By Robby Stern
Imagine a young child or a teen ager living in constant fear that their parents will be deported and sent to another country, permanently separated from their family. The Obama administration has deported over a million undocumented immigrants creating many fractured families.
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation being debated in the U.S. Senate as I write this column would help to alleviate some of the suffering now experienced by immigrant families. The deportations are a tragedy. Many of the people being deported would be able to remain in the country legally under the provisions of the legislation now before the Senate.
There is a “rolling fast” happening across the country which began on May 1 in Mountainview, CA. The message is “Not One More”. Day laborers, domestic workers and their allies have participated in the fast in Florida, New Jersey and Oregon. Participants are bearing moral witness to the impact of the deportations and the necessity of humane comprehensive immigration reform.
The fast arrives in Seattle on July 2nd. Coordinated by Casa Latina, different organizations are taking responsibility for providing members who will fast and programming for each of the days from July 2nd – July 6th. The theme of the fast and the activities associated with the fast are to send the message that deportations should be suspended while Congress debates the immigration reform proposals.
On July 5th and 6th, PSARA will participate with the other steering committee organizations of the Caring Across Generations campaign: PSARA, Casa Latina, SEIU Healthcare 775NW and Washington CAN. Each organization will provide volunteers who will fast from 9 a.m. on July 5th to 9 a.m. on July 6th.
Kristen Beifus and I have volunteered to fast on behalf of PSARA.
As a first generation American, my family experienced the struggles of immigrant families. My parents and older brother fled Germany in 1938 after my Dad was incarcerated in a slave labor camp for the crime of being a Jew. The lives of immigrant families can be very difficult and it is wrong to add to that burden the threat of family separation.
Any PSARA member who wishes can join us in this fast and day of activity. We will gather at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 5th, at the South Side Commons and have our last meal for the next 24 hours. Following the meal there will be a workshop on the need for immigration reform led by members of SEIU 775. At 4 p.m. at Casa Latina we will gather for a film about immigration and a discussion after the film. We will then adjourn to Temple Beth Am where Hilary Stern will deliver the sermon for the Friday night Sabbath service.
At 9 a.m., on Saturday, July 6th, the Caring Across Generations members will break their fast and all the members of the organizations that had participated during the entire week will gather for a final breakfast together and a sharing of stories.
Call the PSARA office if you would like to participate.
I realize that the newsletter may get to your homes after these activities. We are trying to get the newsletter to you early. An email will be sent to all members for whom we have email addresses inviting them to participate.
The fight for comprehensive immigration reform promises to continue for several months. We will continue to provide opportunities to help.
Social Security & Immigration Reform
A recent study by the Center for American Progress found that if undocumented immigrants acquire legal status and citizenship, they will end up contributing much more to the Social Security system than they will receive in benefits over the next three decades when the Social Security system is paying benefits to the baby boomer generation. The average age of undocumented immigrants is 36. Most will not be eligible for benefits until the baby boomer generation has, for the most part, passed through the system. The Social Security system will be financially stronger as a result of comprehensive immigration reform.
This study is consistent with the very recent Congressional Budget Office Report that found that the immigration reform bill now before the Senate would significantly reduce the federal deficit as a result of the tax revenue that would be generated by the newly legalized immigrants.
Letter from Congressman Reichart on Chained CPI
I wrote to Rep. Reichart on behalf of PSARA asking him to oppose the proposal for adopting the Chained CPI. Here are some excerpts from his response:
“…Treasury Secretary Jack Lew recently stated at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing the ‘the Chained CPI is a more accurate measure of inflation in that it does a better job of reflecting the substitution of goods in response to relative price changes.’ Additionally, Lew noted that the provision was included in the President’s recently released Fiscal Year 2014 budget.”
The President has given Rep. Reichart and others in the House Republican Caucus cover for voting in favor of the cut to Social Security benefits. The substitution theory that is the foundation of the Chained CPI, (i.e. if the price of oranges goes up, people buy more apples) does not apply to the cost of health care which is one of the biggest cost items for Social Security beneficiaries.
Pres. Obama has done a idsservice to the American people by including cuts to Social Security in his 2014 budget proposal.