Temple Emanuel Board of Trustees: Resolution

RESOLUTION:

BACKGROUND

We are instructed in the Holiness Code (Lev. 19:33) to take to heart the lessons of our own Jewish history by treating aliens in our midst with justice and compassion: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall do him no wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Judaism affirms the supreme value of human life and the equal dignity of every human being. The prophets of Israel bade us to pursue justice, seek peace, and build a society of loving-kindness among all of God’s creatures.

In 1985 the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) adopted a resolution entitled Refugees and Sanctuary (https://urj.org/what-we-believe/resolutions/refugees-and-sanctuary) with respect to the Central America refugee crises, urging congregations and their members to provide sanctuary in one or more of its forms to Central Americans and other refugees who request safe haven out of fear of persecution upon return to their homelands, including advocacy for fair and impartial application of the Refugee Act of 1980. The Resolution further urged congregations and their members to join with like-minded groups to ask local governments to declare themselves sanctuary cities, and to provide material and financial support to organized religious or humanitarian entities with aid earmarked for persecuted individuals, and refugees.

In light of anti-immigrant pronouncements during our recent national election, suspension of existing compassionate deportation policies which prioritized immigration enforcement to focus on undocumented immigrants who had committed criminal acts or were deemed otherwise dangerous and withdrawal (in six months) of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and threats of increased random raids and detentions by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the URJ Judaism recently reaffirmed the 1985 Resolution and its support for immigrants seeking safe haven and due process of law in its 2017 Resolution on Protecting Individuals at Risk of Deportation from the United States (https://urj.org/what-we-believe/resolutions/resolution-protecting-individuals-risk-deportation-united-states) (“2017 Resolution”).

In the 2017 Resolution, the URJ, citing the failure of Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform, again urged congregations to explore various responses to this humanitarian crises by supporting extension of the DACA program, comprehensive immigration reform, implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program.In the 2017 Resolution, the URJ recommended that congregations, after discussion within their membership and with legal counsel, respond to the need to protect the lives and well-being of undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation by adopting a plan that could include one or more elements, ranging from providing shelter sanctuary for individuals, urging local governments to declare themselves sanctuary jurisdictions, advocating for comprehensive immigration reform which provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, reinstates the DACA and DAPA programs, provides for keeping families together and provides for the needs of employers.

THE TEMPLE EMANUEL BOARD OF TRUSTEES RESOLVES TO:

  1. Endorse the humanitarian motives and goals of the current Sanctuary movement and the URJ 2017 Resolution on  Protecting Individuals at Risk of Deportation from the United States, and
  2. Support extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in its prior formulation, including adoption of clean legislation legally formalizing the program, and
  3. Request that the Temple Emanuel Community Social Action Council create a study-group which engages the congregation, to review and recommend appropriate compassionate actions in support of the Sanctuary movement which may include, for example, providing financial or other material support for other faith communities providing physical sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, allying with other humanitarian groups which are taking action in support of undocumented immigrants, create opportunities to engage in direct advocacy and service, including partnering with existing immigrant service organizations, and urging local governments to continue policies which explicitly or implicitly create “sanctuary” jurisdictions.