Washington E-Memo

July 2, 2019

Restoring Pell Grants to incarcerated students

In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, also known as the crime bill, in an attempt to be tough on crime. The bill included an amendment to ban Pell Grants for incarcerated students. As a result the number of education programs within prisons fell from over 350 in 1990 to only 12 in 2005.

The Restoring Education and Learning (REAL) Act was recently introduced in the Senate. This important bipartisan legislation would restore Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals, increasing their access to an education and providing them with skills and opportunities once they are released.Learn more and take action.

Participants (left to right) Joshua Grace, Bethany Stewart and Jeff Sensenig at a Mass Incarceration Service Day event sponsored by MCC East Coast in January 2018. MCC photo/Isaac Vasquez.

Policy updates

Immigration: In the wake of more tragic deaths at the border, Congress passed a supplemental spending bill without including provisions to ensure funds are used for humanitarian purposes and not for detention and deportations (House vote, Senate vote). A federal judge halted some border wall construction. The Supreme Court ruled the Trump administration acted inappropriately when it added a citizenship question to the census. In its next term, the court will consider a number of cases related to the DACA program.

Global nutrition: Reps. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and James McGovern (D-Mass.) introduced a resolution (H. Res. 189) to encourage greater efforts by the United States to eradicate global malnutrition. Take action.

Palestine and Israel: The U.S. hosted a “Peace to Prosperity workshop” to increase economic investment in Palestinian communities. While investment is needed, the approach ignores the chief constraint on the Palestinian economy—the Israeli military occupation. On the same day, the UN agency that serves Palestinian refugees held apledging conference. Last year the Trump administration cut all funding to the agency.

Recent articles

Providing safe harbor (Immigration)

The power of an education (Criminal justice)

The United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C.


June MCC Immigration update (Spanish)

Caption: March 2018 immigration rally in Washington, D.C. MCC Photo/Tammy Alexander.

Action alerts

 Support maternal and child nutrition

Urge Congress to support asylum seekers

World Refugee Day (Palestine and Israel)

Sign up to receive action alerts directly.


July 2-6: This week is MennoCon19 in Kansas City, Mo.If you will be at
convention, we want to particularly draw your attention to the following:
· Welcoming immigrants in 2019: Tangible ways to put your faith
into action: July 2, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., registration closed
·  Immigration advocacy 101: July 3, 2:45-3:45 pm, Room 2204
·  You Got Booked: July 3, 4:00-5:00 pm, Room 2501D; also offered
July 4, 2:45-3:45 pm, Room 2501D
·  MCC friends event: July 3, 4:00-5:30 pm, Room 2503AB
·  Walking in someone else’s shoes: Palestine and Israel (Youth seminar):
July 4, 4:00-5:00 pm, Room 2505A; also offered July 5, 9:00-10:00 am,
Room 2502B
·  People on the move: What would you choose? (Youth seminar):
July 5, 9:00-10:00 am, Room 2501D; also offered July 5, 2:45-3:45 pm,
Room 2501D
·  For such a time as this: How to do political advocacy: July 5
4:00-5:30 pm, Room 2209
·  MCC exhibit in the exhibit hall, all week long
We hope to see you there!

Staff updates

Our summer interns have been busy! Clara Weybright had the pleasure of accompanying Dr. Sibo Ncube of Zimbabwe as she spoke in New York City about climate justice and the Global South. Eliza Mull attended a Churches for Middle East Peace advocacy summit.

Rachelle participated in an Anabaptist church consultation June 4 on the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service.

John-Michael attended the Ending Mass Incarceration conference in Atlanta on June 17-19 and participated in a You Got Booked event led by MCC’s Philadelphia office. 

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