Category Archives: Front Page

Still Advocating for Access to Democracy

Still Advocating for Access to Democracy

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued an emergency ruling refusing to extend the deadline for absentee voting in today’s Wisconsin election. This is further evidence of how the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing our nation, and our world, to take a hard look at what values are most sacred to us, and demonstrating where our political leaders’ responses are falling short.

Our initial attempts at social distancing had not even run their course before President Trump began pondering loosening restrictions for the sake of the economy. The implication being that economic activity is as important as protecting human lives. The public outcry quickly shut down that debate. People recognized the false choice, when weighing economic activity and the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy simply has to adjust to the reality of the pandemic. Consensus emerged, at least for now, that protecting public health is the paramount concern, leaving our government and businesses to minimize the economic fall-out as best they can.

Unfortunately, this false choice was also embraced by the majority of Supreme Court Justices yesterday in deciding that the Wisconsin elections must proceed as planned, with no extension for absentee voting, despite the clear and present danger to public health in the midst of the pandemic. Not only was this ruling disturbing for Wisconsinites who now must choose between their right to vote and their safety, but it has grave and disturbing implications for the 2020 election. We are in desperate need of strong public outcry to again reject a false choice and demand that leaders find ways to uphold our deepest values and protect human life.

The Supreme Court’s decision strikes a massive blow to voting rights that defies common sense and threatens to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters. The Justices ruled 5-4 that Wisconsin voters would need to choose whether to comply with public health mandates or to exercise their right to cast a ballot. But, it did not have to be this way.

In the weeks leading up to the election, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers took a series of desperate executive actions to make emergency accommodations in the state’s election. He took steps to delay the Democratic Presidential primary and extended time to receive mail-in ballots so that Wisconsinites could maintain their right to vote in the new reality of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

The Republican controlled legislature challenged each of these actions in court and the day before the election, the Supreme Court’s order reversed the extended deadline for voters to submit absentee ballots. The entire episode is a sad example of how quickly elections are being politicized in the midst of a pandemic. The outcome of this confusing and contentious fight was celebrated as a success for “law and order,” but has undermined both the public health AND the voting rights of the people of Wisconsin.

This false choice between safety and fair voting was avoidable, but the Wisconsin state legislature refused to act to protect the safety of Wisconsinites. This early case study is proof that Congress must act, and act now, to determine a coordinated approach to preparing states for the 2020 election. Without funding and direction from the federal government, we run the risk of massive voter disenfranchisement and will see increasing chaos and civil discord as states scramble to adapt on their own.

NETWORK Lobby and our faith partners are engaged in democracy reform and voting rights advocacy leading up to the 2020 election and into the future. Now, our entire focus is prioritizing the security of the 2020 election and protecting access to democracy as a crucial part of the federal government’s response to COVID 19.

A Holy Week Prayer for New Life

A Holy Week Prayer for New Life

Lisa Sharon Harper
April 6, 2020

As we journey through Lent, NETWORK members and supporters are reflecting and acting to become Spirit-filled voters in preparation for the 2020 Election. Lisa Sharon Harper contributed the following prayer to our Lenten toolkit, which can be read in full.

We Pray

Holy God, hear our prayers.

We enter Holy Week wading through the disequilibrium of unknowing, the grief of friends and family lost and the terror that we could be next.

Righteous rage rises each day as primal screams greet televised propaganda telling us all is well when all is not well!

We see the sick and hungry and imprisoned, the immigrant, the naked and the thirsty waved off and told to fend for themselves.

We see our federal government investing in body-bags and refrigerator trucks for “the least of these”—not ventilators and hospital beds.

We are tempted to believe the kingdoms of men are too much for us — too much for you — God. But, the Resurrection… new life… breath… new bone… new muscle… a new way of being in the world… Resurrection is your promise.

If we do not believe in your power to raise the dead, then we have no faith at all.

God, gird us for the coming days. Set our faces toward the ballot box where your people might lift the only weapons we have in defense of the least of these—our votes.

Amen.

Lisa Sharon Harper is the Founder and President of FreedomRoad.us, an Auburn Theological Seminary Senior Fellow, and a speaker, writer, activist, and artist.

