In the wake of the actions of the Trump Administration that brought tens of 1000s out in protest, and saw many of my former partners to airports to assist those unlawfully denied entry to the United States or at risk of deportation, the Chicago Federation issued a statement built upon more than a century of assisting immigrants regardless of religion or country of origin. That statement read in pertinent part:
"The Federation has encountered--and overcome--policy, budget, and other obstacles over the decades, but has never wavered in its commitment to fulfill this sacred Jewish and American task. On behalf of the Jewish community, the Federation is proud of this accomplishment and pledges to continue this important work.I commend this Statement of principles and values to every federation and, of course, to JFNA. I know that many federations have already spoken out as has Chicago. I see no reason whatsoever that our Continental body, speaking on behalf of all of the communities doesn't rouse from its slumber to assert our continental commitment to our national, continental and communal values embodied in "caring for the strangers" among us. And, in keeping with its steadfast commitment to silence, even its captive FedWorld has failed to link the readers to federations which have spoken out on our values.
The Federation welcomes America's refugees who have passed the most thorough vetting process of any group of foreigners seeking to come to our country and applauds the statements from many Jewish and non-Jewish groups that are now speaking out on this issue.
Every public policy should be reviewed and strengthened, especially when it involves our security. However, the administration's sweeping, sudden, and uncoordinated executive order undermines the noble ideal of our nation serving as a safe harbor for those fleeing persecution and directly imperils the Federation's work on their behalf. The Federation opposes policies that bar or privilege certain groups of refugees solely because of their religion or country of origin. It is the well-founded fear of persecution by any country against any minority that has long inspired America to provide refuge."
Chicago, and, likely, your federation as well, "has never wavered in its commitment;" yet, our umbrella organization, the one that should have absorbed all...all...of our values and should be able to assert them, lacks any commitment to anything whatsoever.
Yes, the fact...the very fact...that a Statement was not adopted, was not even considered, by the JFNA Board at its Retreat a little more than one week ago, on the heals of the President's Executive Order that impacted on 1000's of refugee families. We either have values or we don't; we either stand up or we don't. There's just no explaining the continuing institutional silence in the face of...everything and anything.
Everything and anything.