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.
Over 2 million asylum seekers have been expelled since the pandemic started. Title 42 used the guise of public health to prevent people from legally seeking refuge in the U.S. Although the CDC announced plans to end the policy, some members of Congress are trying to keep it in place. This 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.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has provided temporary protection from deportation for nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrant youth known as DREAMers over the past 10 years. However, the Trump Administration’s decision to bring an end to DACA in September 2017 and ongoing lawsuits put DREAMers at immediate risk of removal. Millions of lives are in limbo as people who call America home constantly face the threat of deportation. It is imperative that Congress acts to provide a permanent, legislative fix. Tell your members of Congress to pass the Dream Act (S. 365) today.
The Religious Action Center and the Reform Jewish Movement more broadly have been active on issues of immigrant justice for decades. As we increase the urgency of our work in the face of cruel and inhumane federal immigration policies, we are excited for you to help us amplify our messages. Here are graphics and sample social media messages you can download and share.
Help Welcome Afghan Refugees
We can support those impacted by the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan by helping resettle refugees arriving in the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., nine recognized refugee resettlement agencies, including HIAS, work with the State Department to welcome new refugees. They are seeking congregations to partner with LIRS, another resettlement agency. LIRS has an expanding list of cities in need.
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.
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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.