Immigration Justice


Today, we face the enormous challenges posed by our nation's broken immigration system. Over 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the shadows of our communities across North America. Families face up to decades-long backlogs in acquiring visas, workers are left without protections, and children are left behind as parents are deported. We can no longer delay reform of our immigration system based on streamlined processing, a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers and TPS holders, upholding the right to seek asylum, family reunification, just and humane border security, and an end to immigrant detention.

Why Jews Should Care

Welcoming the stranger, or immigrant, is a core part of Jewish tradition, mentioned at least 36 times in the Hebrew Bible. Leviticus commands, “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (19:33-34). 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.

Take Action

Tell Congress to Keep the U.S. Asylum System Open

Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has summarily expelled over 1.7 million asylum seekers under Title 42, a policy that used the guise of public health to prevent people from legally seeking refuge in the U.S. Even though the CDC announced plans to end the policy by May 23rd, some members of Congress are taking action to keep Title 42 in place. This unjust, unlawful, and unwise policy has been a stain on American immigration policy for far too long. Tell your Members of Congress to oppose any efforts to reinstate Title 42. It is time to end this unjust policy.

Urge Congress to Include a Pathway to Citizenship in Reconciliation

It is time for Congress to address the ongoing dysfunction in the U.S. immigration system. The Trump Administration’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September 2017 put over 800,000 immigrant youth at immediate risk of deportation. The same administration also terminated Temporary Protected Status, which protects those who cannot safely return to their home country due to extraordinary circumstances, like armed conflict and environmental disaster—for 98 percent of all holders. Congress must act to provide permanent protection from deportation for all immigrants – DREAMers and TPS holders, as well as those designated for another form of humanitarian protection known as Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), and essential workers serving throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Urge Congress to protect at risk immigrants from deportation by ensuring a pathway to citizenship is included in the Build Back Better Act.

Help Welcome Afghan Refugees

We can support those impacted by the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan by helping resettling refugees arriving in the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., nine recognized refugee resettlement agencies, including HIAS, work with the Department of State to welcome new refugees. They are seeking congregations to partner with. LIRS, another recognized resettlement agency, has an expanding list of cities where there is particular need. You can also find a resettlement affiliate in your community at this link.

Wondering what’s involved in helping welcome new refugees? Check out this resource from HIAS. 

Canadian congregations can sponsor refugees directly. Learn more at this website.

Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus Initiative Immigrant and Refugee Justice Action Center

Eighty years ago, Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus rescued 50 Jewish children from the Nazis. A new initiative, the Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus Initiative Immigrant and Refugee Justice Action Center, seeks to galvanize action around the current crisis of immigrants and refugees held in detention and at risk of deportation. Judaism teaches us that everyone is entitled to dignity and honor. In the face of harsh and punitive federal immigration policy, the Reform Movement is mobilizing to advocate for just and compassionate policies toward undocumented immigrants. We will not stop until families are reunited, asylum seekers are no longer treated as criminals, and our immigration system is reformed.

The Kraus initiative: The Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus Initiative for Immigrant and Refugee Justice makes our work on ending child detention, deportation defense, and helping protect DACA and DREAMers possible. Learn more about the Kraus Initiative

Deportation Defense: Participating meaningfully in public campaigns to protect individuals from deportation will preserve family unity and provide undocumented immigrants with the support and protection they need to remain safe within the United States. Learn more about our deportation defense strategy.

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) was ​established in 1881 to provide rescue and refuge for persecuted and oppressed Jews around the world. HIAS is the international migration agency of the American Jewish community. In recent years, they have directed their efforts to advocate for refugees and immigrants of all backgrounds, guided by Jewish values to help the strangers among us.

Learn more about HIAS →

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North American Immigrant Justice Campaign

This campaign seeks to promote permanent protection, dignity and respect for all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the USA.


What's New

One Year into President Biden’s Term, It’s Time to Restore Asylum

January 18, 2022
The world is facing the worst refugee crisis in global history, and the United States is failing to do all it can to support those seeking refuge. More than 82 million people worldwide have left home to escape conflict and persecution, surpassing the record of displaced persons after World War II. Asylum-seekers - those fleeing persecution in their home countries - account for about 8 million of those displaced.

From Immigration to Parole Reform, RAC State Projects Secure Racially Just Policies

July 6, 2021
In April, when the Reform movement launched its Racial Justice Campaign, Reform leaders were already advocating for racially just policies across several states. Each of the eight RAC state projects from California to New Jersey has launched its own legislative campaign focused on racial justice. Reform leaders in four of these states have succeeded in securing crucial legislation that will advance racial justice or defeating harmful legislation alongside diverse coalition partners.

Related Press Releases

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Reform Judaism's Resolutions on Immigration Justice

Learn more about the position of the Reform Movement on these key issues, and read the formal resolutions by URJ and CCAR.

View URJ Resolutions View Other Reform Judaism Resolutions

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Thank you to the Generous Supporters Making this Work Possible

The Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus Initiative for Immigrant and Refugee Justice is made possible through generous funding from the Kraus Family Foundation.

Contact our Legislative Assistants

For more information on this issue, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Rachel Klein.

What our Partners are Doing