by Jessica Cohen
JCUA Intern, Communications
After the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the immigration reform bill, proponents of Comprehensive Immigration Reform waited in anticipation of its debate on the Senate floor.
While the bill was moved to the floor earlier this week, many Illinois residents were dismayed by Senator Mark Kirk’s decision to vote NO to the motion.
With only a handful of Republican votes needed, Senator Kirk’s decision is especially disappointing: as a moderate Republican, he has the potential to progress immigration reform in a significant way that he has not yet taken advantage of.
The bill, SB 744, also known as the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, includes a path to citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
As Jews, we can fulfill the commandment to “welcome the stranger” by letting Senator Mark Kirk know that we support this path to citizenship and want him to take positive action in addressing our nation’s broken immigration system.
“As our elected official, Mark Kirk needs to know that the Jewish community supports a just and compassionate Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill and that we find his recent vote unacceptable,” said Rabbi Ali Abrams, JCUA’s Director of Organizing. “Blocking the possibility of immigration reform goes against Jewish tradition and values.”
Although Senator Kirk has not released an official statement describing where he stands on immigration reform, his decision to vote against debating the bill makes clear his lack of interest in its discussion. Without a willingness to tell us where he stands or what he would need to pass this bill, Senator Kirk refuses us the ability to support him in making a positive decision.
We are at a crucial juncture for immigrant justice. To show Senator Kirk how out of touch he is with the concerns of his constituents, please call asking him provide a statement describing where he stands and what he would need to vote in favor of immigration reform.
Please call all three of Kirk’s offices: Chicago (312-886-3506), Springfield (217-492-5089) and Washington DC (202-224-2854). Here is a sample script provided by JCUA’s partner organization ICIRR:
“Hello, my name is ___________ and I am from ________ (city/town). As Senator Kirk’s constituent, I am extremely disappointed in the Senator’s vote against the motion to proceed to the Senate floor with Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Senator Kirk should tell his constituents where he stands on SB 744 and stop preventing the bill from being debated.”