In response to recent immigration legislation in Arizona, Hadassah joined 70 other Jewish organizations, rabbis and prominent individuals to support the We Were Strangers, Too: the Jewish Campaign for Immigration Reform.
The Torah says “You shall have one law for the stranger and the citizens alike” (Leviticus 24:22). Throughout our history, members of the Jewish community have been considered strangers and outsiders in their communities, and we know too well the pain of living in fear. Hadassah has a long history as a champion of fair immigration policies and the civil rights of disadvantaged and minority groups.
The new Arizona legislation Immigration; Law Enforcement; Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070) opens up the door to racial profiling, discrimination, and harassment. Initially, the bill gave law enforcement the ability to stop, question, and demand documentation from anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant.
In the aftermath of the law’s passage—and subsequent public outcry—changes have been made so that law enforcement can only question someone about their residency status if he or she is under suspicion for other unlawful activity. This important change shows the power of grassroots advocacy already at work and its ability to succeed.
While the change to the law is significant, history has shown us that latent biases can still lead to racial profiling and discrimination. In response, Hadassah co-signed a letter with the other members of the We Were Strangers, Too campaign, condemning the Arizona legislation and calling upon Congress to immediately introduce comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform.
To learn more information about the We Were Strangers, Too campaign, visit the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society website.