AJC sends letter to the House of Representatives urging opposition to the SAFE Act

AJC sends letter to the House of Representatives urging opposition to the SAFE Act

October 18, 2013

From its founding in 1906, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) has been a strong voice in support of immigration, participating actively in many of the major immigration debates of our time. In the current immigration debates, we strongly support comprehensive immigration reforms that would provide a pathway to citizenship, reform family and employment visas, and provide a fair and effective enforcement system that strengthens our national security. We know that immigration reform is in our national interest and the smart thing to do. As American Jews, we remember how previous generations of Jews made their way to this country seeking a better life, and we have prospered in and contributed to this country. That same opportunity should

We write to you today because we are concerned by the piecemeal immigration legislation being considered in the House of Representatives, especially the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act, H.R. 2278, a bill which would worsen expansive laws targeting terrorism that have harmful consequences for refugees and asylees. Furthermore, the SAFE Act would unwisely delegate the enforcement of our national immigration laws to state and local law enforcement agencies despite demonstrated instances of profiling and subsequent weakening of community safety, and it would expand our immigration detention system that currently holds many torture survivors, asylum seekers, and others seeking protection in the U.S. from persecution in their

Congress must pass immigration reform legislation, but not the SAFE Act. The House of Representatives should consider immigration reform proposals that include a path to citizenship, legal immigration reforms and smart enforcement. Any option less than citizenship will create a permanent underclass of people in our country that goes against who we are as Americans. Making it easier for high and low-skilled immigrant workers to come to this country will help to ensure that American businesses have the labor they need to compete in a global economy, and allowing immigrant families to more easily reunite with their loved ones will foster a strong social fabric in our communities.

In sum, reforming our immigration system will provide hard-working immigrants an opportunity to succeed in America, for themselves and for future generations, while also strengthening our nation's global competitiveness. In 2013, we have the best chance in 25 years to pass a real immigration solution and move the country forward, but we must not do so at the expense of immigrant communities. We urge you to oppose the SAFE Act and support just and fair immigration reform that will permanently fix our country’s broken

Thank you for considering our views on this important matter.

Richard T. Foltin