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

Jews Against Family Separation

June 25, 2018 | by Hannah Weilbacher
The Jewish community is standing up strongly against immoral family separation of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. For up to date actions and statements from the Jewish community unified in opposition to family separation, click here.

Jewish Justice Organizations Respond to Decision to End DACA

September 6, 2017 | by Hannah Weilbacher
Several Jewish social justice organizations have released public statements about the Trump administration's decision to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a crucial lifeline for immigrants and for our country. This post will be updated as more statements get released. Ameinu Statement: Trump DACA Decision Against Innocents One More Unjust Act; Challenge to Congress to Fill the Void

Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Responses to Second Round of Muslim Ban

March 6, 2017 | by Hannah Weilbacher
HIAS ​is keeping this page up to date with a list of ways that people across the country can fight back against Trump’s refugee ban.  On that page, you can find rally signs to download, talking points and instructions for congress, and much more.  BEND THE ARC RESPONDS TO TRUMP’S ANTI-IMMIGRANT, ANTI-MUSLIM EXECUTIVE ORDER

Jewish Social Justice Organizations Respond to Executive Order on Refugees

January 25, 2017 | by Hannah Weilbacher
Several Jewish Social Justice Roundtable organizations have made statements condemning the executive order banning refugee resettlement and immigration.
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Roundup of Jewish Justice Events on Inauguration Weekend

January 5, 2017 | by Hannah Weilbacher
We showed up on Inauguration Weekend to stand for all marginalized people and against tyranny. On the right are some pictures from our wonderful weekend of action.  

Coming To America: Stories of Immigration from Richmond's Jewish Community

January 22, 2014 | by Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
Join the Richmond Jewish community for a fascinating look at our immigration history. On Sunday, February 16th from 3:00pm - 5:00pm at the Weinstein JCC (5403 Monument Ave), we are hosting Coming to America: Stories of Immigration from Richmond's Jewish Community.

Eric Cantor: Act on Jewish Values, Allow a Vote on Immigration Reform

December 23, 2013 | by Jesse Rabinowitz, member of Jews United for Justice
In his speech to the Union for Reform Judaism, President Obama said to the Jewish community, “Your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents, they remembered what it was like to be a stranger, and as a result treated strangers with compassion.”

Hannukah Celebration & Immigrant Solidarity Event

December 2, 2013 | by HIAS
Wednesday, December 4th - 'Fast For Families' Community Tent on the National Mall, Washington, DC (3rd and Jefferson, SW)5:00pm

Tell Representative Cantor: It’s Time for a Vote on Immigration Reform

October 25, 2013 | by NCJW
Fixing our nation’s broken immigration system is an economic and moral imperative, and we have the opportunity to help make it happen. As the House Majority Leader, Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) has the power to push for the vote that would make comprehensive immigration reform a reality.  

A Congress of Immigrants

October 21, 2013 | by Abby Levine, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
As the United States continues to struggle with a broken immigration system, six members of the House of Representatives with Jewish backgrounds are sharing their family's immigration stories. By sharing their stories, these Congresspeople are humanizing the issue of immigration and reminding us of the values at the foundation of American society.