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Church World Service urges action on hunger, immigration in letter to Obama

January 17, 2013

In a letter aimed at bringing attention to major issues of concern for humanitarian agency Church World Service, President and CEO John L. McCullough urged President Barack Obama to seek increased foreign assistance for hungry and impoverished people and to lead the way to “fair and generous” immigration reform.

Church World Service made its recommendations, on issues ranging from humanitarian aid and conflict resolution in the Middle East and policies and actions that reduce tension and increase dialogue between the United States and Cuba in a Jan. 9 letter to the president. 

At the top of the hunger-fighting agency’s agenda is the request that the United States ramp up global efforts to ensure that children receive sufficient nutrition — including nutritional supplements in areas of high malnutrition. Such initiatives are particularly important for young children because malnutrition in the early years can result in stunted physical growth and poor mental development. 

In earlier statements, McCullough has called the provision of nutritional assistance to young children, impoverished people and disaster survivors not just an integral part of creating lasting food security, but “an act of faith.” The agency has heightened its advocacy for greater world attention and funding for vulnerable children as well as intensifying the nutrition focus of its own food security and agriculture programs abroad.

The letter also commends the president’s Feed the Future Initiative, which directs U.S. international agricultural assistance to small-scale farmers, especially women, as part of a global commitment to increase food security for low income communities across the world.

McCullough also applauded President Obama for vowing to pursue immigration reform during the second term. He recommended that the reforms include initiatives aimed at providing a pathway to citizenship, reuniting families and improving the refugee resettlement program.

“The highest priority is to create a fair and generous process by which undocumented immigrants can earn lawful permanent residency, with a pathway to citizenship,” McCullough said.

CWS, which provides refugee resettlement and immigration legal services, is one of nine national voluntary agencies that work with the federal government and a nationwide network of local agencies to resettle refugees across the United States. 

On other issues, McCullough asked the president to set a goal to end hunger within 10 to 15 years; to use the diplomacy and resources necessary to support a “just and sustainable” resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and  provide relief for the millions of people suffering inside embattled Syria and the hundreds of thousands forced into neighboring countries.

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