Says immigration reform must be ‘comprehensive’

Says immigration reform must be ‘comprehensive’

Stephen Steinlight’s approach to immigration (Opinion, Aug. 29) does not serve the interests of the Jewish community or the nation as a whole.

The fact is that the only effective way to fix our broken system is a comprehensive approach to immigration reform – one that joins enforcement with a path to legalization, and ultimately citizenship, for the undocumented. Anything less fails to serve the compelling national security need to know who is entering and who is already present in the United States.

In addition, according to the American Jewish Committee’s 2007 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion, 67 percent supported a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States and become citizens if they meet certain requirements, as opposed to more restrictive approaches, including expulsion.

Steinlight, whose views do not represent AJC, makes sweeping assertions that we challenge, including “we no longer need unskilled labor,” and “cheap immigrant labor flooding the market” is causing widespread unemployment. Most egregious are his charges that the “hypocritical approach” of Jewish organizations “undermines the rule of law” and that the “immigration policy embraced by the Jewish community establishment … condones illegal immigration.”

This is not true and flies in the face of long-established principles and policies of AJC and other mainstream Jewish groups that clearly state the opposite. We deplore this type of fear-mongering and scapegoating that, unfortunately, increasingly has become part of the immigration debate.