 

Read the full Lenten toolkit “Becoming Spirit-Filled Voters

Unemployment and the Coronavirus Crisis

Unemployment and the Coronavirus Crisis

Alex Burnett
April 3, 2020

When my partner developed a small cough and mild chest pain in late February, we didn’t think they had coronavirus. My partner works as teacher’s aide in a public elementary school and gets sick all the time. We thought they caught a cold from a student or were dealing with stress-related illness.

We were wrong. Over the next few weeks, their mild chest pain turned major, their temperature spiked, and they developed such difficult breathing it became difficult to walk. During one particularly frightening Friday, they could not keep down food for over 24 hours, developed a 100+ degree fever, and could barely speak due to severe chest pain. As I Googled, “When should you go to the emergency room coronavirus,” I found myself anxiously wondering whether their insurance covered emergency room visits.

Thankfully, their symptoms improved since that awful Friday, but our anxiety hasn’t gone away. My partner loves working in elementary education, but feels terrified about finding another job. Most elementary schools hire aides on yearly contracts and we don’t know whether their school—or most schools—will be hiring aides during a global pandemic, which might force schools to remain indefinitely closed. Even if schools re-open in the fall, my partner knows they’ll struggle finding a summer job after their contract ends in June. Like many education workers, my partner might face at least three months of unemployment during an economic meltdown.

Nobody should experience any of this. That’s why NETWORK advocated for three COVID-19 relief packages, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act, which became law on March 27th. This bill offers some relief to workers, like my partner, facing coronavirus-induced unemployment. Besides expanding unemployment insurance to gig, temporary, and self-employed workers, the CARES Act offers eligible workers an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits for up to four months. As my partner’s story demonstrates, these reforms are profoundly important, especially since economic experts and the federal government predict that the unemployment rate could reach an unprecedented 32%.

However, my partner’s story also demonstrates that Congress must do more. The CARES Act doesn’t guarantee free coronavirus testing and treatment to people, like my partner and their colleagues, who could lose health insurance upon becoming unemployed. Additionally, the CARES Act does little for incarcerated and undocumented people, who remain ineligible for unemployment benefits and at-risk of receiving inadequate medical care. Because NETWORK knows closing these gaps will save lives, we’re advocating for a 4th coronavirus relief package, which guarantees testing and treatment for incarcerated, undocumented, and uninsured people. You can read about our work here.

The coronavirus pandemic has already harmed millions of people. By passing a 4th relief package, Congress can prevent more people from needlessly suffering. As an organization guided by Catholic Social Justice, NETWORK calls on Congress to provide care and economic relief for all U.S. residents, regardless of employment status, insurance, citizenship, or incarceration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Faithful Response to “Catholics for Trump”

A Faithful Response to “Catholics for Trump”

After postponing the “Catholics for Trump” rally previously scheduled for March in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Catholics for Trump coalition is now launching online. Despite the current coronavirus pandemic, President Trump’s re-election campaign is continuing to try to engage Catholics remotely.

This campaign was planned and is now being executed with the assumption that a large group of Catholics will support President Trump’s re-election campaign. I am in favor of Catholics participating in politics — as Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby, that much is clear. Even the Pope calls on Catholics to participate in politics to promote the common good, saying “A good Catholic meddles in politics.”

But I cannot understand how Catholics, following Pope Francis’s urging to participate in politics, could support our current President and his policies. In fact, I believe that participating in “Catholics for Trump” activities, online or in person, directly contradicts the most essential Catholic beliefs.

Catholics are called follow the life and teachings of Jesus, who above all else, instructs us to love our neighbors, especially those who are most vulnerable and marginalized in their society. The Trump administration has turned its back on that call at almost every turn.

In March, I was relieved to read Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki’s clear announcement that the “Catholics for Trump” rally was not hosted by the Catholic Church or the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee were not endorsing or affiliated with the rally. As President Trump’s re-election campaign continues, I urge any Church leaders who find themselves in a similar situation to do the same.

