*** MEDIA AVAILABILITY****
Ohio Immigrant Families Meet with Gov. Kasich and AG DeWine
End Day in Just as Much Limbo as They Started It
Cleveland, OH—Yesterday, Ohio immigrants and their U.S. Citizen children, lawyers, and allies headed back to Columbus to meet directly with their Attorney General Mike DeWine and Governor John Kasich in separate meetings. Their goal was to communicate the facts about the anti-DAPA/DACA expansion lawsuit that the State of Ohio has joined; talk about the families it impacts; and express their fears in the absence of immigration reform.
Participants included Ohio mom Olga Flores whose 4 year-old son is currently battling cancer (she was also profiled by Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker last week); an immigrant father of two small sons who recently lost their mother to a drunk driver; and a mother who has lived in the U.S. for 25 years and has lost her dad, sister and brother to deportation. They were joined by other DACAmented or DAPA-eligible Ohioans, Columbus immigration attorney Julie Nemecek, advocate and DACA recipient Jessica Pantaleon Camacho (both of whom were also profiled by Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker); past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, David Leopold; Fatin Askar, another Columbus immigration attorney; and Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice.
Meeting participants are available for interviews. If you’d like to schedule an interview with an impacted family member or advocate, please contact Taylor Booth (firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-724-7944).
In the meeting, families and individuals explained to both DeWine and Kasich how they and their children live their lives in fear, worried that a trip to the grocery store or school could end in a traffic stop and deportation. Their hopes were lifted when DAPA was announced, only to be crushed by the partisan lawsuit Ohio has engaged in.
DACA recipients, including Manny Bartsch, a young man DeWine had helped as a senator, also expressed how the President’s 2012 executive actions have changed their lives and asked that the same opportunities be given to others.
While Attorney General DeWine showed compassion for the impacted families and individuals, he stated that his support for the lawsuit revolved around the Constitution. Meeting participants urged him to reconsider given the real harm it is exacting on Ohioans.
Meanwhile, 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 also said that he doesn’t want to separate hard working families, but the lawsuit his state supports is, in fact, doing just that.
The Kasich meeting closed with him saying he’d make some “phone calls.”
Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice, said “If Governor Kasich is going to make some phone calls, the first one should be to Attorney General Mike DeWine. If you really don’t want to separate families, use your powerful voice as Governor and tell your Attorney General to pull our state from this ugly, anti-family lawsuit.”
DeWine and Kasich were given a packet of letters from Ohioans opposed to the lawsuit, as well as a fact sheet about the economic benefits of DACA and DAPA. Those resources and others are available below.