From Cleveland to Cincinnati and In-Between, Communities and Leaders Stand Up for Refugees and Immigrants
Since news of the Trump Administration’s refugee and Muslim banbroke last Friday night, Ohioans have been reacting in anger and outrage. The discriminatory policy was implemented immediately over the weekend, resulting in chaos and tragedy. It led to the surprise detention and deportation of many people with valid U.S. entry permits as they arrived to U.S. borders, including elderly people and children.
Numerous refugee families who had been days away from relocating to Ohio and rebuilding their lives have been affected. Doctors and other professionals living and working in Ohio have also been blocked from coming home, despite the fact that they have valid visas and are needed here. Universities are speaking out against the ban that impacts both students and faculty.
While the refugee and Muslim ban has gotten the most attention out of all of Trump’s executive orders, other immigration-related executive orders will hurt ordinary Ohioans in many ways. Local officials across the states are responding in support of Ohio’s immigrants and refugees.
In Columbus, Mayor Ginther plans to sign his own executive order banning the inscription of local police into Trump’s Deportation Force. This policy will make it clear that the police’s job is to protect the entire community from crime, not enforce federal paperwork violations.
Also in Columbus, City Councilperson Elizabeth Brown is creating a legal defense fund for immigrants and refugees facing deportation under the new regime. This approach is a major step forward for the city, which recognizes the tremendous contributions immigrants and refugees make here every day.
The initiatives are supported by Columbus residents from all over. Hundreds gathered at a meeting last night in support of policies that keep community policing and immigration enforcement separate. The protest at John Glenn International Airport this weekend also drew hundreds.
Read more about what’s going on in Columbus here, in this Medium piece by Matt Hildreth, Columbus resident and Political Director of America’s Voice.
In Cincinnati, Mayor Cranley denounced Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and pledged his city’s support for immigrants and refugees. As reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cranley said: “We have put the whole world on notice that we intend to live up to the Statue of Liberty ideals . . . [being a sanctuary city] is a badge of honor.” Hundreds gathered outside city hall in support of the mayor’s position.
In Cleveland, the City Council voted to oppose Trump’s refugee and Muslim ban in front of a supportive crowd. A large protest also took place at Cleveland Hopkins Airport over the weekend and another is planned for Market Square this Friday.
A group of civic leaders in Akron–including Mayor Dan Horrigan and leaders of education, healthcare, business, and faith institutions–issued this statement of supportfor immigrants and refugees. The “open letter” reads, in part: “Diversity is not just an inevitable byproduct of an increasingly global civilization; diversity is an essential, treasured ingredient in any thriving and prosperous society. So, as leaders in this community, we want to make it clear: whether you are foreign-born or home-grown, there is a place for you here.”
As Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice, wrote on Medium last week: “Trump is embarrassing himself, his Administration, and our country and he’s only been president for one week…. We know the courts are our backstop but the question is, how much damage will this Administration be able to do — to our country, security, health, families, and values — before the checks and balances kick in?”