My Turn: In protest of immigration policies putting people’s lives, safety at risk

  • Several immigrants are escorted off an immigration bus on the Hidalgo International Bridge on June 2 in Hidalgo, Texas. AP

Published: 9/8/2021 6:42:54 AM

When Joe Biden ran for president, he promised to get rid of racist, cruel Trump-era immigration policies that were deliberately designed to punish. Biden ended a terrible protocol called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP a/k/a “Remain in Mexico”) that put thousands of people’s lives and safety at risk, but this summer, a Trump-appointed judge in Texas illegally reinstated it. The Supreme Court, breaking its own precedents, upheld this ruling.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration continues to enforce Title 42, another inhumane protocol that immediately expels migrants without a chance to exercise their internationally recognized right to declare asylum.

To be clear: most of these refugees risk their lives and leave everything they know and love to come here, because decades of destabilizing U.S. policies in their countries of origin leave them no choice.

As activists within the Jewish community, Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western Massachusetts (JAIJ) feels a special commitment to keep these issues front and center: “Many of our Jewish ancestors perished in the Holocaust because the doors to the United States were closed. Some got to our shores and were returned to Europe to be murdered by the Nazis. As a result of this atrocity, the U.S. and the world recognized and enshrined into law that those fleeing for their lives have the right to seek asylum. The Migrant Protection Policy denies people who are fleeing for their lives the right to seek asylum, violating U.S. and international law. In 2020, we visited the tent camp in Matamoros, Mexico and learned first-hand the devastating impact of the illegal and inhumane Migrant Protection Protocols on real people who have committed no crime and are just trying to survive. Every legal avenue must immediately be pursued to make sure that MPP is NEVER reinstated. NEVER AGAIN.”

Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western Massachusetts is one of 33 organizations (including ACLU, Witness at the Border, and Save the Children) pressing Biden to find ways around the SCOTUS decision: For Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western Massachusetts, visit

Shel Horowitz of Hadley submitted this on behalf of Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western Massachusetts, which has members living in Montague, Amherst, Easthampton, Hadley, Northampton and Pelham. This letter was unanimously approved by the full membership.

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