Scholars of the Program in Jewish Studies at Rice University express our deep concern over the recent executive order banning refugees from the United States indefinitely and pausing immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. Particularly troubling was the fact that the ban was issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day that should remind us of the many Jews who were murdered by the Nazis after being turned away from the United States due to restrictive immigration quotas. At its heart, this ban violates core values of the academic community and its dedication to critical thinking, evidence-based practices, and scholarly exchange. As scholars of Jewish Studies, we are keenly aware of the damage that exclusionary practices based on race, religion, or national origin can do. On the other hand, our work has shown us that immigrants have immeasurably enriched the American economy, culture, and society, as well as the university. We are troubled by the implication that this ban imposes a religious test for entry or immigration to the United States, and call for its immediate retraction.
The Program in Jewish Studies, Rice University