March 2007 Immigration
The following resolution was voted upon and passed with 21 yes votes and one abstention.
As a reflection of our history, and based upon the biblical imperative to welcome the stranger, the American Jewish Community has long advocated for fair and just immigration and refugee policies.
Our American-Jewish values necessitate confronting difficult immigration challenges facing our country and our community. It is within this context that the JCRC supports an equitable immigration policy that protects the human rights of all newcomers and the civil liberties of every U.S. resident. Our current immigration system is broken and must be addressed at the federal level. We therefore oppose a legislative response to this issue on the state or local level. Additionally we oppose any legislation which is centered on enforcement only, thereby endangering human rights and civil liberties.
• More than 12 million immigrants are in the United States without legal papers, joined by an estimated 300,000 each year, coming to work and/or to join family members.
• While Congress has provided a comprehensive system for the admission of immigrants, the punishment of immigration violations, and penalties for employers who hire illegal aliens, the process of entry is difficult and governed by outdated immigration laws, and enforcement is subject to unpredictable immigration bureaucracy.
• What our immigration system provides has serious consequences not only for immigrants but also for the country as a whole.
Our immigration system will continue to be troubled until our laws more closely reflect reality. An exclusive focus on enforcement is bad policy.
• Enforcement assumes there is a reliable and available database through which to quickly verify an individual's immigration status. There are many individuals who are legally present in the U.S. but cannot be effectively screened through an existing database, particularly if they do not have a Social Security Number. Enforcement punishes employers, landlords and others without recognizing that immigration status is a fluid phenomenon, often difficult for even experienced immigration agents to determine. There are individuals who are legally in the U.S. but may not be able to prove that in a verifiable way. This situation places an untenable burden on employers and landlords to serve as de facto immigration agents, a job that they are not equipped to perform.
• Enforcement would also be costly for county and local governments as there are significant costs associated with the verification of status requirements and attempted enforcement of state or local immigration sanctions. Additionally most state and local attempts to regulate immigration conflict with the comprehensive scheme adopted by Congress and are unconstitutional under the supremacy clause, ArticleVI, CL. 2.
• Enforcement promotes racial profiling and other discrimination against legal aliens and citizens, particularly as uninformed individuals in the general public make reports about renters and workers they believe to be undocumented and as state and local law enforcement officers focus on those they believe most likely to be in the U.S. without status in order to save time and money in their investigations.