As Jews, we have a special responsibility to stand up for the migrants currently being held under deplorable conditions in ICE detention centers. The situation is completely untenable. A Trump administration lawyer recently argued to a court that the government’s obligation to provide “safe and sanitary” conditions for child migrants does not require it to provide children hygiene items such as soap or toothbrushes, and it can have them sleep on concrete floors in cold, overcrowded cells. Grade school children are forced to care for unattended toddlers. Children are only being allowed to shower once every two to three weeks. Also, six migrant children in U.S. federal custody have died since last September.
While these detention facilities are not concentration camps (the term is divisive and a distraction because in the modern cultural language it denotes Nazi death camps), the fact that people are held in these conditions is completely against our Jewish values. We know from our history that silence is not an option when the powerless are being oppressed.
Tucson Jews for Justice will participate in the worldwide Lights For Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps today at 6 p.m. in front of the Joel D. Valdez Main Library at Jacome Plaza in downtown Tucson. For those attending Shabbat services that evening, this is a great opportunity for our local rabbis to discuss from their pulpits why these detention facilities are against our Jewish values (or engage in post-service discussion groups on the issue).
— Tony Zinman, Tucson Jews for Justice co-founder