Refugees are victims of terror, not terrorists | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

President Trump signed an executive order today that equates refugees to terrorists and unjustly targets Muslims.

We at Jewish Family Service reject this policy and those notions. JFS was founded by a small group of women committed to helping poor refugees coming from Europe and the Mediterranean. This responsibility was at the core of our founding in 1892, and it remains as critical to us today as it was then.

Refugees are individuals and families fleeing the horrors of war. They are victims of terror, not terrorists. Refugees are the most vetted group of individuals allowed into our country, undergoing 18 to 24 months of security screening from the Department of Homeland Security, the NSA and other national intelligence agencies.

This executive order comes at a time when there are historic numbers of refugees worldwide, half of whom are children.

President Trump said, “We don’t want them here.” Our Jewish history and values compel us to reject that position. We too were strangers in a strange land; and today, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we recall the deadly impact of this nation locking its doors. We are resolved to continue providing services to vulnerable people of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds.

Shabbat Shalom,

RABBI WILL BERKOVITZ

Chief Executive Officer

Jewish Family Service

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