The United States is often referred to as a nation built by immigrants, wave after wave of people who left their home lands either because of religious persecution or a desire to make a better life. In recent years immigrant has become more of a contentious issue with growing concerns from some about just how many people should be allowed to become American citizens.
Now an organization which believes that the country’s current immigration laws are far too stringent has launched an online test that enables users to check if their own ancestors would have been able to settle here under current laws.
Called Entry Denied, the online test is part of a campaign by a Jewish social justice organization called Bend the Arc, which is seeking to raise awareness about immigration reform. The test is simple to take: Choose a relative, a region of origin and the era in which the family member entered the U.S.
Most people will find that their family would have been denied entry under current laws which place strict limits on the number of people allowed to claim refugee status, the types of skills required for a work visa, and the number of people from specific countries allowed to apply for the Green Card lottery.‘If you’re not a DREAMERer or a first generation immigrant, it’s hard to understand how important this is to so many people,' Bend the Arc CEO Alan van Capelle told MSNBC.
'It is much more difficult to immigrate to the United States today than it was many years ago.’Thousands of immigrant rights activists marched in Washington on Wednesday as speculation continued over the content of the immigration bill that a group of eight senators has been working on for months. The bipartisan group of senators aims to roll out a comprehensive immigration bill on Tuesday.The legislation could put 11 million people living illegally in the United States on a path to citizenship, although it is likely to include a lengthy wait for legal status - between 13 and 15 years - and strict border security requirements.
Bend the Arc claims to be in the tradition of what it describes as 'courageous Jews' that have worked with others throughout American history to hold the nation to its promise, whether in the abolitionist movement, the movement against child labor, the civil rights movement or the movement for LGBT inclusion.‘I would want every member of congress considering the issue to take the test,’ said van Capelle. ‘Those of us who are not as immediately connected to the issue have to raise our voices.’