NEW YORK – Today, the United States House of Representatives approved a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that withholds funding for the Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), which has been dedicated to a just immigration system since its creation 70 years ago, expressed concern over these amendments and called on Congress to act on bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform.
“This legislation, primarily meant to ensure funding for DHS, could put our national security at risk by conflating the funding for needed agencies with divisive policy proposals,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “While this legislation passed in the House, it is unlikely to be approved by the Senate or signed by the President, therefore delaying the guarantee of needed funds for critical homeland security programs. Rather than continuing down this route, we urge Congress to come together to pass lasting immigration reform. We are an immigration nation and must be steadfast in our efforts to fix our broken immigration system. In the last Congress, the Senate approved a bipartisan immigration reform bill. That bill should serve as a model for Congress today, both in substance and in how members of both political parties came together to address a pressing national issue. Jewish tradition teaches us to love the stranger, to welcome all into the fold and work towards building a better world together. We must remember these teachings and our history as the Jewish people, as wanderers in the land of Egypt and immigrants to the United States, as we secure a brighter future for all those who wish to call our nation home.”
“The DHS funding bill passed by the House today cuts at the fabric of America as a welcoming and pluralistic nation,” said JCPA Chair Susan W. Turnbull. “As children of immigrants, many of us understand first-hand why people who want to build a better life for themselves and their children want to come here to the United States. Immigrants have always strengthened our nation and we have a duty and responsibility to treat them fairly and respectfully. Now is the time to look for solutions to fix our broken immigration system, not ways to go back to the policies that drive immigrants into the shadows. The JCPA reaffirms our call to Congress to pass bipartisan, permanent and comprehensive immigration reforms. We call on our representatives to work together to better our immigration system rather than to tear it down, so that generations of future immigrants have the same opportunities as those who built this nation.”