Open Our Arms and Our Hearts

A few months ago, I told you about a new regulation issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which prevents individuals who have been granted deferred status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from accessing key programs under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The individuals, often called DREAMers, would not be eligible to access health coverage through the insurance exchanges and other key programs. Yet, these restrictions do not apply to individuals granted the same immigration status by other circumstances.

This regulation runs contrary to the values enshrined in our Jewish teachings and creates a unique exemption explicitly denounced by our values. We are commanded to welcome the stranger and to remember that we too were once strangers in the land of Egypt. While the Reform Movement welcomed the Obama Administration’s policy to accept DREAMers into the country by granting them deferred status (you can thank the President for taking this action here!), Jewish texts are equally clear on the obligations of the community to heal the sick. We are expected to take care of our bodies because they are sacred and created in God’s image. The Talmud commands, “Whoever is in pain, lead them to a doctor” (Baba Kamma 46B).

Recognizing the injustice of the HHS regulation, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health has started a campaign urging as many people as possible to call and email the White House today (Tuesday, December 18, 2012) to urge them to reverse this decision. You can take action here. It is extremely important that we as a faith community say with a collective voice that we do not wish for DREAMers to be treated differently than anyone else living in the United States under the same legal criteria.

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