Nonviolence . . . Human trafficking . . . Women . . . . The elderly . . . Immigrants' rights . . .. Housing. . . Children . . . Prisoners' rights . . . Health care . . . World Hunger . . . Globalization, as it affects Latin America . . . Care of the earth . . . Seamless ethic of life

Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author's and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Stop Separating Children From Their Parents at the Border

I just received this link from the Anti-Defamation League.  It is an easy way to voice an objection to the separation of families that is taking place amid immigrant families.

Happy Mother's Day to All Mothers


Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers reading this alert.

I want to share prayer resources from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition for Mother’s Day and Pentecost. 

2018 Mothers’ Day Resources, This Mothers’ Day: Honor Immigrant Moms  
2018 Pentecost Resources, Pentecost Resources: Called to be an Advocate

Continue to contact your senators and representatives about immigration, the fate of Dreamers, the Farm Bill and SNAP.  Canvass for signatures to nominate candidates that you would like to see run for office.

Sign the nomination papers of those you support for public office.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Contact Your Representative on the Farm Bill

The farm bill now wending its way through the U.S. House of Representatives has a number of  anti-environmental provisions.  It exempts pesticides from the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts. It boosts logging, removes environmental reviews, and makes it easier to build roads in national forests. It undermines sustainable agriculture, makes it tougher for people to qualify for nutrition assistance, and tips the scales toward corporate interests and away from small farmers.  The bill is likely to come up for a full House vote this month, so it’s time to contact your representative to voice your opinions.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Perspectives of Asylum Seekers at San Isidro Port of Entry - from LCWR


As an update, I spoke with officials at the San Ysidro Port of Entry this morning and learned that they anticipate processing all the Central Americans by the end of the week. Their ability to process these asylum seekers is dependent on capacity and the flow of other asylum seekers and in particular Mexican asylum seekers.

Port officials estimate that there are asylum seekers from about a dozen countries in Tijuana right now. This is normal. In this region, we regularly see a fluctuation of asylum seekers from 10-20 different countries from around the world in a given week. Over the last several years, we have seen a steady flow of Mexican asylum seekers, mostly from the states of Guerrero and Michoacán. Recently the number of Mexican asylum seekers has increased sharply and in the days prior to the arrival of the Caravan, as many as 200 were approaching the port daily.

In other words, when the Caravan of Central Americans arrived, the port was already at capacity. The number of Mexican asylum seekers is significantly larger than the Central American group and is continuing to grow. Because the former are seeking asylum from the country they are in currently, they are prioritized at the port. Asylum seekers who are from other countries rarely express fear of being persecuted in Mexico; when they do, they are also prioritized.

For those who are currently in CBP custody, it might take a week for them to leave the port facility and make space for others to be processed in. This is normal when we have large groups of asylum seekers coming through. Everyone must be processed in, screened for TB (this always of concern), given credible fear interview, and assessed for a custody determination. In the best case scenario, someone clears the health screening, passes the CFI, and is determined to be releasable to a sponsor. In that instance, it still might take a couple of days for the sponsor to provide the necessary documents, come to pick up the detainee, or arrange for travel for the detainee. Until that happens, the port cannot process more people in.

Those who are less fortunate will be detained either for deportation or for asylum proceedings in the courts. They might move more quickly out of CBP custody unless they are family units. We do not have, nor do we want, family detention facilities in the area. Families who will be detained pending deportation or court proceedings will be moved out of the region to another part of the country. 

As the Central Americans (and their advocates) voice their desire to be processed in immediately, we must remember that there are many more asylum seekers from other countries and there will continue to be once the Central Americans have moved through the system.

We are fortunate to have a compassionate and dedicated network of service providers on both sides of the border to help asylum seekers every day of the year. They are the experts and are in the best position to alert us when agents are mistreating asylum seekers or acting outside the norm. 

Andrea Guerrero, Esq.
Executive Director
Alliance San Diego

Tell Congress: Protect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

 Stop the Attack on Food Security!

Contact Your Representative to Protect SNAP in the Farm Bill

The Farm Bill (H.R. 2) has reached the House, and it is just as bad as we expected. Republican leadership, including bill author Rep. Mike Conaway, has pushed a purely partisan Farm Bill crafted around Speaker Ryan’s welfare fantasy, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is first on the chopping block. Despite Republicans’ claims of “no cuts to SNAP,” the bill recklessly restructures the program and restricts eligibility in a way that puts food security at risk for millions of low-income households. Email your Representative now to protect SNAP. 
Proposed eligibility restrictions, benefit cuts, and strict work requirements would deepen poverty and food insecurity for millions of Americans. Specifically, the Farm Bill undermines SNAP by threatening:
  1. Changes to eligibility, which could cut off about 2 million people from some or all of their nutrition assistance benefits. Nearly 90% of those benefits go to households with members who work for low-wages while receiving SNAP.
  2. Punitive work requirements, which could affect an additional 6 to 8 million unemployed, underemployed, and working SNAP recipients who would have an additional burden to document their hours to keep food on the table.
    1. Under its “one strike and you’re out” provision, failure to meet new requirements within a month of receiving SNAP would mean losing food assistance for a year. The second infraction would cause loss of benefits for three years.
    2. Strict requirements would also be expanded to apply to older people living in poverty -- raised from 49 up to 59 years old -- and to parents raising children as young as 6 years old.
Let’s be clear: Republicans are using language about “opportunity” and “self-sufficiency,” but their policies are wrong. The Farm Bill removes $23 billion from direct nutrition assistance benefits, and instead chooses to divert money to half-baked skills and job training programs. In order to receive nutrition benefits, people experiencing food insecurity would have to navigate a new, massive bureaucracy that tracks monthly paychecks for millions of SNAP recipients, and states would be left to sort through the red tape.

