Washington – Senator Edward M. Kennedy, chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees, today delivered remarks at the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) National Leadership Conference where he issued a call for meaningful immigration reform.Join our WhatsApp group
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Every time the Senate takes up the issue of immigration reform, I reread my brother’s book for inspiration. The words he wrote half a century ago ring just as true today. As he stated, “This was the secret of America: a nation of people with the fresh memory of old traditions who dared to explore new frontiers, people eager to build lives for themselves in a spacious society that did not restrict their freedom of choice and action.”
Immigrants still come to America in search of a better life for themselves and their families, and they make invaluable contributions to every aspect of our society. Our ability to protect their rights is a test of our own humanity, and we have to get it right today.
What happened at Virginia Tech was an immense tragedy that none of us will ever forget. Nor will we forget the heroic efforts of Professor Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor from Romania who saved his students’ lives by holding the door of his classroom closed with his body. His courage was a tribute to humanity at its best. The background of many of the other victims, who came from India, Lebanon, Peru, and other places, also reminds us that we truly are a nation of immigrants.
The Torah and the Talmud teach us that we must welcome the stranger in our midst. It is written in Leviticus that “[t]he stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt ….” [pr kennedysenate office]