Resources & Media

A Year After the President’s Executive Actions: The State of Immigration Reform

October Newsletter
October 30, 2015
Bend the Arc

Director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Hadar Susskind, at an immigration rally outside the White House in 2014Last November, President Obama issued a sweeping Executive Action on immigration, extending protection to over 5 million immigrants who live under the daily threat of deportation. This action was bolstered in part by many organizations like Bend the Arc who lobbied the administration persistently to address the flaws in our broken and unjust immigration system after Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Over the last several years we’ve rallied support for broad immigration reform efforts. Dozens of leaders in our grassroots network met with local officials and Bend the Arc acted as a catalyst in bringing together Jewish leaders and members of Congress to discuss the importance of the issue. Online, more than 40,000 people took our immigration quiz at entrydenied.org to learn their own families would have been blocked by today’s strict immigration laws. We even took to the streets, as both our Rabbi-in-Residence Jason Kimelman-Block and Director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Hadar Susskind, were arrested for taking part in demonstrations calling for immediate immigration reform.

Last December our CEO Stosh Cotler submitted testimony to Congress on the need for immediate and comprehensive reform and her testimony is as true today as it was then:

“This fundamental injustice is especially personal for the American Jewish community whose own experience as immigrants taught us to value America’s enduring history as a welcoming and compassionate nation. Many of our own families were able to enter America either as a result of the immigration policies of an earlier era or through other means. As such, our community has marched, raised our voices, met with our elected officials, and risked arrest, and we will continue to do so until we create a better America for all."

However, since that time, President Obama’s action has been held up in court battles. In the months since, anti-immigration rhetoric has only grown in volume. This return to nativist sentiment is deeply troubling to American Jews.

In the ensuing weeks, Bend the Arc plans to “go big” just like President Obama did last November and directly confront the rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric. As American Jews it is time to stand up for what is right and challenge the xenophobic and narrow-minded beliefs surrounding this issue.