Thursday, July 31, 2014

Immigration and Trafficking bills to be Considered today

From the PC(USA) Office of Immigration Issues:

House and Senate Border and Immigration Bills to be Considered Today!
  • Support adequate funding of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and keeping the protections afforded to children under the Trafficking Victims Protections Act (TVPRA).
  • Oppose limiting the Administration’s power to extend deferred action from deportation to a wider group of migrants.

These bills will be considered today.
Please Call Today!  The Capitol Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121

Border (ORR funding and TVPRA)
The Senate and the House have proposed supplemental funding bills that would fund the response to the increase in arrivals of unaccompanied children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Both of these bills include requests that make it impossible for this denomination to endorse them but that does not keep us from having a voice on this issue.

The Senate bill, S. 2648 provides adequate funding to serve the children and fully replenishes the $94 million of refugee social services funding that was recently reprogrammed. Further, this bill leaves the TVPRA intact so that children may remain in the US to make any humanitarian claims they may have. Unfortunately, the amended version of this bill also funds Israel’s iron dome. It is General Assembly policy that the denomination only supports peaceful measures in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The House bill includes the ill-labeled "HUMANE" Act, which would eliminate vital protections given to unaccompanied children in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA). Changes to the TVPRA would mean that children would not have a meaningful opportunity to have their story heard, apply for asylum, or be cared for by child welfare personnel, and would be deported to life-threatening situations.

As our leaders have provided us with two bills - one that cannot be endorsed fully and another that should be opposed, we are endorsing neither.  Rather, we place our hope in things yet unseen and ask for an increase in ORR funding that is adequate to fund the refugee resettlement program AND provide care for unaccompanied children. We further oppose any changes to the protections given to children by the TVPRA.

Immigration Bill  (Proposal to limit deferred action)
The House is also planning a vote on a bill that is aimed to limit the President’s ability to expand deferred action from deportation to more individuals.

The PC(USA) opposes any measure that would limit this or any future administration from extending deferred action from deportation to a larger group of individuals.