Before 150 leaders participating in an interfaith forum on refugee resettlement, Or Chadash leader (and immigration lawyer) Fred Klein told the story of Jewish refugees on the MS St. Louis ocean liner prior to the start of World War II. The refugees, all attempting to escape Germany, were not permitted to dock in Cuba or in the US, and had to return to Europe where many died in concentration camps. Mr. Klein argued that halting refugee resettlement for months is comparably immoral and will likely lead to many refugee deaths.
After presentations by speakers from the International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Social Services, the 150 participants divided into 12 small groups for conversation on what constitutes a refugee, what the vetting process is like and how long placement usually takes. Participants are deliberating potential courses of collective action in the face of current refugee challenges.