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February 24, 1995 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-02-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

"If they reduce the overall aid
budget along with other federal
programs, Israel will end up with
a bigger slice of a smaller pie," he
said. That will make it even
harder to defend Israel's aid. I
think aid will be okay this year.
But I wouldn't want to place any
bets on the next few years."
A growing number of Jewish
leaders are reviving talk about
the advisability of Israel accept-
ing a voluntary aid cut as a way
of preempting the congressional
budget cutters — advice that is
getting the cold shoulder in
Jerusalem.

Verifying
Workers

To members of Congress, it
sounds like a good way to calm
voters' fears about the impact of
illegal immigration on jobs; to
Jewish leaders, the drive for a
national worker registry seems
like one more attempt to make
immigrants and refugees scape-
goats for the nation's problems.
The Clinton administration's
proposed budget includes money
for pilot projects to demonstrate
the feasibility of worker verifica-
tion systems. An omnibus immi-
gration bill sponsored by Sen.
Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., con-
tains a more ambitious proposal.
Under such plans, databases
would allow employers to quick-
ly check whether a prospective
employee is a citizen, a legal im-
migrant — or an illegal.
Jewish groups are sympa-
thetic to the idea of protecting
American jobs, and they are
strong supporters of the legal im-
migration system. But they wor-
ry about the civil rights
implications of such plans.
"We have said for a long time
that we need to devote more re-
sources to enforcing existing
laws," said Ricahrd Foltin, leg-
islative director for the Ameri-
can Jewish Committee. "But in
establishing these kinds of pro-
jects, we have to set up appro-
priate safeguards. We're not
satisfied that this is being done
yet."
Without such safeguards, he
said, worker verification schemes
could lead to wholesale civil
rights abuses.
Jewish groups generally op-
pose the next logical step in the
worker verification process — a
requirement that all workers car-
ry a national identification card.
And worker verification sys-
tems "are one more escalation in
the anti-immigrant, anti-foreign-
er feeling that many politicians
are deliberately fanning," said an-
other leading Jewish activist in
Washington. "In the past, Jews
have been targets of that kind of
hysteria, so we have a personal
stake in this debate." ❑

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