“When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord and your God.”
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
America has always been seen as land of opportunity and the home of freedom. However, today, too many people are denied access; ultimately, we are all limited by our arcane immigration system.
On July 24, Judge Dolly Gee of the Federal District Court of California ordered the Obama administration to release immigrant children from detention facilities. After an increase in the number of Central Americans entering the United States last summer, the Obama administration pursued a detention policy for mothers with children to deter other families from migrating to the United States.
Judge Gee ruled that the detention of families violated the Flores v. Reno settlement, which concluded that children should be released from detention or held in the least restrictive settings. She ruled that the Obama administration should release children with their parents, denying the option that children be released and their parents be kept detained.
On June 30th, the CBP Integrity Advisory Panel, a subcommittee of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, determined that that the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) needs to reevaluate its use-of-force policies and training in light of claims outlining the mistreatment of immigrants due to a lack of supervision from trained CBP officials. This conclusion signifies an important adjustment in U.S. immigration policy— strengthening the demand for procedures holding government officials accountable for allegations of criminal misconduct.
The conclusions found in the report reaffirm a need to address the deplorable policies and tactics used by the U.S. government and their denial of the human rights of immigrants attempting to enter this country. The committee recommends use-of-force policies and a usage of firearms be eliminated from cases involving moving vehicles, more Office of Internal Affairs criminal investigators be hired to address allegations of criminal misconduct, and that the CBP increase the transparency of the agency by ensuring that policies and information are accessible to the public.
The implementation of these recommendations will be an integral step in rectifying some of the key problems with the Border Protection agency and moreover U.S. immigration policies. Though our bicameral and bipartisan congress make it difficult for political and personal issues, like immigration, to be solved, it is imperative that we treat all people with respect and dignity and ensure that their human rights are protected for the betterment of our nation.
Saturday, June 20th marks World Refugee Day, a day dedicated to drawing our attention to the hardships that refugees face and the work we must do to help those fleeing from persecution.
A recurring theme in our Jewish narrative is centered on our history as immigrants and refugees. The struggles of refugees resonates with the Jewish people, serving as a reminder of the human rights violations and injustices individuals face when excluded from a community because of their political ideologies, gender, race, or religious beliefs. The JCPA believes the United States should welcome refugees and provide funding for refugee programs—welcoming not only Jews escaping religious persecution, but all those searching for a society governed by principles of tolerance.
HIAS, a co-sponsor of Immigration Nation, helps refugees of all backgrounds stabilize their lives. HIAS’s mission is guided by Jewish teachings and an understanding of the plight of the Jewish people in the past century. The latest mid-year report from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that “by the end of 2013, 51.2 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations.” In light of World Refugee Day, it is imperative that we, as members of the American Jewish community, acknowledge the struggle of those searching for justice and our duty to amplify their voices.
By Ruth Drimmer Gilad. This post is part of the JCPA’s “Celebrating New Americans” project as part of Jewish American Heritage Month.
My father, Karl Drimmer, was born in Vienna, Austria in 1915. Shortly thereafter, he and his family relocated to Borislav, Poland, to join their very large and extended family. After World War II broke out my dad escaped the Nazis and spent the war years in Siberia working for the Russian military as a distributor.
THE JEWISH COUNCIL FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS (JCPA) is the united voice of the organized Jewish community. For over half a century, the JCPA has served as an effective mechanism to identify issues, formulate policy, develop strategies and programs, and has given expression to a strongly united Jewish communal voice. Through our network of 14 national and 125 local partner agencies, the JCPA serves as a catalyst that heightens community awareness, encourages civic and social involvement, and deliberates key issues of importance to the Jewish community.
Guided by Jewish values and history, HIAS brings more than a century of expertise to our work with refugees—helping them take control and rebuild their lives in safety and freedom, and advocating for the protection and dignity of all refugees and displaced people. Visit HIAS.org to find out how you can play an important role in welcoming and protecting refugees.