Resolution on Immigration to the United States

Posted on: Tuesday February 28, 2017

Whereas Torah teaches: You shall not turn over to his master a slave who seeks refuge with you from his master. He shall live with you in any place he may choose among the settlements in your midst, wherever he pleases; you must not ill-treat him (Deut. 23:16), and

Whereas Maimonides, taught that this commandment is given to “make us protect and defend those who seek our protection and not deliver them over to those from whom they have fled. It is not even enough to protect those who seek your protection, for you are under another obligation toward him: you must consider his interest, be beneficent toward him, and not pain his heart by speech.” (Guide for the Perplexed III:39), and

Whereas Maimonides, further taught that this law is imposed upon us in regard to all who seek refuge regardless of their relative status in society (ibid.), and

Whereas the American Jewish community knows both the enormous benefits that have accrued to us as a result of being accepted as immigrants and refugees into the United States, and also the grievous pain when Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany were refused entry to the United States and were returned to perish in the concentration camps and gas chambers, and

Whereas over 700,000 undocumented people who arrived in this country as minors have been given temporary relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); and Pres. Trump has threatened to end the DACA program during the campaign and since the election, and

Whereas Pres. Trump has threatened to deport three million undocumented people with criminal convictions, while there are only approximately 820,000 undocumented people with criminal convictions, which brings up the serious risk that the Trump administration will deport people who were merely arrested but not convicted or who are suspected of having gang affiliations, and

Whereas this will bring about the separation of families, economic disruptions and dislocations, and the possibility of serious harm and death to those deported, and

Whereas both government- and privately-owned detention centers “are already rife with civil rights violations and poor conditions…”,

Therefore, be it resolved, that the Rabbinical Assembly in line with its support for a fair immigration policy and the “guarantee [of] due process in immigration proceedings and the protection of civil liberties” of immigrants (Resolution adopted February 2007) support the creation of “Sanctuary Cities” across the United States which will not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the involuntary deportation of undocumented residents, and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly urge cities and states to set aside resources which will guarantee access to counsel to ensure due process for all those involved in deportation proceedings, and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly support the extension of DACA until such time as a path to citizenship is created; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly support a broad immigration reform which would allow the eleven million undocumented residents of the United States a path to citizenship, and

Be it further resolved the Rabbinical Assembly oppose the creation of a deportation force, or the channeling of extra funds to ICE, the Border Patrol, National Guard or other body so that they become a de facto deportation force, and

Be it further resolved the Rabbinical Assembly support the closing of detention centers where immigrants are held in prison-like conditions despite the fact that they are not charged with any crime, and

Be it further resolved the Rabbinical Assembly oppose the use of private prisons for incarcerating undocumented immigrants.