"When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Leviticus 19:33-34).
Jewish tradition is clear on the treatment of immigrants. Our faith demands of us concern for the stranger in our midst. Leviticus commands, “When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” [19:33-34]. This principle permeates Jewish tradition and is echoed 35 times in the Torah – the most repeated of any commandment. Our own people’s history as “strangers” reminds us of the many struggles faced by immigrants today, and we affirm our commitment to create the same opportunities for today’s immigrants that were so valuable to our own community not so many years ago.
Our tradition also teaches that “the sword comes into the world because of justice delayed and justice denied” (Pirkei Avot 5:12). Now is the time to turn our creeds into action, and to ensure that justice for our country’s most vulnerable is imminent and everlasting – that it is neither delayed nor denied.
Below is a series of Union for Reform Judaism policies that have guided our contributions to the current immigration debate:
Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the United States (2007)
"Therefore, the Board of the Union resolves to: Support legislation providing for pathways to earned citizenship for undocumented immigrants that reflect fair and compassionate eligibility standards."
Civil Liberties and National Security: Striking the Proper Balance (2003)
“Therefore, the Board of the Union resolves to: Maintain its longstanding commitment to the Constitutional principle of due process for citizens and non-citizens alike by: Opposing measures that strip the power of immigration and federal judges to review decisions and exercise discretion regarding the status, detention, and deportation of non-citizens."
“THEREFORE, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves to: Recognize the difficulties faced by immigrants seeking citizenship in the United States and urge, therefore, that any reform made to the required civics and English proficiency exams be made in full consultation with immigrant organizations, service providers, and others involved in the naturalization process."
“...As new legislation is proposed to confront issues raised by legal and illegal immigration, we support those efforts that compassionately seek to regulate and to aid newcomers to this land but we oppose those that will unduly restrict immigration or burden the lives of legal immigrants."
“The Union has historically promoted a "generous, fair, and non-discriminatory U.S. immigration policy... To the extent that [new laws] would broaden opportunities for immigration we welcome them as consistent with our historic position."
Refugees and Sanctuary (1985)
“The history of the Jewish people from Egypt through the Holocaust and continuing today is the story of a group forced time and again to flee the lands in which it resided. Repelled often in times of greatest need, Jews recognize the necessity for havens for the persecuted."
A Jewish Vision for the Future of American Immigration and Refugee Policy
1974 CCAR Resolution on Immigration
2006 CCAR Resolution on Immigration Reform
1985 WRJ Resolution on Immigration Reform, Refugees, and Sanctuary
1995 WRJ Resolution on Immigration
2009 WRJ Resolution on Immigration