Ohio is Our Home, We Are Here to Stay #OHereToStay
Cleveland, OH — This evening, as the sun went down, Ohioans from across the region gathered at Market Square Park in Ohio City for a candlelight vigil in support of DACA, the Dream Act, and all immigrants. Similar events took place in cities across Ohio this week.
The crowd heard testimonies from DACA recipients about how the policy has impacted their lives, souls, and families — and what comes next now that Trump has ended it. Before and after the vigil, music was broadcast from a Spotify playlist hand-selected by Dreamers, including personal messages of support from artists like Juanes, Daddy Yankee, and Demi Lovato. Access the playlist here. Photos and video of the event also available.
Eleonor Ramirez moderated the event. Chrissy Stonebraker-Martinez of the InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia led the commitment to nonviolence. Jose Mendez, Cleveland Director of DreamActivist Ohio, led off the Dreamer testimonies, followed by Jose Ramon of Painesville, a Dreamer from Case Western Reserve University, and Ana Flores of Cleveland. Suzy Scullin of Indivisible CLE and Deb Kline of Cleveland Jobs With Justice delivered the call to action.
The vigil was organized by DreamActivist Ohio, Cleveland Jobs With Justice, Indivisible CLE, LOIRA, Ohio’s Voice, InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia, Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, and Eleonor Ramirez.
Jose Mendez, Cleveland Director, DreamActivist Ohio and a DACA recipient said: “We Dreamers will continue to fight. We lost a battle this week but we will win the war at the end.”
Deb Kline, Director, Cleveland Jobs with Justice said:
Trump’s actions to rescind DACA do nothing more than intensify the vitriol and hate that has been directed toward the undocumented community since his election. Cleveland Jobs with Justice calls on Congress to step up and take immediate action to pass legislation to protect the 800,000 DACA recipients in this country.
Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice, said:
Trump’s decision created a crisis for Americans with DACA, their employers, and their loved ones. People who have grown up here and know no other home are suddenly finding their ability to work, drive a car legally, support their families, and plan for the future in limbo. It’s good that so many Ohioans from all across the state are standing up and speaking out in support of Dreamers. The Dream Act has become a must-pass bill in Congress. We call on Senator Portman to cosponsor the Dream Act in the Senate; all Ohio House Republicans to cosponsor their chamber’s version; and every member of the Ohio delegation–both Republicans and Democrats–to demand that their leadership schedule a vote on the bill.
This past Tuesday, President Donald Trump took the cowardly way out and sent his Attorney General to deliver life-altering bad news to 800,000 Americans with DACA. After five years of living “normal” lives, they will once again become undocumented, unless Congress does its job and passes the Dream Act. Governor Kasich responded by declaring that Dreamers are “welcome in Ohio” and Congress should “Fix it. Get it done. Lead.”
By ending DACA, Trump is putting in limbo the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of young people whose only home is the United States. Approximately 5,000 Ohioans have DACA, and an additional 4,000 could become eligible if the program remained in place. These Ohioans contribute more than $14 million in state and local taxes every year, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
Starting in March 2018, 30,000 Americans with DACA will lose the work permits and identity documents they need to live their lives each month. In addition to the young men and women with DACA who will lose their status, think about the youngest among them–those children finally coming of age to be able to apply for DACA status–who will be completely left out. For more on how DACA works and who qualified, see this piece from Vox.