We, Rabbis, Cantors, and Jewish clergy from across the United States, call on the Biden Administration and all of our newly elected officials to act with urgency to ensure the rights and safety of refugees and asylum seekers.
Our tradition teaches that there is no higher obligation than to save the life of another. Faced with the largest refugee crisis in human history, we take that mandate seriously and raise our voices for the rights, safety, and the very lives of people who are fleeing genocide, torture, persecution, and war.
Our country must act swiftly to address the policies of the last administration, which severely damaged every pathway to safety in the United States. These policies almost obliterated the U.S. refugee resettlement program and asylum system. They have denied basic human rights to countless people, including at the U.S.-Mexico border. Addressing this damage will take much more than a simple reversal of policies: it will take focused attention on reforming, reinventing, and modernizing our refugee and asylum protection systems, with the goal of treating each person with fairness and compassion.
In generations past, many of our families found safety and freedom in America. And yet, we have also seen its doors slam shut during times of great need.
We pledge to be your partners as the United States begins to welcome refugees again. As Jewish leaders, many of us have traveled to the border to bear witness, we have protested outside of airports and detention centers, we have built local coalitions and organizations, we have educated our communities and our youth, and we have made our voices known to elected officials at all levels.
Today, the American Jewish community sees the struggle for the rights of refugees bound together with other values that we hold close. We are committed to being your partners in healing this country.
Whether we were born in this country or we immigrated here, whether we were refugees ourselves or are the grandchildren of refugees, we are united in protecting the humanity of others, of ‘welcoming the stranger.’
We thank you for your commitment to restoring humanity to our refugee and asylum policies and for recognizing the pressing urgency of the current moment. As Jewish leaders, we pledge to hold open our hearts and our doors, and work with you to welcome refugees and asylum seekers as new neighbors and friends.
If you are clergy and have not signed on, please consider doing so.
You can help amplify the letter and bring it to the attention of elected officials by using the attached social media toolkit and corresponding graphics.
Here are the relevant links:
· Full Letter (plus full list of signatures, and a searchable list)
· Sign-up form for anyone who would like to add their name
· HIAS Take Action Page