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Jewish Coalition Calls for Immigration Reform

Jewish groups are asking the Obama administration to make immigration reform a priority for the new president’s first 100 days, by suspending raids on businesses and private homes and developing a path to citizenship for undocumented families.
Progress by Pesach, named for the Jewish holiday also known as Passover, which begins April 9 this year, refers to the time when Jews were strangers in the strange land of Egypt, said Gideon Aronoff, president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, one of the campaign sponsors.
The campaign’s Web site,, aims to collect 10,000 signatures and send thousands of letters requesting “immigration reform, not raids” to Obama, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and other government officials over the next 10 weeks.
“Undocumented immigration is a symptom of the broken immigration system,” Aronoff said. “Enforcement can’t possibly be the total package that government brings to solving the problem.”
In addition to their historic experiences as immigrants, U.S. Jews are reeling from last year’s raid on the Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa. Roughly 400 traumatized Hispanic families, unable to support themselves and confused by their legal options, have relied on the struggling town’s charity.
The plant, which had produced more than half the kosher meat in America, has declared bankruptcy.
“It’s had a horrible ripple effect in the community,” said Vic Rosenthal, executive director of Jewish Community Action of St. Paul, Minn., which wants Obama to issue an executive order to suspend similar raids.
During the moratorium on raids, campaign members said, Congress should draft legislation that creates a clear path to citizenship, and should strengthen existing labor laws to require safe workplace conditions and ensure that all employees have access to health care and legal aid.
Progress by Pesach is endorsed by the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and more than a dozen other national and regional organizations.
“We are confident that with a new vision of America, and the partnering between the Jewish community and communities of faith across the country, we will see and we can see, certainly soon, new immigration legislation passed,” said Jane Ramsey, executive director of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs in Chicago.
Nicole Neroulias
Religion News Service
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

  • Henrietta22

    Did someone hand President Obama a “magic wand” when he was being inaugurated? With all that is wrong with our immigration laws, and the ways they are being broken it would certainly take more than 100 days to correct this malfunction.

  • nnmns

    This seems like a mixed message. Are they doing this because they think it’s the right thing to do or because it turns a lot of observant Jews into involuntary vegetarians?

  • Anonymous

    we schould all understand that illegal immigrants are not animal we schold treat them as human……i think they schold get panalize for breaking law and that could be over $10,000 and if u add it up in 12 milliong bet u wont be able to count and use that money toward our economy problem that we can fix our economy with broken immigration system and make sure we wont hve

  • pagansister

    Would this group have thought of this if indeed their kosher meat factory hadn’t been raided?
    Obama isn’t a magician…he is human like the rest of us. Immigration is a complicated deal to work on…won’t happen in 100 days.

  • HernandezUSA

    1986 Amnesty was a COMPLETE failure, because Enforcement was not REALIZED and now we have more ILLEGAL ALIENS than every before!
    “in the first year of democratic majority rule, Nelson Mandela’s government expelled almost 60,000 undocumented migrants, most of whom were from neighboring Mozambique. ” – President Obamas role model.
    “South Africa has shown that a country determined to put its own citizens’ interests first will deport illegal aliens in numbers. Yet its example is ignored by those who say “it can’t be done”. The answer is: “Yes it can”. It can even be done creatively.”
    We need the SAVE ACT and E-verify used for every business and NOT Amnesty for criminals.
    E-verify does not discriminate against RACE, Religion, SEX or physically capability only your Citizenship and your LEGAL right to be and work in United States.
    If we can stop Predatory business owners from hiring then the Illegal Aliens will not Stay and return to their native Countries.
    This ISSUE is not about RACE, but Governments Federal/State/LOCAL not doing their jobs, because big and small business owners want cheap workers and no labor laws to bother with……Its called GREED!

  • Native American.

