Immigration Campaign

National rally for immigration reform in Washington DC, 2013
National rally for immigration reform in Washington DC, 2013

Dozens of Jewish Social Justice Roundtable organizations worked together on our 2013 immigration campaign. The Roundtable offered opportunities for collaborations at the local and national level, including training and coaching through JOIN for Justice, subsidies, media support, strategic advice and connections.   We worked closely with the We Were Strangers, Too Coalition, led by HIAS. 

One highlight of the campaign was when Upworthy showcased our Hineni video, which boosted the number of views from 15,000 to 45,000 in just a few days. It singlehandedly broadened the reach of our Jewish social justice message, under the headline: “Obama Takes A Second To Talk About Jews In America. It's MEGA Inspiring.” Other accomplishments included:

  • 37 events about immigration were held in Jewish communities across the country, educating our community about the issue and encouraging action. The events ranged from an immigration workshop led by JCUA for AVODAH Corps members in Chicago, to a panel in Ohio with 100 NCJW leaders sharing immigration stories from the Jewish community, to the Nashville JCRC recruiting nearly 100 sympathetic people to attend a state hearing with anti-immigrant undertones.

  • The Roundtable, HIAS and the We Were Strangers Too coalition collaborated to recruit about 50 participants to a menorah-lighting at the Fast for Families Tent on the National Mall in December 2013. Rabbi Steve Gutow and Nancy Kaufman met with the fasters (and members of the Congressional Black Caucus who were visiting the tent at the same time!), led the menorah lighting and spoke movingly about Jewish support for immigration reform.

  • Lay leaders of Jewish organizations participated in 142 meetings with members of Congress or their staff, either in DC or in the home districts. In addition, staff of Jewish organizations have participated in countless congressional meetings on the issue. Because all of the Jewish organizations work in coalition with immigration groups, many of these 142 congressional meetings included representation from the Jewish, interfaith and/or progressive communities. 

  • As the national immigration campaign progressed, frustration with Congress increased. Beginning in August 2013, the movement as a whole embraced civil disobedience as a tactic to raise the pressure on Congress. The Jewish community participated, alongside its immigrant rights partners. Seven Jewish leaders – 4 JCUA leaders in Chicago, 2 senior staff at Bend the Arc and 1 senior staff at NCJW – were arrested alongside their immigrant brothers and sisters during mass demonstrations. Not only did these events garner press coverage in Jewish and secular media, but they also deeply moved the leaders and their networks. Afterwards, each of them spoke out about the inspiration of fellow arrestees who were immigrants, some of whom were undocumented. 

  • The Roundtable initiated a strategic focus on Congressman Eric Cantor and in partnership with several organizations, did a variety of actions that led to an unpercedented personal meeting with himon immigration. These actions included a Jewish call-in day to his office, a report on his family immigrant history, and an immigration event in Richmond.

For more information about this campaign, please read the blog posts below.

Immigration Campaign

August Recess 2013: We Want a Vote Now! Jewish Actions for Immigration Reform

July 25, 2013 | by Mae Singerman and Abby Levine
Members of Congress will be in their districts for the August recess: August 2nd – September 8th. Extremist anti-immigrant groups are already mobilizing to delay and destroy immigration reform.

Click here to write a letter to the editor on immigration!

July 5, 2013 | by Mae Singerman, Coordinator of Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
As immigration moves through the House, it's time to write letters to the editor of local newspapers to express our support for immigration reform. It is time to share our own immigration stories and express why we believe immigration is a Jewish issue.   There are two methods to writing a letter to the editor. 
Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Bend the Arc at an immigration rally

Jewish Groups Make Waves Before Senate Vote

July 2, 2013 | by Mae Singerman, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Coordinator
As we gear up to take up the fight in the House, check out these articles highlighting some of the work of our member organizations in the struggle for immigration reform.  

Text to Borrow from for Immigration Action Alerts!

June 24, 2013 | by Mae Singerman, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Coordinator
This blog post features text from Jewish organizations for action alerts on immigration reform. Please feel free to draw inspiration from the text posted here to help craft your message on immigration reform this week.  As we receive text, we will post it here.  JCPA:

One Congregation's Lessons Learned from an Immigration Shabbat

June 20, 2013 | by Wendy Braitman, PICO Clergy Organizing Team, Leader at IKAR
Immigration, Shabbat and Phone Banking

Action Alert for Jewish Community in Pennsylvania: Immigration Reform

June 17, 2013 | by Greater Philadelphia Jewish Coalition on Immigration
On Tuesday, June 11, President Obama gave a speech from the White House about the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill, S. 744, declaring that “if you’re serious about really fixing the system, then this is the vehicle to do it.”  In the afternoon, the Senate voted in favor of beginning substantive deliberations on the bill. We will likely see dozens of amendments filed from both sides of the aisle as debate moves forward over the next few weeks.  It is critical that the Pennsylvania Jewish community lend it voice in support of S.
NCJW Launches Immigration Campaign, Rabbi Rick Jacobs and Sister Simone at Nuns on the Bus event, Senator Elizabeth Warren discusses immigration reform in Boston with Jewish social justice groups

Jewish Organizations Make an Impact on Immigration Reform

June 13, 2013 | by Abby Levine, Director of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
  See below for some exciting updates on work coming out of the Jewish community on immigration reform.    Congressional Meetings Rabbi Ali Abrams at Jewish Council on Urban Affairs delivered a letter, along with immigrant rights groups, from almost 20 Illinois rabbis to Senator Kirk's staff asking that he support immigration reform.

Update on Immigration Campaign- 45 In District Meetings!

May 29, 2013 | by Abby Levine, Director of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
This month has been huge for the Roundtable's immigration campaign- as we act, write and speak up about the legislation which could change the lives of millions of New Americans. Here are some highlights from Roundtable organizations this month:   45 In District Meetings Congrats to everyone who set up and did/are doing meetings with their members of Congress! At last count, there were 45 meetings in 21 states and DC. Special shout outs to: Bend the Arc, with a whopping 21 visits throughout the month of May

Call In Day for Immigration Reform

May 17, 2013 | by Sarah Krinsky, Religious Action Center
On Tuesday, May 21, lift up your voices together and call your Senators and tell them that you support comprehensive immigration reform to address our nation’s broken system. CALL 1-888-897-0174 to be connected to your Senator! Along with others across the country, tell Congress that you demand reform that does justice to our American and Reform Jewish values.
JCA members carry flowers in honor of the 389 detained in the AgriProcessors raid 5 years ago., JCA remembers the tragedy of May 12, 2008 and the hard work left to do.

5 years after Postville raid, Jewish groups push immigration reform

May 13, 2013 | by Mae Singerman, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Coordinator
Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the largest immigration raid in US history at AgriProcessors, a kosher meat packing plant. Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and Jewish Community Action participated in an Interfaith Walk for Justice, to remember those arrested, reconcile with those who contributed to the injustices, and advocate for immigration reform. In addition, Jews from across the country have been amping up efforts to support immigration reform. 

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