Dozens of Jewish Organizations Support Pathway to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants in Letter to White House and Congress

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Jewish Organizational Sign-on Letter in Support of the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship in budget reconciliation

June 9, 2021

Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris, Majority Leader Schumer, and Speaker Pelosi,

As Jewish organizations that collectively represent millions of American Jews, we urge you to prioritize the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, essential workers, and their families, in any economic recovery or infrastructure legislation that moves forward via budget reconciliation. As we continue to confront a public health and economic crisis that has claimed more than 500,000 lives and exacerbated deep racial and economic inequities, it is vital that we include protections for immigrant workers to secure the health of our nation and to lay the foundation for an equitable recovery.

As Jews, we are taught that each person is created b’tzelem elohim, in the divine image. Each of us is equally deserving of the opportunity to prosper in safety. Our Jewish history and values power our steadfast belief that our immigrant community members, friends, neighbors, and families contribute greatly to the fabric of our country, and those who have continued to put their lives on the line to provide for our communities during this deadly pandemic deserve to be given a pathway to citizenship.

An estimated five million undocumented immigrants, including 202,500 DACA recipients and 131,300 TPS holders, serve our country everyday as essential workers. Nearly 20 percent of all undocumented essential workers work in the essential retail sector, including in restaurants and grocery stores. Over 400,000 are healthcare workers, serving us and our loved ones as doctors, nurses, and home health aides, or working in key jobs that keep health care settings up and running. About 660,000, nearly 12 percent, are in the essential services industry, which includes landscaping and child care service. Undocumented essential workers have stepped up to serve our country in a time of crisis, and have been central to keeping our country moving and healthy during this this historic, tragic time.They should be able to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Permanent protection for individuals who live under the fear of detention and deportation, as well as the constant threat of exploitation, is not just the moral action but also the most sensible choice. Living with so much uncertainty only harms these crucial workers, as well as our community and our economy more broadly. Pathways to citizenship for essential workers and their families, Dreamers and TPS holders are inextricably linked to America’s recovery as they would increase wages and productivity throughout the U.S. economy, create jobs, generate additional tax revenue, strengthen worker protections for immigrant and native workers alike, and lift many families out of poverty.

Immigrant justice is especially personal to the American Jewish community, many of whom owe our lives to the fact that we or an ancestor was able to immigrate to this country. The Jewish population in America is diverse and complex, including by race, gender, orientation, ability, and immigration status. Even now, undocumented Jews working in essential industries like healthcare fear that their ability to continue aiding and caring in this challenging time might be cut short.

Jewish tradition instills in us a commitment to protecting the oppressed and welcoming the outsider. We have a long history of active engagement in supporting immigrants and refugees. We are united in our belief that we, as a society, share a moral and civic duty to help create the same opportunities for those who seek to share in the American Dream.

Again, we urge you to include a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, essential workers, and their families, in any economic recovery or infrastructure legislation that moves forward via budget reconciliation, in order to ensure a robust recovery that is inclusive and equitable for all Americans regardless of their immigration status. Immigrant workers and their families are vital to the fabric of our nation - it is time our government acts accordingly.

If we can provide any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Alex Goldman, Assistant Washington Director of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action ([email protected]).

Thank you for your consideration.


National Organizations:

ALEPH: Alliance For Jewish Renewal Ameinu
Anti-Defamation League
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Cultural and Secular Jewish Organization (CSJO) HIAS
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Labor Committee
Jewish Women International
Jewish World Watch
Jewtina y Co.
National Council of Jewish Women
Rabbinical Assembly
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
The Workers Circle
Union for Reform Judaism
Uri L'tzedek

State, Regional, and Local Organizations:

Arizona Jews For Justice As the Spirit Moves Us
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Austin
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Champaign-Urbana
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Cincinnati
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Jacksonville
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action New Orleans
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Portland
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Prince George's County Bend the Arc: Jewish Action San Luis Obispo
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Southeastern Pennsylvania Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Southern California
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Pittsburgh
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Seattle
Carolina Jews for Justice
Detroit Jews for Justice
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice NW
Jewish Community Action
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
Never Again Seattle Chapter
SAJ-Judaism that Stands for All
Shalom Bayit
Social Action Committee of Congregation Beth David The Kitchen SF
The Secular Jewish Circle of Puget Sound