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Arizona Rabbis Urge Governor’s Veto of Anti-Immigrant Legislation

“Allowing an individual’s accent or skin color to precipitate an investigation into his/her legal status is an affront to American values of justice and our historic status as a nation of immigrants.”

Contact: Kate Bigam or Juliana Schnur
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 23, 2010 — Reform Jewish rabbis in Arizona today sent a letter to Governor Jan Brewer urging her to veto the Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), enforcement-only immigration legislation that encourages racial and ethnic profiling and dangerously extends enforcement of federal immigration law to local police. The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Governor Brewer:

We, rabbis of seven congregations in Arizona, write to urge your veto of the Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070). This inhumane and retrogressive bill virtually invites racial and ethnic profiling by broadly defining reasonable suspicion of undocumented status as grounds for apprehension by the police. Allowing an individual’s accent or skin color to precipitate an investigation into his/her legal status is an affront to American values of justice and our historic status as a nation of immigrants. The bill is also likely to further divide and endanger a community that is already fearful of cooperating with law enforcement.

Over the centuries, Jews have known the experience of being “strangers in strange lands.” From the patriarchs’ and matriarchs’ sojourns in foreign lands to our seminal experience as strangers in Egypt, the plight of the non-citizen resonates for Jews.

We agree wholeheartedly that our immigration system is broken and in need of significant repair. Yet this bill moves us in the wrong direction, violating the principles of justice on which our nation was founded. We should, instead, focus our energy on comprehensive reform of our immigration system.

We urge you to please exercise your veto and prevent this legislation from becoming law.

We thank you for your leadership and consideration of this crucial issue.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Stephen Kahn (Scottsdale)
Rabbi Mari Chernow (Phoenix)
Rabbi Andrew Straus (Tempe)
Rabbi Evon Yakar (Phoenix)
Rabbi Thomas A. Louchheim (Tucson)
Rabbi Charles Herring (Phoenix)
Rabbi John A. Linder (Paradise Valley)
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon (Tuscon)

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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 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.



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