Jackie Congedo — In Conversation
Letter to Congressmen Regarding DACA
January 19, 2018
On behalf of our three local organizations, representing members of the Cincinnati Jewish Community, we are writing to urge you to support the Dream Act of 2017, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Graham and Durbin and Representatives Roybal-Allard and Ros-Lehtinen (S.1615/H.R.1084) that would confer legal protections on these innocent immigrants brought to this country as children.
As you know, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, put in place by executive order in 2012, protected from deportation young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children without documents. DACA was a vital step toward bringing Dreamers out of the shadows and enabling them to participate in American society in a humane and respectful manner. These hundreds of thousands of young people, most of whom could not have knowingly violated any law, have been raised as Americans, knowing no other home than this country. The Administration’s announcement on September 5, 2017, that the Department of Homeland Security will begin transitioning to terminate DACA places these young people in a position of possible deportation to countries they do not know and, often, whose language they do not speak.
The President’s order delays the expiration of DACA until March 5, 2018, and calls on Congress to pass legislation to address the status of these “Dreamers.” Therefore, it is imperative that Congress act swiftly to pass the Dream Act—legislation that would protect Dreamers from deportation and removal by allowing them to apply for conditional permanent resident status (CPRS), affording them statutory protections, insulating them against the consequences of political change, and providing them a pathway to legal permanent status and eventual citizenship.
The Jewish community has enjoyed unprecedented opportunity in this nation, but many of us remember the struggles new immigrants face. We have a long history of active engagement in supporting immigrants and developing our nation’s immigration policy. Judaism instills in us a commitment to protecting the vulnerable among us and welcoming the stranger. It is our moral and civic duty to help create the same opportunities for the next generation to share in the American Dream.
We appreciate your consideration of our views on this critical matter and urge you to support this important legislation.
Jewish Community Greater Cincinnati
Rabbi Shena Jaffee
Greater Cincinnati Board of Rabbis