Statement on U.S. Border Immigration Policy

WEST HARTFORD, CONN. (June 19, 2018) – The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford strongly condemns the U.S. presidential administration’s policy of separating children from their migrant families at our nation’s southern border.

This inhumane policy – enacted via an April 6, 2018, memorandum for federal prosecutors along the southwest border signed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions – calls for zero tolerance for all immigration offenses referred for prosecution. It allows no exceptions for migrant families traveling with children. As a result of this policy change, by the federal government's own estimates, 1,995 children were separated from 1,940 adults between April 19 and May 31 of this year. 

As Jews, we know what it is like to leave one's country of origin in search of peace and freedom from oppression. Our Torah reminds us again and again that we should not wrong or oppress a stranger, because we too were once strangers in a new land. Likewise, the Talmud teaches us that children are blameless and cherished: "The very breath of children is free of sin” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 119b).

Children should never become pawns in a harsh political calculus. The resulting emotional trauma may have profound, long-term consequences in their lives. We stand with dozens of national organizations from across the spectrum of Jewish tradition in condemning this immoral policy and demanding that the administration rescind it.

Cary Lakenbach
Board Chair
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford

Howard Sovronsky
President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford

Avrum H. Blitzer
Board Chair
Jewish Community Relations Council

Laura Zimmerman
Director
Jewish Community Relations Council