First things first. Let’s keep in our prayers the people who are facing Hurricane Harvey. Our colleagues at the Texas Catholic Conference have sent along a link from Catholic Charities USA in case you’re interested in making an immediate donation: bit.ly/2wwpwp5.
The U.S. Catholic bishops have established a new committee against racism. It will focus on addressing the sin of racism in our society, and even in the Church, and the urgent need to come together as a society to find solutions.
Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio has been appointed chair of the committee. “Through Jesus’ example of love and mercy, we are called to be a better people than what we have witnessed over the past weeks and months as a nation. Through listening, prayer and meaningful collaboration, I’m hopeful we can find lasting solutions and common ground where racism will no longer find a place in our hearts or in our society,” he said.
Next month, Pope Francis will launch a two-year “Share the Journey” Migration Campaign to increase support and solidarity for immigrants and refugees. Click here for more information.
Here in Iowa, we are continuing our work to stop the passage of Senate File 481. SF 481 would require law enforcement agencies to honor any immigration detainer request from the federal government, even those without a criminal warrant attached. This would be a significant change of practice for many local law enforcement agencies. We do not believe that an escalation of immigrant detention and intensive use of local enforcement in communities is the way to achieve compassionate and merciful reform of our immigration system. SF 481 already passed the Iowa Senate and was assigned to the House Public Safety Committee for possible action next year.
If you’re not sure what detainers are, click here for a resource from CLINIC, the U.S. Catholic bishops legal immigration network.
It is being reported that the five-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program may be in jeopardy. Attorneys general from several states have said they will sue the Trump Administration on Sept. 5 if the president doesn’t end the program.
DACA is an executive action that provides deportation relief and a work permit to select young people without papers who arrived or were brought to the U.S. before age 16. About 800,000 people who have passed Department of Homeland Security background checks are participating.
We note the words of the USCCB Committee on Migration Chair, Austin Bishop Joe Vasquez, to DACA recipients: “Please know that the Catholic Church stands in solidarity with you. We recognize your intrinsic value as children of God. We understand the anxiety and fear you face and we appreciate and applaud the daily contributions you make with your families, to local communities and parishes, and to our country.”
DACA recipients are members of families who entered the U.S. as children and know America as their only home. Does it make sense to pull the rug out from under them at this time?
We are waiting for a Polk County District Court’s decision in a lawsuit against the three-day waiting period in Iowa’s new 20-week abortion ban. The court case was brought by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. The prohibition on abortion after 20 weeks remains in place while the waiting period before an abortion has been held up by the Iowa Supreme Court.
While efforts in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act have stalled, the Iowa Insurance Division is asking permission from the federal government to implement a “stopgap measure” to bring stability to the individual health insurance market.
The insurance division says that without the Iowa Stopgap Measure, 20,000 more Iowans will likely be forced to go uninsured due to skyrocketing premium costs under the Affordable Care Act. Premiums are predicted to go up more than 40 percent.
The proposal would provide age- and income-based tax credits to help people pay for premiums while using a reinsurance mechanism for costly claims.
Congratulations to Dr. Phil Miller (D-Fairfield) who won a special election in House District 82 earlier this month to fill the seat of Rep. Curt Hanson, who died in June.