More than 1,400 Jewish clergy are calling on elected officials to protect "the fundamental right to seek asylum in the United States.”
The clergy signed a petition, which was delivered by the Jewish refugee aid organization Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) to lawmakers on July 18, urging elected officials to “provide a just and humane asylum process for those seeking safety in our country.”
“The right to flee one’s country and seek safety in another is protected under both U.S. and international law. For those requesting asylum in the U.S., to be denied a fair process could mean a return to situations most of us cannot imagine in some of the most violent countries in the world,” the letter reads.
The letter cited “an ever-lengthening list of injustices” that asylum-seekers face in the U.S., including “family separation, long periods of detention in jail-like facilities, and denial of due process in their legal proceedings.”
"Simply put, our country is treating these individuals as criminals, even though seeking asylum is a legal right. This must change,” it states.
HIAS said it visited the offices of Reps. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdFirst Democrat jumps into key Texas House race to challenge Gonzales Will the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Congress drawn into pipeline cyberattack, violence in Israel MORE (R-Texas), Xochitl Torres-Small (D-N.M.) and Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Build Back Better items on chopping block Progressives say go big and make life hard for GOP Three Democrats call for investigation into Sidney Powell to move 'swiftly' MORE (D-Texas) and of Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisObama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech Biden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet MORE (D-Calif.), Gary PetersGary PetersSenators weigh future of methane fee in spending bill Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased New Senate bill would take steps to protect AI-collected data MORE (D-Mich.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), John CornynJohn CornynBipartisan lawmakers target judges' stock trading with new bill Cornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? MORE (R-Texas) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonA pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Sen. Ron Johnson hoping for Democratic 'gridlock' on reconciliation package Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' MORE (R-Wis.).
“We are alarmed by the rising prominence of ideologies that dehumanize and vilify immigrants and refugees alongside Jews, Muslims, and so many others. We are committed to fighting hate and standing for our American and Jewish values of protecting the persecuted and welcoming the stranger, irrespective of nationality, race, or religion,” the petition read.
National leaders from the organization signed on to the letter, as did representatives from cities like San Diego, El Paso, Texas, and Albuquerque, N.M., where their communities are providing support to local asylum-seekers, according to HIAS.
“The officials we met, from both sides of the aisle, were sympathetic to the necessity of providing humane treatment and facilities to those seeking asylum in the United States,” Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld of Albuquerque said in statement. “I believe we made a difference.”
The Trump administration has faced increased scrutiny for its hard-line immigration policies and its treatment of migrants at the U.S.–Mexico border.
A federal judge on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction blocking the administration's effort to restrict migrants’ ability to apply for asylum in the U.S., hours after a judge in Washington, D.C., ruled in favor of the administration.
A rule announced earlier this month by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security would make asylum-seekers who pass through another country before reaching the U.S. ineligible for asylum.
--Updated at 12:14 p.m.