February 12, 2020
Action Alert Digest
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Ban New U.S. Landmine Use

The Trump administration has announced it plans to reverse U.S. policy not to deploy landmines outside of the Korean Peninsula and would give combatant commanders the authority to use them when they deem necessary. The world has rejected landmines because they are indiscriminate and disproportionately harm civilians. Arms Control Today invites us to tell Congress to ban landmines and encourage the US to join the Mine Ban Treaty.  TAKE ACTION
U.S. Ready to Sign Peace Deal If Taliban Abide by Promise to Reduce Violence

The United States and the Taliban are poised to clinch a deal that would see the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the start of peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government. But the agreement will go ahead only if the Taliban abide by a pledge to reduce violence over a seven-day period, according to a Western official, an Afghan official, and two former U.S. officials briefed on the talks. MORE
Opportunities for Nuclear Arms Control Engagement with China

The clock is ticking on an extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Washington seeks to broaden the existing U.S.-Russian agreement by including China in a new trilateral arms control framework. There is no chance that Beijing would change its long-held views on arms control within the next 12 months. Nonetheless, China’s growing military power is producing counterpressure for China to deepen its participation in arms control. MORE
Trump's Pentagon Budget Bolsters Nuclear Weapons, Weapons Research

U.S. President Donald Trump’s $740.5 billion defense budget request sent to Congress this week includes more money for nuclear weapons and a big boost to research and development spending to prepare for future warfare. The defense spending request contains the Pentagon’s largest research and development budget in 70 years as the military aims to build next-generation capabilities to counter the growing strength of China and Russia.  MORE
Five Things to Know About Immigrants in the Military

Over half a million foreign-born veterans, many of whom are citizens, live in the United States today, and about 40,000 immigrants are currently serving. Over the past century military service has provided a pathway to citizenship for more than 760,000 individuals, and immigrants have served honorably since the founding of our country. But in 2019, the naturalization rates for immigrants serving in our military fell precipitously.  MORE
Los Angeles Blocks Privately Run Detention Centers
The Los Angeles City Council has voted to block the opening of privately-run immigration detention centers. The ruling is aimed at stopping a facility for unaccompanied minors run by the Tucson-based VisionQuest. Supporters of the measure say the company's shelters are unsafe.  MORE
Immigration Promoting Diversity in Iowa Schools
The wave of immigration is sparking diversity in Iowan schools as a growing number of Latinos are entering the state's public education system. The percentage of children in Iowa from immigrant families grew from 2.4 percent in 1990 to 11.3 percent, according to the Migration Policy Institute.  MORE
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Support the New Fracking Ban Act

Fracking sickens people in frontline communities and exacerbates global warming; now we have a chance to do something about it on a level that matches the scale of the problem. The newly introduced Fracking Ban Act is just the sort of bold step needed to successfully combat the climate crisis. The Sierra Club provides a quick way to tell Congress to support a ban on fracking.  TAKE ACTION
Trump Budget Slashes EPA Funding, Environmental Programs

President Trump's proposed budget for fiscal year 2021 calls for significant reductions to environmental programs at federal agencies, including a 26 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency that would eliminate 50 programs in the agency. The budget would impose massive cuts to research and development, while also nixing money for the Energy Star rating system.   MORE
This Ultra-Strong Nanomaterial Could Cut Carbon Emissions — And It’s Made Out of Garbage

Since graphene was discovered in 2004, demand for the material has skyrocketed thanks to its remarkable physical qualities. Graphene is at least 100 times stronger than steel, ultra-light, as stretchy as rubber, and the best heat conductor in the world. But the supply of graphene has been limited by painstaking processes used for producing it in the lab, from expensive chemical reactions. Now a new study shows that graphene could actually be made out of garbage.  MORE
How New York’s START Act Would Help Human Trafficking Victims

Human trafficking victims often have criminal convictions for a wide range of offenses that were committed solely as a result of being trafficked, e.g theft, prostitution, drug possession, etc.   These criminal records continue to haunt human trafficking survivors long after they have escaped exploitation. The Survivors of Trafficking Attaining Relief Together (START) Act is a State bill in New York that would help survivors clear those criminal records.  MORE
California: More Than 500 Arrested in Statewide Human Trafficking Operation

More than 500 people were arrested in a statewide human trafficking operation, officials announced recently. Officials said 518 people were taken into custody during the multi-agency effort called "Operation Reclaim & Rebuild." The charges ranged from prostitution to human trafficking. Along with the arrests, authorities rescued nearly 90 adult and juvenile female victims during the week-long operation.  MORE
'What Were You Wearing': College Exhibit Challenges Sexual Assault Stigma

A pop-up exhibit at a college in California featuring clothing displays from sexual assault survivors is sparking conversation about the stigma surrounding survivors, the blame they experience and what a survivor is.  Through displays of clothing provided by a variety of survivors, the exhibit examines the implications of asking survivors what they were wearing when they were assaulted .    MORE
Idaho Lawmakers Take New Approach to Reducing Child Marriage After 2019 Bill Failed

Idaho has the highest rate of child marriage in the U.S., according to a national report. A bill last year that sought to end child marriage failed on the House floor. Now two Republicans who voted against that bill have brought their own bill to reduce child marriage in Idaho.  While last year’s bill would have required court approval for 16- and 17-year-olds to marry, the new bill requires only parental permission.  MORE
TAKE ACTION: Don't Let America's Veterans Go Hungry

Millions of veterans depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to feed themselves and their families every day. But as major proposed changes to SNAP are expected in the coming months, they may be left without food on the table. Feeding America urges us to tell Congress to protect the health and dignity of America’s veterans, and help them to get the food they need.  TAKE ACTION
Living in Inequality, Dying in Despair

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released some welcome news late last month: Americans are living a tiny bit longer. In 2018, the federal health agency reported, U.S. life expectancy at birth inched up about a month, from 78.6 to 78.7 years. But the United States still sits at the bottom of the developed world’s life expectancy rankings. As the developed world’s most unequal nation, we shouldn’t be surprised. MORE
For Half of Us Americans, Things Are Not So Great

Close to half of American workers – 53 million people – are earning a median hourly wage of $10.22. Their median annual pay is $17,950 because close to half of these low-wage workers don’t work full-time. Sure – many households have two workers, but even at twice that income, it’s pretty tough to make ends meet. Housing, for instance: about half of the households with income of less than $35,000 a year are paying half or more of their income on rent.  MORE

Nicholas Todd Sutton is scheduled to be executed on February 20 by the state of Tennessee for the murder of Carl Estep. Please hold Nicholas, Carl, their families, and the people of Tennessee in prayer.  TAKE ACTION

Nathaniel Woods is scheduled to be executed on March 5 by the state of Alabama for the murders of Harley Chisholm, Carlos Owen, and Charles Bennett. Please hold Nathaniel, Harley, Carlos, Charles, their families and the people of Alabama in prayer.  TAKE ACTION