From the good folks at JCUA (Jewish Council on Urban Affairs):
Just days before Passover, we have a tremendous opportunity to call on Congress to fix our broken immigration system. As we commemorate that We Were Strangers Too in the land of Egypt, we should take time to reflect on how strangers in the U.S. today are treated. Think of these as the “plagues” of our current immigration system:
1. Keeping Families Apart: The current system keeps families apart. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters are separated with no means of contacting one another during the detention process. Others have to wait as long as 22 years to be reunited with immediate family members who have been granted legal status.
2. NAFTA: The North American Free Trade Act has led to wealth disparities, destroyed agriculture as a means of income in Mexico and reduced wages for all countries involved, leaving citizens of Mexico with fewer options to take care of their families.
3. Low Wages: Despite the fact that UCLA’s Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda found that legalizing undocumented workers would yield $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP over a 10-year period and would raise wages. Undocumented workers are severely underpaid for their work and often work in unsafe conditions. (See this for more.)
4. Living in Fear: Law enforcement leaders from around the country are calling for a path to citizenship knowing the more documented a person is the more he or she will be willing to assist in the prevention and just resolution of criminal activity. In some cases health care workers are required to report illegal immigrants to the authorities- leaving many undocumented workers in fear to see a doctor- even when they or their family members are sick.
5. Wage Theft: With no legal system to protect them, employers take advantage of workers with low and in some cases no pay for a hard days work. The net effect can be a lowering of wages for all working in some of Americas most physically demanding jobs.
6. Lack of Due Process: In 2009 more than 370,000 people were detained by the Department of Homeland Security. Even without a criminal background, they can be jailed for months at a time and denied them access to legal counsel and other basic human rights.
7. No Path to Legalization for Minors: There is no path to citizenship for people who were brought to the Untied States as minors. They are punished for the alleged transgressions of their parents and forced to return to countries they do not know.
Okay, so those are not quite 10 plagues, but through our efforts, we can help put an end to the suffering and fix our broken immigration system.