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Kasich’s Debate Comments on Immigration Stand Out

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But His Position on DAPA and DACA Makes ‘No Sense’

In last night’s Republican debate, Ohio Governor John Kasich criticized Donald Trump’s unrealistic and inhumane proposal to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.  Kasich said:

[I]f people think that we are going to ship 11 million people who are law-abiding, who are in this country, and somehow pick them up at their house and ship them out of Mexico — to Mexico, think about the families. Think about the children.

So, you know what the answer really is? If they have been law- abiding, they pay a penalty. They get to stay. We protect the wall. Anybody else comes over, they go back.

But for the 11 million people, come on, folks. We all know you can’t pick them up and ship them across, back across the border. It’s a silly argument. It is not an adult argument. It makes no sense.

When Kasich said “think about the families.  Think about the children,” he may have been thinking about 11 year-old U.S. citizen Andrew and his mother Maria, who traveled all the way to Iowa to try to talk to their Governor, John Kasich, about his opposition to DACA and DAPA.  Maria and her husband, Andrew’s father, are both eligible for DAPA.  But thanks to the lawsuit filed by Texas, Ohio, and two dozen other states, their lives remain in limbo.

Or Kasich may have been thinking about Carlos and his two little boys, who Kasich met when he finally agreed to sit down with immigrant families and advocates back in Ohio.  Carlos’ wife was killed by a drunk driver (a U.S. citizen) and he’s left to raise two little boys on his own.  Without DAPA, the boys are terrified that they will lose him too, because he is undocumented.

Or he may have been thinking about Olga, Mara, or Jocelyn—or any one of their children—who came to plead with him to remove our state from this anti-family lawsuit.  You can read more about their stories here.

According to Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice: “Kasich was right about Donald Trump’s mass deportation policy: it’s a silly argument that makes no sense.  It’s also an inhumane argument.  Clearly, Kasich was moved by the stories of the families he heard back in Ohio.

“But how can Kasich can say that he supports keeping families together, while opposing the very policies that do just that?  That is not an ‘adult’ argument either.  If you believe in family unity, you support family unity policies.  It’s really that simple.”

Yesterday, America’s Voice, United We Dream Action, and Center for Community Change Action/Fair Immigration Reform Movement launched a new campaign called DAPA Dinners.  The goal of the effort is to get 2016 candidates, and members of Congress, to sit down with DAPA-eligible individuals and get to know them personally.

Elise Foley writes about the effort in the Huffington Post: “There are numerous examples of politicians seeing an issue differently because they know someone affected — look at New Jersey governor and GOP candidate Chris Christie’s remarks on addiction, or Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announcing support for same-sex marriage after his son came out as gay. And the immigrant rights community has used that strategy for years, with people ‘coming out’ as undocumented in hopes that it would show friends and neighbors the need for immigration reform.”

“Donald Trump and Ben Carson need to sit down with a DAPA-eligible family.  Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio need to sit down with a DAPA-eligible family.  John Kasich needs to meet up with DAPA-eligible families again and continue the conversation.  It’s unfair to make decisions or stake out positions that affect real people’s lives, without sitting down and learning what it’s like to walk a mile in their shoes,” said Tramonte.