Bend the Arc: 80 Years After U.S. Turned Away Jewish Refugees, House Passage of Dream and Promise Act Advances Inclusion and Freedom for Immigrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2019
CONTACT: Sara Spain, sara.spain@berlinrosen.com, 202.864.0267


BEND THE ARC: 80 YEARS AFTER U.S. TURNED AWAY JEWISH REFUGEES, HOUSE PASSAGE OF DREAM AND PROMISE ACT ADVANCES INCLUSION AND FREEDOM FOR IMMIGRANTS

Washington, D.C.– Following the historic passage by the House of Representatives of The Dream and Promise Act, which would provide permanent protections from deportation for up to two million immigrant youth and holders of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), Stosh Cotler, Chief Executive Officer of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, released the following statement:

“The House’s passage of the Dream and Promise Act is a bold step toward a better, more inclusive vision of America rooted in values of compassion and dignity. The Dream and Promise Act protects our immigrant friends, neighbors, and community members — millions of people who’ve built their lives in this country for decades — and provides necessary roadmaps to citizenship for immigrant youth and people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

“This bill offers a stark contrast to the Trump administration’s outrageous efforts to scapegoat, intimidate, detain, and deport immigrants. President Trump’s inhumane policies and rhetoric consistently put immigrants in harm’s way in pursuit of his dangerous white nationalist agenda.

“Jewish Americans of all backgrounds have a profound relationship to stories of migration and refuge. We know what it means to pack our bags and flee for our lives; we know what it means to rely on a slip of paper for our safety. And we know that America has not always risen to its promise of safe harbor. It’s particularly profound for this bill to pass the House eighty years to the week after the United States government chose to turn away the MS St. Louis, a ship bearing hundreds of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany, sending most of them back to their eventual deaths in Europe. We are all obligated to learn from this failure, and not repeat it.

We are grateful to our allies and courageous immigrant youth who have been organizing for over a decade to make passage of this bill possible, to the thousands of volunteers who rose up to elect this Congress last November, and to the members of Congress who recognized the fundamental moral imperative of protecting our nation’s immigrants and championed the passage of The Dream and Promise Act.

“This is an important victory, but there is still much work to do--even in negotiations over this bill’s final text, we continued to see an unfortunate and dangerous lurch toward criminalization and profiling of immigrants. The Jewish community will continue to organize, advocate, and show up in solidarity with our immigrant friends, neighbors, and family members until we make real the dream of an America where we are all safe and free.”  

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action is a leader in the American Jewish community. In 2018, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action organized a historic act of civil disobedience in Washington DC, in which 82 Jewish activists were arrested on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol while demanding a clean Dream Act. Since then, activists from Bend the Arc: Jewish Action have organized local actions and protests across the country inspired by this civil disobedience, including in California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts.