Justice Updates – October 22, 2019

When we were in EL Paso last January, we had the opportunity to meet Bishop Mark Seitz.  His connection with the asylum seekers staying in the Pastoral Center where we worked was obvious. In an October 13th Pastoral Letter, he connects the actions against immigrants with racism, writing, “The mystery of evil … includes the base belief that some of us are more important, deserving, and worthy than others.  It includes the ugly conviction that this country and its history and opportunities and resources as well as our economic and political life belong more properly to ‘white’ people than to people of color.  This is a perverse way of thinking that divides people based on heritage and tone of skin into ‘us’ and ‘them’. ‘worthy’ and ‘unworthy’, paving the way to dehumanization.”  You can read the entire letter here.

Peniel Ibe of the American Friends Service Committee explains the administrations attacks on legal immigration.  There are actions that we can take to resist the anti-immigrant agenda.

What can we do to resist Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda? These attacks on immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and others serve an aggressive white nationalist agenda. Trump is targeting everyone: naturalized, legal, native-born, and undocumented alike. And none of us are safe while any of us are under threat. Here are some steps suggested by the American Friends Service Committee that you can take to resist Trump’s immigration agenda.

  1. Defund hate: Tell Congress that we are a better nation when we accept with open arms those fleeing violence and poverty. Congress has the power to significantly cut the budgets of ICE and the Border Patrol – tell them to defund hate.
  2. Tell Congress to protect vital programs like TPS, DED, and DACA: Terminating TPS, DED, and DACA is a cruel attack on our immigrant communities. Urge elected officials to create a permanent solution to keep their families and communities together.
  3. Create sanctuary:Create safe, inclusive spaces for all people by creating sanctuary everywhere.Here are resources to help you and your community create safety in congregations, schools, and cities.
  4. Use good messaging:Talk about immigration in positive productive ways. How we talk about social justice issues matters. Here are some tipsto help you talk about immigration to build support for more humane policies. And check out this AFSC resource for more research-based tips on how to talk about issues to create social change.
  5. Display love:Make your community more welcoming by printing and displaying AFSC posters – and use them at the next rally or protest you attend. Here are posters to show solidarity for immigrant rights and justice.


Since some of our sisters and associates spent time in El Paso, TX, I have focused most of the information in our Justice Updates on asylum seekers at the Southern Border.  But we can’t forget to pray and be grateful for those working in the rest of the world where families are fleeing violence and climate destruction.    Please read this article about how good people are helping others.    

If you didn’t get a change to read the essays and poems in the New York Time’s 1619 Project, here is another chance to do so.

The Board of the US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking is meeting in Washington D.C. to plan for the year ahead. Please keep them in your prayers including our own Sr. Carol Davis.  On Tuesday, October 22nd, they will be visiting legislators and are asking us to call our legislators about these bills.

  • S. 1781 and H.R. 2836 would authorize funding for the Department of State to provide assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to increase protections of women and children in their homes and communities and reduce female homicides, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
  • S. 661 and H.R. 3729 expands protections to vulnerable migrant children while they are in custody of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) including developing guidelines for treatment of children in custody. This is particularly important because the administration is attempting to privatize these detention facilities and bypass state laws that protect children.

Even if you can’t call on October 22, please call in.  Here is a sample script you can use:

Hello.  My name is ______, and I am calling as a member of US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking.  Today our Board of Directors is on the Hill, visiting with legislators to share about our work to end human trafficking.  One important way to help prevent human trafficking is by addressing root causes and doing everything we can to protect vulnerable populations.  One very vulnerable group to traffickers are migrants and refugees.  (feel free to add in here any story or personal connection you might have to the issue). 

(for the Senate)

There are two pieces of legislation that I am asking the Senator to support in connection to these issues: S. 1781 The Central American Women and Children Protection Act and S. 661 The Child Trafficking Victims Protection and Welfare Act of 2019.  S. 1781 helps to support women and children in the northern triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador so they are not forced to flee and therefore at greater risk for being taken advantage of by traffickers.  S. 661 would expand protections for vulnerable migrant children while in the custody of Customs and Border Patrol, prevent family separation, and assist with family reunification.  Migrant children who are separated from their families and who have been traumatized are particularly vulnerable to traffickers.

(for the House) 

There is one particular bill that I am asking the Representative to support in connection to these issues: H.R. 3729 The Child Trafficking Victims Protection and Welfare Act of 2019.  H.R. 3729 would expand protections for vulnerable migrant children while in the custody of Customs and Border Patrol, prevent family separation, and assist with family reunification. Migrant children who are separated from their families and who have been traumatized are particularly vulnerable to traffickers.

Several weeks ago, the Justice Blog described the impact of methane leaks on the environment. The administration wants to reduce regulations against methane pollution. This can result in an increase in health complications including respiratory damage, cancer, birth defects, and nervous system damage. Please use this link from Interfaith Power and Light to express your concern about rolling back methane pollution standards. Click here to let the Trump EPA hear from you.

The House of Representatives has proposed a bipartisan bill to ban assault weapons like AR 15’s. When the original ban was in effect from 1994 – 2004, America saw a 37% decline in gun massacres and a 70% decline in assault weapons tied to crime.  Please call or write your representatives and urge them to support H.R. 1296.  If you want to write to them, you can connect via the Brady and sign on to their letter.  Try to include some thoughts of your own to make  your letter unique.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

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