In addition to making it clear that the Church does not endorse or support these events, Catholic leaders should continue to make it clear what “side” we are called to be on in these turbulent times. Jesus did not say to vote Democrat or Republican. Instead, Jesus taught his followers, by his actions, to heal those who were sick and align themselves with those who had the least power. That is the “side” we should be on as Catholics.

For Catholics engaging in politics during this election season, I encourage you to join us at NETWORK in being “Mend the Gaps” voters. We have an election toolkit that includes a fill-out-your-own side by side to compare candidates, an LTE writing kit, and questions to ask a candidate at a town hall, and we’re still adding more resources.

President Trump is running on policies that directly contradict long-held positions of the Catholic Church. His immoral immigration policies throw children in cages. He works to expand the death penalty, he participates in what Pope Francis calls “covert euthanasia” by stripping health care and nutrition assistance from families, and he rolls back policies that protect the Earth. His is not a campaign that Catholics can support, and our faith should not be used as a political tool to reelect an immoral President.

 

Get involved: Go to NETWORK’s 2020 Election Toolkit.

NETWORK Calls for Just Response to COVID-19

NETWORK Calls for a Just Response to COVID-19

This webpage will be updated with the latest developments as the United States faces the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge all elected officials to prioritize those who are most vulnerable and those at the economic margins as they respond to this crisis.

Share your story with NETWORK

Tell us what you, your family, and your community are going through. We will make sure our nation’s elected officials know what families across the country are experiencing, and advocate for policies that heal our nation, not further harm.

Monday, April 6, 2020
NETWORK Webinar: The COVID-19 Response

On this webinar, NETWORK’s Government Relations team will review the three packages and explain what Congress still needs to do to ensure that all people are cared for and receive access to the medical and financial assistance they need.

Friday, March 27, 2020
Congress passes Coronavirus Economic Package

After critical negotiations, both the Senate and the House have passed the $2 trillion bailout package for workers and hospitals. This package will begin to provide security for many in this time of crisis, while ensuring that no tax-payer dollars go to corporate stock buy-backs or executive raises and bonuses.

Read NETWORK’s press release responding to the legislation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Senate Nearing Vote on Economic Package

NETWORK urges all Senators to vote yes on S.3548, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, immediately. We are pleased this bill includes many of NETWORK’s recommendations and approves much needed funds for hospitals, state, and local governments; extends unemployment insurance for workers; and puts conditions on business assistance, in the interest of workers and the economic stabilization and financial security of their families. In short, this bill puts people first

Read the letter NETWORK sent to Senators.

Monday, March 23, 2020
Political Leaders Still Have Not Reached Agreement on Economic Stimulus Plan

Today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue negotiating a $1.6 trillion-plus emergency rescue package, hoping to reach agreement and pass a bill before the end of the day. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is releasing her own plan today.

Read more from Politico.com.

While the negotiations continue, NETWORK and our advocacy partners supported Members of Congress who signed onto a letter written by Representative T.J. Cox (CA-21) calling for immigrants to be included in access to COVID-19 testing and treatment regardless of immigration status.

Read the letter.

Friday, March 20, 2020
Economic Stimulus Negotiations Continue

Following Senate Republicans’ release of their proposed economic stimulus package yesterday, Senators from both parties were in negotiations to come to an agreement before midnight tonight. This afternoon Senate Finance Democrats proposed their own legislation. Negotiations are ongoing — call your Senators now using the phone number above and tell them to support workers and families in this economic stimulus package!

NETWORK calls for Congress to:

  1. Issue full value cash assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals and expand the EITC and Child Tax Credit to more low-income households;
  1. Strengthen, expand, and modernize Unemployment Insurance in order to provide higher benefits and greater flexibility, account for the changing workforce (such as the gig economy), and cover workers who may lose their jobs or face new caregiving responsibilities due to the virus;
  2. Boost nutrition benefits and flexibility for all households receiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  3. Increase Medicaid funding for states by fulling covering the state share to adequately address the increased demand for health care and related costs;
  4. Increase homelessness assistance funding. Individuals experiencing homelessness are at increased risk of serious infection because they often live in congregated communities (like shelters and encampments), cannot self-quarantine, and often lack access to running water and other methods to prevent infection;
  5. Expand paid sick leave for every person, regardless of employer or employer size;
  6. Give special care and attention to individuals at increased risk of infection, including incarcerated individuals, immigrants and children in detention, tribes and Native communities, and people experiencing homelessness;
  7. Require funding for corporations to be focused on ensuring that people continue to be paid and receive benefits. Strong guardrails need to be in place to ensure that families and those who need it most get assistance and that companies in the future do not recklessly profit off of taxpayer funding at the expense of workers; and
  8. Expand federal funding for Tribes and Tribal Organizations for robust health services access in Indian Country.

