Jewish Family Service Voices Opposition in Response to Executive Order
Nonprofit One of Four in County to Resettle Refugees of All Backgrounds and Faiths
SAN DIEGO (Feb. 1, 2017) – Last Friday, an executive order was signed closing the door on immigrants from seven select countries and banning all refugees for at least 120 days.
“At Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS), we are deeply distressed and heartbroken by this executive order that betrays our value of ‘Welcoming the Stranger’ – it halts help for families who have lost everything and are fleeing from war and persecution,” said JFS CEO Michael Hopkins in response. “For more than 125 of our current cases in the pipeline, these people may not be able to enter the U.S. as a direct result of the executive order. This leaves families torn apart and inflicts a multitude of other hardships on them.”
In carrying out the tradition of “Welcoming the Stranger,” JFS affirms its Jewish values and honors the U.S.’s history as a nation established by refugees and built by generations of immigrants.
Since JFS was founded nearly 100 years ago, the nonprofit has been the first to welcome these families, from all religions and backgrounds, as they begin to rebuild their lives in San Diego. The JFS Immigration and Refugee Services team helps them find permanent jobs, start businesses and enroll their children in school to continue their education. Hopkins noted, “We have seen firsthand how newcomers strengthen our social fabric and make San Diego more prosperous and competitive in a changing world.”
There are more refugees in the world now than at any time in recorded history. Refugees are vetted more than any other group of travelers allowed into our country. The U.S.’s security screening process runs each refugee through intensive checks with five different national security agencies — the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, State Department, Defense Department and National Counterterrorism Center.
“We must remember that the United States’ refugee policy was developed in direct response to the Holocaust,” said Hopkins. “We believe that the memory of the Holocaust should serve as a reminder to respect human dignity and condemn all forms of intolerance and hate. We must prevent history from repeating itself.”
The organization continues to stand behind its belief that stopping refugee resettlement, for any period of time, undermines our nation’s founding principles and turns away our brothers and sisters seeking safety, freedom and hope.
JFS is one of four organizations convening a San Diego Jewish Community Gathering on Thursday, Feb. 2 to demonstrate support of immigrants and refugees – an opportunity to show solidarity and promote meaningful action. At Congregation Beth El at 6:30 p.m., the free event, open to the entire community, will feature brief talks from prominent religious and community leaders and multiple opportunities for on-site action. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/jewishcalltoactionfeb2.
JFS is also actively seeking translators and interpreters who can communicate with current and former clients regarding their rights and measures they can take to safeguard their status as refugees, asylees or legal residents. The greatest need are for those who speak Arabic, Farsi, Swahili or Spanish. To learn more or volunteer, please contact Jessica Marin at (858) 637-3024 or Celeste Caton (858) 637-3366.