Jun 20, 2018
The Rabbinical Council of America joins dozens of Jewish
organizations “to express our strong opposition to the recently expanded
“zero-tolerance” policy that includes separating children from their
migrant parents when they cross the border.”
The letter reads:
Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielsen,
On behalf of the 26 undersigned national Jewish organizations and
institutions, we write to express our strong opposition to the recently
expanded “zero-tolerance” policy that includes separating children from
their migrant parents when they cross the border. This policy undermines
the values of our nation and jeopardizes the safety and well-being of
thousands of people.
As Jews, we understand the plight of being an immigrant fleeing violence
and oppression. We believe that the United States is a nation of
immigrants and how we treat the stranger reflects on the moral values
and ideals of this nation.
Many of these migrant families are seeking asylum in the United States
to escape violence in Central America. Taking children away from their
families is unconscionable. Such practices inflict unnecessary trauma on
parents and children, many of whom have already suffered traumatic
experiences. This added trauma negatively impacts physical and mental
health, including increasing the risk of early death.
Separating families is a cruel punishment for children and families
simply seeking a better life and exacerbates existing challenges in our
immigration system. It adds to the backlog of deportation cases and
legal challenges in federal courts, places thousands more immigrants in
detention facilities and shelters, endangers the lives of more children,
and instills additional fear in people seeking safety in our country.
In addition, those seeking asylum or other legal protection face
numerous obstacles to making a claim, especially from detention.
Separating family members at the border would force families into two or
more immigration cases instead of a single case for each family,
harming their ability to present a successful case.
Our Jewish faith demands of us concern for the stranger in our midst.
Our own people’s history as “strangers” reminds us of the many struggles
faced by immigrants today and compels our commitment to an immigration
system in this country that is compassionate and just. We urge you to
immediately rescind the “zero tolerance” policy and uphold the values of
family unity and justice on which our nation was built.
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