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Ohio Leaders Blast Attorney General DeWine’s Decision to Join Texas Immigration Lawsuit

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If Successful, Lawsuit Would Deny State Millions in Tax Revenue & Subject Thousands of Ohio Families to Deportation

Last week, the State of Ohio joined nineteen other states in suing the federal government over the President’s recent executive action on immigration.  In addition to subjecting thousands of Ohio families to deportation, the lawsuit, if successful, would deny $41 million in much needed tax revenue to the state over the next five years.

Today, on a press call, Ohio legal, economic experts, faith leaders, impacted individuals and immigration advocates reacted to the State of Ohio’s decision to join this frivolous lawsuit and discuss what this means for the state and the country moving forward.

“Ohioans ought to be asking Governor John Kasich and Attorney General DeWine why they put Ohio’s name on a lawsuit aimed at blocking 5 million people from registering, undergoing criminal background checks and paying taxes,” said  David Leopold, Ohio-based immigration attorney and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  “President Obama has done what he was elected to do–lead.  The Constitution and laws passed by Congress require the President to faithfully execute the laws passed by Congress.  Mr. Obama, following the letter of the law, has focused limited immigration enforcement resources on deporting dangerous criminals, national security threats and recent border crossers.  Mr. Obama has made keeping the borders secure and protecting American families his highest priority.  Not only are his immigration executive actions solidly legal but they happen to be damn good policy. Bringing 5 million aspiring Americans out of the shadows—even on an interim basis—will make Ohio communities safer, add tax revenue, and help our economy.”

Added Patrick Oakford, Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress (CAP), “When undocumented immigrants are able to work legally, everyone benefits. All across the US, states will observe significant tax gains as undocumented immigrants are able to join the formal economy and reach their highest economic potential. Ohio alone stands to gain $41 million in tax revenues, this money will relieve financial strains and help fund vital services from public schools to fire houses.”  Check out CAP’s full analysis on the economic benefits of deferred action in Ohio here.

In addition to the legal and economic perils of the 20 state lawsuit, speakers also touched on the moral implications should the case against executive action prove successful in the courts.

Carol Apaestegui, a DACA recipient from northeast Ohio whose parents qualify for the new Deferred Action for Parents policy, said on today’s call:

DACA is giving me the opportunity to grow to my full potential and contribute to this country as the American that I consider myself. Words can’t express what DAPA means to my family – It’s a small step in the bigger immigration picture, but it will help bring down some of the obstacles that the current broken immigration system has put up.

She went on to describe how DACA has made it possible for her to obtain a job in her field of study, buy a car, rent an apartment, and begin planning to purchase a home.  

These are also ‘economic benefits,’ even though it’s just one person’s story.  But having DACA means I can plan my life, and having DAPA will mean that my parents can move forward as well.

Rabbi Robert A. Nosanchuk, Senior Rabbi of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple and a member of a coalition of Rabbis Organizing Rabbis, which includes hundreds of Jewish leaders who are standing up for immigration Reform in the U.S., said:

People of all faiths must remember the immigration stories they heard from grandparents and great-grandparents. Our ancestors ask us: ‘What did you learn from us? What did you learned from what occurred to us in Europe and here in the U.S.? What was the oppression we fled? What assistance did we receive when we arrived in this country- in need of a pathway to a future, when we had nowhere else to turn?’  I hear these questions and know that I cannot be indifferent while politicians throw Ohio immigrants lives into havoc, deporting members of Ohio families and denying our immigrant neighbors and friends a chance to make a life of meaning in the U.S. I encourage other members of the Jewish community to raise their voice against this threatened suit of the White House’s executive action to help immigrant families.

Concluded Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director, America’s Voice who’s based in Cleveland, Ohio:

Governor Kasich and Attorney General DeWine have held themselves out there as ‘break the mold’ Republicans who don’t just tow the party-line.  But by signing on to this lawsuit, they make it clear that that was just an act.  They’re also tarnishing the great state of Ohio’s reputation and putting tens of thousands of Ohio residents at risk of deportation.  

Governor Kasich, in particular, is one who is often talked about as a possible presidential candidate.  But what he doesn’t seem to realize is that signing onto this lawsuit is not just signing a piece of paper and putting it in a drawer, to be forgotten.  It’s declaring your opposition to the Obama Administration policy and actively seeking to repeal it.  This decision that will burn bridges with key groups of voters that Kasich needs if he ever chooses to seek national office.