This week it was announced that a program shielding young, undocumented immigrants from deportation will end. CJP, along with many other faith-based organizations, was extremely troubled to learn this news. In light of this, CJP is reaffirming our commitment to care for the vulnerable, for the “strangers in the land,” who need our help now.
Around the country, as many as 800,000 people could be affected by an end to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Known as “Dreamers,” there are currently close to 8,000 young adults who are under protection of the act in the Greater Boston area. Catholic Charities anticipates a dramatic increase in new clients because of the announcement.
Earlier this year, CJP teamed up with Catholic Charities to create the CJP Legal Aid Fund for Immigrants (CLAFI). Thanks to generous donors across our community, we raised $635,000. Catholic Charities has been able to greatly increase the amount of legal support it provides. Specifically, the organization hired three additional full-time staff attorneys who specialize in providing legal counsel in the form of direct consultations, know-your-rights clinics and now, increased support for “Dreamers.” Catholic Charities estimates these funds will allow them to help more than 1,000 new families and individuals this year.
Many people protected under DACA arrived in the United States as very young children and have lived here all their lives; many of them never returned to their native country. They hold jobs and pay taxes. Some are raising families of their own. America is the only home they’ve ever known, and it’s where they have friends, families, and careers.
“Dreamers” previously protected by DACA are panicked and many are desperately seeking legal advice through our partners at Catholic Charities.
The Jewish community takes our responsibility to help the stranger seriously, and we hope you’ll join us and help. One-hundred percent of funds collected for CLAFI will support legal services for immigrants at Catholic Charities.
We must never forget who we are and what we stand for. We must teach our children from our most sacred texts and sacred obligations. We must teach them the story of Passover and how the children of Israel were hated and abused and enslaved and treated as strangers. And we must tell them the story of the DACA children who we are commanded to love in the clearest terms by our Torah:
“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
We will continue to stand against discrimination and fear by helping those in need with our partners in the faith community. We hope you’ll join us.