First of all, most American Jews have a close connection to immigrants. Many of us are second, third or fourth generation immigrants. We feel strongly that refugees escaping persecution should be able to seek safety and shelter in America because throughout our history we have been persecuted and forced to flee to save our lives.
We have been on many refugee caravans. Ferdinand and Isabella evicted us from Spain, the tsars used pogroms to chase us out of Russia and we fled on boats and trains and by foot from the Nazis. We support today’s refugees because we know they could have been us.
We also support civil rights and diversity. We know what it’s like to be an oppressed minority for we “were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
We may feel very comfortable and secure in America, but we recoil when any American is targeted as “the other” — whether it be the Mexican you accuse of being a rapist or the Muslim you stereotype as being a terrorist — because so often we have been “otherized.”