a man being handcuffed at night
A man is detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Los Angeles, Oct. 14, 2015. (Photo/JTA-John Moore-Getty Images)

Reform movement urges synagogues to protect immigrants facing deportation

The Reform movement called on its member synagogues to protected undocumented immigrants facing deportation from the United States.

The Union for Reform Judaism issued a resolution Friday recommending that its congregations provide shelter and legal assistance, as well as material, financial or educational support to at-risk immigrants.

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, who heads the movement’s policy arm, the Religious Action Center, implored synagogues not already aiding immigrants to start doing so.

“Today, we urge congregations to protect undocumented immigrants facing deportation by adopting a plan for providing resources, temporary shelter, legal assistance, or other forms of support to those in need,” Pesner said in a Friday statement. “There are Reform synagogues in communities nationwide that are already supporting and protecting undocumented immigrants facing deportation within their communities, and with this resolution we hope growing numbers will join this holy work.”

Also this week, the Union for Reform Judaism was among more than 50 co-sponsors of a Jewish rally for refugees in Washington, D.C. Nearly 800 people attended the rally organized by HIAS, a refugee resettlement group formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

Donald Trump made ending illegal immigration a central part of his presidential campaign, and as president he has directed the government to observe immigration laws more strictly, including deporting undocumented immigrants, even if they have not committed serious crimes.

Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont recently reaffirmed their status as a sanctuary synagogue.

JTA

JTA news agency