    HernandezUSA, YOU ARE A MINUTEMAN in Disguise, Being Paid by the Minutemen, and sit the entire day just posting on all the sites.. We know who you are and your words will not stop Progress. Give the right information, not your one sided hateful comments.FACTS SPEAK LOUDER THAN YOUR EMPTY WORDS.
    Illegal immigrants paying more taxes than you think.
    Eight million illegals pay Social Security, Medicare and income taxes. Denying public services to people who pay their taxes is an affront to America’s bedrock belief in fairness. But many “pull-up-the-drawbridge” politicians want to do just that when it comes to illegal immigrants.
    The fact that illegal immigrants pay taxes at all will come as news to many Americans. A stunning twothirds of illegal immigrants pay Medicare, Social Security and personal income taxes.
    Yet, nativists like Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., have popularized the notion that illegal aliens are a colossal drain on the nation’s hospitals, schools and welfare programs — consuming services that they don’t pay for.
    In reality, the 1996 welfare reform bill disqualified illegal immigrants from nearly all meanstested government programs including food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid and Medicare-funded hospitalization.
    The only services that illegals can still get are emergency medical care and K-12 education. Nevertheless, Tancredo and his ilk pushed a bill through the House criminalizing all aid to illegal aliens — even private acts of charity by priests, nurses and social workers.
    Potentially, any soup kitchen that offers so much as a free lunch to an illegal could face up to five years in prison and seizure of assets. The Senate bill that recently collapsed would have tempered these draconian measures against private aid.
    But no one — Democrat or Republican — seems to oppose the idea of withholding public services. Earlier this year, Congress passed a law that requires everyone who gets Medicaid — the government-funded health care program for the poor — to offer proof of U.S. citizenship so we can avoid “theft of these benefits by illegal aliens,” as Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., puts it. But, immigrants aren’t flocking to the United States to mooch off the government.
    According to a study by the Urban Institute, the 1996 welfare reform effort dramatically reduced the use of welfare by undocumented immigrant households, exactly as intended. And another vital thing happened in 1996: the Internal Revenue Service began issuing identification numbers to enable illegal immigrants who don’t have Social Security numbers to file taxes.
    One might have imagined that those fearing deportation or confronting the prospect of paying for their safety net through their own meager wages would take a pass on the IRS’ scheme. Not so. Close to 8 million of the 12 million or so illegal aliens in the country today file personal income taxes using these numbers, contributing billions to federal coffers.
    No doubt they hope that this will one day help them acquire legal status — a plaintive expression of their desire to play by the rules and come out of the shadows. What’s more, aliens who are not self-employed have Social Security and Medicare taxes automatically withheld from their paychecks.
    Since undocumented workers have only fake numbers, they’ll never be able to collect the benefits these taxes are meant to pay for. Last year, the revenues from these fake numbers — that the Social Security administration stashes in the “earnings suspense file” — added up to 10 percent of the Social Security surplus.
    The file is growing, on average, by more than $50 billion a year. Beyond federal taxes, all illegals automatically pay state sales taxes that contribute toward the upkeep of public facilities such as roads that they use, and property taxes through their rent that contribute toward the schooling of their children.
    The non-partisan National Research Council found that when the taxes paid by the children of low-skilled immigrant families — most of whom are illegal — are factored in, they contribute on average $80,000 more to federal coffers than they consume. Yes, many illegal migrants impose a strain on border communities on whose doorstep they first arrive, broke and unemployed.
    To solve this problem equitably, these communities ought to receive the surplus taxes that federal government collects from immigrants. But the real reason border communities are strained is the lack of a guest worker program.
    Such a program would match willing workers with willing employers in advance so that they wouldn’t be stuck for long periods where they disembark while searching for jobs. The cost of undocumented aliens is an issue that immigrant bashers have created to whip up indignation against people they don’t want here in the first place.
    With the Senate having just returned from yet another vacation and promising to revisit the stalled immigration bill, politicians ought to set the record straight: Illegals are not milking the government. If anything, it is the other way around.

  • Native American.

    HrenandezUSA, You are an IMPOSTOR , You are a MINUTEMAN IN DISGUISE.

  • Tom

    “Since undocumented workers have only fake numbers, they’ll never be able to collect the benefits these taxes are meant to pay for.”
    Sometimes NA the immigrants end up with REAL SS#s of legitimate citizens, though it is true that they will probably never collect. Instead when they are diagnosed with a dehabilitating condition that goes on the health record of the legitimate citizen. They are flabbergasted when they find out no one will insure them because of this, which is why illegals need to be more readily identified. I do agree with your assertion that the illegals are the ones most heavily exploited.

  • Henrietta22

    Since 1996 when Medicaid was taken away, evidently from NA posting, the hospitals ER’s have almost crashed. The illegals flock to ER’s for a cold because that is the only place they can get help. I recently read that only a small amount of ER’s are still open in L.A. because of this. Like my first post said a mess like this is not going to be fixed in 100 days.

  • Confessoressa

    Fabulous post Native American. I wish more people would own up to ignorance on this issue and stop bashing the most marginalized in our society.

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