The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
I always find the week after elections to be a breath of fresh air. In the weeks (and months) before an election, we’re bombarded with political advertisements on TV and constantly confronted by friends who want us to help out their candidate. Reading the news offers no respite: NPR is saturated with stories of the campaign trail, and the New York Times is taken over by polling analysis. When the elections end, much of that bombardment subsides: I can catch up on the news stories I missed and the friendships I put aside for politics.
Now that the results are in and we have an idea of what the 114th Congress will look like, many advocates are hoping for action on their key issues. Yet for immigration reform, advocates have largely given up hoping to pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill in the near future, since it has stalled in the House of Representatives for months. Instead, advocates are hoping for an executive order from President Obama. After pledging to issue an executive order to provide relief for immigrant families, he delayed following through on his pledge until after the election. The President was faced with pressure then, so now we hope the president will now act to restore justice for immigrant families.
One key action we hope to see action on is deportation: millions of hard-working people who consider themselves Americans still live under the threat of deportation every day. Many of these people are not so different from Luis Lopez-Acabal, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who supports his American wife and American children, but who has been living in a church basement for the past several weeks for fear of being deported. The community organizing arm of the Reform Movement, Rabbis Organizing Rabbis (ROR), has been working with Luis and other undocumented immigrants in their fight to stay in the United States. When someone like Luis gets an order of deportation, ROR makes calls to ICE to ask for a stay, allowing that person to remain at home without fear of being imminently deported. These calls are but a drop in the bucket compared to the millions of lives that could be helped through an executive action, but they are important nonetheless for those involved.
The Torah instructs us no less than 36 times to welcome the stranger, and it is our moral and Jewish duty to welcome Luis and immigrants like him into the United States instead of trying to force them out. We urge bold and moral executive action by President Obama to provide relief for immigrant families, and we hope for it soon.
Until that time comes, we will keep working for the well-being of undocumented immigrants who are living here: please help us by taking five minutes to call ICE and ask for a stay of Luis Lopez-Acabal’s order of deportation.