imaginary family values presents

yesh omrim

a blog that reclines to the left


Immigration, then and now

17 November 2006

Alan Dershowitz, in The Best Defense:

During the late 1930s [my synagogue] decided to hire a professional rabbi to conduct services; one was brought over from Europe, but the congregants were not satisfied. After two weeks the newly hired rabbi was fired, given a small amount of severance pay, and sent on his way. A new rabbi was brought over from Europe, but he, too, was unceremoniously fired in a matter of weeks. This process continued until dozens of rabbis had passed through the “turnstile shtible” or the “Rabbi-of-the-Month Club,” as it began to be called. Everybody in the neighborhood understood this charade for what it was: a small-scale rescue operation designed to save European rabbis who were endangered by Nazism. For nearly a decade it succeeded in circumventing the restrictive immigration laws, by claiming a “need” for imported rabbis to lead the congregation.

Civil disobedience in the age of globalization:

I woke up to the news that “our” imam was arrested last night by Homeland Security…for obtaining “religious worker” visas for Pakistanis, who then came here and worked as gas station attendants or in other secular jobs, in violation of the terms of their greencard. In other words this is a story about a bunch of immigrant Muslims who are guilty of being not religious enough... I’m guessing he did it, and if so I applaud him. He found a back door way to get young men out of an impoverished dictatorship where Islamist extremism is an ongoing issue and into the leafy suburbs of Massachusetts where they found full-time jobs and a supportive community. Too bad he got caught.

P.S.: I find it interesting (but not terribly surprising) that the Globe article covering the arrest says virtually nothing about the folks who broke the law by hiring these guys in spite of their visa status.