September 29, 2022

Regional immigrant rights campaigners call on political candidates to focus on solutions – BG Independent News

Submitted by BEATRIZ MAYA

Managing Director, The Connection

The immigrant rights movement in the Northwest Ohio region is sending a loud and clear message to candidates running for office in November: Stop the anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on solutions. The region’s population is increasingly diverse. Employers as well as residents welcome newcomers as a force to revitalize the region’s aging population and declining workforce. The organizations are calling on Ohio presidential candidates at all levels to do their part to ensure welcoming narratives and policies that will continue on the path of America’s successful immigration history.

Immigrant rights organizations working with immigrants and refugees met on Sunday, September 11 at the Franciscan Center of the University of Lourdes 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 purposes is not only dangerous, as it can sow violence against our communities, but it is also a sad revelation of the short-sightedness and short-sightedness of many of our electoral candidates” , said Beatriz Maya, executive director of La Conexion. and one of the organizers of the convocation. The majority of Americans want our government to focus on sound solutions to the challenges we face.

“We came out of the meeting invigorated and ready to move forward to advance the rights of refugees and immigrants in the region and beyond,” said Mechelle Zarou, People and Culture Officer and General Counsel. assistant of the Sisters of Saint-François. “The Greater Toledo region has a rich history marked by the contributions of refugees who call this area 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 tabled in July, HR 8433: Renewal of the Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929, will do just that simply by updating the date of registration, now set to 1972. Date of registration, a provision of existing law, allows people who entered the country on the date set to apply for legal residency . They will have to meet many other requirements to actually get residency, but it will open the door for immigrants who have been here for a number of years, with a proven track record of good character and contributions, to at least apply for an adjustment of status. The registry has not been updated for 50 years and it is time to do so. It does not require an overall system change but rather a small adjustment.

The 45 participants representing more than 20 immigrant and refugee rights organizations in the region are also advocating to urge President Biden to set – and achieve – a refugee admissions goal of 200,000 for fiscal year 2023, to increase the resources available to new arrivals and to provide alternatives to detention. .