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Email your Senator - Demilitarizing the Police

Demilitarizing the Police: Senate Bill Necessary to Move Forward on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 passed by the House (H.R. 7120)

by Robin Hathaway and Tilly Gaillard

Email Script for your Senate members

 I am ___ your constituent who lives in ______  but votes absentee in ______ (zip code, city, state). I am writing you to create a Senate bill comparable to H.R.7120 - George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, passed previously in the House. 

 Since 1990 the Defense Logistics Agency has overseen the free distribution of approximately $7 billion worth of surplus military supplies and equipment to nearly 3,000 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in a program known as 1033,” which refers to the numbered section of the 1997 Defense bill that granted authority to the Secretary of Defense to transfer defense material to non-military law enforcement. In other words, the Defense Department has been providing weapons meant for war to be freely disseminated across America available and used against Americans. Between 2006-2015, 8,000 military vehicles, 471 helicopters, 83,000 M16 or M14 rifles, 57 grenade launchers, and more than 5,000 bayonets moved into law enforcement hands thus militarizing civilian agencies within our country. This is clearly dangerous for our democracy.

 In October 2014, after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, there was ensuing unrest where local police deployed military weaponry against U.S. citizens.  It was at that moment that lawmakers should have mandated a moratorium on the 1033 program, and it was clear that the misuse of such equipment could do irreparable harm to citizens and community trust in law enforcement agencies.

 By the end of the Obama Administration, the Pentagon stated that 126 tracked armored vehicles, 138 grenade launchers, and 1,623 bayonets had been returned to the federal government.

 Unfortunately, Donald Trump reversed the progress made under Obama, and once again the government allows for indiscriminate distribution of military warfare equipment to law enforcement agencies across the country.  I believe that allowing military weaponry to be used across this nation without guidance, regulations or policies is inappropriate, irresponsible, hazardous, and un-American. It also has lead to fraud and waste and even military equipment passing into civilian society totally unregulated. This contributes to fear and mistrust among the population, with reason!

Therefore, as your constituent, I strongly urge you to cosponsor and support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to stop the dangerous transfer of military supplies without proper safeguards and supervision.

Call script for Senators:


I am______ your constituent  ________________________ I live in _______________ and vote in _____________________.  I am calling because it is time to create a Senate bill comparable to H.R.7120 - George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, passed previously in the House. 

 You can see by the continuous protests all over this country that many things need to be changed.   One of them is taking dangerous, inappropriate military equipment off of our streets, out of our communities. The Defense Logistics Agency has overseen the free distribution of approximately $7 billion worth of surplus” military supplies to 3,000 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in America.

In January 2015 President Obama issued Executive Order (EO)13688 to stop the dissemination of much of this warfare” equipment and to insist on supervision, evaluation, accountability, and transparency for equipment still distributed. Trump revoked Obama's EO in August 2017.

It is important to reinstate those protections and I ask you to find other Senators who understand this and create a comparable bill to HR and re-instituted these changes and protections.  It is obviously time to pay attention to police enforcement of law and order and time to reduce the level of violence possible with weapons of war on our American streets.

Therefore, as your constituent, I strongly urge you to propose legislation for a bill comparable to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to stop the dangerous transfer of military supplies without proper safeguards and supervision. Thank you, ______________________

 


Advocate for 3 hot topics


Call your Senators and House Representatives, Rapid Response needed on three hot topics:

(1) Ask for Congressional Sponsors to support Tammy Duckworth’s initiative in pushing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) to include veterans abroad in the CARES Act. Script here and see Duckworth's Letter here.


(2) Advocate to cancel the in-person West Point Graduation Ceremony on June 13th to keep our cadets and their families safe from the Covid virus. Scripts to use when calling and writing Congress here.


(3) Destroy the Post Office, and you destroy democracy. We must take action to save the USPS here at the same time. “Simply put, if you hate the Post Office then you hate America.... We need to all lean on our members of Congress — regardless of party — to lean on the White House to save our Post Office before September.”


Take 5! Tight Senate races...

We in DA's Veterans and Military Families Caucus are working on a project to take back the Senate.

Here are the detailed reports about the 2020 Senate races.

 

Flippable Senate

 

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and State Legislature Report. 

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So far, there are five tight races we are watching very closely: AZ, CO, GA, NC, MA, MO, and you will also find information on all the others.

And the GA Special Election is indeed Special! For any questions or comments please email: veteranscaucus@democratsabroad.org.


We would certainly appreciate it!

 


Co-Caucusing on Issues with the LGBTQ, Hispanic and Black Caucuses

Our advocacy is robust and we are co-caucusing with the LGBTQ Caucus on the joint effort to overturn Trump’s Military Transgender Ban.  Please consider taking a moment to contact your U.S. Senators to urge them to SUPPORT S. 373, a bill to revoke the ban, and also the amendment in the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act to consider applicants based on gender-neutral occupational standards and military occupational specialty, but may not include any criteria relating to the race, color, national origin, religion, or sex (including gender identity or sexual orientation) of an individual.  
We are working closely with the Hispanic Caucus actions against the use of military funding to build the wall and to support a bipartisan bill to demand better representation of Hispanic Americans in the senior ranks of the U.S. military. Check out this podcast here on Podomatic.  And here is another recent podcast on Veteran deportation co-hosted with the Hispanic Caucus.  
 
With the DA Black Caucus, we are working on a Veteran's Day webinar about WWII restoration of justice when Black GIs were denied rights guaranteed by the GI Bill (equal housing and education opportunities). 

