Immigration Concerns

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Anational coalition of Jewish organizations has recently been calling for an end to raids by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department on work places that hire undocumented immigrants. I recently talked with Irene Lehrer Sandalow, director of Outreach and Education of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs here in Chicago. JCUA is one of the groups involved in this campaign.

Residents’ Journal: Can you talk to me about the raids that are carried out by ICE? Lehrer Sandalow: These raids are done in the early dawn by heavily armed men on unsuspecting families who want nothing more than to work and take care of their families.

RJ: What effects do these raids have on the families?
ILS: After one of these raids, some family members are deported and some face criminal charges.

RJ: You stated that the (undocumented) immigrants are being deprived of their chance to succeed? What do you mean by that? ILS: The children of the immigrants are deprived of a bi-lingual education. There are no student loans to be given out to the immigrants for higher education. The immigrants have no support system in place that will help them succeed in getting and maintaining the basics of life, such as housing and jobs.

RJ: Your group is seeking comprehensive immigration legislation to be enacted during the first 100 days of the Obama administration. What kind of legislation does the group desire? ILS: We are petitioning for legislation that will give the immigrants financial aid, bilingual education and fair housing practices.

RJ: Your group is collecting 10,000 signatures on a petition. What is going to be done with the petitions? ILS: We plan to present these petitions to President Obama.

RJ: When? ILS: We plan to present these petitions to President Obama around April 8, during Passover, when the Jewish community celebrates their freedom from bondage.

RJ: How will you present the signatures, in person or by letter? ILS: We are planning a press conference. We are still in the planning stages on how we will present the signatures.

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