Additionally, regarding the individual payments proposed in the Republican plan, ITEP estimates that only 20% ( $215 billion) out of a $1 trillion bill would be spent on individual payments, demonstrating that the Republican stimulus chiefly benefits businesses.
Read more from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Third Package Negotiations Heat Up

The Senate is rapidly writing their third response package and needs to hear from you now.  Please call using the phone number above. Right now, Senator Mitch McConnell is leading the GOP in the Senate in developing the “economic stimulus” package. Our concern is that they are not correctly viewing what KIND of stimulus is needed since this is not a “normal” market crash and will have unknown, long-term impacts on peoples’ lives.  They need to understand that people oppose another big-business bailout predicated on trickle-down economics.

While the need to address industry-wide economic fall-out is important, stimulus aid must have conditions attached to ensure that workers are supported rather than only subsidizing financial markets or corporate profits. In 2008, the federal government provided hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street to respond to the financial crisis, with no strings attached. The results for Wall Street were tremendous – a quick return to profitability, large executive compensation packages, major stock buy-backs, and more. The results for working families were disappointing, and most never fully recovered. Financial support this time should be targeted and contingent upon maintaining protections for workers.

Direct benefits to low- and moderate-income households is a powerful and effective economic stimulant. We support a targeted measure to support households most in need. A payroll tax cut does not make sense for this crisis, but refundable tax credits targeted to low- and moderate-income individuals and families could have a powerful stabilizing effect. Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit would give families and individuals additional relief over time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
NETWORK Priorities for Third Coronavirus Package

After finalizing the first two packages responding to coronavirus, the Senate focuses on a third package, an “economic stimulus” package. NETWORK supports including the following financial supports in this economic stimulus. Read all of NETWORK’s recommendations for an economic stimulus package here.
To support people:

  • Target rebate checks and refundable tax credit to low- and moderate-income individuals
  • Strengthen, expand, and modernize Unemployment Insurance and paid medical and family leave
  • Boost nutrition assistance
  • Increase homelessness assistance funding
  • Halt evictions and foreclosures
  • Give special attention to at-risk communities

To support states, municipalities, and health care:

  • Increase Medicaid funding for states and stabilization funds for Community Health Centers and critical related programs

To support business:

  • Ensure federal funds given to support businesses reach workers
Senate Passes Families First Coronavirus Response Act, President Trump signs it into law

The Senate voted to approve the Families First Coronavirus Response Act with a 90-8 vote. President Trump signed the bill into law Wednesday evening.

Read more from www.nbcnews.com.

Monday, March 16, 2020
NETWORK Recommends Senators Vote Yes on H.R.6021

At the conclusion of a 3-day Senate recess, NETWORK sent the following vote recommendation to U.S. Senators calling on them to pass H.R.6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Read NETWORK’s Senate vote recommendation.

Saturday, March 14, 2020
House Passes Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R.6021)

In a letter to all Members of Congress, NETWORK urged Congress to ensure coronavirus testing is affordable, expand paid sick leave, increase assistance for low-income workers and families, and give special attention to groups with increased risk of infection in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Read NETWORK’s letter to Congress.

Surviving the Coronavirus Together

Surviving the Coronavirus Together

Robert Beezat
March 19, 2020

The coronavirus is having a huge, negative impact on the US economy. That negative impact will grow over the next several months.

Everyone will be impacted by the downturn in the economy.  Those who must take care of their children while working from home, those who have no sick leave or family leave, and those who lose their jobs will be hit the hardest.

