NEW YORK, NY — AJC condemns the unconscionable separation of nearly 2,000 children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent weeks and urges immediate congressional action to change the administration’s policy.
In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, AJC joined 25 other Jewish organizations in denouncing the child separations and calling upon the Administration to rescind its “zero tolerance” policy toward asylum seekers and immigrants. The policy is not only morally wrong, but actually adds to the backlog of deportation cases and legal challenges in federal courts, places thousands more immigrants in detention facilities and shelters, and could endanger the lives of more children.
AJC CEO David Harris commented, “The time is long-overdue for common-sense, bipartisan solutions that meet the economic and national security needs of the U.S. while affirming our American values of justice, equal opportunity, family unification, and human dignity. AJC supports border security, but believes America is better than this. A society that upholds family values, and recognizes the contributions immigrants have made and continue to make to American life, must find a better way to secure the border.”
While long committed to bipartisan advocacy, AJC is supportive of two Senate bills addressing this urgent issue that currently have no GOP cosponsors – although they reflect concerns voiced in recent weeks by a range of prominent Republicans. AJC urges bipartisan support for the HELP Separated Children Act and the Keep Families Together Act, measures intended to reunite families separated at the border and prohibit future separations.
“We try hard to support legislation that is bipartisan, but we feel compelled to make an exception here. We applaud those Republican leaders who have gone on record objecting to this unprincipled and un-American policy, but we ask them now to reach across the aisle and work with their Democratic colleagues to put a stop to it,” Harris continued.
Imbued with the Jewish historical memory of undergoing the immigrant experience, AJC supports a fair and just immigration policy that upholds the rights of asylum-seekers and other immigrants, while also strengthening the security and prosperity of the United States. The organization, principally through the Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs and its national Latino Jewish Leadership Council, works to strengthen the Jewish community’s bonds of friendship with growing Latino communities across the United States.