Weekly Action Recommendations: Week of September 10, 2017

ACTION: Move the DREAM Act out of committee

Stating the need to focus on disaster relief, the Senate Judiciary Committee has indefinitely postponed a hearing on DACA that was to take place today.  http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/350144-senate-committee-postpones-daca-hearing

Let’s make sure they don’t allow a natural disaster to contribute to what could be a man-made one.  We can contact the Senate Judiciary Committee at 202-224-5225 and encourage them to schedule a hearing ASAP and move the DREAM Act out of committee.

In addition, if your Senators are on the Committee, contact them directly: https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members

ACTION: Support healthcare in rural and underserved areas

Have you ever lived in a rural area of the U.S.? Healthcare in rural areas is far more underserved than in urban areas. Some of the challenges that face rural residents are:

  • Long drives to hospitals and E.R.s
  • Long drives to doctors
  • Few or no doctors and little to no doctor choice
  • Lack of community health programs that can teach things like healthy eating, exercise, birth control, and vaccination

Congress can help decrease the likelihood of a shortage of 100,000 physicians by 2025; four bipartisan bills could alleviate this projected shortage:

  • For your Representatives in the House:
    • HR 2267 (Resident Physician Shortage Act of 2017)
    • HR 3394 (renews the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program)
  • For your Senators:
    • S 1301 (Resident Physician Shortage Act of 2017)
    • S 1754 (renews the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program)

Each of these bills increases residency spots for medical school graduates, a crucial step in a doctor’s training. Last year, hundreds of thousands more medical grad students applied for residencies than the number of residency spots available. In any other political moment, these bills would be easily voted in, but in this contentious time, they aren’t getting much attention. Let’s see what we can do to change that! Will you join us in advocating for positive change with as much zeal as we fought against negative change?

ACTION: Support the DREAM Act

Last week the Trump administration announced its decision to rescind DACA and allow it to expire after six months. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) provides critical protection and work authorization for upstanding members of our communities who were brought into this country as children. DACA successfully brought 800,000 young immigrants out of the shadows and allowed them to continue working to improve this great country they call home.

These young people, the so-called DREAMers, have faced and overcome extraordinary hardships. They have survived and thrived in a country that has at times treated them with hostility. They are going to school and working and paying taxes and starting families and buying homes. They speak many different languages and act as a bridge between communities. They are hard-working, law-abiding, and eager to contribute to society, even when faced with the reality that their hard work and dreams and even their families can be torn from their hands at a moment’s notice.

As part of the process of filing for DACA protection, these 800,000 young DREAMers were required to provide the Department of Homeland Security with all of their vital information. As a result, ICE has all the information it would need to begin rounding them up and deporting them to countries many of them don’t even remember. Because these DREAMers took affirmative steps to file the proper paperwork and pay the necessary fees and appear at the required appointments in order to obtain legal authorization to work in this country and contribute to our communities, they would be at the mercy of ICE officers who have been ordered to detain and deport them with no exceptions. Worse still, while ICE would be spending its limited resources summarily rounding up 800,000 individuals who by definition pose no risk to society, they would be unable to do their duty to protect us from others who are here or seeking to enter to do us harm. This is the type of moral and ethical failing that we cannot tolerate.

We must demand that Congress do the right thing and honor the will of a majority of Americans by passing The DREAM Act of 2017. Let us join together to immediately contact and persuade all of our Senators and our Representatives to throw their support behind the DREAM Act today.

Possible Script: “Hello, thank you for taking my call. I am a constituent calling from zip code _____, and I am urging the Senator/Representative to immediately and publicly support The DREAM Act and do everything within his/her power to get it passed as quickly as possible. I believe DREAMers are an asset to this country, and this is a matter of ethics upon which I will place great consideration at the polls.”

ACTION:  Retract permission for ICE to destroy custody records

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has given preliminary permission for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to begin routinely destroying 11 types of records, including those related to sexual assault by guards, substandard medical care, overuse of solitary confinement, threats and physical assault by custody staff, and even death while in custody. https://www.aclu.org/blog/immigrants-rights/ice-and-border-patrol-abuses/ice-plans-start-destroying-records-immigrant

But the proposal must go through public comment first. We have until September 15 (Friday) to send public comments to the National Archives and Records Administration asking they retract permission for ICE to destroy these records. We can comment here:  https://action.aclu.org/secure/ICE-Records