Jews & Muslims Join Together, Call On Congress To Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform

November 12, 2013


Bound by Shared Experience of Overcoming Prejudice, Interfaith Allies Stand with Nation’s 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants

American Jews and American Muslims today called on Congress in a joint statement to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a meaningful path to citizenship. In joining together as unlikely allies, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) renewed their united push to refocus Congress’ attention on the nation’s most pressing domestic policy crisis.

The following is a joint statement from Alan van Capelle, CEO of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and Haris Tarin, Director of MPAC's Washington, DC, office:

“In combining our voices, we hope Congress hears that immigration reform is a priority issue across America’s many diverse communities, bringing together even those that many believe have little in common.  In fact, America’s Jewish and Muslim communities share the collective experience of facing xenophobia and prejudice for their culture and faith, and being treated as outsiders in our home country.

 Comprehensive immigration reform has long been a priority issue for both our communities, as many of our families share stories of immigrating to the U.S. Both of our communities have deep roots here. But both of our communities also know firsthand the struggle to find acceptance in our adopted homeland.

Eleven million people in this country contribute to our economy and strengthen the fabric of our communities, but are living without the basic civil rights and protections that the rest of us enjoy.  This fundamental injustice cuts against the core values as a nation, as people of faith, and is especially compelling to the Muslim and Jewish communities who value America’s enduring history as a welcoming and compassionate nation.

Our coming together today to call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform is, in itself, a testament to the great potential of an America with a just and inclusive immigration system. In other parts of the world, sadly, such a collaboration would be all but impossible. America’s strength is derived from its ability to draw the best and the brightest from all walks of life, including all and excluding none.

We urge you to come together, as we have, to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship, and keep America strong.”

Both Bend the Arc and MPAC have been active in advocating for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship, citing shared values of treating others with dignity and respect, and the importance of keeping families together.

Throughout the summer and fall, Bend the Arc organized America’s Jewish community around the issue of immigration, arranging meetings between Jewish leaders and congressional staff, hosting immigration-themed Shabbats, organizing petitions, and participating in marches, vigils, and town halls to deliver the message that immigration reform is a top priority for Jewish voters. Bend the Arc’s rabbi in residence was arrested at a national demonstration for immigration reform alongside members of Congress and during an act of civil disobedience on the National Mall.

Bend the Arc’s website, EntryDenied.org, aims to make the experience of those caught in the opaque bureaucracy of today’s immigration system more accessible by enabling visitors to put their own family histories into the system and see if they would be denied.

This fall, MPAC launched its national campaign for comprehensive immigration reform, “A Nation of Immigrants: Realizing Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” which includes a policy paper and community toolkit. The policy paper details the cracks in the current immigration landscape, provides background on the Senate bill, and includes a series of policy recommendations. The community toolkit provides practical guidance about how to get involved in immigration reform on a local level by working with other groups locally, engaging media and meeting with members of Congress.

MPAC has also organized community forums focusing on the political and social impact of immigration reform, which brought together members of Congress, White House immigration experts and immigration law practitioners. These town halls serve as an opportunity for American Muslims to support a comprehensive and just immigration reform.




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