JFCS encourages community members to contact representatives about cuts to refugee admissions

Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis (JFCS) has a proud 109-year history of supporting refugees. On the evening of Feb. 10, 1910, a group of committed community members met to plan how to help the hundreds of refugees anticipated to arrive in Minneapolis in the coming weeks. The refugees were fleeing persecution and anti-Semitism in Europe. In their new homes in the United States, they would need to learn English, find employment, settle family members, care for loved ones with illness and acclimate to new customs and situations. This was the beginning of JFCS, and we proudly continue this important tradition today by serving the needs of immigrants, refugees and community members who have lived in the Twin Cities for generations.

From the late 1980s through the 90s, the Jewish communities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, through the JFCS and JFS, resettled well over 1,000 families from the former Soviet Union. In recent years, Minnesota has been resettling one of the largest groups of new Americans from African countries, specifically Somalia. We were once strangers in a new land, and we know first-hand that with the support and help of professional organizations and caring communities, we can all reach our goals and help our communities do the same.

JFCS remains guided by the core Jewish belief of welcoming the stranger and we continue our work each day to support refugees in their quest for freedom, safety and security. In light of the federal government’s recent and planned drastic cuts to the U.S. refugee resettlement program, JFCS is encouraging community members to contact their elected representatives to express their concern and opposition.

“On Sept. 26 the Administration proposed a drastic cut to our refugee admissions ceiling (the “Presidential Determination” – or PD) for 2020, down to just 18,000 people, the lowest in the 40-year history of the program,” the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA) stated. “In addition, the President signed an Executive Order granting states and municipalities unprecedented power to veto refugee resettlement in their communities ­– effectively a state-by-state, city-by-city refugee ban.”

HIAS is encouraging these actions steps for community members to take:

  1. Advocacy Instructions on the Executive OrderCall Script for governors and mayors to urge them to continue welcoming refugees in your community.
  2. Statements: Read and share NJHSA’s statement on the proposed lowest refugee resettlement admissions ceiling in American history.