Jewish Groups Seek Interfaith Partners in Advocating for Immigration Reform

May 11, 2006

Source: Combined Jewish Philanthropies

On May 11, 2006 Combined Jewish Philanthropies reported, "When Josh Protas, director of Tucson's Jewish Community Relations Council, lobbies for immigration reform, he doesn't enlist help just from his own community. Instead, his call list includes Catholic and Presbyterian churches, local Latino agencies, imams, bishops, pastors and rabbis. As Protas will tell you, Jewish community leaders pushing immigration reform are forging a growing number of interfaith and interethnic partnerships... While some faith communities have obvious reasons to join the dialogue -- the Catholic church has a large Hispanic constituency, for example -- some wonder why Jews join the fray. The answer can be traced, in part, back to Ellis Island... Other Jewish groups say the Torah compels them to act... The American Jewish Committee dedicated a session to the issue at its recent 100th birthday symposium, having congressional representatives lead a seminar on immigration reform for roughly 100 Jewish leaders. The Anti-Defamation League recently released a report on hate crimes against legal and illegal Hispanic immigrants. In other cases, ties are being forged through direct Jewish-Latino collaboration. More than two dozen Jewish agencies signed on to an interfaith statement supporting comprehensive immigration reform. The document, which quotes passages from the Hebrew Bible, New Testament and Koran, says the current immigration system 'offends the human dignity of all human beings.' Another interfaith effort took the form of an ad in Roll Call signed by two dozen organizations, including the American Jewish Committee, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Hispanic Alliance for Progress."