Since 1975, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has been the administrator of the Illinois Refugee Social Service Consortium.* Under every Democratic and Republican state administration, the Federation has been directly responsible for the successful resettlement of refugees, including Soviet Jews, Vietnamese, Hmong, Cubans, Iraqis, Darfurians, Ethiopians, Bosnians and Syrians of various faiths, among others. During those four decades, the Federation has helped more than 125,000 people build new, more secure lives with the blessings of America’s freedoms.
The Federation has encountered–and overcome–policy, budget, and other obstacles over the decades but has never wavered in its commitment to fulfill this sacred Jewish and American task. On behalf of the Jewish community, the Federation is proud of this accomplishment, and pledges to continue this important work.
The Federation welcomes America’s refugees who have passed the most thorough vetting process of any group of foreigners seeking to come to our country, and applauds the statements from many Jewish and non-Jewish groups that are now speaking out on this issue.
Every public policy should be reviewed and strengthened, especially when it involves our security. However, the administration’s sweeping, sudden, and uncoordinated executive order undermines the noble ideal of our nation serving as a safe harbor for those fleeing persecution, and directly imperils the Federation’s work on their behalf. The Federation opposes policies that bar or privilege certain groups of refugees solely because of their religion or country of origin. It is the well-founded fear of persecution by any country against any minority that has long inspired America to provide refuge.
The Federation is engaging with its Illinois Refugee Social Service Consortium partners on how best to work through the current situation and to help ensure a safe, rational and coordinated national refugee policy.
The Federation will apprise the community as developments unfold.
* The Illinois Refugee Social Service Consortium is composed of Catholic Charities of Archdiocese of Chicago, Catholic Charities of Rockford, Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, Heartland Alliance, Iraqi Mutual Aid Association, JCFS- HIAS Chicago, RefugeeOne, Pan African Association, Rock Valley College, and World Relief.