60th General Assembly November 1989 New Orleans, Louisiana
BACKGROUND Since its inception in 1873, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations has spoken out repeatedly in support of a generous fair and non-discriminatory United States immigration policy. In the more recent past, along with the rest of the American Jewish community, it has spearheaded the campaign to eliminate racist doctrines of national origin from American immigration policy. Indeed, the Jewish community helped to mobilize a national coalition of decency to eliminate the restrictive and racist tendencies in the Mc-Carran-Walter Act and supported President Truman in 1952 when he vetoed that infamous Act.
As a Jewish religious body, we are especially aware that open immigration policies, benefitted Jews fleeing persecution and economic hardship. Our support for open immigration policy stems not only from our experience but also from our faith which mandates respect for the alien and the stranger. "Remember the heart of the stranger for ye were strangers in Egypt."
Once again changes in United States immigration laws have been proposed. To the extent that they would broaden opportunities for immigration we welcome them as consistent with our historic position. However, to the extent that they would narrow opportunities for immigration which presently exist, the principles which guide us dictate that we work to make sure that present opportunities are not lost.
THEREFORE, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves to:
Support a fair, equitable, and non-discriminatory legal immigration policy for the United States, consistent with its national interest.
Urge that regulations, procedures and services be prescribed to assure fair, humane and prompt implementation of such laws.
Support the policy of preferential treatment for family reunification.
Urge that definition of "immediate relative" used to determine who is eligible for preferential treatment for purposes of family reunification be expanded to include siblings and children of all ages without regard to marital status.
Support the policy of preferential treatment for those seeing asylum which permits unlimited numbers to immigrate without regard to numeric ceilings imposed on other categories.
Support the policy of preferential treatment for refugees by keeping the process for determining the numeric ceiling for refugees separate from the ceiling which may be imposed on other categories.
Support non-sponsored immigration for persons who fall in none of the present preference categories, if eligibility criteria are equitable and the new visas are made available without diminishing opportunities for family reunification on those now receiving preference.
Develop programming for congregations to assist new immigrants, to take advantage of the strengths which new immigrants provide, and to address the problems of racism and xenophobia which can be associated with immigration issues.