Families Staying Together

Dear Fellow Congregants,
Below is a letter from Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center in Washington DC. If you are concerned for families staying together please read below and take ACTION.

Tomorrow, I am going to the border. If you are also heartbroken at the idea of children needlessly and cruelly separated from their families, read on for six ways you, too, can take action.

With a group of 40 faith leaders – 10 each from the Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and Protestant faith traditions – I will be meeting with, and bearing witness to, the families torn apart by the Trump Administration’s family separation policy. Standing together, we will call on the Administration to end this morally abhorrent practice.

In May 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the federal government would adopt a zero-tolerance policy for unauthorized border crossings, officially instituting practices that separate children from their families. This policy applies to all border crossings, even to those people seeking asylum. We are heartbroken and horrified by family separation. We join the wider Jewish community, faith community and others in calling upon the Administration to put an end to this shameful policy.

Tomorrow, Barbara Weinstein, Rabbis David Stern, Leora Kaye, Nancy Kasten, and David Segal, Cantor Jason Kaufman, and I will represent the Reform Movement in McAllen, Texas, the site of the United States’ largest border processing and detention center. McAllen has become ground zero for the Trump Administration’s family separation policy that, in a six-week period, has left approximately 2,000 children separated from their parents. This is just one way we are getting involved, and we hope you will join us in shedding light on this urgent issue and bringing justice to the center of this nation’s immigration system.

Many have reached out searching for ways to help end this family separation policy and support the children and families being torn apart. Here are six ways you can help:

  1. Provide tangible support to detainees and separated families by gathering and sending toiletries and toys to the border. Send care packages to: Michael Blum Social Action Chair, Temple Emanuel, 4300 Chai Street (North C Street) McAllen, Texas 78504.
  2. Join a Families Belong Together mobilization in Washington, DC or hundreds of other cities around the U.S. on June 30, 2018.
  3. Bring a congregational delegation to McAllen, TX home to the United States’ largest immigration detention center. To do so, reach out to Rabbi Claudio Kogan of the URJ’s Temple Emanuel in McAllen, who is eager for visitors to see this border community first hand.
  4. Send a letter demanding that President Trump, Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen, and Attorney General Sessions end family separation now.
  5. Organize or join a rally outside your local Immigration and Customs Enforcement office.
  6. Register for the North American Immigrant Justice Campaign’s Deportation Defense Training on July 10, 2018. For more information about how to join this campaign, please visit RAC.org/naijc and download the RAC’s Immigrant Justice Resource Guide.

For even more ways to take action, read this excellent article in Slate by Dahlia Lithwick and Margo Schlanger.

Thank you for your commitment to keeping families together.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.