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Reform Jewish Leader Applauds Steps Toward Comprehensive Immigration Reform, More Work Needed
In response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage this week of a bi-partisan compromise on comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would create, among other programs, a path to earned legalization for hard-working, undocumented immigrants, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement, "As the Passover season approaches, and as our nation confronts the challenging and massive problem of undocumented immigration, we are compelled to join the multitude of voices calling for a realistic, humane approach to correcting our broken immigration system."

Pelavin: As the Passover season approaches, and as our nation confronts the challenging and massive problem of undocumented immigration, we are compelled to join the multitude of voices calling for a realistic, humane approach to correcting our broken immigration system.

Washington, March 31, 2006 - In response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage this week of a bi-partisan compromise on comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would create, among other programs, a path to earned legalization for hard-working, undocumented immigrants, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

Jewish tradition is clear on the treatment of immigrants. The Torah articulates a basic principle to which the Jewish people have clung through two millennia of diaspora and disenfranchisement:  “When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34). As the Passover season approaches and we are reminded anew of this teaching, and as America confronts the challenging and massive problem of undocumented immigration, we are compelled to join the multitude of voices calling for a realistic, humane approach to correcting our nation’s broken immigration system.

Currently, there are eight to twelve million individuals living in the United States without legal status; unauthorized crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border have led to a record number of deaths in the past year; and immediate family members wait years or even decades to be reunited with one another. These problems require a comprehensive solution, one that addresses our nation’s security and economic needs, as well as the needs of hard-working immigrants and their families.

The compromises reached between Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) and the other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week represent significant steps forward in this process, and we applaud their efforts to advance a bill that includes a program of earned legalization for hard-working, undocumented immigrants. As the full Senate prepares to take up this vital legislation, we hope that they will continue to address lingering problems in the bill, such as ensuring a fair process of judicial review for legitimate asylum seekers. 

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.
 



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