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The story of immigrants creating jobs by starting new businesses is as old as immigration itself. While immigrants have made up, on average, just over 10 percent of the population for the past 160 years, more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children, according to a report by the Partnership for a New American Economy.
A contingent of Jews will travel this week to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to mark the fifth anniversary of a notorious immigration raid on the nation’s largest kosher meat producer. The Agriprocessors raid demanded that we answer the question: Does kosher food reflect Jewish values? Five years later, that question still resonates. It is time for kosher businesses from restaurants to factories to embrace the full range of rights of their employees — including the right to organize and bargain collectively. It is also time to fix our broken immigration system and protect the millions of immigrant workers who live in fear while contributing millions to our economy and trying to keep their families from being torn apart.
Rebecca Epstein was skeptical when she was asked to apply to the Selah Leadership Program, a national training effort for Jewish leaders at social-justice organizations. But after participating she said, “Selah gave me the confidence to be a good coach as a young person as well as the courage to leave that pretty safe role and put my own skills to the test as a manager.”
The Immigration Equality Action Fund leads a coalition of about a dozen advocacy groups seeking relief for what Plummer estimates is 36,000 binational LGBT couples in the United States. Among the groups is Bend the Arc, the Jewish liberal activist group that has been leading efforts in the Jewish community for family reunification rights for gays and lesbians.
At a recent candidate forum broadcast by CBS 2/KCAL 9 and hosted by the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles and Bend the Arc, LA mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti made the case for a major investment in heavy rail, or even a subway through the mountains.