On Friday, January 27, 2017, as one of his first executive actions, President Trump banned refugees from entering the United States.
On Saturday, January 27, 2018, dozens of American Jews gathered with HIAS, National Council of Jewish Women, and several other organizations to participate in a rally marking the one-year anniversary of the first ban.
The group joined faith leaders, members of the Muslim-American community, refugees and advocates in front of the White House to protest the administration’s ongoing attacks on the United States' refugee and immigration program.
Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, spoke about Holocaust Remembrance Day and the responsibility of the American Jewish Community to speak out for those fleeing persecution.
An America that does not welcome refugees is not America. An America that discriminates against religious groups is not America. @HIASrefugees #NoMuslimBanEVER #RefugeesWelcome pic.twitter.com/fKOwWAcBOS— AAJC (@AAAJ_AAJC) January 27, 2018
“The entire international convention for refugees arose out of the ashes of the Holocaust to make sure that never against would anybody be trapped in a genocide,” Hetfield said. “We need to make sure that this is just an embarrassing, temporary aberration on our national history.”
During Islamic midday prayer, allies formed a human chain around a group of worshippers. Following the speaking portion of the rally, the group marched together and demonstrated outside of Trump International Hotel and the headquarters of Customs and Border Protection.
On Friday, January 26, a similar action took place in New York City’s Washington Square Park.
During the demonstration, Tamara, a Syrian refugee who was resettled in the United States less than a year ago by Catholic Charities, made an impassioned plea for the protection of all refugees.
“We have seen this before,” she told the audience gathered under the Washington Square Arch.
“I am here to say to the Muslim community that your Jewish brothers and sisters stand with you today. They stood with you a year ago, we stand with you everyday, and we will continue to stand with you until we defeat this ugly, racist ban.”
To learn how you can take action to support oppose President Trump’s discriminatory immigration policies and speak out for refugees, check out our new take action page!