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Our Commitment to Immigration and Resettlement

I returned this week from an incredibly meaningful trip to Hungary and Israel where I experienced the power of our work abroad. During my ten-day trip, I received many e-mails asking, “Where is the Federation’s statement on the Executive Order on Immigration?”

I stood on the banks of the frozen Danube where thousands of Hungarian Jews were forcibly drowned during the Holocaust. It was a deeply emotional experience for me because my grandmother was Hungarian. Like all of us, I am a descendant of immigrants. America is a country of immigrants. Immigration has strengthened America, and has helped build this great country.

Upon my return, I continue to receive e-mails asking me, “Where is the Federation’s statement on the Executive Order on Immigration? Our Federation’s statement on immigration was made 104 years ago when we made the rescue and resettlement of immigrants — like our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents — a top priority.

I want you to know that we have heard your concerns and feel the anxiety of our community. Our commitment to the community is steadfast. We are convening our community partners, our social service partners and meeting with leaders throughout Los Angeles, and will continue to strengthen these relationships. We are enhancing our ongoing lobbying efforts for social service funding at the local, state, and federal levels. We are a Federation that takes action. Our Jewish values inform and inspire our work. We are proactive in serving our most vulnerable and protecting those who come to our country. We are invested in Jewish immigrants and we care about all those who immigrate from the four corners of the world, dreaming of a new home here in Los Angeles.

Since 1973, we have welcomed refugees from around the world including over 27,000 from the former Soviet Union and Iran. We resettle over 100 immigrants every year.

Today, we are deeply concerned about those members of our community who are anxiously waiting to come to Los Angeles after fleeing Iran. They are in a Federation program in Vienna, which supports them as they prepare to move to America. I have met many of them and heard their heart-wrenching stories. Yosef is 23 and arrived in Vienna just two months ago. His father passed away from brain cancer just before he left. His mother and sister are anxiously counting down the days for his arrival. They need him because his sister suffers from degenerative MS and his mother is struggling. Yosef is stranded. We are doing everything we can to reunite him with his family.

I hope you understand that our work strengthens and supports our community every day, and this is the strongest and most enduring statement we can make. This is our promise to you and to Yosef.

Today, I received even more e-mails asking, “What can we do to help?”

There are other issues surrounding the Executive Order on Immigration. The federal funding that we receive to help refugees is in jeopardy, and we expect a loss of support of over $100,000 towards our immigration and resettlement work. If you want to help, a gift to our work in this area would make an immediate impact.

During the days, weeks and months ahead, no matter what may concern you, you may ask the question, “Where is the Federation’s statement on…?”

We are responsible for our entire community. We identify and address our greatest challenges and opportunities, and our commitment to these goals is unwavering. Please know that we will always care about you and your concerns. As we must be, we are extremely focused on our essential work: supporting and sustaining our community and building an even stronger community for the future.

Thank you for your continued support.

Jay Sanderson
President & CEO

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