As Jews we are commanded to welcome the stranger, for once we too were strangers. Our history as a people is replete with migration, both voluntary and forced, and many of us are immigrants and/or the descendants of those who sought better lives in the United States. Modern day asylum seekers and immigrants deserve to be welcomed with open arms, not packed into detention camps. Below are ways to take action to close immigrant detention camps.
Please keep in mind: immigrant advocacy organizations working with children ask allies not to rally at child shelters. You can advocate in other ways to close child detention camps.
- Educate yourself & teach others about immigrant detention. Here are some great resources to learn more:
- See where immigrants are detained in the United States. Freedom for Immigrants
- Asylum, An Essential Lifeline. HIAS
- Protecting Refugees and Restoring Order: Real Solutions to the Humanitarian Crisis. Human Rights First
- Border Policy Recommendations. Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) (note: NCJW is a co-chair of the IIC.)
- How To Help in the Time of Immigration Policy Crisis. T’ruah
- Host a vigil, attend a rally, or bear witness at a detention camp. Host or join rallies in front of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) holding facilities at the border and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Here are just a few national efforts to organize rallies:
- Lights for Liberty is holding protests and vigils to end human detention camps across the country on July 12 (promo video). Flagship actions are in El Paso, DC, NYC, San Diego, and Miami. See the full list of local events and sponsors/host organizations.
- Never Again Action is a Jewish grassroots movement organizing direct action across the country. See their toolkit and map of events.
- Helpful rally resources from MoveOn.
- Write Op Eds or LTEs. Engage the media, your community, and Members of Congress by sharing your thoughts in your local or national paper. Keep it short and write from your own voice about why this issue is so important and/or why it impacts your community. Don’t forget to report back: If you’re published, email a link to email@example.com so we can track the impact. Also, make sure to email your media piece directly to your Members of Congress and call their DC office to continue the conversation.
- Raise awareness on social media. Click here for NCJW’s social media toolkit to #closethecamps. Follow NCJW on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and resources.
- Call or meet with your Members of Congress. Set up a meeting with your elected official to talk about why they need to close the camps. If you can’t make a meeting in person, call (202) 224-3121 three times to be connected to your senators and representative. Here are specific asks for this issue and a sample script:
My name is [name] and I’m a member of the National Council of Jewish Women and I live in [city/town]. Cramming immigrants, including families and children, in overcrowded holding cells and detention camps is morally wrong. I urge you to speak out against mass detention camps and decrease funding to ICE and CBP, which tear families and communities apart. My Jewish values teach me to welcome the stranger, and I urge you to do the same.