A protracted, heated debate on immigration policy occupied Congress during much of 2005 and 2006. Policy makers struggled
with balancing America’s national security needs in the wake of
September 11, 2001 with addressing the plight of illegal immigrants in a
just, compassionate way.
Jewish religious and ethical values provide a firm foundation for
Jewish involvement in immigration and refugee policy. Central Jewish
teachings emphasize protection of the stranger, principles of Piddyon Shevuyim (redeeming the captive), Chesed (kindness), and Hachnasat Orchim (hospitality) that create a solid framework for a compassionate response to the needs of immigrants and refugees.
Based on these core values, the Jewish immigrant experience, and
the recognition that other immigrants would bring meaningful benefits to
American society, the Jewish community has – over its 350 years on
American shores – been actively engaged in the struggles of new
immigrants and the development of the nation’s immigration policy.
WHERE WE STAND
In October 2006, the Jewish Community Relations Council adopted the following policy:
The Jewish Community Council supports
compassionate, earned legalization and a systematic, fair path to
citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Council shall take advocacy
positions on immigration policy with the goal of fashioning an
immigration system that facilitates legal status and family unity in the
interest of protecting the dignity and civil liberties of all people.
- Council supports comprehensive immigration reform that
- Provides a systematic, fair path to citizenship for undocumented residents who are working, paying taxes and contributing to our society.
- Ensures swift family reunification.
- Prevents the exploitation of undocumented immigrant workers and protects the labor rights and human rights of all immigrants.
- Ensures that humanitarian workers and others who provided needed support and services to undocumented immigrants are not criminalized.
- Council supports the advancement of firm, reasoned policies that protect homeland security, but opposes measures which stigmatize immigrants or undermine civil liberties.
- Council opposes policy measures that, without appropriate safeguards, seek to expand the authority of state and local officials to enforce immigration law violations.
- Council supports asylum policies that protect those fleeing from persecution.
Tell your legislator that you would like to see an immigration policy that includes the following:
- An opportunity for hard-working immigrants who are already contributing to this country to come out of the shadows, regularize their status upon satisfaction of reasonable criteria and, over time, pursue an option to become lawful permanent residents and eventually United States citizens.
Reforms in our family-based immigration system to significantly reduce waiting times for separated families who currently wait many years to be reunited.
The creation of legal avenues for workers and their families who wish to migrate to the U.S. to enter our country and work in a safe, legal and orderly manner with their rights fully protected.
Border protection policies that are consistent with humanitarian values and with the need to treat all individuals with respect, while allowing the authorities to carry out the critical task of identifying and preventing entry of terrorists and dangerous criminals, as well as pursuing the legitimate task of implementing American immigration policy.