tags: Press Releases

Ohio GOP Senate Primary Candidates Bash Immigrants, While Ohio and American Businesses Rely on Immigrant Workers

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Washington, DC – The Columbus Dispatch profiles Jane Timken, one of the GOP candidates running in the contested Ohio Senate primary to replace the retiring Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). The story, titled “With Portman endorsement, Ohio Senate candidate Jane Timken juggles opposing GOP factions,” captures how Timken and others from the “establishment” wing of today’s Republican Party are nonetheless throwing red meat to the Republican primary base, including by running on ugly xenophobia. 

As America’s Voice recently explored in detail, Timken has joined primary candidates J.D. Vance and Josh Mandel in embracing anti-immigrant “invasion” and “replacement” rhetoric – some of the same rhetoric as the gunman who attacked the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh just on the other side of the Ohio border in 2018. As the Dispatch profile notes:

After Jane Timken gave a stump speech lambasting inflation, illegal immigration and the ‘indoctrination of our children,’ U.S. Sen. Rob Portman enthusiastically took center stage at her Columbus campaign event. ‘You can see why I endorsed her, right?’ Portman, R-Ohio, told the audience last week. ‘She’s awesome, isn’t she?’

…But this is no longer your father’s Grand Old Party. Ohio Republicans, like many across the country, are increasingly fed up with career politicians such as Portman and prefer the tactics of former President Donald Trump. Working across the aisle is for Republicans In Name Only, some say. That leaves Timken in a bind as she and her GOP primary opponents work to ingratiate themselves with Trump – and she’s working hard to wiggle her way out of it. ‘She’s doing all sorts of contortions to try to balance between the MAGA wing and the establishment wing of the Republican Party,’ said David Cohen, a political scientist at the University of Akron.’

Meanwhile, an op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Workforce shortages are crushing Ohio’s restaurant industry. Immigration reform can help,” by Tod Bowen of the Ohio Restaurant Association offers a reminder why getting our economy right means getting immigration policy right. As Bowen writes in the new op-ed:

Immigrants fill crucial job openings that would otherwise go unfilled, help businesses expand, and allow consumers to get the goods and services they need without delay. Immigrants could literally save Ohio’s restaurant industry.

… A once-thriving area saw businesses shutter in the early ‘90s as many residents flocked to the suburbs. In recent decades, newcomers have revitalized the area; in 2019, 26% of the Columbus Metro Area’s population growth was due to immigrants. We’re experiencing a rebirth, with dining establishments opening that represent cuisines from across the globe: Somalia, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Mexico, Costa Rica, and China. Bottom line: To have a growing economy, you need a growing population. Ohio business leaders understand this and so do many longtime American residents.

Unfortunately, Republicans’ embrace of nativism and anti-immigrant politics stands in the way of needed policy reforms that would strengthen our country and our economy. 

According to Vanessa Cardenas, Deputy Director for America’s Voice:

The new Trumpified Republican Party enthusiastically and cynically demonizes immigrants despite the business community’s call for more immigrant workers to fill jobs in Ohio and across the country. The contrast we are seeing in Ohio, between pro-immigrant policy needs and anti-immigrant political campaigning, is an unfortunate reflection of what we are witnessing in many places across America. Republican candidates’ reliance on xenophobia and dangerous anti-immigrant conspiracies is nearly unanimous across all wings of the GOP. This despite the reality that America needs a modern immigration policy that welcomes new immigrants and legalizes the immigrants who already live, work and raise families here.

Read the recent America’s Voice report: “The Ohio GOP Senate Primary has Turned into One Expensive, Nasty Slugfest Filled with Dangerous Xenophobic Lies

Check out ongoing examples of Republicans’ anti-immigrant ads at the America’s Voice GOP Ad Tracker: http://gopadtracker.com/