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JEWISH GROUPS ACROSS THE SPECTRUM UNITE IN CONDEMNATION OF TRUMP’S REFUGEE BAN

by Yair Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 at 7:56 AM

By Yair Rosenberg January 30, 2017 • 9:11 AM Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google Plus Pinterest On Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order barring all immigrants and visa holders from entering the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days. The order included green card holders and also banned all refugees for 120 days. Given the Jewish historical experience with being both refugees and subjected to religious loyalty tests, this directive unsurprisingly evoked a strong reaction from much of the American Jewish community. As so—contrary to some earlier claims—Jewish groups across the spectrum mobilized in opposition to the executive order, in a rare display of unity. The American Jewish Committee was one of the first out of the gate, offering a detailed rebuttal to the policy: “For more than 110 years, AJC has been a consistent voice for a fair, non-discriminatory, and generous U.S. refugee and immigration policy,” AJC CEO David Harris said. “We are all related to those fortunate enough to have been admitted to this country – in my case, my mother, father, wife, and daughters-in-law, and we believe that other deserving individuals merit the same opportunities to be considered for permanent entry.” Assuring security in the implementation of immigration laws and procedures is essential, but lost in the current discussion over the suspension of refugee admissions and the issuance of all visas to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries this week – as in the rhetoric of the presidential campaign – are several facts: • Refugees from Syria, Iraq and other states in violent upheaval are already laboriously and intrusively vetted by U.S. immigration authorities, assisted by U.S. intelligence agencies, in cooperation with other nations’ intelligence services. For those approved, it generally takes 18 to 24 months to gain U.S. admission; • Refugees from Central America are, almost exclusively, women and children who are at risk of violence, sexual assault, and even death if they are returned to their home countries. They deserve compassion and a fair hearing. • The terrorist threat attributed to refugees is a cruel and distracting fiction, especially when viewed against the actual incidence of mass violence committed with chilling frequency – in schools, churches, shopping malls and other venues – against Americans by Americans. In the 14 years ending in October 2015, a period in which 784,000 refugees were resettled in the United States, there were exactly three arrests for planning terrorist activities (none of which occurred); • Since the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, the United States and the international community as a whole have recognized an obligation to assist refugees. For America to close its eyes – and its borders – to even painstakingly vetted refugees contravenes that international treaty. President Trump, of course, is authorized to assert the sovereign right of the U.S. to assure the integrity of America’s borders and the effective enforcement of the country’s immigration and asylum laws… However, blanket suspensions of visas and refugee admission would suggest guilt by association – targeted primarily at Muslims fleeing violence and oppression. AJC regards such actions, contrary to international perceptions of a compassionate America and reinforcing anti-Muslim stereotypes, as both unjust and unwarranted. As the full scope of the executive order became clearer in airports across the country, the AJC later told reporters, “We are outraged by the new US refugee policy, its draconian face. This is not the American way.” The Anti-Defamation League was similarly scathing. “History will look back on this order as a sad moment in American History – the time when the president turned his back on people fleeing for their lives,” said ADL executive director Jonathan Greenblatt. “This will effectively shut America’s doors to the most vulnerable people in the world who seek refuge from unspeakable pain and suffering.” “For the Sunni family whose son languishes in prison in Iran because of his faith, for the former Army translator in Iraq who has been threatened because of his service,

On Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order barring all immigrants and visa holders from entering the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days. The order included green card holders and also banned all refugees for 120 days. Given the Jewish historical experience with being both refugees and subjected to religious loyalty tests, this directive unsurprisingly evoked a strong reaction from much of the American Jewish community. As so—contrary to some earlier claims—Jewish groups across the spectrum mobilized in opposition to the executive order, in a rare display of unity.

The American Jewish Committee was one of the first out of the gate, offering a detailed rebuttal to the policy:

“For more than 110 years, AJC has been a consistent voice for a fair, non-discriminatory, and generous U.S. refugee and immigration policy,” AJC CEO David Harris said. “We are all related to those fortunate enough to have been admitted to this country – in my case, my mother, father, wife, and daughters-in-law, and we believe that other deserving individuals merit the same opportunities to be considered for permanent entry.”

Assuring security in the implementation of immigration laws and procedures is essential, but lost in the current discussion over the suspension of refugee admissions and the issuance of all visas to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries this week – as in the rhetoric of the presidential campaign – are several facts:

• Refugees from Syria, Iraq and other states in violent upheaval are already laboriously and intrusively vetted by U.S. immigration authorities, assisted by U.S. intelligence agencies, in cooperation with other nations’ intelligence services. For those approved, it generally takes 18 to 24 months to gain U.S. admission;

• Refugees from Central America are, almost exclusively, women and children who are at risk of violence, sexual assault, and even death if they are returned to their home countries. They deserve compassion and a fair hearing.

• The terrorist threat attributed to refugees is a cruel and distracting fiction, especially when viewed against the actual incidence of mass violence committed with chilling frequency – in schools, churches, shopping malls and other venues – against Americans by Americans. In the 14 years ending in October 2015, a period in which 784,000 refugees were resettled in the United States, there were exactly three arrests for planning terrorist activities (none of which occurred);

• Since the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, the United States and the international community as a whole have recognized an obligation to assist refugees. For America to close its eyes – and its borders – to even painstakingly vetted refugees contravenes that international treaty.

President Trump, of course, is authorized to assert the sovereign right of the U.S. to assure the integrity of America’s borders and the effective enforcement of the country’s immigration and asylum laws…

However, blanket suspensions of visas and refugee admission would suggest guilt by association – targeted primarily at Muslims fleeing violence and oppression. AJC regards such actions, contrary to international perceptions of a compassionate America and reinforcing anti-Muslim stereotypes, as both unjust and unwarranted.

As the full scope of the executive order became clearer in airports across the country, the AJC later told reporters, “We are outraged by the new US refugee policy, its draconian face. This is not the American way.”

The Anti-Defamation League was similarly scathing. “History will look back on this order as a sad moment in American History – the time when the president turned his back on people fleeing for their lives,” said ADL executive director Jonathan Greenblatt. “This will effectively shut America’s doors to the most vulnerable people in the world who seek refuge from unspeakable pain and suffering.”

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