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JLC Opposes President Trump's Executive Order on Refugees

January 27th, 2017: New York, NY - The Jewish Labor Committee today issued the following statement:

The Jewish Labor Committee is dismayed at President Trump’s executive order to “block the entry of refugees from war-torn Syria and suspend the entry of any immigrants from Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and African countries Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen while permanent rules are studied,” as reported recently by Reuters. These actions run counter to the best traditions of the United States, and counter to the pressing needs of not only American society but refugees seeking shelter from violence and oppression in other lands.

It is unacceptable that President Trump will bar people fleeing war and persecution While the proposal says it is aimed at refugees from certain countries where there is terrorism, it is likely to be interpreted as against Muslims. As Jews, we have been victims of religious and ethnic discrimination, and understand that these need to be combated, especially when they become government policy. These refugees need a sanctuary -- as we once needed a sanctuary -- and the United States cannot close the door on these victims of religious and ethnic violence and hatred.

The vast majority of today’s refugees are people in desperate need. Today, all refugees who are trying to get to the United States are screened very thoroughly by the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies before being allowed entry to the United States.

President Trump’s proposed actions, combined with proposals to build a wall and seal off the U.S. border with Mexico, will likely have no impact on national security – and may serve to weaken our economy and society.

We understand that any government has a right – and duty – to rationally regulate trade, and our borders. But putting out a Not Welcome sign to Latin America and Muslim countries will not improve the lives of workers in the United States, and certainly not improve the lives of workers in other lands.

We call on our unions, as well as ethnic, religious and other community organizations, to make every effort to counter the proposals regarding refugees of the Trump Administration. We will, and call on others to, make our voices heard through every means appropriate to today’s difficult political climate.

At the same time, we call on our members and the larger community to support the refugee aid groups which are both in the frontline of assisting current refugees and their families, and working to stop the proposed refugee policies of our Government, and strengthen the United States as a country of refuge and sanctuary.