Our vision is a kind and thriving nation
If you care about treating people with kindness, this week is full of good news. And while you’ll find the usual long list in the Checklist, five things are happening we want to spotlight—including an update on our $1,000 match fundraiser for SOWEGA Rising in southwest Georgia.
Prepare to feel some relief and maybe even shed a happy tear with us.
1. Ending family detention:
ICE made a recent court filing stating it is transitioning family detention centers to short-term 72-hour centers. As of March 7, only six families remained in three ICE detention centers and then were released. Children do not belong in jail, and allowing people the decency to live in communities while their hearings progress is consistent with effective pre-Obama policies. Not only does it reduce costs to taxpayers, but creates collaboration and excellent compliance to immigration procedures. We are so relieved that detaining families indefinitely is ended.
2. Supporting unaccompanied minors:
There are complex reasons why more children than usual are coming to our border without adults present, direct consequence of the previous two administrations’ immigration policies. Many of these kids arrive with the contact information of a family member living in the US, but they need an adult’s help making that connection.
At the direction of the Biden administration, the Health and Human Services Department has been “placed at border facilities in an attempt to find sponsors for migrant children faster,” according to a NYT article. This makes it easier for sponsors to come forward without fear of ICE intimidation. Additionally they have called in FEMA to assist these children with food, water, and medical care.
The influx of kids and teens at our border is concerning, so we will keep advocating for solutions. However, we’re heartened by current administration’s efforts to treat all children with decency, no matter where they’re from.
3. Madam Secretary
Can we pause to marvel? This week, Deb Haaland (D-NV) an enrolled member of Pueblo of Laguna was confirmed as our nation’s first Native American Secretary of the Interior, a department that once actively oppressed Native Americans. She sets additional precedents as the first ever Native American in any cabinet position and the third woman to ever hold the post of Interior Secretary.
Poignantly, she wore traditional regalia in a rainbow of colors as she was sworn in by Kamala Harris, our nation’s first Black and first Asian and first female Vice president.
The celebration of her appointment by many indigenous people of this nation and people around the world signals hope for the future. If you spoke up in support of her nomination (especially to the impressive number of Republicans who confirmed her), you have a part in this historic moment. Now Madam Secretary can be a voice for Native people, all Americans, and our planet. We look forward to celebrating her many accomplishments.
4. Support for hard-hit and struggling Americans
Did you ever think you could be excited by legislation? H.R.1319 – American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is certainly one of the most compassionate and proactive in recent history.
It offers support right now where many Americans need it most:
- stimulus checks for individuals
- unemployment assistance
- state and local aid
- nutrition assistance
- tax credits for families and workers
- paid sick and family leave
- education and child care
- health insurance subsidies and Medicaid
- small business
- COVID-19 vaccines and testing
- rural hospitals
This is the kind of legislation we celebrate because it serves the people.
5. Southwest Georgia on our minds
The last bit of news is an incredible update on the year-long collaboration we have just begun with SOWEGA Rising.
With permission, I’m sharing this amazing email from Sherrell Byrd, the co-president of SOWEGA Rising’s board:
I fear there is much less to celebrate at the US/Mexico border than you might suggest. I live about 25 miles from the border, south of the county seat of Deming, NM. I work with a local charity (Colores United) and others (Silver City United Universalist Church, Tierra de Oro in Palomas) to help and this story is representative of what is happening. https://www.npr.org/2021/03/18/978832011/trumps-border-walls-have-been-causing-injuries-as-people-climb-over-them
Title 42 needs to be reversed so that families are not forced to seek asylum, only to be kicked out of the US within hours of arriving. Thank you, Diana
You’re absolutely right, Diana. It is dire. And we have been following the egregious actions of ICE, CBP, and DHS for so long that we had to point out the tiny-but-important steps in a more humane direction. We’re glad to see Kamala Harris meeting with South and Central American leaders and a new envoy appointed to the “triangle nations” to address the *causes* of asylum seekers’ departure. We think ICE should be abolished and that there is much, much more work to do to bring humanity to the US immigration process. Thank you for being part of the solution. #grateful