Immigration Statement

Statue-de-la-liberte-new-yorkhumanitarian policies for undocumented immigrants

 

As Humanistic Jews, we condemn the scapegoating and negative rhetoric concerning immigrants to this country and urge Congress, the White House and relevant Executive Branch agencies to adopt humanitarian policies to deal with undocumented immigrants. While we recognize that immigration is a complex problem that will require a multi-faceted approach, and acknowledge the importance of securing our borders, we nonetheless urge the Administration to support legislation and enact policies that follow international law and basic humanitarian principles. To this end, we implore the Administration and Congress to:

(1)    Increase legal immigration especially for refugees fleeing war-ravaged countries. Evidence shows that immigration of both high and low skilled workers has a positive effect on the U.S. economy[1];

(2)    Increase the hiring of more immigration judges to handle the influx of migrants and expeditiously adjudicate asylum and other immigration claims. As of June 2018, there were approximately 330 judges for 715,000 cases; [2]

(3)    Keep migrant children with their parents/family during the adjudication process, unless there is a danger to the child or other compelling reason for separation;[3]

(4)    Consider alternatives to detention (ATD) such as ankle monitors, bond, and community-based ATD programs wherever practicable, especially for families with children. Studies show that community based ATD programs have been shown to maintain high compliance rates with a range of migrant populations, and alternatives are more cost-effective than custodial detention.[4]

(5)   Pass bi-partisan legislation implementing a permanent solution for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has allowed approximately 750,000 undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children to live, work, and study in the United States without fear of deportation.[5] 

 

As Humanistic Jews, we affirm the values of human dignity, compassion, and equality and believe we have a moral obligation to speak out and condemn governmental practices that undermine our core values and principles as a democratic nation. As Jews, our people have been both immigrants and refugees, turned away from these very shores at times during our greatest need because of discriminatory policies, with fatal results. We believe passage and implementation of bi-partisan immigration reform legislation and administrative reforms that meet the above-five pillars, while securing our borders, will address the problems of undocumented immigrants in a humanitarian way.

 

 - August 2018

 

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/how-trump-is-changing-the-face-of-legal-immigration/2018/07/02/477c78b2-65da-11e8-99d2-0d678ec08c2f_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0309f8b799ed

[2] https://www.npr.org/2018/06/25/623318922/national-association-of-immigration-judges-says-it-needs-help-with-backlog-of-ca

[3] https://www.npr.org/2018/06/19/621065383/what-we-know-family-separation-and-zero-tolerance-at-the-border

[4] https://idcoalition.org/alternatives-to-detention/ ; https://www.aclu.org/other/aclu-fact-sheet-alternatives-immigration-detention-atd; https://www.cato.org/blog/alternatives-detention-are-cheaper-indefinite-detention

[5] http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/344132-passing-the-daca-legislation-will-provide-relief-to-children