National JLC signs onto “Jewish Organizational Sign-on Letter on President’s Executive Action on Immigration”

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Jewish Organizational Sign-on Letter on President’s Executive Action on Immigration

We, the undersigned Jewish organizations, welcome President Obama’s executive action on immigration and urge Congress to enact meaningful reform to repair our immigration system. Our views on immigration are shaped by our Jewish religious and ethical traditions, as well as our own history in this country and our core American values. The commandment to ‘welcome the stranger’ is mentioned 36 times throughout the Torah, more than any other commandment.

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. There are few, if any, legal channels for U.S. employers to hire immigrant workers, and tremendous backlogs in the family visa system have resulted in families being needlessly separated for years or even decades.

Millions of immigrants have come to our country in recent decades seeking work and a better life for themselves and their children. Deporting them by the thousands has resulted needlessly in broken families, hardship for employers, and pervasive fear in communities.

The President’s plan is humane and sensible. Allowing the parents of U.S. citizen and legal permanent resident children to live and work in the U.S. legally until Congress permanently fixes our broken immigration system respects the core American value of family. Expanding the number of people who came to the U.S. as children who are able to stay acknowledges the fact that their lives are here and that in many cases the U.S. is the only country they have ever really known. Requiring individuals to pass background checks and pay taxes in order to qualify for relief makes sense.

We believe that President Obama’s plan for relief for 4.9 million immigrants will benefit our economy, as immigrants and their children who come to the U.S. to join family or enter as refugees fleeing persecution strive for success and are responsible for some of this country’s most innovative and job‐creating businesses. We also believe the plan serves our national security interests by bringing people out of the shadows, allowing federal law enforcement to focus its resources on those who wish to do us harm.

While the President’s plan is a critical first step, only Congress can enact immigration reform that fixes our broken immigration system. We urge Congress to work with the President to enact legislation along the lines of the bipartisan Senate bill, S. 744. Only Congress can provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, create safe and legal avenues for future flows of immigrants, improve our system for admitting and integrating refugees and asylum seekers who have fled persecution, create immigration detention laws that are consistent with humanitarian values, and ensure that immigration enforcement laws respect immigrant and worker rights and civil liberties and reflect the values of pluralism and fair treatment under the law.

We look forward to working together with Congress and the President to improve our country’s immigration system in a way that honors our American and Jewish values.

Sign-on form available at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZavxY_F9Pd9lVWMT4ZInuvvY4xgW57Rivbx5HR77BIc/viewform.

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