HR 4437 criminalizes the mere presence of an alien without valid immigration status, which would include at least one million children. We have always found Toledo to be a community committed to tolerance of all people regardless of race, sex, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin.
This bill would allow the federal government to prosecute any American having casual contact with an undocumented immigrant. If an undocumented looked to any of you for assistance, you could be prosecuted for helping them.
Toledo is and always has had an extensive network of social service providers and this bill could potentially make criminals out of church groups providing food, shelter, or other assistance to undocumented immigrants—churches such as SS. Peter and Paul, and social agencies such as the Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center and Adelante, Inc.
Under HR 4437, social workers who assist undocumented immigrants—such as victims of crime or domestic abuse (or other abuses of social justice)—can be charged with a felony.
Under HR 4437, any American married to an undocumented worker would become a criminal charged with a felony.
We have spoken to our public safety officers and they feel that the services to the county would be compromised if they were forced to spend their time acting as immigration officers.
There would also be an investment of their time as well or an increase of their resources which could hamper providing vital city services. Another added effect would be that undocumented workers would not know if they can contact the police in case of an emergency.
HR 4437 also includes the construction of some 700 miles of wall separating the United States from our good neighbor Mexico, which sends a message to the world that the United States—traditionally known as the “melting pot”—does not welcome visitors to its shores.
It is our hope that with this information and respecting the need for preserving public peace, property, health, and safety that the council would vote to pass the resolution opposing HR 4437, as it has been passed unanimously in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Columbus, and Grand Rapids.
It is also our hope that when this resolution is passed, copies would be forwarded to U.S. Senators George Voinovich and Michael DeWine. It is the wish of the community that this matter be resolved quickly and expeditiously in that the U.S. Senate is reviewing this matter at this time.
If you have any questions or require further clarification. Please feel free to call me at (419) 385-2617. Thanks for your time and attention to this serious matter.
Daniel D. Contreras
President, Hispanic/Latino Democratic Caucus
Editor’s Note: On March 28, Toledo City Council joined the ranks of cities and counties across the United States opposing many of the tenets of HR 4437, a.k.a. the Sensenbrenner-King Bill—Grand Rapids MI, Detroit, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and Columbus have passed such resolutions.
On March 13, Lorain City Council unanimously passed such a resolution but Lorain’s mayor, Craig Foltin, who is a candidate for Congressman Sherrod Brown’s seat in the U.S. Congress, refused or neglected to sign the resolution, making him the only mayor who refused after a city’s council passed such a resolution. Congressman Brown is not running for re-election in District 13 due to his entering the race for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Mike DeWine. Brown voted against HR 4437 on December 16, 2005.