TAKE ACTION on the Issue of Deported Veterans!

DA Veterans and Military Families Caucus urges all members and other Americans abroad to contact both your U.S. representative and your two U.S. senators regarding Deported Veterans. 

Background: The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, under the anti-immigrant Trump Administration, has set their targets on our nation’s foreign-born veterans and have deported an unknown number of these former service-members. To no one’s surprise, many of these veterans are Latinos. We can fight back against this undeniably racist item on the Trump agenda by contacting our members of Congress.

Below are some basic templates that you can use on your legislators’ websites. We encourage you to make the language your own and to add a personal story on this issue if you have one to share. You are also encouraged to send any response you receive from your senator or representative on this issue by forwarding your legislator’s e-mail to: veteranscaucus@democratsabroad.org.


[Basic template for writing to your two U.S. senators]

Dear Senator _______,

My name is [your name] and I’m your constituent from [name of home state]. I’m writing on the topic of America’s military veterans being deported and believe that this practice needs to be immediately halted. 

Service in our Armed Forces is completely voluntary. Most veterans have served with honor, including our foreign-born veterans. It is a national disgrace that this administration has chosen to focus on veteran deportations.

As your constituent who lives abroad, I assure you that even with detailed planning it can be quite difficult to adjust living in a new country. One can only imagine the trauma inflicted on our veterans who have been deported in terms of family separations, loss of job and income, and unfamiliarity with the local language of the countries they’re being deported to. Furthermore, according to a 2018 Congressional Research Service report (#IF10884) and a 2019 Government Accountability Office report (GAO-19-416), the federal government does not even track statistics on how many veterans are being deported!

Our country needs to stop deporting our foreign-born veterans and repatriate those who have already been deported.

Therefore, I request that you cosponsor and SUPPORT the following bills:

  1. S. 2450, the Protecting Immigrant Gold Star and Military Families Act, sponsored by Sen. Booker.
  2.  S. 1041, the Veterans and Visa and Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Duckworth.

I also ask that you consider amending current law on this issue. In 8 U.S.C. 1101(a) (22), the U.S. Code provides that the term “National of the United States” means:

  • A Citizen of the United States
  • A person who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States.

The U.S. Code needs to be changed to clearly state: “The following shall be nationals, but not citizens of the United States: (1) A person who, by conscription or enlistment, entered any branch of the United States Armed Forces.  This shall be retroactive to service-persons previously removed from the United States.” This simple change would end the inhumane practice of deporting our veterans and tearing them apart from their families.

Deporting our nation’s military veterans who faithfully served to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America is not in the best interest of our country nor does it reflect the values that our country’s brave men and women fight so hard to defend. As my elected official, I strongly urge you to do everything in your power to support our veterans from being deported. They should not be thrown out of our borders simply because they don’t have a piece of paper stating they were born on U.S. soil.

As I am your constituent living abroad, I respectfully request your e-mailed response to this message. 

Thank you for your consideration of my views on this important issue,

[your name and contact details]


[Basic template for writing to your U.S. representative]

Dear Congressman/Congresswoman ___________,

My name is [your name] and I’m your constituent from [name of home town]. I’m writing because I believe that the issue of America’s military veterans being deported needs to be immediately addressed. 

Service in our Armed Forces is completely voluntary. Most veterans have served with honor, including our foreign-born veterans. It is a national disgrace that this administration has chosen to focus on veteran deportations.

As your constituent who lives abroad, I assure you that even with detailed planning it can be quite difficult to adjust living in a new country. One can only imagine the trauma inflicted on our veterans who have been deported in terms of family separations, loss of job and income, and unfamiliarity with the local language of the countries they’re being deported to. Furthermore, according to a 2018 Congressional Research Service report (#IF10884) and a 2019 Government Accountability Office report (GAO-19-416), the federal government does not even track statistics on how many veterans are being deported!

Our country needs to stop deporting our foreign-born veterans and repatriate those who have already been deported.

Therefore, I request that you cosponsor and SUPPORT the following bills:

  1. H.R. 3806, the Protecting Immigrant Gold Star and Military Families Act, sponsored by Congressman Gallego.
  2.  H.R. 2098, the Veterans and Visa and Protection Act, sponsored by Congressman Grijalva.
  3.  H.R. 2346, the Support and Defend Our Military Personnel and Their Families Act, sponsored by Congressman Thompson.
  4.  H.R. 1078, the Repatriate Our Patriots Act, sponsored by Congressman González.

I also ask that you consider amending current law on this issue. In 8 U.S.C. 1101(a) (22), the U.S. Code provides that the term “National of the United States” means:

  • A Citizen of the United States
  • A person who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States.

The U.S. Code needs to be changed to clearly state: “The following shall be nationals, but not citizens of the United States: (1) A person who, by conscription or enlistment, entered any branch of the United States Armed Forces.  This shall be retroactive to service-persons previously removed from the United States.” This simple change would end the inhumane practice of deporting our veterans and tearing them apart from their families.

Deporting our nation’s military veterans who faithfully served to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America is not in the best interest of our country nor does it reflect the values that our country’s brave men and women fight so hard to defend. As my elected official, I strongly urge you to do everything in your power to support our veterans from being deported. They should not be thrown out of our borders simply because they don’t have a piece of paper stating they were born on U.S. soil.

As I am your constituent living abroad, I respectfully request your e-mailed response to this message. 

Thank you for your consideration of my views on this important issue,

[your name and contact details]