Press Room | Facebook | Twitter | DONATE

Reform Jewish Leader Decries Missing Children, Family Separation, and Mistreatment of Minors

Reform Jewish Leader Decries Missing Children, Family Separation, and Mistreatment of Minors

For Immediate Release 
May 28, 2018 

WASHINGTON – In response to widespread reported mistreatment of minors detained by border patrol and customs agents, including the separation of children from their parents, and the government being unable to account for approximately 1,500 immigrant children separated from their families while being detained, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement: 

“The policy of separating migrant children from their parents is unconscionable. That about 1,500 children are now unaccounted for is the tragic result of the immoral decision to use the threat of family separation as a ‘deterrent’ to immigration combined with gross incompetence by those charged with overseeing immigration enforcement. 

“The reported physical mistreatment of minors, including pregnant teens and those who have recently given birth, as well as the separation of children as young as 18 months old from their parents, is horrific.   

“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. The inhumane treatment of migrant children and parents is a clear indication that the U.S. government has fallen far short of this standard. We all need to do better, lest this shameful chapter in our nation’s history come to define our future. 

The practice of separating migrant children from their parents must stop. Those at the highest levels of the Trump administration are responsible and must provide the public a clear explanation of how this happened and how these families will be reunited. The President, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Homeland Security is Kirstjen Nielsen, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly owe the American people answers.” 


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 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. 


Media Contacts: 

Graham Roth: groth@rac.org, 202-387-2800 
Jenna Galper: jgalper@rac.org, 202-387-2800 

Published: 05/28/2018