5/25: AgJOBS Update: Two more Senators sign on this week
- AgJOBS Update: Two more Senators sign on this week
Farmworker Justice Fund --- AgJOBS Update -- May 25, 2004
The AgJOBS bill now has 111 cosponsors in the House and 63 Senate
cosponsors. A "legislative vehicle" is being sought for AgJOBS by Sen. Larry
Craig and Sen. Kennedy and it is possible that there could be action on
AgJOBS in the Senate during the next several weeks. AgJOBS could be
proposed as an amendment to an upcoming piece of legislation.
Below is a letter from major Jewish organizations that informed the Senate
of their support for comprehensive immigration reform and for passing AgJOBS
Farmworker Justice Fund, Inc.
1010 Vermont Ave., NW, Ste. 915
Washington, D.C. 20005
202-783-2628 fax: 783-2561
Text of Jewish Community Letter on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Sent to All Members of the United States Senate
May 24, 2004
A central lesson of the Jewish tradition is that there is a religious
obligation to welcome and prevent the oppression of the stranger that
dwells among us. This biblical imperative is also reflected in the United
States' historic identity as a land of immigrants and a
safe-haven for persecuted refugees. As representatives of national and
local Jewish organizations committed to these essential principles, we write
today to encourage you to engage in bipartisan efforts for Comprehensive
For both humanitarian and security reasons, we strongly believe that
Comprehensive Immigration Reform is essential to the future of the United
States. Such reform is an important priority for the country and our
community in order to find a solution to the interrelated problems of the 8
to 12 million undocumented migrants who are vulnerable to exploitation in
the shadow society; the expansion of immigrant smuggling, vigilante violence
and migrant deaths on the border; and the massive backlogs in family
immigration visa categories that cause close family members to remain
separated for years or even decades and thus create practical incentives for
illegal entry into the United States. Any solution should involve careful
screening of applicants to enhance national security and help focus law
enforcement resources on the most grave criminal and terrorist threats.
While Comprehensive Immigration Reform is crucial, it will likely require a
significant amount of time to develop a final and effective
bipartisan plan to fully resolve these difficult problems. In the interim,
we sincerely hope that you will consider supporting efforts to
address the specific needs of certain particularly vulnerable categories of
undocumented migrants -- two such proposals are highlighted below.
The Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security (AgJOBS) Act
(S.1645) addresses the immigration needs of farmworkers and the agricultural
industry by providing farmworkers currently in the U.S. with a path to
lawful permanent residence and reform for the H-2A temporary worker program
to give agricultural employers a stable and legal workforce. Not only would
this proposal assist both the
hard-working agricultural workers and their employers, but it would also
promote homeland security by bringing workers out of the shadows for
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S.
1545) allows undocumented immigrant students to pursue their educational
goals by eliminating the federal provision that discourages states from
providing these students with in-state tuition, and by permitting some of
them who have grown up in the U.S. to apply for permanent legal status.
These youth, who bear no responsibility for the decision to come to this
country without legal status, often have no knowledge of the culture or
language of their former homes. They are now part of our communities and
face severely limited futures if they cannot receive the education needed to
thrive in and contribute to our society.
As you seek to ensure that our country's immigration policies meet the array
of challenges facing us in the post-9/11 world, we hope that you will work
towards making Comprehensive Immigration Reform a central component of this
agenda. This effort, as well as support for more immediate interim measures
such as the AgJOBS Act and the DREAM Act, can play a crucial role in
protecting our national interests and fulfilling the values and that we as
Americans, and as the Jewish community, hold dear.
Thank you for considering our views on these important matters.
Richard T. Foltin
Legislative Director and Counsel
The American Jewish Committee
Jess N. Hordes
Daniel S. Mariaschin
Executive Vice President
B'nai B'rith International
President & CEO
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
HIAS and Council Migration Service
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Avram B. Lyon
Jewish Labor Committee
National Council of Jewish Women
Managing Director, Government and External Relations
UJA - Federation of New York
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
Union for Reform Judaism
The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
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