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Urge Officials to Remove Ohio from the Lawsuit and Protect State’s Good Name
Leaders and Ohio Residents Directly Impacted by Immigration Policy Available for Interviews
Today, a judge in Texas is hearing opening arguments in the 25-state lawsuit against the President’s recent action on immigration. While Governor Greg Abbott of Texas is spearheading the lawsuit, he’s joined by state governors and attorneys general from 24 other states—including Ohio—who have signed on to this frivolous lawsuit.
In response, over 530 Ohio leaders, lawyers, immigration advocates, voters, and residents sent a letter to Gov. John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine expressing their deep disappointment with Ohio’s support of a lawsuit that, if successful, would harm tens of thousands of local families with U.S. citizen children.
Among the signers is Manny Bartsch, a Heidelberg University graduate and long-time Ohio resident, whose battle against deportation was covered extensively by state and national media in 2005 and beyond. Back then, DeWine was helpful to Bartsch as he sought to remain in his home country, the United States. Fast forward to 2012 and Bartsch was finally eligible for papers under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. This is one of the programs DeWine’s lawsuit now aims to eliminate.
Losing DACA would mean losing the tools I have to live life. Instead of being a contributing member of society, I would return to living in limbo. With no way to progress in life, I would become unable to provide for my wife. It would make everyday life a struggle, and I would constantly have to depend on other people. The biggest thing that would be the hardest pill to swallow would be not taking care of my wife.
In addition to supporting the group letter, Bartsch is sending a personal note to the Attorney General which reads, in part, “Since 2005 I have received my Bachelor’s degree from Heidelberg University. I served as President of my fraternity, Greek Council Executive Committee member, and I was very involved in my campus community. What else do I have to do to prove I belong here? What happened since 2005 that made you change your mind?”
Read the letter and list of signers here.
Isabel Framer, CEO of Language Access Consultants in Copley, OH said:
Ohio’s Latinos are sick and tired of watching Republicans use immigration as a political wedge issue. The fact is that they’re playing politics with our lives and hurting our families and communities. This isn’t about Kasich and DeWine vs. President Obama. This is about Kasich and DeWine vs. thousands of Ohio families, Latinos and U.S. citizen children. We strongly oppose their efforts to tear our communities apart.
On behalf of the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati, Executive Director Margaret A. Fox said:
In March 2013, MARCC led with other organizations and institutions of higher education to craft with local government a resolution declaring Cincinnati as an Immigrant Friendly City. At this time, Cincinnati’s Mayor has appointed an Immigration Task Force where a MARCC representative is working diligently with other representatives from Cincinnati on specific immigrant friendly recommendations. It is with this in mind that MARCC asks the State of Ohio to withdraw from the Texas Attorney General’s lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s immigration policy.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Cleveland-based Deputy Director of America’s Voice;
Ohioans are reasonable people. Our state leaders need to be reasonable too, and stop playing politics with peoples’ lives. It makes no sense to block a policy that brings stability to the lives of U.S. Citizen children, documents the undocumented, and expands the tax base—just because this policy was created by a Democratic president. We call on Governor Kasich and Attorney General DeWine to do the right thing for Ohio families, workers, businesses, and communities, and remove our state’s good name from this hateful lawsuit.
Veronica Dahlberg, Executive Director of HOLA Ohio, said this:
What has always set Ohio apart politically is its independent and moderate approach to solving problems impacting constituents. So we were disappointed to see Ohio jump onto this partisan bandwagon. We need our leaders to address the immigration issue in a substantive way for the well-being of thousands of families and children, and to realize the full economic potential our state.
David Leopold, Cleveland-based immigration attorney and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) added:
Sound bites, slogans, and frivolous lawsuits aside, the reality is that the immigration action undertaken by the president is not only legal, it’s damn good public policy. It will keep our borders protected by focusing more enforcement resources on border security, it will make our communities safer by getting rid of dangerous criminals and security threats, and it will keep American families together. Ohio stands to gain $41 million dollars in tax revenue to be paid by an estimated 82,000 undocumented Ohioans who’ll qualify for the program. Sadly, Kasich and DeWine have chosen to put Republican Party politics before the citizens of their own state.
An op-ed from Leopold was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on this topic recently.
Other signers include numerous Sisters of Charity and other religious and moral voices; lawyers from across the state; LULAC of Cincinnati; David Baker, business agent for Ironworkers Local 44; advocate and DREAMer Carol Apaestegui; Debbie Kline of Cleveland Jobs with Justice; Max Rodas of Church of the Nazarene; US Marine Corps Veteran Elizabeth Perez; and many others. The letter was also signed by concerned citizens and residents, including a retired school administrator; a member of a broken family; a housekeeper; a carpenter; and someone who listed himself, simply, as an Ohio voter.
The letter and list of signatories is available here.