Resolution on Immigration to the United States

“You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger”  (Ex. 23:9)

Whereas the Jewish people have been immigrants and wanderers for most of our history;

Whereas the United States, which has long been a home and haven for economic and political refugees, maintained open immigration policies in the early twentieth century that saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews and others;

Whereas immigrants constitute more than 13% of the United States workforce, yet do not hurt employment opportunities for U.S.-born workers (2006 study by the Pew Hispanic Center);

Whereas an estimated ten to twelve million undocumented immigrants are already living, working, going to school, and paying taxes in the United States; and, in many cases, raising children who are United States citizens;

Whereas the immigrant population pays more in taxes than they collect in public benefits and the Social Security Administration holds $420 billion from the earnings of immigrants who are not qualified to collect social security payments;

Whereas the current immigration system compromises U.S. security by creating a shadow population of millions of undocumented immigrants who are unable to adjust their status; and

Whereas the current enforcement-only approach to immigration has not stemmed the flow of undocumented immigrants, and has led private citizens and local law enforcement authorities, who are not trained in immigration law, to patrol the border and to arrest and detain immigrants.

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the United States government to implement an immigration policy that allows the United States to attain its full economic potential;

  • to create opportunities for earned legalization and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already living in the United States as supported by President George W. Bush and the current U.S. administration;
  • to prevent the exploitation of immigrant workers by guaranteeing wage and safety protections;  
  • to ensure that those who provide needed support and services to undocumented immigrants are not criminalized;
  • to reduce the backlog in the family reunification system to preserve family stability;
  • to allow immigrants access to public services without fear of retribution; and
  • to guarantee due process in immigration proceedings and the protection of civil liberties.
Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, February, 2007