A few years ago at an immigration conference, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel said simply and powerfully, “No human being is illegal.”
The Jewish community’s point man on immigration, Gideon Aronoff, president and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, recalled Wiesel’s elegant plea on behalf of immigrants this week as the Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings on legislation that would provide a clear path to citizenship for many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already in this country.
Defying conventional wisdom, a recent public opinion survey reveals an historic shift in American-Jewish opinion on immigration, marking the end of consensus on what seemed an iconic allegiance, absolute and immutable. The ascending trend is support for immigration law enforcement, not illegal immigration. Nostalgia for a mythologized past is being superseded by concern about America’s future.
As Vice President Al Gore prepares to officially launch his presidential campaign next week, his “charitable choice” initiative has sparked much concern in the Jewish community, as well as a $200,000 project to study the controversial proposal.
Responding to Gore’s plan to expand federal funding of social services provided by religious groups, the American Jewish Committee is beginning a study in a long-shot attempt to span “the unbridgeable” gap between staunch defenders of the separation of church and state and advocates of the Gore plan.