Washington E-Memo

Shutdown ends – for now

On January 25, portions of the federal government that had been without funding for 35 days reopened under a continuing resolution through February 15. The deal came one day after a proposal to pair border wall funding with protections for DACA and TPS recipients failed in the Senate. The bill would have spent more than $5 billion on border fences and walls, increased immigrant detention and deportations, removed protections for asylum seekers and gutted the DACA and TPS programs while providing only a limited extension to both.

Congressional Democrats offered a compromise border security proposal that would include funding for improvements to ports of entry (where 85 percent of illicit drugs come through), additional customs agents and technology such as sensors at the border–but not funding for walls or fences.

Policy updates

Asylum policy: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that it is sending some asylum applicants back to Mexico to wait for their cases to be processed. Many advocates see this as an attempt to deter asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, and legal challenges are likely. The Mexican government is reportedly cooperating but says that “trying to halt the flow of migrants without addressing the factors that force people to flee their countries is insufficient.” 

Gun policy: A bipartisan group of members in the House introduced a bill requiring universal background checks for all gun purchases. The bill, H.R. 8, currently has 229 co-sponsors.

Nigeria: On January 16 Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced concurrent resolutions on Nigeria (H. Con. Res. 4S. Con. Res. 1), calling for credible, free and safe elections. Nigeria’s presidential elections are scheduled for February 16. Statement by the U.S. Mission

Palestine and Israel: The Senate is currently considering S. 1, which includes the Combating BDS Act, to give the green light to states to discourage and prevent boycotts against Israel or illegal Israeli settlements. In addition, S. 1 reaffirms U.S. security assistance to Israel. Take action.

Syria: On January 22, the House passed the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act to increase sanctions on Syria. The bill is also being considered by the Senate as part of S. 1, and an amendment was added stating the Senate’s disapproval of withdrawing troops. In contrast, 32 House members signed a letter in support of the troop withdrawal.

Recent articles

A steep climb for asylum seekers

Update: Parents who faced deportation granted permanent residency

Out of Syria is step in the right direction

Early warning of empty tables (Nigeria)

Free speech and economic choices(Palestine and Israel)

Action alerts

Oppose border walls, support asylum seekers

Ask your senators to vote no on S. 1(Middle East)

Sign up to receive action alerts!


Webinar recording: “Communicating with Congress: A conversation with congressional staff”

January MCC Immigration update(Spanish)

Funding for border fences and walls falls far short of faith values (PDF)

Instead of building fences/walls, modernize U.S. ports of entry (PDF)

Upcoming events

February 10-16: Locked in Solidarity: National Awareness and Action Week on Mass Incarceration (Christian Community Development Association)

April 5-8: Make plans now to attend Ecumenical Advocacy Days. Organize a group of friends and register today!

Staff updates

Welcome to Megan Eaton and Jessica Carey, who are doing internships with us this spring. Megan is a senior at Messiah College and will work on domestic policy. Jessica is a graduate of Eastern University and will be focusing on foreign policy.

On January 22, Charles Kwuelum spoke at a congressional briefing about the upcoming election in Nigeria.

On Feb. 3, Tammy Alexander spoke about immigration issues at an event organized by the Refugee Support Network at Grantham Brethren in Christ Church in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

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