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Reform Rabbis Make Moral Calls to ICE to Stay Deportations

Reform Rabbis Make Moral Calls to ICE to Stay Deportations

Contact: Max Rosenblum or Joy Friedman
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

Washington, D.C., October 8, 2014 — Reform rabbis from coast to coast are making phone calls to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials urging the delay of deportation orders that would tear law-abiding immigrants from their homes, families, and jobs. As a result of these calls, along with the efforts of community organizations supporting each case, Yestel Vasquez of New Orleans, Catalino Guerrero of Newark, NJ, and Pedro Ramirez of Elyria, OH were granted year-long stays of their deportation orders, allowing them to remain in the United States to care for the families they love and contribute to the communities in which they live.

View a list of the rabbis who have made direct calls to ICE on behalf of Luis Lopez Acabal

Rabbis Organizing Rabbis (ROR), a project of the Reform Movement's social justice initiatives, has partnered with organizations including PICO National Network and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) in this effort to make our immigration system more just. By calling on ICE to exercise discretion and stop the deportation of community members, fathers, mothers, and caretakers, the rabbis' efforts reflect the Jewish teaching to "remember the stranger."

Rabbi Peter Berg of Atlanta:

"[While] deportation is an important part of border enforcement, we have learned that too many innocent people are caught in the system. The good news is that ICE legally has the right to use discretion about whom to deport and actually will exercise that discretion - if they hear from enough people."

Joy Friedman, ROR Senior Organizer: 

Last week, during the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiest days in the Jewish year, ROR mobilized more than 60 rabbis from communities across the country to call and write on behalf of Luis Lopez-Acabal who is at risk of imminent deportation. After fleeing from Guatemala when he was 16, Luis has led a productive life and built a family with his wife, Maria Canales, a permanent U.S. resident. Now, a minor traffic accident has put Luis at risk of deportation, which threatens to break up the family he has nurtured over the past eight years, including a five year-old son with autism and a two-year old daughter. Reform rabbis spent the holiest and busiest days of their year making calls to ICE to stop Luis' deportation."

While ICE routinely receives calls from concerned family and community members about deportation cases, calls from rabbis nationwide are unusual. One ICE staffer asked Rabbi Stacy Rigler of Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA whether Luis Lopez was Jewish, because so many rabbis had called the ICE office on his behalf during the holiest week of the Jewish calendar. Rabbi Rigler told the staffer than she and her colleagues were participating in an interfaith effort to keep Luis in the United States because as Jews they are called to "welcome the stranger," and remember their own history as "strangers" and immigrants.

Said Rabbi John Linder of Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, AZ, who participated in the interfaith ceremony that welcomed Luis Lopez to his temporary home at University Presbyterian Church, where Luis has taken sanctuary: 

"We are called as a faith community to stand against injustice. The family is a sacred institution that is being by violated tragic separation throughout the country, while desperately needed immigration reform is stalled on Capitol Hill. These families should not continue to be victims due to a lack of political resolve."



Published: 10/08/2014