Opening Doors for New Americans since 1882
We, the undersigned, representing a broad cross section of Greater Philadelphia Jewish communal, religious, philanthropic and human services organizations, and in solidarity with Jewish communities all over the United States who are speaking out in support of a National Day of Jewish Action for Refugees on Sunday, February 12, are deeply concerned about President Trump’s executive orders. The orders restricts entry for refugees from terror and persecution around the world, halts federal funding for “sanctuary cities,” and expands detention for immigrants and asylum-seekers. While the most recent executive order is effectively stalled in court for the time being, the administration is seeking to overturn the injunction blocking the ban.
The executive order not only restricts immigration, it also instills fear among existing immigrant populations that they are not welcome and may be at risk. Moreover, the “sanctuary cities” provision of the earlier orders threatens to compromise law enforcement’s ability to keep communities safe by undermining trust and communication between police and immigrant populations.
The Jewish people know firsthand the consequences of turning away those fleeing persecution. Based on our own immigrant experience and Judaism’s imperative to “welcome the stranger", we have a long history of advocating on behalf of immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers who hope to build a better life for themselves and their children. Resettled refugees have consistently boosted the economy, and enriched our culture and pluralistic ethos. The American immigrant experience is one of the country’s greatest sources of strength.
Even in the midst of a severe international refugee crisis, we recognize the need to balance core values of welcoming the stranger against legitimate security concerns. However, we believe that the United States already has in place one of the most stringent refugee and immigrant vetting policies in the world which satisfies those concerns without the need for the administration’s restrictive executive order.
We, therefore, urge our elected and appointed officials to protect our foreign-born neighbors. We urge our communities to join together to ensure that the United States does not close its doors to immigrants and refugees, particularly innocent civilians fleeing the horrors in Syria.
As individuals and a community, we embrace our history which dictates that we remain a haven for immigrants and refugees. We oppose any effort to again shut our nation’s doors on the most vulnerable.