Rabbis Urge Expedited Legal Entry for Afghan Refugees

RELEASE DATE: August 18, 2021

NEW YORK — Today, T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights organization that represents over 2,000 rabbis and cantors and their communities in North America, released the following statement in reaction to the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan as thousands of at-risk citizens are trying to flee the Taliban-controlled country. 

Rabbi Nancy Wiener, board co-chair of T’ruah, released the following statement: 

“As the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan grows, making in-country refugee processing impossible, the United States has a moral obligation to evacuate as many at-risk Afghans as possible. We cannot turn our backs on those Afghans who have served as interpreters and contractors for the U.S. over the last two decades. Nor can we in good conscience abandon other groups whose lives are now at risk, including human rights workers, journalists and religious minorities.

“We proudly stand with our partners in calling for the Biden administration to get Afghans to the U.S. or other third countries for expedited processing of Special Immigrant Visa applications. We thank President Biden for instituting plans to accelerate their evacuation, however we know much more needs to be done in order to ensure a speedy and inclusive process. 

“The Torah teaches the obligation to extend love and care to people from outside our home society: ‘you shall love this person as yourself, for you were gerim [foreigners] in the land of Egypt.’ (Leviticus 19:34). As Jewish leaders, we understand the importance of a just, transparent and timely system for refugees to gain legal entry into the United States. We know too well the pain of fleeing from countries where we are no longer safe and the tragic results of the U.S. closing its borders to Jews in 1924.

“Article 14 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees that ‘everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.’ We call on the White House to evacuate those who are facing imminent danger to protect this sacred human right.”

 

About T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights mobilizes a network of more than 2,000 rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism that, together with the Jewish community, 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.