WASHINGTON – Talk about a guilt trip: A small US Jewish group is telling House
Majority Leader Eric Cantor to remember his Lithuanian grandmother before
denying Congress a full vote on immigration reform.
Pressing down on
Republicans and Democrats alike to make the issue a priority, the Jewish Social
Justice Roundtable is reminding congressmen of a moral imperative to tackle the
broken system and that their ancestors were migrants, says the group.
grandmother of Cantor (R-Virginia), the highest ranking Jewish member of
Congress, immigrated to the US from Lithuania in 1907, the organization points
out, citing publicly available records.
“Ms. Baker lived with her
brother, a dry goods merchant, and three of her sisters,” the group’s report
asserts. “In 1920, Baker was one of 14 people who lived under one roof in
Edgecombe County, North Carolina, before moving to Baltimore.”
numerous occasions since the summer, Cantor has publicly reasserted that the
House will not take up the Senate bill as it was passed, but would address a
series of smaller bills “on our terms” – addressing border security, Republican
lawmakers’ foremost concern regarding immigration policy.
acknowledged his ties to the immigrant experience.
“My family’s story,
like so many, began when my grandparents fled anti-Semitic persecution in Russia
to come to America,” he has said.
The Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, a
network of 26 NGOs, appeals to Democratic congressmen, as well, who are already
on record in support of the immigration reform push, but have no power to bring
a vote to the floor as the minority in the chamber.
immigrated to this country in search of freedom and greater opportunities,”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DFlorida), chairwoman of the Democratic
National Committee, is quoted saying in the report. “I believe that those
important principles are still alive today, and that is the reason why so many
immigrants desire to come to this great nation.”
Most Democrats in the
House of Representatives need no convincing that Congress should address
immigration reform by the end of the year. In an address made from the White
House last week on the issue, US President Barack Obama called for a vote on the
reform bill that has passed the Senate with bipartisan support.
doesn’t make sense to have 11 million people who are in this country illegally
without any incentive or any way for them to come out of the shadows, get right
with the law, meet their responsibilities and permit their families then to move
ahead,” Obama said on Thursday. “It’s not smart. It’s not fair. It doesn’t make
sense. We have kicked this particular can down the road for too
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Wednesday that
he hopes his caucus will be prepared to act on immigration reform by the end of
the year, though he did not propose a vote on the comprehensive Senate bill.