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“We Were Like Dreamers” (Psalm 126): T’ruah Condemns Cancellation of DACA
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights is outraged at the Trump Administration’s announcement that it plans to reverse the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The Torah teaches the obligation to love the immigrant, just as God loves and cares for the immigrant: “The ger (immigrant) who sojourns with you shall be like a citizen unto you, and you shall love this person as yourself, for you were gerim in the land of Egypt. I am Adonai, your God.” (Leviticus 19:34) The ancient rabbis taught that the city of Sodom was considered the epitome of evil because the residents made laws prohibiting kindness to strangers. Welcoming immigrants and strangers remains a core Jewish value, as well as an American one.
This year, T’ruah launched Mikdash, the Jewish Sanctuary Movement, to protect immigrants threatened with deportation. To date, close to 60 synagogues throughout the U.S. have joined the network, and are committed to activate to protect Dreamers if Congress does not act to protect DACA, and if ICE begins targeting Dreamers.
The DACA program, begun in 2012, allows certain undocumented young people, brought to the country as children, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. The policy has been a lifeline for more than 800,000 young people who have lived in the United States for most of their lives.
“The reversal of DACA deals a devastating blow to these young people and to their families,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. “We will all suffer the loss of talented and motivated young people, who are studying, working, and contributing to our communities. In rescinding the program, the federal government is using Dreamers for the political agenda of terrifying every undocumented immigrant in our country, and for promoting a white supremacist vision of America.
“Within the Jewish community, many of our own families are alive today because of the relatively open immigration policies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And too many Jews died after being trapped in Europe when the borders closed in 1924. We understand the cruelty of forcing Dreamers back to the countries where they were born, but in many cases have never lived, and where — in some cases — their lives will be in danger.”
T’ruah and its Mikdash network call on Congress to protect Dreamers from unnecessary targeting by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. T’ruah will continue to mobilize rabbis and their communities to stand up for immigrants, to provide sanctuary, and to bring the Torah of justice to the doorstep of President Trump and his administration. And then, we will come to realize the promise of the psalmist,“Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.” (Psalm 126)