One Hundred Jewish Organizations Send Pre-Passover Message to President and Congress: Fix Our Broken Immigration System

Posted on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 13:29 pm

(Washington, DC) – On the eve of Passover, the Jewish festival of freedom, 100 Jewish organizations and leaders – including 19 national Jewish organizations – signed a letter that was sent today to President Obama and Congress calling for an overhaul of “our nation’s broken immigration system.” Drafted, organized, and circulated by HIAS, the global migration agency of the American Jewish community, the letter represents a wide partnership of Jewish organizations anchored by the “We Were Strangers, Too: Jewish Campaign for Immigration Reform” and the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable.

“Our current immigration system does not reflect our history as a nation of immigrants, does not meet today’s security and economic needs, and is not fair and humane,” the letter stated. “American Jews know too well the impact of restrictive immigration policies, and we have seen how the immigration issue can become a flashpoint for xenophobia. We are concerned the failure of national leaders to fix the broken immigration system has fueled racist, nativist, and extremist groups who blame immigrants for our country’s problems, and has been a central factor in the spread of state and local policies and laws that legalize discrimination against immigrants.”

The letter strongly encouraged the President and Congress to lead the way in establishing “laws that reflect the fact that immigration fuels our economy […] and serves our national security interests.”

Among specific points for legislative action cited in the letter are: providing a pathway to citizenship for this country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants; fixing the broken system for admitting and integrating refugees and asylum seekers; establishing a realistic and humane timeframe for immigrants to earn citizenship; ensuring that immigration detention laws are consistent with humanitarian values and treatment standards; ensuring that immigration enforcement laws respect immigrants’ worker and civil rights; and including measures to effectively identify and prevent the entry of those who pose a risk to our national security.