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In Iowa, Ohio Immigrant Family Confronts Gov. Kasich on Immigration Lawsuit

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Today, at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Iowa, Ohio leaders and impacted families confronted their own Governor, John Kasich, over his position on the President’s Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) programs.

Traveling all the way from Ohio, 11 year-old U.S. citizen Andrew and his DAPA-eligible mother, Maria, sought to pin Kasich down on where he stands on the President’s executive actions and ask him to remove Ohio’s name from the lawsuit blocking the programs in court.


The Governor agreed to a meeting with advocates and impacted families, and said that he did not believe in separating families. Andrew and Gladys were joined in the conversation with Kasich by Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice and Julie Nemecek, immigration attorney from Columbus, OH.

Said Tramonte, “We’re glad that Governor Kasich agreed to meet with Ohio families who are impacted by the state’s lawsuit, but we’re expecting more than a meeting. We need concrete action. The lawsuit against the President’s programs has taken a heavy toll on thousands of families across our great state, and as constituents, we deserve the opportunity to tell him about the damage this is causing and enlist his support in removing our state from the suit.”

Last month, on the day DAPA and expanded DACA were supposed to go into effect, leaders from Ohio’s Voice, immigration attorneys and families delivered nearly 3,000 petitions to Governor Kasich’s office, calling on him to take Ohio off of this misguided, political lawsuit.  Despite repeated requests for a meeting with their own Governor, which had been rebuffed, the constituents were ultimately attended to by staff who promised to follow-up.  The DAPA-eligible families and supporters will be meeting with the office of Attorney General DeWine next week, but had been running into a brick wall with Kasich’s office until today and decided to travel to Iowa to seek him out.

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 benefit the economy of the state.

On July 10th, after denying the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request for an emergency “stay” of the injunction on the President’s programs, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear oral arguments on the merits of the DAPA and expanded DACA programs.  Advocates hope to hold their meeting with the Governor before the next court date.

Added Tramonte, “We appreciate the fact that Governor Kasich said he doesn’t want to separate families, but our state’s policies are effectively suing our own families.  Governor Kasich has the potential to be a different kind of Republican, but right now on immigration he’s keeping company with the likes of Scott Walker and Chris Christie—two other governors of states that are suing their own families by attacking Obama’s executive orders.  If Kasich truly wants to keep Ohio families together, he should remove our state from this lawsuit immediately.”

See coverage of today’s exchange in the Columbus Dispatch and the Cincinnati Enquirer.