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In Ohio, Over 150 Students, Business-Owners, Families Rally For Immigration Action, Urge GOP To Drop Lawsuit

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A bipartisan group of over 150 DAPA-eligible immigrant families, DACA students, and Latino business-owners rallied in Ohio today in support of expanded DACA and DAPA, two immigration programs that stand to protect millions of immigrant families from separation.

Ohio is one of the 26 states currently suing the Obama Administration to stop expanded DACA and DAPA — both now on hold — in a lawsuit led by a partisan coalition of Republican Governors and Attorneys General.

Now, millions of immigrant families across the nation hang in the balance as the courts decide whether or not to let the programs go forward.

At today’s rally, advocates called on the state’s two Republican leaders, Governor John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine, to withdraw Ohio from the lawsuit and stop their attacks on Ohio’s immigrant families.

A recent study found that up to 82,000 undocumented Ohioans would be eligible for relief from deportation and work permits under expanded DACA and DAPA, and the state of Ohio would stand to gain $41 million dollars in additional tax revenues.

In a sign of solidarity, several business-owners joined today’s rally, with some even closing down their businesses for the day in order to show support for keeping Ohio’s immigrant families together:

Since 2012, over 250,000 U.S. citizen children have lost either one or both parents to deportation, and expanded DACA and DAPA would provide much-needed protections for families until Congress can pass permanent, humane relief.

Two families at the event highlighted the tragic human cost of continued legal delays on immigration action from Republican leaders.

Elizabeth, a Marine Corps veteran and mom of two U.S. citizens, has been fighting for immigrant families since her husband was deported in 2010. In a passionate speech, she urged Republican leaders to stop the suffering of U.S. citizen children due to deportation of their parents:

Marilu, a mom of four U.S. citizens, was also present at the event. Last year, she tragically watched as her husband Javier was deported to Mexico. Javier was deported just ten weeks before President Obama announced his immigration actions.

By the time of that announcement, President Obama had already put off acting for months, and, in a cruel twist of fate, Javier would have been eligible for deportation relief.

Said event organizer Veronica Dahlberg, Executive Director of HOLA Ohio:

“We are calling on Ohio’s leadership to take a stand in support of these fragile families, and support our efforts to keep DAPA and DACA. While they are no substitute for immigration reform, they will at least protect children in the interim. In addition, these programs will boost Ohio’s GDP and tax revenue. It’s time to put partisanship aside and help the children and families.”

A Storify of the Ohio rally in support of expanded DACA and DAPA below.