Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Expresses Disappointment over Trump Administration’s Failure to Fully Meet Family Reunification Deadlines

Posted on July 27, 2018 In Press Releases

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, expressed disappointment over the Trump Administration’s failure to fully meet a second court-ordered deadline to reunite children with their families who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The federal district court in San Diego had given the administration until July 10 to reunite children under 5 years old with their parents, and July 26 for 5- to 17-year-olds, barring “an articulable reason” not to do so.

While the government asserts it has reunited all parents and children “eligible” for reunification, many appear to remain separated because of the U.S. government’s actions such as the deportation of parents without their children.

Representatives of the Orthodox Union met twice in June with Attorney General Jeff Sessions to urge the Administration to rescind the “zero-tolerance” family separation policy. Under this practice, approximately 2,600 children were separated from their parents in April and May when illegally crossing into the United States.

The OU also joined with other national Jewish organizations in signing a public letter to Attorney General Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen stating its opposition to the policy and its enforcement. The Trump administration rescinded the policy on June 20. Representatives of the OU have engaged in subsequent conversations with senior Administration officials to urge the swift reunification of parents and children.

Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane stated:

“We are disappointed by the Trump Administration’s failure to fully meet these deadlines to reunite children with their families. The forced division of undocumented immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border is unacceptable and contrary to Torah values recognizing the sanctity of the family unit. We urge the Administration to take all steps necessary to reunite children with their families as swiftly as possible.”

Said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin:

“While we recognize that reuniting families separated at the border is a complex task, time is of the essence in bringing children together with their parents. Children and parents alike are suffering as the result of the Administration’s unacceptable actions; this must end right away.”

Orthodox Union Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament stated:

‘We will continue to engage with the Administration to ensure all parents and children are appropriately reunited. We will also continue to work with key leaders in Congress to pass legislation that ensures such a policy will not be implemented again and that America’s immigration system operates in a manner consistent with its values.”