Nearly 90 Jewish Organizations and Individuals Condemn Arizona Immigration Law: Sign-on letter forwarded to congressional leaders today

Posted on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 14:40 pm

(New York, NY) – Nearly 90 prominent organizations and individuals in the American Jewish community delivered a letter this morning to congressional leaders strongly condemning the recently passed Arizona immigration law and calling upon Congress “to immediately introduce comprehensive immigration reform legislations with bi-partisan support that will provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented residents of our country and transform the current enforcement system into one that is both effective and humane.”

The letter represents the view of a wide array of national organizations from the Jewish community, ranging from the Jewish Council of Public Affairs to the Rabbinical Assembly, and local Jewish organizations ranging from UJA-Federation of New York to the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.

Citing a passage from the Torah (Hebrew Bible), which instructs “You shall have one law for the stranger and the citizens alike” (Leviticus 24:22), the letter states: “Throughout our history, members of the Jewish community have been considered strangers and outsiders in their communities, and we know too well the pain of living in fear. In the wake of the fear, distrust, and suspicion that have followed the passage of SB 1070 in Arizona, we again urgently call upon Congress to introduce and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

HIAS, the international immigration agency of the American Jewish community, along with the Jewish Community Action of Minnesota, and Jewish Council on Urban Affairs of Illinois – its partners in We Were Strangers, Too: the Jewish Campaign for Immigration Reform – took the lead in this effort.

The We Were Strangers, Too campaign has called for immigration legislation that establishes smart border protection and humane enforcement policies that bolster our national security; balances enforcement with economic development and human and civil rights; keeps families together and decreases the waiting time for family reunification; creates pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants; creates a plan for future migration flows in order to protect all workers' rights; and empowers immigrants to fully integrate into American society by providing financial support to local governments and community organizations that offer classes and services.

Yesterday, HIAS applauded Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) for strengthening the prospects for immigration reform by introducing a framework for comprehensive legislation.

According to Gideon Aronoff, President and CEO of HIAS: “Putting forth this framework is especially important at a time when the country is reeling in the wake of the repressive law passed in Arizona last week. It is important for our national leaders to take the lead in immigration reform and not leave it to the individual states.”