Opening Doors for New Americans since 1882
HIAS Pennsylvania welcomes the bipartisan framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) and President Obama’s moving speech at the Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada about the urgent need for common sense immigration reform. The long-awaited discussion on how we as a country confront the civil rights issue of undocumented immigrants in our midst has finally begun in Washington, DC. This follows the long drum beat of demands for a more just treatment of our immigrant neighbors all across the Commonwealth and our country from Philadelphia and Hazleton to Phoenix and Montgomery.
President Obama spoke eloquently about the framework within which we need to have this debate. “All those folks, before they were “us”, they were “them”. And when each new wave of immigrants arrived, they faced resistance from those who were already here. They faced hardship. They faced racism. They faced ridicule. But over time, as they went about their daily lives, as they earned a living, as they raised a family, as they built a community, as their kids went to school here, they did their part to build a nation.” The “them” that President Obama speaks of were the Germans, Scandinavians, Polish, Russians, Italians, Jews and Chinese. The “them’ today are the Mexicans, Central Americans, West Africans, South Asians and others. We recognize many details are yet to be worked out. We urge policy makers to craft a plan that does not create insurmountable hurdles to those seeking to keep their families together and an obtainable path to citizenship. We support a plan that contains protections for refugees and others who have fled conflict and persecution and recognizes the special situation of children who arrived at an young age, in some cases without any parental support.
HIAS Pennsylvania stands ready to participate actively in the upcoming debate regarding immigration reform. The Jewish tradition of welcoming the stranger, prevalent in other faiths as well, calls upon us to engage in this discussion and grapple with this issue in a respectful manner, honoring the humanity in each one of us and remembering that the communities we speak of today in the immigration debate are the “us” of tomorrow.
Image from citizenship-now.squarespace.com.
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