A More Just, Welcoming Immigration System

A More Just, Welcoming Immigration System
February 6, 2013


In the first week of February, Bend the Arc submitted testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, expressing the need for a just and equitable immigration system that includes equal rights for gay and lesbians Americans and aspiring Americans and their families.

“Many of our own families were able to enter America either as a result of the welcoming immigration policies of an earlier era, or through other means, and were able to move into the middle class largely as a result of the availability of living wage jobs and access to good public education,” wrote CEO Alan van Capelle in his testimony.

“We support common sense immigration reform, and we want to make sure Congress crafts reform in a manner that holds dear the ideals of justice and equality – principles at the heart of both the American justice system and Judaism,” van Capelle said after Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing. “We must work to ensure justice for the 11 million people who toil in the shadow economy without the labor protections that others enjoy, as well as equality for LGBT Americans and their families.”

Hearkening to the Jewish people’s own history as “wanderers and immigrants,” in its testimony, Bend the Arc is calling for a solution to the “broken” American immigration system that would promote “justice and equality,” including processing of visa applications in a reasonable amount of time, stricter enforcement of minimum wage laws and other protections for workers, and fair and equal treatment of gay American citizens and permanent residents.

“Justice calls out for an immigration system that includes a roadmap to citizenship for those aspiring citizens already living in America and visa policies that allow new immigrants to enter the United States legally,” van Capelle wrote in his testimony. “Justice requires that visa applications will be considered within a reasonable period of time, and that minimum wage laws and other worker protections will be enforced, regardless of the immigration status of the worker. Justice necessitates that we deal fairly with those who were brought here as children, empowering them to live out their dream, the American dream, as our own ancestors were able to do.”