As Jewish leaders, we cannot ignore the dangers of President Trump’s divisive and inhumane policies and scapegoating of immigrants — we’ve seen this before.
Since the president dismantled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last September, over 15,000 “Dreamers” have lost protection from deportation. Most Dreamers were brought here by their parents when they were young children. Our country is all they know — and most would have great difficulty adjusting to the life and language of countries they no longer know. Like our Jewish ancestors, Dreamers do much to enrich the fabric of our nation. We are proud to be their neighbors and friends. On Jan. 17, Jews and Dreamers from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in a historic action at the Capitol. We stood hand in hand with the brave DACA activists and allies fighting to make Congress listen.
Each member of Utah’s congressional delegation has said they support a compassionate solution for the Dreamers, but not one has signed on to the clean bipartisan DREAM Act. Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee support measures that would protect Dreamers at the expense of their families.
As we learn in the Torah, “When strangers reside with you in your land, you shall not wrong them. The strangers who reside with you shall be to you as your citizens; you shall love each one as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34).
We are commanded to care for, and indeed love, immigrants in our country, to welcome them in and to make them part of our national family. Deporting Dreamers from the only country they can call home makes no moral sense.
Many of our parents and grandparents came to America seeking economic opportunity or freedom from political and religious persecution. The same is true for the Irish, the Greeks, the Chinese and most other ethnic groups. Mormon pioneers were forced out of their homes in Missouri and Nauvoo, escaping religious persecution and seeking a new life in the harsh and unfamiliar West.32 comments on this story
Why should we expect the Dreamers to be any different — why can’t they seek the American dream, just as we did?
The above commentary was collectively submitted by the following:
Rabbi Ilana Schwartzman, Congregation Kol Ami; Rabbi Fred Wenger, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Kol Ami; Benjamin Luks-Morgan, President, Chavurah B’Yachad; Cantor Wendy Bat-Sarah, Congregation Kol Ami; Matthew Weinstein and Judi Hilman, Jewish Action Utah-Bend the Arc; Andrea Alcabes, I.J. Jeanné Wagner Jewish Community Center; and National Council of Jewish Women Utah Chapter.