from the ELCA Advocacy office in Washington, D.C. – the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, director
BORDER SUPPLEMENTAL SIGNED: President Trump signed a $4.59 billion border aid package July 1 as border agencies such as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been under increased scrutiny for the treatment of migrants in detention facilities. The majority of the package ($2.88 billion) will go to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement, which takes custody of migrant children from CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) before releasing them to the care of family members or other sponsors. Other notable provisions include: · $1.34 billion provided for the Department of Homeland Security, including $905 million for CBP; · $209 million for ICE accounts, including $20 million for alternatives to detention; · $155 million to reimburse the U.S. Marshals Service for housing and transportation of federal detainees; and · $30 million for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursements to local jurisdictions and nonprofits for the care of homeless migrants. Use an active Action Alert from ELCA Advocacy to urge lawmakers to support just immigration and asylum policies.
DREAM ACT: The Supreme Court said in June that it would review the Administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in its next term which begins in October. The DACA program, which affords protections to nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, has been in temporary limbo as the case proceeded through the courts. The House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, which would codify protections for Dreamers and other immigrants with temporary protections. Many Lutherans took action as the House voted in support of the bill and urged the Senate to do the same.
UN CLIMATE CHANGE SESSION: ELCA Advocacy attended the Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB50) in June. The UNFCCC Executive Secretary highlighted four numbers in her Global Climate Briefing: 1.5 or less – the degrees Celsius to which we must limit global warming; 2050 – the year by which the world must reach carbon neutrality; 2030 – the year by which we must limit global emissions by 35-40 percent; and 2020 – when new and revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), quantifying commitment for greenhouse gas reductions, must be issued by countries. SB50, an (intersessional) meeting of the United Nations Framework Convening on Climate Change (UNFCCC), saw some progress in moving forward with the implementation of the Paris Agreement, but much work remains to be done.
FY20 FOREIGN ASSISTANCE BUDGET: The House of Representatives passed the International Affairs budget, which funds international anti-poverty programs. Compared to the Fiscal Year 2019 enacted budget, the Fiscal Year 2020 House bill increases by $2.2 billion (four percent). The House rejected President Trump’s proposal to cut this budget by 24 percent. Many of the anti-poverty programs either saw a small increase or were funded at levels similar to those in the FY19 budget. This includes funding for malaria, HIV/AIDS, child/maternal health, food and nutrition, and other humanitarian and development programs.
SUMMER MEALS: Federally funded Summer Meals begin this month and are served in local communities all over the country to low-income children who could lose reliable and healthy food during the school year. ELCA Advocacy will use this summer to bring awareness to the importance of the Summer Food Service Program and other hunger issues that affect our communities.