The Union for Reform Judaism’s North American Board of Trustees released a letter urging congregations to protect undocumented immigrants facing deportation. The move is in response to the growing concern about an increase in deportation activity by federal authorities and Congress’s failure to comprehensively address immigration reform.
Following passage of the resolution, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), issued the following statement:
“Today, we urge congregations to protect undocumented immigrants facing deportation by adopting a plan for providing resources, temporary shelter, legal assistance, or other forms of support to those in need. There are Reform synagogues in communities nationwide that are already supporting and protecting undocumented immigrants facing deportation within their communities, and with this resolution we hope growing numbers will join this holy work.
The Reform Movement has a history of providing support in the form of advocacy and sanctuary for undocumented immigrants and refugees fleeing persecution in their home countries, and now we will do so for those fearing deportation from our own. Current U.S. policy, long recognized as broken, keeps families apart and leaves millions of undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation, forcing them into the shadows. This pains us as Reform Jews, aware that the most repeated commandment in our religious teachings is to welcome the stranger.
As our congregations act in their communities, we will continue our longstanding pursuit of comprehensive immigration reform that offers a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, while continuing to keep our borders secure. The United States is stronger because of its history as a nation of immigrants. In the absence of legislative movement, we must take action.”