Many corporations are also being hit hard. The airline industry is asking for $50 billion in aid.  Hospitals, hotels, cruise ships, restaurants and restaurant workers, taxi drivers, health care and elderly care workers, and the many other businesses and workers who make our economy thrive are experiencing partial or full loss of income.

One thing which can help both workers and businesses survive through this crisis is to tap into the enormous wealth of our country. The United States is the wealthiest country in the world. Wealth is measured as the difference between total assets (houses, savings, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, etc.) and total liabilities (mortgage, car loans, student debt, credit card debt, etc.)

People in the US hold over $100,000,000,000,000.00 ($100 trillion) in personal wealth.

Corporations in the US hold $1,600,000,000,000.00 ($1.6 trillion) in corporate wealth.

A very small portion of that wealth can save the economy now and serve as a springboard to a quick recovery and economic expansion after the coronavirus is brought under control.

A one-time, 2% wealth tax on individuals and a one-time, 6% wealth tax on corporations would give our people and businesses the ability to survive this national and international disaster.

2% of the personal wealth of this country equals $2 trillion. That $2 trillion can be used to cover loss of pay due to loss of jobs, no or minimal sick leave and family leave, childcare and elderly care expenses, etc.

From an individual standpoint, the median individual wealth is $38,000.00. On average, a 2% wealth tax on individuals would equal $760.00, Each person in turn would receive back a check for $6,000.00.

Under this scenario, every person would pay the same tax rate, and every person would get the same $6,000.00 payment.

For example, someone who had $38,000.00 in wealth would pay in $760.00 in a one-time and would receive a check for $6,000.00.

Someone who had $300,000.00 in wealth would pay in $6,000.00 in a one-time wealth tax and receive a check for $6,000.00. They would break even on this program.

Anyone with wealth more than $300,000 would start paying in more than they paid into the system.  Here are some examples:

  • Someone with half a million in wealth would pay in $10,000.00 and receive back $6,000.00. They would be contributing 0.8% of their wealth to help us overcome the effects of the coronavirus.
  • Someone with $1 million in wealth would pay in $20,000.00 and receive back $6,000.00. This person would be contributing1.4% of their wealth to help all of us overcome the effects of the coronavirus.
  • Someone with $100 million in wealth would pay in $2,000,000.00 and receive back $6,000.00. This person would be contributing 1.9% of their wealth to offset the coronavirus devastation
  • Someone with $1 billion in wealth would pay in $20,000,000 and receive back $6,000.00. They would be contributing almost 2% of their wealth to fighting the negative effects of the coronavirus. There are 607 billionaires in the US.

I think someone with half a million dollars in wealth would not be opposed to contributing $4,000.00 (or 0.8%) of their wealth to help those who are hit hardest by the coronavirus.

I think the same for someone having $1 million in wealth. They would not be opposed to contributing 1.4% of their wealth to this effort.

For the roughly 36,000 households having $100,000,000 or more, some may object to using 1.9% of their wealth for fighting the negative impacts of the coronavirus. The same for the 607 billionaires. However, since most of these folks are connected to some of the wealthiest businesses in our country, I would hope they would see their contributions to both do good, but also to help the economy bounce back more quickly and strongly as the crisis comes to an end.

I would propose that the same type of thought process apply to a one-time corporate wealth tax. A 6% one-time corporate wealth tax equals $96 billion. That money could help businesses stay open, continue production, and continue paying their employees.

Both of these taxes and resulting expenditures would not add a penny to the national debt which currently stands at $23.3 trillion.

Robert Beezat has managed a broad range of organizations in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, including many serving lower income communities. He has spoken on behalf of NETWORK at colleges and universities regarding social justice issues and the Common Good.

Cornering COVID-19: The Importance of Paid Leave During this Global Crisis

Cornering COVID-19: The Importance of Paid Leave During this Global Crisis

Anne Marie Bonds
March 20, 2020

I’ll be honest. I don’t like working from home! After the NETWORK office went partially, and then fully, remote last week, I thought I had it made. I could wear my pajamas all day and my only commute was from my bed to my kitchen table. Even with the constant worry and threat I’m feeling due to the global COVID-19 pandemic surrounding me, I was at least excited to work from home. Unfortunately, working remotely isn’t all sunshine and roses. Technical difficulties arise almost every time I try to join a conference call or conduct a meeting, and I’m starting to feel disconnected from my friends and family.

