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Tag : asylum

July 27, 2020 by

Immigration Activism Met Spirituality at Our Quarantine Seder

My husband, Aryeh, and I have been counting many things over the past several months: the days of quarantine; the omer, those days between Passover and Shavuot; the days that Darwin Ramos will remain with us in our home.

Aryeh and I were at an immigration protest at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Manhattan last August when we met Darwin for the first time. Aryeh is a Talmud professor and a community organizer, and had helped to organize this protest. Our observant and progressive Jewish communities convened for a ceremony to commemorate Tisha B’Av, and to highlight family separation and the deaths that were occurring on the border and in detention centers. Darwin’s story was part of the ceremony. We heard about his torture at the hands of Honduran drug cartels who were threatened by his environmental activism, the journey he took northward to save his life, and his experiences as an asylum-seeker here in the U.S. That day we got just a chapter of his story.

A mutual friend introduced us. He was helping Darwin to secure reliable housing after release from the Adelanto Detention Center. We were about to become empty-nesters. Could we take him in? We had a lot of questions. How would we explain kashrut and Shabbat? Would he be okay without being able to cook meat in the house? We have one shower in our house, would that be comfortable for him and for us? With my college Spanish and Aryeh’s very basic activist Spanish, would we be able to communicate if there were things that weren’t working for him or for us? What would it feel like for us to have a stranger living in our home?

We were all beginning to feel more comfortable with one another. When Darwin and I were in the kitchen at the same time, we might get caught up in animated conversations: national and global politics, family, religion. Occasionally, I walked into the kitchen to find Aryeh in a theological conversation, via Google Translate, with Darwin, who had attended seminary as part of his activist training. Darwin is enthusiastic and curious, warm and intelligent, fierce in his perspectives but gentle in demeanor. Darwin’s lawyer had connected him with the Project for Torture Victims. As he worked with the psychologist, Darwin slowly began sharing more of his story.

ANDREA HODOS, The Lilith Blog

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The Lilith Blog

July 13, 2020 by

How To Save a Life in the Next 72 Hours

Just a week ago, as we celebrated the July 4th holiday weekend, the American festival of freedom, one thing I did stood out from the rest. The true celebration of freedom for me was when I sent my comments to the Federal government opposing the new regulations being proposed regarding those seeking asylum. This new proposal, which will become law by executive order if it is not stopped, basically strips asylum seekers of the few rights they have. Judges will be able to dismiss cases without hearings. The definition of ‘persecution’ would be changed, so that fleeing threats of violence or even death may not be sufficient.

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The Lilith Blog

May 28, 2020 by

When Will the Counting End?

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot starts tonight. My husband, Aryeh, and I have been counting many things over the past several months: 1) the days of quarantine. 2) the omer. 3) the days that Darwin Ramos will remain with us in our home. Like everything else this year, Shavuot will be different. Not only because of the quarantine, but also because we will be spending this holiday in quarantine with Darwin.

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The Lilith Blog

February 13, 2019 by

What It’s Like to Help Immigrants at the Border Right Now

When Hillary J. Exter retired in February 2018, after nearly 40 years as a public-interest lawyer, she knew that she wanted to spend at least some of her time working on immigration issues. This led her to the New Sanctuary Coalition.  As a volunteer, Exter has accompanied people to ICE check-ins and court dates, including bond hearings for those in detention, and for about six months has participated in the Coalition’s weekly pro se immigration clinic where she has provided information to those women and men who are not represented by counsel.

In early January she traveled to the Tijuana-San Diego border and worked with other volunteers to give information and solace to the thousands of asylum-seekers who are hoping to enter the US.

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April 12, 2018 by

“Who here would be willing to house people?”

RABBI SUSAN SILVERMAN organized the Anne Frank Home Sanctuary movement in January to challenge the Israeli government’s deportation of African asylum seekers.

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