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

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. 
Postville- 5 years ago

Recalling the Postville Tragedy: Impetus for Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill

May 10, 2013 | by Harvey Popolow, Magen Tzedek Commission, Executive Director
Five years ago this week the largest single-site immigration raid in the US to date occurred in Postville, Iowa.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials raided Agriprocessors, the main processor of kosher meat in the United States, handcuffed some 300 immigrants and bussed them to a fairground.

How to Make a Difference in Immigration Reform: In District Meetings or Op-Eds

May 9, 2013 | by Mae Singerman, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Coordinator
As Congress debates the immigration bill, now is the time for the Jewish community to join with millions of people across the country to support immigration reform. 

Discussing Immigration Reform from a Jewish Perspective

May 6, 2013 | by Abby Levine, Director of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
Our immigration laws tear apart families and keep millions of people living in fear for far too long. Now is the time for Congress and President Obama to create a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million new Americans and ensure that immigrant families are treated with fairness and dignity. For me as a Jewish American, this is a moral, religious and communal issue. Check out the attachment below for talking points on immigration reform for Jewish advocates. 

Important Immigration Updates for this Week

May 6, 2013 | by Liza Lieberman, Associate Director, Policy and Advocacy, HIAS
This week the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin the markup of the bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill, S.744. We expect the amendments to be filed on Tuesday (May 7th) and then the committee will begin to consider the amendments on Thursday (May 9th) with additional markups on May 14th, 16th, and 20th-24th. We will need all hands on deck to urge legislators to either support or oppose amendments.

Jewish statements on Gang of 8 immigration reform bill

April 30, 2013 | by Mae Singerman, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Coordinator
As Jewish organizations begin to read through the proposed Gang of 8 legislation, they are releasing statements that are mostly supportive of what the proposed legislation has to offer, though it isn't all positive. We will update this as we receive more statements.

Training: How to meet with a member of Congress

April 26, 2013 | by Abby Levine, Director of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
The Jewish Social Justice Roundtable invites you to a training, led by JOIN for Justice, NCJW and JCPA, to help prepare Jewish communities to meet with your members of Congress about immigration reform during the Memorial Day recess - May 27-31.
Entry Denied

Would your Bubbe be denied entry today?

March 25, 2013 | by Alan van Capelle, CEO of Bend the Arc
Would your family – Bubbe or Zeyde, Savta or Saba – be able to immigrate to America today? There’s a very good chance they would not.Find out how your ancestors would fare today on our new interactive website, EntryDenied.org.Millions of American Jews have grown up with a defining family immigration story.

Passover Shareable Graphic! Share it today!

March 25, 2013 | by Mae Singerman, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Coordinator
The Roundtable is excited about our first ever shareable graphic for Facebook on immigration and the exodus story. We hope it provides a fun reminder for people to discuss immigration at seders tonight. Please share it on Facebook today!

North Carolina rabbis unite for immigrant rights this Passover

March 22, 2013 | by Abby Levine, Director of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
The fight in North Carolina over the discrimination of undocumented youth isn’t over, but we have achieved a significant victory. I’m thrilled to share that late yesterday, North Carolina’s Department of Transportation announced that they will not be using pink drivers licenses for young immigrants! However, they will still put the words “No Legal Status” on those licenses starting Monday.

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