Fortunately, I don’t live completely alone. Like many millennials living in a big city, I have roommates —three to be exact. As COVID-19 spreads across the world, they don’t have the privilege that I have to simply work from home. One of my roommates is a hairdresser and one works at Trader Joe’s while also a full-time student. Both of these roommates are currently facing challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and both of their struggles are being widely felt by all vital workers and those working in the gig economy.

For my roommate, who is a hairdresser, she is technically classified as a gig worker or an independent contractor in her salon. Andi relies on payment from her clients and does not receive payment from the salon itself. So, when her salon shut down due to fears over coronavirus spreading in Washington, D.C., she was not given any paid leave from her employer. In order to pay her rent for the next few months while the entire city is on lockdown, she has been cutting hair in our house, purposefully breaking the CDC’s self-distancing and quarantine guidelines out of financial necessity. My roommate has been constantly cleaning and disinfecting the house to try and keep us all safe. She has described her debilitating fear and anxiety that she’ll get sick to me, but her need to remain financially stable outweighs any illness she faces.

One of my other roommates, is facing similar issues in her job. She works as a cashier at Trader Joe’s while paying her way through college. When coronavirus became more of a threat in Washington, my roommate knew that she was still going to work, because her job is a vital part of our nation, especially as more and more people begin to panic shop at grocery stores and retailers across our nation. While people are staying home and working, she is coming into contact with hundreds of people every day at the grocery store in order to provide an essential service that keeps our nation running. My roommate worries because she is at risk of contracting COVID-19 every day at work, yet she does not have any guarantee of paid leave if she feels sick and has to quarantine.

This global pandemic has revealed a glaring injustice in our nation’s labor system: our heinous lack of federally mandated paid leave. The vast majority of working people in the United States do not have access to comprehensive paid leave. Across the nation, less than 25% of middle to lower-income workers have access to paid leave. With this highly contagious, deadly disease spreading through our communities, it is more important than ever that people are able to stay home when they are sick. Lack of paid leave means low-income workers are required to go to work, even when they are sick, and even when they could be carrying coronavirus.

Luckily, the House and Senate passed a historic paid leave bill this past week in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows for 10 days of paid sick leave for full-time workers and up to 12 weeks of unpaid emergency family leave if they or a loved one gets sick for a long period of time. This bill is a historic first step in ensuring that all people have access to paid leave, and it will vastly reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States. Unfortunately, this bill still does not ensure that all workers have access to paid sick leave, specifically health care workers and employees who work for corporations with over 500 and under 50 employees. For these workers, more must be done so that they can stay home when they are sick and care for their loved ones during this trying time.

No one should have to go to work when they are sick with a deadly virus, simply because they are financially forced to. They could potentially infect and endanger others when they are sick and more and more people could die. It is imperative for our nation’s health that we are all ensured comprehensive paid sick leave.

Dreamers Brace for SCOTUS Decision

Dreamers Brace for SCOTUS Decision

Giovana Oaxaca
March 19, 2020

The executive action known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has withstood a number of legal challenges over the years. In a few months, however, the delicate future of more than 700,000 DACA recipients will face yet another test. Let the Senate know that immigrants are welcome in our nation by signing our petition.

On November 12, 2019, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the DACA cases that the Supreme Court considered for review in the fall 2019 term. Although there exist legislative solutions, such as the Dream and Promise Act which passed the House and the Dream Act and SECURE Act (introduced in the Senate), Congress has so far failed to pass meaningful protections for undocumented immigrants eligible for deferred action and temporary protected status. This has deferred the DACA matter to court cases, which have put a halt to the Trump administration’s decision to terminate DACA in September 2017. The Supreme Court’s decision will have far-reaching effects by deciding the fate of the program for the near future.

Watch interfaith leaders pray for the protection of immigrants, refugees, and DACA recipients in the #Faith4DACA vigil.

