"You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt." Exodus 23:9
Every American Jewish family has an immigration story —from the earliest settlers, who came fleeing the long reach of the Inquisition in 1654 to today’s newest arrivals, leaving political instability and persecution to build better lives for their children.
As a community, we remember our own histories with gratitude for the courage of those who made the trip - often traveling in steerage, holding infants, arriving in a country whose language they did not know. We remember, too, those for whom the gates were closed: the passengers on the St Louis, Anne Frank’s family, and so many others, who desperately attempted to flee the Holocaust.
We understand the value of welcoming the immigrant, especially those facing persecution in their own countries, and we know what immigrants have contributed to America's well-being. We do not trivialize the importance of keeping our nation safe from those who would do us harm; we support the system of vetting would-be immigrants which has been in place through 2016. But we strongly oppose the cruel and arbitrary Executive Orders announced by the White House in January 2017, which attempted deny immigration from certain targeted countries even to those who had risked their own lives to support U.S. service members. We support a rollback of cruel immigration bans and support the move toward immigration reform.
We will continue to speak up for the principles of a humane and enlightened immigration policy.