Jewish Community Action has been consistent in our work for immigrant rights. We are instructed by our history and by our text--the Torah commands us 36 times to love, protect, and respect those new to our communities. Our faith stresses the importance of family, and compels us to support others in pursuit of better opportunities for their families in a different land.
"The time is now. Our communities yearn for justice. For family unity. For citizenship. For reform."
-President Obama, January 2013
Since our founding, our immigrant rights work has taken many different forms. Most recently, during the 2013 state legislative session, we were part of a diverse coalition that passed the Minnesota DREAM Act, making higher education more accessible to immigrant students. Prior to this monumental victory, we worked for city separation ordinances to keep local law enforcement from becoming involved in federal immigration law; to stop raids and keep families from being torn apart; and to work directly with the community of Postville, Iowa, and to march in Iowa (as recently as May 2013) to make known the inhumane business practices and broken immigration system that led to the 2008 immigration raid that devastated their town.
Currently, our immigrant rights work involves initiatives at both the local and federal levels. Locally, JCA has worked for years to pass legislation that would enable aspiring citizens to drive legally in the state, thus making roads safer for everyone.
Nationally, JCA is part of a coalition working to protect the rights of immigrants detained as a result of the Secure Communities Act. The act, passed by Congress, is designed to detain and deport immigrants who commit felonies or other serious crimes, but has been used to target, detain, and deport immigrants whose only crime is lacking documentation. This act has created a climate of fear in many Latino communities, and has torn apart countless families. It is our hope that comprehensive immigration reform can put a stop to fear and unjust detentions.