from the ELCA Advocacy office in Washington, D.C. – the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, director
Partial expanded content from Advocacy Connections: October 2020
COVID-19 STIMULUS: At $2.2 trillion, the revised “HEROES Act” which passed the House on Oct. 1 is not expected to go further as bipartisan talks have broken down. Through the Circle of Protection, the ELCA successfully advocated for an extension of the Pandemic-EBT program through September 2021, a significant new tool for preventing childhood hunger. Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton joined a letter to Congress and the Administration urging swift approval of a COVID relief package that prioritizes those most at risk of hunger at home and abroad.
President Trump pressed negotiators in Congress to finalize a deal as soon as possible with greater spending limits, but there is little opportunity for the Senate to take action for needed relief before Election Day. As benefits to businesses and families in the greatest need continue to run out, it is critical for advocates to contact their lawmakers to pass a compromise deal that prioritizes relief that addresses the growing hunger crisis in the U.S. and globally as soon as possible.
REFUGEE ADMISSIONS GOAL: On the evening of Sept. 30, the Administration announced its new annual refugee admissions goal: a ceiling of 15,000 refugees, which is the lowest target in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. A letter signed by 243 bishops and other rostered ministers called for resettlement of 95,000 refugees, the historic norm, delivered through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS).
Through the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, the ELCA presiding bishop also issued a comment decrying the Administration’s historic low goal. An action alert through LIRS is available for individual expression of concern. The goal was announced publicly in a manner unlike formal presidential determinations which have undergone a traditional consultation and signing process in the past.
The administration has consistently lowered the refugee admission ceiling over the years despite growing need globally. Presently, only 10,892 refugees have been resettled this fiscal year. COVID-19 severely disrupted refugee resettlement. By late July, it was clear that the U.S. was not on pace to meet the already low 18,000 target.
TPS UNCERTAINTY: A preliminary injunction blocking the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan has been lifted by a Sept. 14 decision in Ramos v. Wolf. The toll on families is extreme as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and TPS recipients live in a perpetual state of limbo and fear of being returned to countries mired in social and political crises.
The Ramos decision also opens the way for the termination of TPS for people from Honduras and Nepal that are being challenged in a separate case. Urge the Senate to take up and pass the “American Dream and Promise” Act (H.R.6), one of few legislative vehicles to support TPS, DACA, and DED recipients by establishing a pathway to citizenship, with the Action Alert “Press for American Dream and Promise Act.”
ELECTION 2020 IS HERE! Factual, nonpartisan information from reliable sources is valuable as the 2020 election cycle advances to Nov. 3. Share ELCAvotes posts from @ELCAadvocacy on social media in your circles (new posts on Wednesdays plus archived posts available). The ELCAvotes initiative stems from 2013 Churchwide Assembly action and is led by ELCA Advocacy, Racial Justice Ministries, and Young Adult Ministry.
WELCOME NEW LEADERS: Despite the challenges of getting started from one’s home base and device connection, new additions have been welcomed to advocacy staff. Giovana Oaxaca will bring leadership through the position of Policy Director for Migration; and three Hunger Advocacy Fellows have begun service. These enthusiastic and gifted young adults are Taina Diaz-Reyes, Larry Herrold and Kyle Minden.
Diaz-Reyes is now part of the D.C.-based ELCA advocacy staff, Herrold is part of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania staff, and Minden is part of the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin. We’re excited to be working together!