Today, Rabbi Jonah Pesner sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to take swift action to protect those who have applied or participated in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to not face deportation for simply seeking access. DACA was created in 2012 by executive order to allow the more than 700,000 DREAMers -- undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children -- access to a work visa. DACA did not create a pathway to citizenship nor legal immigration status, which only Congress can do, but it did allow many people to be able to work and contribute to society out of the shadows. And, it allows law enforcement to focus on undocumented immigrants who pose security threats, not those who came to the U.S. through no fault of their own, and who know no other home but here.
Now, all those who have sought to participate in DACA are vulnerable. Their names and contact information are now known to the federal government, and if the succeeding administration seeks to deport all undocumented immigrants as was stated during the campaign, the DACA program provides a robust list. President Obama must act swiftly to ensure that DREAMers who participated in DACA do not face deportation for simply seeking to work and give back to society. Read Rabbi Pesner's letter, here.
Jewish tradition is clear on the treatment of immigrants. 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 teaching permeates Jewish tradition and is echoed 35 times in the Torah – the most repeated of any commandment.