Immigration for Stranded Russian Jews

WHEREAS we of the UAHC have been sensitive to the dire human plight of the displaced and the refugee and will not turn our backs on those in need who call upon us for help; and

WHEREAS we have been concerned for the persecuted Jews of the USSR who have fled in search of freedom and refuge in the lands of their choice and yearn for unification with their families in the free world; and

WHEREAS we decry the waste and suffering of human beings; and

WHEREAS there exists a group of ninety Russian Jewish families who are stranded in Ostia near Rome without support, permission to work, freedom to travel, medical care, or schooling for their eighty children. They have been stranded for over one and one-half years en route to the United States and Canada because the United States changed its immigration policy after these people had left Israel, as their families and friends had done before them, to immigrate to the United States via Rome. The support which they received was terminated by the United States in a sudden change of policy that declared them no longer refugees but "firmly resettled in Israel," where they had already burned their bridges. Now they have been in Italy from one and one-half to three years, barely subsisting, wanting only to enter the United States and Canada, to resume their careers, and to rejoin their families who anxiously await them.

WE, THEREFORE, call on the government of the United States to end the plight of these 237 Jews in the name of humanity. We urge the admission of the Ostia Jews into the United States.

We urge the secretary of state to recommend to Attorney General Bell to authorize a "parole" for the conditional entry to the United States of the 237 Russian Jews in Ostia who arrived there from Israel before April 1976. We urge the attorney general to grant a parole, which he can do in circumstances calling for "compassionate consideration."

We also urge the mmigration department to appoint a sympathetic officer to reevaluate the applications of these ninety families from Ostia, give them favorable individual consideration, and act with leniency to reunite extended families.

We urge that these people be considered not "firmly settled" but refugees. We implore the president to work for the admission of these 237 displaced Jews in the name of human rights.