. during their visit to D.C. to speak about the Washington Office and to facilitate “You Got Booked: An MCC mass incarceration learning tool.”

Staff helped to coordinate the Korea Peace Network advocacy days in mid-June. The network visited more than 60 congressional offices on the day after the U.S.-DPRK summit to encourage further diplomacy and engagement with DPRK.

On June 21, Cherelle and Xin-Dee, our international affairs intern, participated in a Native American learning tour in Lancaster, Pa. The day began with a session on the Doctrine of Discovery through the “Loss of Turtle Island” exercise and ended with visits to sites significant to the history of Native groups.

Cherelle joined MCC East Coast in leading “You Got Booked” for reentry awareness month in Philadelphia on June 27. Members of the community gathered to participate in the interactive learning tool and discuss reentry in the city.

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