The administration remains hard at work, and our top priorities continue to advance. The impeachment trials are consuming our electorate right now, but we have still managed to see bits of progress for refugees, immigrants, family leave, and cabinet nominations. Read on for details.
What is it?
On February 4, President Biden signed an executive order to restore the nation’s refugee resettlement program. As of October 1, 2020, the government capped resettlement at only 15,000, the lowest in modern history. The Biden administration has begun the work of rebuilding the country’s capacity to resettle refugees, may increase the cap this year, and has committed to increasing the cap to 125,000 next year.
How does it relate to our past work?
A century ago, NCJW NY established an agency at Ellis Island to support and aid immigrant families, with partner offices in 250 cities providing job training and legal aid for immigrant women. Our work to support refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers continue to this day. During the previous administration, NCJW vociferously opposed measures to limit refugee resettlement and consistently called for restoring the program to full strength and admitting as many refugees as possible.
What can I do now?
Show your support for refugee resettlement on social media using this sample post:
The Torah teaches us to love the stranger. We must rebuild our nation’s refugee resettlement program and welcome at least 125,000 refugees next year. #RefugeesWelcome #NCJW
- On February 4, President Biden released a memorandum to advance the human rights of LGBTQ and intersex people worldwide.
- On February 4, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rep. Rosa DeLauro reintroduced (D-CT) the FAMILY Act (HR 804/S 248) bill, which creates a national paid family and medical leave insurance program. Tell your members of Congress to support this critical legislation.
- On February 8, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced the SECURE Act (S 306), which provides a path to citizenship for people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS allows immigrants to live and work in the US if they cannot return to their home nations because of conflict or natural disasters.
- On February 11, the administration announced it would prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity under the Fair Housing Act. Additionally, the administration announced it would investigate complaints against gay, nonbinary, trans, and other LGBTQ individuals dating back to January 20, 2020 — retroactive for one year under the current statute of limitations. This directive will revoke a proposed rule, opposed by NCJW, under President Trump that was never finalized.
- American Rescue Plan: Last week, the House and Senate passed a budget resolution with instructions and House Committees began marking up their pieces of the $1.9 trillion. NCJW priority issues that are currently present in the draft include:
- increased vaccine distribution
- relief checks
- paid-leave benefits
- funding for state and local governments
- rental assistance
- $15 minimum wage
- extended unemployment benefits.
Committees are expected to finish their business this week, with a floor vote in the House on February 22. Keep up the calls to your lawmakers to ensure NCJW’s priorities are in the final package.
- The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Budget Committees held hearings on the nomination of Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget. The next steps include votes in both committees. Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for Attorney General, has a hearing scheduled in the Senate Judiciary Committee beginning on February 22. The committee will vote to advance Garland’s nomination on March 1.
See the full list of NCJW’s First 100 Day Priorities here.