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At Hispanic Chamber Appearance, Governor John Kasich Needs To Answer Tough Questions

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Ohio Governor and GOP presidential candidate John Kasich is set to appear before the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) today.  He’ll probably get credit from the Chamber because on immigration he’s NOT Donald Trump.  But he should be asked tough questions about some of the most important policies to the Latino community, including immigration reform and enforcement.

Here are a few key reminders and questions on immigration for today’s moderators:

Why do you oppose the President’s DAPA and expanded DACA programs as interim measures until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform?

Not only do 25,000 Ohioans stand to benefit from DAPA and the expansion of DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created in 2012), but implementation of these plans would also increase the state’s tax revenues by $41 million over five years.  Yet Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine insist on keeping Ohio’s name on the lawsuit that’s currently blocking the programs in court.

In July, both Kasich and DeWine sat down with local immigrant families, including DACA recipients and potential DAPA beneficiaries.   While Attorney General DeWine showed some compassion for the impacted families and individuals, Governor Kasich said that the President was wrong to act on expanded DACA and DAPA and that he should have tried to work harder with Congress.  He said that he doesn’t want to separate hard working families, but without the protection of DAPA his constituents are living in fear.

Why did you take a pathway to citizenship off the table in your interview with Sean Hannity, despite apparent openness to it last fall?

Appearing on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News last month, Governor Kasich stated that he is opposed to a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and voiced support for a complete border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Kasich’s clear rejection of citizenship is a subtle but important change from his previous comments on the subject.  For example, last fall, Gov. Kasich had expressed potential openness to a pathway to citizenship.  As the Columbus Dispatch reported in November 2014, Gov. Kasich “was the only governor during the Republican Governors Association’s conference this week to express openly a willingness to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.  ‘I don’t want to see anybody in pain,’ Kasich said. ‘So I guess when I look at this now, I look at it differently than I did in ’10.’”  In April 2015, Gov. Kasich said he didn’t “favor” a pathway to citizenship, but he “wouldn’t take it off the board because what are we going to do?  Keep yelling at one another and for how long?”  Meanwhile, Kasich’s endorsement of a border wall with Mexico embraces the false “out of control border” meme and is contrary to the true facts about border security and unauthorized immigration trends.

According to Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice, “It’s true that on immigration, Governor Kasich is not Donald Trump.  But his opposition to DACA and DAPA, and his rejection of citizenship for hardworking immigrants, are damaging and wrong.  Kasich told a group of Ohioans that he doesn’t want to separate families, yet he supports actions like the DAPA lawsuit that do just that.  I hope the Hispanic Chamber will press him for answers on these issues, rather than simply giving Kasich a pass.”

In Ohio, 2% of the electorate is Latino and 4% of registered voters have a direct connection to the immigration debate (being immigrants themselves or the children of immigrants).  Latinos are leading the state’s population growth, so their share of the electorate will only expand with every election.  In close races, these voters will make a difference today and in the future, they will play an even bigger role.


Ohio’s Voice is a project of America’s Voice.