Following the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon, Americans were forced to confront the reality of terrorism and to formulate an appropriate response. As Jews, we have been victims of curtailed civil liberties and countless terrorist attacks.
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism is supportive of our government’s response to terrorism and its effort to mobilize international support, while it also endeavors to rid the world of those who perpetrate such acts. Central to this issue is our democratic and pluralistic way of life and our need to protect the freedoms which we cherish.
We advocate thoughtful consideration of the following issues currently on the national agenda:
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism supports striking a balance between protecting the physical security of all Americans and their civil liberties. It is essential that our nation’s means to combat terrorism remain faithful to the principles articulated in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. We advocate a cautious and judicious approach, where judgments are made free of emotional entanglement. We stress the need to be diligent, as we strive to preserve civil liberties. At the same time, every effort must be made to prevent terrorism and to investigate and to prosecute suspected terrorists.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 carried out by foreign nationals, has sensitized us to the issue of terrorists illegally entering the United States.
Three hundred fifty million foreign visitors come into the United States each year. There is an estimated nine million illegal immigrants currently in the United States; an estimated four million foreign visitors disappeared into our population each year. The Immigration and Naturalization Service is unable to handle the volume. They lack staff and funds to adequately provide the required services.
As our nation’s representatives formulate policy to respond to terrorism and take measures to strength border security, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism urges the United States government to:
Reorganize and adequately fund the Immigration and Naturalization Service with the possibility of breaking it into two separate departments: one to service legal immigrants and the other to handle enforcement of immigrant laws.
Protect unaccompanied children by providing them with counsel and guardians to facilitate the immigration process.
Protect persecuted asylum seekers by maintaining a strong refugee resettlement program.
Restore judicial review, as well as, waivers so judges can decide immigration matters.
Grant Temporary Protected Status to vulnerable immigrants who face danger if they return to their home countries.
Create immigration and naturalization policies that foster a culture that is consumer friendly and enhances opportunities for refugees and other immigrants to integrate into American society.
[Editor’s note: The Department of Immigration and Naturalization ceased to exist on March 1, 2003. Most of its functions were transferred to three new agencies within the newly created Department of Homeland Security in March 2003. The administration of immigration services, including permanent residence, naturalization, asylum, and other functions became the responsibility of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The investigative and enforcement functions (including investigations, deportation, and intelligence) became part of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The border functions became part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.]
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