Of all the stories of the human condition, in many ways, this is quite ordinary. It’s a story of an elderly grandmother and her granddaughter; of familial love and loss.
Family is the foundation of American society, and united families strengthen us as individuals and as communities. Tragically, many immigrant families remain separated for years — often decades — because of our severely broken immigration system. Bureaucratic visa delays can go on for more than 20 years before a relative can enter the United States legally.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Jewish conference that the country's immigration system is broken.
A remarkable thing happened in Washington, D.C., last week. National leaders of business and labor hammered out an outline on immigration reform. This might not only give a major boost to a new immigration policy; it might also show a path around the gridlock that has driven the nation into budgetary face-offs month after month.
Jewish groups urged the U.S. Senate to pass legislation that would legalize undocumented immigrants.
Most scholars agree that the first Jewish settlement of any significant size in the new world occurred when a small band of refugees, 23 Sephardic Jews (or Jews of Spanish heritage) from Brazil, came to New Amsterdam (New York) in 1654. They came seeking the rights of free men and women in a place where they could worship without restraint and avail themselves of both the opportunities and obligations of a liberal society.
One year ago, as Jews across the country sat down at Passover seder with their friends and family, immigrant communities and their allies were standing up.