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Reform Jewish Leader Opposes New DHS Policy Guidelines Expediting Deportation

Reform Jewish Leader Opposes New DHS Policy Guidelines Expediting Deportation

For Immediate Release
February 22, 2017

Contact: Max Rosenblum
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

Press Release from the Religious Action Center

WASHINGTON—In response to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new policy guidelines on the removal of undocumented immigrants, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

The new DHS deportation guidelines are misguided and will likely fail to make our nation more secure even as they surely succeed at violating the values of compassion and inclusion that are our nation at its best.

11 million undocumented immigrants currently live in and contribute to communities across the United States. They are members of synagogues, churches and mosques, attend schools, and strengthen our economy.  Experience has shown that we can keep communities safe while finding responsible pathways for immigrants who are integral parts of our communities to remain in the country. A wise and just immigration plan keeps families together, meets the needs of businesses, secures the border, and ensures a commitment to obey the rule of law. 

As Reform Jews, we understand the importance of welcoming the stranger, as we are taught: “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).

No doubt, the executive branch has the responsibility to enforce immigration law; it should do so with discretion, wisdom and compassion. Unfortunately, today’s DHS guidelines will not facilitate that. We call on DHS to rescind these new policy guidelines immediately and on Congress to swiftly address comprehensive immigration reform that is fair and just.


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.

Published: 02/22/2017

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