What's On Our Mind ...
Fleeing our homes from persecution to the unknown in hopes of safety and freedom is etched into our collective Jewish experience. That is why the unfolding events in Afghanistan are even more upsetting for us to witness.
But we are not alone in that experience. This week JAC was privileged to hear from Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), who knows Afghanistan well having served under Generals Petraeus and Allen in that country. Only a generation ago Andy’s family arrived in America as immigrants seeking a better life. His mother came from a small farming village in South Korea that had been decimated by war and famine.
Andy and his family's contributions have strengthened our country. Andy takes his place proudly alongside fellow first-generation Americans. Their immigrant experience is shared by many others who, like Andy's parents, arrived on our shores from around the world. We are a nation of immigrants.
In recent years, we have seen a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment from the far-right. Those who are xenophobic want to see the U.S. gates closed — even to the Afghans who helped the U.S. They will now become pawns in the political battle over immigration.
The situation in Afghanistan is difficult. It did not begin when President Biden took office. What matters now is that we offer aid to those that helped us and fulfill our promise to our friends.
“As we watch Afghans leave home with only the clothes on their backs and cram into standing-room-only cargo planes, we must commit to upholding the promise enshrined at the base of the Statue of Liberty and offer safe harbor to those yearning for freedom,” Rep. Kim told JAC.
The U.S. should do all that it can, regardless of politics, to evacuate our Afghan allies and remaining Americans quickly and safely. We need swift action in light of the recent violence and the potential for more violence.
Call Congress today at 202-224-3121. Ask your representative and senators to increase humanitarian aid and streamline the visa process. We know too well the consequences when the world turns away from those that are being persecuted.