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Arizona Rabbis to Governor: Repeal Anti-Immigrant Law


"Granting local police the power to determine what constitutes suspicious 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., May 7, 2010 -- Reform Rabbis in Arizona today sent a letter to Governor Jan Brewer urging her to repeal the Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), enforcement-only immigration legislation that threatens the rights of all Arizona residents by making failure to carry identification a crime and dangerously extends enforcement of federal immigration law to local police. The full text of the letter follows

Dear Governor Brewer:

We, rabbis of Reform congregations throughout Arizona, write to express our vehement opposition to the Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070). This inhumane and retrogressive bill threatens the rights of all Arizona residents by making the failure to carry identification into a crime and leaving the entire population vulnerable to police questioning. Granting local police the power to determine what constitutes suspicious legal status is an affront to American values of justice and our historic status as a nation of immigrants. The bill places law enforcement in an untenable situation, while having an adverse impact on the state's economy. We do not question your intention to protect people from racial profiling. However, we know from our own historical experience, that this is a slippery slope, to say the least.

Over the centuries, Jews have known the predicament 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.

The mandates of both our Jewish moral and American civic traditions compel us to adamantly oppose this legislation and to call for its immediate repeal.

We thank you for your consideration of this crucial issue.

Sincerely,

Rabbi John A. Linder
Temple Solel, Paradise Valley

Rabbi Mari Chernow
Temple Chai, Phoenix

Rabbi Evon Yakar
Temple Chai, Phoenix

Rabbi Bonnie Koppell
Temple Chai, Phoenix

Rabbi Thomas A. Louchheim
Congregation Or Chadash, Tucson

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon
Temple Emanu-El, Tucson

Rabbi Benjamin Sharff
Temple Emanu-El, Tucson

Rabbi Stephen Kahn
Congregation Beth Israel, Scottsdale

Rabbi Rony Keller
Congregation Beth Israel, Scottsdale

Rabbi Andrew Straus
Temple Emanuel of Tempe, Tempe

Rabbi Liza Tzur
Temple Gan Elohim, Glendale

Rabbi Helen Cohn
Congregation M'kor Hayim, Tucson

Rabbi Shafir Lobb
Congregation Ner Tamid, Tucson

###

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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