June update: Advocacy Connections

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from the ELCA Advocacy office in Washington, D.C. – the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, director

DISASTER AID | DREAM AND PROMISE ACT | EQUALITY ACT | HUD NONCITIZEN RULE | IMMIGRATION FUNDING | WEBINAR: MOVING FORWARD | GLOBAL FRAGILITY ACT | FAITH-VOICES AT CLIMATE SUMMIT | HUNGER ADVOCACY FELLOWSHIP

DISASTER AID: President Trump signed a $19.1 billion disaster aid package on June 6, approving funding for many states and territories in critical need of recovery. The federal aid comes after months of negotiations and advocacy in Congress and will help many. Many disaster survivors have waited far too long to see assistance. Support for communities impacted by natural disasters will make meaningful differences in the lives of those of us seeking to rebuild—especially for very low-income families who are near the edge of or already struggling with homelessness. Over the past few months, hundreds of Lutherans have taken action and have clearly demonstrated to lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the faith community cares about disaster relief.

 

DREAM AND PROMISE ACT: On June 5, the House of Representatives passed historic legislation, the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R.6), that would provide a pathway to citizenship for qualifying Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients. The Rev. Amy Reumann, ELCA Advocacy Director, applauded the action, saying, “Passage of the American Dream and Promise Act recognizes that Dreamers, TPS holders and DED recipients are already part of the fabric of our nation. These immigrant neighbors, some of them members of our congregations, make our communities stronger as they work, serve and contribute. We are grateful for congressional action to provide permanent relief and protection to those who have been calling this country ‘home’ for so long. So, as we thank our Representatives for [the] vote, we turn today to urge our Senators to stand by our nation’s values, and to swiftly pass this legislation.”

 

EQUALITY ACT: The House of Representatives passed the Equality Act (H.R. 5) on May 17th, which would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the classes protected against discrimination to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Advocates can encourage the Senate to do the same. Many states do not have enacted laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in important areas such as education, employment and public accommodation. Support for nondiscrimination protections enjoys broad support across the political spectrum and nearly all U.S. religious denominations, according to data from the Public Religion Research Institute. Use the Action Alert to add your voice urging passage of the law before the end of the year.

 

HUD NONCITIZEN RULE: Mixed-immigration status families would be prohibited from living in federal affordable housing programs by a notice of proposed rulemaking from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that was opened in May. Under HUD’s existing rules, eligible mixed-status families receive housing subsidies distributed specifically so that ineligible family members do not receive assistance and eligible members. If the proposed change is enacted, roughly 25,000 affected families and 55,000 children currently living with housing assistance could face an impossible choice between being evicted from their homes or being separated from their families. By HUD’s internal cost estimations, over 70% of the those affected by the proposed rule would be people otherwise eligible for assistance. Advocates have until July 6th to register their public comments on the proposed rule. An Action Alert is posted in the ELCA Advocacy Action Center to facilitate your comments.

 

IMMIGRATION FUNDING: The detention of graduate student pastor Betty Rendón last month came as the Administration continues to sharpen immigration deterrence strategies. The ELCA social message on Immigration and other teachings promote protection of the most vulnerable, keeping families together and treating immigrants with dignity. Urge lawmakers to support just immigration funding policies. Billions of tax dollars have been sought for deportation and immigration detention; dismantling the asylum process so that people seeking protection are turned away, militarizing our border communities and keeping families apart by locking up their members.

On May 23rd, ELCA Advocacy co-sponsored with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition a vigil to mourn the death of migrant children under U.S. custody. ELCA presiding bishop, faith leaders issue statement on children in detention that can be found at https://elca.org/News-and-Events/7982 .

 

WEBINAR – MOVING FORWARD ON CLIMATE SOLUTIONS: A webinar with guidance for climate action for congregation and community is being hosted by ELCA collaborators Blessed Tomorrow with ELCA Advocacy for clergy, lay leaders and congregation members on Wed. June 26 at 1 p.m. ET. Register and check out the accompanying “Moving Forward” resource. Changes to our climate reach into communities across the U.S. and around the world. ELCA members, as individuals, congregations and ministry groups, are responding. This webinar will share ideas to expand your response in scope and efficacy. The issues are pressing – and the solutions are within reach. TO REGISTER for the webinar at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4744202857618562059 . A calendar invitation option will be offered to add the day-of webinar link and instructions to your calendar. You can register up until the time of the webinar. Find the “Moving Forward” document and other resources at elca.org/environment.

 

UPDATE ON GLOBAL FRAGILITY ACT: On May 20 the House of Representatives passed the Global Fragility Act of 2019, which will help the U.S. government improve its capacity to identify and address threats to civilians in fragile, conflict-prone regions around the world. ELCA Advocacy is grateful for the strong leadership of Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX-10), who voiced their support for the bill and pushed for a full House vote. Our office continues to advocate on passage of similar bill in the Senate. Find an Action Alert in the ELCA Advocacy Action Center.

 

FAITH-VOICES AT CLIMATE SUMMIT: Plans are moving forward with leadership of ELCA Advocacy, The Episcopal Church, Texas Impact and others for a high-level, faith-based conference on building resiliency in the face of the heightening of a changing climate. It would take place around the UN Climate Change Summit this fall. Objectives would include developing concrete action items affirming the role that faith-based organizations have in efforts to combat climate change; identifying mechanisms and means which faith-based organizations can leverage relationships and networks to advance solutions; identifying resiliency measures that incorporate the social, mental and physical needs of all for sustainability; and advocating for strong climate finance to address “loss and damage” and innovative solutions.

 

HUNGER ADVOCACY FELLOWSHIP: The application process remains open for two ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellowships – a 12-month transformative experience that combines leadership development and faith formation with impactful advocacy that moves us toward an end to hunger and a just world where all are fed. This is a 12-month, non-renewable, contract position. Apply to join our ministry in Washington D.C. or Sacramento, Calif. Start date is September 3, 2019. Details at: http://bit.ly/ELCAadvocacy-HungerFellowDC and http://bit.ly/ELCAadvocacy-HungerFellowCalif