Secretary Nielson and Acting Attorney General Whitaker,
We reject any executive action that would prevent people from exercising their right to seek safety and claim asylum in the U.S. Under longstanding U.S. and international law, individuals fleeing persecution have a fundamental right to protection.
Many of today’s asylum seekers are fleeing some of the world’s most dangerous countries. They have risked their lives to come to the United States, with the hope of seeking safety and protection for themselves and their children.
Threats to ban individuals from seeking asylum once they are in the U.S. based on where they cross the border are a violation of our laws, which allow asylum seekers the right to claim asylum regardless of where they enter the country. They also violate the international conventions to which our country has been steadfastly committed.
Many Americans would not be here today if it were not for U.S. leadership in welcoming those who have come to our country seeking safety. Our country should be a place of welcome, refuge, and of opportunity — not a place that turns its back on the world’s most vulnerable.
Moreover, as American Jews, we will not stand for the demonization of immigrants and refugees in our public and political discourse. This is not who we are.