Today, Ohio immigrants, immigration lawyers, and allies are heading back to Columbus to meet directly with their Attorney General Mike DeWine and Governor John Kasich in separate meetings. Their goal is to communicate the facts about the anti-DAPA/DACA expansion lawsuit that Ohio is supports; talk about the families it impacts; and express their fears in the absence of immigration reform.
Last week, Ohio’s Voice put out a fact sheet about DACA and DAPA that we’ll carry to the meetings. Also last week, Ohio mom Olga Flores, along with attorney Julie Nemecek and advocates Jessica Pantaelon Camacho, were featured in a major article by Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker. Ohio’s Voice released a report about the reasons why Ohio is Ground Zero for the immigration debate. We’re bringing all of this and more to the meetings today.
But the most important thing we are bringing are our families. Moms and dads from across the state are taking a day off of work, and kids are taking a day away from summer vacations, to plead with Ohio leaders and ask for understanding and support. For those who couldn’t be there, we’re still carrying their messages. We have letters from numerous Ohioans who oppose the partisan lawsuit against DAPA and DACA expansion, and think our Governor and Attorney General can do better than that. Their letters are, in a word, amazing.
Here are brief excerpts from some of the letters we’re bringing today:
“I am writing to ask that please you remove our state, Ohio, from this anti-immigrant lawsuit. We are not hurting anybody and we want to be a real part of this community. We want to live with integrity, work hard, pay taxes and give back to this country. We do not want to lose our family members to deportation.”
“My mother died and I could not go to say my last goodbye, because I had to continue helping my family economically. My story is just like that of many other stories of striving, achieving, people fighting for a better future. That is why today I’m asking you, the people who have the power to change the future for all of these families, to let us work together with you to continue building up this great nation.”
“As a registered Republican, I am writing to request that you support the rollout of DACA and DAPA. For too long, my party has condemned illegal immigration, yet does not hesitate to use it to their advantage. It’s time to stop politicizing this issue.”
“As an Ohioan and the wife of an immigrant spouse and parent to two daughters I ask that you do everything in your power to support all families in Ohio. The family is the fundamental unit that creates every other part of society. It is in this unit where all is learned and with families suffering from deportation and fear you create a society that is suffering from the same.”
“Scripture calls us to welcome the stranger, not lock them up and/or deport them.”
“Remember, the president only acted because your friends were not doing their jobs. It’s time to stop this nonsense and start leading for a change!”
“Give us the opportunity to be great, allow us to build our homes here, allow our kids make extraordinary discoveries and believe in us!”
“My biggest dream is to help [my daughters] study and gain a profession, so that they can have an easier life than that of millions of immigrants, and a better future. But in order to achieve this, we parents need to step out of the shadows and be a little more secure, obtaining papers to work legally and at the same time begin to save for our children’s college; buy our own homes; or save for old age.”
“Once DACA came into action, I was first in line to apply, and every little step of my “DACA-mentation” was a huge celebration for me and my family. Once I received my work permit and SSN, my life immediately changed. I was finally able to get a Driver’s License and apply for professional jobs to kick start my career.”
“This, you say, is not about us, it is a punishment to our President. You are wrong. More than 5 million families are being punished while they are still here, mowing your lawn, taking care of your babies and washing your dishes at your favorite restaurant. Your lawsuit is punishing U.S. children, who live in fear every day thinking today would be the last day I see my father because he was stopped by the police for not having a simple driver’s license and was taken away from me forever.”
“I am writing this note to tell you not to deport my mom. She is not a bad person. She doesn’t make any harm. She works. That is why I am asking you not to deport my mom.”
“My children are from this country; they are citizens and have the right to grow up in a safe and secure environment. If the deport me, I’ll have to take them to a place that is full of danger and lacks hope and opportunities.”
“My mom is my superhero. I want to reach all my goals and finish studying. We don’t have anything [in] Michoacan. There is a lot of violence. Most people being sent aren’t killers or robbers. They are not criminals. Sometimes I wish this was a bad dream, but it isn’t.”
The people who wrote these letters are real Ohioans; whether they have citizenship or not, they embody our state’s values. We’re just asking Ohio leaders to do the same.