FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2020
Reform Jewish Movement Decries Inhumane Treatment of Migrant Children
WASHINGTON – In response to detailed reports of the detention and treatment of migrant children being held by the U.S. government in hotels without proper oversight or care, Barbara Weinstein, director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and associate director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement:
“We are chilled and outraged by recent reports detailing the detention of children in hotels, lacking access to proper care, in danger of abuse and predation, and expelled from the US without due process and in circumvention of international and domestic asylum laws.
“We demand the Trump administration follow due process and the rule of law by caring for and processing migrant children through the proper channels that ensure transparency at every level. Rather than using an international public health crisis as an excuse to treat children callously, we must use this moment to uphold the highest values of a country founded and strengthened by immigrants.
“It is also deeply distressing that no effort is being made toward family reunification and that records of detained children are so poor that in many cases parents and lawyers are unable to even locate their children. While none of these individual practices are new, the administration’s blatant disregard for due process and its dedication to dismantling the U.S. asylum system have coalesced into a terrible failure to uphold safety or basic care for children.
“Our Jewish tradition calls on us to welcome the stranger, to treat immigrants fairly, and to empathize with the widow, the stranger, and the orphan because we ourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt. Those values are not suspended during a pandemic. Rather, we are called to act with greater compassion and care knowing the risks to which vulnerable children are subjected.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 850 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.