Immigration Reform – Please Sign Petition to Eric Cantor

Everyday, 11 million people are denied access to basic freedoms in the U.S.  It’s time to grant them access to America. So parents aren’t separated from their children. So bright students can go to college and realize their potential. So America doesn’t become a country with permanent second-class citizens. Today JALSA  is joining forces with a coalition of Jewish organizations because we’ve got a real chance to open a pathway to citizenship for those 11 million people– a chance that may not come again for years.

On April 3rd, we’re delivering a united message to Majority Leader Eric Cantor, urging him to schedule a vote on comprehensive immigration.. He has the power to do so tomorrow, and we can push him to act, but only if thousands of us speak up together. Sign now and tell Majority Leader Cantor to finally bring comprehensive immigration reform to a vote in Congress:

Eric Cantor has been clear about how crucial immigration has been for our families: If today’s laws had been in place in the past, many of our own families would have been denied access to the freedoms that have made our history in America possible. But so far he’s held firm against bringing comprehensive immigration reform to a vote.  A bill already passed the Senate last year, and despite its imperfections it is a huge step forward. In the House, there are enough bipartisan votes for the bill to pass, but politicians have been too afraid of the vocal — and extreme — fringes of their own party to take a stand.  Now we have a rare opportunity to break through the gridlock. In just a few days, Majority Leader Cantor is set to meet with Jewish constituents to hear why they support comprehensive immigration reform. Let’s send them in with the support of thousands of Jewish voices united with one message.  Join Bend the Arc, Ameinu, HIAS, JALSA, JCA, JCUA, NCJW, The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Uri L’Tzedek and Workmen’s Circle to send a powerful message: It’s time to grant access to America for 11 million people.
Sign now:

JALSA provides Amicus Briefs in State and Federal Appellate Courts

Jones v. Boston Police Dept. and Commonwealth of MA v. Shubar Charles

In the past few weeks, JALSA, working to protect the basic core value of due process of law, has filed two amicus briefs in appellate federal and state courts. The first, Jones v. Boston Police Department, before the First Circuit Court of Appeals, presents the issue of the unjust dismissal of 9 Boston policemen. These  Read More

JALSA Letters: Jewish Advocate, Jewish Journal of the North Shore

The Jewish Advocate, Vol 204, No. 19.  Sivan 5773, May 10, 2013

Rational Immigration Reform must be Passed.

On May 12, 2008, the largest immigration raid in the United States to date, in which  389 persons were arrested, occurred in Postville, Iowa. The company that was raided, Agriprocessors, was the largest kosher meat packing plant in America and owned by a Hasidic family. As in 2007, after an army of federal agents descended on a New Bedford textile factory and arrested 361 immigrants, strong calls for comprehensive immigration reform were heard. Despite advocacy by then-President Bush and President Obama, it has not been accomplished.

As Jews committed to social and economic justice, we found the Postville raid doubly painful. First, it tore hundreds of families apart, often with a mother or father suddenly imprisoned for months and then summarily deported. Most of the deportees had no prior criminal records. Second, we were distressed that the raided workplace was a site for production of kosher products that we would normally have been confident to purchase and serve our families. Kosher insignia on food products convey high standards of preparation and, perhaps naively, we would not have expected exploitation of immigrants to be a factor in their production.

After Postville, Jewish groups and kosher consumers engaged in awareness and advocacy campaigns. They raised funds to help workers’ families caught up in these raids and spurred enforcement of worker rights within the kosher food industry. The Conservative movement created a new Magen Tzedek certification, indicating that food products have been prepared in keeping with Jewish ethics, including workers’ rights.

Now, on the fifth anniversary of Postville, Congress should pass rational immigration reform that includes a reasonable and clear path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and inclusion of bi-national same-sex couples. This is a human issue and an economic issue on which it’s high time for Democrats and Republicans to find common ground.

Sheila Decter,  Executive Director;  Jeff Stone,  Board Member

Jewish Journal of the North Shore
VOL 37, NO 21, MAY 16, 2013 – 7 SIVAN, 5773
 Still Fighting for Immigration Reform

Five years ago, the small town of Postville, Iowa, was torn apart when 389 undocumented workers at Agriprocessors, America’s largest kosher meat packing plant, were arrested, detained for five months and finally deported to Guatemala, where many had fled violence and poverty.
Everyday, Homeland Security and ICE take mothers, fathers, children and friends away from their loved ones.

Our community has a special responsibility to remember Postville, and not simply because the food prepared there by the exploitation of immigrant workers was labeled kosher and served in our stores and on our Shabbat tables. We are called to remember Postville and the deportations because not so long ago, it was we who were strangers. We were the ones denied entry and shuffled back and forth across borders as we fled from violence. We were the ones who were unwelcome.

Many of our parents and grandparents were luckier than immigrants today. If a path of citizenship had been as unavailable as it is for many today, we would perhaps not be here today. JALSA believes it is a Jewish duty to work for just immigration reform in this country. We believe in including same sex partners, older children and siblings in the category of family members who can apply for a green card. We remember Jewish families divided by immigration policies, and what that meant for those left behind.

Five years after Postville, and millions of other detentions and deportations, our nation can wait no longer. We need comprehensive immigration reform now.

Jeremy Wood and Sheila Decter,
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action

Update – Special Driver’s Licenses for Immigrant Students, North Carolina

In North Carolina, a new policy is to go into effect this week.  Driver’s licenses for immigrant students will be marked with a special separate different pink design.   What shades of memory does that evoke?
Flash!!!    News!!!     Your calls and letters have made a difference.   North Carolina will not require “special Pink drivers’ licenses.” 
However, the licenses will still have “No Legal Status” printed on these licenses.    Continue your letters urging that these students be treated the same way other drivers are treated.
A letter signed by leaders of major Jewish organizations was prepared by the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable.  It went to the Governor last week.  Feel free to use the arguments of this letter in your continued correspondence with the Governor of North Carolina.      See the letter here.
Thanks so much for joining with us in this effort.


Sheila Decter