Lorain follows Cleveland, Columbus, and Grand Rapids in opposing HR 4437
By Rico de La Prensa
On Feb. 21, the Grand Rapids MI City Commissioners passed a resolution condemning many provisions of HR 4437, passed on Dec. 16, 2005 by the U.S. House of Representatives, including provisions that make felons of all undocumented immigrants within the United States (estimated to be over 11 million) and those individuals that assist them, such as churches, social service agencies, priests/preachers, unions, and employers.
HR 4437, a.k.a. the Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism & Illegal Immigration Control Act, a.k.a. the Sensenbrenner-King bill, also make immigration agents out of all local law enforcement officers and mandates the construction of almost 700 miles of wall, separating the United States from its neighbor México.
This resolution was not made in a vacuum, with numerous cities and county commissions from around the United States condemning these provisions—such as Cleveland City Council on Feb. 27, Cuyahoga County Commissioners on Mar. 2, Columbus City Council on March 13, and Lorain City Council.
Grand Rapids, MI passed Feb 21 06.pdf
Lorain City Council and OCHLA condemn provisions of HR 4437
On Monday, March 20, Lorain City Council voted unanimously on an emergency resolution opposing HR 4437.
In an interview with La Prensa, Councilman-at-Large Anthony Krasienko stated that “Lorain is an international city. Citizens of Lorain believe in and are rich in cultural diversity and many of the provisions [of HR 4437] are very divisive and polarizing.
“It is not wise making criminals out of undocumented workers, who are part of the system, or making criminals out of social service agencies such as churches. We are a land of immigrants—this is what America is all about.
“Many of us on council were troubled by making our police officers immigration agents, thus draining their energy from traditional, vital assignments such as local protection.”
According to Krasienko, the resolution was passed 10 to 0 and it “now goes to Mayor Craig Foltin for his consideration.”
The resolution becomes law if signed by the mayor or remains unsigned for more than ten days.
On March 15, the Ohio Commission of Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OCHLA) held its regular monthly meeting at Bowling Green State University.
The meeting was in conjunction with BGSU’s Latino Networking Alliance’s Open Forum that afternoon, with presentations by Dr. Rubén Villamontez-Anguiano (Assistant Professor in the School of Family and Consumer Services at BGSU), Dr. Linda Dobb (Executive Vice President of BGSU), and Dr. Neal Jesse (Associate Professor, Political Science Dept at BGSU). Dr. Jesse discussed the “English as Only Language Act.”
As part of the afternoon activities, OCHLA unanimously adopted a resolution in opposition to HR 4437 as well as adopting a resolution in support of the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill, currently before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate.
OCHLA had previously adopted a resolution in opposition to the Ohio English Unity Act (signed August 19, 2005).
Lorain resolution March 21, 2006 vote 10 to 0.pdf
Marches and rallies slated
In reaction to HR 4437, marches and rallies have flowered, such as the recent march in Chicago where over 350,000 demonstrated against HR 4437. Marches or rallies are also planned for Columbus on March 26 and for Toledo on April 12, according to Baldemar Velásquez, President of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC).
Velásquez has been leading the charge on behalf of migrants for the past 37 years, throughout the Midwest and North Carolina, with victories over Campbell’s and Mt. Olive Pickle Company.
He is now challenged by an immigration billed passed by the House, which he has termed “draconian.”
In a March 1st letter to the editor of La Prensa, Velásquez wrote, “I am speechless by the draconian Sensenbrenner H.B. 4437 passed by our U.S. Congress this past December….I am at a loss to describe the type of person who comes up with these ideas.
“It is time we speak out loudly and present some opposition to this nonsense!” added Velásquez.
All at a time when most Latinos, as well as union officials and civil rights advocates, honor the birth date of one of their great Mexican-American leaders, César Estrada Chávez, whose birthday is March 31.
The government of México, which has been very supportive of the United States, has condemned HR 4437 and is outraged by the suggestion that a wall be built, separating the countries at about 35 per cent of their borders.
The U.S. Senate is considering its options, with several bills before it, including the McCain-Kennedy and Specter bills. The marches are focused around these proceedings and the anticipated vote, expected on March 27, or shortly thereafter.
Editor’s Note: In the Ohio/Michigan region, the following representatives voted against HR 4437: Marcy Kaptur (D, OH-9), Sherrod Brown (D, OH-13), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D, OH-11), Dennis J. Kucinich (D, OH-10), Tim Ryan (D, OH-17), Pat Tiberi (R, OH-12), Michael Turner (R, OH-3), John A. Boehner (R, OH-8), David Hobson (R, OH-7), Dale Kildee (D, MI-5), Carolyn Kilpatrick (D, MI-13), Sander Levin (D, MI-12), John Dingell (D, MI-15), and Bart Stupak (D, MI-1).
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