The stakes have never been higher. In a recent survey, over fifty percent of DACA recipients reported that they fear being detained or deported from the United States at least once a day. An even greater share of DACA recipients surveyed reported that they feared being separated from their children. The Supreme Court’s decision will alter the reality for the millions of DACA recipients living and working in the U.S. If the Supreme Court rules with the Trump Administration, this would leave thousands stranded with few recourses, in the very place they call home.

Brief Overview

On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it was terminating DACA, a decision that was been met with instant legal pushback. More than ten cases were filed challenging the administration’s decision. After a number of judges issued preliminary injunctions protecting the program, the administration appealed to the Supreme Court.  Late last year, the Supreme Court granted the administration’s petition, agreeing to hear arguments for three cases on November 12th, 2019. The Supreme Court’s ruling on the DACA cases and an array of other high-profile cases are expected in June 2020.

Speculated Outcomes

Legal advocates, allies, and organizations are bracing for the court’s ruling.

  • The court may conclude it may review the administration’s decision. It may then rule that the termination is unlawful or lawful. A ruling stating that the action was unlawful would be good for DACA recipients because it would mean that the administration should not have terminated DACA under its reasoning at the time. The court may rule that the administration’s decision was lawful. This would be bad for DACA recipients because it would mean the administration could begin rolling back the program. It is also possible that the court could find DACA itself unlawful at this time. This would mean that the government could stop accepting renewals of applications.
  • The Supreme Court may decide not to review the administration’s decision to terminate. A ruling along these lines would mean that the administration could commence rolling back the program; it could also mean that a future administration could reinstate it.

High-profile businesseshigher education institutions, former national security officials, and religious organizations have joined a litany of amicus briefs in support of DACA recipients. The plight of Dreamers clearly resonates with the majority of Americans. As it stands, an overwhelming majority of Americans support a pathway to citizenship. For now, the decision to stay DACA rests in the hands of the Supreme Court.


‘Tis The Season… The Election Season

‘Tis The Season… The Election Season

Charlotte Hakikson
March 18, 2020

There’s always one thing we can look forward to every four years and no, it’s not the summer Olympics. I’m talking about the United States presidential election. In less than seven months, the American people will vote for their next commander in chief. Amidst everything that is happening, especially with COVID-19, who we elect matters now more than ever. This country needs a leader who will put its citizens’ wellbeing, health, and safety first. We at NETWORK, understand the importance of being able to participate in such an important and historic election, so we have designed a toolkit to prepare folks for this moment.

Our election toolkit has everything you need to help assess who the right candidate is for the job. With the help of our 2020 Mend the Gaps Policy Platform, we’ve created a list of questions to ask a candidate at a town hall to gage how they intend to mend the gaps in our nation. Our letters to the editor (LTE) toolkit will help you produce compelling writing that will be read in both local and national newspapers. Use our “Do It Yourself Candidate Side-By-Side” to determine which Presidential, Senate and House candidate aligns closest with NETWORK’s 2020 Policy Platform and your personal views. Finally, don’t forget to engage with the candidates on social media using our social media pro tips.

Show your commitment to being a “Mend the Gaps Voter” this Election Season with the use of NETWORK’s newly created placards. Make your voice heard in person and online! Take a picture with the placards and use the hashtags #MendtheGapsVoter and #My2020Vision. Be sure to tag @NETWORKLobby as well. Whether you’re at a candidate’s rally, polling place, or Member of Congress’s office, snap a photo of yourself with the placard.

Discover your choice candidate in our election toolkit. This is a living document that is continuously being updated to reflect what is going on in the election and adding new resources to alleviate some of the stress that comes with the voting process. Continue to check out the webpage and stay up to date by following us on social media!

Coronavirus: Our Call to Social & Economic Transformation

Coronavirus: Our Call to Social & Economic Transformation

Giovana Oaxaca
March 16, 2020

I did not expect to text my high school classmate this weekend to ask about her mother’s coronavirus experience. The truth is, I haven’t texted this classmate in almost a decade, but circumstances change. Global pandemics put things in perspective and you find yourself reaching out to all manner of people you have really talked to in years. Hi, How are you? How are things back home?

