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Rabbi Saperstein: "We call on the President and Members of Congress to remember, above all, that this nation is a nation of immigrants, and is in desperate need of compassionate, effective reform."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 12, 2011 -- In response to President Obama's speech this week about immigration reform, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
President Obama's speech in El Paso this week on the issue of immigration reform has drawn renewed attention to the very real problem of our broken immigration system. After years of failed efforts, including legislation to comprehensively overhaul our system or target specific shortcomings, immigration reform remains a vital policy challenge.
The President laid out his vision of the most important parts of comprehensive immigration reform -- promoting family unity; meeting legitimate labor market needs; offering a pathway for undocumented students; and championing a program of earned legalization for those who entered the country illegally. At the same time, we are acutely aware that the President did not issue any executive orders, or set hard deadlines for achievement. His lack of concrete policy prescriptions is disappointing.
We are also encouraged by the re-introduction of the DREAM Act in Congress by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA-28) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-18), following President Obama's address. The DREAM Act, which came so close to passage last year, will provide young people who seek to contribute more fully to America with a path to legalization. We urge Congress to expedite its passage and look forward to seeing the President sign it into law.
Let us ensure that we honor our heritage, ensure our security, and prepare for our future. We call on the President and Members of Congress to remember, above all, that this nation is a nation of immigrants, and is in desperate need of compassionate, effective reform.