Our Work for Immigrant Justice

The Greater Boston Jewish community stands firmly with our immigrant neighbors, catalyizing local action with significant impact on immigrants we’ve gotten to know right here in Boston.

Sanctuary Clusters
Drawing on the passion and commitment of our community, JCRC has organized 18 synagogues and over 400+ volunteers in Sanctuary clusters that are actively supporting families in crisis by providing shelter, food, and other needed services.

Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network
We created BIJAN with our interfaith partners.
Together, we've mobilized over 1,000 volunteers who have:

  • Accompanied immigrants to over 650 court hearings
  • Provided legal support to over 100 people
  • Raised 600k to bond out 127 people
  • Housed 50 individuals/families coming out of/reuniting after detention

Join us as we:

  • Offer Sanctuary
    For families who have run out of options to stay together, some congregations are taking the courageous step of opening their doors as a refuge, supported by additional, nearby congregations. This requires two volunteers to stay with the family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until the family is able to safely leave Sanctuary.
  • Stand up for the Unjustly Detained
    Our clusters are raising money for bond and connecting individuals to legal resources (undocumented people are not entitled to lawyers). So far, we have helped to bond out over 100 people, and we continue to work to see their cases fully resolved.
  • Provide Accompaniment
    We are organizing people to attend hearings at immigration court, to stand with these individuals in their efforts to prevent deportation.
  • Advocate for the Safety and Dignity of our Immigrant Neighbors
    Our clusters, as well as many other local Jewish organizations (including ADL, AJC, JALSA, JVS, and JFS), support the inclusion of basic protections for immigrants in the 2019 budget. In 2019, we joined the Driving Families Forward coalition to pass legislation increasing access to drivers licenses. This bill would allow anyone to apply for a drivers license, regardless of immigration status, ensuring immigrants can safely drive themselves and their families to work and school, pass driving tests, and get insurance - making the roads safer for everyone.

Upcoming Events:

Safe Communities Act Legislative Hearing

On Friday, Jan. 24, the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will hold a day-long hearing on the Safe Communities Act, in the largest room in the State House, Gardner Auditorium. The Safe Communities Act has core provisions to restore community trust in police by avoiding entanglement in immigration matters and protecting due process for all. This bill ends questions about immigration status, unless required by law; requires consent for questioning by ICE; limits notifications to ICE; and ends 287(g) agreements between sheriffs and ICE.

Immigrant Justice Forum - Click here to RSVP
When: Thursday, January 9 | 7:30-9:00pm
Where: Temple Beth Shalom, Needham

Join us at this forum to discuss immigrant justice action in Massachusetts and what you can do to support your immigrant neighbors:

  • Overview of the current situation, policy impact on local families
  • Personal testimony from an immigrant neighbor
  • Legislative Overview - focused on Safe Communities Act and information about the Work & Family Mobility Act
  • Resources and Information about how to engage in these campaigns

Damaris Velasquez, Director of Programs, Agencia Alpha
Laura Wagner, Executive Director, UU Mass Action

I Am Every Migrant Child: Reflections of a World War II Orphan
When: Sunday, January 26, 2019 at 3:00 PM
Where: Temple Beth Shalom, Needham

Please join us to hear author, survivor, and renowned speaker, Sylvia Gutmann, who will share her story as a migrant child and how that experience resonates today. Following a question and answer session, we will learn how we can help migrants and refugees fleeing for safety to the United States. Copies of Sylvia’s book, “A Life Rebuilt: The Remarkable Transformation of a War Orphan” will be available for purchase for $20, cash or check. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.

To learn more or get involved in this work, contact Director of Synagogue Organizing Rachel Lewis at 617-457-8653 or by email.

“In seeing this work, I felt strengthened, I felt the power and love of our Jewish community and our commitment to showing up when it matters.” — Ida Assefa, BIJAN Organizer