On June 21, 350 national, state, and local Jewish organizations—including the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Orthodox movements—sent a joint letter urging the Administration to immediately rescind the “zero tolerance” policy of criminally prosecuting all adults who cross the border. This practice forces authorities to separate children from their migrant parents because there are laws protecting immigrant children against prolonged detention.
Organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Reform Movement, and HIAS, the letter urges the Administration to uphold the values of family unity and justice on which our nation was built by ending the “zero tolerance” policy. Unfortunately, the executive order signed June 20 essentially seeks to replace family separation with indefinite family detention.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, thousands of children have already been torn from their parents since the policy was implemented. Mounting evidence suggests that many children have been threatened, treated poorly, and held in dangerous conditions. JCPA strongly urges the Administration to end this cruel practice and ensure that all separated children are reunited with their parents as soon as possible.
“The only solution to this manufactured crisis is to rescind the inhuman “zero tolerance” policy. Instead, the Administration is actually looking to overturn existing protections against indefinite detention of children so that authorities can jail whole families and expedite deportations, even for asylum seekers, which raises serious due process concerns,” said David Bernstein, President and CEO of JCPA. “There are proven alternatives to the incarceration of families fleeing violence that don’t permanently traumatize young children or make people suffer unnecessarily.”
Originally issued earlier in June, with 26 national groups, the organizers reopened the letter to include the many organizations around the country that wanted to collectively voice their outrage in response to such inhumane policy.