Message from JFS CEO Maxine Stein regarding Refugee Resettlement Ban
Becoming a refugee is never a choice. Being a welcoming community and a welcoming country is a choice. Unfortunately, due to the recent actions taken by President Trump, we have temporarily deprived refugees from war-torn countries the opportunity to escape terror and rebuild their lives. The suspension of the refugee resettlement program that brings hope to the desperate and vulnerable victims of persecution is cruel, un- American, un-Jewish and un- welcoming.
As you undoubtedly know, the signing of the executive order affecting refugee resettlement last Friday, on International Holocaust Day, has had a devastating impact on the refugee resettlement community of agencies, partners and friends. It was particularly shameful that the order was signed on a day when the world should pause to reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust and on the failure of our international community to protect Jews and other victims from the Nazi regime.
Jewish Family Service is proud of its vibrant and vital program for New Americans. We have been resettling refugees for over 40 years and we know what we are doing. Despite the recent executive order, Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts stands firm in our commitment, as a Jewish organization and as Americans, to welcome the stranger and protect refugees, as we have done for decades.
We may have a moratorium on refugee resettlement but we have a moral and ethical commitment to refugees, including our most recent arrivals that came days before the order was signed. We will continue to work with and for our New Americans to meet their needs and meet our responsibility. We await the lifting of the ban and we will be ready to continue resettlement as soon as we are granted permission. As HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees reminded us, our tradition in this country of welcoming refugees as New Americans is one of the things that has made America great. It is a tradition worth fighting for.
Thank you for your support, your calls, your emails and your financial donations. Funds donated during this period will be targeted to fortifying our resettlement program and keeping it alive until we make our next “airport run” when this ban is lifted to greet our new refugees. Together we will speak up and act to reopen our country’s doors.
In the spirit of community,
Maxine J Stein, MSW
President and CEO
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