Resolution on United States Immigration Policy

“Do not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9)

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly is a member of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable whose signature campaign this year is immigration reform and was one of the original signatories to HIAS’ We Were Strangers Too Campaign;

Whereas the RA has continuously and consistently advocated for the rights of immigrants in resolutions passed in 1992, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2007, and 2011 and the Rabbinical Assembly distributed a High Holy Day packet on the issue of immigration;

Whereas President Barack Obama vowed in the 2013 State of the Union address that immigration reform including a pathway to citizenship and family reunification was a top priority of his second term in office;

Whereas the United States, since its founding, has been a land that has been made great by the presence of immigrants, including our ancestors those immigrants and these immigrants have inordinately contributed to her dynamism and success; and

Whereas immigrants to the United States are overwhelmingly law abiding and tax paying contributors including honorable members of the Armed Forces.

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the United States Congress to enact the bill sponsored by bi-partisan Senate leadership (Senators Michael Bennet, (D-CO); Dick Durbin, (D-IL); Robert Menendez, (D-NJ); Chuck Schumer, (D-NY); Marco Rubio, (R-FL); Jeff Flake (R -AL); and John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC)), entitled, “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” (S.744) that:

  • Gives undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, creates safe and legal avenues for future flows of immigrants, reunites families, establishes border protection and enforcement policies that enhance our national security, and accords all immigrants the responsibilities and rights required for full integration into American society;
  • Fixes the system for admitting and integrating refugees and asylum seekers who have fled persecution to build new lives in the United States;
  • Includes a fair, inclusive, realistic, and achievable channel for undocumented immigrants to earn permanent residency and citizenship within a reasonable timeframe;
  • Ensures that immigration detention laws are consistent with humanitarian values and with the need to treat all individuals humanely and with respect;
  • Ensures that immigration enforcement laws respect immigrant and worker rights and civil liberties and reflect the values of pluralism and fair treatment under the law; and
  • Includes measures to effectively identify and prevent the entry of those who are dangerous and who pose a risk to our national security.

Be it further resolved that we call on those in industry who have engaged in human trafficking in order to bring migrant workers to their workplace be held accountable and pay fines equal to any fines assessed to those migrant workers;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the US Congress to add a provision to the bill that would provide for family reunification without regard to sexual orientation and include LGBT partners in this process; and

Be it further resolved that members of the Rabbinical Assembly residing in the United States communicate this resolution to their  national and local appointed and elected officials including members of the House of Representatives and  Senators, local  CRC’s (Community Relations Councils), Federation Leadership, and interfaith ministerial groups.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, June, 2013