The current SNAP proposal connects to a larger GOP strategy of imposing work requirements on various anti-poverty programs, including Medicaid. We all have a stake in protecting SNAP by pushing back against this attack on people experiencing poverty and the programs that help them get by. On the heels of a tax policy that rewards corporations and the wealthiest Americans, it is unacceptable that the House could now vote to take food away from the most vulnerable.
Voice your opposition as a person of faith! Tell your Representative to oppose the Farm Bill. We say no to changes in SNAP which would 1) take away states’ flexibility in getting food to tables, 2) restrict access or lessen benefits for working families, and 3) require people to work in order to receive food assistance. Tell your Representative that you oppose H.R. 2.
Email your member of Congress and remind them that our duty as a nation includes feeding the hungry. As NETWORK tracks the bill, we will alert you about future actions you can take to ensure the Farm Bill protects and strengthens SNAP, rather than weakens it.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

An update from Ann Scholz . . .

Dear Friends,

Once again, an update from Ann Scholz, Associate Director for Social Mission, Leadership Conference of Women Religious and action regarding Dreamers. 

1.. Dreamers have not given up and neither will we! Protect Dreamers by supporting the USA Act of 2017 and the DREAM Act of 2017. It’s time to ask our U.S. Representatives to Support HR 4796: The USA Act of 2017, and HR 3440: The DREAM Act of 2017 and to demand a vote in the House—NOW!  Without a legislative solution, Dreamers' futures remain uncertain and they live in constant fear of deportation. Congress should take action to protect these extraordinary young people--NOW. H.R. 4796, the Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act of 2017 was introduced by Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) in the House of Representatives and has more than 50 bipartisan co-sponsors. The USA Act would protect and provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship as long as they satisfy residency, age and education, military or employment requirements. Additionally, H.R. 4796 augments border security with the use of new technology rather than a wall; seeks to address root causes of migration from Central America; and increases staffing resources for immigration courts to carry out their work.

H.R. 3440, the Dream Act of 2017 was introduced by Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R-FL). The bill would allow permanent residence  and a path to citizenship  for children of undocumented immigrants if they came to this country as children, get a high school degree or GED, pass a background check and English proficiency test, and have no criminal record.

The U.S. Bishops support both the Dream Act and the USA Act.  The Dream Act remains the ideal legislative solution. And while the USA Act can still be improved upon, as written it is a compromise bill that provides a path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers and offers proportionate border security measures. We are urging the House of Representatives to urgently move forward these pieces of legislation. 

Send your letter in support for the USA Act and the Dream Act and urge legislative action today! 

2. Second notice from Ann Scholz, Associate Director for Social Mission Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  Please take some time to read them and to take action.
The House Agriculture Committee has passed a farm bill that could force a million people off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). SNAP helps more than 40 million people put food on the table and prevent hunger.

Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask her or him to oppose the House Farm Bill, H.R. 2. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your Representative. 

The House farm bill makes existing work requirements for SNAP even harsher. Individuals would have just a month to find a job or enter a qualified job training program before they lose SNAP benefits. And every month they must prove they are working the required amount.  Work is important, but SNAP is not a jobs program. It is an anti-hunger program, and it is extremely effective.

If Congress is serious about getting more people into the workforce, raising wages, and creating jobs, then it should look to invest in existing workforce programs, programs Congress has been cutting for years. Instead, this bill creates a huge new bureaucracy that states must implement with woefully insufficient funding. 

Individuals hit hardest by this bill are people with disabilities, low-income working parents, seniors, and individuals with serious barriers to employment. We believe all are created in the image of God and that each person has the right to live a life of dignity with access to basic necessities. 

The bill will next go to the floor for a vote before the full House of Representatives. Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask her or him to oppose the House Farm Bill, H.R. 2. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your Representative. 

We urge you to make your voice heard and fill out this send a message that lets the House know of your support for the USA Act and the Dream Act and the for need legislative action NOW.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes Hosts Third Annual Earth Fair Day

The Sisters of St. Agnes hosted the Third Annual Earth Fair Day at the motherhouse last April 22, 2018 . The presenters include LWQIA, Fair Trade Tpws USA, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light, Open Circle Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Wisconsin Green Muslims, St. Mary's Springs Academy, Fond du Lac Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery Facility, SSM-Agnesian Healthcare, and Farm2Table Co-op and Cafe. John and Jean McDowell brought their electric bike. The event was graced with a raffle, a schedule of trips to the CSA woods and presentations on water and solar energy.