Congress has not yet approved a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), so it will likely pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the agency funded through December 7. As of this writing, the CR does not include additional funds for border security or immigration enforcement. However, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reportedly asked for an additional $1 billion for arrests and deportations.
Meanwhile, reports surfaced that in Fiscal Year 2018, DHS quietly transferred $200 millionfrom other agencies to ICE including $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As for spending levels beyond December 7, a House DHS spending bill contains $5 billion for border security, whereas the Senate is debating a bill with $1.6 billion.
- Take action: Keep families together, oppose walls and detention
Local stories, events and resources
Pennsylvania: Hazleton’s evolution through immigration is a lesson for other cities (Hazleton is now a “place of renewal and hope”)
Texas: North Texas company raided by ICE says it treats immigrant workers well, is a ‘pillar’ of the community(company founders are from a Mennonite community in Mexico)
Send us your local stories and events
Updates & news
Family separation: The Trump administration is seeking to circumvent a 21-year-old court agreement in order to detain children for months or years (backgrounder on the Flores Agreement). More than 400 children remain separated from their parents; some parents have been incorrectly flagged as being gang members when, in fact, they were fleeing gang violence. According to The Columbus Dispatch, approximately two thirds of parents already deported would rather leave their children in the U.S. because it is “just too dangerous” for them back home. Nearly 1,000 parents previously separated from children may get another chance to apply for asylum due to a court settlement.
Children in detention: The death of an 18-month-old toddler is being blamed on negligent medical care while she was held in a family detention center. In a recent court filing, advocates contend immigrant children are still being held in a facility plagued with abuse allegations and are still being forcibly drugged without parental consent. A record number of immigrant children, 12,800, are currently in government custody. A tent city in Texas holding 1,200 children is expected to triple in size in the coming months.
DACA: A judge in Texas refused to halt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Opponents of DACA could appeal the decision or wait for other cases to reach the Supreme Court. In the meantime, DACA recipients can continue to renew their status.
Border: One of many Texas landowners impacted by construction of U.S.-Mexico border walls may see his property cut in half. “We’d lose the renters,” his sister said. “We’d lose the cattle without access to the river.”
No mistakes: A recent policy change means immigration officials can reject visa and green card applications without giving applicants and their lawyers a chance to correct errors. Applicants will have to refile, costing hundreds or thousands of dollars, and could be put into deportation proceedings.
Iowa murder: The father of a young woman killed by an immigrant has pleaded with politicians and pundits not to use her death to push an anti-immigrant agenda. “Let’s turn against racism in all its ugly manifestations both subtle and overt. Let’s turn toward each other with all the compassion we gave Mollie. Let’s listen, not shout. Let’s build bridges, not walls. Let’s celebrate our diversity rather than argue over our differences.”
Enforcement/detention: On Sept. 7, the House passed H.R. 6691 which seeks to expand the federal definition of a “crime of violence” in order to circumvent a recent Supreme Court ruling which made it more difficult to deport some immigrants. The bill is overly broad and dangerously expands the definition of violent crime. Deportations of Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants has increased, many of whom have been in the U.S. for decades. A federal court has ruled that a private prison company can be held liable for forcing detained immigrants to work for as little as $1 a day.
- Refugees: U.S. to sharply limit refugee flows to 30,000 in 2019 | Senator Grassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap | Trump’s huge mistake on refugees (op-ed by two former State Department officials)
- Public charge: Immigrants, fearing Trump crackdown, drop out of nutrition programs. Both documented and undocumented immigrants fear that accepting federal aid could make them ineligible for a green card if rules are changed.
- Economy: Spouses of immigrant techies fear the Trump administration will soon revoke their ability to work in the U.S. | Microsoft could move some jobs abroad because of U.S. immigration policies, top exec says
November 7-17, 2018: MCC learning tour to Guatemala and Honduras
December 10-14, 2018: Advanced Immigration Law Training
For me, there is still space to be fair, and to provide opportunities for people. But at this point, I can’t yet fathom what will happen next. I don’t want to, but I’m sure it will come. I never thought they would take kids away from their parents. What else could they do? They did that, so they could do anything.
–From a first-person account of an anonymous U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum officer in When I say I’m complicit, this is what I mean
- Third Way Café: Invest our treasure in people, not walls
Other Anabaptist voices
- “Maria,” a song by Sadie Gustafson-Zook, one of nine artists who participated in a recent MCC borderlands learning tour
- Learn, Pray, Join: Mutuality at the heart of hospitality by Anton Flores-Maisonet, co-founder of Casa Alterna, a hospitality house in Georgia
- Learn, Pray, Join: Following in the footsteps of Jesus by Ana Alicia Hinojosa, Brownsville, Texas, MCC Central States
- Learn, Pray, Join: I did! by Rachel Barnes, Denver
- Learn, Pray, Join: Casa de Paz by Debbie Reed, Denver
- Learn, Pray, Join: Perspectives from on the ground: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3, by John Garland, San Antonio Mennonite Church
Asylum and family separation
- WOLA: A national shame: The Trump administration’s separation and detention of migrant families
- Migration Policy Institute: El Salvador: Civil war, natural disasters, and gang violence drive migration
- CNN: Inside America’s hidden border, Chapter 1 (about the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia)
- NPR: When the U.S. government tried to replace migrant farmworkers with high schoolers
- Economist: Does immigration strengthen or undermine tolerance? Full acceptance, not mere tolerance, is a better goal for open societies
- CAP: Revival and opportunity: Immigrants in rural America
Update created September 21, 2018, by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs.
Sign up for immigration action alerts and updates from the MCC U.S. Washington Office here.