Immigration Framework a Positive Step Toward Workable Immigration Reform

Posted on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 20:56 pm

(New York, NY) – HIAS, the international migration agency of the American Jewish community, applauds Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) for strengthening the prospects for immigration reform by introducing a framework for comprehensive legislation.

The framework includes a pathway to citizenship for eligible undocumented immigrants; clears the family backlog; improves detention standards; creates a commission to regulate employment-based visas according to the labor market; has strong enforcement measures; and includes key provisions such as the DREAM Act, AgJobs, and most sections of the Reuniting Families Act.

“The blueprint includes a workable path to citizenship that will bring people out of the shadows and upholds America’s tradition of honoring family reunification as a core component of our immigration laws,” says 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.

“As legislation is crafted, HIAS will continue to stress concerns with an enforcement-first approach. It has been made clear over the past 20 years that throwing more money at the border without creating legal channels of entry is not effective policy.”

Tomorrow morning, more than 65 prominent organizations and individuals in the American Jewish community will deliver a letter to congressional leaders condemning the recently passed Arizona immigration legislation and urging Congress to accept their responsibility before more states follow suit. As the letter points out, it is through the teachings of our religious traditions and core American values that we should look for guidance on immigration reform. The letter observes that “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.”

HIAS, and its coalition partners within We Were Strangers, Too: the Jewish Campaign for Immigration Reform, will continue to advocate for full legislation to be introduced in the coming weeks. This framework is an open invitation to members from both parties to come forward to draft workable solutions this year. HIAS hopes that this call for action will not go unanswered at a time our communities need it the most.