"As Jews, we understand the plight of being an immigrant fleeing violence and oppression. We believe that the United States is a nation of immigrants and how we treat the stranger reflects on the moral values and ideals of this nation."
Alarmed by the U.S. government’s “zero tolerance” policy of separating children from their migrant parents when they cross the border, the Reform Movement joined with 26 national Jewish organizations to send a letter to the Administration expressing our strong opposition to the cruel practice. We are urging the Administration to immediately rescind the “zero tolerance” policy and uphold the values of family unity and justice on which our nation was built.
Reports indicate that over 1,000 children have already been separated from their parents since the policy was implemented. Mounting evidence suggests that many children have been threatened, treated poorly, and held in dangerous conditions. In response to such cruel policy, Jews across our communtity and throughout the country are joining together to voice our Jewish values of caring for the stranger in our midst, which requires that we immediately end family separation.
How we treat the stranger reflects on the moral values and ideals of this nation.
Read our letter:
Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielsen,
On behalf of the 26 undersigned national Jewish organizations and institutions, we write to express our strong opposition to the recently expanded “zero-tolerance” policy that includes separating children from their migrant parents when they cross the border. This policy undermines the values of our nation and jeopardizes the safety and well-being of thousands of people.
As Jews, we understand the plight of being an immigrant fleeing violence and oppression. We believe that the United States is a nation of immigrants and how we treat the stranger reflects on the moral values and ideals of this nation.
Many of these migrant families are seeking asylum in the United States to escape violence in Central America. Taking children away from their families is unconscionable. Such practices inflict unnecessary trauma on parents and children, many of whom have already suffered traumatic experiences. This added trauma negatively impacts physical and mental health, including increasing the risk of early death.
Separating families is a cruel punishment for children and families simply seeking a better life and exacerbates existing challenges in our immigration system. It adds to the backlog of deportation cases and legal challenges in federal courts, places thousands more immigrants in detention facilities and shelters, endangers the lives of more children, and instills additional fear in people seeking safety in our country. In addition, those seeking asylum or other legal protection face numerous obstacles to making a claim, especially from detention. Separating family members at the border would force families into two or more immigration cases instead of a single case for each family, harming their ability to present a successful case.
Our Jewish faith demands of us concern for the stranger in our midst. Our own people’s history as “strangers” reminds us of the many struggles faced by immigrants today and compels our commitment to an immigration system in this country that is compassionate and just. We urge you to immediately rescind the “zero tolerance” policy and uphold the values of family unity and justice on which our nation was built.
- American Conference of Cantors
- American Jewish Committee (AJC)
- American Jewish World Service
- Anti-Defamation League
- B’nai B’rith International
- Bend the Arc Jewish Action
- Central Conference of American Rabbis
- Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
- Jewish Council for Public Affairs
- Jewish Labor Committee
- Jewish Women International
- Men of Reform Judaism
- National Association of Jewish Legislators
- National Council of Jewish Women
- Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies
- NFTY – The Reform Jewish Youth Movement
- Rabbinical Assembly
- Reconstructing Judaism
- Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
- The Workmen's Circle
- T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
- Union for Reform Judaism
- United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
- Uri L'Tzedek, The Orthodox Social Justice Movement
- Women of Reform Judaism