Treatment of Migrant Workers
Every year migrant workers come to the U.S. on H-2 visas to perform low-wage jobs such as picking fruits and vegetables. Last year over 175,000 workers came on these short-term visas. However, the U.S. Department of Labor rarely requires employers to leave the program after exploitation, human rights violations, or labor law violations surface. Likewise, in Canada, labor rights activists are saying more should be done to protect migrant workers coming under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. Earlier this month a migrant worker, who had sustained a serious head injury on the job, died after being sent back to Jamaica where he had no labor rights or access to health care—medical repatriation is not an uncommon practice for companies who employ migrant workers.
God, we lift in prayer all those who must leave their homes to find work. We pray for their protection from exploitation. We pray for those who pass the laws and those who monitor the regulations that ensure safety for these people—may the image of God found in these migrant workers be protected and valued.
Physician Assisted Suicide in Canada
In February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the existing laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide. It gave the Federal Government a deadline of June 6, 2016 to replace those laws. Bill C-14 was released as a response to the Court’s decision. The House of Commons will consider final amendments to the bill this week. The bill meets the Supreme Court requirements to make assisted death legal in Canada and also proposes strict limits on access to medically assisted death.
We pray for the wisdom of lawmakers who are working through changes to this bill. We lift in prayer the many vulnerable people who fear the ways they may be impacted by the legalization of medically assisted death—for example, those who have severe disabilities. We pray regulations protecting them would be passed before the deadline so that assisted suicide would not be unregulated in Canada.
US Supreme Court Rules in Death Penalty Case
On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court moved toward overturning the death sentence of Timothy Foster. Foster, who was convicted of murder in 1987, was sentenced to death by an all-white jury in Georgia. The Court found the method by which the jury was formed was “motivated in substantial part by race”: the prosecution had marked each black juror’s name with a “b” in its files, and then each was thrown out of consideration for non-substantive reasons. Choosing jurors based upon race is illegal. The Georgia Supreme Court must now revisit Foster’s case.
God, we lift up in prayer all those who are on death row—all of whom were created in your image and are beloved by you. We pray especially for those wrongfully convicted—those who are innocent, those who received harsher sentences than they deserved, people who were treated unfairly because of racism. We pray for a criminal justice system that would more effectively work toward restoration of victims and offenders alike.
Myanmar Sanctions Renewed
This week President Obama renewed targeted sanctions for another year against Myanmar in response to serious human rights violations committed against ethnic minorities. Human rights and non-profit organizations are hopeful this will help to improve human rights in Myanmar.
For steps toward a restoration of the dignity, humanity and flourishing of people in Myanmar, we lift our prayers. We pray for wisdom for world leaders as they consider ways to promote justice. We remember the suffering of those who have fled as refugees from Myanmar, and for those who are still there. Bring hope, healing, and justice.