American Jews have consistently maintained a deep interest in United States immigration and refugee policy. According to Jewish tradition, "strangers" are to be welcomed and valued, as we were once "strangers in the land of Egypt." 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: opposing reductions in the flow of legal immigrants; supporting increased "family unification" immigration; supporting efforts to reduce the flow of illegal immigration within the context of established civil liberties protections; supporting generous immigration policies regarding refugees who are fleeing persecution, as defined by U.S. law; opposing the denial of government benefits to non-citizen legal immigrants; and supporting programs designed to educate and integrate new citizens.
Today, AJC finds itself faced with the reality of a changed set of circumstances. In the years leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the borders of the United States were relatively open. The economy was booming and immigration was looked upon favorably. With Mexico's newly elected president, Vicente Fox, the United States was working toward an accord to facilitate immigration between our two nations. But after nineteen radical Islamic terrorists entered the country to carry out the tragic events of September 11, 2001, U.S. immigration policy has come under fire and is now at the forefront of political debate.
Understanding the significance of these events, AJC recently reaffirmed its commitment to fair and generous immigration policies, as fundamentally good for the United States and consistent with Jewish values. At the same time, AJC is committed more than ever to the need to increase the security of our nation's borders and to better incorporate newcomers into American society and culture. Click here to see AJC's full Statement on Immigration (12/9/2002).
AJC is also concerned about the due process rights of immigrants and has adopted a resolution addressing various controversial provisions of 1996 immigration legislation, as well as administrative regulations and legislation enacted in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Click here for the Full Resolution on Due Process and Immigration Policy.
AJC's Statement on New Temporary Worker Visa Program
AJC's Statement on the CLEAR Act
AJC's Statement on Earned Legalization of the Undocumented
AJC's Statement on Reform of The Temporary and Seasonal Foreign Agricultural Worker Program
February 21, 2006
AJC Supports Bipartisan Immigration Reform