Action of the Week

We know not everyone has time to do everything, but we encourage you to participate in the “Action of the Week.” It’s a powerful testimony to what we can do as a community when we act together.

ACTION OF THE WEEK

The Latin American Working Group (LAWG) has provided talking points for letters and especially visits to elected officials around immigrants, refugees and Muslims and human rights.  Remember: February 22 is #WeAreAllAmerica National Day of Congressional Action. GET INVOLVED HERE >>

Current Actions

All U.S. Senator Contacts

All U.S. Representative Contacts

Frequently Contacted:
Sen. Pat Roberts
Phone: (202) 224-4774

Sen. Jerry Moran
Phone: (202) 224-6521

Sen. Dick Durbin
Phone: (202) 224-2152

Sen. Mark Kirk
Phone: (202) 224-2854

Sen. Claire McCaskill
Phone: (202) 224-6154

Sen. Roy Blunt
Phone: (202) 224-5721

Sen. Bob Casey
Phone: (202) 224-6324

Sen. Pat Toomey
Phone: (202) 224-4254

http://www.catholicclimatecovenant.org/trumppetition

Dear President Trump,

As members of the Catholic community in the United States, we are praying that your presidency may be blessed with wisdom and compassion. As you take office, we urge you to demonstrate bold leadership in addressing the climate crisis by honoring the Paris Agreement, contributing to the Green Climate Fund, and implementing the Clean Power Plan.

 

As we saw over the past few months after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, having only 8 justices on the Supreme Court affects the decisions that come down from the court and the lives of all Americans. It is important for our democracy to have a fully functional Supreme Court. Please join diverse faith voices from across the country to urge the Senate to fulfill their responsibility under the Constitution and provide “advice and consent” on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court without delay. Senators may vote to approve or reject the President’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. What they cannot do is ignore the nomination altogether.

Capitol Switchboard number, 202-224-3121

Sanders’s bill currently has zero co-sponsors.

  1. 1969, the Democracy Day Act, would designate every federal election day as a national holiday. That means every presidential election or midterm congressional election — or, to be more technical, the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November in every even-numbered year.

The United States lags behind most other developed countries in voter turnout rates as a percentage of the voter-eligible population. While voters are allowed to cast absentee ballots or early ballots, with the ease of that process varying by state, an estimated two-thirds of non-voters in 2014 cited as reasons “schedule conflicts with work or school” or “too busy.”

We are the only advanced democracy that makes it deliberately difficult for people to vote… Everything we can do to make sure that we’re increasing participation is something that we should promote and encourage. Our democracy is not going to function well when only half or a third of eligible voters are participating.”

The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act, S. 2854 and H.R. 5067, would extend the bill before it expires. The reauthorization bill was introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) in the Senate and by Lewis once again in the House. It would extend the law indefinitely with no sunset provision and end the original bill’s pre-1969 scope of investigations.

After the Voting Rights Act was largely dismantled by the Supreme Court in 2013, the Republican congressional majority is almost entirely opposed to reviving the dismantled provisions.

IMMIGRATION CONCERNS GROW

Read Press Release about increased immigration raids >>

WASHINGTON—Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration expressed deep concern over reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will soon begin a month-long series of immigrant deportation raids. Incoming committee chairman, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, also voiced such concern.

Like the ICE enforcement actions conducted in early January, the upcoming operation is expected to focus on undocumented Central American mothers and children.

While recognizing the federal government’s role in upholding immigration laws, Bishop Elizondo warns against the underlying rationale behind the ICE enforcement actions. “Sending women and children back to Central America will not serve as an effective deterrent to migration because this is a humanitarian crisis and individuals from the region are being forced to flee for their lives,” Bishop Elizondo said.  “The mission of the Committee on Migration—and USCCB Migration & Refugee Services—is to protect these vulnerable populations.”

Archbishop Gomez also noted that “The raids are yet another depressing sign of the failed state of American immigration policy.” While ICE is reportedly expected to target individuals with deportation orders, many of these cases raise due process concerns. Data shows many of the families with outstanding removal orders were issued such orders in their absence from court or without legal representation. As Bishop Elizondo noted in a January 2016 letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, the objection is to “the removal of any migrants who were apprehended without first confirming that they received actual meaningful opportunities to present their asylum claims at hearings in immigration court.”

“These operations spark panic among our parishes,” said Bishop Elizondo. “No person, migrant or otherwise, should have to fear leaving their home to attend church or school. No person should have to fear being torn away from their family and returned to danger.”

 

Bishop Elizondo and Archbishop Gomez remind the administration and ICE that enforcement actions that cause families to live in constant fear run contrary to long-standing American values and challenge the God-given dignity of every person.

Next week the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on amendments to the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.  While they haven’t yet decided which amendments will receive a vote, we expect one or more votes on Guantanamo, so please contact your Representative now and tell them to vote to close Guantanamo!

President Obama has less than one year left to fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo.  We need to tell Congress to support him in achieving this important goal.  Not only is closing Guantanamo – a place where people were tortured and where they continue to be held without trial – the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do.  The prison at Guantanamo costs hundreds of millions of dollars a year, yet it only holds 80 detainees – 26 of whom are already cleared for release.

A national effort is underway to pass state resolutions calling for a Constitutional Convention to rewrite the U.S. Constitution to sharply limit what the federal government can do to advance the nation’s priorities, invest in the country’s future, and protect the rights and opportunities of all Americans. Among the many deeply damaging Constitutional amendments that could emerge from this effort is a balanced budget amendment.

Info Sheet   —   Threats & Opportunities Assessment

Primary Problems with a Constitutional Convention and Balanced Budget Amendment:
  • Calling a Constitutional Convention is very dangerous. If Congress called a Constitutional Convention, or attempted to do so, the country would be thrown into great turmoil, a period of extraordinary tension and deep anxiety, and likely find itself quickly mired in momentous, lengthy legal and political battles of great consequence to the nation’s future.
  • States cannot limit the agenda of a Constitutional Convention. A Constitutional Convention would open up the Constitution to whatever amendments its delegates chose to propose, just as the convention that produced the current Constitution ignored its original charge, to amend the Articles of Confederation, and instead wrote an entirely new governing document.
  • A balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution would be a highly ill-advised way to address the nation’s long- term fiscal problems. By requiring a balanced budget every year, no matter the state of the economy, such an amendment would raise serious risks of tipping weak economies into recession and making recessions longer and deeper, causing very large job losses. That’s because the amendment would force policymakers to cut spending, raise taxes, or both just when the economy is weak or already in recession — the exact opposite of what good economic policy would advise.

Links

General Resources
Post-Election Resources
Pipeline Resources

Events

WEBINAR

Please save the date and plan on participating in the next JFI national call.
Here is the call information:
Monday, February 27, 2017
2 P.M. Eastern Time / 11 A.M. Pacific Time
Call-in information: Dial 1-800-446-1162 and use conference code 106181.
A call agenda will be sent with a reminder next week.
http://justiceforimmigrants.org/