Don’t Be Fooled: ‘Zero Tolerance’ Remains Inhumane Despite Exec Order

RELEASE DATE: June 20, 2018

Today’s Executive Order  does not in any way change our opposition to the Trump Administration’s inhumane and immoral immigration policies. Detaining children with their parents is cruel, as well as a violation of international human rights law. Furthermore, the zero tolerance policy diverts asylum seekers into the criminal justice system rather than give them a fair chance to apply for asylum per international law and refugee conventions signed by the United States. And this policy needlessly places vulnerable children in dangerous and traumatic circumstances.

We call on this administration to:

  • End the zero tolerance policy instituted by Attorney General Sessions.
  • Immediately reunite all families who have been separated.
  • Allow asylum seekers, including those fleeing gang violence and domestic violence, a fair chance to apply for asylum.

Many of the families who arrive on our southern border have taken the desperate risk of crossing this border in order to protect their children from violence. All have come seeking a better life for their children. The U.S. must not deepen these families’ trauma through detention or the separation of families. .

There is a Hasidic story about Rabbi Dov Ber of Lubavitch who lived with his family in the same house as his father, Rabbi Schneur Zalman. One night, while Rabbi Dov Ber was deeply engrossed in his studies, his youngest child fell out of his cradle. Rabbi Dov Ber heard nothing. But Rabbi Schneur Zalman, who was also immersed in study in his room, heard the infant’s cries. The Rebbe came downstairs, lifted the infant from the floor, soothed his tears, replaced him in the cradle, and rocked him to sleep. Rabbi DovBer remained oblivious. Later, Rabbi Schneur Zalman admonished his son: “No matter how lofty your involvements, you must never fail to hear the cry of a child.”

America must not fail to hear the cries of the children at our border. As Jews and Americans, we refuse to remain silent.

Media Contact

Julie Wiener, T’ruah Communications Director; 917-655-4586

About T’ruah

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, brings together rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism, together with all members of the Jewish community, to act on the Jewish imperative to respect and advance the human rights of all people. Grounded in Torah and our Jewish historical experience and guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call upon Jews to assert Jewish values by raising our voices and taking concrete steps to protect and expand human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories.