President Trump’s recent executive order limiting refugee resettlement in the US based on religion and national origin flies in the face of American values and threatens the very fabric of our nation. NCJW NY opposes any actions to harm immigrants and refugees seeking safety and better lives in the United States.

For more than 120 years, NCJW NY has provided a voice for the voiceless and helped our city’s most vulnerable residents. In the early 1900s, NCJW NY organized to help newly arrived immigrants. As thousands of persecuted Jews sought refuge here in America, NCJW NY volunteers were at the docks, the first link with democracy for bewildered newcomers. Volunteers and staff worked to locate families, and to teach the newcomers about their new country. This work, essential at all times, peaked when European conditions accelerated immigration: the pogroms at the turn of the century; the threat of war before World War I; the terrors of the Hitler regime; and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Our commitment continues today to advocate for all immigrants and refugees fleeing poverty, violence, and persecution. American Jews know first hand what happens when refugees are turned away: in 1939, when the US border was closed to Jews fleeing the Nazis aboard the MS St. Louis, 254 were sent back to their deaths.

Halting the refugee resettlement process now, when the world is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, could add years of waiting for desperate refugee families. What’s more, limiting refugees from predominantly Muslim countries is blatantly discriminatory. It stokes the fires of hate and endangers the lives of Muslims now living in North America. Indeed, we have already witnessed an attack on a mosque in Quebec, where six people were killed.

In addition, the President’s attack on “sanctuary cities” like New York undermines safety and community. Involving local police in immigration enforcement makes it risky for immigrants to step forward as victims or witnesses to crimes.

As Jews we are taught va’ahavtem et ha-ger: as once we were strangers, we must love the stranger. Immigrants are our neighbors, teachers, soldiers, colleagues – they are us.

January 30, 2017 | back to all statements.