The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island and the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island strongly oppose the Administration’s decision to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, revoking protections for nearly 800,000 people who are now at risk of deportation. The Jewish community has a long history of active engagement in supporting new immigrants and developing our nation’s immigration policy.
Our faith demands of us concern for the stranger in our midst. Leviticus commands, “When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” [19:33-34]. This principle permeates Jewish tradition and is echoed 36 times in the Torah – the most repeated of any commandment. Our own people’s history as “strangers” reminds us of the many struggles faced by immigrants today, and we affirm our commitment to create the same opportunities for today’s immigrants that were so valuable to our own community not so many years ago.
The five-year-old policy allows undocumented young people, who meet established criteria, to remain in the country and gives them the right to work legally without fear of deportation. Ending this protection will cause unnecessary suffering and separate families, many of whom only know the US as their home. We believe that Congress must enact a permanent and compassionate solution that would replace fear and uncertainty with lasting protection. We thank Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation and all of the elected leaders who have spoken in support of those immigrants who sought protection under DACA, and look forward to working with them to ensure passage of legislation that protects DACA recipients.