NW Ohio Immigrant Rights organizations send clear message to electoral candidates

September, 12, 2022: The immigrant rights movement in the NW Ohio region is sending a loud and clear message to the November electoral candidates: stop the anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on solutions. The population of the region is growing in diversity. Employers as well as residents welcome the newcomers as a force to revitalize the region’s aging population and decaying numbers. The organizations call on the Ohio electoral candidates at all levels to do their part at securing welcoming narratives and policies that will continue the path of the successful immigrant history of America.

Immigrant rights organizations working with immigrants and refugees met on Sunday September 11, 2022 at Lourdes University Franciscan Center to discuss collaborations and develop lines of action moving forward.  The session was organized by the NW Ohio Immigrant Rights Network, the Sisters of St. Francis, La Conexion, ABLE, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Toledo, and the Multifaith Council of NW Ohio.

“Scapegoating immigrants for political gain is not only dangerous, as it can brew violence against our communities, but it is also a sad revelation of the shortsightedness and lack of vision of many of our electoral candidates” says Beatriz Maya, Executive Director of La Conexion and one of the organizers of the convening. Majority of Americans want our government to focus on sound solutions to the challenges we are facing.

“We came out of the meeting re-energized and ready to move forward to advance the rights of refugees and immigrants in the region and beyond”, says Mechelle Zarou, Chief People and Culture Officer and Deputy General Counsel for the Sisters of St. Francis. “The Greater Toledo area has a rich history impacted by the contributions of refugees who made this region their home. Continuing this tradition will only be beneficial.”

Several immigration reform bills introduced since 2021 will bring order and predictability to an already broken immigration system. A new bill introduced in July, HR 8433: Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929, will do just that simply by updating the registry date, now set in 1972. The registry date, a provision in the existing law, allows people who have enter the country by the date set to apply for legal residency. They will have to pass many other requirements to actually obtain the residency, but it will open the door to immigrants who have been here for a number of years, with a proven track record of good moral character and contributions, to at least apply for an adjustment of status. The registry has not been updated in 50 years and it is time to do just that. It does not require an overall change in the system but rather a small adjustment.

The 45 participants representing over 20 immigrant and refugee rights organizations in the region also advocate for urging President Biden to set –and meet– a refugee admissions goal of 200,000 for the 2023 fiscal year, increase resources available for the newcomers, and provide alternatives to detention.

For more about La Conexion visit www.laconexion.online.