Friday, April 4, 2014
From Bend the Arc:
ERIC CANTOR, WHAT WOULD YOUR BUBBE THINK?
Jewish Voters Blitz Majority Leader on Immigration Reform
Jewish voters ratcheted up the pressure on Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Thursday to bring comprehensive immigration reform to a vote on the House floor. After repeated requests by the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, Rep. Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, held a rare meeting with his Jewish constituents to discuss the lack of progress on immigration reform. The meeting came on the same day as Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice ran a full-page ad in Politico urging him to advance immigration reform. The ad, titled “Eric Cantor, What Would Your Bubbe Think?” appealed to the Majority Leader’s own immigrant roots.
Rep. Cantor’s grandparents immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe in the first half of the 20th Century, fleeing persecution. Said Bend the Arc’s ad, “So did ours, and the ancestors of many other American Jews. Today, few of them would be allowed access to the United States under our broken immigration laws.” See the full text of the ad here.
Bend the Arc added thousands of voices to the chorus calling on Rep. Cantor to bring immigration reform to a vote through a petition (www.entrydenied.org) delivered to the Congressman at the meeting with his constituents. Signed by Jewish voters across the country, the petition explained why immigration reform is a priority issue in the Jewish community.
“As American Jews, we believe in a nation that grants today's immigrants access to the same basic freedoms and opportunities that drew our ancestors and yours.”
The constituent meeting and Bend the Arc’s petition come on the heels of a new moment of debate on immigration in Congress, spurred by the discharge petition filed by House Democrats last Tuesday, and President Obama’s recent directive to review his administration’s deportation policies. Despite repeated claims by Republican leaders that comprehensive immigration reform is a priority, House Republicans have obstructed any progress on the issue.
“Our broken immigration system is causing millions of families immeasurable and unnecessary pain,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. “This cruelty cuts against our core values. Jews believe that we are responsible for those around us, which is why we are calling on Rep. Cantor and the Republicans in the House to end needless suffering and pass comprehensive immigration reform without delay.”
Over the past year, Bend the Arc organized America’s Jewish community around the issue of immigration, arranging meetings between Jewish leaders and congressional staff, hosting immigration-themed Shabbats, organizing petitions, and participating in marches, vigils, and town halls to deliver the message that immigration reform matters to Jewish voters. Bend the Arc’s rabbi in residence was arrested at a national demonstration for immigration reform alongside members of Congress during an act of civil disobedience on the National Mall.