Reform Movement Urges Congregations to Protect Undocumented Immigrants Facing Deportation with New Resolution

Inside Leadership

Reform Movement Urges Congregations to Protect Undocumented Immigrants Facing Deportation with New Resolution

For Immediate Release 
March 31, 2017

Contact: Max Rosenblum or Graham Roth
202-387-2800 | 

Press Release from the Religious Action Center

WASHINGTON – Reform Jewish Congregations are being urged to protect undocumented immigrants facing deportation. The Union for Reform Judaism’s North American Board of Trustees took this historic step in response to the growing concern about an increase in deportation activity by federal authorities and Congress’s failure to comprehensively address immigration reform. This resolution responds to the urgent need of undocumented immigrants living in fear of deportation. The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) have historically stood with immigrants and refugees, and this resolution provides guidance and support for congregations doing this vital work today. Following passage of the resolution, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), issued the following statement:

Today, we urge congregations to protect undocumented immigrants facing deportation by adopting a plan for providing resources, temporary shelter, legal assistance, or other forms of support to those in need. There are Reform synagogues in communities nationwide that are already supporting and protecting undocumented immigrants facing deportation within their communities, and with this resolution we hope growing numbers will join this holy work.

The Reform Movement has a history of providing support in the form of advocacy and sanctuary for undocumented immigrants and refugees fleeing persecution in their home countries, and now we will do so for those fearing deportation from our own. Current U.S. policy, long recognized as broken, keeps families apart and leaves millions of undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation, forcing them into the shadows. This pains us as Reform Jews, aware that the most repeated commandment in our religious teachings is to welcome the stranger.

As our congregations act in their communities, we will continue our longstanding pursuit of comprehensive immigration reform that offers a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, while continuing to keep our borders secure. The United States is stronger because of its history as a nation of immigrants. In the absence of legislative movement, we must take action.


The text of the URJ North American Board Resolution is available here.

About the Union for Reform Judaism

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay relevant and innovative, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.

Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the largest and most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with nearly 900 member congregations and work that inspires, connects, and educates millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.

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About the Religious Action Center

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit for more.