- The Remain in Mexico policy that forces asylum seeking families to stay in dangerous border towns, often living in tents on the streets, while they wait for a hearing before a U.S. immigration judge is cruel and unsafe.
- Thousands of asylum seekers, who have committed no crime, are being held in the United States at immigration detention centers mostly run by private contractors. While the dehumanizing conditions of these detention centers are well documented, there is very little government or civilian oversight.
- There is a dearth of legal representation for asylum seekers and 80% of detainees will ultimately be deported after being imprisoned. In some states, including Georgia and Arizona, 90% of asylum seekers face deportation.
- Most asylum seekers embark on the perilous journey to the US border because they are fleeing violence of massive proportions. They are choosing life over death.
- Detainees waiting for asylum hearings face bonds at prohibitive costs between $5,000-$20,000. Most cannot make bail and remain in detention.
- The US Immigration situation is a product of years of bipartisan policy failures. There is no simple solution to the current humanitarian crisis at our border. What we need are creative solutions and bipartisan policy leadership. From a Jewish perspective, we cannot ignore the toll of human suffering and we cannot allow for dehumanization of immigrants.
Ways Our Community Can Help
Rabbi Spike Anderson has planned organized service trips to the border and detention centers. Please be in touch if you are interested in participating: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are many organizations that provide humanitarian aid, legal services, and shelter to people caught up in our country’s immigration system. This is a national issue and many local communities are galvanizing to meet the needs of asylum seekers. The list below is only a sample of possible ways that our synagogue community can get involved in Atlanta, GA.
1) Lawyers for Good Government Founded by one of our community members, Traci Love, L4GG mobilizes attorneys nationwide to offer pro-bono services. Recently, L4GG stationed a full-time attorney in Matamoros, Mexico to help asylum seekers on the ground. L4GG is seeking financial contributions, as well as airline mile donations to help attorneys travel for their pro-bono cases. Here you will find information about their work at the border, their travel fund, and law firm partners.
2) El Refugio: Located in Lumpkin, GA, El Refugio provides support to detainees at the Stewart Immigration Detention Center. One of their services is safe lodging facilities for visiting families and loved ones. El Refugio needs hospitality volunteers and financial support.
3)Kids in Need of Defense (KIND): With a field office in Atlanta, KIND offers pro-bono legal protection and representation for migrant children in court. Please check website for needs.
4) Innovation Law Lab: Defend Asylum works to ensure due process for asylum seekers and detainees. Across the country, advocates are mobilizing to demand justice in immigration courts. Innovation Law Lab needs financial support and volunteers to act as court-watchers.
We are continuing our efforts to partner with organizations, around the country and in our local communities, whose mission supports immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.