My classmate’s mother, Beth, went through a bureaucratic nightmare with deadly consequences. After returning from a trip abroad more than a month ago, she found herself exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus. She decided to take extra measures and self-quarantine. But, at that time, information about the virus was sparse in the United States, and county health officials had no tests available to administer when she asked. They recommended she quarantine herself.

“At that time, we knew so little, and I was at a real loss as to how even do that,” she said. Over her quarantine, she suffered a sinus infection and unfortunately ended up infecting her 83-year old mother, at high-risk of developing deadly symptoms. She tried to get her mother tested too but was faced with the same shortage of answers.

Almost a month later, a doctor declared that Beth and her mother had had the virus, after reading their chest x-rays. “When the nasal congestion turned into a sinus infection, I thought I was no longer contagious. Now I find out that I probably was,” Beth wrote. The consequences for her mother could have quickly turned deadly. But for now, Beth says,“[she] is still in isolation.”

Beth’s nightmare doesn’t end there: Beth’s entire family will remain in quarantine, including my classmate who is a seasonal worker, and is likely to be laid-off in the next few days. Sarah, Beth said, is bracing for a future without a job.

The demands of responding to a pandemic is beyond what any one family should have to go through alone. What kind of nation would we be if we didn’t respond to a salient public health crisis now, when the consequences of inaction can be deadly? This virus is crystalizing our need to redress inequalities in our healthcare system, guarantee paid family and sick leave, and support families through smart economic policy.

Last week, the House passed the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R 6201). The bill would put resources in testing and treatment. It would affect sweeping changes in our nation’s paid sick leave and unemployment insurance laws, ensuring that working family’s livelihoods are not disrupted. It makes sure families are fed, by expanding nutrition programs, and health care and other workers are protected. It ensures states are well prepared to respond, by boosting federal funding for Medicaid.

As the Senate prepares to act and soon vote on the House bill, additional steps will need to be taken to address wide-scale financial distress caused by the economy constricting. The hallmark of Congressional efforts to stem this health emergency and any related economic downturn should meet the needs of working families. Above all, Congress must ensure accessible and affordable testing and treatment for the Coronavirus, regardless of income, location, disability, or immigration status. It must also:

  • Ensure all have the support they need to take sick leave and care for family members without risking their jobs or their paychecks.
  • Ensure low-income workers and individuals facing hardship have the assistance they need to put food on the table and provide for their families.
  • Give special care and attention to individuals at increased risk of infection, including individuals in prison, immigrants and children in detention, in long-term care facilities, and experiencing homelessness.
  • Economic stimulus measures should focus first on low-income and vulnerable communities. Such policies also have the strongest economic impact. Any bailouts and emergency assistance for major industries and businesses must be paired with comparable assistance for low-wage workers and vulnerable individuals.
  • Oppose any efforts to use the pandemic as an excuse to further militarize the border or exacerbate immigration deportation and detention.

While we laud recent passage of the House bill, and recommend swift action on these emergency measures in the Senate, we recognize the need for a stronger and wider social safety net, especially for the disproportionately impacted like low-wage workers, domestic workers, and people of color. In terms of paid family and sick leave, we strongly Congress take up and pass the Family Act, and the Healthy Families Act, which would guarantee seven days of paid sick leave.

Our federal tax code incentivizes massive wealth accumulation and the prioritization of profit, driving a greater wedge between the share of the population who have only some, if any, savings for an emergency, and those who a lot. This preferential treatment for the wealthy can only have consequences down the line, as we’re discovering, since the Federal Reserve’s fiscal response to economic crisis has done little to touch on the lives of everyday working families. The slow degradation of our nation’s labor laws, the stagnation of wages and benefits, and the country’s insistence on lending a lifeline to corporations and not people is a thorough indictment of our economic policy.

Coronavirus’ indiscriminate path is showing us that the inequities in our systems continue to leave millions of Americans vulnerable to economic instability and health care insecurity. Because it’s no longer a manner of if, but when, we rewrite our nation’s social and economic policy to better meet the needs of families in crisis, we must summon the same political courage and haste it will have taken to pass these emergency measures.

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Beth is an ordained minister with the United Methodist Church. I am thankful of her courage in sharing her account of living with coronavirus and for reminding me that spiritual practice can serve as a lifeline in times of hardship.