The following comment has been revised as of September 9, 7:35 am:

On September 8, Barbara Weinstein, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement, which has been circulated by the Washington-based Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, concerning President Obama's decision to postpone executive action on immigration reform:

"We are disappointed by President Obama's decision to delay executive action on immigration reform until later this year. Because of Congress failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform, family members remain separated, employers continue to face challenges meeting their needs, our nation's security is weakened, and undocumented young people who wish to contribute to the only nation they know as home - and their families- live with uncertainty about their future. The time for action on immigration reform is long past due."

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, which states that it includes nearly 900 congregations across North America encompassing 1.3 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis.

The willingness of religious leaders of different faiths to speak out in favor of immigration reform underscores the fact that, perhaps more than any other area of law, immigration law is concerned with profound spiritual and moral questions of tolerance, basic humanity and acceptance of people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds which go to the very roots of America's values as a nation.

Jewish religious leaders are far from being the only ones who are concerned about the humanitarian and moral consequences of America's failure to implement immigration reform, whether through legislative or through executive action (both of which have been recognized by the courts as broad in scope and largely immune from judicial interference for well over a century).

Back in February, 2014 a group of religious leaders in Chicago representing the Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and Protestant faiths issued a joint statement in favor of immigration reform, including the following:

"Few issues in our nation's history have brought together such diverse faith groups. but Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders have united their voices across the nation in support of reform. After all, immigrants have played a vital role on the histories of our religions, and each of our faiths calls on us to welcome foreigners and treat strangers with love, compassion and justice.

We also share a belief in the God-given dignity of each individual, and we want our country's immigration laws and policies to reflect that belief. Reforming our broken, outdated immigration system will help keep families united, contribute to the security of our communities, benefit our economy and demonstrate our compassion."
(Emphasis added.)

The final part of the statement includes the following sentence:

"And we encourage religious leaders and people of faith to pray and advocate that our elected representatives will do what is best not just for an individual political party, but for our country and all of the people that call it home."

The above statement was made in reaction to the announcement by Republican Congressional leaders last February that the GOP would not move ahead with legislative action on immigration reform this year. But it applies equally well to President Obama's current refusal to use his sweeping powers of administrative action in immigration which the US Supreme Court reaffirmed as recently as in its decision in Arizona v. United States 567 U.S. __ (2012).

This statement was issued by Rabbi Shoshanah Conover, Temple Sholom of Chicago, Pastor Wilfredo De Jesus, New Life Covenant Church, Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago, Bishop Jeffrey Lee, Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, Imam Matthew Ramadan, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, and Very Rev. Donald Senior, Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago on February 19, 2014.

Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been practicing employment and family immigration law for more than 30 years. His practice focuses on H-1B and O-1 work visas, and green cards through labor certification, extraordinary ability and opposite or same sex marriage, as well as other immigration and citizenship applications. His email is