The upcoming Passover holiday presents a great opportunity to write op-eds and blog posts about the importance of immigration reform. Drawing on examples from Jewish history and our families’ experiences with immigration, we have a unique framework within which we can discuss immigration. We also have the chance to make it known widely that the Jewish community is committed to fixing our country’s broken immigration system!
Here are some general tips for writing op-eds:
- Make sure your op-ed has a news hook and that it’s about an issue in the news – the immediacy of immigration reform makes this a great time to submit op-eds on the issue.
- Choose a newspaper to target and learn its policies. Many papers have word limits and may require an exclusive submission.
- Forcefully state your opinion, back it up with facts, and end with a brief conclusion.
- If you e-mail your manuscript, don’t send it as an attachment. Many media outlets won’t open it.
- Include a short biographical description of yourself.
Below is an example to get you started:
Sample op-ed: Passover and Immigration
Passover celebrates the redemption of the Jews from enslavement in Egypt. This traditional story of defiance against brutality and slavery has inspired countless men and women to achieve freedom in our own times. This year, as we convene for the annual Passover Seder, the broken immigration system is at the forefront of our minds – our current system does not reflect our history as a nation of immigrants, does not meet today’s security and economic needs, and is not fair and humane. The estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status are vulnerable to exploitation. There are few, if any, legal channels for U.S. employers to hire immigrant workers, and tremendous backlogs in the family visa system have resulted in families being needlessly separated for years or even decades.
The Jewish community stands with a wide array of allies from all sectors of society – business leaders, unions, teachers, law enforcement officials, interfaith partners, and immigrants from many backgrounds – urging our law makers to fix our broken immigration system. Our leaders must enact laws that reflect the fact that immigration fuels our economy – immigrants and their children who come to the U.S. to join family or enter as refugees fleeing persecution strive for success and are responsible for some of this country’s most innovative and job-creating businesses.
Comprehensive immigration reform would serve our national security interests by bringing people out of the shadows, allowing federal law enforcement to focus its resources on those who wish to do us harm. Immigration reform also presents an opportunity to fix the broken system for admitting and integrating refugees and asylum seekers who have fled persecution to build new lives in this country. Furthermore, prioritizing integration would create diverse and thriving communities that help position the U.S. as a model for the rest of the world.
As we read in the Passover haggadah, “B’khol dor v’dor chayav adam lirot et atzmo k’ilu hu yatza mi’Mitzrayim,” – “from generation to generation, each of us is obligated to see ourselves as though we personally had just been freed from slavery.” In each generation and each year, we retell the story of the exodus to our children and to our grandchildren, in order that they, too, will understand the pain of slavery and the value of freedom. As we read these words and celebrate the renewal we experienced as a nation when we left Egypt, we stand in solidarity with immigrants in our communities who are anxiously awaiting and fighting for immigration reform.
More information at www.wewerestrangerstoo.wordpress.com.