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Last week, the Lorain Ohio Immigrants’ Rights Association (LOIRA), Ohio’s Voice, and Cleveland Jobs with Justice invited the three candidates for U.S. Senate: former Governor Ted Strickland (D), Cincinnati City Council Member PG Sittenfeld(D), and Senator Rob Portman (R) to sit down with DAPA-eligible families as part of the ongoing “DAPA Dinners” campaign. “DAPA Dinners” is an initiative that invites all 2016 candidates, Senators, and Members of Congress to join an immigrant family for a meal, to discuss how federal immigration actions impact children, families, and communities.
Approximately 35,000 Ohio immigrants—including many members of LOIRA—would be eligible for deportation deferral, work permits, and state driver’s licenses under deferred action policies announced by President Obama in 2015. However, Ohio joined with other Republican-led states to sue the Federal government and block Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Now, the fate of these policies–indeed, the fate of our families–will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2016.
Said Jose Mendiola, President of Lorain Ohio Immigrants’ Rights Association, “We hope that the candidates will join us and engage in meaningful dialogue on immigration reform. Regardless of the candidates’ prior positions on DAPA and DACA, we hope they will break bread with Ohio families, and see for themselves the human cost of blocking these programs.”
Lynn Tramonte, director of Ohio’s Voice, said this: “The State of Ohio is literally suing its own families and children. We want our leaders—and anyone who wants to represent us in Washington—to hear directly from people whose lives are in limbo because of the anti-DAPA and anti-DACA lawsuit. These are decent, hardworking people who just want a chance to stabilize their lives, yet the state is suing to keep them down.”
The dinner will take place on February 27, 2016 at a church in Lorain, Ohio. LOIRA members will cook and serve traditional Mexican dishes to their community of supporters, members of the media, and any of the three Senate candidates who decide to attend.