June 18, 2018
The Honorable Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530
The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielsen:
On behalf of B’nai B’rith International and its more than 100,000 members and supporters, we write to strongly denounce the “zero tolerance” policy recently employed by the U.S. administration. This policy tears apart families, many seeking asylum, as they attempt to cross the border into the United States. It subverts the longstanding values of our nation and endangers the safety and wholeness of thousands of families.
The American Jewish community well understands the plight of immigrants fleeing violence and oppression in hope of a better life. We believe that how the United States treats its newest arrivals reflects on the values and ideals of our country. We feel that removing children from their parents is an unconscionable practice that inflicts unnecessary trauma and health risks on families. No family should have to endure this.
Not only is the policy of separating families a cruel punishment for families; it exacerbates existing challenges in our immigration system. The practice compounds the backlog of deportation cases and legal challenges in federal courts; crowds our detention facilities and shelters with thousands more immigrants; and needlessly endangers the lives of more children.
Founded by immigrants to the U.S. fleeing persecution abroad, B’nai B’rith sympathizes with new immigrants to our country and the many struggles they face. We are therefore committed to a compassionate immigration system that reflects the crucial values of family unity and justice. In the name of those American values, we urge you to immediately rescind the “zero tolerance” policy.
Gary P. Saltzman Daniel S. Mariaschin
President Executive Vice President and CEO