The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Family Service have joined together to issue the following statement in response to the Trump administration executive orders regarding refugee admissions and immigrants:
We oppose the refugee and immigration restrictions and actions that have been ordered in recent days. Both refugees across the world, who are in great need, and our own neighbors in Detroit’s immigrant communities, are suffering anguish, pain and uncertainty as a result of these actions. The ordered restrictions go against American values, and run counter to Jewish values. We look to our Jewish texts and traditions, which proclaim that we should welcome the stranger. The Torah admonishes thirty-six times against unjustly treating the stranger. This is both a Jewish and American core value.
The executive actions evoke religious intolerance and injustice. The restrictions wrongly target persons of faith, and are especially hurtful to innocent victims of conflict, particularly women and children. We express strong support and solidarity with our immigrant neighbors, who now feel under attack by these actions. We fear that these actions may very well incite fear and prejudice, fanning the flames of bigotry toward new arrivals, and other Americans perceived as looking, speaking or acting “differently.” We stand firmly with them in this hour of concern and uncertainty. We oppose these orders and call for their reversal.
We live in a dangerous world, and as such we endorse appropriate, lengthy and stringent background checks for all potential refugees. Yet, most people trying to enter our country are innocent bystanders to conflict, fleeing war and oppression – persons in great need who look to America as a beacon of hope and liberty.
America’s open door to immigrants and refugees, symbolized by Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statue of Liberty, must be our response to the persecuted. This American value of open shores to the oppressed must be protected. It is our moral and historical obligation. We urge our courts and elected officials to act, and we join with them and other advocacy groups to fight this reversal of long-standing U.S. refugee and immigration policy.
The Jewish community benefited from open immigration policies through most of American history, as we fled religious intolerance and oppression by coming to this land. We are well aware of the consequences of closing our doors, as was the case during World War II.
Our nation should advance the dignity of all human beings. Singling out nationalities, faith groups and refugees runs counter to American history, values and tradition.