North Carolina: Treat Young Immigrants with Dignity!
I think this is ridiculous!!
In North Carolina, young immigrants, who are the recipients of the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals Program (“DREAM-ERs”) are now receiving driver’s licenses with a bold pink stripe to distinguish them from everyone else.
In the coming months, there will be a lot going on in Washington in terms of immigration reform. What is happening now in North Carolina right now in terms of driver’s licenses is an outgrowth of President Obama’s policy to deal with the as many as 1.7 million young immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents and have been living in this country illegally. Check out this recent article in the New York Times.
Giving them licenses is a good thing. That was the intention of the law so that this group of immigrants would not be considered illegal. It is the state of North Carolina, and its Department of Transportation that has decided to deal with these young people in this way.
Giving them licenses with a bold pink stripe just doesn’t seem right.
Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and several other organizations and individuals have signed on to a letter that will be sent to Governor Pat McCrory. The letter and a partial listing of its signers is noted below. If you would like to join this effort, write to Abby Levine (firstname.lastname@example.org) by tomorrow at 5:00 PM EDT and let her know.
Best wishes to all for an enjoyable Pesach!
Dear Governor McCrory,
We write to you as Jewish leaders dismayed and disappointed that undocumented immigrants in North Carolina who qualify for the federal Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be singled out by having to carry driver’s licenses marked with a pink design and distinct from other North Carolina licenses.
We are especially shocked that the day these pink driver’s licenses go into effect will be the eve of Passover – March 25th. On that evening, Jewish families throughout your state and around the world will be retelling the Bible’s story of the Exodus from Egypt. That night, Jewish families and their guests will call to mind that our people were oppressed strangers in the land of Egypt. Particularly during this holiday, our community is reminded to stand in solidarity with vulnerable strangers in our own time: immigrants from other lands. We deeply wish that our people had been treated according to this principle in the many societies in which we lived as outsiders. As Americans we affirm our national tradition of welcoming immigrants to our shores and borders. We are proud to be citizens of a free and democratic nation and we hope that you will join us in keeping the America’s spirit of freedom and inclusion alive.
For these reasons, we urge you to do what is morally right and rescind this discriminatory policy.
North Carolina would be the only state in the nation to mandate distinct licenses for DACA immigrants. North Carolina has been a leader in business and public policy advances. The state you lead can do better.
A just society does not stigmatize an entire class of people. A society built on the foundation of human dignity, equality, and compassion does not single out young men and women for gratuitous discrimination. Governor McCrory, we pray you find the political courage to reverse this discriminatory policy to single out the young Americans.
Rabbi John Friedman, Judah Reform Congregation, Durham, North Carolina
Rabbi Eric Solomon, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Raleigh, North Carolina
American Jewish Committee – New York
Barbara Glueck, American Jewish Committee Cincinnati
Rabbi Michael E. Feinberg, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
Ruth Messinger, American Jewish World Service
Rabbi Esther Lederman, Temple Micah, Washington, DC
Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Shirat HaNefesh, Chevy Chase, MD
Rabbi Rachel Gartner, Director of Jewish Chaplaincy at Georgetown University
Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, Adas Israel Congregation
Rabbi Ethan Seidel, Tifereth Israel Congregation, Washington, DC
Rabbi Jessica Oleon, Temple Sinai, Washington, DC
Jewish Community Action, Minneapolis, MN
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, New York City
Rabbi Elizabeth Richman, Jews United for Justice, Washington, DC
Nancy Kaufman, National Council of Jewish Women
Rabbi Alana Suskind
Rabbi Rachel Ackerman, Temple Shalom, Chevy Chase, MD
Rabbi Jessica Shimberg, Maryland Hillel
Jewish Labor Committee
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, Uri L’Tzedek, Founder & President
Idit Klein, Keshet
Nigel Savage, Hazon
Rabbi David Rosenn
Rabbi Sarah Meytin
Rabbi Steve Gutow, The Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Alan van Capelle, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice