Dear friends, I am sharing this message with you all, and I hope you will forward it, sharing it with your friends and colleagues. — I especially call your attention to the call below for religious and spiritual communities to invite airport workers to obey US law, international law, & Biblical law (rather than a cruel unlawful decree) by admitting refugees.
Shalom, salaam! — Arthur
Injunction Against Refugee Deportations, Yes!
Airport Protests all across America –-- Also Yes!
The Shalom Center welcomes the temporary injunction issued by a brave Federal judge against Trump’s cruel and unlawful decree forcing refugees and legal immigrants with valid visas to return whence they came.
But the injunction is both temporary and limited; it does not yet require officials to allow into the US those who have been illegally prohibited and detained.
So we strongly urge and support continuing and growing protests at the airports and against the President’s decree.
The legal system moves against tyranny and toward justice and freedom only when the People go into the streets.
Signs from a demonstration of thousands at JFK Airport: "We are all Immigrants"; "First They Came for the Muslims, but I am Speaking Out." Meanwhile, additional thousands have gathered at O'Hare, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dulles, and dozens of other airports.
The Shalom Center strongly endorses these actions.
There are three levels of law as well as human decency that Trump has violated by his cruel and illegal decree against refugees and legal immigrants.
First, at a secular level in which the law actually upholds human decency and prohibits what Trump has done:
(1) In 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act, signed by President Lyndon Johnson at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, specifically forbade discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas based on “race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”
(2) By making "minority religions" in the seven countries exceptions to the ban, Trump has clearly singled out Islam as bad -- violating the First Amendment command of religious freedom and prohibition of establishing any religion – that is, favoring one over others.
(3) The Refugee Convention of 1954, as amended by the Protocol of 1971, to which the US adhered (partly in horrified memory of nations' including the US having prevented entry of Jewish refugees in the 1930s) REQUIRES allowing refugees to enter. Such treaties are according to the Constitution the law of the land, i.e. US law. The Convention provides:
“The contracting states shall not --
· · discriminate against refugees (Article 3)
- · take exceptional measures against a refugee solely on account of his or her nationality (Article 8)
- · impose penalties of refugees who entered illegally in search of asylum if they present themselves (Article 31)
- expel refugees (Article 32)"
Trump has violated his oath to preserve, protect & defend the Constitution (which the Framers understood was even more crucial, and more likely to be ignored by a near-monarchical President, than physical defense of the US) and should be impeached now.
Secondly, for those of us who learn from the Bible what God and human decency require: What does the Bible say about refugees from despotic governments or civil wars?
Torah commands (Deut 23: 16-17): "You shall not deliver to their master slaves who have escaped from their master to you; they shall dwell with you, in your midst in whatever place they shall choose within your gates, where they feel best; you shall not oppress them."
This photo shows Rabbi Phyllis Berrman and me at a high-spirited demonstration today (Jan 29) of 300-500 people at Miami International Airport:
CHANTS: “No hate, no fear; Refugees are welcome here!” “We are what democracy looks like.” “US freedom is for all; No ban, no wall!” “No Trump, no KKK; no racist USA!"
One of the slogans of the American Revolution was: “Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God!" Never more appropiate than now.
I suggest that churches, synagogues, mosques appeal to airport workers, including TSA officers –- to let refugees & valid visa-bearers through, in nonviolent civil disobedience of the cruel Trumpist decree.
With blessings of compassion and commitment, that the plagues the Trumpist government is bringing upon our country and the world be nullified and healed by the strength of our values and our action, rooted in the Interbreathing Spirit Who weaves all life together.
Please forward this letter to your friends and colleagues.
— Rabbi Arthur Waskow