Opposition to the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants is continuing to build dramatically. Now, over 1,400 Jewish clergy have banded together to demand that the Trump administration protect the rights of people seeking asylum in the United States, although considering the White House’s already established pattern of behavior, there’s not any particular indication that they’ll listen. The clergy banded together anyway in support of a petition organized by HIAS, an immigrant advocacy group that used to be known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
The Jewish Telegaphic Agency reports that a “delegation of rabbis, attorneys and advocates for asylum seekers delivered the petition last week to congressional representatives on Capitol Hill.” The Trump administration’s plans for asylum seekers have ranged from the infamous punitive family separation to more recent attempts at outright denial of entry, which has been temporarily struck down in court.
As the Trump administration continues full speed ahead in their anti-immigrant agenda no matter the court challenges, those behind the HIAS petition asserted:
‘Our tradition teaches that each and every person deserves to be treated justly and with compassion. However, under current U.S. policy and practice, asylum seekers instead face an ever-lengthening list of injustices… our country is treating these individuals as criminals, even though seeking asylum is a legal right. This must change… The Jewish people know what it means to be turned away and to be denied protection. As Jews we understand the heart of the refugee, and the current actions of our government echo some of the darkest moments of our own history.’
That’s definitely pretty blunt.
Jewish groups have already made their opposition to the Trump team’s treatment of immigrants known in contexts other than this one. The Jewish advocacy group Never Again Action has been at the forefront of many of these expressions of staunch opposition to the Trump administration’s behavior. Just recently, over 1,000 people including Jewish activists and their allies gathered as part of an event put on by the group to protest at the D.C. headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), where dozens were arrested. Their protests have even taken them to the district office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who the group has demanded should be doing more to stop the dangerous detention conditions to which the Trump administration has subjected migrants. That protest was sparked after the House approved more funding for the system.
Jewish heritage has itself been a subject of debate and used by both sides of this issue to advance their positions. Those seeking to defend the rights of asylum seekers have decried the widely documented dangerous conditions they’re kept in as akin to concentration camps, which aren’t just the high-profile types used by the Nazis. Meanwhile, figures like Trump adviser Stephen Miller have gone on Fox News and shouted about how insulting that comparison supposedly is while completely ignoring the fact that their own policies are advancing the exact same kind of discrimination that led to Jewish deaths in the past. Many refugees fleeing Europe were turned back and eventually killed in World War II.
The Trump administration definitely isn’t stopping. In recent days, they scored a rare victory when the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court allowed them to use around $2.5 billion for the construction of a southern border wall blocking off Mexico.
Featured Image via screenshot