Advocates’ Corner

 Faith Mennonite Church (Minneapolis, Minn.) led their local community in a series of workshops on immigration reform. Topics included: immigration throughout history, the flaws of the current system, migrant experiences, and an Anabaptist perspective on immigration. The church also participated in an Immigration Faith Action in witness to government.

Mennonite Church USA Stands Against Indiana Immigration Bill

On March 7, Mennonite Church USA leadership held a press conference to oppose a bill passed by the Indiana State Senate that mirrors Arizona’s immigration enforcement bill. “Together we stand opposed to Indiana Senate Bill 590,” their statement read. “Jesus demonstrated that God’s love has no borders.”

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

For the Peace of Jerusalem

May 22-24

The 2011 Churches for Middle East Peace advocacy conference will be held in Washington, DC. Archbishop Elias Chacour will keynote the conference, as well as other great speakers. Visit cmep.org for more information.

Bridges to the Cross: Mennonite Church USA Convention

July 4-9

If you will be attending the Mennonite Church USA Convention in Pittsburgh, be sure to stop by the MCC booth. MCC Washington Office staff will be helping to lead workshops for youth and adults on trade, immigration, and Israel-Palestine.

 

STAFF UPDATES

This spring we are joined by Sarah Birkebak, a recent graduate of Messiah College; Ebuka Mefor, a student at Calvin College; and Janelle Tupper, a student at American University.

Patricia Kisare visited MCC programs in Zimbabwe, Congo and Burundi in March. She is available to share with congregations about her experience. To request a speaker from the Washington Office, email mccwash@mcc.org or call (202) 544-6564.

Essay Winner, Karina Ortman. Credit: Vicki Hofer-Holdeman

 12th ANNUAL HIGH SCHOOL ESSAY CONTEST

The annual MCC Washington Office essay contest provides an opportunity for young people to reflect on public policy and Anabaptist faith. The contest is open to Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and other Anabaptist youth of high school age, and to all youth who attend Mennonite high schools.

Grand prize was awarded to Karina Ortman. Excerpts from her essay follow. Other winners included Rebecca Hardy of Eastern Mennonite High School (Harrisonburg, Va.) and James Helmuth of Bethany Christian High School (Goshen, Ind.).

A Voice for Those Who Are Not Heard

Karina Ortman, Freeman Academy, Freeman, South Dakota

If you needed a job to support your family, and there were no jobs available, would you leave your family to try to find work in another country? If there were better educational opportunities in another country, would you leave your current country to receive a better education elsewhere? …

Immigration in the United States has increased, and U.S. policies have contributed to this. The North American Free Trade Agreement was implemented on January 1, 1994, between Canada, the United States, and Mexico. This agreement immediately limited tariffs on many of the goods produced by the three countries. It also called for the gradual elimination of all other remaining barriers over a period of fifteen years. This included cross-border investment and movement of goods from one country to another.

Benefits of NAFTA have been reported…However, all of these “benefits” only take the United States into consideration. They do not account for what happened in Mexico due to NAFTA. Excess products, such as corn, from the United States were sent to Mexico and flooded their economy. Many farmers could not make a living, so they were forced to go north to find work. Wages in Mexico have stagnated and have even declined in some industries since NAFTA took effect. Also, over a million corn farmers have been displaced because of subsidized corn from the United States and Canada flooding the Mexican economy. These farmers who can no longer support their families try to cross the border illegally to find work in the United States in order to support their families…

If we were in the situation of desperately trying to support our families, would we not want the opportunity to go somewhere where we could try to find a job? Were not most of us immigrants to the United States at one point? We were welcomed and even encouraged to migrate. The Bible tells us to love our neighbors. “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18 NIV). Should we not as Christians welcome immigrants to our country? Are not the immigrants our neighbors? We are called to care for our neighbors, and we must call our leaders to care for them as well.

 

Upcoming Dates

April 16-19

National Youth Convention

U.S. Mennonite Brethren

MCC Washington workshops: Colombia, immigration

San Antonio

May 22-24

Churches for Middle East Peace conference

Washington, D.C.

July 4-9

Mennonite Church USA Convention

MCC Washington workshops: trade, immigration and Israel-Palestine

Pittsburgh

 

Faith reflections

 Christian political advocacy is…

deeply rooted in the Bible

a form of public witness

a tangible way of loving our neighbor

Staff from MCC’s three advocacy offices–in Ottawa, Washington and New York City–now offer weekly reflections on biblical texts from the Revised Common Lectionary readings: washington.mcc.org/resources/reflections

 

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