Jewish groups had mixed reactions to an immigration reform plan that would grant earned legalization to immigrants contributing to American society.The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society said the compromise package agreed to last week by the U.S. Senate and the White House “represents a step in the right direction,” but also worried that its provisions fall short of comprehensive reform. Gideon Aronoff, the HIAS president, expressed concern in a statement about the de-emphasis on family reunification in favor of a point system based on skills and fluency in English. He said it “undervalues the central role that family ties play in our immigration system.” Aronoff also said the exclusion from the plan of laborers who have arrived since Jan. 1 could lead to the exploitation of workers basic rights. Jewish Funds for Justice also applauded the proposed legislation for “the inclusion of a provision for a path to citizenship for most of the 12 million immigrants who are currently living undocumented lives in the United States and who already contribute enormously to the economic and cultural life of this country.” However, the group also expressed “deep concern” over provisions “that value economic needs over human concerns.” The Anti-Defamation League welcomed the package, saying it provides an opportunity to advance the vital cause of keeping our nation both welcoming and secure by seeking to address the problems that have led many to circumvent U.S. immigration law.
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