AJC Welcomes Senate Passage of Historic Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation

Jun 27, 2013, 17:48 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC applauds the U.S. Senate for passing the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744) by a vote of 68 to 32, with strong bipartisan support.  This historic legislation sets the stage for a complete overhaul of America's broken immigration system.  AJC looks forward to working with the House of Representatives to pass a companion immigration reform bill, and seeing the President sign into law legislation on this critical issue.

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"The Senate measure, by providing a path to earned citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, recognizes that immigration is a key factor in bolstering America's economic strength and democratic pluralism," said Richard Foltin, AJC's Director of National and Legislative Affairs.

"Reforms to the family and employment visa categories are encouraging," Foltin continued. "Allowing immigrant families to more easily reunite with their loved ones will foster a strong social fabric in our communities. In addition, making it easier for high and low-skilled immigrant workers to come to this country will help to ensure that American businesses have the labor they need to compete in a global economy."

AJC supports the bill's enhancement of enforcement measures, which are directed at assuring an effective and fair immigration system that also protects national security.  However, AJC is concerned about the extraordinary level of funding for border security initiatives that was added to the Senate bill late in the process.

"We look forward to an eventual House-Senate compromise that will revise those added enforcement provisions so that they are more compatible with our country's need for a strong and effective enforcement system that is cognizant of the economic strains and the challenges for border communities and individuals that those programs would impose," Foltin said. "We also hope the final bill will reinstate the family visa categories that were eliminated in S.744, specifically for siblings and the age restrictions on adult married children."

AJC, since its founding in 1906, has been outspokenly supportive of fair and generous immigration policies, characterized by the rule of law. As American Jews, we recall how our parents and grandparents made their way to this country seeking a better life, and know that we have prospered in and contributed to this country. That same opportunity should be available for others.

SOURCE American Jewish Committee